Review: After the Storm (Angel Island #2) by Marie Landry

Book Title: After the Storm (Angel Island #2)
Author: Marie Landry
Release Date: April 8th, 2014
Publisher: Marie Landry
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Companion to Waiting for the Storm (My review is here)
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:
For most people, starting senior year at a new high school would be a nightmare, but for Ella O’Dell it’s the new beginning she desperately needs. Two months after her mother’s death, she’s ready to leave behind the rebellious, unhappy person she became when she found out her mom was dying. 

When Ella meets River Maracle and Sadie Fitzgerald, she begins to learn it’s okay to be herself, even if that means being different. River and Sadie aren’t ashamed of their misfit status—River grew up on a reservation, and his mother is the school counselor; Sadie stands out with her funky homemade clothes, and is a master at ignoring the whispered rumors that have plagued her since the beginning of high school. 

Ella finds a kindred spirit in Sadie, and something more in River. After almost a year of pretending to be someone she’s not, she finally embraces life and allows herself to have fun without constant guilt. But despite her budding happiness, something is off with her new life. She doesn’t want to dwell on the past, but Angel Island is a small place, and she soon realizes her demons are harder to outrun than she thought…

After the Storm is a standalone companion novel to Waiting for the Storm.

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

When we met Ella O’Dell in Waiting for the Storm, she was not kind to anyone, even herself. Especially herself. She dealt with her mom’s death by rebelling in a big way, putting herself in danger more than once. It’s not until the end of Waiting for the Storm that Ella has a breakthrough. This breakthrough continues on into After the Storm.
Now Ella’s about to start her senior year at a new school. She won’t be the girl whose mother died, since most people don’t know about her mom, but since Angel Island is teeny tiny, she’ll definitely be the girl who partied hard all summer. She’ll be considered a “fun girl” an “easy girl” and Ella wants nothing more than to leave that time in her life behind. She wants to reinvent herself into a new Ella.
She had never been the type of girl to have loads of friends before her mother got sick but while her older sister, Charlotte cared for their mother, Ella went out and became popular. Ella doesn’t want the pressure that came with popularity anymore. She wants to find herself in more ways than one.
She meets Sadie and River on her first day of the new school. Sadie has been assigned to be Ella’s buddy in the beginning. Sadie has been best friends with River since he came to the Island. Both Sadie and River have their own secrets and as Ella gets to know each of them separately and together, she gets a glimpse of their lives.
Sadie was a complete standout for me. She had adopted this “I don’t care what anyone else says or thinks” mentality when it came to her outfits and her mannerisms. But as Ella discovers, Sadie’s got her own demons that she has to face every single day of her life. After we got a glimpse into Sadie’s home life, I just wanted to hug her. 
Now River was a fun character. He really was an awesome guy. I loved that he didn’t let the fact that his mom worked at the school bother him. Most teenagers would have been mortified that their mom worked at their school. He was wonderfully patient with Ella which I loved. He understood that she didn’t want to rush things and he respected that. He knew that she had a rather colorful past but he wasn’t going to let that ruin what they were building together.
“You’re the girl I care about. Whether you’ve slept with a dozen guys or you’re a virgin. What matters is who you are now.” River

As much as I loved River, he still doesn’t beat out Ezra in my list of swoony boys on Angel Island. Speaking of Ezra, I was thrilled to see that Charlotte and he were major parts of this book. We got some great Ezra & Ella moments and even some great Ezra & River moments. Clearly, these boys adore the O’Dell ladies.

My all time favorite scene in this book was with Charlotte, Ella and the candle. I sobbed so violently during that part. It was written beautifully and even just remembering that part, makes me tear up all over again. I loved that there was so much sister bonding in this one. Obviously we didn’t get a lot of it in the first book. I would also say that this book was even more emotional than Waiting for the Storm.
Watching Ella figure out what she wanted and who she wanted to be in life was hard sometimes and so rewarding at other times. Watching her realize that she needed to stop punishing herself was beautiful and incredibly emotional. Especially when it came to River. Over the summer she had hooked up with a fair number of guys. She used her body simply for sex. She allowed boys to use her body simply for sex. Watching her become more aware and confident in herself was beautiful.
“I want to be powerful in all the right ways. I don’t want to be wanted for my body.” Ella

Tears. Instant tears.

River helped her to realize that she was worth more than just her body. That her heart was worth protecting as well. He helped her see that having and enjoying sex did not make her a slut.

“I’ve also learned that enjoying sex with a guy who genuinely cares about me doesn’t make me a slut.” Ella
Ella did a whole lot of growing and learning in this book which I loved. She learned a lot about herself and about her friends and family. She learned a lot about respect and standing up for herself and others. She learned to love herself for possibly the first time. This book was absolutely beautiful and amazing and full of heart. It’s totally getting 5 stars and if I could give it more, I would. I cannot wait for Sadie’s story. I already know it’s going to be amazing.

Review: Poor Little Dead Girls by Lizzie Friend

Book: Poor Little Dead Girls
Author: Lizzie Friend
Publish Date: December 18th, 2013
Published By: Merit Press
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Is it a game? Or is it murder?

The first time she’s blindfolded and “kidnapped,” Sadie, a brand-new star athlete at a posh boarding school, is terrified. Luckily, it’s all a prank designed to induct her into a powerful secret society that her mom belonged to at Keating Hall. The circle has it all – incredible connections; fabulous parties; and, of course, an in with the brother society’s gorgeous pledges. The instant popularity is enough to make Sadie forget about the little marks on her arm, creepy black robes, and an unfortunate incident that befell a girl on the team years ago. So the next time Sadie is gagged and kidnapped, she’s only slightly annoyed – even though she should be extremely terrified of what’s to come.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Initially when I first started reading this the word pretentious was hanging around in my head. However pretty quickly I got sucked into this world that reminded me a lot of a darker version of Dead Poets Society, a 1989 movie that I love so much.All the mystery and intrigue in this book kept me guessing until the very end.Now that is the very thing that I look for in a mystery book.

Sadie has lived with only her father since her mother’s suicide.All this time she has believed her father’s stories and explanations about her mother and her illness. After only a few months at Keating,everything she has been told turns on its head.She is forced to figure out the truth. What really happened to her mother? Did the secret society that lives in the underbelly of both Keating and its brother school Graff, have something to do with May Marlowe’s death?  And what does the mysterious Anna who was the most recent casualty of Keating, have to do with all of this.

I really loved Sadie. She was not like the other girls of Keating.She was an esteemed lacrosse player and unlike the majority of the Keating girls, she was anything but rich. I am sure that’s what attracted her to the secret society initially. The secret society allowed her to appear rich when the opposite was actually true.It also allowed her to feel as though she belonged somewhere which was important to her as she was initially feeling like she didn’t belong at Keating.

I knew there was something up with Thayer almost immediately.I knew that she was probably involved in this group and in the initiation ceremonies as well. Her “boyfriend” Finn was an asshole as was his father Teddy. It wasn’t until the end that we realize exactly how important these two characters actually were.

“Try that again and all you’ll be seeing is the tip of my kneecap in your Cranston family jewels.” -Sadie

Finn was quite handsy with every single girl he seemed to encounter. On multiple occasions he attempted to “get with Sadie” but Sadie never fell for it. I felt horrible for Thayer. She was stuck on this guy who clearly didn’t respect her or any other woman.Near the end,I began to realize that Finn’s reactions and behavior was a facade for what he was really going through.

I loved Jessica so much from the very beginning.I had a feeling that she was one of the good ones and I was so glad that she stuck by Sadie through it all. As for the twins, I knew that there was more to them than met the eye. I had thought for the longest time that they were a part of this secret society and it wasn’t until the end that I got my answer.

Brett and Olivia were two other characters that were moderately important to the storyline. Brett more so than Olivia. I actually wished we had gotten to see more of Olivia than we did.

I adored Jeremy,he was a good guy,who like Sadie, got caught up in all this secret society stuff. When he realized the dangers of it,instead of simply continuing with it with no regard for Sadie or himself,he banded with Sadie to stop the craziness.
Something that Jessica said during the second half of the book really stuck with me.

“Trust me,the more you get to know these people,the more you realize that they’re really not untouchable at all. They’re just as screwed up as the rest of us-they just have better costumes to wear” -Jessica

This book was awesome. It was a struggle to put it down at night as I always wanted to find out what happened next.The pacing was great,the editing and grammar could use a little work but the book itself does not come out until December so many of the capitalization and punctuation issues will be fixed I’m sure.It was creepy and thrilling and so many questions were not answered until the very end of the book which I really liked.

So this book is getting 5 stars from me. If you like YA thriller type books,then you definitely need to give this book a try. With that, I will leave you with one final quote from the book.

“Don’t let them take you into the basement.”