Tag: Read + Review

Read + Review: Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus

 

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Twin siblings Ellery and Ezra Corcoran find themselves moving from sunny California to the small town of Echo Ridge, Vermont to stay with their grandmother after their mother goes to rehab. Although they’ve never stepped foot into their mother’s birthplace, they know all about it. Echo Ridge has been the site of their aunt’s disappearance years before, and it made national headlines when the homecoming queen was found dead in a Halloween theme park fittingly called ‘Murderland’ five years ago. Ellery, being a true crime buff, is determined to find out the truth.

Before school even begins for the Corcorans, someone threatens to make a sequel to the Murderland incident. Everyone dismisses it as an empty threat until a girl goes missing…

If any book can keep me up all night just thinking about it, this is definitely the one. Before reading this book, I never read McManus’ debut novel, One Of Us is Lying, so I went into this book with a blind first impression. Two Can Keep a Secret clearly gave me a modern Nancy Drew vibe, given that Ellery has the same kind of personality and level of determination to crack the curious cases. I give the book four stars mostly due to the slow progression of the plot at the beginning, which is usually clearly evident to me when I want to get through dull moments quickly. The ending completely came out of left field, especially some moments I unfortunately can’t elaborate on in fear of spoiling the book too much. I kid you not, I finished the book with my mouth actually open in shock. When I started the book, I had a lingering fear that Two Can Keep a Secret, like almost all YA books I’ve read before, would leave loose threads hanging loose at the end for the reader’s interpretation. Luckily, I can confidently say that this book is unlike any YA book I’ve read before. On the other hand, the romance was kept at a minimum, which I appreciated greatly. Regarding some flaws the book had, I felt that some things, like old memories recalled by characters, were never thoroughly explored, but rather pushed into the ending just to clear up any loose threads that readers might have. Overall, it was an excellent book that made me wish there was a sequel, or perhaps more of these kinds of YA mysteries.

In my opinion, the most memorable moments for me had to be all the chapters where Ellery works with Malcolm to solve the mystery, but it’s evident that they’re slowly falling in love. While I’m not much of a romance genre fan, I couldn’t help but (heh) fall in love with the way McManus wrote the romance. It’s very minimal and doesn’t get in the way of the plot, but it’s craftily written between the words.

4-stars

Reviewed by Allyson T. , Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review: Come Find Me by Megan Miranda

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Two years ago, Nolan Chandler dreamed of something terrible happening to his brother Liam. The very next day, their family was picnicking in the park when Liam and their dog straight up disappeared. Now their parents are busy sticking their noses in other missing child cases, as if that would make up for them not being able to find one of their own, and Nolan regularly wonders the park with his high-tech equipment, still searching for answers. One and a half years later, an unthinkable tragedy happens in Kennedy Jones’s family, leaving her alone and traumatized. Now she she sneaks into her old house every few nights, using her brother Elliot’s equipment to search for anything coming from space that would indicate intelligent life, just as he had. Back in the present, Nolan and Kennedy were both doing their regular searches, when they suddenly pick up strange readings where there should be none. After a bit of comparing, they deduce that odd signals that they were picking up were connected, and team up to find the truth. Is there really a reasonable explanation for the events that happened? Or is the truth more than a little out there? Either way, sometimes you know nothing about the people closest to you at all…

Let me just start off with saying that after all of the tension and the buildup in the story, the final chapters were a little lackluster. The climax was pretty ‘meh’, and while I am not necessarily disappointed with the direction that the plot took, I feel kind of cheated. Aside from all of that though, this wasn’t a bad book by far. The premise was interesting, the story had an intriguing and eerie vibe, the psychological aftereffects of the characters seemed realistic, and the romantic subplot wasn’t painfully cheesy, unlike a lot of other novels for teens. I’d say that if you have the time, you should go read this book, just don’t expect to be completely blown away.

My favorite part about this book was the overall premise and vibe, as I really like otherworldly sci-fi/horror/mystery stories with eerie atmospheres. The very concept alone of suddenly picking up signals from the empty reaches of space that may or may not have some connection to someone going missing without a trace fits this genre like a glove.

4-stars

Reviewed by, Dahlia S., Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review: Arch Enemies by Marissa Meyer

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In this exciting sequel to Renegades, Nova, an orphaned villain, is now a full member of the Renegades, an elite group of superheroes. Unknown to the Renegades, she is also Nightmare, an Anarchist, working to take them down from the inside. And Nova thinks she has found the way to do it when she finds the Helmet of Ace Anarchy. As a Renegade, her feelings for Adrian, a fellow superhero, grow, but Adrian is also hiding secrets from everyone. As both of them struggle to maintain their double lives, they face their most challenging adversaries yet, each other.

I think this book is a great sequel. It has action, romance, and the characters and their relationships are explored more than ever. The alternating perspectives are a really good insight into how the action of one character has impacted the other. It also makes me want to smack one of them sometimes, which is a credit to the author. It’s not easy to make something obvious to one character, yet have the other completely oblivious while also keeping the situation realistic.

The most memorable thing about this book is the way the double lives are playing out. I kept wondering how are they going to explain this? Or, come on you must have noticed that! Sometimes it was a little unbelievable, but it was exciting none the less.

4-stars-1

Reviewed by, Riley M., Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review: Self-Driving Cars: The New Way Forward by Michael Fallon

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Self-Driving Cars is a nonfiction, informative book about the history of cars, different car companies, how the idea of self driving cars started and the evolution. Looking at the title, I didn’t expect to see the full history of cars, but it did make a nice starting chapter, explaining what happened to the horse buggy whip making industry in Whip City. The book is well written, and structured into chapters, making it easy for the reader to switch topics. The book also includes a nice timeline, along with glossary, bibliography, further information and index sections, not to mention the context-specific, attractive pictures.

I think this is a great book for all 10+ age groups, especially for drivers and car savvy people. This will make a good read not only for people interested in technology and cars, but also for people who are into history. There are many good features in this book. The only negative comment I would make is that the title was somewhat misleading, since I expected major part of the book to be talking about the current and future technologies. The author does get to that part in the last chapter, but fails to offer excitement in terms of concept cars, pictures, etc. It really helps that this book has a timeline at the back, so anybody could just flip to the back and learn something new.

There are many memorable things about the book, especially the section describing how someone in the 1900’s made an exhibit of the future, and we have created a world just like his exhibit, with tall skyscrapers, cars, and many people. It is fascinating how just one idea could change the whole future. The book gives top-notch information, and offers a new perspective on how the cars became integral part of American culture.

4-stars

Reviewed by Siddarth S., Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

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This book was a sequel to Stephanie Garber’s fantasy book Caraval. The book continues the magical adventure of Caraval from the point of view of Donatella Dragna, Scarlett Dragna’s sister. Tella faces an incredible journey to find her missing mother, Paloma. Paloma disappeared when Tella and Scarlett were little kids and left them with their father. This time, Caraval is not just a game. Tella must find a missing object to free her mother before it’s too late. She faces many obstacles and enemies, and races against time as it slowly ticks away. The stakes are high, and Tella enlists the help of a cunning friend, Dante, to help her along her path. She begins to have suspicions about him, but dismisses them as he is very helpful with her mission. As time counts down, will Tella be able to free her mother in time before she’s lost forever?

I liked this book a lot. The rich imagery Stephanie Garber writes really brings the story alive. The characters really pull emotion from you, and you find yourself hanging on the edge of your seat at every twist and turn. One thing I disliked at the beginning was that the book was from the point of view of Tella. The previous book was from Scarlett’s point of view, and it was a little bit difficult to adjust to at the beginning. However, as I got further into the book, I began to appreciate the different viewpoint, as you can really see the story from different angles. This book is absolutely magical.

One memorable thing about this book are the characters. They are very believable and you find yourself experiencing the same emotions they do as you read the book. The characters are very dynamic, and their motives are always changing and adapting to their situation. These characters all tie together brilliantly and give the book a great dynamic feel.

4-stars

Reviewed by Prachi S., Twin Hickory Library