Smackdown Books 2018

Wolf Hollow
Salt to the Sea
The Serpent King
Optimists Die First
The Hate U Give
Orphan Island
Dan vs. Nature
The Female of the Species
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Paper Girls, Vol. 1
The Passion of Dolssa
The Distance Between Us
When We Collided
Louis parmi les spectres
Girl in the Blue Coat
Defy the Stars

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Is this the finals?

Wolf by Wolf vs. Echo

This must be the final round because these two books are incredible.  But I'm feeling a Zombie Pick coming on.  

The difficult part of this round was that both books spoke to my love of historical fiction.  I was worried when I picked up Wolf by Wolf though.  I just didn't know if Ryan Graudin was capable of capturing the reality of a concentration camp and it's horrific scientific experiments when the lead character, who is in the camp, is being transformed into a skinshifter.  Surprisingly, Graudin pulled it off.  I absolutely loved how Ryan Graudin wove history and fiction together in this novel.  It is action packed and has a strength in its heroine that some adventure stories lack.  I found it quite compelling to think of a world where the Third Reich and Japan rule and a human resistance has formed agains the evil ideals of the Nazis empire.  Graudin kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, because not only was Yael on an epic motorbike race, but the fate of the resistance was in the success of Yael's skills as a motorcyclist and an actress.  There was this push and pull in my throughout the novel, because I wanted Yael to love Luka, but I had to remember she wasn't Adele and that she had the resistance counting on her success; she had to stay focused.   I won't ruin the ending, but the final scene messed with my mind, talk about cliff hanger.  When Blood for Blood came out, I picked it up and trust me, it didn't disappoint.

You'd think from my review of Wolf by Wolf that it would get my vote, but you'd be wrong.  I gave my illustrious vote to Echo.  Why?  In the sea of young adult fiction, themes are repetitive, like the road trip of porcupines...insert eye roll.  It's only a select few that take a classic theme of destiny and write it in such a way that it feels like you've never come across it before.  Echo is one of those few books and it's audio guide is incredible.  The book opens as a fairy tale, which was spellbinding.  Then Otto enters, where a prophecy is told.  From there the novel goes through three amazing stories each involving the same harmonica.  Friedrich, Mike and Ivy each have to fight against fate and the cruelties of the world they live in order to find hope and a life they deserve.  Each time the novel moved to a different character's point of view, I was disappointed.  This is because Pam Ryan left me on a cliff, not knowing what the fate of the character was.  But the conclusion of the story was beautiful.  It gave a ladder to each of the cliffs I had been left on.  There are so many quotable lines from the book too.  The classic theme that you own your own destiny is incredibly woven into each tale, All I can say is, "your fate is not yet sealed even in the darkest night, a star will shine, a bell will chime, a path will be revealed."  What can I say?  Inspiration.  

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