The Sister Pact

The Sister PactThe Sister Pact

Written By: Stacie Ramey

Published By: Sourcebooks 

Read: July 18-August 1, 2015

Rating: ♥♥

Goodreads Synopsis

A suicide pact was supposed to keep them together, but a broken promise tore them apart

Allie is devastated when her older sister commits suicide–and not just because she misses her. Allie feels betrayed. The two made a pact that they’d always be together, in life, and in death, but Leah broke her promise and Allie needs to know why.

Her parents hover. Her friends try to support her. And Nick, sweet Nick, keeps calling and flirting. Their sympathy only intensifies her grief.

But the more she clings to Leah, the more secretes surface. Allie’s not sure which is more distressing: discovering the truth behind her sister’s death or facing her new reality without her.

This is one of those reviews that I hate writing. I don’t have very many nice things to say. The story primarily revolves around Allie as she goes into a downward spiral after her twin sister commits suicide. I had a really hard time connecting in any way to Allie. I felt like her character was just missing something. Throughout much of the book I was just annoyed with her and I found myself not really caring how her story ended. I didn’t really like any of the supporting characters either. They just sort of fell flat for me.

The entire plot ended up being mediocre. It was lackluster and forgettable. It took me almost two weeks to get through it and I only finished it because it was a NetGalley. I won’t tell you not to read The Sister Pact. I can tell tell you that I did not enjoy it. As always I recommend that you make this decision for yourself.

Recommended for Fans of: Contemporary

Suggested to Read Next: Speak

Drowning is Inevitable

Drowning is InevitableDrowning is Inevitable

Written By: Shalanda Stanley

Published By: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Read: June 16-July 14, 2015

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

You can buy this book here.

Goodreads Synopsis

Olivia has spent her whole life struggling to escape her dead mother’s shadow. But when her father can’t even look at her because Olivia reminds him of her mother, and her grandmother mistakenly calls her “Lillian,”  shaking a reputation she didn’t ask for is next to impossible. Olivia is used to leaning on her best friend, Jamie; her handsome but hot-tempered boyfriend, Max; and their wild-child friend, Maggie, for the reality check that her small Louisiana town can’t provide. But when a terrible fight between Jamie and his father turns deadly, all Olivia can think to do is grab her friends and run.

In a flash, Olivia, Jamie, Max, and Maggie become fugitives on the back roads of Louisiana. They’re headed to New Orleans, where they hope to find a solution to an unfixable problem. But with their faces displayed on all the news stations, their journey becomes a harrowing game of hide-and-seek from the police—and so-called allies, who just might be the real enemy.

Shalanda Stanley’s breathtaking debut novel explores the deep ties between legacy, loyalty, and love, even as it asks the question: How far would you go to save a friend?

This is Shalanda Stanley’s first novel and I don’t think that it will be her last. She is a natural storyteller and has created a wonderful book. She is a master at character development. Her characters are what make the story. Olivia is a young woman who is disappearing into the shadow of her dead mother. Jamie is a sad soul living in an abusive home. Maggie is a talented artist with a drug addicted mother. Max is alcoholic from an affluent family who is living with the guilt of drunk driving accident where Olivia was hurt. Each of her characters have their own heartbreaking story that are weaved together effortlessly in Drowning is Inevitable. When an unfortunate turn of events turns their world upside down the four teens come together to protect one another. On the run from the law they must rely on each other to get through their crazy ordeal. She did an excellent job of creating real characters with real emotion who were able to stand out among the chaos going on around them.

Drowning is Inevitable was a fast paced, easy read. It was a well written story with an excellent group of characters that was full of action, drama and suspense. It is an excellent story of about discovering one’s self and that crazy path to get there. This story of a fiercely loyal group of friends will leave you heartbroken and hopeful at the same time.

2015 Reading Challenge- A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Always Wanted To Visit

Recommended for Fans of: Realistic Fiction and Young Adult

Suggested to Read Next: 

Another Day

Another DayAnother Day

Written By: David Levithan

Published By: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Read: June 20-24, 2015

Rating: ♥♥

You can buy this book here.

Goodreads Synopsis

The eagerly anticipated companion to David Levithan’s New York Times bestseller Every Day

In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan (co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

David Levithan wrote Another Day as a “twin” novel to Every Day. It is supposed to be able to be read as a stand alone novel or as a companion novel to Every Day. I recently read Every Day and I absolutely adored it. It was such an amazing book. So I can only do a review based on the fact that I read this as a companion to Every Day. My thoughts on this book may have been much different if I had read it as a stand alone. 

I loved Every Day and was very excited to read Another Day. I was really hoping that it might be a continuation of A’s story. I was a little disappointed when I found out that it was actually the same story but from Rhiannon’s POV. I still expected great things though. I hate to say this, but I was so disappointed. This was literally the less interesting version of Every Day. At least half of the book was word for word the exact same as Every Day. I understand that this is obviously going to happen with it being a “twin” novel but it made it hard to read. The parts of the book that were different were not great. It was impossible to connect to Rhiannon in the same way that I connected to A. Like I said earlier, I may have felt differently about this book if I had not already read Every Day, but I did. I read it and it was awesome and this one just wasn’t.

Recommended for Fans of: Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy and Young Adult

Suggested to Read Next: Winger

Everything, Everything

Everything EverythingEverything, Everything

Written By: Nicola Yoon

Published By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Read: June 18, 2015

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

You can buy this book here.

Goodreads Synopsis

This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Okay, I need to take a deep breath. I devoured this book in about three hours and now that it is over, I don’t know what to do with myself. (Write a review, I suppose.)

First things first, we need to talk about that cover. It is so beautiful! I am not ashamed to admit that I requested this NetGalley based entirely on the cover. I have every intention of buying the physical copy when it comes out because my bookcase just won’t be complete without it. (I might even do a giveaway because YOUR bookcase won’t be complete without it either!) I was basically in love with this book before I even read a word. And then I read it. 

The plot was extremely well executed. Interesting and full of emotion. (Seriously, all of the emotions.) Nicola Yoon has written a wonderful story. The characters were so much more complex than I expected. It was such a fun, quick and unique read. It has everything I love about contemporary YA but it is so much more. I loved the way that she put the book together. She has added e-mails, IMs, drawings, notes, lists and all sorts of fun stuff that really enhances the reading experience. Everything, Everything really lives up to the hype. I highly recommend adding this book to your TBR list. 

2015 Reading Challenge- A Book That You Can Read In A Day

Recommended for Fans of: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance and Young Adult

Suggested to Read Next: Never Always Sometimes

Despite the Best Intentions

Despite the Best IntentionsDespite the Best Intentions: Why Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools

Written By: John Diamond & Amanda Lewis

Published By: Oxford University Press

Read: June 12-14, 2015

Rating: ♥♥♥

You can buy this book here.

Goodreads Synopsis

On the surface, Riverview High School looks like the post-racial ideal. Serving an enviably affluent, diverse, and liberal district, the school is well-funded, its teachers are well-trained, and many of its students are high-achieving. Yet Riverview has not escaped the same unrelenting question that plagues schools throughout America: why is it that even when all of the circumstances seem right, black and Latina/o students continue to lag behind their peers?
Through five years’ worth of interviews and data-gathering at Riverview, Amanda Lewis and John Diamond have created a powerful and illuminating study of how the racial achievement gap continues to afflict American schools more than fifty years after the formal dismantling of segregation. As students progress from elementary school to middle school to high school, their level of academic achievement increasingly tracks along racial lines, with white and Asian students maintaining higher GPAs and standardized testing scores, taking more advanced classes, and attaining better college admission results than their black and Latina/o counterparts. Most research to date has focused on the role of poverty, family stability, and other external influences in explaining poor performance at school, especially in urban contexts. Diamond and Lewis instead situate their research in a suburban school, and look at what factors within the school itself could be causing the disparity. Most crucially, they challenge many common explanations of the “racial achievement gap,” exploring what race actually means in this situation, and how it matters.
Diamond and Lewis’ research brings clarity and data into a debate that is too often dominated by stereotyping, race-baiting, and demagoguery. An in-depth study with far-reaching consequences, Despite the Best Intentions revolutionizes our understanding of both the knotty problem of academic disparities and the larger question of the color line in American society.

Despite the Best Intentions discusses racial inequality in our school systems. It focuses on the “racial achievement gap” which is basically the differences in test scores, G.P.A.s and graduation rates between white students and African American and Latina/o students. It is an important subject that needs to be addressed and I was excited to read this book and learn more about the subject.

The book focused one high school in particular and gathered all of their data and interviews from Riverview High School. They chose to study the one high school to show a snapshot of the nationwide problem but I felt that the book would have benefited from more nationwide statistics. There are many graphs placed throughout the book but unfortunately I was not able to see them in my copy of the book that I received from NetGalley. (So to be fair, there may have been more nationwide statistics than I was able to see.)

It can be hard to review non-fiction books. How do you like or dislike a collection of facts? When it comes down to it the authors writing is what creates a good book. I rated this book a three. The writing was very slow and repetitive. The data, interviews, and anecdotes were not presented in a way that makes you want to keep reading. This read much more like a textbook than a non-fiction book that I would want to share with my family and friends.

2015 Reading Challenge- A Non-Fiction Book

Recommended for Fans of: Non-Fiction

Suggested to Read Next: I Am Malala