I was a bit wary when I first picked up Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Powers because the synopsis didn’t attract me greatly. Still, the cover was too gorgeous for me to put down, and it was marketed as a teen mystery/thriller which I usually love. I do wish that the book would have been clearer from the get-go that it would include some paranormal elements… I don’t enjoy horror/sci-fi books as much as I do mysteries and it detracted from my experience of reading this.
Anyway, one thing I completely loved in this book, right from the start, was the writing style. This is the first book I’ve read from Rory Power but she seems to me the kind of writer that has a very powerful, lyrical style that lends depth and beauty to her books. This translates very well into the relationships between characters. The neglectful and sometimes abusive relationship between Margot and her mother, for example, I found well-written and emotional to read.
That’s as far as my compliments go for this book, unfortunately. I did not like the individual characters. I found Margot, our protagonist, boring and with little personality of her own. Other characters like Gram and Tess are barely developed and mostly confusing. The plot doesn’t get much better either, with a slow start and rushed ending. There were a couple twists that shocked me, and some plot lines that I haven’t read in any other YA mystery, though. The action also gets much tighter (see: gory) near the end, which surprised me since the first two thirds of the book was mild. Still, the plot, characters, and mystery aspect was disappointing to me.
I give Burn Our Bodies Down 7/10. If I’d known to expect a horror/paranormal aspect to the book, maybe my rating would be higher. If not for the beautiful writing and complex mother-daughter relationship this book portrays, my rating would be lower. I recommend this to anyone who wants a creepy and weird thriller with well-written scenes but flat characters and a just-tolerable mystery.
The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat
Skip This Entire Red Section If You’re Not Interested In My Life
Today, I created a schedule for everything that I was going to do. That was my plan to prioritize my time and be more productive. I decided that I was going to start reading at 10am to 1pm. I completely underestimated how long it takes to read an average book. It took me 5 hours! My brother kept telling me to play Fortnite since the season is ending, I told him no! I haven’t even watched a single youtube video today. It is amazing how a book can pull you into it’s world to make it feel lke you’re there.
Normally, I wouldn’t read adventure books like this, but while I was reading the summary on the back of the book, I noticed that it was about a sibling relationship, sisters! Now, I am intruiged. This book is about a girl named Izzy, she’s moved with her family 11 times and now she is living in the most boring city you can imagine. I won’t give any spoilers but she realizes that her life is not so boring after all.
I felt that the intro was a bit unnecessary. Everyone thinking Marian was a witch honestly didn’t help with any of the story. I really liked how at the start, Izzy was being a bit mean to Hen (her sister) without realizing it, but when she started to look for her, she thought of all those times where she should have thought before she spoke. I relate to this in some way because my brother is always judging me on everything I do. Hopefully, someday my brother will realize his actions and change his perspective on things.
I loved the little touch of detail that they put on the cover. At the end of the book, Selden wrote a note saying “DO NOT FORGET US- S∃LD∃N. In the title, Changelings was spelled with a backwards E.
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
This story is about a girl named Emma Saylor Payne. She doesn’t remember her mother (Waverly) very well, she died when Emma was 12. But, she does remember the stories that her mother told her, the big lake with nice cold and clear water that went on forever. Now, it’s just Emma and her dad. Her dad remarried and they went on their honeymoon. Sadly, due to the issue of Emma not having a place to stay, her dad had to think, Emma’s grandma had an idea for Emma to stay with her mother’s family. During her 3 weeks at north lake, she slowly familiarizes herself even though the last time she’d been there was when she was 4. Emma knows what north lake looks like from imagining it from when her mom told very detailed stories. But, Waverly didn’t describe the people there. Emma’s journey awaits by introducing herself to these soon to be friends, hopefully…
Hilarious, real, compelling. Noggin by John Corey Whaley is a fresh new take on the cliché woke-up-in-the-hospital-with-amnesia trope spun into a breathtaking new tale.
Travis Coates was dying at sixteen when he decided to cyrogenically freeze his head in the hope that some time in the future, doctors and scientists could bring him back to life. Five years later, Travis wakes up in the hospital with his head attached to someone else’s body. And having some athletic guy’s biceps is the least of his problems; the best friend that came out as gay to him before he died now has a girlfriend, Travis’s own girlfriend is engaged and Travis is almost certain his dad is cheating on his mom.
As I’ve mentioned before, this plot line closely resembles the common amnesia plot line with a whole new side to it as Travis had to get used to having an entire body that didn’t belong to him. There were many parts of this book that I loved: Travis’s relationship with his mom is the sweetest parent-child relationship I’ve read in a YA novel, Travis and Kyle’s friendship, (small spoiler here) Travis finally meeting the family of his body’s donor (spoiler over). There was one major aspect of the story, though, that got on my nerves. Travis’s girlfriend is engaged, and many, many times Travis makes advances on her despite her having clearly said she doesn’t want him.
How To Keep Rolling After a Fall is about a teenager with a really, REALLY, bad past. (Nikki) From the start, you’d think that she was a normal teenager…except for the fact that she was framed for a cyberbullying incident. Normally it wouldn’t have been so bad, but the victim attempted to commit suicide. People hate her, her reputation is tarnished, and she has to hide her identity in fear of being called out and recognized.
However, after a brutal breakup, Nikki’s luck turns around. She meets a guy named Pax, whose dreams of being a water polo player are ruined when a car accident cripples both his legs. Stuck in a wheelchair, Pax has to give up on scholarships that were available before everything happened. Miraculously, these two people meet and are involved in one another’s lives.
Can both Nikki and Pax have a second chance at life, or let the past get to them until their whole future is gone?
Out of a scale of 1-10, I’d rate this book 8.5. (Lost points for taking too long to get together)