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Crystal

I read and review Young Adult lit!

Member Since 2011

35
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 72 reviews
  • 78 ratings
  • 135 titles in library
  • 36 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
8
FOLLOWERS
5

  • Empress of the World

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Sara Ryan
    • Narrated By Lauren Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (48)

    Battle Hall Davies is a beautiful blonde dancer, and everything Nic Lancaster isn't. The two become friends-and then, startlingly, more than friends. What do you do when you think you're attracted to guys, and then you meet a girl who steals your heart?

    Tony says: "Story: Promising, Characters: Lacking"
    "Simply...simple!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A very simple story about a young girl dealing with the revelation that she is gay, at least when it comes to a particular girl she meets one summer.

    I say simple because the story follows the exact path you suspect it will. There are no surprises, you'll know how it ends from page one and yet it fails to build the tension or even dread a 'tragic' (no spoilers - I use the term loosely) story usually would.

    Unfortunately, it also never really tackles the big issues of teenage homosexuality or coming out.
    That can be a good thing - a straight up gay romance not mired in self-doubt or loathing is a great thing for a young GLBT teen to be able to read but Empress is ABOUT the big issues, the doubt and confusion the revelation causes so it's light approach made it feel lacking in reality and depth.

    All I can say, writing this review a year after reading it is...average.

    It’s not bad (which is sadly a pretty high compliment in todays YA landscape) but it also left very little impression.

    (As an aside, the focus on the character “Battle Davis” – not the protagonist but clearly the one the author cared the most about makes the story very uneven. The fact the second in the now ‘Battle Hall Series’ focuses entirely on her, in an unrelated setting and situation just makes the choice weirder!)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • TimeRiders: The Infinity Cage (Book 9)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Alex Scarrow
    • Narrated By Trevor White
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of TimeRiders: The Infinity Cage written by Alex Scarrow. Liam O'Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026. But all three have been given a second chance - to work for an agency that no one knows exists. Its purpose: to prevent time travel destroying history . . .

    Crystal says: "Devastatingly Disappointing."
    "Devastatingly Disappointing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    To say I was highly anticipating the series finale of Timeriders would be an understatement.

    I haven’t been as invested in a lengthy series since Harry Potter. I’ve been glowingly positive about every entry, even those a little lighter on the action and heavier on the overall story arc which comes to its conclusion here.

    To say I am disappointed with the series finale of Timeriders would also be an understatement.

    I am nothing short of devastated by this limp, uneventful and ultimately pointless wrap-up to a series I’ve repeatedly praised for being fresh, exciting, clever and unique.

    I’m so let down, not only by where the author took the series but how weakly the Infinity Cage was executed it has tainted the whole series for me.

    Given that the first 4-7 books focus more on standalone adventures (which were simply excellent) I would honestly recommend people only read those.

    If your curiosity is genuinely piqued by the hints and clues dropped about the Timeriders’ origins throughout the series…still don’t bother finishing the series because this wrap-up is ultimately unsatisfying.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Glory O'Brien's History of the Future

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By A. S. King
    • Narrated By Christine Lakin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last - a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.

    Crystal says: "Great Story, Shame About Glory"
    "Great Story, Shame About Glory"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I never fully warmed to Glory O’Brian. I found her heartless and I don’t give characters with a ‘tragic’ past a pass on being unpleasant, especially when they go out of their way to be so.

    Perhaps I came to understand her or at least sympathise a little but I failed to connect with Glory.

    As a result the framing story – newly graduated Glory O’Brien facing an uncertain future - failed to grip me.

    What did get me hook, line and sinker though was Glory’s own story – "The History of the Future". Apparently stricken with sudden physic abilities Glory begin to document the horrific future she sees for her, her friends and her country.

    It is this ‘plot’, unravelled from her snatches of physic vision,that had me fascinated and captivated. This is a unique take on how the United States could crumble – one I haven’t read before in the myriad of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction currently clogging the shelves.

    The book raised terrifying and thought provoking ideas that I wanted to immediately discuss with friends and that hands down makes the book worth recommending for me.

    As a woman, I enjoyed the feminist themes and ideas but I don’t think you have to be female to enjoy this. The issues raised can be appreciated by anyone who wants something more than a hot guy/hot girl romance from their YA literature.

    Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is expertly crafted so I think you'll have a hard time not being drawn if you give it a try!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Chasing Power

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Sarah Beth Durst
    • Narrated By Suzy Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Sixteen-year-old Kayla was born with the ability to move things with her mind-things like credit cards and buttons on cash registers - and she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again… which would mean grave danger for them both. When she's caught stealing by a boy named Daniel - a boy with the ability to teleport - he needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it.

    Crystal says: "Promising but failed to engage."
    "Promising but failed to engage."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I mistakenly expected a story about superpowers and I liked the idea of blending that with more mythical quest sort of story.

    Chasing Power was actually based around magic and magical abilities and while I enjoyed the Deep South voodoo elements, I generally don’t enjoy books about witchcraft.

    The premise was still interesting though and the characters had lots of potential.

    Unfortunately, Kayla and the rest of the cast ultimately failed to engage me enough to get through the messy third act.

    Chasing Power descended into anti-climactic melodrama with inconsequential villains that left me checking the time remaining.

    Chasing Power wasn’t terrible but it will be forgettable.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Don't Let Go: Don't Turn Around, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Michelle Gagnon
    • Narrated By Merritt Hicks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    After a devastating loss, Noa Torson is out of options. On the run with a few other survivors, Noa is up against immeasurable obstacles. Not only is her failing health becoming more of a problem, but the corporation's insidious plans are quickly coming to fruition. And no matter where Peter and Noa try to hide, they are inevitably found. The group is outnumbered, outsmarted, and outrun. But they are not giving up.

    Crystal says: "Disappointing ending to a squandered premise"
    "Disappointing ending to a squandered premise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I honestly don’t know why I persisted with this series.

    After a great debut, the second entry in the trilogy was lacklustre but I’m nothing if not loyal to a series that I start.

    Unfortunately my devotion wasn’t rewarded with a stellar wrap up to the trilogy.

    Don’t Let Go continued with a ho-hum fugitive tale that had the characters constantly moving but the plot left standing still. This entry managed to be even less dynamic though, because the POV characters were together for most of the story this time.

    Most disappointing is the utterly anti-climactic ending. The villains, new and old, ultimately present no real challenge for the protagonists. Honestly, the story could have been resolved in a similar fashion back in book one, so fruitless were the efforts of ‘heroes’ in books two and three.

    This review feels very harsh but as I’ve paid for and sat through three books in nearly as many years, I think my scorn is justified.

    I don’t recommend Don’t Let Go, nor the Don’t Turn Around series to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Random

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Tom Leveen
    • Narrated By Tara Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It's a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line. He asks for a single thing - one reason not to kill himself. The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he'll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail.

    Crystal says: "Interesting take on a tough topic."
    "Interesting take on a tough topic."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tom Leveen doesn't shy away from serious and modern teen issues in his books which is one of the reasons I both enjoy and respect his work.

    Random pulled out the big guns - online bullying and teenage suicide - and as always, Leevan took a unique and thoughtful approach the serious material.

    I recommend his work to anyone wanting to look at great modern teen literature grounded in the real world.

    Unfortunately, though, Random wasn't a particularly great read on its own merits. Don't get me wrong, it's better than 90% of the post-apocalyptic- vampire-love-triangle stories currently packing out the YA genre but felt incomplete.

    I have to mark Random down more for what wasn't on the page than what was. Frankly, I wish it could have been longer, fuller, more detailed and with more resolution.

    No, there would have been no easy answers but I think the poignancy was undercut by having to keep the main character on a narrow arc and having the climax hinge on a punchy ‘twist’.

    Anyone wanting a YA read on real-world social issues should definitely check out Random but this isn’t a life changing read (and keep an eye on Tom Leveen because his breakout novel has to be just around the corner!)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Man Guy

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Michael Barakiva
    • Narrated By Michael Chernus
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (21)

    When Ethan gets Alek to cut school and go to a Rufus Wainwright concert in New York City’s Central Park, Alek embarks on his first adventure outside the confines of his suburban New Jersey existence. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend - he's barely ever had a girlfriend - but maybe it’s time to think again.

    Regina-Audible says: "A Heartwarming Coming-of-Age Novel"
    "Touching and Engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One Man Guy is an incredibly sweet and touching coming-of-age and coming-out story.

    It was beautifully written and well-crafted but the absolute highlight was exploration of the Armenian-American culture clash Alek constantly struggles with.

    The lush descriptions of the favoured Eastern European delicacies had me drooling and the prose had an incredible sense of place be it suburban New Jersey, eclectic downtown Manhattan or the seeming infinite journey between the two.

    Alek coming to terms with his coming out was honest and heartfelt so I think it will appeal to anyone without a particular interest in LGBT literature.

    I highly recommended for all readers! I just wish it was longer!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Almost Tall

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 25 mins)
    • By Vestal McIntyre
    • Narrated By Jorjeana Marie
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    In Almost Tall, 14-year-old Dinah finds herself plucked from her provincial midwestern ballet class and dropped in her uncle’s glittering New York penthouse. What starts out as a lonely summer quickly becomes a whirl of cocktails and haute couture under the mercurial attention of her uncle’s bombastic and insecure partner, Eddie. With remarkable poise, she struggles against a city that seems determined to turn innocence into cynicism and the young into “strangers to youth.”

    Crystal says: "Uncomfortable and Unenjoyable"
    "Uncomfortable and Unenjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I’m really sorry if you’re reading this hoping for some insight because I am at an utter loss about how to review Almost Tall.

    I just have no idea what the heck I am supposed to take away from this exceedingly brief, albeit well written prose.

    Yes, I hesitate to even call Almost Tall a ‘story’. Nothing really seems to happen but I’m certain the author is trying make some kind of point that is just lost.

    There is some truly great character set up – I want to give absolute credit to the author for that. In fact, the great character seems tragically wasted.

    Finally, I have to address the homosexual content. I cannot be sure, since the authors’ intentions are so muddled on every level, but homosexuality and homosexual relationships seem to be a target for criticism, cynicism and even revulsion in Almost Tall.

    The idea that the author would take this view point is utterly offensive.

    But did he? Or did he mean to?

    Who can tell!?

    All I know is that I was left feeling vaguely offended and uncomfortable making Almost Tall an unenjoyable read that I do not recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ghost Time

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Courtney Eldridge
    • Narrated By Jorjeana Marie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Thea Denny hates the tenth grade, and her home life isn’t easy. But she’s passionate about making art — and about her math-genius boyfriend, Cam, a recent transfer to her upstate New York high school from California. One day Cam mysteriously vanishes — and then things really get weird. The stars on the school flag go missing, eerily cut out. Intimate videos of Cam and Thea start going viral online — videos they never took. The FBI gets involved. And Thea can hear the voice of Melody — a beautiful, disabled girl her age, whose illness has left her mute since birth. Cam once claimed to be the world’s foremost hacker. . . . Is he trying to reach her, send her a sign — or is Thea losing her mind?

    Crystal says: "Not a great reading experience."
    "Not a great reading experience."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While I ended up kind of appreciating what Ghost Time tried to do, I really cannot recommend it to anyone.

    Ghost Time commits the cardinal sin of YA literature - it spends its entire (and frankly excessive) length setting up a series rather than focusing on being a compelling, worthwhile read within itself.

    Several mysteries are established and many, many characters are introduced only for the book to end on a cliff-hanger….and the second in the series isn’t due for publication until TWO YEARS after the first!

    This indulgent and self-important attitude towards reader experience seemed to permeate the novel with its meandering pace and disengaged tone.

    As I said, I didn’t mind Ghost Time in the end but it was a hard fought battle to get there and I doubt I’ll have the patience to sit through the next book if/when it ever arrives.

    Finally, I strongly recommend checking out an audio sample or maybe picking this up in paperback if you do want to check it out.

    The language is intolerable, especially at the beginning.

    So I’m like, OMG, right? “OMG,” I said, “Right?”

    And he was like, right, you know? “Right,” he said.

    Seriously, OMG, right?

    Yes, that is literally how it reads – every sentence punctuated with rights, txtspeak, you knows and other verbal ticks. And for some reason the author has all the characters ‘think’ what they’re going to say and then still put it in as dialogue immediately after!

    So I’m going to tell you I don’t recommend this book, “I don’t recommend Ghost Time,” I say.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Geoff Herbach
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    From "one of the most real, honest, and still funny male voices to come around in a while" (YALSA) comes a brand-new cast of quirky characters, pitting fat boy Gabe against the high school cheerleading team in a battle over control of the school's soda machine. The war is on! Never have the stakes been so high. Never have the trenches been so deep. Never has one soda vending machine been so vital. When the high school cheerleading team takes over the machine's funds previously collected by the pep band, Gabe will not stand for it.

    Crystal says: "Uncomfortably Real"
    "Uncomfortably Real"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fat Boy was an uncomfortably accurate look at what it’s really like to be an overweight teenager.

    This element hit me in particularly hard but the author pulled no punches when it came to the pain of isolation, inequality, bullying, broken families and dissolving friendships in high school either.

    Credit to Herbach for having the guts to be so confronting but it didn’t exactly make for a pleasant read.

    I would have like the plot to be a little stronger, a little more inspiring, a little more mythic.

    Basically, I wish Fat Boy had been a little more fiction and a little less reality.

    It was definitely well written and impactful – both great things and rare quantities in YA lit.

    But I struggled with to get through the challenging subject matter and I’m struggling to recommend something I personally enjoyed so little.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Ruby Rose: Ruby Rose, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Jessie Humphries
    • Narrated By Kimberly Harsch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    In sunny Southern California, 17-year-old Ruby Rose is known for her killer looks and her killer SAT scores. But ever since her dad, an LAPD SWAT sergeant, died, she’s also got a few killer secrets. To cope, Ruby has been trying to stay focused on school (the top spot in her class is on the line) and spending time with friends (her Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks are nothing if not loyal). But after six months of therapy and pathetic parenting by her mom, the District Attorney, Ruby decides to pick up where her dad left off and starts going after the bad guys herself.

    B. says: "Ouch!"
    "Enjoyable...Against All the Odds"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I could tell from the blurb I would either love or hate Ruby Rose – there could be no inbetween with a so completely over-the-top premise.

    And Ruby Rose was everything I should have hated – mopey, shoe-obsessed and far too willing to plunge headlong into danger under the guise of being tough, gutsy and independent...only to need to be recused from herself.

    But somehow…I came to, if not really like her, at least not be annoyed to tears by her. And frankly, I consider that a quite a victory – Humphries shot sky-high with this one and the fact she didn’t fail horrifically is kind of amazing.

    Okay, I’m not really selling this am I?

    Bottom line: I know what I hate and I didn’t hate Killing Ruby Rose.

    Yes, the plot jumps the tracks completely by the third act but I’ll be happy to continue with the series.

    This is high praise from me, so I think most YA readers should be able to find something to enjoy here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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