Rummanah Aasi
  I read a bunch of books during the last half of December and wanted to do a few reviews before I get to the reviews of this year. I will be reviewing The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar, and Moonglass by Jessi Kirby in this post. I apologize in advance if you've been waiting a long time to read these reviews.

Description (from Goodreads): The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.
   Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Review: I was really disappointed with The Name of the Star, the first book in the Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson due to my high expectations for the book. I really like Maureen Johnson's contemporary books and her funny, quirky characters so I was a bit confused with her latest venture into a supernatural/paranormal series. While the book has a great premise, it lacked all the trademarks of a Johnson book such as great characterization and likable characters. I didn't find anything memorable about it. With the exception of the great and creepy presence of the Ripper himself, there wasn't much to look forward to. I figured out the twist, though it was clever, and knew how it ended. I think I will pick up the other books in this series, but I won't be rushing to read them.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and some graphic violence. Recommended for strong Grade 7 readers and up.

If you like this book try: Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves (to be released in April 2012)

Description (from Goodreads): Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago at schoolies week.
   And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?

Review: Several of my awesome blogger buddies did a Kirsty Eagar Appreciation Week and have adored this book. Many thanks to Missie, The Unread Reader, for allowing me to borrow her book so I can read and review Raw Blue. Powerful, unflinching, realistic, and simplistically yet beautifully told. Raw Blue lives up to its perfect title hitting us in the gut with a horrible incident of rape that immediately puts us out of our comfort zone. Though the event has happened in the past and there isn't graphic detail description of it, it is crystal clear that Carly is still suffering through the consequences of shame, guilt, and anger. She has built a wall around herself and accepting the simple tokens of kindness around her is a huge step. Though a lot of the surfing background went over my head, I really enjoyed the story of Carly and Ryan. Both are realistically drawn, showing and balancing their good and bad sides, which is refreshing and honest. While the romance doesn't counterbalance Carly's darkness, it does provide her and the reader some hope that she will be okay in the future.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language and a few small sex scenes in the book. Due to the mature content of the book, I would recommended for older teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: Pipers Son by Melina Marchetta, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Description (from Goodreads): Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.
   While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.

Review: I picked up Jessi Kirby's debut novel Moonglass after reading some pretty good reviews about the book. Unfortunately, I didn't feel the same as other bloggers. I felt like I read this book before with better characters and prose that made me feel some type of emotion. Moonglass is the story of Anna coming to terms with her mother's suicide. I didn't hate or love Anna, but I found her to be two different people at different parts of the book. At one moment, she is depressed, feels guilty of her mother's death and in the next moment she seems to be more worried about catching Tyler's, sweet and handsome lifeguard, attention. Speaking of romance, it is just a subplot that really goes no where besides the flirty glances and dialogue here and there. The book's climax is pretty obvious and the pacing is very slow. I had to put the book down numerous times and nothing stuck with me after I finished it.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and a scene of underage drinking. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try:  Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
8 Responses
  1. Given your reaction to The Name of the Star, I actually think you are being pretty nice with 3 stars! I was all giddy about this book since I have a thing for Jack the Ripper stories, but I was hesitant after reading the pdf preview she offered. I never picked it up, but I'm thinking this one wouldn't be for me, either.

    And, of course, I LOVE what you have to say about Raw Blue! Wonderful analysis!


  2. Jenny Says:

    Yay Raw Blue! So glad you enjoyed that one Rummanah, it was one of my favorite reads last year. Carly just tugged at my heart and wouldn't let go the whole time I was reading. Too bad on In the Name of the Star, that one was really high on my "read as soon as you have time" list, but if the characters aren't overly memorable then I think I'll pass. Loved these mini reviews!

  3. Bum deal about The Name of the Star. I don't think I'll be trying it anytime soon.

    And Yay for Raw Blue. I have hope for Carly too.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Your mini-reviews are pretty awesome. I have not read any of those books...but Ive heard Raw Blue is very emotional. I was on the fence about Moonglass, I think Im going to skip that this rate with my backlog of books I wouldn't even get to it until I was 50!

  5. Linds- I wavered with this one. I mean I liked it enough to finish it but went away with a "meh" feeling.

    Jenny: I may be in the minority who didn't find it compelling. The characters were just too bland for me.

    Missie: I like the fact there isn't an immediate resolution in Raw Blue but just enough to know that Carly will get better. Thanks again for letting me borrow your book!

    Tina: Moonglass is a short read but it took me a while to read it only because I would pick it up and then get easily distracted.

  6. I haven't read any of these, but I've heard very mixed reviews of THE NAME OF THE STAR. Reading this review, I think I'll hold off a little, maybe try for a library book or something.

    As for RAW BLUE, I've heard amazing things about that one. I think that's why I've waited to read it. I'm always nervous it won't live up to the hype. :D It seems that it really is good. I think I really need to read this one.

  7. I loved Raw Blue even though the surfing lingo when over my head too, and although Moonglass was slow-paced, I really liked it. I haven't read any of Johnson's books but I'd like to give The Name of the Star a try. I've seen some mixed reactions to it so hopefully I'll like it more than you did.

  8. I'm so disappointed you didn't like Name of the Star. I've been looking forward to it. Maybe I'll luck out and like it. I can't wait to read Raw Blue.

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