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Publisher: Scholastic

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: P.S. I Like You by Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point on 26 July 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, Pivot Point, Split Second, On the Fence, The Fill-In Boyfriend

Place(s) Traveled To: Morris, Arizona

First Line(s): A lightning strike. A shark attack. Winning the lottery.

There are few authors out there in which I get really excited for…ok that’s a lie…but you know the feeling I mean that bouncy excitement when you hear that author x has a new title coming out. Its that moment when you know you want the book right that instant and it almost doesn’t even matter what the book is about because you want it and you’ll love it because it is author x. Well, Kasie West is that sort of author for me and I yearn for a new book from here even as I’m just starting her newest book. Such is the case with P.S. I LIKE YOU which is a story that I devoured and then was left a wee bit sad at the end because I didn’t savor that first time read. I’ll never experence these characters for the first time again and yet I know that there is nothing that could have slowed down my reading process because the story was just that engrossing.

West has a gift for writing likable and believable characters and in creating a world that you want to exist in. Kasie West’s characters aren’t perfect, they make mistakes and there are times when you want to shake them. Lily could be frustrating at times with her attitude towards one character but over all I adored her. I also loved her friendship with Isabel. Those girls are everything I like to see in a friendship in books. They support each other and they also call each other out on their crap. I hated when they fought and my heart ached during those moments and I loved when they came back to each other. They were real friends, unlike so often in a YA book when the BFF is more of a frenemy than a friend.

PS I Like You Quote

And then there was the boy. *inesrt happy sigh here* Oh how I loved how West reveled the plot of PS I LIKE YOU. I adored the note exchange and how Lily and her love interest got to know each other without bias. In letters you can more easily be yourself. You don’t have to pretend if you don’t want to and over the course of several exchanges Lily and her guy revealed secrets and likes and just got to know each other without filters. There was no pretending or putting up false fronts and their exchanges just make your heart ache at times. Especially when the time comes to leave letters behind and to maybe find that common ground in the real world. This transition is one that West does beautifully and oh how it all made my heart melt in the end.

PS I LIKE YOU was a quick read and one that I loved. In my opinion, you really can’t go wrong with a Kasie West book. They are fun and enjoyable and I’ve loved them all. Although if I were to pick a favorite then, right now, it would be PS I LIKE YOU. This book isn’t perfect but its pretty gosh darn close and I know that I will be re-reading it often. PS I LIKE YOU has everything I adore in a story and even a little bit more. Its Kasie West at her best and I’m already hungering for her next book. West is usually an instant love for me and if she is for you as well then you’ll be wanting to make sure you get your hands on PS I LIKE YOU.

irishdarkblue IR - PS I Like You

Add In Real Life by Jessica Love to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Friday, November 6, 2015

Review: George by Alex Gino

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: George by Alex GinoGeorge by Alex Gino
Published by Scholastic on 25 August 2015
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Middle Grade, Social Issues
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, USA // Bronx, New York

First Line(s): George pulled a silver house key out of the smallest pocket of a large red backpack.

***There will be spoilers in this post so read at your own risk***

I first learned of GEORGE by Alex Gino when I received an ARC of it at BEA and I loved the premise and how the back of the book read “Be who you are.” I think that GEORGE has the potential to be a very empowering book but while I wanted to love it there were parts of it that just fell flat for me. For one, GEORGE is very short which isn’t uncommon for a middle grade read but as such I think that things were a bit rushed and felt unfinished. I also thought that the book was filled with extremes that while might be a good way to get a point across to a tween it just didn’t sit well with my adult self. The emphasis on gender separation was a bit grating and how boys were always represented by a blue color had had to do certain things and girls by pink. How the class lined up by gender and seemed to have separate entrances.

But even with the over emphasis on gender I did love George as a character. She was so sweet and genuine and made my heart ache with the responses of adults around her. Like her teacher insisting that the part of Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web could only be played by a girl and how she laughed when George tried out. That wounded my heart so much because there is no reason why a boy couldn’t play the role and also because George, while born in a male body wasn’t a boy. I loved how sure and secure George was in her thinking and I hated the doubts she had about telling the truth of her idenity to those around her. I loved how accepting her friend was and I hated the response she got from adults. Especially her mother.

George Quote

For months, George has been collecting girl magazines and hiding them in her room. They are her treasures and she loves to look at them and imagine how life would be if she looked like the girl she knew she was. When her mom finds this stash, mind you these are magazines like Teen Vogue, she flips out and yells at George that ‘he better not dress up in her clothes.’ As if that was something shameful and wrong. One of my favorite moments in the GEORGE was when she and her friend Kelly go to the zoo and she gets to be Melissa, which is the name she’d go by if she had a choice. She gets to wear a skirt and be the girl she is on the outside as well as in and she is just so happy. That’s how I wanted George to feel throughout the book.

I also felt that the reactions of George’s mother and teacher went from horrid to not in a whiplash inducing way. George’s mom went from telling George to not dress in her clothes and thing that ‘he’ was gay to being ok with George knowing she was a she. Although when George asks to be able to grow out her hair and live as a girl her mother still seems phobic about it. And that unsettled me as it seemed to put a grey cloud over the positive message that GEORGE was trying to be. But even though GEORGE unsettled me at times I do wonder how actual tweens will react to this book. Perhaps the extremes are needed to get points across to younger minds that see things more in black and white than in shades of grey. I also think that GEORGE is an important book and a good introduction to what it means to be transgender. I hope that we get more transgender books in the future for all age levels

irishdarkblue

IR - George

Add Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky to Goodreads.

Add Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review: Anything Could Happen by Will Walton

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Anything Could Happen by Will WaltonAnything Could Happen by Will Walton
Published by Push on 26 May 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, GLBT, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Warmouth // Samsanouk – Unknown USA

First Line(s): Let me tell you about the first time I knew for sure I was in love with Matt Gooby.

ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is the young adult debut novel by Will Walton and is told from the POV of Tretch who feels uncomfortable in his own skin at the start of the novel. Not because he is gay but because he doesn’t know how to tell those that he is closest too and so he feels awkward around them. To complicate things, Tretch believes that he’s in love with his best friend Matt who is most definitely into girls and who keeps trying to hook Tretch up with a date. For a short novel, ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN, took my awhile to read as it was a slow moving story. It also didn’t help that there didn’t feel like there was much spark or life to the story even with all that was going on. There were many ideas in ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN but they weren’t really fleshed out enough to be interesting to me.

Another thing that hurt my read of ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN was that there was no real romance to the storyline. Yes, Tretch had feelings for his friend Matt but he knew from the start that those feelings would never be reciprocated. Now I don’t always need romance in a story to like it. Sometimes the lack of romance can be refreshing as its so different than the norm. But I think in this case a romantic storyline could have only helped things as there would have been some action to the the story. Though even without a romance I did like Tretch’s character. I liked his love of music and how he wasn’t afraid to get lost in the lyrics and to make up dances to his favorite songs. I remember doing that myself when I was growing up and this book gave me a sense of nostalgia for those moments as its something I stopped doing somewhere along the path to adulthood.

Anything Could Happen Quote

At its core ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is a book filled with secrets. There are so many secrets being kept by all the characters. The fact that Tretch is gay, how Matt really feels about this one girl, and various family secrets. It made for a lot of things to keep track of and deal with which weighed this story down. I think its all the secrets that made this one a slow read for me. It just seemed as if ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN lost focus at times and could have used a bit more focus and direction.

I did enjoy the friendship of Matt and Tretch but there were times when it seemed like Matt was using Tretch. Like Tretch was a placeholder until his real life began. When something happens at the end of the novel, and not Tretch’s coming out to his friend, it just seems as though Tretch was more affected by it than Matt was. Though I did like how accepting Matt was of Tretch and the feelings Tretch had for him even if he didn’t reciprocate. ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN will never be a favorite book but I do think its an important story and that Walton is an author to watch. I look forward to seeing what Walton writes next and I hope that I like it better than his debut.

irishdarkblue

IR - Anything Could Happen

Add None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio to Goodreads.

Add Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: Red Riding Hood Gets Lost by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: Red Riding Hood Gets Lost by Joan Holub & Suzanne WilliamsRed Riding Hood Gets Lost by Joan Holub, Suzanne Williams
Series: Grimmtastic Girls, Book 2
Also in this series: Cinderella Stays Late
Published by Scholastic on 25 March 2014
Genres: Adaptation, Adolescence, Fantasy, Friendship, Girls & Women, Middle Grade, Mystery & Detective, People of Color
Pages: 192
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Cinderella Stays Late

Places Traveled To: Grimm Academy, Grimmlandia

First Line(s): “Red Riding Hood?” The voice of Tom Thumb, Grmm Academy’s drama instructor, cut through twelve-year old Red’s thoughs like a woodcutter’s ax slicing into a willow tree.

Red Riding Hood Gets Lost by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams starts about a week or so after the events in Cinderella Arrives Late take place. Red Riding Hood Gets Lost is a companion novel to the first book in that it has a different POV character but it is very much a direct sequel as you do need to read the first to understand what’s going on in this book. The girls are in much the same place as we left them and they are still trying to figure out just what E.V.I.L. is up to and who might be in the group. As with the first book, Red Riding Hood Gets Lost is a quick read with a simple premise that I am sure those in the target audience will enjoy.

Red is a likable character and I enjoyed her story and how she interacted with her friends. Though I think that I enjoyed Red and Wolfgang’s scenes the most. The two characters were adorable together and I sometimes found myself wishing that this book was more YA than MG so that there could be some kissing scenes. Wolfgang was a sweet character who liked to tease Red and he had a bit of that bad boy edge to him in that he may or may not be a part of the E.V.I.L. society. (I guess even tweens like the bad boy trope or maybe this is where the love of the redeemable bad boy begins?)

As with Cinderella Stays Late there are plot points that are resolved but so many more that aren’t. The ones that are resolved are the more minor ones of the story and the bigger one is left open. Which means that to find out what happens next you really need to read the next book in the series. This just makes me sigh as it draws out the story too much and I hate being forced to read the next book just to see how it all closes out. Especially since the next book will be from a new POV and so there will have to be a bit of background to introduce this character and she’ll have her subplot/drama to deal with that will take time away from the bigger story ARC.

I do think that the Grimmtastic Girls series is cute and worth reading but I just wish that there was a little more to each installment. It seems that just as we are about to learn something about the big mystery that the book ends which makes me fear that the whole thing is going to be very rushed when we reach the conclusion. I will be reading Snow White Lucks Out when its available as these are fun books but I don’t think they’ll ever be a must read series for me.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: Cinderella Stays Late by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: Cinderella Stays Late by Joan Holub & Suzanne WilliamsCinderella Stays Late by Joan Holub, Suzanne Williams
Series: Grimmtastic Girls,
Also in this series: Red Riding Hood Gets Lost
Published by Scholastic on 25 March 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adaptation, Adolescence, Fantasy, Friendship, Girls & Women, Middle Grade, Royalty, Social Issues
Pages: 192
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Red Riding Hood Gets Lost

Place(s) Traveled To: Grimm Academy, Grimmlandia

First Line(s): Twelve-year old Cinderella clutched her school supplies and cloak in one arm as she walked down the hall in Grimm Academy.

I’ve been trying to diversify my reading a bit and part of that is to explore the middle grade genre a bit more so when an opportunity arose to read Cinderella Stays Late by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams I took it. Cinderella Stays Late is the first book in a new series by Holub and Williams that re-tells the fairy tales that we know and love. This book, like The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, takes place in a land where the characters of those fairy tales attend a fairy tale boarding school. Each student has their part to play and they are also uniquely their own person separate from their story. Cinderella Stays Late focuses on Ella as she is finally able to attend the Grimm Academy and her first days are a bit rocky thanks to her stepsisters. Luckily for Ella she meets up with Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White and the four become fast friends.

Cinderella Stays Late is a quick read and definitely one for the younger middle grade audiences (The School of Good and Evil is more upper MG or young YA). Its a cute read though some of the names are a bit hard on an older reader as they are a bit ridiculous but I don’t think that younger readers will mind as much. Cinderella Stays Late is the start of a mystery about the rise of a secret society, an E.V.I.L group, that Ella and her friends stumble upon as Ella learns the ins and outs of the school. The girls take it upon themselves to try and determine just what this society is about and just as the mystery really starts the book ends. There isn’t a huge cliff hanger to the story but there isn’t a ton of resolution either. Fortunately for readers the next book in the series, Red Riding Hood Gets Lost, releases on the same day and so readers can easily dive into that book to see what happens next.

I enjoyed Cinderella Stays Late and liked Holub’s and William’s writing style. I thought that the setting and and the adaptation of the various fairy tales was well done making them unique to this world and yet recognizable at the same time. There are no great surprises in this book but I think it will appeal to younger audiences. The main group of friends all have their flaws but they learn that when they work together they are stronger and can turn those flaws into something positive. Cinderella Stays Late is a fun read and this is a series that I look forward to reading more about.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review: Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Better Off Friends by Elizabeth EulbergBetter Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Published by Scholastic on 25 February 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Friendship, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: South Lake, Wisconsin // Milwaukee, Wisconsin // Dingle, Ireland

First Line(s): Guys and girls can be friends.

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg is a young adult retelling/homage to the movie When Harry Met Sally. When you compare the two the story line is pretty faithful but as a result this also makes it pretty predictable. The little random interludes between each chapter where also a giveaway of what was to come as well and as such kind of took away from the story as a whole. Yes, as a reader, I know that most contemporary novels will end with character x and y getting together but its nice to see it all unfold as there is always that chance that the story will end up in a direction that you never quite expected and those you thought would end up together may not. These interludes though make it a foregone conclusion and so the relationships that happen in between you know are doomed even before they begin so its hard to get invested in them.

I did like how Better Off Friends was a multiple POV story. As I really like books with multiple points of view, however, I am so not a fan of random head jumping. That changing of POV just for the sake of convenience which is most found in adult romances and just drives me batty. For the most part Better Off Friends avoids this and each chapter swaps between Macallan and Levi and its all pretty structured. With the exception of the last but that last chapter almost gave me whiplash with changing POV every other line. Which on my kindle would have made this impossible to tell who was who as the formatting was just not there. Fortunately I also had the option to read this via my BlueFire app and so there was a noticeable difference in the font for Macallan (bold) and that of Levi.

Better Off Friends was a quick read and I am sure that its one that will appease both Elizabeth Eulberg fans as well as those who loved the movie When Harry Met Sally. I am normally a sucker for retellings but there was just something about this one just never really settled with me. As I mentioned above I just never really became invested in this story. If I didn’t read it in almost a single setting then there was a good chance that I’d have put it down and never picked it back up again. There was no sense of urgency to see how it would end. And I think that is in part because of those chapter interludes that I mentioned before.

Much of the plot in Better Off Friends was the result of the main characters refusing to communicate with each other. If they just talked to each other but what they were really thinking…and then listened to what the other was saying. Then so much angst and grief could have been avoided. This goes for the friends in Macallan’s life as well as for her relationship with Levi. This put all the characters slightly more towards annoying on the likability scale. Better Off Friends wasn’t a bad book but its not one that I think I will reread. Eulberg writes a good story and I’ll continue to pick up her books, I just hope that she tries something new next time and avoids a retelling of something so well known.

irishdarkblue

three-half-stars
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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Middle Grade, Review1 Comment

Review: The Lost Boy by Greg RuthThe Lost Boy by Greg Ruth
Published by Graphix, Scholastic on 27 August 2013
Genres: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Paranormal
Pages: 192
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Crow’s Woods, America

First Line(s): Go to him.

The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth is a middle grade paranormal graphic novel  and as such it is an easy read. The images that accompany the story of Nate and Tabitha’s adventure are stunning and filled with so much detail. The book contains no color but as you get into the story you almost see what colors should be with all the images. The Lost Boy isn’t just Nate and Tabitha’s though, there is a story within a story as they find tapes belonging to a kid named Walter who disappeared years earlier. Then there is this whole secret fantastical world where animals talk and fight in this secret war and that’s where this whole story starts to fall off the rails for me.

There is just so much going on that the story just gets so convoluted and it was sometimes difficult to follow along what happened. There are the bugs and the button boy and Walter’s story in the past and Nate and Tabitha in the present and just so many other details that just made it all too much. So much so that I was often taken out of the story and just had a hard time sticking with it. The only things that kept me from marking The Lost Boy as a DNF were the drawings and the fact that it was so short.

Another aspect of this book that left me a little dissatisfied is that it appears to be a standalone book and yet the ending was so open. The main story ARC was closed out but there were just so many open threads. The ending wasn’t a cliff hanger, per say, but it wasn’t a clear cut closed ending either. There is definitely potential for The Lost Boy to be turned into a series. If it is I think I would be torn on if I wanted to pick it up or not. On one hand I am curious to see where all this might go and on the other its just so exhausting thinking about all the overdone storylines that it might contain.

irishdarkblue

 

three-stars
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Review: The Season by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult5 Comments

Review: The Season by Sarah MacLeanThe Season by Sarah MacLean
Published by Orchard Books on 01 March 2009
Genres: Adolescence, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Parents, Young Adult
Pages: 343
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, The Rogue Not Taken, A Scot in the Dark

Place(s) Traveled To: Essex, England // London, England (1815)

First Line(s): The rain fell steadily on the slick rocks marking the edge of the Essex countryside, where the land fell in sheer cliffs to a frigid winter sea.

It is the year 1815, the elite of London are still the titled class (aka the Ton) balls and parties are a common thing and if you are a young girl, around 17 you are about to enter your first Season. The Season is a big deal it is where all ladies and gentlemen of a certain class go to mingle, to see and be seen…and if you are an unmarried girl you go with the purpose of trying to find a suitable match in the crush of society. Any man won’t do and love really isn’t the aim of young single girls. Its all about elevating your status. To marry above you rank if possible or at the very least marry someone of equal status. To marry below could result in doors being shut to you and your family. This is the world that Alexandra Stafford is born into. She is the only daughter and youngest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Worthington. Her mother has been waiting for Alex to come of age almost since the day she was born and would be having the grandest of times….if only Alex would cooperate. Alex has other plans though she wants to enjoy time with her best friends Viv and Ella. She doesn’t want to get married at only 17…especially when most of the eligible marriage minded males are at least twice her age! But she goes to the balls to appease her mother and she makes sure to drag along her 3 older (and eligible) brothers and old family friend Gavin Sewell, the new Earl of Blackmoor. For as they say, misery loves company. During the crush of the Season, Alex and her friends stumble on a mystery…a question that the previous Earl of Blackmoor, Gavin’s father, may not have died of an accident. That he may have been murdered. Sensing some fun and intrigue to what would otherwise be a boring Season, Alex and her friends begin to investigate….and along the way may end up where they least expected.

The Season is the first novel of the amazing Sarah MacLean. She has created a rich and vivid world with some of the most intriguing and believable characters (can I just give a shout out to Freddie?? Love him!). Alex is filled with life and spunk and just makes you want to be her friend. If I could survive in Regency England then I would so try to be a part of her crowd. They conform without really conforming and are able to maintain their sense of self in a time and place where it is really difficult to be a woman. The options open to Alex, Vivi & Ella are far far different then what girls our age face today. MacLean does a wonderful job in giving the history of this world and its social constraints without bogging the narrative down in details. The mystery isn’t one that is over the top and is realistic as is the involvement of Alex and her friends. While not an ideal pursuit for ladies of their social standing they always do their up-most best to keep from causing a scandal and bringing shame upon themselves. For while I am sure that there were many ladies happy to toe the line and stay fully within the social dictates there were those that would push the limits to see just how far they could go. Alex is a fun & witty character and I love her interactions with her family and her friends (have I mentioned Freddie?). This was a great read and I am eagerly awaiting books to be written for other characters in the series like Vivi and Ella….and of course Freddie!

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter,
Published by Scholastic on 21 July 2007
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Fantasy, Friendship, Magic, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 759
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

Place(s) Traveled to: London, England // Godric’s Hollow, England // Hogsmeade, Scotland

First Line: The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.

Today marked the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the 7th and final book in the series by JK Rowling. Today was a day that I both longed for and dreaded. I longed for this day because ever since I read the last word of Half-Blood Prince (HP 6) I have wondered what was next for the boy who lived and his friends. I have dreaded this day because it also marks the end of an era. The final chapter of a story over ten years in the making.

I came under the influence of Harry a little late, starting to read the series shortly after the publication of Goblet of Hire (HP 4) but the moment that I first stepped foot on Privet Drive and followed Harry to platform 9 3/4 I was hooked. Like so many others I was standing in line awaiting the midnight release of Deathly Hallows and after dropping off the friend who kept me company I eagerly began to read the final chapter of the Hogwarts world.

Book 7 opens like the previous 6, it is summer and Harry is at No. 4 Privet Drive with the Dursley’s. Harry should be preparing to leave for his final year of Hogwarts and worrying about his upcoming NEWTs and what he wants to do after graduating. However, The Dark Lord has also risen and is swiftly taking back the power that he had prior to his run in with Lily and her year old baby. Also, this year Harry is just about to turn 17 and with his birthday marks the end of the protection given to him by his mother when she gave up her life to save his. Without this protection then if Harry is caught by the Dark Lord then it will almost certainly result in his death. So rather then return to Hogwarts, Harry goes on the run accompanied by his two best friends Ron and Hermione. Together the three of them must work together in order to follow the last task that Headmaster Dumbledore set for Harry. Find the remaining Horcruxes that Voldemort used to hide his soul and destroy them. For while they are intact Harry will have no chance in winning a battle with him.

What follows next is a fast paced journey in which Harry and his friends suffer many ups and downs while they search for the Horcruxes and at the same time avoid getting captured by the Death Eaters or Scavengers. The Death Eaters search for Harry in attempt to gain favor with the Dark Lord. Scavengers hunt for Harry and all wizards who are not of the pure blood in order to collect the reward money. And if Harry didn’t have enough to worry about but Rita Skeeter is about to publish a book entitled The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore which causes him to begin to doubt the man that he loved and trusted as a mentor and father.

This book has it all love, loss, adventure and brings the reader to both laughter and tears. (Those who have finished the book know what I mean). Like all the books that came before it I was unable to put this book down and loved almost every word. My only disappointment came with the very end, the epilogue. To me the epilogue seemed a little hurried and the phrasing just didn’t seem to mesh well with all that came before and while it answered some questions it also left many unanswered. As much as I want to know what happens to the surviving characters I feel that I think the better ending would have been to leave off the epilogue. Or at least leave off this epilogue.

Overall, I thoughly enjoyed this book and the series. I have loved getting to know Harry, Ron, Hermione, Sirius, Ginny, Neville, Fred, George, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Snape, Draco and all the other characters in this series. In turn they have all made me laugh, cry or gotten me so mad that I could spit. I am glad that I got to know them and while there may be no new adventures about Hogwarts these stories will always live on in my heart and I look forward to one day introducing the boy who lived to any kids and grandkids that I might have.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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