Missing Pieces By- Meredith Tate

23# Book Review–★★★☆☆ 

Missing Pieces

By-

Meredith Tate

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The book is set in a dystopian world where the government decides who you will marry, and bear children with. At the age of six, you are assigned a partner (based on how compatible your genetic codes suggest you are) and your whole life basically revolves around the institution of marriage. You have to say ‘I love you’ to this assigned partner of yours every time you meet. At age seventeen, you have a first kiss ceremony. After high school you have to live in together & only after marriage at age 24 are you allowed to have sex and then, bare children. Those who go against this norm, commit adultery, love someone else, are homosexuals, are shunned from the society. Their faces are scarred and they are sent to Lornstown, a remote town on the outskirts of the state where you have to live with the rest of the outcastes, isolated from the society.

Tracey & Piren are two best friends, part of this system, assigned to someone else, someone they are not compatible with. Partners are supposed to be like two puzzle pieces, who fit together perfectly, but not in their case. While the world around them shows couples who are made for each other, they feel like a bunch of misfits. As they grow up, their platonic relationship morphs into something more. They feel this connection that gets too difficult to ignore. Add in strict parents and teachers who are constantly trying to keep you apart because it is forbidden to be close to a member of the opposite gender unless they are your partner or family.

This book traces their journey, of how they slowly become best friends, then fall in love, and then go against everything they’ve ever known to pursue what means the most to them.

Okay, so let’s get one thing straight. This book is a shitty Dystopian novel. As for romance, well, it’s pretty average. I’ve read a few best friend romances, written one myself actually, and this one didn’t even live up to that. You might argue that the premise here is different, which is why it isn’t fair to compare it to a normal romance novel. But that’s the thing, the premise does nothing for this book. It isn’t as strong and believable as a premise in Dystopian novel ought to be.  It fails to establish the history and context behind its existence. Like, I get it, health and diseases inspiring the government to genetically determine one’s mate. But something rather severe and life threatening should have happened to morph the government into a totalitarian one.

Here’s the reason I would have given if I’d written this book:

A deadly virus spread through Earth killing off major parts of the population, almost bringing humanity to extinction. Worried, scientists tried to create a cure, but failed. So as an alternative, they tried to create off springs with strong immune systems, very healthy off-springs. For this, they matched the genetic codes of the DNA of the people. Then a select group of people were put in quarantine and they had to mate and create very healthy babies. Eventually society was reborn, through them, and a gazillion years later—this is the system.

Seems legit.

So yeah, like I was saying, the book wasn’t successfully able to create a believable historical context. This is one of the biggest reasons this book doesn’t work as a Dystopian novel. Even after, we do not see the concept of ‘partnership’ being promoted by the govt. and law as much as you see the parents and teachers doing it. Like sure, I get it, it’s usually people in your nearest vicinity who promote such things, but I wish the role of the govt. was more, to get a feel. I wish it felt more…dangerous, to love someone you’re not supposed to. You get sent to Lornstown? Cool. Sure it might be bad, but they don’t even harm you that much, and let you go with the one you love. So how can that be bad? It wasn’t exactly the scary, forbidden love I would have preferred. It felt essentially normal. Kinda like a strict bunch of parents and teachers from orthodox communities constantly telling you to stay away from the opposite gender. So Dystopian? Not much.

Now, moving onto the romance part. I’ve read a bunch of best friend romances. They were much better than this one, in all honesty. The book was too long. 371 Pages I think, was a little too much for a story that focuses solely on the relationship & drama of two people. The drama wasn’t that dramatic. It was pretty basic and mundane, and kind of a drag. Like I get that the author was trying to establish the character’s bond and everything, but some of the chapters were just not needed and served no real purpose. There were too many filler chapters.

The characters were pretty basic, and normal. I didn’t get attached to them, or connected deeply.

I see all these people giving away five star reviews, they’ve obviously not read good romance novels or dystopian novels. It was a decent blend of both, leaning more towards the romance part. This wasn’t a page turner, I’m sorry. It didn’t make my heart race, and didn’t melt me in a puddle of goo. It was okay. The ending was a little rushed. The author did not exploit the dystopian premise of the book effectively. True dystopian lovers will obviously not be happy with this book. As for romance lovers, well if you’re as picky as me you might feel a little disappointed but it’s a decent one time read.

Unwind (Unwind 1#) By- Neal Shusterman

11# Book Review- ★★★★★ (4.5 Stars)

Unwind

By-

Neal Shusterman

‘In a perfect world everything would be either black or white, right or wrong, and everyone would know the difference. But this isn’t a perfect world. The problem is people who think it is.’

Decades after the second civil war, fought over the rights of reproduction and life, the ‘Bill of Life’ is passed. Stating that life of a born/unborn child cannot be voluntarily taken by the parent till the age of thirteen. After which a parent can choose to unwind his or her child before it reaches the age of eighteen.

“You see, a conflict always begins with an issue – a difference of opinion, an argument. But by the time it turns into a war, the issue doesn’t matter anymore, because now it’s about one thing and one thing only: how much each side hates the other.” 

What is unwinding, you ask? Pretty simple actually. Scientists have considerably improved in the fields of Biology and medicine. This process allows them to remove the different organs and body parts of the Unwind—that is, the teenager who is supposed to go through the process of Unwinding—and donate it to those who need it.

Who can be Unwounded? Anyone between the age of thirteen to eighteen actually. Just one order from the parent of the guardian and you’re done for. The Juvenile Police comes for you as soon as possible and takes you to the nearest ‘Harvest Camp’, a fancy name for a hospital facility for the Unwinds.

‘No one knows how it happens. No one knows how it’s done. The Harvesting of Unwinds is a secret medical ritual that stays within the walls of each harvesting clinic in the nation. In this way it is not unlike death itself, for no one knows what mysteries lie beyond those secret doors, either’

Fifteen year old Connor, an orphan Risa and thirteen year old Levi have one thing in common—they are being unwounded. Out on the run, away from their families and into the wild they go through a life changing adventure where danger becomes their frenemy and survival becomes their  aim.

‘Most people have two emergency modes. Fight and Flight. But Connor always knew he had three: Fight, Flight, and Screw Up Royally.’

This is their story and the story of countless teenagers who lose themselves every day to this horrendous scientific process.

 ‘Connor had known other kids at school who disappeared over the past couple of years. One day they just didn’t turn up. Teachers would say they were “gone” or “no longer enrolled”. Those were just code words, though. Everyone knew what they meant. The kids who knew them would talk about how terrible it was, and gripe about it for a day or two, and then it became old news. Unwinds didn’t go out with a bang—they didn’t even go out with a whimper. They went out with the silence of a candle flame pinched between two fingers.’

‘”Please…,” says the boy.

Please what? The teacher thinks. Please break the law? Please put myself and the school at risk? But no, that’s not it at all. What he’s really saying is: Please be a human being. With a life so full of rules and regiments, it’s so easy to forget that’s what they are. She knows—she sees—how often compassion takes a back seat to expediency.’

I personally enjoyed this books a lot. Dystopia is slowly becoming my favorite YA genre to read and this one was definitely an entertaining read. The story was a roller coaster ride, the characters were intriguing, and had substance—they weren’t flat cardboard characters but were realistic and maybe even relatable. The author did an amazing job of showcasing their fears and inner demons, portraying them as real and believable teenagers. It was refreshing.

The story was action packed and adventurous, my heart didn’t pound in my chest but it definitely was beating faster than normal. After a little while I couldn’t put this book down.

There were a bunch of unexpected twists and turns and it was just a really satisfying read. Definitely a book worth reading! I’m off to reading the other three books in this Dystology.

Until later x

Take Me Tomorrow By- Shannon A. Thompson

10# Book Review- ★★★☆☆

Take Me Tomorrow

By-

Shannon A. Thompson

Modern day USA just consists of a few regions and not the original 50 states, ruled by Dictator Phelps whose primary concern at the moment is the erradication of the clairvoyant drug ‘Tommo’, a halucinogen that allows whoever it consumes to see visions of the future.

With the ongoing war that is threatening the country, four teenagers’ life is put to test. They must help a criminal boy escape the borders. One of those teenagers being Sophia.

Sixteen year old Sophia Grey’s life was simple. She went to a normal school, did well in her classes and led a simple life. With her father away from home most of the time, she had Argos her pet dog and Lyn her care taker to look after her.

But everything changed that Fall.

Everything changed when Noah Tommery entered her life

Noah is on the run. The dictator wants him dead. But before he finally escapes there’s one last thing he needs to do, and he believes Sophia and her friends can help him out. He needs them to help him out. And soon Sophia finds herself in a terrible mess, illegally entering official government buildings, roaming around after the curfew in the dead of the night, dodging bullets and falling in love.

For the first time, I truly felt like we were two teenagers hanging out. Not two teenagers running from the law. For that moment, I wanted to forget. I wanted to return to a normal world and pretend that Noah’s last name didn’t mean he was involved with a practical drug lord.

“Why do you take it?” I asked, trying not to scream at him. “Why do you have to take it?”
“I don’t have to,” he said, hopping down the stairs. He was inches in front of me. “I want to. I like to,” he paused as he moved toward the door. “You wouldn’t understand.” He hesitated to open the door. “Someone like me has to take it.”
“Someone like you?” I repeated.
“Someone like me,” he continued as he opened the door. The night air rushed inside. It smelled like the oak trees after they roasted beneath the summer sun all day. They smelled like they were waiting for winter. “Someone who doesn’t know if tomorrow will come would rather live every day twice than live it once.”
“No one knows if tomorrow is coming,” I argued, but he stepped outside. He stretched his arms above his head, and his back rose as he sucked in a deep breath.“Tomorrow can take me,” he said. “I don’t need today, anyway.”

Glancing around, my eyes took a moment to adjust, and I looked at Noah lying on the couch. His arm was draped beneath him as if it was a comfortable pillow, and his lips were slightly parted as he breathed, his side lifting and falling. I held my breath, struck by the absolute stillness of his expression − calm and relaxed − one that he never wore when he was conscious. It was as if I was looking at Noah Tomery before his last name became public enemy number one. Instead of a criminal or a drug addict, I was looking at a boy − just a boy.

“You wanted to know how tomo worked.”
“I thought you didn’t want me to take it.”
His head hung back as he groaned. “I’m not giving you any,” he said, repositioning himself, but his words made it sound like he had some on him. He straightened up. “I’m going to show you” (…) “Sometimes you see it.” When he let me open my eyes, his lips were against my ear, “Sometimes you listen to it.” His tender voice traveled down my neck, and my nose brushed his shoulder. “Smell comes next.” He smelled clean and crisp, like a spring breeze as it crossed over a lake. I could see the photograph of the ocean from the Raleigh Region he had given me. It was still in my pocket. I imagined that if I knew what an ocean smelled like, it would be him. “But most of the time—” he paused, and his lips hovered over mine. “you feel it,” he whispered before he kissed me.

After reading my review on another Dystopian Novel ‘Delirium’ by Lauren Oliver, author Shannon A. Thompson contacted me and gave me a copy of her book ‘Take Me Tomorrow’ in exchange for an honest review for the book. Having finally read it, I am ready to share my views on it.

The book started at a slow pace and eventually picked momentum. The author maintained an aura of mystery, not revealing anything immediately which made it slightly difficult to understand what was really going on. As a reader, I couldn’t understand why the current events were important. The book was obviously a plot-driven novel, not a character driven one which kind of didn’t sit well with me. I always like to feel connected to the characters but in plot-driven novels, that hardly happens.

I’ll be honest, the book seemed a little boring to me in the start. One event kept happening after the other and I wasn’t able to really connect to the story. I just read through the pages, without really feeling the plot, if you know what I mean. So the story started out like a barely burning candle flame, like it will extinguish any second. Then suddenly it started burning really brightly and never dimmed. What I’m saying is, it started out slow and mellow then suddenly it picked up pace and I couldn’t put the book down. I liked the action in the second half of the book, which was fat-paced and exciting unlike the first half. So yeah, you readers out there? You need to be a little patient.

Coming down to the characters. I admired them–all of them. They were brave and young and determined. I liked that. Escpecially Sophia, she does not like to take a backseat when it comes to action. She’s got this spark. I liked that. I liked the mysterious aura that surrounded Noah. He intrigued me. I liked how he was so in-control and so messed up at the same time. I even liked the supporting characters. But I couldn’t really connect to any of them. I couldn’t feel their emotions or understand them as much as I’d wanted to. That’s basically because the story didn’t really focus on those aspects.

I also couldn’t really get a feel of the dystopian world. It didn’t seem like a dystopian world. Mainly because, enough words and pages weren’t devoted to explaining the big picture. I think the author could have focused a little more on explaining what’s the current situation. Like I got the basic overview, but I didn’t really feel it. I didn’t really understand how dire the state of the country is or what’s the current state of war etc. Phelps, the big bad dictator didn’t leave an impact on me. I didn’t get enough background information about the Dystopian world. It’s like how we feel when we sometimes read some news. We read it, we store it our mind, we even understand it but we don’t understand how dire the circumstances are. We don’t connect with it. That’s how it was when I read the few pieces of information given in the story.

I liked the whole young-teenagers-doing-illegal-dangerous-stuff-and-playing-a-small-role-in-the-big-picture thing going on. It seemed believable. It would be kind of unbelievable if the fate of the whole country depended on one person. So I liked the fact that this wasn’t the case.

All in all, I liked the book. I enjoyed the second half of it and it was a nice read. I wouldn’t say entertaining or exhilarating. But it was nice. I do hope there is a sequel.

Until Later x

After The End By- Amy Plum

8# Book Review- ★★★★★

After The End

By-

Amy Plum

Juneau lives in the Tundra region of Alaska with her clan. The post-apocalyptic life after the Nuclear World War III is a struggle. Everything in the world has been destroyed. One must live like the early man, relying solely on the Earth for survival, and one can never be too careful. One must save one’s resources and use them to the best of their abilities.

The clan however is quite skilled at doing just that. They have a deep connection the Earth—to the force of Yara (a force of nature) that allows them to perform magical feats. Seventeen year old Juneau is very skilled and on her way to becoming the Clan Sage or head.

But one fateful day changes everything.

Juneau returns from a grueling hunting trip, only to find her village destroyed and her clan missing. All she knows that a bunch of brigands in a helicopter captured her family, and now it’s up to her rescue them.

So off she goes on her mission, only to find out that everything she has ever been told has been a lie. There was never a World War III. The cities and all the people are still intact. The world is a normal functioning place.

Now out in the modern world, with no clue about it she must figure out a way to find her clan. The Yara tells her a gorgeous 18 year old boy can help her.

Miles lives in modern day LA, the son of a rich businessman. He’s tired of being a disappointment to his father and wants to do anything, absolutely anything to get into his good books. Then he learns his father is after a mysterious girl from Alaska who possessed a secret formula of a drug. And bingo! He has found a way. He decides to go search for the girl on his own, capture her and bring her to her father. Little does he know how deeply his fate is intertwined with hers and that they’re going to go on a big adventure.

“Beneath me lies a city. It is not in ruins. It isn’t decimated by war and poisoned by radiation. It is a thriving city with massive glass buildings glistening in the late-afternoon sun. This is not a postapocalyptic wasteland. Where am I? What is going on?”

“”Most people I know would have a hard time believing that you weren’t…I don’t know…crazy.”
He presses his index finger to his temple and opens his eyes wide. “Or on drugs,” he continues. “Wait, no…I have another theory. You were brainwashed by your hippie cult into thinking you have magical powers. In your head you’re like a cross between…I don’t know…Superpower-Flower-Child and Harry Potter.””

“The touch of our skin sets off a reaction in me. I am immediately awake…100 percent present. And it feels like a whirlwind of thorns is whipping around in my chest, stinging me all over from the inside. That makes it sound painful. It isn’t. It’s the kind of itching sensation that makes you want to do something crazy. That spurs you forward to act on an idea you didn’t even know was in your head.”

“Sorry I tried to impress my dad by finding her. Sorry I’ve been making fun of a brainwashed girl for a delusion she can’t help. Sorry I egged her on just to make my point.”

“In 1984, at the outset of World War III, my parents and some friends of theirs escaped from America to settle in the Alaskan wilderness.”
“There was no World War III,” I interject.
She gives me a frustrated look.
“Are you going to listen or what?”
I lean back on my elbows and listen.”

I absolutely loved this book, no questions asked. It was a very satisfying read and I finished reading this book in two sittings, only to have it end oh so abruptly. The sequel comes out in May 2015 and I can’t wait! I’d craved a Dystopian book and so, I decided to read this one. However, it turned out to be a fast paced Urban Fantasy with hints of humor and Romance.

The book kept me glued to it and I found myself reading it throughout the night. The writing style was casual and expressive. I loved the dialogue work. The chapters were fast paced, short and crisp. Now usually with the action packed books we face a problem—the books are usually plot centered and enough attention hasn’t been given to the characters, making them…flat. Not in this case! I loved the characters SO much.

Juneau is cunning and smart. She doesn’t give up easily. She’s determined and independent. She’s tough and likeable—straight to the point, never beats around the bush. But she also has a human-like vulnerability deep inside her that she seldom shows. She’s good at figuring people out.

Miles is naïve, a little spoilt and childish. He’s your typical modern day teenager—slightly lazy, takes things for granted. But somewhere deep inside, he’s just so tired of how things are. He wants to change. For once he wants to be appreciated and do something significant.

She thinks he’s a moron–a spoilt, rich brat who is good for nothing. Even a liability, at times. But she needs his presence to complete her quest. He thinks she’s absolutely nuts. Who in their right minds devours bunny rabbits after hunting them, and believes they can do magic? But he needs her to get back into his father’s good books. They both are a “means to and end” for each other. And so they stick to each other, getting on each other’s nerves. Personally, I ship them–a lot.. You’ll understand what I mean when you read the book yourself. They are so perfect for each other. And Miles is SO funny. He’s one of the primary reasons I love this book. Their incessant banter is adorable.

Also, their personalities are so contrasting but they also complement each other which is a good characteristic of a successful and spicy fictional couple, the kind you wanna read about. They take each other out of their comfort zone. Their romance is realistic. From mutual distrust to slight attraction and moderate comradeship to finally friendship. Their romance is still developing as the book ends. Which is good. I like how the author is taking her time with it and not jumping into something heated and passionate so fast.

All in all, the book was a fast and action packed with twists and turns. It was funny and entertaining and cute, in many ways. It’s not realistic, no. But what fantasy/Dystopian Novel is huh? And fantasy novels usually confuse me a lot, but this one did not, it was very understandable and the action scenes were written well, so no confusion there either.

I’m excitedly waiting for the sequel and can’t wait to know what happens further in Juneau and Miles’ adventure.

Until Later xx

Delirium–By Lauren Oliver

2# Book Review ★★★★★

Delirium

by-

Lauren Oliver

This book happens to be one of my favorites and I would suggest each and every one of you to read it. I had heard a lot about this book and just reading the description made me want to start reading this book. Prior to this book I’d read only one of Lauren Oliver’s works–‘Before I Fall’, and I’d absolutely loved it. And so I began reading this book and it literally blew me away.

Only a few cities have survived the bombing that destroyed the world. Portland happens to be one of them. It’s surrounded by thick electrified fences beyond which lies the wilderness and it’s prohibited to go there. Love is deemed to be a disease termed ‘Amor Deliria Nervosa’ and everyone must get the cure for it as soon as they turn eighteen after which they’d never be able to fall in love, they’ll never feel. It’s like being locked up in a bubble, being detached from everything. Everyone wants it, the government wants it. Lena wants it.

Lena Haloway totally supports the cure. She can’t wait to turn eighteen and finally get it. She’s tired of being scared of this disease that is love. But just days away from turning eighteen and getting the cure the most unpredictable thing happens–she falls in love with a boy named Alex.

Then all hell breaks lose. She just has few days left after which she won’t be able to feel what she’s feeling anymore. And somehow, she doesn’t want that. Not anymore.

“Love: It will kill you and save you, both”

“It’s like a razor blade edging its way through my organs, shredding me, all I can think is: It will kill me, it will kill me, it will kill me. And I don’t care.”

“They told us love was a disease. They told us it would kill us in the end.
For the very first time I realize, that this, too, might also be a lie.”

“They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie”

This book happens to be one of my favorites. Lauren Kate is an amazing writer. The way she wisps words and phrases in a poetic manner blows you off your feet. Her writing is beautiful and enchanting and it touches you. As I neared the end of the pages of this three hundred something paged novel I felt the anxiety in my heart grow and also the fear that something this beautiful was about to end.

This book was amazing. The thing with Dystopian novels is that it should seem realistic and believable; one must be able to imagine themselves in a place like that. This novel had this. Also being a romance novel it was full of emotions and Lauren Kate describe all of them so perfectly–the fear, the anxiety, the pain, the happiness…everything. It was all very poetic and beautiful.

Apart from the writing style, the story line was a bomb. There were so many twists and turns, by the time I was reaching the climax of the book my heart was ready to leap out of my chest. So many unexpected things happens. The story was thrilling, adventurous and romantic.

The ending was like a dagger being pushed deep into my heart. Yes it was painful. But hey, two more books follow so that made it alright (I swear it did)

All in all, it was a beautiful work of literature and it touched my heart and it was simply amazing and everyone should read it.

NOTE:- The two books that follow it are not as remarkable as this one so you’ll obviously feel dissappointed. But I urge you to read this one. This alone is so perfect. Trust me, read this one and don’t read the next two. Read this one as a stand alone novel and you will feel heart broken but elated. Of course, I also know it will be very hard for you to not read the next two. But try.