XVI by Julia Karr

XVI by Julia Karr

Nina Oberon’s life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she’ll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a “sex-teen” is Nina’s worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina’s mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother’s killer.

I am such a slacker!  I really should have written this review right after I read the book, but I didn’t and I’ve read 20+ books since then and honestly, I can’t remember details anymore!  Bad Jenna.

But I do remember liking it, so let’s start there.  I thought the world was really interesting, especially the Media, which reminded me a lot of Feed by M.T. Anderson.  It was pretty believable as a future to our society.  I also found the tier system really interesting and believable.  I did have trouble deciding how far in the future the book was supposed to be set.  At times, I thought it was only a short amount of time in the future, but then other times it seemed very far out.  It was a little distracting.  I would have liked to have find out more about what drove the society to have such a rigid tier system… how did we get there?

Overall, I like Nina.  She was occasionally kind of boring, but also pretty interesting.  I liked how protective she was of her sister. I really liked her grandparents.  Her friends… hm.  I loathed Sandy and was pretty annoyed every time she showed back up.  I didn’t like that Nina used … guy friend whose name I can’t remember … a lot.  I was kind of annoyed when Sal and … girl whose name I can’t remember … knew things about Nina’s parents and wouldn’t tell her stuff.  But I liked their little band (minus Sandy) for the most part.

I guess the end was setting up a sequel, which has the potential to be interesting, so I would give it a shot should it happen.  If there isn’t a sequel, the ending was definitely disappointing!

Read as part of the 2011 YA Debut Author Challenge.

“Weekly” Recap 3/27/11

Okay, so getting behind on In My Mailbox is not that big of a deal because I can look back at Goodreads and PBS and figure out what I’ve mailed and received.  Getting behind on Weekly Recaps is bad though!  Now I have to remember what I liked or didn’t like about stuff I read a while ago.  Here goes nothing!  This is 3 weeks worth of reading and I’ve been reading a lot trying to win a YA Reading Challenge on PaperBackSwap.

XVI by Julia Karr – Review coming (Debut Author)

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors -This was okay.  It was pretty cute, but not super memorable.  I liked Alice and liked how she was trying to keep everything together.  I was kind of frustrated by how much she didn’t believe Errol was Cupid, especially towards the end.  I thought she was on board and then bam!  She didn’t still didn’t believe.  It got a little old.

Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg -This was adorable!  Pride & Prejudice is one of my favorite books ever, so I was probably a little bit predisposed to liking it, but I thought it was a lot of fun.  The way the original story was meshed into a new setting was really interesting.  I liked the way the characters were portrayed.  Even though they were basically the same characters, I liked that they weren’t just exact replicas of the original characters.

Me, The Missing, and The Dead by Jenny Valentine – This was just okay.  Lucas was strange and I had a hard time getting really invested in him.  I liked his grandparents the most. (This is a UK author, but I am not counting it towards my UK author total because I started skimming after a while.)

The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson – I loved this!  I liked all three of the sisters, but May the most, followed closely by Palmer.  I loved that they were all named after baseball players. ;)  I laughed with them, I cried with them, but most of all I just loved them.  (Third person limited multi-perspective)

Violence 101 by Denis Wright -It’s hard to say I liked this book because it’s about a kid that does all kinds of bad stuff, but I definitely found it very intriguing.  It was really interesting to see Hamish’s justifications for what his actions.  I definitely liked the first section more than the second section and though it wrapped up a little too neatly. (International Author [from somewhere other than US, Canada, UK, or Australia])

Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph -I was pretty disappointed in this one.  I liked Shrinking Violet a lot, so I was looking forward to this book.  Indigo is annoying, self centered, and just all around unlikeable.  There were times I did like Adam, but especially at the beginning beginning, he was whiny and way too obsessed with Indigo.

Fat Cat by Robin Brande – I liked this a lot!  I occasionally found Cat annoying and I wanted her to actually stop and listen to herself sometimes, or listen to Matt or something!  But I really related to Cat and really enjoyed the book.

Inside Out  by Maria V. Snyder – I liked this!  Maria V. Snyder is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.  I really liked Trella, Cogan, and Riley.  I loved discovering the secrets of Inside and Outside with the characters.  The book totally sucked me in.  I was kind of sad when it was over.  I can’t wait to read Outside In!

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott – This had sat on my shelf for a really long time and I’m glad I finally picked it up.  It wasn’t my favorite book by Elizabeth Scott (that would be Something, Maybe), but it was a really enjoyable read.  I really liked Dani.  She was easy to relate to and her struggle was really interesting.  I liked her relationships with Greg and Allison.  I couldn’t stand her mom!  She was frustrating.

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs – This was fun.  In terms of books about children of Greek/Roman gods, Percy Jackson was way better, but I did like the differences in this one.  I can’t say I loved it, but I enjoyed it.

The Heart Is Not a Size by Beth Kephart – I wanted to like this a lot more than I did.  I found the writing a bit frustrating.  I can’t really put my finger on why exactly, but I just felt like I was being talked at instead told a story I was part of.  I’m not sure that makes sense. LOL  But I just never got to the place where I cared about the characters and found the book a bit disappointing.

Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi – This book didn’t blow my mind, but it was enjoyable.  I kind of related to Maddy in some ways, like how it’s easier to be honest and “yourself” on the internet than it is in person sometimes.  It was a really cute book.

Devilish by Maureen Johnson – After reading and loving The Key to the Golden Firebird, I had high hopes for this one, but I didn’t love it.  It’s another book where I never really felt invested in the characters and more felt I was just reading to get to the end.

The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchison – I almost always like books with a male protagonist, but I was a little unsure about this one at the beginning.  I know teenage boys are all about sex, but I was starting to think it was going to be too much for me to continue reading.  But I’m glad I did.  That aspect toned down somewhat.  The premise of the book was really interesting.  What would you do if you knew you had a day to live?  I really liked Ollie, Shane, and Ronnie by the end of the book.

In My Mailbox 3/27/10

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Click here to learn more about it.

I didn’t receive a lot this week, which is okay because I am actually making progress on my TBR!

Books Received:

  • The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (PBS FIFO)
  • The Girl Who Was on Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games edited by Leah Wilson (Amazon)

Books Mailed:

  • Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph
  • Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
  • Fat Cat by Robin Brande

TBR Stats:

  • TBR 1/1/2011: 232
  • Current TBR: 233
  • Books Read: 48
  • Books Received from PBS FIFO: 25
  • Books Received from PBS Games: 15
  • Books Purchased: 13
  • Books Mailed: 50
  • Books Purged: 11

In My Mailbox 3/20/11

Once again I am horribly behind on blogging.  This is another two week entry.  But this one is filled with excitement!  After reading people’s reviews in the Aussie YA Challenge, I decided there were Aussie books that weren’t available in the US that I needed to get my hands on, so I did some research and found Readings.  They ship internationally, so I bought two books from them and added a few others to my wish list.  I was so excited when the package came!

So these two weeks have been kind of international weeks… Loads of UK and Aussie authors added to my shelves!

On the mailing front, I’m involved in a YA Reading Challenge over on PaperBackSwap.  You get points for reading different types of books.  The most points are for YA books that you read and mail out through the PBS system.  So I’ve mailed a lot in the last couple weeks and spent way too much on postage!  But it’s helping clear my shelves off and I’m trying to focus on books that have been on my shelves for a while.  I also mailed off a lot of stuff that I’d already read.

This challenge has also helped me get back closer to my beginning of the year TBR total, so maybe I’ll actually see the day where I go below it!  I was beginning to think that reducing the TBR was a lost cause, but now I am back to believing it is possible!

Books Received:

  • Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood (Readings)
  • Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager (Readings)
  • Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta (Amazon)
  • Stolen by Lucy Christopher (PBS Game)
  • Rockaholic by C.J. Skuse (Book Depository)

Books Mailed:

  • XVI by Julia Karr (PBS Game)
  • Matched by Ally Condie (PBS Game)
  • Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles (PBS FIFO)
  • Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance by Brendan Halpin and Emily Franklin (PBS FIFO)
  • Keys to the Repository by Melissa de la Cruz (PBS FIFO)
  • The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz (PBS FIFO)
  • Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz (PBS FIFO)
  • Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins (PBS FIFO)
  • Origins (Vampire Diaries: Stefan’s Diaries, Bk 1) (PBS FIFO)
  • Bloodlust (Vampire Diaries: Stefan’s Diaries, Bk 2) (PBS FIFO)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (PBS FIFO)
  • Trash by Andy Mulligan (PBS FIFO)
  • Why I Let My Hair Grow Out by Maryrose Wood (PBS FIFO)
  • What I Wore to Save the World by Maryrose Wood (PBS FIFO)
  • How I Found the Perfect Dress by Maryrose Wood (PBS FIFO)
  • The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (PBS FIFO)
  • Me, The Missing, and The Dead by Jenny Valentine (PBS FIFO)
  • The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff (PBS FIFO)

Current TBR Stats:

  • TBR 1/1/2011: 232
  • Current TBR: 237
  • Books Read: 42
  • Books Received from PBS FIFO: 24
  • Books Received from PBS Games: 15
  • Books Purchased: 12
  • Books Mailed: 47
  • Books Purged: 11

In My Mailbox 3/6/11

Not a big week for me.  Next week’s list of mailed books is going to be crazy long!

Books Received:

  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver (PBS FIFO)
  • Outside In by Maria V. Snyder (PBS Game)

Books Mailed:

  • Pink by Lili Wilkinson (PBS Game)

Current TBR Stats:

  • TBR 1/1/2011: 232
  • Current TBR: 242
  • Books Read: 33
  • Books Received from PBS FIFO: 24
  • Books Received from PBS Games: 14
  • Books Purchased: 9
  • Books Mailed: 23
  • Books Purged: 10

Weekly Recap 3/6/11

Hey, look!  It’s a Weekly Recap that is actually just for one week!  Imagine that. LOL  I started a YA Reading Challenge on PaperbackSwap this week, so I read a lot this weekend.  I was planning on finishing one more book today, but I’ve lost my steam.  Instead, I’m going to go see Beastly tonight, which is based on a YA book, so it’s basically the same thing, right?

Pink by Lili WilkinsonReview here (Aussie YA Challenge, Gay/Lesbian Protagonist)

The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman – I liked this.  It was an interesting take on identity and being noticed.  I liked the Schwa (Calvin), Antsy, and Lexie a lot.  The book sucked me in and was a good quick read. (Boston Globe-Horn Book Award)

Matched by Ally Condie – I wanted to like this more than I did.  I really liked the world that was set up.  It was interesting and believable.  But I never really connected with the characters.  I kept waiting for Cassia to do something, but she never really did.  There was one scene at the end that I thought was going to make the book interesting, but it ended up letting me down too.  I’ll probably read the next book in the series to see where it goes.

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles – This was all right.  It wasn’t the best “pregnant teen” book I’ve ever read, but it was interesting.  I think having 4 narrators in a kind of short book made me not feel very connected to any of them, especially Ellie and Josh.  I would have liked to have known more about them.

Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance by Brendan Halpin and Emily Franklin – I always joke that I don’t like books with characters named Jenna in them, but that’s not why I didn’t like this one.  The characters weren’t that believable.  Charlie was really annoying.  I liked Aaron a little more, but I still didn’t love either of them.  The ending was really strange.

Keys to the Repository by Melissa de la Cruz – This was fun.  It’s a companion book to the Blue Bloods series.  It didn’t really have much new information, but it was a nice refresher for the series.  There were a couple new scenes that fit in the other books, but nothing mind blowing.

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins – I liked this a lot!  It was so different than the YA I normally read.  It’s set in Burma near the Thailand border.  The characters were interesting.  I liked Chiko and Tu Reh a lot.  It was interesting to see their struggles with loyalty – to family, to culture, to new and old friends.  I really wanted more book when it was over.  (Non Industrial Setting)

“Weekly” Recap 3/1/11

I am terribly behind on posting about what I’ve been reading recently, so here’s the make up post. :)  This is the last half of February. (Not much, huh?)

The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods, Bk 4) by Melissa de la Cruz – This was my favorite of the series so far.  There was a lot of action and the characters definitely emerged in new and interesting ways.  I especially liked that Mimi was tolerable for most of the book. (Third Person Omniscient)

Misguided Angel (Blue Bloods, Bk 5) by Melissa de la Cruz – I liked this one a lot less than Book 4.  I felt like nothing really happened to move the story along.  I didn’t like the way the book was set up – all of Schuyler’s story, then all of Mimi’s, then all of the new character whose name I can’t remember’s story.  That’s how much I cared about New Character and her story. (Non Human Protagonist)

The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted – I didn’t hate this, but I felt like it was a shell of a story.  I was never really that invested in Bet and thought it was weird that she had no idea what went on outside of her house.  Will would have at least told her stories in the past, right?  I didn’t find the James/Bet relationship interesting or believable. (Historical)

Bloodlust (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan’s Diaries, #2) – I liked this for the most part.  It was fun to see the Salvatore Brothers in a time/place we haven’t seen on the show.  I liked that Lexi was introduced.  I felt like this book kind contradicted the Stefan/Lexi back story from the show. (Horror)

Pink by Lili Wilkinson

Pink by Lili Wilkinson

Description from Goodreads:

Ava has a secret. She is tired of her ultracool attitude, ultra-radical politics, and ultrablack clothing. She’s ready to try something new—she’s even ready to be someone new. Someone who fits in, someone with a gorgeous boyfriend, someone who wears pink.

Transferring to Billy Hughes School for Academic Excellence is the perfect chance to try on a new identity. But just in case things don’t work out, Ava is hiding her new interests from her parents, and especially from her old girlfriend.

Secrets have a way of being hard to keep, though, and Ava finds that changing herself is more complicated than changing her wardrobe. Even getting involved in the school musical raises issues she never imagined. As she faces surprising choices and unforeseen consequences, Ava wonders if she will ever figure out who she really wants to be.

Humor, heart, and the joys of drama—on- and offstage—combine in Ava’s delight-fully colorful journey of self-discovery.

This book was great!  I really enjoyed Ava’s journey from being emo-goth to a Pastel to a Screw.  I liked how she didn’t know who she was and was trying to figure it out, even if she was going about it wrong.  That’s definitely relate able.  I think that’s what I liked the most about Ava – she felt pushed into a corner by her life and she understood herself enough to want to explore the rest of the world.  She wanted to to be have her own personality and desires, even if she wasn’t quite sure what that meant.

I really loved the Screws.  They were all really fun characters.  I liked how they fit multiple stereotypes, but just accepted each other in spite of (or maybe because of) their differences.  I especially loved Jen and Sam. I loved how smart all of the Screws were.  It made the book more fun as I learned random facts.

I really didn’t like Chloe and I never felt like she had any redeeming qualities.  I struggled a bit with Ava’s parents, but I liked them in the end.  Occasionally, I felt like the book entered into “and now we talk about stereotypes” mode, but it was usually interesting and passed pretty quickly.

Overall, this was a fantastic read that I’d recommend!

Read as part of the Aussie YA Challenge.