Posts by CG @ Paper Fury

I'm a YA Book blogger at paperfury.com and I also write novels under the name CG Drews.

YA Review: Let It Snow by John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson

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find it on Goodreads || Book World 

An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

A trio of today’s bestselling authors – John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle – bring all the magic of the holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.

Oh a cute fluffy romance about snow and Christmas.
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I read Let It Snow because I LOVE John Green. I’m not sad I read it…but I’m definitely underwhelmed. It’s 3 short stories, but they still all connect. So it’s like ONE book but in 3 parts with 3 POV.

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STORY 1: The Jubilee Express narrated by Jubilee (author Maureen Johnson)

This is my FAVOURITE. It’s definitely 4-star worthy. I loved how cute and witty and wonderful Jubilee was. Her voice is fantastic and I’m 100% sold on Maureen Johnson’s writing (I’m going to look up more of her books. This is the most quirky. When I finished it, I felt so enthused for the rest!

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STORY 2: A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle narrated by Tobin (author John Green)

Colour me disappointed. I expected a lot from John Green….but this? To be honest, I was bored. The dialogue and banter were A+, as usual. The problem was…there wasn’t much. Most of the story was just telling about them driving and getting stuck in snow. *yawn* I really wanted more banter. The romance here is cute, though, and shippable. 3-stars

STORY 3: Tdepressedhe Patron Saint of Pigs narrated by Addie (author Lauren Myracle)

This was the worst. (I guess it’s just all going downhill?) I disliked the narrator, but then, to be fair…I was supposed to see how unlikable and self-centered she was. THAT WAS THE POINT. But it didn’t make me very enthused at all. I just wanted her story to end. Meh.

It’s 100% fluffy and all very romantic!

If you need a quirky, light and happy Christmas read: I’ve got you covered. Sure, maybe it goes downhill in my opinion, but I’m a bit of a fluffy-romance-Grinch. I totally say try this one! I prefer my contemporary to have less fluff and more humour and snappy dialogue.

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Cait is having a writing-break after the exhausting sprint that is NaNoWriMo! She plans to start editing in January when it’s too hot to do anything else but melt. Find her at her new blog Paper Fury or on twitter.

YA Review: Some Boys by Patty Blount

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add it on Goodreads || buy it at Bookworld

Some boys go too far. Some boys will break your heart. But one boy can make you whole.

When Grace meets Ian she’s afraid. Afraid he’ll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses the town golden boy of rape, everyone turns against Grace. They call her a slut and a liar. But…Ian doesn’t. He’s funny and kind with secrets of his own.

But how do you trust the best friend of the boy who raped you? How do you believe in love?

A gut-wrenching, powerful love story told from alternating points of view by the acclaimed author of Send.

I randomly requested this from NetGalley…and wow am I glad I did!

The writing is really good! It’s easy to read and very relatable. It’s dual narrated by Grace and Ian and their voices are both really clear and different. I can’t even pick a favourite! Both of them made me angry at times, but they were struggling to find what’s right and what’s wrong and their journeys really captured my attention.

THERE ARE PARENTS IN THIS BOOK! Yes! This is a thing of great excitement! I love it when YA books include the parents. Grace’s mum is so supportive of her and there for her whenever she has a panic attack or needs to talk. Ian’s dad yells at him and grounds him, but he’s still 100% there for Ian and shows his love. This actually gives room for both Grace AND Ian to talk to their parents about deep and pressing issues. I’m so happy about that! I know not all parents are there for their teens, but a lot of the time they are! I love that Some Boys isn’t advocating shutting parents out.

It really dives into the tough topics of rape and bullying and disrespect.
People can be so disrespectful and it’s sickening.

It also has this quote:


“Whoa, back up. Are you calling me a rapist?”
“You’re a guy, right?”
Jenson puts his hands on his hips. “Yeah. So?”
“Everybody knows one look at a female body sends a guy’s hormones surging, and your weak little bodies just can’t handle it. And then you do things you regret but blame it all on the girls.”

As for passive-bullying? This quote:


Grace: “Every guy in school feels so justified calling me a slut.”
Ian: “I never called you that.”
Grace: “Really? Not once? That’s great, Ian, but what did you do when your friends said it?”

 

You can bully by doing nothing. I’m glad Some Boys called us out on this too.

Also it addresses the issue of: girls do not need a boy to save them.
WELL. HALLELUJAH. SOMEONE SAID IT.


“Hell, you don’t need a hero. You just save yourself. You know what you do need, Grace?”
She spreads her hands apart, shakes her head.
“You need a guy who gets you.”

It makes me sad when books make it seem like the only way to be happy is to have a boy/girlfriend. Actually, other people can’t make you happy. You need to make you happy. If you hinge your life on someone, what happens if they let you down? You lose it.

But a few things made me less-than-happy.

Like:
– The fact that 40 days after she was raped and still having horrible panic attacks all the time, Grace even opened up to Ian and they kissed. Um… I think that’s way too soon.
– The ending was SO clean and sweet. Smushy, but not realistic. Hey, don’t get me wrong! “Happily ever afters” are super sweet. But every single lose end being tied up satisfactorily?
– There were a lot of convenient plot twists.
– It bordered on preaching at times. I preferred it when the themes were subtle and made me think, but at the end it was more slapping them in my face. Which I’m opposed to, weird, I know.

I’m really glad this book exists, though. It hit some tricky topics, and I think it did them justice.

 

 

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Cait is neck-deep in NaNoWriMo and writing like a fiend. Her fingers are a little tired, yes, but her ghostly story is coming along nicely. Find her on twitter and her crazy blog.

 

YA Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

 

 

add it on Goodreads || find it at bookworld

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.
Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.
Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept “separate but equal.”
Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

 

People are mean!

I’m sorry, I had to get that off my chest. Whenever I read Historical Fiction I usually cry over my book because people are just so mean. Why?! Why is it hard to be nice?!

Yes, this book made me despise humanity slightly. But it also simultaneously restored my belief that there are always nice people, even in a horrible time.

So what’s the book about? Mainly: racism. 

It’s sit in 1959, so yes, I am going to use Hairspray musical gifs (that’s set in the 60s, but same basic principle) and The Help gifs (also 60s) and you’re welcome in advance.

The writing was fantastic!

Despite the first 30% being one day, the pace is brisk and the writing’s tight. I abhor wading through kilometres of dreary interior monologue. Ugh. But this? This was perfect. It is co-narrated by Linda and Sarah, which surprised me. Their voices were different though. No confusion.

Sarah is black and Linda is white. They start out with a hate relationship (duh) with gradual melts into love. Honestly, Linda is mean girl personified. She’s introduced as a snob! The second I met her through Sarah’s POV, I thought, “Here comes the rich snark — pretty hair and shallow soul, right?”

WRONG.

I am oh-so-impressed with Linda. 

Sure Sarah had to fight racism, going to a horrible school where she was physically and emotionally bullied day after day. But Sarah had support. Anyone with dark skin new what she was going through! What about Linda? Little rich white girl? Pfft, go cry to your daddy when you don’t get your lollipop.

What we don’t think of (during that awful time of rights for everyone), is rights for women in general. Linda wasn’t going to college because she was getting married. THAT was the peak of her life. And why did she want to get married? To get away from her abusive father. I’m 1000% impressed that the book covered sexism against women as well.

My only negative is I felt the story was predictable.

Yeah, it was full of meanies! Don’t get me wrong! The bullying the black kids had to go through in the all-white high school was so wrong. But I didn’t get any plot surprises. I didn’t get any character development surprises. It all seemed pretty en route to awesome to me. It was predictable and nice

And where was the Southern food?! This is VIRGINIA. I’ve watched The Help peoples, and I know there’s more to Southern life than grumpy newspaper people and racism. There is fried chicken. WHERE WAS THE FRIED CHICKEN? Maybe everyone would’ve been happier if they ate more…

 

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Cait is tentatively planning to do NaNo (never too early to plot, right?) unless she gets too excited and starts in October instead. So many book ideas to write! Find her on twitter and her crazy blog.

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YA Review: Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

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add it on Goodreads || find it on Bloomsbury or Dymocks

When Apple’s mother returns after eleven years away, Apple feels whole again. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother’s homecoming is bittersweet. It’s only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is that she begins to see things as they really are.

A story about sad endings.
A story about happy beginnings.
A story to make you realise who is special.

 

I received this as a surprise ARC from Bloomsbury…with tissues.

Which is mildly concerning. Will I be reduced to a snivelling mess at the end? Will I sob my way through a packet of tissues asking why I was born to feel things and why must these books destroy my delicate emotions?

Well, I didn’t cry at all, actually. But this is by far the best ARC package I have ever received.

Don’t get me wrong: this book ignited all sorts of emotions inside me!

I am not a heartless frog, I promise. I just didn’t bawl, as I expected. Maybe I’ve been reading too many dystopians, but I was expecting a mindblowing tragedy…which wasn’t there. Thank goodness. I actually survived this book with tear ducts unwet! Ha! I win.

Despite what the title conveys this book is, unfortunately, not about wet food.

Not that I like wet food, but books about food always hit a soft spot in my soul. (Or stomach.) Although this had quite the mix of delightful British delicacies, such as “Beans on Toast”, copious references of “chips with vinegar and salt” and let’s not forget lots of roasts and ice cream and caramelised apples. Come to think of it, Apple and Rain did wonderfully with the food aspect.

Is your mouth not watering right now? Mine is…

Basically the book is about messed up families with messed up children who make messed up decisions.

Abandonment issues! They’re everywhere! What I actually struggled with, while reading, were the amount of poor decisions. I think that was the point though: if you make bad decisions, they’ll affect everyone. Obviously (the blurb says so) Apple’s mother runs out on her. Apple then lives with her grandma, who’s strict and believes Apple’s going to be kidnapped if she even walks down the street alone. Paranoia is in bloom.

I always love a book centred around family. 

Although: if they’d just HUGGED already and communicated, the book might’ve been a lot shorter.

 

Even though Apple’s mostly 13 in the book, it didn’t feel particularly MG.

Unlike, say, Take Back the Skies, which starred a 14/15 year old character with a very immature/naive voice. Apple and Rain might have had the same character age-range, BUT, it felt so much deeper than that. It digs into issues simply. But it goes deep. I absolutely love that.

Actually, this book reminded me a lot of Looking for JJ. If you liked that one, I’m pretty sure this is for you.

Apple, our narrator, wears a mask of grumpiness.

She’s like grumpy cat, but without the fur. The more I read, the more her grumpiness faded as she sat up and paid attention to the real world, not just how she perceived it. Character development! YES. And there’s a huge emphasis on poetry (which I’m not normally fond of, but I actually appreciated it here), which helps Apple to explore her true feelings. Even if she buries the poems she writes.

But…I have to admit: it was predictable.

This is the only reason it’s not getting full-stars. (Also: it’s possible I’ve just read too much.) There was one major plot twist I didn’t see coming at all…but the rest? Impossible crushes at school, friends ditching her, mean girls, the dorky boy next door is kind of cute actually, etc. and etc. Read it a thousand times. I also predicted the ending and was right.

 

All in all:

 

A totally bittersweet read, with delicious food and grumpy characters who maybe melt in the arms of family who need them. Bad decisions. And second chances. And plenty of potatoes. Gosh, it’s England: bring me some chips.

 

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Cait has too many books to read and not enough time to do it. On an unrelated topic, she’ll be cloning herself shortly. Find her on twitter and her crazy blog.

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YA Review: Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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add it on Goodreads

A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

 

That was so positively beautiful I just…I just need a moment.

I was pretty sure I’d like this book…I’d been recommended it enough! But still! Eeeh, what if it wasn’t for me? But of course it was. I just 100% fell in love with Ari and his confused dealing of being a teenager and the world. And Dante too, with his buoyant personality and quirk of hating-shoes. (Dude, shoes suck.) This is a beautiful book teens absolutely need to read. Okay, cut the “teen” part, because EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS.

What I really loved was how it broke stereotypes and considered how confusing the world is. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt the world is super confusing. I’m pretty sure everyone deals with this — teens more so, because we’re just learning how to adult. Ari’s thought process was so vivid and really personal. I felt sucked in immediately.

The writing is gorgeous. It’s very crisp. No fluff. I LOVE THAT. Also: dialogue. Dialogue everywhere. There is barely description, just dialogue and interior thoughts.

My only twitchy face comes at how slow it was. It basically takes place over 2 years…which is a long time. People grow. People change. It’s all very interesting and I felt very invested. But the first 50% I just kept wondering if something was going to happen. And then BOOM plot twist. So, I admit, I was dubious for a while. Maybe a little bored. But then I couldn’t put it down.

And can I just say something about the parents in this book?? There are TWO sets of parents, Ari’s and Dante’s. Both are still married. Both still absolutely love each other. That is so beautiful and sweet and I just spent so much of the book thinking, “Finally. Awesome parents.” Parents are often shoved into a corner of “annoying and useless” in books, but they’re actually goldmines of knowledge and information and care. The parents in this book just continually out-sweeted themselves. I’m so glad Ari had parents like he did, even if it wasn’t always smooth sailing.

I’m still sniffling, because the ending is positively heartbreaking BUT IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE.

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Cait has just finished rewrites on her sci-fi manuscript and is currently in hibernation. Sleep, chocolate, and lots of reading time, right? Find her on twitter and her crazy blog.

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YA Review: Cracked by Clare Strahan

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add it on Goodreads | Allen & Unwin

At fifteen, Clover is finding the going tougher than she expected. Her life is close to being derailed on the rocky terrain of family, friendship, first love, acts of defiance and a planet on the brink of environmental disaster. So when Keek breaks his promise to her, and school sucks, and her mother is impossible, and her beloved old dog is dying, and her dad is in the wind, and the girls at school are awful and the footy-boys are bullies and she’s arrested for vandalism – well, what else can she be but a little bit broken? Can Clover pull herself together – or will she spiral further out of control?

When life feels like it’s fracturing, how do you find a way to feel whole?

 

Cracked is published this June by Allen & Unwin! Watch out for it!

 

I’ve got a confession! I didn’t actually expect to like this book. BUT! While I have a few crabby comments to make, I’m giving it 4-stars because I totally enjoyed it.

Characters? These are the BEST part of this book! When I say “I love well-written main characters and secondary characters”? THIS book shows how it should be done! ‘Scuse me, I must grin garishly. Clover is our narrator, who starts the book at 15 and ends 17. To put it plainly: she’s a freak. She doesn’t fit in evvvver. (Never heard THAT one before, right?) Despite how cliché it appears on the outside, it’s terrifically written. Plus, since Clover is Aussie, it was awesomely good to hear about Aussie freaks (as opposed to American freaks, or whatnot). Also, her mother is into Steiner things. 

I liked that it talked about something so “different” as Steiner…but I was annoyed at how it didn’t explain things. I personally know a lot about Steiner methods because I have family who talk about it a lot. But that’s not common! (I think?) So explanations wouldn’t have gone amiss. (And if YOU want to know more about Steiner and Waldorf education systems…Wikipedia is your friend.)

But wait! Let me talk about Keek! I ship him and Clover SO STINKIN’ HARD it’s exhausting me. And they don’t even “like each other in that way”…pfft. Please. You two are adorable, just get together already. 
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So? Downsides? I really hate to say this: but I was bored. I WAS. While the characters are enough to sway me into raving about this book, the plot…it meanders. It flops. It incorporates lots of little scenes that just about sent me napping.

I liked this book, but let’s just say, I’m not fangirling wildly. I would have liked to see more meaningful plot about these teens who are finding their way in life. From 80% onwards it’s absolutely terrific. Also: criminal stuff happens, which was hugely interesting to read about. Definitely an Aussie author to watch out for!

 

Cait has just finished drafting her manuscript about killer faeries. Now she gets to celebrate…and catch up on sleep. Find her on twitter and her crazy blog.

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YA Review: The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

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find it on Goodreads

Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary, the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

 

I have to confess: I was a tad disappointed with this. Why? I’m still figuring it out… I think it was the amount of fluff in the writing. I just wanted to get to the point. WHO IS THE DANG KILLER?! TELL ME.

Since we’re talking about it already: writing? It’s very dreamy and detailed…which sometimes I really like. But this time? It frustrated me. I skimmed to get to the interesting bits. I felt a lot of the chapters were killing (pardon the pun) time.

But on the other hand, the plot was spectacular! Seriously, it’s not everyday that a plot takes me by surprise! I’d heard everyone saying “I never guessed the killer!” so of course I thought, “Pfft, I’ll guess straight away.” I didn’t. (I suspected everyone, but that hardly counts because I was on my guard.) I was interested and flawed and surprised.

It’s a dark book and pretty creepy. But it’s realistic. It’s such a thumping reality check that I found myself slowly freaking out on my bed. This. stuff. happens. And I can’t even explain to you what “this stuff” is because SPOILERS.

Characters? It’s dual narrated between Emily (the daughter of the accused murderer) and Damon (the boyfriend of the murdered girl, Ashlee). I loved Emily! She was sweet and sad and very easy to connect to. I disliked Damon. He was realistic and I admired him for acting human instead of like an unfeeling brute. But I didn’t like him. He was so cruel to Emily! Sure her dad was “accused”. But Emily didn’t do anything. So why torment her? I wanted to sock him. But at the same time, I totally understood his reactions to what he was going through. Logical and realistic. Points for the author. I think she wrote and handled the balance of death and trauma and grief very very well.

In reality, it should be a 4-star read. I was going to give it the 4! I was! Buuuut, to be strictly honest with myself, I wasn’t 100% involved. I felt the beginning was far too slow and I was bored. The ending rocked, though. One minute we’re at school — the next? WE KNOW WHO THE REAL KILLER IS.

Intense story line, slow writing, and a really freaky conclusion. Wow.

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Cait’s TBR is slightly taller than her. This is a worry. Besides eating through her books, she’s neck-deep in book edits and dreaming of lasagna (as you do). Find her on twitter and her crazy blog.

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