I have several books that have been sitting on my "need-to-review" list for quite awhile now and rather than writing full reviews for all of them I thought I'd write shorter, mini-reviews to give a brief overview of my thoughts on the books. This first set of mini-reviews will focus on Where It Began and Incarnate.
Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
Sometimes the end is just the beginning.
Gabby Gardiner wakes up in a hospital bed looking like a cautionary ad for drunk driving—and without a single memory of the accident that landed her there. But what she can recall, in frank and sardonic detail, is the year leading up to the crash.
As Gabby describes her transformation from Invisible Girl to Trendy Girl Who Dates Billy Nash (aka Most Desirable Boy Ever), she is left wondering: Why is Billy suddenly distancing himself from her? What do her classmates know that Gabby does not? Who exactly was in the car that night? And why has Gabby been left to take the fall?
As she peels back the layers of her life, Gabby begins to realize that her climb up the status ladder has been as intoxicating as it has been morally complex... and that nothing about her life is what she has imagined it to be.
Have you ever read a book where you just couldn't find the words to describe it? This was the case for me and Where It Began. I read it quite awhile ago and kept struggling to figure out what to say in my review. So, I'm going to stick with a mini-review. Where It Began is a beautifully written young adult debut that will definitely appeal to fans of contemporary fiction and possibly bring new fans to the genre. I loved the way Ann wrote this book, from the short chapters to the three sections, it made the book more intriguing to read and added to the overall affect of the story. Going into this book, I wasn't sure what to expect, but was hooked immediately. Where It Began begins with a bang and immediately draws the reader in. I loved the mystery angle and the ending was one of those that makes your mouth drop open with surprise. The plot was very original and captivating and Gabby's narration made the book that much better. I didn't always connect with her and of course she frustrated me at times, but she was a real teenager and I felt for her because of all she had been through. All in all, I really enjoyed this YA debut and am looking forward to seeing what's next for Ann Redisch Stampler.
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
March 6, 2012/Simon Pulse/369 Pages/Young Adult
Source: Publisher/Author (ARC)
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.
Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?
Another book that I read a little while ago and never wrote a full review for! Anyway, Incarnate was a book I was anticipating for a long time and I was thrilled to receive a review copy. While I was a little disappointed in it, I think the concept was very original and compelling. In a sea of dystopian novels, Incarnate was a unique look at a utopian future. The idea of reincarnation and souls was something that really drew me to the book; I wanted to see just how Jodi was going to tackle it. I never fully got the answers to all of my questions, but I have to say I was always anxious to learn more about the world Ana lives in. Ana, the main character, was someone I liked, but was often frustrated with. I understand her confusion and felt for her, but I also wish she was more independent. Going into this, I was expecting much more complicated plot twists and action, but Incarnate focused more on the romance. Ana and Sam had a slow-moving relationship that really allowed the reader to get to know Sam and understand his past. Although sometimes I wondered how exactly the reincarnation thing worked, I think this book focused more on providing a foundation for the two main characters and hopefully the next book will provide more answers. I took a little longer to read this than I would have hoped because certain parts got a little slow, but I did enjoy the book and am interested in seeing what will happen in the sequel. Jodi Meadows certainly has a creative imagination and her writing style is great. While this might not have been exactly what I was anticipating, it was still a book that showed promise and I am looking forward to checking out Asunder when it comes out in January.
Overall: 3.5 out of 5 stars
January 31, 2012/Katherine Tegen Books/374 Pages/Young Adult/Book One
Source: Publisher (ARC)
Other books in this series: Asunder (2013)
Look for more Mini-Reviews soon!