Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Book: Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver, 2012 by HarperCollins, 441 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever.

And I've always believed them.

Until now.

Now everything has changed.

Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.

My Thoughts:
I loved this book and I loved Oliver's writing.

Delirium is a dystopian novel where they've cured the disease of love and everyone is compliant and complacent and there is very little conflict or crime. You get the operation when you turn 18, typically. Lena, who has looked forward to receiving the cure her whole life, falls in love a couple of months before she is to receive the cure.  She also battles the demons of her family's shame: her mother's suicide, an uncle who ran away...

Like I said, Oliver's writing is amazing. At times, it is even poetic. I loved simply reading the sentences she put together.

The characters are well rounded and engaging. I could feel for Lena and the dilemma she was facing - going with what she has been brought up to believe and what her family, government and society expect from her, or to follow her heart.  It's an age old dilemma but spotlighted in a dystopian future.

The other characters where great too. Hana, Lena's best friend, was a perfect foil. Their friendship evolved and changed, which felt realistic. Then there was Alex. The romance between Lena and Alex was nice and I appreciated how conflicted Lena was about the whole thing.

Then, there was the ending. I won't say anything to spoil it, but I loved that it was unexpected.

I will definitely be reading the next one in this series, along with everything else by Oliver that I can get my hands on.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Book Review: Looking for Alaska

Book: Looking for Alaska by John Green, 2006 by Speak, 231 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

My Thoughts:
I would have to say that John Green is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. I loved Looking for Alaska. There is something about Green's writing that captures me. There is an honesty and a quirkiness that explores both huge themes and minute details.

Pudge, who is obsessed with people's last words, is fed up with his life and goes to boarding school looking for the Great Perhaps. There he meets a whole new group of friends courtesy of his roommate, The Colonel. At the centre of them is Alaska, who is beautiful, smart and messed up. 

Pudge is a great character, someone so many teens can probably relate to on some level - looking for meaning in their life, trying to fit in, getting picked on, listless... Alaska, on the other hand, is feeling many of these same things, but goes about finding her answers in a whole different way.

It is hard to say too much about this book without giving away the plot. I can say, though, that Green's writing is beautiful and engaging. He's got such a way with words, and this, along with his unique view of things, makes for great books. Each chapter has a countdown to a specific event, which certainly adds to the intrigue of the book as well as creates some urgency.

I think teens, both boys and girls, will really enjoy this book. These are characters that stay with the reader for long after the book is finished. One thing to note: there is a lot of content that some people may find controversial such as drinking, smoking, and sex.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Book Review: Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Book: Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5) by Richelle Mead, 2010 by Razorbill, 489 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong...

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri's birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir's-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can't wait for their real lives beyond the Academy's iron gates to begin. But Rose's heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he's out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won't rest until Rose joins him... forever.

My Thoughts:
I'm really enjoying this series, and found Spirit Bound to be one of the best in the series yet.

Again, Rose has to make difficult choices, and puts herself in mortal danger to help those she loves. This time, Rose and Lissa have graduated from St. Valdimir's and are at the royal court. Adrian plays a pretty big role as he is now dating Rose.

I still love how strong and independent Rose is, how she is smart and tough and able to take care of herself, though sometimes she still needs help from her friends and has a certain amount of teenage moodiness. I also like how Lissa is becoming more independent too, and more considerate of how things are affecting Rose. Then there is Adrian. I like Adrian, how genuine and caring he really is, but how no one looks to him to save the day.

Like the other books in this series, it is full of action, suspense  and twists. I absolutely loved the twist at the end and can hardly wait to read the next (and I believe) last in this series.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Book Review: Being Light by Helen Smith

Book: Being Light by Helen Smith, 2010 by Tyger Books, 228 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Roy Travers is swept away by a freak gust of wind while trying to install a bouncy castle in Brockwell Park, south London. Sheila, his wife, can't understand why he hasn t found his way back home. She begins to suspect that Roy has been abducted by aliens and enlists the help of Mrs Fitzgerald's Bureau of Investigation to find him. Sheila travels to Kent with Alison, a private detective. Together they build a missing persons advertisement out of pebbles on a beach, hoping it will be seen by the aliens who have taken Roy. But Roy was not taken by aliens. The truth is far stranger. 'Smith has a keen eye for material details, but her prose is lucid and uncluttered by heavy description. Imagine a satire on Cool Britannia made by the Coen Brothers... very funny.' Times Literary Supplement

My Thoughts:
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but found myself racing through it. It is very different from other books that I've read and I love the freshness of that.

There is the quirky story line of Roy flying away in a bouncy castle and never being heard from again, and his poor, very distraught wife who is convinced that he must have been abducted by aliens because otherwise he would have returned to her. Then there are also several other story lines, everything from an animal trainer being investigated for mistreating animals to a young man in a dress on a mission to stop the pollution in London to a reporter looking for fresh new features to a mother of a young girl... 

In fact, that is one of my only criticisms of the book: there are so many characters that sometimes I did find myself getting confused. However, the voices of the characters are strong, so it did not take me long to figure out.

I love how Smith looks at all of these characters and gives them all substance and background in such a short time. I enjoy her eye for detail. She has a way of putting together seemingly unrelated story lines and characters in a fun, fresh way, one that leaves us on the edge of our seats. 

And, without giving anything away, I like how Smith dealt with the ending. Though I would have enjoyed knowing what happened next, I thought what she did was good. My imagination can come up with some great things.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Chapter 1 of Antigone: The True Story

I've decided to share Chapter 1 of my work in progress, Antigone: The True Story. I'm having trouble finishing off this book - I hurt my arm a little while ago and couldn't type much and lost my writing flow. But not I'm determined to get back into it.

I'd love to hear any thoughts about this. It's a young adult historical mythological fantasy type. It takes place in ancient Greece about 1400 BC. Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus (the one who killed his father and married his mother.

One of the pieces of feedback I have received so far is about the dream that Antigone has. The person thought that dreams should be more random, so I am thinking of calling it a vision.

Here goes:

The dreams started when I was sixteen. That first one is etched in my mind, like it was yesterday, even though it was over three thousand years ago. The hair on the back of my neck still tingles when I think of it: how the gods manipulated me, how the snakes reached out to me, how I learned about the curses that plagued my family, and how I came to realize my true power. The dreams signalled a turning point in my life, both thrilling and horrifying.
    In that first dream, I approached the temple of Apollo with a modest offering, some cakes, fruit and a small jug of wine, the usual. The gods were a big part of our lives back then, and giving regular offerings ensured they looked favourably on us. They had a nasty habit of making life miserable for those who displeased them.
    As I made my way to the temple, the hill suddenly grew steep, far steeper than normal. The walk became a treacherous uphill scramble as my sandals slipped on the well worn path and I lost my footing. I didn’t think I would make it, but I knew I had to present this offering. I was determined. The gods demanded their due and it was my duty to deliver it.
    The temple became virtually unreachable, and I was forced to my hands and knees, crawling up the hill, clutching the offering basket in one hand and pulling myself up with the other. I scratched and clung to the rocks until my nails broke and my hands became raw and bloody. My peplos robe ripped; mud, blood and sweat stained the white, intricately embroidered fabric. Branches tugged at me, scratched me, and yanked at the jewelled combs that held my hair in its neat knot. I heard the combs clatter down the steep slope as my dark curls fell in my face and blinded me, but, even so, I knew I had to continue. I had to get to the altar.
    Struggling, I reached the bottom wooden step of the temple as the hill became a nearly vertical rock face. I managed to grasp the step just in time, avoiding a tumble down the cliff after my combs. I swung my arm to fling the basket and heard it crash as the offering hit the unforgiving stair. I used both hands to drag myself the rest of the way up. As I caught my breath and examined my torn nails and dress, ran my hands through my dishevelled hair, it crossed my mind that Sandrine, my personal slave and nurse, would kill me when she saw the state of me.
    I looked down to see a snake slither through my spilled offering. I gasped as I recognized the temple python immediately. I had only ever seen it inside the temple, its massive bulk stacked in lazy, heaping coils. Now, the unmistakable albino python, white with caramel and burnt orange coloured markings, stretched out to its full, muscular twenty feet. Its body was thicker than my legs. I froze and stared into the cold, reptilian eyes. Nothing moved. I didn’t blink.
    Gradually, the snake’s eyes changed. The albino pink darkened and turned rich brown, and would have appeared human if not for the long dark slits of the pupils. The snake looked into my soul for a dream-like eternity. I knew, somehow, that it was Apollo himself who looked at me though those emotionless eyes. Terror ran through my body, from my toes to my scalp, electrifying every nerve ending, yet keeping me rooted, unable to move.
    The snake broke our connection first. It hissed and flicked its forked tongue, smelling my fear. “You dare to ruin my offering,” the sacred snake spat. It swung its tail through the smashed cakes, spoiled fruit and shattered jug, scattering the contents. 
    “I-I-I,” I stammered, panicking. Beads of sweat dripped down through the dust on my face and I had to hold my hands together to stop them from trembling. I knew better, even then, than to argue with the gods or to come up with excuses, no matter how valid. The gods don’t care and I knew that I could be punished for this insult. I fell to my knees in front of the snake, not even trying to protect myself. “I didn’t mean to, Apollo. Please forgive me. I will replace the offering, double it even.”
    I bowed my head, eyes averted from the snake. My stomach fluttered anxiously and I inhaled deeply, terror stealing my breath as I braced for the worst, expecting the snake to strike me at any moment. The floor before me swirled and my chest screamed for fresh air as I knelt there, not daring to move. I exhaled deliberately to steady myself. The snake remained statue still for another full minute before I sensed it stir. I looked up. It nodded then turned and slithered past the stone altar toward the inside of the temple.
    “You recognize me and are pious. Come,” it demanded.
    I followed the snake. As we entered the cool of the temple, the imposing statue of Apollo loomed over us, its colourfully painted, wooden form standing at least twelve feet high. The life-like brown eyes stalked me as I made my way to the hole near the base of the statue the sacred python called home. It was silent in the temple, not even any of the normally ever-present priests hovered around. Still, I felt a sense of comfort, like I belonged in the empty temple.
    The python curled up lazily then looked at me. “Do you know why you are here?”
    “To bring an offering from my household.”
    “No, why I summoned you.” The snake sounded impatient.
    “Your family is the subject of many oracles. Do you know what happens when humans try to defy the gods?”
    “Nothing good,” I replied, brows furrowed. If the gods had seen fit to give prophesies about my family, I didn’t know anything about them, which was strange because usually predictions from the gods were well known and celebrated. I couldn’t imagine an oracle ever being hidden. A shiver wound its way up my spine, chilling me to my core at the implications.
    “Exactly.” The snake contemplated me for a minute. “You may be able to help.”
    “How?” The question escaped my mouth. Me, help the gods? My chest burst with pride at the prospect.
    “I expect obedience.”
    “I will serve the gods however I can.”
    “Everyone says that. But do you mean it? Really mean it?”
    I opened my mouth to answer, but Apollo interrupted me. “Do not answer too quickly, girl. Think on this. The stain of blood on your family’s hands is substantial. I may ask something considerable of you. You need to listen to your heart. Are you strong enough? Others will have to live with the consequences of your actions, just as you have to live with the consequences of others’ actions. I am giving you a chance to back out now.”
    I shook my head. I didn’t know what he was talking about. What blood was on my family’s hands? This was the god, Apollo, the oracle himself. How could I refuse anything he requested? What would happen to me if I did?
    I looked up and glimpsed the laurel branch encircling the head of the statue of Apollo. That is what happened to those who spurned the gods. When Daphne refused Apollo, she had been turned into a laurel tree, a symbol Apollo now used to crown himself. Then there was Cassandra. He gave her the gift of prophesy but when she rejected him, Apollo cursed her so that she could see the future, though no one would ever believe her. Instead, everyone thought she was crazy. Our history was full of stories like this, the gods punishing mortals for their misdeeds. The lesson was clear: do not trifle with the gods. Who was I to deny Apollo?
    Sweat dripped down my back. I clasped my hands together to keep them from shaking. My knees nearly buckled as I knelt down so that I was eye to eye with the colossal snake. “I-I-I will do what you ask, though I don’t know how I could possibly help one as great as you.”
    The snake inclined its head. “Bring me a proper sacrifice tomorrow. Something fit for a snake.”
    The giant python blinked and its eyes returned to their albino pink. The god was gone.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Attempt at Painting

I realize I haven't done a Creative Adventure post in a long time. I have been feeling all twitchy and fidgety and wanting to try something new, to experiment with colour and paint, rather than words. I bought some paints for me and my kids to explore with - decent enough quality, but not too expensive. I got some fun paper.

Then I let it all sit for awhile. A fairly long while. I was too nervous to "ruin" the nice paper and "waste" the supplies. I have some serious blocks over my artistic abilities, especially drawing and painting.

One day I was talking to a friend of mine, the amazing creativity coach, Janet Whitehead, about my reluctance to start and she said: Just splash some paint on the paper then go from there. You see, if there are splatters on the paper, you can't do much more to ruin it and it kind of gives you something to work with.

So, that is what I did. I splashed the paper and got colours I was attracted to that day and painted designs, without any purpose in mine. But then I noticed something, shapes coming out of the colours and realized that I had dragons coming out to play in my paint!!

Now, I know this is not brilliant art by any stretch of the imagination (and I am not talking down on myself), but I ended up having fun and playing with dragons. I was so happy to see them emerge.

I did, however, want to put this out there as a totally amateur, but fun project. It can be so gratifying to try something new, but terrifying to know where to start. That baby step of splashing paint on the page was a lifesaver for me. Now I find myself looking for baby steps to start other projects.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Book Review: Dust

Book: Dust by Arthur Slade, 2004 by Laurel Leaf, 192 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
SEVEN-YEAR-OLD MATTHEW DISAPPEARS one day on a walk into Horshoe, a dust bowl farm town in Depression-era Saskatchewan. Other children go missing just as a strange man named Abram Harsich appears in town. He dazzles the townspeople with the promises of a rainmaking machine. Only Matthew’s older brother Robert seems to be able to resist Abram’s spell, and to discover what happened to Matthew and the others.

My Thoughts:
This is a dark and mysterious book, one that is different from other books I've read. It completely drew me in and made me want to figure out what was going on.

It's the depression and there is a drought in Saskatchewan. Kids are going missing, including 7 year old Matthew. Then Abram Harsich comes to town, promising to solve all of their problems if they help him to build a rainmaking machine. It is clear that he can draw on mystical forces and has everyone under his spell, except for Matthew's brother, Robert. Everyone has forgotten about the missing children, even their own parents, but Robert can't forget. He knows that it all has something to do with Abram and he's determined to figure it out.

This was a book I could hardly put down. Slade describes the scene in Saskatchewan so convincingly and vividly. Then he adds the paranormal aspects and the mystery of Abram. I love how Slade uses the dust of the drought and the dust of the paranormal to hold the story together. 

I enjoyed Robert, how passionate and normal he was, how he liked to read books and didn't want his little brother hanging around, but then missed him terribly when he was gone. I loved his determination and resilience. 

I think kids who like historical like novels, but also books that are quirky and different will love this book.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Book Review: UnWholly

Book: UnWholly (Unwind Trilogy #2) by Neal Shusterman, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Reader, 416 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
It’s finally here. The long-awaited sequel to the bestselling Unwind, which Publishers Weekly called a “gripping, brilliantly imagined futuristic thriller.”

Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simultaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.

Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.

Rife with action and suspense, this riveting companion to the perennially popular Unwind challenges assumptions about where life begins and ends—and what it means to live.

My Thoughts:
I loved Unwind and loved UnWholly. I can hardly wait for the third book to come out to see how everything turns out.

The whole series is based in a dystopian future where children from age 13 to 17 can be retroactively aborted by being unwound, meaning that they are taken apart and their body parts are used as transplants for others. I find this premise to be one of the creepiest of the dystopian's that I have read. The stuff of nightmares. And what makes it worse is that Shusterman uses quotes and links from real internet sites that support what's happening in the book.

As much as I loved this book, I did find the beginning to be slower and harder to get into than Unwind. However I was so vested in the characters that it wasn't much of an issue.

So much has changed in UnWholly: Connor is now in charge of the Graveyard, the refugee camp of the runaway unwinds; Risa is in a wheelchair; Lev has been transformed into a saint. There are also a host of new characters. Shusterman masterfully entwines their stories, alternating points of view in each chapter, but doing it in such a way that I never felt confused about who was talking. Perhaps that is a tribute to the strong voice that each character has.

And then, one of the creepiest things of all is Cam, a boy completely constructed from unwound kids. There are so many moral dilemmas around this -- is he human? does he have a soul? What is life?

I also love the political intrigue in the book, how there must be something more to unwinding, how it keeps certain people in line, and creates business opportunities for others. Again, these arguments are based in our real world issues, just pushed to the extreme.

I highly recommend this series and think that it will appeal to boys and girls, and even reluctant readers.

Here is the book trailer from YouTube:

Friday, 11 January 2013

Book Review: The Bermudez Triangle

Book: The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson, 2007 by Razorbil, 370 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
What happens when your two best friends fall in love...with each other?

"Their friendship went so far back, it bordered on the Biblical -- in the beginning, there was Nina and Avery and Mel." So says high school senior Nina Bermudez about herself and her two best friends, nicknamed "The Bermudez Triangle" by a jealous wannabe back on Nina's eleventh birthday. But the threesome faces their first separation when Nina goes away the summer before their senior year. And in ten short weeks, everything changes.

Nina returns home bursting with stories about Steve, the quirky yet adorable eco-warrior she fell for hard while away. But when she asks her best friends about their summer romances, an awkward silence follows.

Nina soon learns the shocking truth when she sees Mel and Avery...kissing. Their friendship is rocked by what feels like the ultimate challenge. But it's only the beginning of a sometimes painful, sometimes funny, always gripping journey as three girls discover who they are and what they really want.

My Thoughts:
This is an interesting book about different relationships. First the three girls, Nina, Mel, and Avery - the Bermudez Triangle. But when Nina goes away for the summer, she has a new boyfriend and a long distance relationship, and Mel and Avery have started going out together. 

These things change everything, understandably. The good and bad of both of these relationships is explored. There is also the dynamics of coming out and how family and friends deal with it. Overall, this feels pretty realistic.

All three girls are such strong characters that it was easy to root for them in their troubles and feel good for them when things went well. I enjoyed Johnson's writing and how she developed the story. She really seems to understand teenage relationships and how they talk and act. I especially liked some of the other characters and friendships, like the boy who likes Nina but she doesn't like him back. 

I think teenaged girls will like this book, especially if they like character and issue driven books. It would also be a powerful book for girls who are coming out or even for their friends.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Winner of the Happy New Year 2013 Hop

Congratulations to Nur F., the winner of The Happy New Year 2013 Hop.
I have sent you an email to let you know you won. You have 2 days to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
You have won a book of your choice from the Book Depository.
Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by my blog and entered. 
And I really appreciate all of the book recommendations. I have been trying to go through them all and add them to my TBR list, but there are so many. I love hearing about great books!!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Book Review: Uglies

Book: Uglies (Uglies #1) by Scott Westerfeld, 2005 by Simon Schuster Children's, 425 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait for the operation that turns everyone from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to party. But new friend Shay would rather hoverboard to "the Smoke" and be free. Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The "Special Circumstances" authority Dr Cable offers Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

My Thoughts:
This one falls under that category, "What took me so long?" I've heard about this one for ages, but never got around to reading it, but am glad that I finally did.

I loved the premise of this book: a dystopian future where everyone gets an operation to make them pretty at aged 16. Everyone is considered to be ugly before the operation. They do this, ostensibly. to stop jealousy and prejudice - if everyone looks similar, then people will have to judge each other by other means. This is the theory, anyway.

I love the social commentary in this book, about individuality, our looks, how we treat the environment, our government... I find that most good dystopian novels force us to look at ourselves, and this one certainly delivers.

I liked Tallly and her development as a character. She goes from totally buying into her society's belief about being pretty to questioning everything that she's been taught. I also liked her friendship with Shay and how that changed with the circumstances - it felt realistic. Her romance with David was nice, if a bit predictable.

I am anxious to read the next in this series. Luckily, all the books are out, so I don't have to wait.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Book Review: Alice in Zombieland

Book: Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter, 2012 by Harlequin Teen, 404 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.

My Thoughts:
I found Alice in Zombieland to be a unique take on zombies, a way to make them into an urban fantasy myth and not a dystopian future novel. This was clever and innovative. That, combined with the Alice in Wonderland nuances made for an interesting read.

Ali grew up sheltered by her parents, believing her father was crazy because he saw monsters that no one else saw. He wouldn't let them go out at night, they had to learn to defend themselves, he patrolled the house, and drank himself into oblivion. Then, an accident changes everything for Ali. She learns that her father was right, that the monsters are real and she becomes determined to fight them.

The book combined Ali's new reality with knowing that zombies exist, trying to fit into a new high school and life, her new best friend, and falling for the badder than bad boy in the school. There is lots of drama around who likes who and social cliques. I felt the voice was probably pretty true to teenaged life, but, at times, it was also a bit much. Maybe it's just me, but I get tired of the gorgeous, uncommunicative, moody, irresistible love interest and the girl who puts up with it.

I am honestly torn with this book. I liked the paranormal aspects and how the zombies were portrayed, how Ali was determined to be strong and fight for herself, the relationship between Ali and her friend Kat, and the realism of Ali's devastation. However, I found Ali's relationship with Cole (the bad boy) predictable (except there was no real triangle, maybe that will be in the next book), and I wanted more Alice in Wonderland-y aspects to the book.

Overall, I think teens, especially girls, will like this book, but those looking for a meaty zombie book may be disappointed. It will be interesting to see where the author takes this series.

Here is the book trailer from YouTube: