Lately I’ve read some books/novellas that I didn’t have enough thoughts on to write a full review, but still wanted to share my overall opinion, so I’ve waited until I had a few and decided to write some mini-reviews.
1. 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma
Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.
With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost.
I have officially read all of Nova Ren Suma’s books now! My favorite is still The Walls Around Us, but 17 & Gone is firmly in second place. I will admit I wasn’t super into this book for the first quarter. The writing was just so weird and descriptive without really being visual, but that started to make more sense the further into the story I got. Lauren is a tough character to really put a finger on, and I actually didn’t even realize her name until more than halfway through the book. That being said, I really enjoyed the mystery surrounding this one, Lauren’s slow descent into the blurred lines between what’s real and what’s not, and the portrayal of how scary it can be when you’re not sure you can trust what you see with your own eyes. 4/5 stars.
2. Fairest by Marissa Meyer(the Lunar Chronicles #3.5)
Who is the fairest of them all?
Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.
Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.
Goodreads says this is 3.5 in The Lunar Chronicles, but really it’s a prequel, set years before any of the action of the series takes place, and focuses on Levana before she’s queen. And wow, it’s SUPER uncomfortable. It’s a villain origin story, so you expect it to be dark, but it was even more tough to swallow than I was expecting. It stays so close to Levana the whole time that you see it all, from her sympathetic childhood to her delusions of love to the moment where she crosses the moral event horizon. I did love that Fairest doesn’t make excuses for Levana’s behavior, which is good because this is basically the exploration of a woman who abuses, gaslights, rapes, and ensnares a man for years while plotting the murders of thousands. The whole story is well done and ties into the series canon SO well, but at the same time I’m not sure I’ll ever want to re-read this one in future reads of the series. 3/5 stars.
3. Turning Pointe by Katherine Locke(District Ballet Company #0.5)
Zedekiah Harrow is Alyona Miller’s other half—the Z to her A, her rock in the chaotic, competitive world of professional ballet. He’s the one person who can talk her anxiety away, the one person she knows will never judge her. That she’s starting to think about him as more than a best friend is something new entirely.
Aly is Zed’s everything, but their “just friends” label is beginning to chafe. When the company embarks on a month-long European tour, the magic of Amsterdam and a nearly indecent pas de deux routine combine, making their chemistry—both on and off the stage—impossible to ignore.
But just as Aly and Zed begin to see what everyone else already knows, just when they’ve taken the leap from friends to lovers, the unthinkable happens. And in the blink of an eye, Aly and Zed are tossed back to the beginning…
I’ve had Second Position on my “maybe” shelf for awhile, and so I decided to read Turning Pointe, the free prequel novella, to see if I’d want to commit to the novel(I do). On the whole, I really enjoyed this novella. It was quietly sweet, then a little sad, then REALLY sad. I did feel a little thrown into the world in the beginning(not in a good way) with all the ballet terms and names of side characters and history, but once I found my reading stride I enjoyed it. I thought most of this novella would be based around the two main characters getting together, and that actually happens pretty early on–the twist is something else entirely, which was a surprise. It kept me on my toes(haha, ballet pun) for sure. The ending hurt my heart, though. 4/5 stars.
4. Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
Be careful what you believe in.
Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.
Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.
Well, this was weird. I’m not even sure where to begin, but I’ll try. There are magical, perhaps sentient, fish in this book. And that’s the LEAST weird part about it. Teeth centers around Rudy, whose family has moved to a magical island so his brother can eat the magical fish and hopefully survive his terminal disease. While there, Rudy meets Teeth, who is a fishboy. Yes, a fishboy, or as we might call it, a mermaid, though much less romanticized than most mermaids. Teeth gets dark, dark, dark. There’s a lot of sexual assault(though none of it happens on-page), violence, and general grimness. Amidst all this, Rudy and Teeth strike up a more-than-friendship-not-defined relationship, and while this book gets SO SO WEIRD, it’s also emotionally charged and full of meaning, even when I wasn’t sure I “got” it. It made me feel things, despite the fact I had to put it down more than once and go “SERIOUSLY?”. I was on the fence about my rating for most of the book, but I did love the ending, so I rounded it up from 2.5 to a 3/5 stars.