Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

Book Title: Feral
Author: Holly Schindler
Published Date: August 26th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Thriller
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened. 

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

Disclaimer: I received this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

What a mind blowing, confusing, twisty book this turned out to be. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started it and even now that I finished it I am still unsure of exactly what I read.

But I’m unsure in the best way possible. Because this book was confusing and I kept having a million and one questions and theories. It took me awhile to really get into the book and a couple times I contemplated not finishing it because it was taking so long for me to get into it. If I hadn’t been looking forward to this book so much, i probably would have decided not to finish it.

But I’m so glad I stuck through it because it was totally worth it. The way Schindler used the cats in this story added an extra level of creepiness in it. Bonus being that I love cats so to see them featured so prominently in this book was an awesome treat. 

Claire Cain was a great main character. She was dealing with her attack in Chicago as best a person can deal with it. I loved that she had a father who was so present in her life. Usually in YA books, the father is AWOL or he’s a total douche-canoe, so yay for good fathers. An added bonus was that he was a single dad. Those are featured even less often in YA, so kudos to Schindler for that. 

I really loved that Claire wanted to go into journalism and that he desire to work on certain projects wasn’t hindered by a guy. She stayed focused on what she was trying to accomplish.

The only secondary character I really liked was Rich. Becca, Chas and Owen were overall pretty bland characters. I didn’t feel like I got to know Becca, Chas or Owen very well throughout the story. There was definitely some lackluster character development here.

The ending was my favorite part. It was fast paced and totally creepy. It kept me guessing all the way to the end. Even when I thought things would end one way, I was wrong and things ended a completely different way. I give this book 4 stars. It did take me awhile to get into it and there was lackluster character development for the secondary characters. But definitely read this book if you like creepy stories that keep you guessing.

Review: Random by Tom Leveen

Book Title: Random
Author: Tom Leveen
Publish Date: August 12th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble 
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Who’s the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of Before I Fall andThirteen Reasons Why.

Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It’s a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line.

He asks for a single thing—one reason not to kill himself.

The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he’ll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can’t help but suspect the caller is a fraud. But what if he’s not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.

With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger—and maybe redeem herself—leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything…

Disclaimer: I received this book from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion.

This book had so much potential to force the reader to take a good, hard look at how they treat others and how their actions can have devastating consequences. I was excited about this one and I wanted to love it so badly, but it just didn’t work for me.

This book was very short, but it was also very fast paced, something that I would have liked a lot if the book itself had been compelling, which it was not. I found that I was forcing myself to read this book, in the hope that it would somehow start getting better and better as the book continued.

But I was utterly bored through the majority of it. There seemed to be a disproportionate amount of dialogue to the rest of the book. I wanted less dialogue. I mean, I know lots of dialogue would be necessary for this book, but I wanted more scene setting and descriptive language.

None of the characters really intrigued me either. Tori was a bitch who clearly didn’t understand that, yes, she was partially to blame for the death of someone she knew. Andy & Noah were both boring as hell. The character development was pretty much non-existent. I know it can be hard to develop the characters fully in such a short book, but the author didn’t even try to develop them at all. They were all very one-dimensional, which bummed me out big time.

I thought for the longest time that Andy was screwing with her and that he wasn’t actually serious about his plans to commit suicide. Which of course, enraged me even more. Committing suicide is not something to joke about. Just the idea of that makes me so mad all over again. It’s serious stuff not to be taken lightly. I wish more people would realize that. It’s not a joke, it’s not funny. I didn’t think I would have such a strong negative reaction to this book, but I did.

The revelation at the end also pissed me off. I could not believe that the author took the story this way. It felt like the entire book was a complete waste of time and it made me wonder why the heck I had forced myself to read this book if it was going to end this way. 

This book was a colossal waste of my time and I am so upset because it really had the power to be something fantastic, but it was horribly executed. I’ll be giving this book 1.5 stars.

Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Book Title: Dangerous Boys
Author: Abigail Haas
Publish Date: August 14th, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: YA Thriller
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: The Book Depository 
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?

Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Abigail Haas is a diabolical GENIUS. It’s no secret that I loved her previous book, Dangerous Girls. I honestly didn’t know what to expect with this book, but I hoped that it could measure up to Dangerous Girls.

And it did just that. Actually I think I enjoyed it more than Dangerous Girls, but I’m not exactly sure why that is. Two completely different ways of telling a story, but they both had the suspense, the mystery and the intrigue. I really loved how the story was told with two separate timelines. One was present day and one was everything leading up to that day. That way seems to be a new way of telling stories and I’m digging it big time. One of my other favorite books of 2014, Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang, also told the story in the same way.

In Dangerous Boys, we meet a girl by the name of Chloe who is living in her own personal hell. She’s taking care of her mom who had fallen into a deep depression after her husband left her for his pregnant mistress. I had complicated feelings about this scenario. On one hand, I was frustrated that Chloe didn’t go away to college like she planned because she felt like her mom needed her. It was not Chloe’s responsibility to take care of her mother. Her mom was an adult for goodness sakes. Yet, I am extremely close to my mom and she went through her own bout of depression 4 years ago and I could never have left her to fend for her own. I would never have forgiven myself for leaving her.

See, what did I tell you. Complicated.

Chloe meets Ethan and his older brother Oliver. Ethan makes her feel safe, protected and adored. Whereas Oliver challenges her, and awakens a part of her that she didn’t even know existed. Chloe remains torn on these boys even as her relationship with the younger Reznick brother, grows. She cannot shake the feelings she is having for Oliver.

When something happens to Chloe, she calls Oliver and I think it’s because two of them would have handled the incident the same way. If Ethan had been made aware of what had happened, things would have been handled much differently and both Oliver and Chloe realize that.

The ending was amazing, and full of suspense as we, the reader is finally given the full picture of what happened on that night. Which boy survived? Which boy did Chloe leave to die in the burning inferno.Was it murder or self defense or a terrible accident. I can say that I absolutely didn’t see so much of this coming. Abigail Haas has definitely earned herself a spot on my auto-buy list. 5 stars for this book full of mind fuckery.