Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Secret Side of Empty

Review of: The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu
Release date: March 11th 2014
Pages: 336
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Received for review: Finished copy from publisher
Overall grade: A

MT seems like your average American teenager but she has been hiding a big secret from everyone she knows besides her family. Her name is Monserrat Thalia and she is an illegal immigrant; the no social security number, undocumented type of illegal immigrant. Even her best friend since grade school doesn't know. Now MT is almost 18 and she's worried about what will happen to her. What is the point in getting good grades in school anymore if there is no possible way for her to go to college? She can't do anything with her life in fear of being found out she is illegal and then being deported, or even worse getting her family deported along with her. 

To make things worse her father is getting more and more abusive towards MT and she is afraid he will soon go after her mother and little brother as well. The only bright side in her life is her best friend, Chelsea and the new guy in her life. But soon they will both be going off to college and then what will MT do?

This was an incredibly emotional read that brings up the topics of being an illegal immigrant, domestic violence, and suicide. If you aren't ready to shed at least a couple of tears then don't try to read it until you are. It is a definite page turner and because of this I finished it in two days. From the beginning of the story you can tell that MT is a troubled young girl and she feels there is nothing she can do about her situation. What made this story even more touching to me was the fact that the author, Maria Andreu, based the story off of her own life living in America as an illegal immigrant. After reading this book I can imagine that being an illegal is a very intense and scary situation. It was a touching story that pulls at your heart strings. I won't be forgetting about it anytime soon. I would definitely check this book out if what you've read so far seems interesting. It's an emotional read that will have you turning the page until you've finished!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

We Were Liars

Review of: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Release date: May 2014
Pages: 240
Publisher: Random House
Received for review: ARC from Random House
Overall Grade: A

From the back cover:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island. 
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. 
A group of four friends - the Liars - whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret. 
Lies upon lies. 
True Love. 
The truth.

Cadence Sinclair Eastman is a member of the beautiful Sinclair family. In the Summer Cadence and her mother stay on the Sinclair's private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Other members of the Sinclair family spend their Summers there as well, including The Liars. The Liars, being Cadence, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat. They are all close to the same age and all have birthdays in the Fall. The majority of the time they have spent on the island they have been in trouble.

The story begins during Summer Fifteen when the Liars are 15-years-old. Near the end of the Summer there is an accident. When Cadence returns to the island during Summer Eighteen things are different, not only because of her constant migraines. The Liars are acting differently and it seems as if everyone isn't telling the truth to Cadence about the accident. Soon her whole Summer is spent focusing on what actually happened during Summer Fifteen and she won't stop until she finds out the truth.

First, just let me say WOW. I couldn't believe the ending of this book. Now, I should have expected something outrageous since I've read reviews before reading it myself but nothing could have prepared me for that ending. For those of you who are avid E. Lockhart readers this book is more dark than her others, so be prepared for that. I must say I cried repeatedly. It takes a lot for me to cry during a book so that is saying something right there, isn't it? For the first few chapters I was confused as to what was happening since the book skips to stories from different Summers and then takes you back to the present. But it kept the story moving at a quick pace and kept me wanting more! Overall I gave this book an "A" since it was simply great. The writing was excellent as I had expected it to be since it was by E. Lockhart and I love her writing. The story flowed at a great pace and the characters were all great as well. One little part that I loved was how the Sinclair family had many Golden Retrievers. I am a sucker for those dogs :). I highly recommend picking up a copy of this when it is released in May, you will not be disappointed!