Review: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Book Title: Complicit
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Release Date: June 24th, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else.

But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie.

Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know this one simple truth: she’s not the crazy one and never has been.

He is.

Disclaimer: I received this e-galley from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
By the time you read this I will have read and reviewed the first Stephanie Kuehn book Charm & Strange. I just knew the moment I read the blurb of this one, that I had to have it.The blurb sent chills up my spine. So when NetGalley approved me, I was super excited about it and I dove right in.I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but what I got was 256 pages of pure awesome mind-fuckery.

Jamie has been dealt a rough hand. As a child he lived with his mother and big sister Cate. Until the day that his mother was shot and killed right in front of him & Cate. After that, they went into foster care until rich people Angie and Malcolm Henry adopted them. It’s very hard for school-age kids to be adopted but this was a special case. Angie and Malcolm had recently lost their two children in a traffic accident.

At first Cate seems like she’s the well adjusted one. But Jamie starts to hear stories. Stories about how his sister is making other kids do stuff.Stuff that they don’t want to do. Of course Jamie is loyal to his sister, but then an incident changes that. An incident that shows that all those kids saying those strange things may not be so far off.

Then the fire happens and Cate is eventually charged with the crime. Finally, Jamie can breathe easier. “Crazy Cate” is in a juvenile detention center where she can’t get to him. But nothing is the same anymore. He’s an outcast, even his former best friend Scooter won’t talk to him. After all it was Scooter’s girlfriend who was horrifically burned in the fire that Cate set which also killed horses.

And then he meets Jenny. Sweet Jenny, kind Jenny. Jenny doesn’t know about Cate because her family just moved here. So to her, Jamie is just a normal guy. When she finds out about Cate from the other kids at school, she doesn’t shy away from Jamie.

Now Jamie is getting calls from his sister. He hasn’t spoken to her in two years and now she’s out and constantly hassling him over the phone.Jamie doesn’t want to ruin what he’s got going with Jenny but he’s also trying to recover certain memories. Memories that only Cate would be able to relate to.

It isn’t until he comes face to face with Cate for the first time in 2 years, that he starts realizing things. Memories that had been long repressed creep back into the forefront of his brain. Suddenly, everything he thought was true is being called into question.

Malcolm & Angie played pretty minor parts. Angie was in it more than Malcolm was. They were okay people. Angie was a good mom to the kids and when Malcolm was around he was good to both Cate &
Jamie. They definitely grieved for their birth children, Madison & Graham. Even going as far as encouraging Cate & Jamie into doing the kinds of things that Madison and Graham enjoyed. Such as horseback riding & playing the piano.

I think they tried to protect Jamie in the end. They had already lost their biological children and their adopted daughter was lost to her troubles. So they focused on keeping Jamie safe and happy. Even going as far as to baby him a bit. Especially when it came to the nerve damage to his hands.His hands had started giving him problems the night of the fire. Now whenever he was stressed out, the issues flared up again.

I just cannot believe what a ride this was. And the mind-fuckery? Totally crazy and this book messed with my mind in the best possible way. Oh man this book was fantastic.It was a total page turner because you never quite knew what was going to happen next and it was oftentimes, totally unexpected.

Thrillers are harder to review because there’s often no true feels in the books. There’s craziness and mind-blowing and all sorts of other things, but no true feels. With that said, this book will be getting the full 5 stars. It was totally awesome and Stephanie Kuehn has become another one of those auto-buy authors. Which means, I’ll buy anything this woman writes. I definitely plan on ordering a finished copy of this book.

Review: Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook

Book Title: Year of Mistaken Discoveries
Author: Eileen Cook
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Friendship is a bond stronger than secrets in this novel from the author of The Almost Truth and Unraveling Isobel.

As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared, they were both adopted.

Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact…until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it’s urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom, but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party.

Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora’s loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora’s who is also looking for a way to respect Nora’s legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she’s really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics.
Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.
Review:
This book tackles a lot of tough subjects and it does it pretty well. Not amazing, but pretty well.As small children, Avery and Nora bonded over the fact that they were adopted.Knowing that they knew they were adopted was great to see. So many parents often don’t tell their kids that they are adopted and I still don’t understand that. It’s like the parents are terrified that their child will reject them in favor of their birth parents.

From the beginning, it is clear that Nora has a desire to find her birth mom whereas Avery does not. Obviously she knows she’s adopted, but it doesn’t intrigue her like it does Nora. Actually I cannot even say intrigue as much as obsess. Nora becomes obsessed with finding her birth mom and when she is cruelly scammed, Nora descends into a self destructive phase that leads her to suicide.

BRODY! Oh my God, Brody was adorable and sweet and kind and… ugh, just EVERYTHING.He was a great friend to Nora and when she passed away, he was grief stricken. Yet he agreed to help Avery with her project.Avery claimed that she only wanted to find her birth mother in memory of Nora, but what she didn’t tell Brody, was that she was hoping a project of this magnitude would convince the people at Duke, that she deserved to be a student there.

Avery and Brody start off as friends which I loved. There was no cringe-inducing insta-love, nor cutesy nicknames.It just worked.It was a normal basically drama-free relationship.

The end of the book just crushed me. I cried so much at the end of it. Mostly for Avery. She just wanted acceptance from her adoptive parents. Acceptance that even if she didn’t get into Duke, she was still “good enough” Acceptance from her birth mother that she wasn’t ashamed of Avery.

I felt that the ending was unfinished. I felt like more could have been explored when it came to Avery and her birth mom. I felt like the author dropped the ball on this one. It left us wondering what happened next. I get that sometimes an ending needs to be open ended but not this time. Not with how important this story-line was.

Because of the ending feeling so unfinished, I’ll be giving this book 4 stars. It was a truly great read but I just wish that the ending hadn’t felt so unfinished.