Monday, December 13, 2010

I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena

Kidd doesn't want to remember his past, but sometimes he's forced to.  Now part of a group home for teens, his counselors ask him to remember.  Maria is the one Kidd likes the most but now she's.  But he remembers their sessions, and tries very, very hard to take her advice.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Now, he's bound and locked away for pushing someone off a cliff.  And he has all the time in the world to think about his life, from beginning to end....

Kidd remembers his mother, whom he lived with and loved very much.  And a father who tried to love, but used his fists instead.  He remembers seeing Mr. Red, Maria's friend, for the first time at Horizons, in his floppy sombrero and tie.  He remembers Maria telling Kidd to stay away from Devon.  But he's the only guy in Horizons who helped out Kidd, even though it may have hurt.  But he also loves flirting with danger and death - it's a thrill ride Devon can't pass up on and one Kidd isn't too sure he wants to experience.

And one day, Kidd just walks out of Horizons, intent on finding a new life....He ends up finding Mr. Red again, who works at a campsite in Encinitas.  Red hires Kidd on, and now all Kidd wants is a normal life.  A hard worker, he does everything Red asks and more.  He knows this won't last long, especially when Devon shows up and starts causing problems. 

Devon takes Kidd on adventures, but they're dangerous and life-threatening.  Kidd doesn't understand how Devon knows so much about him and what he's thinking, but even if he is dangerous, Devon makes sense.  But then again, so does Mr. Red, who's the nicest guy Kidd ever met.  But the person who changes his life is Olivia....

Some people have scars on the outside, some on the inside.  Devon and Olivia have a lot of similarities, and that makes each one trust the other.  And Kidd is determined to keep Olivia away from Devon, even if it means breaking all ties with him.  Devon isn't about the leave....and one night, when the grunions come onto the beach, when Kidd and Olivia are sitting by the cliff, the dark comes out.  But is the dark there to hurt or help Kidd? 

Matt de la Pena is one of those authors who gets it right everytime.  This book combines different voices in the form of diaries to flashbacks, to stream of consciousness to the present, all from the main character.  De la Pena also combines characters that are in direct contrast with each other, from the privileged, to the lost; the capable to the troubled.  It's the striking use of contrast that makes this book such a good read.  It doesn't bog down, but instead makes the reader become incredibly close to Kidd, Red, and Devon.  And it will definitely keep the reader in suspense until that sudden epiphany happens, when the reader is slowly drawn into the reality of what is happening in the novel.  It will pull you and keep you turning the pages.  One of the best I've read this year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Evie lives an interesting life. She's lived in the foster care system for as long as she can remember, until the night she met a vamp in the cemetery. And from there, her life has been surrounded by paranormalcy.

Now, at 16, her life revolves around bagging, tagging, and neutralizing those creatures that go bump in the night, keeping humanity safe from their deadly grip. Evie has the ability to see through glamours. What a normal human would see, she can see the rotting corpse of a hag, vampire, or zombie underneath.

Through her work at the IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency), she's neutralized, or "neutered" a vampire named Steve, become best friends with a mermaid named Alisha, works with a werewolf named Jaques, and is trying to avoid Reth, whom she had a brief and dangerous fling with. The only real person in her life is Raquel, the head of IPCA, but Evie still feels alone and lonely. At least she has her normalcy to rely on.

But something strange is going on. Evie keeps hearing whispers in her dreams, which she doesn't understand. Then she meets the most extraordinary paranormal - a cute shapeshifter named Lend. He's broken into the IPCA to information, but about what or whom? And then the murders of paranormals begins...someone or something is killing them. The IPCA needs to find out who's behind the murders before it becomes worse. Is Lend behind the murders or is it someone on the inside of IPCA?

If you have readers who enjoy YA romance, this is one they'll enjoy. How about those who want romance and the supernatural? Again, this is a great choice. White creates unusual but unforgettable characters of the paranormal, from the evil but beautiful fairies to the enigmatic newcomer who's part liquid, part shapeshifter, to a teenage heroine who yearns for the normal life of a teenager and only wants the life like the characters on her favorite television teen drama. White writes about the dark world of those things that go bump in the night with a light, witty hand. Readers will be drawn to this one. Drama, action, romance and humor all wrapped up between the covers of a great YA read.