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YAC Reviews: Parallel

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parallelParallel by Lauren Miller

Review by Vyoma

I loved this book because of its eminent vocabulary, cosmic benefaction, and plot. The end really was a cliffhanger and the book was very enjoyable to read. Abby Barnes had a plan – she would go to college, major in journalism and have a job before she turned twenty-two. However, one single choice – deciding to take a drama class in her senior year of high school changed everything. Because of a cosmic collision, she is living in a parallel world. There is another Abby Barnes in another world, however that Abby Barnes took an astronomy class in her senior year. With the help of her friend Caitlin, Abby attempts to set things right without losing sight of who she is, the boy who most probably is her soul mate, and a sensible destiny. This book made me realize the importance of proper decision making, as even the tiniest choice that we make may have big consequences.

YAC Reviews: The Laura Line

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the laura lineThe Laura Line by Crystal Allen

Review by Vyoma

This was a very relatable and notable book. The adventures of Laura Dyson and her struggle for acceptance by her classmates show cases her strong personality. I loved reading this book because of its sporadic humor, its sense of belonging, and its imagery. By the end of the book, Laura Dyson felt like a friend rather than a character in a book. The innumerable details about Laura’s surroundings and the process of making significant decisions show that an individual should never be ashamed of his/her family’s background. Embarrassed to show anyone the “slave shack”, Laura attempts to cancel her class’s field trip. After finally entering the shack, she finds so many wonderful things about it and her ancestors. One silly mistake ruins a priceless item – a legendary little chair. On the verge of breaking strong friendship and her already poor relationship with her classmates, Laura is absolutely stuck. Through patience, cajoling, and being laconic, Laura finally makes important decisions.

YAC Review: The Boyfriend App

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The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise - Review by Vince

Audrey McCarthy is the troubled heroine of The Boyfriend App, she is a teenage girl faced with typical problems: boy trouble, ex-best friend issues and worrying about getting into an affordable college. Luckily for her she has a chance of fixing the latter problem by entering an app designing contest. “Hello, World. Hello, Contest. Hello, College Scholarship. Hello, Boys. Here comes Audrey McCarthy. Trog. Hacker. Sex object. Inventor of the Boyfriend App.”

From a synopsis like that one would expect this novel to be a teen romance filled with drama and light comedy, and that is exactly what the novel delivers… in Part One anyway. Part One of the novel is decent, the characters seem rather static but they are characterized well. Audrey is a tragic but interesting protagonist because of her thoughts and feelings; she gets the support needed from her friends and family despite her personal shortcomings. Her antagonists are pretty boring since they behave so stereotypically, especially Blake, the rich and popular ex-BFF who treats Audrey as a stranger yet ceaselessly torments her whenever the opportunity arises. Audrey’s friends are likeable, but it feels like they are just crutches for Audrey and lack their own purpose.

As for the plot it played out well for the first part of the novel. Audrey struggled but eventually reached the threshold for success with her app. Her app became popular and it seemed like she had a really good chance of winning the contest, until a very expected “glitch in the system” strikes and her popularity topples like a house of cards. Part One was well written, especially her process of programming the app. The coding and the explanations were simple enough for readers to understand without being condescending to anyone who would not know about coding. The way Part One ended invites curiosity for what would happen in Part Two, but that’s where the story began to fall apart. While Part One had a realistic story and struggles, Part Two escalated to corporate conspiracies and neurological manipulation! I was awestruck at how quickly Part Two leaped away from the events of Part One and laughed at how absurd the later chapters had become!

With respect to style, the writing appeals to a youthful demographic since it is loaded with pop culture references. The narration is fast paced and has a few time skips, but dialogue between the characters is what carries the novel forward. One of my pet peeves with the writing is constant references to Google and Twitter, but tacky renaming of several real life products (e.g. iPhone/buyPhone, iTunes/buyJams, Facebook/PUBLIC PARTY). It’s a very annoying inconsistency.

Overall, The Boyfriend App is a nice little teen romance that starts off nice and realistic, but loses its original scope when the story escalates to imaginative and bizarre levels. Rating: 3.5/5.

Review: The Obsidian Blade

by Jilliane - 0 Comment(s)

Reviews by YAC

Tucker Feye had been living in Hopewell County ever since he was born with his father, a reverend, and his mother, but suddenly, during his thirteenth year, while his father was working on the roof he fell off and vanished! Where could he have gone? Later that day, Tucker’s father came walking home as if nothing had gone amiss, except that he looked worn by time and had with him a little girl named Lahlia. At that point, life for Tucker became more ominous: since his return, his father disregarded his religion and abruptly stopped believing in God; his mother slowly succumbed to madness which progressed into a form of autism; and then his father told him that he and Tucker’s mother were leaving for an indefinite time period. Could Tucker’s life become any more paranormal?

Once he moved in with his uncle Kosh, Tucker began to hypothesize where his parents had gone and how he could get to them. One possibility was the invisible, disk-shaped rift above his house –he had seen his dad fall through it once before, after all. Soon enough he discovered a similar rift above Kosh’s barn! Could these disks be the reason for his dad’s eerie disappearance? Could they be the path Tucker takes to retrieve his lost family? As Pete Hautman weaves this novel, time is no longer a constant, it is a manipulative.

Hautman has written an intriguing genesis to his Klaatu Diskos Trilogy. I absolutely adored the book and its abstruseness; he wrote it so that it is a constant page-turner. The Obsidian Blade, although quizzical to an extent, will be loved by those who often utilize the full capacity of their brain and exercise focus. Also, because of the immense amount of content, there is a huge space to be filled in by the imagination. To all bibliophiles or anyone just looking for an enjoyable, enticing read, I would whole-heartedly recommend The Obsidian Blade.

Reviewed by Sahad

Publication Date: April 10, 2012

Review: Dead to You

by Alexandra - 0 Comment(s)

Dead to You Lisa McMannDead to You is a fast-paced, suspenseful, and page-turning Young Adult novel written by the New York Times best-selling author Lisa McMann. The book starts off with a 16 year-old boy named Ethan finally finding his family after the 9 years he has been gone. At age 7 Ethan was abducted from his driveway, and a search has been going on for the last nine years. Now that he is back at home in the town of Belleville, everyone begins to ask questions about his abduction. These memories -- or anything about his childhood, really, -- are irrevocable. Rest assured for him, everything is slowly turning back to normal, but he is hiding something. What is preventing Ethan de Wilde from recollecting all these memories? Tensions in his family between siblings and parents are becoming more and more progressive, and suspicion becomes nigh unbearable for Ethan. Something ominous from his past is slowly being revealed, and it’s going to cost him.

An amazing quality about Lisa McMann (also the author of the best-selling Wake Trilogy) is how convincingly she is able to write in a teenager’s everyday vernacular, but also how true to life the events in her realistic fiction novel are. Dead to You is a very fast-paced novel, never monotonous or stationary, always moving. One after another, events occur that cause things to happen: whether it is tensions in the family, an exuberant love life, or hurtful statements from those you love. However, McMann always leaves something better looming around the corner, until the ultimate ending. If you enjoy suspense, mystery, and engaging reads, this book is the one for you.

Reviewed by Sahad

Expected Publication Date: February 7, 2012

YAC (Youth Advisory Council), is a bunch of Calgary youth who volunteer to help shape teen services at CPL through sharing their ideas, time and talents. They have started reviewing ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) of books and we are pleased to publish them here. So... stay tuned for more reviews from YAC.

Review: Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse

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Book CoverEverything You Need To Survive the Apocalypse is the first novel written by Lucas Klauss. The story is very extreme and out of this world, but I found myself relating to it. It’s a book about the everyday life, issues, and conflicts of a teenage boy--with a unique twist.

It starts off with the protagonist, Phillip, falling in love with a girl at first sight. He gets invited to go to church by this girl, Rebekah. He realizes that Rebekah is a very strong Christian believer and the only way to spend time with her is to go to church. To achieve this, Phillip has to go behind his father’s back who happens to be a strong atheist. Later he begins to question his reasons for getting involved in church.

I recommend this book for anyone who likes to reflect because it makes the readers question what is right and wrong. The novel has a lot of information, rules, and opinions about Christianity, so be sure you’re okay with that. Although there are many parts on Christianity in the book, there is also a relationship conflict with family and friends and the book can relate to many different readers. The protagonist understands that friendships can be broken just as fast as they are made, and that love is complicated and the best anyone can do is try. All in all, the book is great for pleasure reading and for critical thinking.

Reviewed by Harshini

Expected Publication Date: January 3, 2012

YAC (Youth Advisory Council), is a bunch of Calgary youth who volunteer to help shape teen services at CPL through sharing their ideas, time and talents. They have started reviewing ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) of books and we are pleased to publish them here. So...stay tuned for more reviews from YAC.