Home    Reviews    Review Policy    About BAM    Double Dose

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Bought (Barnes and Noble)
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 327
Rating: B

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

I have been wanting this book for YEARS. I wouldn't be surprised to say that I've wanted this book since 2007, when it was published! I always told myself that I would wait for it to release in paperback because I'm such a cheapskate. Let me tell you... that took forever! But now that this lovely, powerful novel is finally released in paperback, I let myself buy it and indulge.

It took me at least 30-40 pages to really get into this book, but once I was at that point, there was no distracting me from devouring it. As you know from the synopsis of Thirteen Reasons Why, listed above, Hannah Baker gets the chance to tell her full story and the reasons why she committed suicide. The first few reasons seemed a bit minor and fixable... until the other reasons were unveiled. This girl just could not catch a break. I couldn't imagine going through everything Hannah did and remaining sane. As the novel went on, her reasons got much worse to the point where I couldn't even guess how much worse they could even get... but they always did.

However strange this may sound, I typically prefer reading novels with a female's POV. It's rare that I come across a novel I really enjoy with a male narrator although there have been cases: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. And now, I can gladly add Thirteen Reasons Why to that small list. Even though a lot of the novel is narrated by Hannah from the tapes, I always enjoyed reading about Clay and what he was thinking. He was an absolute sweetheart that was really easy to sympathize with and I hope to read more novels with narrators similar to him.

While I really did enjoy this book, I think the hype it continually gets made it fall short in the slightest way. I was expecting to cry my eyes out during the whole novel which didn't happen, and I cry pretty easily! Even though the hype may have made this book fall a bit short for me, I still really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for something gripping and haunting to read.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Books A Million
Edition: Hardback
Pages: 327
Rating: B-

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
The Selection is definitely not what I expected it to be. At all.

But I liked it! I think.

The whole idea of the book is that there is a Caste system. Everyone is numbered One to Eight. The lower your number, the higher your caste, and the better life you live. Generally Fives to Eights live the hardest, shortest, and poorest lives in the entire society. Ones are the royal family.

The royal family?! Yes. The royal family. The entire book is set in the future, but this future has gone medieval. A monarchy is in charge of the country and everyone is on their knees just begging to join them in their reign.

Everyone except for one girl.

America Singer is the young protagonist of this novel. She is a Five and loves that she gets to sing and play music to bring money to her family. She is a typical teenager who wants to help her family, find her passion, and fall in love.

The Selection (the title of the novel) happens when the Prince of the royal family comes of age. Every eligible, single woman between the ages of sixteen and twenty is entered in a contest. Thirty-five of thousands are chosen to go to the castle and compete for the Prince’s affections. It’s sort of like The Bachelor!
America is chosen for the Selection and is shockingly dismayed. All she wants to do is stay with her love, Aspen Leger, a Six. But her mother wants the money and status that comes with marrying a higher number.

Maxon Schreave, the Prince, is nothing like America imagines him to be. He’s just the typical guy. Except for the entire country is watching his every move as he learns to date and interact with women for the first time. A little stressful, no?

I don’t want to give away any more details! All in all, it really is like The Bachelor, but there are a few more twists and turns!

I would recommend reading it if you’re interested in a non-dystopian YA novel. Tell me what you think about it! I honestly still haven’t decided if I like America or not (she seems a little whiney to me), but I am anxious to see how the next this plays out!

Friday, January 18, 2013

What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: Bought (@ my local indie)
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 261
Rating: C+

My name is Sophie.
This book is about me.
It tells
the heart-stoppingly riveting story
of my first love.
And also of my second.
And, okay, my third love, too.

It's not that I'm boy crazy.
It's just that even though
I'm almost fifteen
it's like
my mind
and my body
and my heart
just don't seem to be able to agree
on anything.

WMMDK (What My Mother Doesn't Know) was pretty cute! I think it was meant for the younger, YA crowd (15 and under) but that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable for anyone older. I read the entire novel in one sitting which wasn't a big deal since it's written in verse. Even though the book is around 300 pages, it feels like maybe 100 or less due to the format.

While WMMDK was entertaining enough to keep me reading, I can't say that the story will stick with me forever. It's more of a light and fluffy read that can be used to kill some time and take your mind off anything serious. 

The main character, Sophie, did make me giggle out loud a few times from her outrageous thoughts. I do wish that I would have connected a bit more with her though! She was a little immature for a 15 year old. If I didn't know her age, I would have guessed she was around 11 or 12 years old. 

So basically... give this book a shot if you need to kill some time and are looking for something slightly entertaining.