Review: The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting

Book Title: The Taking (The Taking #1)
Author: Kimberly Derting
Release Date: April 29th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA.SciFi
Series: Book 1 in The Taking trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day. 

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men. 

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?
Diclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
Normally alien/SciFi like this really is not my thing. I am very picky about my SciFi but when I saw it on Edelweiss awhile back, I considered it. Even at the end of 2013 I wasn’t totally sold on it but I knew I wanted to expand my horizons book wise. So a couple of days ago, after my blogger friend Andi had bugged me for what seemed like the thousandth time, I picked it up and I devoured it.
Sixteen year old Kyra has everything a teenager could want. She’s got a doting boyfriend, parents who love her and love each other and she’s a rising softball star. Things change abruptly after a fight with her father after a softball game. The fight was over college and her plans to go to college in the fall with Austin, the aforementioned doting boyfriend.
A blinding white light changes everything.
When she comes to, she initially believes that she just fell asleep behind a dumpster. Strange yes, but what is even stranger is the world she finds waiting for her. She learns that it has been 5 years since anyone last saw her. Yet she hasn’t aged a day. Everything is different now. Her parents are divorced, Austin is away at college and in love with Kyra’s longtime best friend Cat.
And Austin’s brother Tyler has grown up.
Now I am really not a fan of the whole insta-love thing. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Insta-love doesn’t exist. Insta-lust definitely does and normally I would have labeled the thing between Tyler & Kyra as insta-lust but somehow I didn’t mind it. I rooted hard for Kyra & Tyler. There are so many swoony scenes for the both of them, but my favorite involves sidewalk chalk and a birdcage.
I loved this book. I loved the characters so hard and so much. I do hope that we see more of Simon & Willow in the next book because I really did like them. When Kyra begins to accept that maybe her father isn’t as crazy as her mother says he is, there’s an absolutely heartbreaking scene between Kyra and her mom. Her mom who used to be her best friend. I had a hard time with that scene because I kept thinking of my own relationship with my mom. 
I love books that are full of twists and turns and this book definitely brought that. In addition it also brought the feels in a big way. I was a wreck at the end of the book and it took me several minutes to calm myself down and stop crying. Derting combines, SciFi, Romance, and Contemporary all into one book. That is so hard to do and Derting did it. Not only did she do it, she did it amazingly. Even if you aren’t really into SciFi or if you are picky about it like I am, read this book. You will not be sorry. I am giving this book 5 stars and I cannot wait to see what happens next in this trilogy.

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.