Mini Review Monday: Under the Light, Saints and Misfits, The Serpent King, Learning to Swear in America, and The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak

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It's that time again... 


Under the Light by Laura Whitcomb 

Under the Light
by Laura Whitcomb 

Goodreads Amazon 
Series: (Light #2)
Published: May 14th 2013
Rating: Pretty but kind of a letdown.
Times read: 2
Recommended by: sequel to a book I love

“Perhaps it wasn't that time had frozen but that it was now moving at the pace of infinity. A moment now becomes a century.” 

I loved A Certain Slant of Light and was very worried that if I didn't love this book with all my heart, my enjoyment of A Certain Slant of Light would be diminished.  This sequel follows the teenagers Jenny and Billy whose bodies Helen and James had taken over as they try to figure out the connection between them and what happened to them in the time that they don't remember. It was okay, but I found it a bit forced.  It wasn't necessary as the first book had tied things up already and this book unraveled things a bit to work.  


Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali 

Saints and Misfits
by S.K. Ali 

Goodreads Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: June 13th 2017
Rating: How is a book this serious this adorable?
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Kelly Jenssen on the Hey YA podcast

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” 

The main character of this realistic contemporary is Janna Yusuf, a charmingly relatable Arab Indian-American hijab-wearing sixteen-year-old trying to figure out where she fits in at school and with her community.  I was interested in the Muslim community aspect of her life because there are so few books that show how it looks day in and day out.  The best part of this book is Janna who is portrayed not as an Islamic paragon or as a victim but as a human being. She is getting over a traumatic event that happened over the summer, dealing with a crush, and just trying to figure herself out.  I will be throwing this at everyone because this is the feel-good book that we all need. 


The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Serpent King
by Jeff Zentner

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: March 8th 2016
Rating: Star after star
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Cait at Paperfury

“Nothing makes you feel more naked than someone identifying a desire you never knew you possessed.”

I went into this book thinking that it was a fantasy book because of the title.  It wasn't, but it is one of the best contemporary YA books that I have ever read.  There was excellent characterization, personal growth, family struggles, and just all around fantastic writing. Also, I cried.  I was fully committed to all the characters.  I wanted Dill to escape his life, for Travis to become a writer, and for Lydia to blossom.  It managed to walk that fine balance between heart-wrenching and heartwarming. I laughed and cried and laughed and cried and then laughed and cried some more.

 


The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher 

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak
by Brian Katcher 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: none
Published: May 19th 2015
Rating: pretty boring
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads?

“Because that's the way the world works, isn't it? You can work hard and be miserable, or do nothing and be happy.” 

Should I be laughing this hard at a book where an asteroid is hurtling toward Earth and, the main character is a teenage  Russian genius trying to prevent it? Yuri has no social skills whatsoever, and his attempts at interacting with others and especially a girl he might like are gold.  I can't think of another character like him in YA.  The math and physics in the book seem well researched and plausible although, would I know if they weren't?  Yay, for books with math. The ending was a bit anticlimactic for me, but it's awesomeness remains.

 


Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy

Learning to Swear in America
by Katie Kennedy

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: July 5th 2016
Rating: Different but good
Times read: 1
Recommended by: someone on Twitter

“I was thinking," Yuri said, licking blood from the corner of his mouth, "that since I bothered to save the world, people might shut up during movies.” 

Should I be laughing this hard at a book where an asteroid is hurtling toward Earth and, the main character is a teenage  Russian genius trying to prevent it? Yuri has no social skills whatsoever, and his attempts at interacting with others and especially a girl he might like are gold.  I can't think of another character like him in YA.  The math and physics in the book seem well researched and plausible although, would I know if they weren't?  Yay, for books with math. The ending was a bit anticlimactic for me, but it's awesomeness remains.


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