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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Release Date: March 18, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Pages: 336
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
What if you'd been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she's said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she caused irreparable damage to the people around her—and to the one person who matters most?
I needed a big strong book to break me out of both my reading and my reviewing hiatus. (Hiatus sounds prettier than slump, and I’m all about them words.) I wanted something that kept my attention, that pulled at my heart, that made me think about it even when I wasn’t reading it. It seems that book was Julie Murphy’s debut Side Effects May Vary. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Dutton BFYR
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Pages: 336
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
Skillfully blending multiple story strands that transcend time and place, award-winning Grasshopper Jungle author Andrew Smith chronicles the story of Ariel, a refugee who is the sole survivor of an attack on his small village. Now living with an adoptive family in Sunday, West Virginia, Ariel's story is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic bomber and the diaries of a failed arctic expedition from the late nineteenth century . . . and a depressed, bionic reincarnated crow.
With its insane plot, well-drawn characters, and wholly unique narrative style, Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle was my favorite novel of 2014. Both Grasshopper Jungle and Winger are rock solid offerings from a delightful, off-kilter author, so my expectations for The Alex Crow were understandably high. Unfortunately, the strengths of both Grasshopper Jungle and Winger are weaknesses in The Alex Crow, which feels like a half-hearted and half-baked Andrew Smith effort.