ARC Review: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Untitled-1Title: Being Sloane Jacobs

Author: Lauren Morrill

Publication date: January 7, 2014

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 352

Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss / Finished copy bought from Fully Booked

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository / Fully Booked

Synopsis:

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads 

My review: 

Being Sloane Jacobs is about two girls with the same name who both want to escape their complicated lives. One day, figure skater Sloane Emily Jacobs and hockey player Sloane Devon Jacobs bump into each other at a hotel in Montreal. Upon discovering that they’re both going to skating camp (Sloane Emily) and hockey camp (Sloane Devon), they grab the chance to live an unfamiliar life and decide to switch places.

Fresh, witty, and honest, Lauren Morrill’s writing would charm its way to anyone who reads her stories. Her words sound natural and effortless. Authentic emotions drip from her characters’ voices that explain how simple conversations become meaningful.

Adorned with relatable characters and plausible situations, Being Sloane Jacobs certainly won’t disappoint. This novel truly encapsulates the ups and downs of teenage life—falling in love, fitting in, family drama, low self-esteem, and a string of other teenage obstacles. Sloane Emily and Sloane Devon each have interesting thoughts. Every chapter carefully describes the lives of both characters showing elements that make them different from each other yet so much alike. Sloane Emily and Sloane Devon’s lives blend well together so their switch makes perfect sense. Moreover, the alternating POVs offer fresh and exciting adventures. Having said that, reading this book was a lot of fun! The romance is appealing especially that of Sloane Emily and Matt. I swooned over Matt’s sweet words and good looks. Such a lovable, charming guy!

Aside from the delightful things I mentioned, I also find Being Sloane Jacobs an inspiring read. The story conveys that getting out of a person’s shell leads to becoming a better version of one’s self. Sloane Emily and Sloane Devon both have varied interests. And with their switch, they are challenged to try something new—something way out of their comfort zone. The outcome? Both girls discovered they could do things they never thought they could. It’s really just a matter of being fearless to welcome change. Well, you never know until you try, right?

A cheerful, entertaining novel, Being Sloane Jacobs characterizes a story that is worth reading. I enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone looking for a light and amusing contemporary YA experience.

Rating:

4/5 stars

ARC Review: Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt

Bright Before SunriseTitle: Bright Before Sunrise

Author: Tiffany Schmidt

Publication date: February 18, 2014

Publisher: Walker Children’s

Pages: 288

Source: e-ARC from publisher via Netgalley (Thank you, Bloomsbury!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository

Synopsis: 

When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, “miserable” doesn’t even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother’s first marriage and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real… until she breaks up with him.

For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she’s really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand. She’s determined to change his mind, and when they’re stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance.

Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.?

One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Bright Before Sunrise is a delightful tale about love, embracing change, and opening one’s self to possibilities. Tiffany Schmidt’s sincere and effervescent writing made it so difficult to put this book down.

Realistic and compelling, Bright Before Sunrise tells the story of Jonah and Brighton, two completely different people who connected with each other over the course of one night. I loved that this book is written in alternate POVs of the guy and the girl. I couldn’t think of a better way for this story to be told as dual POVs thoroughly present the distinction between two characters.

Tiffany Schmidt created believable characters with engaging voices so their thoughts were such a pleasure to read. Jonah Prentiss is the new kid in town. Cold, aloof, and withdrawn, he distances himself from the people at school, not giving them a chance to know him. He has a tough time adjusting to his new life in Cross Pointe and still clings to his old life back in Hamilton. Meanwhile, Brighton Waterford, is the most popular girl in school and is loved by everyone. Sweet, innocent, and friendly, she wears a smile that lights up the hallways of Cross Pointe High School. Yet behind the brilliance of her smile, Brighton carries a burden that turns off her light as soon as she lets it weigh her down.

Jonah doesn’t like Brighton and Brighton is determined to find out why. Then destiny worked its magic in a surprising turn of events that led to Jonah and Brighton’s one night adventure filled with drama and sweet-as-vanilla-ice cream- sundae moments. Beautifully flawed and genuine, Jonah and Brighton have a natural chemistry that makes their interaction seem effortless. Their contrasting personalities became a great help in understanding each other’s differences and a firm foundation for their blossoming relationship. Jonah and Brighton proved that it doesn’t matter how long a person has to know someone to have a meaningful connection. The story also imparts the message that letting go of the past and moving forward are the keys to a promising new beginning. Beautiful, don’t you think?

A fun and adorable read, Bright Before Sunrise is a charming reminder that love happens in magical and extraordinary ways. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading feel-good contemporary YA romance. This book will certainly brighten up your day!

Rating:

5/5 stars

ARC Review: Fates by Lanie Bross

FatesTitle: Fates (Fates, #1)

Author: Lanie Bross

Publication date: February 11, 2014

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 336

Source: e-ARC from publisher via Netgalley (Thank you, Random House Children’s!)

Purchase the book:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository

Synopsis: 

One moment. One foolish desire. One mistake. And Corinthe lost everything.

She fell from her tranquil life in Pyralis Terra and found herself exiled to the human world. Her punishment? To make sure people’s fates unfold according to plan. Now, years later, Corinthe has one last assignment: kill Lucas Kaller. His death will be her ticket home.

But for the first time, Corinthe feels a tingle of doubt. It begins as a lump in her throat, then grows toward her heart, and suddenly she feels like she is falling all over again–this time for a boy she knows she can never have. Because it is written: one of them must live, and one of them must die. In a universe where every moment, every second, every fate has already been decided, where does love fit in?

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads 

My review: 

Fates is an intriguing story about fulfilling destinies. It has a promising plot and the author’s writing is simply beautiful. Words laced with the creative vision of an artist, Lanie Bross’ descriptions of things, places, people, emotions, and situations project sharp, bright images to the reader’s mind. The world, rather, worlds she created gleam with the mystery and beauty of impossibilities.

But in spite of that, I struggled in connecting with the story and its characters. I felt that Fates is kind of complex. There is too much to know about Pyralis Terra, the world of main character Corinthe. Terms and ideas are thrown to readers and are explained. However, even with all those information, everything is still confusing. To be honest, the story needs solid history or background to thoroughly explain to readers the origin of concepts and how things are the way they are.

Even the romance aspect of the book was a bit vague so I, as a reader, got lost. The process of falling in love was not clearly presented. One moment Luc, the love interest, loathes Corinthe and in the next, he loves her because she understands him. Corinthe is Luc’s “Other” but how did that happen? I went back to previous chapters that led to Luc’s moment of realization looking for scenes wherein he showed signs of love for Corinthe. Yet, I found nothing. I didn’t see how and when the guy fell in love with the girl. There’s obviously a spark between Corinthe and Luc but I think there’s something more than that—a deeper meaning that justifies the attraction and love that Corinthe and Luc feel for each other. I hope the sequel will tackle more about their connection.

Although this story did not work for me, I still encourage you to give it a try because of its interesting take on the idea of destiny. Fates will appeal to fans of destiny stories with a touch of other-worldly magic.

Rating:

2.5/5 stars