February 21, 2018

The Secrets We Bury by Stacie Ramey

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I've read a few books lately that had hiking at the center of the plot, but it wasn't until this one that I actually got inspired to research a hike of my own. The Secrets We Bury by Stacie Ramey follows Dylan, seventeen-year-old who has run away from home and decided to hike the Appalachian Trail. Dylan believes that his mental issues are what caused his father's death, and afraid of having to attend a school for special kids decides to flee and pursue this journey to process his grief. 

Along his journey, he meets a girl his age, Sophie, who seems to be running away from her own problems just like he is. They also meet Rain Man, a seasoned hiker who, like both Dylan and Sophie, has experienced a devastating loss. Throughout the story, Dylan learns to connect, and even care for, others, while getting out of his own head and facing his fears for the safety and well-being of his new companions.

I really enjoyed this story. I read it in a few short hours, and thought the plot was solid. You could also tell that Ramey did a good amount of hiking research. I really enjoyed both Dylan and Sophie as characters, and respect both of them for the journeys they took and what they learned along the way. I would have loved to have seen this story told from both Dylan's and Sophie's point of view. I really appreciated seeing the relationship between Dylan and Sophie develop without any of the typical tropes that many YA novels have: yes Dylan saved her but that's not why she liked him, and they bonded on a level much deeper than physical attraction and desperation.

My only real issue with this book was the ending. I feel like everyone was so nonchalant about Dylan saving the lives of two people and coming home, and that things would never actually play out this way in the real world.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for access to a digital arc of this book! The Secrets We Bury by Stacie Ramey releases March 1st so be sure to pick up a copy!

February 14, 2018

Honor Code by Kiersi Burkhart

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
***Let me start off this review by saying that it may be the most disorganized review I've ever written, and give a huge trigger warning for rape/sexual assault. I'm writing this not caring about grammar, or flowy writing, or anything else, because I walked away from this book so rage-y that I can't really put into appropriate words all the things I felt. Also my reviews usually do not contain spoilers, but this one does because it's the only way to accurately express my full range of emotions. If it turns out you love this format of review, let me know because this is different than what I normally do but I'm happy to change up my style if that's what you guys like reading!***

Honor Code by Kiersi Burkhart follows Sam, a fifteen-year-old girl who gets into an elite private school, where behind closed doors she learns and experiences things she never expected. From having to line up naked and be ranked by upperclassmen, to being forced to join a sports team, Sam isn't sure she's ready to handle what's in store for her, but her desire to earn a scholarship to college keeps her motivated to tough it out. When she gets matched with the hot upperclassman she's been drooling over for the school mixer, she thinks that she's finally fitting in, until that upperclassman takes advantage of her attraction to him and her naivety and rapes her when she went to him for help with schoolwork. Wanting to keep the school honor code sacred, Sam seemingly tries hard to avoid exposing the incident or identifying herself or the prosecutor, but she still fights in her own way to seek justice.

My thoughts through the first 2/3 or so of this book were all positive. We need more books about rape culture to bring the issue to light. This showed why girls don't come forward when they've been sexually assaulted, and details all the fallout that happens when they finally do. YAASSS, I thought, this book is everything. Until the plot twist happened that had me raging until the very last page (and I'm still raging, as evidenced by this review).

SAM DIDN'T ACTUALLY GET RAPED. It was her roommate Gracie that went through that traumatic incident, and Sam in some deranged quest to help her decided to make the story her own and go public with it. Yes, the boy who raped Gracie attempted to rape Sam too, but she was able to escape before anything happened. THIS MADE ME SO ANGRY. DO NOT TAKE SOMEONE'S SEXUAL ASSAULT EXPERIENCE AND MAKE IT YOUR OWN. I don't care if you want to help them. I don't care if you're trying to expose someone and make them seek justice. Rape is such a terrible and deeply personal occurrence that if the person who experienced it doesn't want to pursue reporting/exposing it or do anything about it, THAT IS THEIR DECISION, not yours. Please, come forward with your own experience of how he attempted to rape you, and make him face justice for that, but DO NOT MASQUERADE. 

Now I do think this book had some great themes. Exposing corruption in private schools, showing how girls are treated cruelly after coming forward with this type of information, and how rich white male privilege is unfortunately alive and well today are all things that it is important to address, and it did all these things extremely well. That being said, I just couldn't wrap my head around what Sam did and why this is ok. I'm not sure if it was her fifteen-year-old mind and care for her friend that made her think this was a good idea, or if she just wanted the spotlight, but this just does not sit right with me. And judging by the Goodreads reviews, I'm the only one that thinks this.

I've struggled a lot with my rating for this book because while the false rape report really set me off, I think it tried and succeeded to shine light on the overall rape culture issues our society faces today. I originally wanted to rate it as 2 stars, but I think I'm going to bump it up because despite the problematic plot twist, the message was good and the writing was fantastic, and I did really enjoy reading it.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Thanks to Lerner Publishing Group for allowing me early digital access to this book. Honor Code by Kiersi Burkhart releases on March 1st!

February 13, 2018

Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
The cover of this book is what drew me to it, but it was the story that kept me interested. Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan was a thought-provoking, beautiful read that emphasized the power and importance of both holding on and letting go.

The story follows Ren Ishida, who has recently moved to Akakawa, Japan to pick up the pieces following the murder of his older sister Keiko. He quickly falls into his sister's old routine: taking her job teaching at a cram school, moving into her former room, and befriending her coworkers-finding comfort in the things she used to do. But it turns out that Ren didn't know his sister as well as he thought he did. Through building relationships with those his sister was close with, Ren begins to discover bits and pieces of information that when combined with unique dreams lead him to the discovery of Keiko's killer and the motive behind it all.

While the plot does center around a murder, it's not at all a thriller or even really a murder mystery. This story is more about Ren finding himself through the relationship he had with his sister, discovering when it is important to move forward and let go, as well as what memories are worth holding onto. You see Ren grow as a character as the story progresses, identifying things from his past that are no longer relevant (his sex-crazed friend from high school), and learning the importance of what could be in his future (his desire to reconnect with his girlfriend Nae). He takes the lessons his sister always taught him and actually begins to apply them to his life, realizing that he needs to move forward.

The writing was absolutely beautiful, and I found myself lost in the story. The chapters are short and flow together well. I've heard others say that this mirrors the style of Haruki Murakami, and as I've been curious about his work for a while I think it's time to pick up something of his!

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

A huge thanks to Soho Press for sending me an ARC of this beautiful book! Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan releases on March 6th, so be sure to pick up a copy!

February 7, 2018

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I think I may have been the last person in the world to read this book. But just in case I wasn't, I wanted to write a review anyway on the off chance that one of you reading this has been hesitating about picking up this novel. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is one hell of a read, which is probably why a movie version is releasing next month. Like your typical bibliophile, I wanted to make sure I read the book before seeing the movie, so I made it a priority on my TBR and I'm so glad I did.

This story follows Wade Watts (username Parzival), your average teenager looking for an escape. It's set in the future, and we're out of space and almost out of resources as a human race. Trailer parks have turned into trailer towers to maximize land, and food rations are doled out on a voucher system. The only comfort is the Oasis, a completely immersive (and free) virtual reality, containing schools, jobs, shopping, and almost everything else you need to live. When the creator of the Oasis dies and leaves his fortune to whoever solves the puzzle hidden within the Oasis itself, Wade knows that winning this fortune is his only way out of his daily hell. 

But with about half a trillion dollars and complete Oasis control at stake, obviously Wade isn't the only one seeking out the prize. Powerful industries have also taken an interest in the winnings, wanting control of the Oasis with plans to start charging for access, and companies have created special "gunter" departments who dedicate every second of their time to solving the puzzle. These people will stop at nothing to win that prize, even killing off their competition if that's what it takes.

This book was fantastic! I don't even know where to begin with everything I liked. The amount of 80's references was wonderful, and the descriptions of this world were elaborate and painted an intense picture of life in the future...both inside and outside the Oasis. I felt for Wade...he was a good kid that just wanted a better life for himself, which really made you root for him to win. I really liked Art3mis as a character as well and wish we learned more about her. 

My biggest complaint is how abruptly it ended. There's a lot of debate as to whether this will have a sequel or not...nothing has really been confirmed by Cline one way or another. If this really will be a standalone, I would have liked to see it go a little more into what happens after the big battle. If it is intended to be a duology/trilogy/whatever, knowing that would have alleviated some of that disappointment.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

February 2, 2018

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
It's been a while since I've read a damn good contemporary. But that all changed with this book. This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter made me laugh, it made me cry, but most importantly it taught me a lesson that is so easy to forget.

This book follows Leah, a high school student with an artificial heart. She carries her heart around in a backpack until one day she is fortunate enough for a transplant. Enter Matt, the charmingly handsome boy who's twin brother Eric's heart Leah was fortunate to receive after Eric committed suicide. After Leah gets her transplant, she starts to have dreams hinting that it may not have been a suicide after all. She and Matt bond over this unsettling notion, because like Leah, Matt is also having dreams and feeling's regarding Eric's demise. Leah promises to help Matt get to the bottom of what really happened to Eric...after all, she did get his heart, and the fact that she's falling for Matt doesn't hurt.

This book was way more than I ever hoped for. There's love and passion, mystery, fear, and above all else, hope. Hope to get to the bottom of what happened to Eric. Hope that Leah's body won't reject her new heart. Hope that Matt and Leah's relationship really is the real deal. And an underlying but ever present hope for tomorrow. This book teaches us to not give up that hope, and to take advantage of what time we are given. Life is too short to waste it worrying about what could happen rather than actually living our lives. I sound like a complete cheese ball, but really this book was incredibly cheesy and I wouldn't have it any other way. As a 28 year old, it takes a lot for a YA contemporary to touch me, but this one not only touched me but violently grabbed at my heartstrings and pulled until I was drained of all emotion after both laughing and crying my way thorough this book.

And to top it all off, not only is this just about the best contemporary I've ever read, but it's an own voices novel! The author's husband had a kidney transplant that saved his life, so all the emotions, both hope and fear, packed into this novel are 100% genuine. 

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

A huge thank you to St. Martin's Press for allowing me early digital access to this book. This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter releases on February 27th, so be sure to pick up a copy!

January 31, 2018

Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
Short stories about the creepy and the unusual...count me in! If it's eerie and weird it's usually right up my alley, so I couldn't wait to dive into this collection of short stories. Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill features a collection of 5 magical tales that aim to set the reader on a journey of weirdness and wonder.

This book ended up being very middle of the road for me, with a mixed bag of stories that I either really liked or didn't enjoy at all. It was a quick read and I breezed through it in a couple of hours. While some stories I really enjoyed (I'm looking at you "Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch' and "Dreadful Young Ladies"), others left something to be desired ("The Insect and the Astronomer" and "Open the Door and the Light Pours Through"). The novella at the end, "The Unlicensed Magician," has won the World Fantasy Award, and I can see why...it was well thought out, contained just enough to tell a full story, and was completely fascinating! I also have to note that the cover is absolutely stunning.

This was my first experience with Kelly Barnhill's works, and I've heard that The Girl Who Drank the Moon is quite good, so I may pick that up and give it a try even though it's a middle grade novel. I thought there was a lot of potential in this collection of stories, but something was missing overall that just might be there in a novel-length work.

Since there were 5 stories and I enjoyed 3 of them, this rating may very well be the easiest one I've ever done!

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Thank you to Algonquin Books for sending me a copy of this short story collection to review! Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories releases on February 20, so if this sounds up your alley make sure to pick up a copy!

January 26, 2018

Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan

Cover Art Courtesy of  Goodreads
Well, it was bound to happen. I've had a pretty good reading month so far so I knew it was about time for a dud. Unfortunately it was this book. Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan had promise, but it just didn't deliver. Long Black Veil follows a group of friends who experienced a tragic event years ago and are now living with the consequences. After a night accidentally ends with the group trapped in Eastern State Penitentiary and one of them missing, the group drifts apart, only brought back together when the body is found years later.

Instead of being a mystery/thriller, this really was a story of a trans woman with the crime as almost an afterthought. Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem at all with trans characters and diverse representation, and I really love seeing more of them as main characters literature today. What I do have a problem with is a book masquerading as something that it's not, ultimately tricking the reader into picking it up only to be let down the further in they get. I was really looking forward to a good thriller, and because I was mislead, it left me with a bad taste in my mouth as I progressed through this book. If you go into it knowing that the main idea isn't surrounding the murder, but rather focuses on self-discovery and how to reconcile who you once were against who you are now, you might enjoy this story a lot more. Knowing what I do now, I can say that this was a great own voices novel, just not at all a good thriller.

The scenes that took place in Eastern State were excellent, and for the first almost half of the book I couldn't get enough. But that's where my enjoyment ended and boredom began. The ending was chaotic and hard to wrap my head around, but honestly by that point I didn't even care what happened. I did enjoy some of the character development, especially that of Rachel and Quentin/Judith, but I also thought some of the side stories were unnecessary. Another thing that really rubbed me the wrong way were the scenes regarding animal euthanasia. Maybe that's just me and my huge bleeding heart, but when I read things like that I'm immediately turned off.

I had high hopes for this book, but disappointingly it wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars (as a mystery/thriller, which is what it was advertised as)

Thanks to Blogging for Books for sending me a copy of Long Black Veil in exchange for an honest review!

January 23, 2018

The Sky is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
Dystopian futuristic society. Coming of age teen angst. A love triangle. Human/robot hybrids. Dragons unrelentingly setting virtually everything on fire. Check, check, check, check, and check. The Sky is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith has all of this and more. I'll be honest and say that I had no clue what this book was about at first, but I was fascinated by the cover. The neon graffiti-ed look drew me in, but as soon as I read the synopsis I was hooked. 

The scene is Empire Island, a once booming metropolis now nearly abandoned as dragons have burned it to the ground. These two dragons appeared randomly in the sky and have not left for years, looming above the city 24/7 and taking no prisoners as they burn and reburn what little remains of Empire Island. Enter Duncan Ripple, a rich, privileged teen set on disregarding orders and living his life, as he crashes his hovercraft on a neighboring desert island. Here is where Abracadabra, or Abby, nurses him back to health until they are both rescued. Upon returning home, they are met by Swanny, Duncan's betrothed, as their parents force a union that neither of them seems to want. Chaos ensues, the three teens escape, and they are left to their own devices on a journey of self-discovery and survival in a smoldering city.

I really enjoyed this book. It is so unique, fun, and engaging, and almost impossible to categorize. The characters were all very well developed, and the plot was exciting and different. While the three characters were intertwined, they each had their own distinctive arc that developed them individually. Although it didn't bother me much, I will say that some of the language used might annoy a more traditional reader. Men are "pros" and women are "fems", and traditional names of objects are abandoned in favor of modernized versions such as the "Toob" for television, a "HowDouse" for a firetruck, and "LookyGlass" for what seems to be a cell phone. 

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

The Sky is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith releases TODAY so be sure to pick up a copy!

Thank you so much to Crown Publishing for sending me a finished copy of this beauty!

January 22, 2018

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
WOAH. This book was a rush. I flew through it and I can tell this is one that will stick with me for a while. Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan is set in London and follows a cast of characters, Sophie, James, Kate, Holly, and Alison. After owning up to an affair, prominent government worker James gets accused of rape and must face trial for his supposed actions. Told in both present day and flashbacks, the reader soon realizes that there are more ties that bind this group together than originally thought, and that everyone is not always who they seem to be. 

This novel deals very heavily with sexual assault and rape. As this is a prominent topic in our society today, I think this book is both timely and necessary. Revealing how deeply a rape can impact an individual, how celebrity and prominence can play a role in prosecution, and how easily someone's guilt can be questioned, it speaks to the deep set issues that for many years our society has ignored that are finally coming to light. 

While this was a tough topic to swallow, I loved everything about this book. I loved the characters, especially Kate. The plot was fast moving and interesting, and even though there were flashbacks it was very easy to piece together. The ending was so satisfying as well, even if it isn't what you initially expect it will be, and there are a few plot twists along the way that keep you engaged. Each character's section was the perfect length, enough to let you know what was happening and what they were thinking but not too long to get bored of them before moving on, and I really enjoyed Vaughan's detailed yet simple writing style.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan releases TOMORROW so be sure to pick up a copy!

A huge thanks to Atria and Goodreads for allowing me early access to an ecopy of this fantastic read.

January 16, 2018

Just Friends by Dyan Sheldon

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I love a good, cute contemporary, which is why Just Friends by Dyan Sheldon caught my attention. Sheldon is the author of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, which turned into the widely-popular Lindsay Lohan movie, and since I really enjoyed that book I couldn't wait to give this one a try. Just Friends follows Josh Shine, an underdog known for things like attempting to blow up the science lab, as he falls for new girl Jena Capistrano. 

Unfortunately, Jena immediately joins the popular crowd, those that don't give Josh and his friends a second glance. But when Josh ends up in a tree in Jena's front yard, a friendship blossoms that gives Josh hope for something more. Every time he builds up the courage to tell Jena how he feels, something happens to dissuade him, and eventually he thinks he missed his shot when Jena falls head over heels for another guy.

While this was a cute read, I definitely had a few issues with it, but these may be things that I'm only identifying because I'm an adult and this book is geared more towards a younger audience. First, I don't think it teaches the right lessons to those embarking on a first romance. Josh consistently blows off his friends at the drop of a hat when Jena comes calling, which while may be understandable with young infatuation is not the way to develop a healthy relationship. She was using him as a backup, or a stand in, and playing with his emotions in the process. In addition, Jena keeps going back to a boyfriend who is controlling and has anger issues. Even if she didn't fall for Josh, I think it would have been better to see an empowered female character who realized she was being mistreated and left the situation rather than one who just kept running back time after time.

If you're into contemporary reads, looking for something short and fun, and don't overanalyze things as much as I do, then this would be a great read for you! 

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

A big thanks to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy for review! While this was originally released a few years ago, it is being re-released in hardback on February 13th!

January 10, 2018

The Thousandth Floor Series by Katharine McGee

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
If you like Gossip Girl and futuristic societies, boy do I have the series for you! I recently read both books currently available in The Thousandth Floor series by Katharine McGee (The Thousandth Floor and The Dazzling Heights), and loved every minute of them! The story follows a set of teenagers from different backgrounds living in The Tower, which is basically New York City built upward into one building. With one thousand floors, The Tower boasts schools, homes, hotels, restaurants, shopping, and even a "Central Park." Technology is insanely developed, as people now wear contacts that allow them to communicate with one another, and use hovercraft to get from place to place. Movies are now called holos, hair and makeup can be done at the push of a button, and in-home computers can do anything from picking out your outfit to procuring a glass of water for you before bed. 

Main characters include Leda, a formerly poor but now wealthy girl struggling with drugs; Eris, the Serena Van Der Woodson of the group who recently discovered a terrible family secret that turns her life upside down; Rylin, a less-affluent girl who takes a job cleaning the home of one of the hottest boys on the upper levels; Watt, a technology obsessed boy who takes hacking jobs to provide for his family; and Avery, who is as wealthy as they come and lives in the thousandth floor penthouse pining over the one boy she is never allowed to love.

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I loved that both books immediately started off with a death, then flashed back to the story leading up to it. The whole time you were left to wonder who the person was that ends up dead, only finding out at the very end. Each chapter is told focusing on one character or another, allowing the reader further insight into him or her, and showing us how the different social classes interact with and rely on one another. While sometimes this method of storytelling can be confusing, there were no gaps and each character's chapter flowed seamlessly from one to the next. The class relations were realistic, and I loved envisioning the technological playground that these teens called home. McGee paints a very realistic picture of how technology has advanced, and even though so many of these things are still far from reach, it was easy to imagine how they all fit into daily life in 2118.

A third book, The Towering Sky, is coming out this August, and right now this is set to be the last book in the series, but I have my fingers crossed for more! I could definitely see this being adapted into a TV series as well.

The Thousandth Floor Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
The Dazzling Heights Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

January 8, 2018

Mister Tender's Girl by Carter Wilson

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I'm sure most of you have heard of Slender Man, or the Slender Man Stabbing. Slender Man is a fictional internet character, and a number of people over the years have attempted murders in his name. Mister Tender's Girl by Carter Wilson is a fictional thriller loosely based on the Slender Man Stabbings, in which two young girls tried to stab their friend to death in under the premise of pleasing a fictional character.

This story follows Alice, the victim of the attack, now an adult trying to move on with her life. Alice has panic attacks and is very untrusting, but she has changed her last name, moved to the US from London where the attack occurred, bought a coffee shop and embraced fitness, and is doing well enough for herself. That is, until characters from her past start to show up in her new life. First an old drug dealer comes to collect, bringing back memories of an unpleasant period of her life she'd like to forget. Then she receives an eerie present, an unfinished book featuring Mister Tender comics, some of which feature her in images that only someone who had private access to her life would see. Seeing that her father actually created this character, one would think he sent her the book, but he has been dead for three years and intentionally abandoned the comic after Alice's attack. 

Now, Alice must deal with the reality that she has a stalker, someone obsessed with her and her history, who has been watching her for all these years with a morbid fascination. With the help of her tenant Richard and her brother Thomas, Alice fights to discover who has been watching her, hoping to finally be able to put her past behind her once and for all.

This book was really good! It was a quick read, and easy to follow, with a fast moving plot and a good cast of characters. It was also not predictable AT ALL. The whole time I was trying to guess who was behind everything, and I didn't have a clue. My biggest problem with this book, and hence knocking off a star, is that it was unrealistic. Multiple murders happen in this book that are seemingly forgotten or ignored by the police, when in reality there would be an extensive search for the killer and many traces of evidence left behind.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thanks to Sourcebooks for early access to a digital copy of this book! Mister Tender's Girl hits shelves on February 13th, so be sure to pick up a copy!

January 5, 2018

Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

Pick a dandelion and close your eyes
make a wish
blow it into the wind.

Watch it
-From  Juliette's Journal

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
Let me start out this review by saying I hate myself for waiting so long to read this series. I've seen it so many times and heard numerous people rave about it, but I just never made an effort to read it. Well I finally ordered it from Amazon and gave it a try, and I DEVOURED these books. I honestly think I read the whole series in a total of less than 24 hours. It was just that fantastic. While many of my reviews don't contain spoilers, this one will have some pseudo-spoilers because it's simply impossible to talk about characters, etc. from the second two books without revealing some of the earlier plot.

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi (so far) consists of Shatter Me, Unravel Me, Ignite Me, and Unite Me (a collection of two novellas: Destroy me and Fracture Me). This dystopian series follows Juliette, a teenage girl who has a lethal touch. It starts off with Juliette in an asylum, but she is soon taken hostage by the controlling government: The Reestablishment. Her captor Warner hopes to use her as a weapon against resisting rebels, but Juliette wants no part in being anything intentionally hurtful. Luckily Juliette escapes with Adam, a soldier who she knew from school long ago. They find refuge in an underground bunker and discover that there are others with abilities similar to Juliette's: invisibility, powers of healing, psychokinesis, and more. Adam and Juliette fall in love throughout this ordeal, and hope to finally have put the Reestablishment behind them. Unfortunately Warner still wants Juliette, and he sets out to find her. The remainder of the story details what happens when Warner finds her, resulting in rebellion, love, and self-discovery.
Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads

I have so many things to say about this series! First, it got better as it went on. The first book was good, the second was great, and the third one was incredible. Many series just taper off as they go but this one was a surprising exception. I absolutely loved the character development (and the novellas are almost necessary to get some of that...so don't skip them!). Obviously my favorite character was Warner. He was such a deep character and had so much hiding behind his rough exterior. Juliette really annoyed me for the first half of the story, but she grew up and put her big girl panties on and then I really liked her strength and determination. And Adam, well Adam was kind of an ass. He gave me bad vibes from the beginning and I loved saying I told you so when his true colors came out later in the story. Kenji provided outstanding comic relief and was a great sidekick for Juliette, as you could tell he really cared about and supported her but wasn't afraid to be hard on her when he needed to be.

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
There was some problematic instalove at the beginning of this story but it was very well explained as the books went on. I'm really glad that the characters were able to recognize that the relationship was unhealthy and more for convenience/out of default than anything else. The writing style was so unique. There was a lot of stream of consciousness from Juliette, and there are lots of thoughts crossed through to show how Juliette was afraid of thinking certain things. While this proved to be a bit of a challenge at first, I easily adjusted to how the story was written and it wasn't a hindrance at all.

The ending of Ignite Me definitely left it open for a sequel, so I'm really happy that Tahereh Mafi decided to write more onto this story. Restore Me comes out March 6th of this year, and you better believe I already preordered it!

Shatter Me Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Unravel Me Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Ignite Me Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Unite Me Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Overall Series Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars