I received this book for free from Publisher, Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

REVIEW: scythe, by neal shustermanScythe by Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Simon and Schuster on November 22nd, 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, Simon and Schuster
Amazon // The Book Depository
Goodreads

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

THIS BOOK IS PHENOMENAL.

when i received this title in the mail – having known nothing about the story or read anything by the author – i wasn’t sure if i’d like it. i sworn off dystopian novels after reading one too many but this one sounded so interesting. so i decided to read the first page and i knew, right off the bat, i would love this novel.

i love everything about this book – the writing, the plot, the characters, everything. my love for this book came in quiet waves. i started off being really intrigued, but that soon became something more. the plot began to build (love all the twists and turns it all has – nothing i was expecting!) and soon enough i was flipping through pages and rooting for characters and screaming at situations. i also love how there was a romance in the story, but it was very slow-burn and wasn’t the main point of the storyline. it was so small that i almost thought there was no romance at all! but the chemistry builds and it becomes more obvious as the story progresses.

the main reason why i love this novel is due to its recurring themes. i find it hard to see meaning/a purpose in some dystopian novels aside from an entertaining story, but SCYTHE was different. when you’re forced to kill people as your job (or you’re learning to kill people), your humanity becomes questionable. when you live in a world where there is no pain and your life is immortal, you see how detached we can become. nothing is at risk. is that really a perfect world? it made me really think about what it means to be alive and what it means to be human. it made me question the meaning of life and death.

the one thing i will say is it was a bit hard to reaaaaaaally connect with characters at first because the book is written in an omniscient POV. the story would jump around from person to person, making it easy for me to stop reading and do something in my daily life. also because of this, i didn’t feel the need to continuously read. BUT, this is my first time reading a book with this type of writing and it didn’t bother me too much. the writing itself was beautiful and i often found myself wanting to annotate.

all in all, this book is amazing. i wasn’t expecting much from it and now it’s one of my favorite reads of 2016. not only is the story well thought out, but i also gained a lot of perspective on what it means to be alive. and that, i think, is something really special.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.6

REVIEW: THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING

I received this book for free from Publisher, Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

REVIEW: the unexpected everything, by morgan matsonThe Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Family, Fiction, Friendship, Love & Romance, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 519
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, Simon and Schuster
Amazon // The Book Depository
Goodreads

Andie had it all planned out.
When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
Important internship? Check.
Amazing friends? Check.
Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks)
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
Because here’s the thing - if everything's planned out, you can never find the unexpected.
And where’s the fun in that?

THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING

THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING was, unexpectedly, everything i could ask for in a novel.

i wasn’t entirely sure what the story was about when i first started; the summary was a little vague and it simply seemed like a fun, summer read — which it was, but it was also more than that. unlike the other two Morgan Matson novels i read (SYBG and A&RED), the plot wasn’t very clear. we know from the start of SYBG that there’s a list and the main character needs to complete. TUE was much more… unexpected because we didn’t know where it was going. it was like a REAL summer when days blur together and all that’s left are the moments.

“…as I looked up, I wondered which of these stars – the ones that seemed so permanent and fixed – weren’t actually done changing quite yet.” (pg. 462)

a big part of this novel revolves around the relationships between people — friendship, family(!!), and romantic. at first, it was a bit difficult to differentiate our cast of friends, but eventually, i grew to learn their quirks and personalities. i love how accurate everything was to real life. some relationships started off rocky and awkward and i LOVED that because it made it much more natural. the way the story plays out makes me realize and appreciate how important all the relationships in our lives are.

i love love love our characters. for one, the main character’s real name is ALEXANDRA and i immediately felt a kinship with her because i’ve never read a book with an MC that has my name. even though she couldn’t be any more different me, i still understood her. andie’s character arc is so pronounced and kind of empowering. a big reason why MM is one of my fave authors: her character arcs are FANTASTIC. another big reason: the male leads are SO SWOONY… in an awkwardly nerdy and adorable way. clark is probably my favorite of her male leads (yes, more than frank porter) because HE’S SO WONDERFUL. i’m just going to leave that that because i can’t elaborate without going on for another 5,000 words. (and also, the two of them together are SO ADORABLE.)

“If whole galaxies could change, so could I.” (pg. 505)

my favorite aspect of this novel was the honesty of each character and situation. i keep repeat myself saying it’s SO REAL, but it’s true; it really is so real. like yes, there are some situations that are tropes or clichés or “not realistic” (like being the senator’s daughter? REALLY??), but looking beyond and past those things you see the honesty of it all. the reactions and interactions of these people. the growth and concept. (sounds sentimental, i know) i could see myself having these conversations in my real life, and it made me feel as if i were truly part of the story.

“Life is so short, my darling. And there’s no day like today.” (pg. 474)

as you can clearly tell, THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING is fantastic. i was initially worried i’d be disappointed by my high hopes but nope, i truly enjoyed it! it was, i suppose you could say, less interesting than MM’s other works because there wasn’t thaaaat much going on in the plot and instead focused on characters, but in many ways, it made me like it more. all in all, TUE didn’t disappoint and i’m really happy with how things wrapped up.

story soundtrack: summertime, by the mowgli’s

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.8