December 2015 Book Reviews

FACELESS

Alyssa Sheinmel

Maisie is recovering from an accident. When she was running, a tree was struck by lightning and she got caught in an electrical fire, her skin and face badly burned. She’s offered few choices in the hospital, where she opts for a face transplant. With medical, physical, and emotional complications, the operation changes Maisie’s life and the lives of those closest to her. Maisie tries to adjust back into her old ways with school and friends and her boyfriend, but nothing is the same. So Maisie turns her focus to her healing and her future. 

This is a brilliant story of identity, friendship, and acceptance. The writing was quick and easy, with short chapters keeping the story moving at a great pace. I read the majority of the book in one day (and was out most of that day/am not a particularly fast reader). I knew from page one that this was something I was going to like and fell easily into the flow of the story. The author doesn’t complicate with heavy terminology, but does include plenty detail. The book is sharply written and honest – a good one for fans of Louise O’Neill.

INFERNO

Catherine Doyle

Just when I thought VENDETTA couldn’t be topped . . .

INFERNO continues on from where the first book left off, with a blood war brewing between two powerful crime families and Sophie caught up in the middle of it. The conflict is unavoidable for all who’re involved – willing or unwilling – and everyone has a part to play in the Marino-Falcone war. But Sophie doesn’t let anyone scare her into doing what she believes is wrong. She really grows in this book and carves out her own path.

This is an incredible sequel in Catherine Doyle’s Romeo and Juliet meets The Godfather YA series of secrets, lies, loyalty, feuding families, and forbidden love. Think modern day Boardwalk Empire with lots of kissing. Great pacing, masses of energy in the writing, and lots of Falcones *heart eyes*! My top 3 things: Mille and Sophie’s friendship, the un-be-liev-able twists, and Luca! A series not to be missed.

FRONT LINES

Michael Grant

This is such a great book, set during WW2 where women are called up to fight in the war alongside men. The book follows three extremely likeable main characters with three separate journeys. Rio Richlin the solider is there to do her part, Frangie Marr in medical is there for money to support her family, and Rainy Schultermann in intelligence is there to put her skills to good use. I admired each of them for their talents in each field, and it was great to see them grow from enlisting, to training, to war.

Rio’s chapters were my favourite because of her friendship with Jenou and some of the other characters around her. I felt like I got to know her the most and she saw the most action. Each storyline was incredibly well developed, to the point it felt so real, which in turn made me feel involved. Such a clever, well thought out book. I look forward to reading more!

ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN

Gavriel Savit

Set in Poland in 1939, Anna’s father attends a meeting and doesn’t return. Anna — seven years old at the time — is left alone in a world she is wary of without him in it. And a world at war. Anna tries to grasp that word, to understand it. She can speak many languages, adapt to many situations — but who is Anna now?

After a couple days alone, Anna meets the Swallow Man and together they learn a new language — their own language — and try to stay out of sight, to stay alive. The Swallow Man’s observations and strategies as he guides the two of them on a journey unknown are impressive — his stories wonderfully crafted to reflect the world around them — and Anna absorbs it all. She grows and she learns alongside her Swallow Man. A mystery surrounds him throughout the book, but the comforting factor Anna finds in him is clear. This is a cleverly done and beautifully written tale of loss, hope, survival, and trust.

Also read this month:

Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Apollyon by Jennifer L Armentrout