Category: Favorite Reads in 2014

A Book for a Rainy Day with a Cup of Tea: The Archived (2013) by Victoria Schwab

The Archived by Victoria Schwab (2013)

Suggested age range: 12 and up (Hyperion, 328 pages)

Rating: 5/5 stars

Source: Library

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Gothic

“Each time you finish a story, you make me tell it back to you, as if you’re afraid I will forget. I never do.” (2)


The Book: Mackenzie has an unconventional job for a 16 year old. She is a “Keeper” in the Archive, a place where the dead are stored as “Histories” on shelves. After her grandfather passes away, Mac carries on his duties: tracking down escaped Histories who find themselves in “The Narrows” where they must be returned. Under no circumstance can “Histories” escape into the real world. Mac begins to suspect something strange is happening when she discovers that some histories have been changed, some of their memories erased. Furthermore, the Coronado, the hotel turned apartment building, where Mac and her parents now live, has a mysterious history. Mac begins to suspect that this history is somehow connected to the hidden world of the Archive. Flashing back to scenes with Mac’s grandfather, The Archived introduces a unique and fascinating world where the unseen is just as important as what is seen.

Spirituality in The Archived: The question of what happens to people when they die is a spiritual one, just as much as a religious one. This story certainly brings up that question, and the way Schwab represents what happens to the “dead” in the book world could open up some thought-provoking discussion. The book highlights the significance of preserving the past and keeping memories alive, especially when someone loses a family or friend in an untimely way. Finally, Schwab’s book also celebrates the strength of relationships between brother and sister, and between grandparent and grandchild.

Who Should Read This Book: Don’t hesitate! If you like gothic fiction or mysteries featuring beautiful prose and a unique premise, snatch up a copy at your library or bookstore. I mean it—go, now!! This is a detailed and fascinating world and there’s a sequel. If you need a little romance in your YA, don’t worry—there’s some romance here as well. Also, you have to admit, the cover of this story is intriguing—a face, a dark corridor, and a key. Even the endpapers of the hardback are gorgeous.

The Final Word: It seems that I have been particularly lucky lately—I’ve been reading books that I just can’t put down. That doesn’t always happen, and I’m always pleased when it does. Another reason why I adore this book: I couldn’t tell what was coming around the corner in this book, and I love when that happens. The story didn’t end on a cliffhanger, but it did leave you wanting to read the next book. Thankfully, it’s already out, and I’ll be sitting down with a cup of tea during a thunderstorm for The Unbound in the near future.

What Katie Read

Cupcake Review: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (2010) by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Cupcake (Mini) Review

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (2010)

Suggested age range: 13 and up

(Knopf, 260 pages)

Rating: 5/5 stars

Source: Library

Genre: Contemporary Young Adult, Realistic

dash and lily

*There is a new feature on the blog—Cupcake Reviews! These are like mini book reviews; they may not be as long as regular reviews, and they are short and sweet! Just as we love to bake cakes and cupcakes, we like to write long reviews and mini ones. Enjoy!

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

The Book: It’s almost Christmas and Lily is looking for love. Dash discovers a red notebook while browsing through books at New York City’s famous Strand bookstore. The notebook belongs to Lily, a teenager who has left a series of dares for a boy who feels up to the challenge. Dash’s completion of the first set of dares sets in motion a relationship via the red notebook that brings the two teenagers closer and closer together. Will they ever meet? Will the idea of one another match up with the real Dash and Lily?

The Final Word: This book is filled with so many laugh aloud moments. It’s a fun, light read that illustrates the beauty of letter writing and appreciating the geography of one’s hometown. It’s also a story that asks questions about finding that “special” someone and how relationships work and don’t work. Dash and Lily both experience their own set of adventures and the pace of the book is perfect—giving readers moments to reflect on the characters, and providing those on the edge of your seat moments—oh no, how is this gong to work out?!?! It’s a fabulous book, and will have you looking for a red notebook the next time you drop into the Strand.


What Katie Read

Alien Wave: Review-The 5th Wave (2013) by Rick Yancey

The Book: You may not have expected them. The aliens are here. We were not ready for them. Few of earth’s survivors are left. They have already attacked in four waves. The 5th Wave is approaching. One of earth’s remaining humans, sixteen year old Cassie, is fighting to survive, and must find her brother, Sammy. She made a promise, and refuses to break it. Armed with Sammy’s teddy bear and very few possessions, she moves carefully through the woods, until sh5th wavee is shot by one of THEM on an open stretch of highway. When she is rescued by the mysterious Evan Walker, things may be looking up. But who really is Evan Walker, and is Cassie’s brother still alive? What is the 5th wave and will it completely wipe out the rest of the human population? The first in a series, you may finish this book wishing you had Rick Yancey’s phone number so you could call and ask him for an advanced reader’s copy of the second book.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (2013)

Suggested age range: 13 and up (Putnam Juvenile, 457 pages)

Rating: 5/5 stars

Source: Personal Copy

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Apocalypse, Survival

Spirituality in The 5th Wave: Is the power of love stronger than fear? Can hope survive in the midst of the darkest and loneliest moments? These questions surface as Cassie attempts to survive on the earth after 80% of the population has been wiped out by aliens. Her promise to her younger brother spurs her on. The promises we make to those closest to us are powerful, and this book illustrates that idea.

Who Should Read This Book: Young adults and adults should read this gripping post-apocalyptic novel. As many people as possible should consider how we would respond should a large spaceship appear in the sky. What would you do if earth was attacked by aliens? Do you have what it takes to survive in the wild?

The Final Word: The others were right. Once you start this book, you may not put it down until you find out what this 5th Wave is. You may not stop reading until you discover if Cassie is going to survive. Be careful about reading this book late at night—your dreams may be laced with running from aliens and stocking up on food. Then again, some of you may want to have these dreams. In that case, do read Yancey’s fantasy at night.

If you like The 5th Wave, You might like:

The Passage: A Novel (Book One of The Passage Trilogy) by Justin Cronin

In the After by Demetria Lunetta

Gone by Michael Grant

What Katie Read
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