Young Adult

“Two Moon Princess” by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

This review was originally published at Good Reads.

Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban is about a princess named Andrea who travels from her planet, Xarens-Ra, to our planet – California, to be exact – through a mysterious door hidden inside a cave. It is more fantasy than sci-fi, though, and we don’t actually find out how the door works. But it opens whenever there is a full moon in both worlds at the same time, and on Xarens-Ra, both moons (called Athos and Lua) must be full for it to open.


“The Art of Alice: Madness Returns” by R.J. Berg

This review was originally published at Good Reads.

I was very excited to learn that there was an artbook containing the concept art for the new EA game Alice: Madness Returns, of which is a sequel to the PC game American McGee’s Alice. I very much liked the original game and was surprised to find that another game was in the works.

This artbook contains concept art that was created way back in the earliest development stages of Alice: Madness Returns. The artwork is very creepy and surreal, and very much in the spirit of the original game. All of the artwork has captions explaining how and why the artist chose to create that given piece, and whether or not the concept made its way into the final game (a lot of concepts did not make it into the final game). It was a great chronicle of the game’s development. It also had a lot of information on what players can expect when the game is released in June.

This artbook also made me realize why video games are so expensive – a game like this takes years to develop and requires hard work of very talented people. A lot of this art could definitely stand on its own. I believe that someday video games will be considered works of art in their own right (like Tomb Raider: Underworld, Bayonetta, Devil May Cry 4, etc).

This will be a great promotional tool to persuade new and old fans to play the game, and is a great keepsake for die-hard fans of the franchise.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me preview this book.

Young Adult

“Ultraviolet” by R.J. Anderson

This review was originally published at Good Reads.

This is a story about a teenage girl named Alison, who watched a fellow classmate Tori disintegrate before her very eyes. Due to her synesthesia, she thinks she is responsible for Tori’s disappearance – and so does everyone else. She is then sent to a mental hospital, where she tries to figure out what is wrong with her and what exactly happened to Tori.

Since Alison has synesthesia, the descriptions of the colors Alison hears, the lies she tastes – and all the things she senses – are creative and well-written.

All the characters are important. There aren’t any characters used to dump information on the reader or anything – everyone has a role, even the minor characters.

In the end, Alison finally learns to fully embrace her synesthesia and uses it to solve many problems, including the one in the climax of the book.

She learns that everyone around her had something to hide (this is not necessarily a bad thing) and that the thing that everyone had to hide was usually a tragedy in their past. She also learned that two important people in her life were not what they seemed.

The mystery of Tori’s death and whether or not Alison was responsible was compelling. I did not want to stop reading.

There are a couple of plot twists I won’t go into here, because that would spoil the book. I kind of saw them coming too, but I didn’t mind because I was hoping the story would go in those directions anyway.

I sincerely hope there will be a sequel to this one.

Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for letting me read this book. It will be released in September of this year.

Young Adult

“Falling Under” by Gwen Hayes

Summary (from Good Reads):  Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she’s seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia’s not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

This review was originally published at Good Reads, who provided me a paperback ARC copy of this book last year.  I only include a summary of the book because my original review did not include a description of the plot – it was one of my first reviews, after all.  My book reviewing skills were a bit rusty.

Young Adult

“In Trouble” by Ellen Levine

Originally published at Good Reads.

Note:  this book will be released September 28, 2011.

I said I would try to be fair when reviewing this, and it will be hard for me. Oh well.

This is a book about abortion and the McCarthy hearings. It takes place in the mid ’50s. Two girls get “in trouble” (euphemism for pregnancy – one is raped and the other sleeps with her boyfriend and is dumped afterward). Of course, back then abortion was illegal and pregnancy out of wedlock was taboo and frowned upon.

I thought the prose was unremarkable, although I did like the little movie script interludes that show the main character’s thought processes (it is this method that details the rape, by the way).

It is very anti-McCarthy (I could say a lot about how much I cannot stand Communism, but I won’t say it here) and it is very pro-abortion and the author even mentions as much in the author’s note.

Some reviewers feel that this book portrays how difficult the decision to get an abortion really is, and that not all women just go “oh, I’m gonna get an abortion”. Well, that’s not what I read. The character that actually does get an abortion makes the decision as soon as she discovers she’s pregnant. The character who gives up her child for adoption is portrayed as naive and clueless, and the whole idea of adoption – giving up your child after carrying it for nine months – is portrayed as ridiculous, while the notion of getting an abortion is portrayed as wonderful, convenient, etc.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but this book did not change my mind about abortion. Then again, I am almost thirty years old. It might influence a teenager’s opinion on abortion. This is something parents should be mindful of when letting their kids read this book (it won’t be released until September, 2011).

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read this book.