Category Archives: Netgalley

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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passengerTitle: Passenger

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Expected Publish Date: January 5, 2016

Pages: 464 pages


Henrietta “Etta” Spencer, the lead protagonist of the story, is a violin prodigy who’s raised by Rose (her mother) and practically by Alice (her mentor). She lives her normal life in New York and if she is not in school, she is most likely found at Alice’s place; practicing continuously for hours and hours with her violin.

Etta, even if she’s raised by her mother, feels that something is missing between their relationship. She feels that no matter how hard she tries to receive her mother’s affection, or catch her attention, and earn her appreciation, she is always denied.

What does it take to ignite their relationship and finally bridge the bond between her mother and her? Why does Etta know very little of her family’s past? What secrets lurk in their, her, bloodline that’s keeping her from the truth?


Passenger by Alexandra Bracken was a curious read for me. Now that I thought about it, it sort of follows the footsteps of Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis because they both “travel” through a portal of some sort (though Spinning Starlight travels to different dimension while Passenger travels through time) and both, unfortunately, in some way lost me when they started talking Sci-Fi-ish.

The author knows her words and is capable of using them beautifully like how she can fluidly describe her characters emotions, what’s stimulating their sensations, and with a few words, an intimate love scene between Etta and her love interest, Nicholas. However, there were times when I skimmed through her words due to excessive world building or inner dialogue and there were times when I had to muscle through a chapter because it felt like reading everything was a chore.

I had information overload when the author started talking about music concertos, a pirate’s life, traveling back in time, Etta’s family history, and how to find the passages. Nevertheless, it seemed like she did a great deal of a research regarding the topics (though I never verified that). The plot did make me feel random emotions especially when it started talking about slavery and the ideology behind it, how Nicholas described Etta as a “fierce queen on a battle field,” the secrecy and deception, and most importantly feminism.

Overall, Passenger was a good read. I must say that I LOVE the calligraphic design of the title and if you look closely, you can see Nicholas’ ship capsized beneath the beautiful New York City.

Disclaimer: I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

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flawed

Title: Flawed

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Expected Publish Date: April 5, 2016

Pages: 368 pages


Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule. And now faces life-changing repercussions.

She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.


When everybody in a community, in a society, that strives for perfection — perfect grades, perfect demeanor, perfect body, perfect reputation, perfect everything, what does it mean to be Flawed?

Flawed are the citizens who have made moral or ethical mistakes in society. The location on where you get branded with F varies per mistake. On top of that, you have to wear an armband with  a big honking red F to make an example out of you; to remind the good citizens of Highland to never make a mistake.

Flawed is written in a first person point of view by Celestine North. She started by describing her family, her relationship with Art Crevan, and Judge “Bosco” Crevan. She also went in detail how the Guild works, and its “justice” system.

Life seemed perfect for Celestine. . .

However,

Will she stand up for what’s right, or will she lie to keep her perfect life?


 

Flawed was a controversial read for me and its blurb did not do any justice to its content. If the characters weren’t in their teens, this could easily pass as an adult fiction. This book is a mixture of the idea of Divergent (Janine wanting to get rid of Divergents thus keeping society “pure”), a modern version of The Scarlet Letter (the red A and the isolation and ridicule that comes with it), and The Hunger Games (when they want to use her as a symbol for change/rebellion).

The book had more talk than I really wanted, but it certainly kept my pulse up when there’s action. It tackled prejudice, discrimination, segregation, isolation, and bullying. Flawed also has espionage, secrets, lies, and betrayals. Nobody helps a Flawed girl for free. Everybody has a hidden agenda for themselves.

So what makes this book a Young Adult book?

Besides their age, here are a few things that reminded me that Flawed is a YA book.

  1. “Art’s decision to stay away from me. . .hurts more than any branding.” Celestine was branded multiple times with hot cast iron (with anesthetic, the last branding without) and I am sure she was in a lot of pain not to mention the pain while the scars are healing. After being judged as Flawed, she was singled out, hated on, spat at, reputation ruined, future uncertain, and all Celestine could think of is her boyfriend? As a feminist, I would prefer girls portrayed strong and not worrying about any lanky boy for their happiness (no matter how gorgeous their blue eyes are).
  2. “If I have power to bring down Crevan, then I will do it. Then Art and I can be together.” Again, really? Why does the lead female character have to have a boy as a reason to fight? Why not, “Because Crevan is a conniving SOB who used his power for his own gains and literally ruins anybody who goes against him?” or because “He turned against me when I did not allow him to use me for his benefit?”
  3. “Who’s Logan?” After being gone for God knows how long, Art shows up to find Celestine. Instead of asking how she’s holding up, the first thing that came out of his mouth was petty jealousy. I just can’t with this boy.

However, even if the book has some shallow parts, I cannot deny the fact that I LOVE how the author tried to have diversity of the characters.

  1. Celestine’s dad is black and her mom is white.
  2. Mr. Berry has a husband.
  3. Devon sleeps with boys “even if his parents wished he didn’t.”

Overall, Flawed was a good pick me up from not being able to read for a good four months. Will I buy the printed version? Maybe. Do I recommend this book? Yes, to those who loved The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Scarlet Letter.

Disclaimer: I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars