Giants and A Smokin’ Hot Traitor ~ Let’s Discuss To Nowhere by CE Wilson

 A world no one would believe.
From the moment Lyris is treated to coffee by a beautiful stranger, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. In her enthusiasm to start at a new school with a new boyfriend, Lyris is almost able to look past his oddities. Almost. The way he eyes up her striking red hair. The way he loves that she’s seventeen. “The perfect age.”

And the way he’s gone from all but begging to show her a specific room in a specific house to making her swear never to even think about it again.

When Lyris doesn’t take his strange warnings seriously, she finds that nothing could have prepared her for what lay behind that door. Suddenly, Lyris finds herself in a world no one would believe. A world where she’s only a few inches tall and giants aren’t creatures from fairy tales. Where humans are no longer the dominant race, but pets auctioned off to the highest bidder. Lyris understands the true danger of such a place, but there seems to be one person on her side.

Her kind and surprised captor.

And while Brindt appears to be sweet and trustworthy, he also straddles the line between seeing her as an equal and a cute animal. Lyris has to get home… before the one person she can turn to becomes the one person who can’t let her go. 

BOOK INFO:

To Nowhere by C. E. Wilson

Format & Pages: eBook, 206

Published: July 5th 2015 by C. E. Wilson

Source: The lovely Mrs. Wilson sent me this book for review.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon

image

THE CHARACTERS

I must say, I really got into this cast of characters. Lyris was a tad aggravating, but despite my best attempts to hate her, I enjoyed seeing her character develop and strengthen. Wyatt, that treacherous little… OOOO! This is a spoiler-free review, so I guess I can’t rant, but Wilson certainly did an amazing job making me loathe him to the fullest. And Brindt… Awwwwwwwwwww. I fell in love with his adorable personality. He was so nice.  Wilson did a good job making them come to life and I was attatched to each one.

THE PLOT

So the long and short of this book is that a spoiled rich girl named Lyris met this hottie named Wyatt, who tricked her into escaping into an alternate universe where giants buy and sell humans and pets. Luckily, a kind giant named Brindt took a liking to her and protected her from being found and sold. They formed a relationship, but Lyris realized that he doesn’t want to let her go back to the human world, or any of the the other humans that are trapped. So she tried to escape, and Wyatt was a jerk and tried to rescue only her, and that’s about it if you don’t want spoilers.

Not too much happened within this plot, to be honest. It wasn’t exactly ‘action-packed’. But Lyris spent a ton of quality time exploring the giant world and language with Brindt. There were quite a few gasp-worthy incidents, and I liked how we were kept on the edge of our seats before we really got to know Brindt because he could be angry or kind at the snap of his fingers.

I honestly wasn’t expecting the end, and I enjoyed the twist. There was a lot of suspense, and the original idea is very unique. So kudos to the author!

WHAT I LIKED

I thought the alternate universe idea was great. Wilson was very confident with her world, and I started believing that there really could be Targeters living in our world, waiting to sell us out to giants.

I also really enjoyed the little relationship that formed between Brindt and Lyris. It was cute and sweet, and there were a lot of “Awww” moments.

WHAT I DISLIKED

As I said before, Lyris was quite annoying. Her persistence to remain with Wyatt after all the terrible things he had done to her really started grating on my nerves. I appreciate that it fit with the story and there was some major development. However, I wish the main character had not made me want to break my e-reader. With a sidekick, this might have been fine. But when the person you are most intimate with constantly angers you, it’s a little… difficult. Perhaps next time, if the sidekick aggravates both us and the main character, then I could enjoy the ribbing.

I also felt that the giant world in which Lyris found herself was a bit off-putting. Mabye this was because it seemed so similar to the human world. Maybe this was because we got so little setting decription. Whatever the reason, I just wish I could have understood it more.

My last, but not least, criticism is the language. Now, I’m a bit divided on this subject because on the one hand, the author seemed quite happy with having the giants talking with the same slang and composition as the humans, and I admire her confidence. But on the other hand, it seemed a little improbable that two very different species that have been living in seperate worlds share almost the exact language. And I know that when the translating collar was off, the giants did have different words. But when it was on, I’m still surprised that Brindt said things that translated into ‘freaking’. Even if you translate Spanish into English, it still doesn’t make sense when translated exactly. You are normally forced to rewrite it a little.

WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?

Absolutely! Despite all its ups and downs, reading this was very fun and engaging. I would highly recommend it to paranormal and sci-fi fans. Don’t be scared because it’s not a huge bestseller. Also, I think it would make an AMAZING movie.
                                                                       

4 STARS = A GREAT READ



 C.E. Wilson is currently living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and her two dogs and two cats. They are all the loves of her life. When she’s not writing young adult fantasy novels, she enjoys writing short stories on her Deviant Art page. She loves to write stories involving giants and little people (also known as GT) and she can’t decide what she loves more: horror movies or shoujo manga. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Education so she has a soft spot for older literature authors including John Milton, William Shakespeare, and stories such as Paradise Lost and Beowolf. On a side note, nothing helps her to write more than drinking some tea and watching The Twilight Zone. Visit her on Goodreads.

The Friday Finds

 Hello bookworms! So today I will be joining a weekly link up hosted by A Daily Rythm, and if you haven’t already figured this out, it’s called The Friday Finds! I’m going to share with you the latest books that I have either added to my TBR shelf on Goodreads or bought/loaned from the library within the last week. 

Click right here to learn more about this, see other blog’s finds, or to sign up! If you do decide to join, please leave your link in the comments below. 🙂

THE TBR SHELF

  Frozen by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston

From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she’s heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all. 

WHY THIS BOOK?

I have heard a lot about Melissa de la Cruz’s story The Isle of the Lost, which has apparently been made into a musical by Disney. It’s about the descendants of all the villains of the classic fairy tales. Which sounds pretty interesting, if I may so myself. 
Now, this book gets some pretty bad reviews on Goodreads. “Oh, Frozen is such a rehash of plots and characters…” Blah blah blah. I want to read it anyways. I think it would be a good experiment to see if Goodreads reviews really hold up. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And that, surprisingly enough, concludes the list from my Goodreads TBR! Well, that was interesting. Now for the bought/loaned.

THE BOUGHT AND LOANED SHELF

  Wildefire by Karsten Knight

Every flame begins with a spark.

Blackwood Academy was supposed to be a fresh start for Ashline Wilde. A secluded boarding school deep in the heart of California’s redwood forests, three thousand miles from her old life – it sounded like the new beginning she needed after an act of unspeakable violence left a girl in her hometown dead.

But Blackwood is far from the peaceful haven Ashline was searching for.

Because terrifying, supernatural beasts roam the forests around campus. Because the murderer from Ashline’s hometown – her own sister – has followed her across the country. Because a group of reincarnated gods and goddesses has been mysteriously summoned to Blackwood…and Ashline’s one of them.

WHY THIS BOOK?

I got this book at a library sale for the amazing price of $0.25! I am really getting into the supernatural/mystery genre and LOVING it. Plus, have you seen the cover? It’s gorgeous.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  Love is a Many Trousered Thing by Louise Rennison
Woe is Georgia! Georgia Nicolson thought life was hard when her only worry was whether Masimo would choose her over Wet Lindsay. But then Dave the Laugh started acting strange –and everything was turned upside down when Robbie the Sex God suddenly returned!

In this eighth entry of the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series, every reader will be wishing they had Georgia’s problems.

WHY THIS BOOK?

I loaned this out from the library because it is the eighth book in a series (as previously mentioned) which I absolutely adore. Georgia is so funny, and her adventures make the perfect chick-lit. Plus, she’s English!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
Gorgeous. Popular. Perfect…. Perfectly wrong.

Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted. But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive. 



WHY THIS BOOK?

Again, a library loan, and one I’m not enjoying. Uglies was an amazing dystopian, but this, it’s sequel… well, let’s just say that I hope it’s got second-book-syndrome. Maybe I’m just not in the right mood.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That’s a wrap! Thanks for reading. Again, click here to see more finds and link up yourself. 

Forever reading,

GRACE MEREDITH 😛

The Tears Won’t Stop Coming ~ Let’s Discuss If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Book Info:

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Format & Pages: Paperback, 226

Published: April 6th 2010 by Speak

Source: Providence Public Libraries

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Will I Buy It? Yes.

Add to Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Thriftbooks

OK. So we’ve got, what, three big YA tearjerker authors right now? John Green, Colleen Hoover, and Gayle Forman (I apologize if there are more, let me know in the comments)? Well, I finally read a Gayle Forman book. She has a lot out there. And might I just say that I was extremely impressed, and at the same time a bit… sceptical.

If you are looking for a sweet, tearjerking (and I mean this in the STRONGEST sense) novel, than I would highly suggest this one. I enjoyed it a lot, it was innovative and immersing. All the feels, guys, all the feels. Actually, I’d recommend it to just about everyone! What I am about to say might seem to downplay the awesomeness of this book, but I promise you: if you came up to me and asked me if you should read If I Stay, I would start raving about it, and just go bananas. And I’ll probably reread it after every single breakup of my life. 😛

It’s going to be pretty difficult to write a review about a book dealing with a choice between life or death, without giving away any spoilers. But I’ll try! No summaries except the approved Goodreads one, people. I had some thoughts about the general ideals and philosophies being expressed, so those might a good place to start.

 I was really disappointed by the fact that religion played such an unimportant, even nonexistent part of this story. I know and accept that there are atheists in the world, and all sorts of different feelings about religion, but in Mia’s case I just wonder, shouldn’t there have been a little more questioning going on about her life and the big picture? Why doesn’t she wonder about God? The readers are not told specifically that she is atheist, so why couldn’t Gayle Forman have had her explore her mind a little? That would’ve been so interesting, and I feel like Gayle would be even more renowned for introducing some deeper thinking into YA literature! That might be a lot of pressure for her, and I’m not saying this has to happen, but thinking back on my overall experience of Mia and her journey, it seemed unrealistic and even obvious that she didn’t think about any sort of religion at all. Did she believe in the afterworld? Obviously, because she believed she was going somewhere if she chose death!

 Which brings me to my next point. I’m not really going to talk much about the whole ‘it’s really my choice to stay or not, the doctors don’t really help’ thing. I have a few issues with it, but on the whole it was an unusual ideal for Gayle to bring into play, and I applaud for that. But again, why couldn’t we see more of that decision-making that Mia had right then? She just understood that. It was a let-down. If Mia had maybe considered why it was her choice, and how she knew that so well, it would’ve engaged my attention more. Left there, unexplained and lonely, it was an inconsequential part of the story that could have been really explored and made interesting.

Now, before you guys just start hatin’ on me, let me just say that this book really did get me thinking. It was intense as hell, and I got into the story so MUCH. I cried buckets and buckets with the whole thing about Adam, her boyfriend. It was a sweet but crazy ride, and I don’t regret reading it in the slightest (except for the fact that I finished it at midnight and was therefore scared out of my mind for the rest of the night).

And I know that YA books are most of the time nowhere near the edginess and thoughtfulness of this one. The YA genre has a long way to go before it reaches my normal expectations. And I’m sure that’s true for many of us bookworms out there. YA is still the main genre that I read, and I love it with all my heart! I’m not some snooty classics-only reader (and there’s nothing wrong with reading only classics, as long as you don’t brag).

So, yeah. I had a few issues with the opinions expressed, but I adore this story and I want you to read it. And you probably won’t find so much fault with it. I dind’t either, really. It was just when I looked back that I saw a few oddities.

READ THE BOOK, PEOPLE.

image

Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications as Jane, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle, and The New York Times Magazine, to name just a few. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. Visit her online.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – Book Review

since-youve-been-gone

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um… 

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?

*****************************************************************

Book Info:

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Format & Pages: Hardcover, 449

Published: May 6th 2014 by Simon & Schuster

Source: Providence Public Libraries

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Awwwwww. This book – just so many feels!

783b235f0689dd5d54be255e0c2c62abThis tells the story of Emily, who’s parents are playwrights and whose nutty brother has no fear of heights. Emily has always been shy and normal, until Sloane came into her life. Sloane is energetic, bold, and not afraid to speak her mind. The two of them become best friends, completing each other in a certain way that just fits. But then, one day, Sloane is just… gone. She doesn’t answer her calls or voicemail, she doesn’t leave a note of explanation. Emily is confused and upset. Then she gets a letter with a bucket list of things for Emily to do. Why Sloane sent this, she has no idea, but doing them might give her some clues. Emily proceeds to complete the tasks, and some of them are quite brazen, like ‘kiss a stranger’. But they really help Emily grow into herself and learn that she doesn’t need other people to tell her what to do. She can have relationships of her own, and make new friends! However, once she reaches the end of the list, will she finally learn the truth about Sloane? Or will she live life without seeing her best friend ever again?

To be quite honest with you, I really didn’t think I would enjoy this book. It seemed like it could very easily be cliche and boring, and the first few chapters didn’t make me feel differently, either. But I persevered because I knew that all the raving and hype that this book got had to count for something.

Oh my god, I can’t tell you how HAPPY I am that I didn’t give up.

Since You've Been Gone Quote 1Once you get past the ‘establishing’ chapters, as I like to call them, the story really gets going. Emily starts trying out new things and liking them. She has the most adorable mishaps, like when she tried to steal a sign from a concessions stand, and got openly caught by the cashier. Luckily, the cutest guy from school was there to save the day. Frank Porter.

Let’s discuss Frank for a second, shall we? I absolutely loved his character. He grew with Emily, and those mornings when they ran together were so relaxed and cute. He wasn’t the typical popular and preppy boy from high school, who had a ‘deeper, intellectual side’. No, his transformation after school was into just a regular guy with an obsession with The Beatles. Oh, and his hobbies and music tastes were so heartwarming! When he shared and made playlists for her, and she switched iPods with him so they could try out each other’s music? So ADORABLE!

I thought Emily was really stupid and wimpy at first. I really did not like her. It was like she couldn’t even cross the street without Sloane at her side. The words ‘seriously’ and ‘come on’ went through my head many times, and that did not bode well for her.

But once she started realizing how much she’s missed out on life because she’s always looked to Sloane for advice, and really questions herself and her choices, I softened up. And she got so much perkier and happier! It was some of the  most amazing character development I’ve seen in a while, and it made my day.
Since-Youve-Been-Gone-QuoteCollins, Frank’s friend from school, was the perfect comic relief/plot mover. I mean, he made me laugh a few times, which is rare for me. Like when they all went skinny dipping, and he just ran out naked into the water, and then stole all their towels and pretended they blew away *giggle giggle*. He got Emily going! He helped her get through a lot of her tasks, which I was grateful for, because I really don’t think she would’ve kissed a stranger if he hadn’t brought his hot cousin over and sprung him on her. Hahahaha, that was so funny.

Dawn was also amazing. Emily befriended her when she came into the ice cream shop were she works, crying her head off because her boyfriend had cheated on her. Their friendship was so quirky and nice. Dawn helped Emily get her mind off of things and was super willing to help with the list.

THE FOLLOWING SECTION IS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE READ THE BOOK ONLY! THERE IS MORE AT THE BOTTOM FOR THE NON-SPOILER REVIEW, BUT DON’T READ ANY OF THIS UNTIL YOU SEE MORE BOLD PRINT!

Are you still here? Great! I have some very important things to discuss with you:

Emily was such an IDIOT with Frank. He was obviously perfect for her, but she took so long to figure it out! And then he said that fated line, “I have to sort some things out.” And I was like, oh my god. He’s going to totally break up with his long-distance girlfriend (I forgot her name, I apologize), and then get together with Emily! This makes so much sense! But I guess in her mind, he was blowing her off. She just didn’t take any time to think things through. “I have to sort things out”+working together on this personal list+a kiss that he definitely liked=LOVE! Helloooo-ooo? Are you there, Sloane’s brain? And then when he finally met her to talk about it, she was so b*tchy! Sheesh! She didn’t even give this sweet guy who’s obviously got a crush on her a chance! Ugh.

I feel like that scene has been reenacted in so many books and movies that it is cliche to the MAX now. I’m kinda disappointed that Morgan Matson felt it necessary to put that in there, because the rest of the book was so uniquely written and planned out. But thankfully not everything was ruined, so I’ve made my peace with it.

Let’s also chat about Sloane. I didn’t really get her attitude or secrecy. Sneaking away (even if you’re forced to because of money), and then never getting in contact with your best friend ever again? Was that seriously her plan? I’m surprised Emily wasn’t a little more offended. I guess I’m glad they were friends again, but Emily deserved better than to be lied to so blatantly. Did Sloane really think Emily was just her friend because of her money? I didn’t understand that at all.

THE SPOILER SECTION HAS ENDED, PEOPLE. PLEASE CONTINUE READING. I THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.

You know, I had some problems with it (like I do with most books), but it was a very enjoyable read and I’m glad I had the experience. I would highly recommend this to EVERYONE, it’s a sweet coming-of-age story that is very unique and gets you thinking.

Buy this book!

mm-author2

Morgan Matson was born in 1981 and grew up in New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles but halfway though a theater degree, she started working in the children’s department of Vroman’s Bookstore and fell in love with YA literature.

Following college graduation (and the proud bearer of an incredibly useful theater/English degree) she moved back East to attend the New School, where she received her M.F.A in Writing for Children.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, inspired by Morgan’s three cross-country road trips, was published in May 2010. It was named an ALA Top Ten Best Book, a PW “Flying Start” book.

The Book Courtship Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Rebecca from 26 Countless Possibilities to do this cute tag! I’m not exactly sure why or where it originated from, but I do know that it’s a very popular book tag right now. If you don’t know what a ‘book tag’ is, it’s a list of questions that blogs and booktubers pass along the internet that you answer in order for your readers to become more acquainted with you and your book choices. 🙂 So without further ado, here are the questions and answers!

1.  Initial Attraction: a book you bought because of the cover.

The_Selection_Cover

I have a strange relationship with this series, and I probably wouldn’t have bought this if not for the gorgeous cover.

2.  First Impressions:  a book you got because of the summary.

Alright you guys, here’s a little confession: I actually don’t buy many books. Yeah. It’s true. Most of the books I read are from the library. This one was an ebook loan. I got it because it sounded really cool and twisted.

3.  Sweet Talk:  a book with great writing.

 

V.E. Schwab’s writing is so crisp and to the point. It has many subtleties and variations. I just fell in love with her style.

4.  First Date:  a first book of a series that made you want to pursue the rest.

 

5.  Late Night Phone Calls: a book that kept you up all night.

 

6. Always On My Mind:  a book that you cannot stop thinking about.

IMG_9177

The third book in the Throne of Glass series, this had so much plot and character development that I can’t stop wondering how it will continue into Queen of Shadows.
7. Getting Physical:  a book which you love the way it feels.
 IMG_9178
The embossing and drawing on this is just spectacular.
8. Meeting the Parents:  a book that you would recommend to your friends and family.
IMG_9179
This is the most amazing family-friendly series, and two of my brothers are currently reading it.
9. Thinking About the Future:  a book, or series, that you know you’ll re-read in the future
 image
After watching the entire movie series, I will probably reread this for a third time. 😛
10.  Spread the Love: Who would you like to tag?

And YOU!  If you are reading this and want to do the tag – go for it!

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys ~ Review

This used to be a personal challenge for myself to do once every week. However, I have recently found myself reading a lot of short-to-medium length books and not feeling like writing a serious, in-depth review for each one. Therefore, my mini-reviews will just turn into a subcategory of my normal reviews. I hope this doesn’t confuse anyone. They will still have a word count of 300 words or less.

Enjoy!

1c8530f8f833418526340dabcb0668c6

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Book Info:

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Format & Pages: Paperback, 352

Published: April 3rd 2012, by Speak

Source: Providence Public Libraries

What a mind-blowing masterpiece of a novel.

Ruta Sepetys tells the tale of a few deportees from Lithuania who are thrown together in a terrible journey to a prison camp in Siberia. But she doesn’t just throw together a few adjectives and verbs and Soviet Union officers. No, she infused all of her writing with the souls and emotions of these deportees, especially our main character, Lina. That’s why this book hit me right in the heart: because I could feel every painful smack from the officers, every twist of hunger in her stomach, every reeling headache as she shoveled hour after hour. You get put right into the camp with everyone else, bending over and quickly threshing beets from their stalks, and feverishly trying to sneak a few into your pants. You can hear the bloody screams as mothers and sons are shot for disobedience. But it doesn’t end there.

No, Lina and the rest of them are then transported to the Arctic, with no food or shelter. They are expected to make their own huts from the scraps of wood that drift ashore. And not only do they have to get this ready in time for the snowstorms, they also have to build proper lodgings for the German officers, with fireplaces and a bakery and everything! Once again, you are subjected to the merciless wind and snow with all the rest of them, with the smell of baking bread wafting over so tantalizingly to your nose. You must help with all the others to save your teammates from hanging themselves on a pole out of sheer desperation. Your heart will split when you see that five poor souls accidentally made their door open inwards, and from being stuck in there are almost all dead.

It is an amazing, supremely immersing piece of historical fiction, but even for those who don’t necessarily enjoy that genre, everyone needs to read this book. Now.

(I don’t have my signature image available right now, I apologize)

     Ruta Sepetys or Rūta Šepetys (born November 19, 1967) is a Lithuanian-American writer of historical fiction. She is best known for her novel, Between Shades of Gray, which was a New York Times Bestseller and Carnegie Medal finalist. Sepetys is a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellow and the first American writer of young adult literature to speak at European Parliament. Her work is published in over forty countries and thirty languages. Visit her online.