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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: A Review

Jay Kristoff, co-author of Illuminae, describes this book perfectly:

“It’s the classic tale of boy meets girl, girl loses boy…and parents….and planet…and ends up on a crippled spaceship….with a mad computer…in the middle of an interstellar war…”

Kady Grant and Erza Mason broke up the morning their home planet, Karenza, was attacked by a warship sent by the power-hungry corporation, Bei-Tech. Grudgingly and with much fighting, Kady and Ezra help each other escape their ravaged planet on one of three Karenza fleet shuttles.  Kady – an intelligent loner who’s a brilliant computer hacker – and Ezra – an outgoing athlete -type (who is secretly still pining for Kady)  struggle to understand what happened to their planet and why while being pursued by the very warship that attacked them. Meanwhile, a terrifying and mutating virus has been discovered on-board the Karenza fleet. To make matters more complicated, AIDEN – the fleet’s artificial intelligence starts questioning the humans’ ability to protect themselves as “HE” becomes increasingly volatile. Kady and Ezra will have to set aside their post-breakup feelings and work together to stay alive on the packed fleet shuttles with a population that may be losing its mind.

Illuminae is an epic space opera set in the year 2575. Shrouded in conspiracy, it’s part sci-fi, mystery, snappy wit, horror, with a dash of romance. If you like any of these genres, you will love this book. I’ve never read anything like Illuminae (and I read a lot of books!), and I was blown away. This book is achingly beautiful, and it will rip your heart out – and put it back – and rip it out again, but you will love every minute.

Not only is the story amazing, but the physical layout of the book is a new experience in itself. Classified files, journal entries, video surveillance, IMs, AI messaging, and ship schematics add to the mystery and intensity of Illuminae’s story.  Pair this book with the audio version to increase the story’s intensity. Performed by a full-cast – the space explosions, technology blips/beeps, and horror ramp up. I was listening to this story while walking outside one evening and it kept making me look behind my shoulder nervously!

Although this book tops out at 599 pages, it reads very quickly with short suspenseful chapters peppered with photos and illustrations.

Out of 5, I give it 20 glorious stars. Treat yourself and pick up Iluminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff today – because it will give you time to read it at least five more times before part 2, Gemina, comes out in October!

Happy reading!
Sarah

Official YALSA 2014 Teens’ Top Ten List

The votes are in, and the official Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) 2014 Teens’ Top Ten Book List has been announced!

 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (YA Row)
Splintered by A.G. Howard (YA How *2014-15 Eliot Rosewater Nominee*)
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (YA San)
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (YA Yan)
Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne (YA Lay)
Earth Girl by Janet Edwards (YA Edw)
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (YA Cha)
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (YA San)
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (YA Bar)
The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (YA Das)

I encourage you to check out a few if not all of the books on this list!

25 books were in the running for the 2014 Teens’ Top Ten, and there are a few on the nominee list that are personal favorites of mine – Which I will also encourage you to read – As I have to several of you already. And to encourage you more, here are the book trailers for these AMAZING, LIFE CHANGING books. 🙂

 

Winger by Andrew Smith


 

 

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters


 

 

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales


 

I will help you find all of these ALL of these books and more! See you later when you load up on all of these awesome books.

Sarah

Review of This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales is a book for anyone who’s ever struggled with fitting in, feeling like an outsider, or pursing your true passions because it might not “be cool.” Sixteen year-old Elise Dembowski has never been cool, but her sophomore year of high school will be different – She’s studied all summer on the key-points of being cool. This year will be different, thinks Elise. “This should have been a red flag, I realize in retrospect. Working really hard on anything is, by definition, not cool.” Needless to say, nothing changes and she is still uncool and bullied by her classmates despite her outward approach to fit the part. Elise is miserable and she almost gives up for good. Her only solace is found in music, and one night she happens to stumble upon an underground dance party where her passion in music is shared. How will Elise navigate her new found life as an underground nightclub DJ with her curfew and watchful parents? Dancing, vinyl, beat matching, and a pair of unicorn boots will keep the pages turning as readers live the life of an aspiring underground DJ.

Elise’s struggles to understand herself in her own mind are real and relatable throughout the book. Her friendships and relationships are real too, and readers will be right with Elise as she fights for her passion, makes new friends, and deals with her daily life.  “Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don’t know yourself very well, you might even believe that they are right. But the truth is, that isn’t you. That isn’t you at all.” This book will make a reader proud to embrace his or her flaws and talents and to use them to be extraordinary in his or her own way. This is a story I wish I had in high school, but even as a young adult – it still moved me. Please pick up this book – It is amazing and it will touch you with humor, raw passion, and totally lovable characters.

Not to mention this book offers a playlist at the end and features awesome music throughout the book. Music lovers unite! I was even compelled to add some music to Leila Sales’s list. Here are some songs and artist albums you can find in our collection:

David Bowie – Let’s Dance

Empire of the Sun – We are the People

Gorillaz – DareDamon Albarn’s band after BlurThe song Girls and Boys is mentioned and listed in the book.

Daft Punk – One More Time

Midnight City – M83 (Feat. on Warm Bodies soundtrack)Hoping to get their albums added to our collection!

Modest Mouse – DashboardAlso hoping to get their albums added to our collection!

 

What songs would you add to your own underground dance party? If we don’t have it – Request it! …OR tell me about it, and I’ll request it!

Play it loud!!!

– Sarah, currently re-reading Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb

 

 

“Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?”

 

Grave Mercy         Dark Triumph

Assassins, intrigue, treachery, a splash of well-written romance, and a cast of characters you will fall instantly in love with are what lie within the pages of Robin LaFevers’ “His Fair Assassins” series. Grave Mercy (book 1) and Dark Triumph (book 2) follow two separate, yet intertwined stories of female assassins, Ismae and Sybella, in their quest to save their country’s freedom from greed and dreadful oppression. Who can be trusted in this deadly game? Can hope, let alone love be found in this web of war, deceit, and vengeance? I highly recommend these books to anyone – Or anyone looking for historical fantasy, a romance story sparing the gooey-mushy stuff, or a story with strong female heroines. Do yourself a huge favor and pick up these books today. You won’t be able to put them down – I know I couldn’t.

Now I eagerly await the release of Mortal Heart (book 3) which is said to hit the shelves sometime in 2014. (During which I will probably marathon-read this series over again 10-20 more times in anticipation!)

kitten

 

Happy Reading!

Sarah

Currently reading: Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets