Cassandra’s Review of We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

we-are-the-ants-9781481449632_hr“Remember the past, live in the present, and write the future.” We Are the Ants is a wonderful story consisting of journal entries written by Henry Denton. Henry describes the personal struggles that his family members are going through: his mom is struggling to keep the family together, his older brother is struggling to be the best father for his incoming baby, and his grandmother is struggling with Alzheimer’s. Henry also has plenty of his own struggles: his boyfriend committed suicide last year, he is bullied at school, and he is constantly abducted by aliens. As Henry faces all of the problems in his life, the aliens offer him the opportunity to prevent the end of the world by pressing a big red button. But he only has 144 days to make up his mind. Should Henry press the button to save the world or should he allow the world’s destruction to erase his problems? It is up to Henry to decide whether the world is worth saving. Henry pretty much makes up his mind until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past, who makes Henry question his choices, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. With Henry’s humorous and sharp journal entries, a story of choices is slowly unraveled.

I really enjoyed We Are the Ants! Henry is an interesting main character. Even in the worst
circumstances imaginable, Henry adds an element of cynical humor into the story. Henry definitely has his flaws, and I did not agree with some of his choices, but overall, I liked to hear his opinions on everything that was happening. I found it interesting how Hutchinson scattered different disasters that could hit the world throughout the novel. They were super creative and helped build momentum towards the awesome ending, which was my favorite part of the book. (I don’t mean it in a “I’m so glad to be done” kind of way.) The ending felt wonderfully complete, and the last few sentences nicely summarized Henry’s conclusions about the world. Additionally, there were so many good quotes in this book! I bookmarked around 30 quotes. If you like realistic fiction, then read We Are the Ants!!!

Cassandra rates this book 5/5

Cassandra’s Review of The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

25812109“You see it in all animals- the female of the species is more deadly than the male.” The Female of the Species is a thrilling novel told in three different perspectives: Alex Craft, the mysterious and violent girl whose older sister was brutally murdered three years ago; Jack Fisher, the “perfect” high school guy who wants to see through Alex’s mysterious shell; and Peekay, the preacher’s kid who works with Alex in an animal shelter. Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together during their senior year. Together, they undergo a “dark and riveting exploration of what it means to be the female of the species.”

CAUTION: The Female of the Species is not a book for those who can’t handle violence. It contains the most severe teenage problems (i.e. drug and alcohol use) in the EXTREME. The uncensored description of life in a small town in Ohio adds complexity to the story. The truth is not painted over with a black sharpie but left out in its raw form with a touch of glitter to bring attention to the gruesome details. I enjoyed The Female of the Species, especially the three main characters. Alex, Jack, and Peekay are all very unique and multifaceted. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes realistic fiction. I loved it so much that now I am in a realistic fiction reading phase.

Cassandra rates this book 5/5

Cassandra’s review of Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin

26114493Exile for Dreamers is the second book in the Stranje House series. The year is 1814, and Napoleon just escaped from his captivity on Elba. The story focuses on Tess Aubreyson, one of the five young ladies at Stranje House (a school for unusual girls that secretly prepares students for a world of spies, diplomacy, and war). Tess has the unique ability to dream of the future, but her “powers” have consequences. Every night, her dreams haunt her, and every morning, she runs to escape her dreams in order to stay sane. Tess wants nothing to do her dreams until they become the only means of saving Lord Ravencross, the man she loves, and her friends. Tess must overcome her pain to save England from Napoleon’s invasion. Welcome to another action-packed romance in the wonderful Stranje House series.

I really enjoyed Exile for Dreamers. I like how each book in the series is told in another student’s perspective. Tess is a very interesting character who is super strong (she is awesome at martial arts), but also amazingly fragile and scarred (mainly due to her nightmares and past). I would recommend everyone to read A School for Unusual Girls first, because Exile for Dreamers nicely picks up from the ending of the first book. Overall, I loved Exile for Dreamers, and I can’t wait for the next book.

Cassandra rates this book 5/5

Sahana’s review of Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

23174274“Mare of the Stilts died the day she fell onto a lightning shield. Mareena, the lost Silver princess, died in the Bowl of Bones. And I don’t know what new person opened her eyes on the Undertrain.” Glass Sword is an interesting addition to the bestseller Red Queen. While most sequels are bland to say in the least, I would prefer that to this. Set back in this world, Mare realizes the Scarlet Guard will not help her with her mission to save and recruit people of her race from both fear and the innate belief the power of Reds can end this reign of terror. Mare disagrees with the latter and decides to take this mission upon herself and with the help of a few allies sets out to recruit newbloods before Maven exterminates the race. Through this journey to fulfill the improbable, Mare has personal struggles of her own. Mistrust, guilt and pain from the months in the castle haunt her as she takes the firsts steps to become a powerful leader. Whether her leadership would only begin a new reign of terror or end the current cycle of inequality, is the constant question echoing beneath the words in the Glass Sword.

While this book was an interesting read, many things about it bugged me. Throughout the book, I found myself constantly disagreeing with Mare’s views and her disregard for Reds. Maybe this was intentional, maybe not. If you are someone who is vested in loving the characters, this book is not for you. Besides, the fact that the main character is so unlikeable, the other thing that annoys me is how she treats her friends and family. She thinks her family is absolutely defenseless-her brothers who survived the wars are brainless with only brute strength, only Shade is acknowledged as he is newblood- and all her friends, except Calore, are useless as they have no supernatural powers. When she is off in one of her adventures, she forgets they exist. If you are someone who needs meaningful relationships, this book is not for you. I know I’m not successfully selling this book to you, and that is kinda the point. However, if you are someone who reads for the plot, do give this book a read as it does highlight some interesting concepts.

Sahana rates this book 2.7/5 Stars

Sai Pragnya’s review of Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

18692431A girl named Madeline suffers from a rare disease called SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency). Which means that her immune system cannot fight off the toxins in the outside air, therefore, she needs to stay home most of her life. She spends her time with her computer, nurse, and mother. However, it all changes when a strange boy and his family become her neighbor. The longer they live next to each other, the stronger their bond becomes over internet chats and glances through windows. That when her mother is away, they convince her nurse to let him in, and therefore causing rules such as no-touching. However, Madeline wants to overcome her fears of stepping out her house and wants to discover the world outside her house, so they plan to take a trip to Hawaii while her mom is not home. What will happen next? Will she come home or die there?

I would recommend this book to people who like romance and adventure. I would recommend this book because the author made Madeline a character that almost anyone can relate to. The author of this book develops such dynamics to the characters that it makes the reader go on to see where their feelings lead them. Lastly, the book pages are not all formatted the same way as every novel, some pages have email windows, phone texts, and more to show the type of tone the characters would have through social media.

Sai Pragnya rates this book 4.5/5 Stars.

Cassandra’s review of Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

24934065The world makes things for each place. Fish for the sea, Rocs for the mountain skies, and girls with sun in their skin and perfect aim for a desert that doesn’t let weakness live.” The setting of Rebel of the Sands is a fusion between Arabia and the Wild West. The story takes place in the desert nation of Miraji where mythical beasts and djinn roam the lands. Amani Al’Hiza is an orphaned female and gifted gunslinger who wants to escape from Dustwalk, the back-country town where she is destined to end up wed or dead. Just when Amani is sick and tired of Dustwalk, she meets Jin and sees him as the perfect escape route. However, the world out there might not be the paradise she imagined it to be. “Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes- in the fires of rebellion, the smolder of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.” – quoted passage that beautifully describes Amani’s story.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy and action. Rebel of the Sands is an action-packed page-turner. (I finished this book in almost one sitting.) I LOVE all of the characters. They are super powerful and COOL! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!!

Cassandra rates this book 4.77/5 Stars.

Natalie’s review of The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

51t8mom-znl-_sy344_bo1204203200_I loved the book for all its quirkiness. It made fun of the “generic” YA plot in a magic realism way (treated the magic and outrageous activity like an afterthought or ordinary). The characters were well-rounded, full of realistic flaws but posed in a lovable light. There is not much plot that involves our main characters, is mostly a coming-of-age story while craziness rages on in the background. Also, there’s a quarter-god of cats.

I would recommend this book for anyone who wants a twist on the usual YA novels or values characters over plot. There is no explicit mentions of violence but there is romance.

Natalie rates this book 5/5 stars.