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Mar 31 2015

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

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20898019Novel: ​Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Illustrated by Adrian Alphona | Goodreads
Release Date: October 30th, 2015
Publisher:​ Marvel
Format:​ Paperback
Source: Bought
Also Published On: Reading Over Sleeping

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, New York!

If you know me, you know I’m Marvel obsessed, so when I found this new Ms. Marvel graphic novel on Goodreads I had this huge “OMG I want!” moment. I’m not even a big comics reader; I usually skim them, so this was an impulse buy for me. Now that I’ve read it, I am so pleased to say that I have been converted to a graphic novel liking (possibly even loving) person. Yay! 

This was a really quick read because 1.) It’s a thin book and 2.) It’s a graphic novel, so there aren’t a lot of words. Sometimes short, quick reads don’t have a lot of substance, but that was not the case with Ms. Marvel. There were lots of great and important things going on, the superbly amazing illustrations being only a part of it. 

Let’s talk about the beginning of the Great and Important Things going on here: the cover. Oh hey, the MC is a person of color, and there’s an actual person of color on the cover! The Important Things continue because the MC, sixteen-year-old Kamala Khan, represents two cultures that aren’t widely understood today. She’s a Pakistani Muslim who’s worried about not fitting in because kids at her school don’t get her differences. Sound familiar? Probably because this is a real life thing that happens all the time. 

“Maybe putting on a costume doesn’t make you brave. Maybe it’s something else.”

Not only is Ms. Marvel: No Normal a story about a girl learning to grow into her new superpowers, it’s also a story about self-discovery and acceptance. This graphic novel is a triumph for diversity, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the installments in this series! I highly recommend it. 

Serena
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Mar 30 2015

Find Me by Romily Bernard

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Find Me Novel: Find Me by Romily Bernard | Goodreads
Release Date: September 24th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Paperback
Source: Received a copy from author

“Find Me.”

These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target.

Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick. Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.

But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

I’m not going to lie. I went into this book with pretty high expectations because so many of my blogging friends love this book and raved about it all the time. Unfortunately, while I enjoyed the book, it left me feeling a bit disappointed.

The book’s premise is what originally drew me in. It sounds intense and exciting, fast-paced and just right for me. I love crime shows, and I always love the sequences when they’re hacking their way through a computer or a system. So intriguing! The book, however, remained a merely “okay” read for me.

Firstly, considering the situations and challenges the characters face in the book, particularly Wick, the book felt slow, dragging out parts that didn’t need to be. The slow pace doesn’t fit the expectation of something intriguing, as we’re led to believe in the blurb. Everything develops slowly, moves slowly, etc. On the other hand, a lot seemed to be resolved quickly, particularly Wick’s conflict with her father.
Secondly, while the characters themselves were interesting to read about, I really didn’t feel Griff and Wick’s romantic relationship. I like Griff on his own (A LOT), and for the most part, I enjoyed his interactions with Wick. However, when it was the two of them romantically, I really didn’t feel any real connection. After so many people talked about Griff/Wick, I was hoping for a lot more.

My last big thing against the book was that after a while, it seemed like the diary excerpts were either repetitive or weren’t really enhancing the story any more. At first, I really enjoyed those sections, but they seemed much less effective and necessary later in the book.

That being said, I did enjoy the book as a whole. I enjoyed the plot, and to some extent, it did hit my expectations. I loved the complexity of the situations, leaving you unsure of how much you agreed or disagreed with different characters’ actions. There was a lot going on, but it wasn’t overwhelming by any means. The relationships between the characters were generally well done, especially between Wick and her sister and Wick and her foster mother.

Also that ending?! What a twist! I didn’t see it coming at all. Now, I know I haven’t said much about the positives and the reasons why I enjoyed the book, but there was something about it that I can’t quite pinpoint. The story was still interesting and, for the most part, kept me engaged.

jessica
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Mar 29 2015

The Weekly Blaze {82}: March 23-29

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weeklyblaze

Hey Litlets! This has been a busy week here at Lit Up Review, mainly thanks to our very first Twitter chat! On Friday we talked about our March Spotlight Book Club pick, All the Bright Places, using the hashtag #LURchat, and we had so much fun!

Here’s everything else that happened:

Tuesday, March 24: Bella’s review of The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall: “As someone who will devour any spy novel or mystery placed in front of her, I’m delighted to call The Conspiracy of Us an absolute winner of a debut!”

Thursday, March 26: Ten Illuminations on Kick-Ass Heroines: “Since we at Lit Up Review love strong protagonists, particularly of the female type, we’re recommending a few of our favorites today.”

Friday, March 27: Our All the Bright Places Twitter chat announcement: “If this chat is a success, we’re aiming to make #LURchat a monthly feature, so stay tuned for more chat announcements.”

Saturday, March 28: The Spotlight Book Club Presents: The All the Bright Places Showcase: Read our reviews of this lovely contemporary novel!

Emily
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Mar 28 2015

The Spotlight Book Club Presents: The All The Bright Places Showcase

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spotlightbookclub

The Spotlight Book Club is one of the most exciting things we do on the blog! As avid teen readers, it’s hard to find a book online book club with readers like us all over the world. Each month we choose a book, and we will give you the entire month to read it. On the last Saturday of the month we will post a selection of mini-reviews (ranging from one of us to all of us) along with (we hope) an author interview, giveaway, or something else fun! Throughout the month, you can start threads on our Goodreads group to interact with other book club members. The only rule is you can’t spoil the book for everyone else! (We have revamped our Goodreads group, thanks to Klaudia. In addition, we hope you joined us for our #LURchat on Twitter, where we discussed the book. If you missed it, you can join us next month.)

March’s selection was All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven!

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Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

And now, our reviews!

jessica-sig

This.book. Okay, so it wasn’t the great book in the world or anything, and there were parts I didn’t enjoy or that didn’t entirely sit well with me, but overall, I can see why there’s so much hype surrounding the book. More than the fact that it’s part of the current YA trend, the book explores loss and mental illness so well. This shows the stark reality of mental illness–the way most of society deals with mental illness and those who suffer, the pain and suffering, the way it affects one’s thinking. The book doesn’t shy away from the truth, nor does it glorify such illnesses. But moving beyond that, I loved getting a glimpse of Indiana. I could never see myself ever living there; I’m pretty sure I’m a suburban-city girl, but it made me appreciate the smaller things too. I think that the biggest drawback about the book is the romantic relationship between Finch and Violet. It just never clicked with me until somewhere near the end of the book. Speaking of the end of the book, I totally saw that twist coming, but it still made me cry anyway (but I’m also a weakling when it comes to such things). At the end of the day, I think the end was very fitting of this book, and I came out of this with all the feels but also so glad I had read it. You can read my full review on Fly to Fiction.

Kaitlin-sig
I loved the characters in this book. Finch and Violet are two people who don’t have a lot in common yet become such good friends anyway. I liked that. If Violet and Finch didn’t become friends and just didn’t know each other, this book would obviously be a very different story. I also liked how these two came together because of a school project. (Even if Violet acted like she wanted nothing to do with Finch.) A strong relationship is an incredibly important part of a book.One of the things that scared me when I went into this book was the ending. I had heard that people thought the ending was really sad and that they cried. Throughout the book, I got ideas as to why the ending was so sad, but I didn’t want to spoil myself with the ideas, and I denied the facts. Yes, my assumption about why the ending was sad was correct. I cried, I really did. [Insert Jessica’s note: Me too, Kaitlin. Me too.]One of the reasons why I think I liked this book so much was because I liked Finch so much. I liked his character and how open minded he was. He was also a person where everything he said made you question everything. He wasn’t afraid of being weird or expressing how he felt. Reading from his perspective was always so fun and great. Finch’s personality is one of the reasons why this book can function the way it does, and I continue to love reading from and about his personality daily.
If you would like to read the full review, click here!
Emily-sig
I really liked this book, and my favorite part was all the Indiana references. As an Indiana resident, I was familiar with some of the destinations where the protagonists “wander,” and the story made me want to get out and explore my state a bit. I also adored both characters’ voices—their styles are both witty, intelligent, and emotional, and I fell in love with each smart and sensitive protagonist.
My only complaint about All the Bright Places revolves around the secondary characters, all of whom are a bit underdeveloped. Violet has the stereotypical caring family—perfectly happy before her sister’s death, still doting afterwards—and Finch has the stereotypical toxic family—violent father and distant, absent mother—and readers don’t get to see much more than that. Worst of all are Violet’s old friends from before the accident that killed her sister—they are basically only referred to as “sluts” and are only characterized as stupid popular girls. Readers do get a brief glimpse of a deeper side of one friend, but it’s short-lived and doesn’t make up for the narrow overall characterization of the girls.
Still, since All the Bright Places focuses so much on Violet and Finch and their relationship, the underdeveloped characters do not present as much of a problem as my last paragraph may indicate. As the cover proclaims, this book tells “the story of a boy called Finch and a girl named Violet,” and in that regard it absolutely succeeds. That story is heartbreaking, smile-inducing, full of witty banter, and so much more, and it’s sure to make fans out of plenty of contemporary readers.
Mar 27 2015

All the Bright Places Twitter Chat

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unnamed

We have an exciting announcement here at Lit Up Review—we’re hosting our very first Twitter chat! We’ll be talking all about our March Spotlight Book Club Selection, All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. We’ve talked a lot about the chat on Twitter, but for those of you who may have missed out tweets, consider this post your official invitation.

Interested in participating? As you can see thanks to the graphic (which was created by our contributor Kaitlin), it’s scheduled for this evening at 7 p.m. EST, and we’re using the hashtag #LURchat. You should bring questions and comments about the book, but please leave spoilers at home!

If this chat is a success, we’re aiming to make #LURchat a monthly feature, so stay tuned for more chat announcements, and I hope to see you this evening!

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