Review: Notes from Ghost Town – by Kate Ellison ~ more than a murder mystery

A murder mystery with a lot of gray areas – like, LITERALLY

Good story – Let’s hack it and make it great

Verdict: An atmospheric YA mystery with ambiguous supernatural elements and a bit of a love triangle (sorta). It was pretty good! I am reviewing an ARC so there are some aspects of the story that may change before the book is published. (the book’s cover is not even official – I had to take a pic with my phone). As far as the story goes,  I have some suggestions! (of course)

Perfect for: Contemporary and mystery YA fans will both find something to like. It’s cool that I can’t think of anything to compare this book to. Read the summary and tell me if you can think of any books with a similar premise. kthx!

Summary: While Liv is away at an out-of-state high school art academy, her best friend and was-almost-boyfriend Stern is murdered, and all evidence points to Liv’s schizophrenic mother. The bulk of the book happens months after the murder, just weeks before Liv’s mother will go on trial. So much has changed in those months: Liv has a new house and a new step-mom and step-sister; she is back at her old public school and all her peers look at her funny; she is forced to go to rich people’s parties and mix with snobby rich teens because her dad is in business with a wealthy real estate developer; she is reckless with drinking and hookups; and, oh yeah, she’s completely lost the ability to see colors other than black, white, or gray. And one more thing…. Continue reading

Review: Angelfall – by Susan Ee

Could be a bestseller

Only one element needs hacking

Disclaimer: This is a review of an Advanced Reader’s Copy of the book that I obtained from an ALA conference. The final version of the book will be published on August 28, 2012.

Verdict:  Angelfall blends well-worn elements from a slew of recently popular books, such as: a badass teenage girl who becomes a heroine in order to protect her weak younger sister and psychologically damaged mother (Hunger Games); a trek through an apocalyptic urban hellscape (The Road, The Walking Dead series, and The Passage, to name just three); an antagonistic partnership with sexual tension between a human and an angel (Hush, Hush, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Fallen and a bajillion others). The blending is successful, and even if the story is not wholly unique, it is a great read and is the first book in what is sure to be a successful trilogy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie rights get snapped up, either. Bonus points to the author for initially self-publishing with Amazon, gaining a following, and getting picked up by Marshall Cavendish publishers. You go, Susan Ee!

Perfect for: People who like any of the books listed above. You know who you are.

Continue reading to find out why this book worked so well

Review and Major Hackathon: Return to Me – by Justina Chen

The “Eat, Pray, Love” of Teen Fiction

Some redeeming elements; major hacking needed


Disclaimer: I am basing these hacks on an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) I received at ALA conference. The final published version may be different…especially if the publisher takes my advice 😉

Click to see my advice on how to get this book ready for publishing