Posts Tagged With: teen fiction

Drawn by Chris Ledbetter

drawn by chris ledbetterTitle: Drawn
Author: Chris Ledbetter
ASIN: B00UGRG8SK
ISBN: 978-1772333763
Publisher: Evernight Teen
First Published: 5 June 2015 (Kindle) / 3 June 2015 (paperback)
No .of pages: 282

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron hopes he can win her heart through art. After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request. To impress Farrah, Cameron sketches her portrait into a mysterious sketchbook. He nearly jumps from his skin when the sketch moves and communicates with him. Farrah is now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her sucked her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book. If he fails… they both die.

Review:
I don’t read an awful lot of teen fiction, but when I do, I only enjoy it if the premise is original and daring and grabs me from the get-go.

Let’s just say, I enjoyed this book!

Chris Ledbetter has done something few have done, and that is to write a teenaged boy with whom I, as a woman (and once, a teenaged girl) can relate. I felt for Cameron, I felt for him deeply, and was able to sink into his emotions and passion for art quite effortlessly. Farrah wasn’t quite so well, ahem, drawn as Cameron, but as she was not the main character, only the focus for Cameron’s growing affections, this was understandable – she was attractive, but as a reader I knew little about her, which was pitched very well, as Cameron didn’t really know all that much about her beyond the basics and his attraction for her.

The premise for the story was cleverly thought out and written with a light touch that lifted it above the ordinary – a heavier hand would have thrown everything out of balance and crushed the plot entirely. Its an unusual take on a Pygmalian-type of fantasy, where an artist brings his work of art to life, and falls in love with her, only Cameron is already falling for Farrah before he creates her Echo.

There was a tinge of sadness about the tale too – Ledbetter doesn’t shy away from the darker and more upsetting trials of teen and family life, and the complications inherent in relationships, whether familial, platonic, or romantic – and that’s refreshing. Yet, it never becomes maudlin – that lightness of touch and tone keeps things buoyant and ensures the reader doesn’t sink into depression while turning the pages. It’s a fine line, but Ledbetter walks it well.

Even if you don’t read young adult/teen fiction, don’t discount this book – it’s worth the effort and may just change your mind!

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

See my interview with the author HERE

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Blood Feud (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Book 1) by Steven A. Roman

Title: Blood Feud The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Book 1)
Author:
Steven A. Roman
ISBN:
978-0984174102
Publisher:
Starwarp Concepts
First Published:
June 2011
No. of pages:320

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (Amazon):
Sixteen-year-old Goth girl Pandora Zwieback has a major problem: she’s just discovered that her New York City hometown is the stalking ground for every monster and ghoul out to raise a little hell (literally!) . . . BUT she’s apparently the only one who can see them. That means she can’t tell her friends or family about the dangers around them–not unless she wants to spend the rest of her life locked up in a psychiatric ward. But before Pan has a chance to make sense of her increasingly weird life, she finds herself in the middle of a war among rival vampire clans. Elegant Gothic Lolitas from Japan on one side, silk-suited London vamps on the other, leather-clad hunters from Eastern Europe in the middle, and all after the same prize: a mysterious crate recently delivered to the horror-themed museum owned by Pan’s father. What is the terrifying secret of Item #179? How do its contents tie into an incident from the blood-drenched past of Pan’s new friend, a 400-year-old, shape-shifting monster hunter named Annie? And, more important, will Pan survive long enough to get any answers?

Review:
Attention all monster maniacs, vampire victims, Goths, fans of the macabre and all-out urban fantasy, paranormal and supernatural snapper-uppers – there’s a new series on the market and you’re gonna love it!

Pandora Zwieback is such a regular kinda gal (well, apart from her “monster vision”, that is) that you can’t help liking her. As teens go, she’s one of the good ones and although she can pack a punch and is a little troubled, she’s not the kind of kid you want to slap every five seconds and that can make all the difference when you’re reading a novel where she’s the star of the show, so to speak. She’s grounded enough that one can readily accept the concept of her having what she calls “monster vision” as she’s so sceptical of it herself.

It’s written in such a way that the excitement kept me riding high the length of the novel, and it wasn’t till the end that I realised there was no sex (and, in fact, no romantic scenes at all), which makes a nice change from all the soft-focus, mushy, vampires-just-want-to-be-loved stuff that’s flooded the market after the unaccountably popular Twilight saga. There is also surprisingly little violence, considering we’re battling legions of the undead here, and minimal gore, which means it’s safe for readers from the mid-teen range upwards.

Actually, it’s one of those fabulous books that manages to straddle the young adult / adult fiction divide without doing the splits and ending in a prat-fall that would ruin many others, catering equally for teens and more, ahem, “mature” readers alike with a light touch that makes it a joy to read.

To top it all off, it’s left wide open for the sequel and then doesn’t give any teaser chapters at the end, which is great because, and here’s where it triumphs, it doesn’t need them! Yes – I already know I want to continue reading The Saga of Pandora Zwieback and I didn’t have that horrid let-down when I realise that, far from having several chapters left, the story has been cut short to make way for an introduction to sucker you into the sequel. Thank you Mr. Roman!

I know the cover art might put some people off buying it (I’ve heard several comments along those lines, but personally, I love the cover!). Please don’t let that prejudice you against it. I promise you that if you ignore the art at the beginning, you’ll be so engrossed in the pages between the covers that you’ll forget you ever disliked the picture in the first place.

I, for one, can hardly wait for the next installment to be published!

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The Diary of a Would-Be Princess by Jessica Green

Waterstones Synopsis:

Life’s no fun unless you’re pretty in pink! All Jillian wants is to be like the princess-y girls who rule her class. What she doesn’t want is to hang out with a load of dork boys. But it’s only when her plans go hilariously wrong, that things start turning unexpectedly right…

This is a book that is aimed at young teenage girls but I enjoyed it. I assure you, I would have loved this when I was around 12. As a school assignment the class have to keep a diary for a year. this is Jillian’s diary. She is a girl who is on the fringe of school society – she doesn’t really fit in anywhere, but she would love to be a popular girl. This record of her year follows her as pursues her wish.

This was an easy read and fairly entertaining. This is a perfect book for teenage girls. Jillian has a life-changing year with many ups and downs along the way. She was a nice girl to read about and she really matured and grew throughout the book. I liked how her attitude changed and she became the girl to be friends with.

There were some fun events to read about – such as her garden party  and the trouble with her brothers. I wouldn’t say she reminded me of me when I was her age but the brother trouble I could relate too! I think she is a normal girl who wants to fit in and a lot of girls will relate to that. I think they will find this book encouraging but also fun to read.

This is definitely a girly book and a quick book to read. I read it in an afternoon. It was a simple, pleasurable book.


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