Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Simon & Schuster Books

September 25, 2007

Uprising follows the lives of three young woman in 1910-1911 whose lives intertwine forever because of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. I knew a little bit about this tragedy from school, but I loved that Peterson Haddix was able to create this realistic world and put us right next to the people involved.

Each of the three girls in the book, Bella and Yetta and Jane, each are completely different people and personalities who form an unlikely bond. I love how we were able to take a peek into early 20th Century life for woman in different social standings. Readers are able to see the struggles that immigrants faced when coming to New York City and also the expectations put on those in high society standings.

I love how fierce and sure Yetta was and how she held fast to the things she believed in. Even when other’s around her lost faith she kept fighting for something she thought was right. Being a young woman in that time period it took a lot of guts for her to be able to stand up so loudly and fight for women’s rights and unions.

Bella is probably my favorite of the three girls (but shh don’t tell Yetta or Jane) because she struggles so much throughout the book but she keeps going. She is newly arrived from Italy when her story begins and she doesn’t speak English yet. She is able to hold a job and adapt to her surroundings. I also loved seeing her story because it shows more of her living situation in the book and I felt like that was a real eye opener.

Jane’s father has made a lot of money and prior to the book she spent most of her time with other young society women. When she begins to lose interest in their conversations she discovers the strike and is introduced to a whole new world.

All three of their lives intertwine and weave together to tell a very real story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disaster. I love that many of the details were true and not fiction. I love that this book will introduce what happened to so many people on a deeper level than what history class can teach us.

For lovers of historical fiction I would recommend this book!

 

 

Zodiac by Romina Russell

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Razorbill

December 9, 2014

Zodiac was one of those books I didn’t think I was going to finish, but I am glad I did. It took quite a while for me to be able to get into the book and actually want to continue to pick it up again.

Initially I thought the book was off to a great start. I loved the opening few chapters! There was great world building and imagery and I felt for sure it was going to continue. Then it kind of stalled. For several (read: A LOT) of chapters it was just movements. Things that probably did need to happen, but it wasn’t exciting or really moving in terms of accelerating the action.

The major thing that really turned me off with this book and made it difficult for me was all the information given to us. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was all info dumping, but the information did seem pertinent to what was going on in the story at the time, but there was just so much information constantly thrown at us. Russell was very ambitious in trying to create unique personalities traits and worlds for each of the houses. I think overall, she did a good job, it just bogged down the flow of the story at times.

I feel like there was supposed to be a love triangle in there, but I don’t think it worked out the way she wanted if she did. If this was supposed to be a full-blown triangle then more time should have been devoted to it, since there was not I can only assume Rho had only one love interest and one guy she was confused about. I honestly could have done without it, but I don’t feel like it hurt the story that much.

Another thing that irritated me was that Rho was so hyper focused on Ophiuchus and how he was this big bad that by ¾ of the way through the book I was sick and tired of every mention of him and I could see why people thought she wasn’t focusing on the right things. It was even more disappointing when it was obvious this book was intended for a series and there was no actual resolution at the end.

Overall if you are looking for an adventure in space revolving around the zodiac then give this one a shot. I don’t regret reading it, but I am still uncertain if I will read the others.

 

 

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

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Katherine Tegen Books

September 12, 2017

One thing that Jodi Meadows is known for (to me) is her ability to create rich fantasy worlds while building characters who are rooted in the same struggled humans face in our world. It is this marriage that makes Before She Ignites so special.

Mira Minkoba is not a girl like any other. She is the Hopebearer and that is supposed to mean something. Until it doesn’t. When she speaks up for a truth she believes in she is stripped of her right and thrown into the pit a place for the worst criminals in all of the Isles.

Meadows has set up the story in a series of now, then, before. In the Now sequences we see everything linearly from when she is cast into the pit. In Before and Then we get to see scenes from her childhood and the sequence of events that led to her fall from the Hopebearer to prisoner. All of these scenes merge together so well to form a cohesive story. We need the Then scenes in the exact moments they appear and the Before scenes give us just enough information to stay a step ahead of other characters in the Now.

One of my favorite things about Mira is that she craves friendships, but she also struggles with anxiety. I loved this about her because I am the exact same way, comfortable around my friends and loving their interactions, but also dealing with some intense anxiety. One does not cancel out the other.

This is a wonderful story about a girl falling from the privileged position she was once in, rising up from the bottom and standing up for what she believes is. This is also the first in a series and I am so excited for what’s coming next! Jodi Meadows never fails me and I am looking forward to many books to come from her!

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

 

 

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Greenwillow Books

June 13, 2017

Our Dark Duet was a stunning conclusion to the Monsters of Verity duology. We get to go back into the world of Kate Harker and August Flynn.

At the end of This Savage Song we see August go dark and it was fascinating to see how a boy who once longed to be human changed from this experience. I loved that we saw him fall and not be the boy we all fell in love with in that first book. Getting to see him struggle in a different way than before was perfect. As I watched him walk around pretending to be this new version of August and even convincing himself at times, I could still tell that he longed to be who he once was.

We got to see a bit of Kate Harker outside of V-City for a bit and that was very nice. My only complaint is that we didn’t get to see her new friends again and we don’t know what happened to them. I feel like we spent some time getting invested in them only to have them never show up again. Yes, her time in her new city introduced us to this new big bad monster, but I still would have loved for those friends to pop up again or for her to connect with them somehow.

I loved so many aspects of this book from August’s character changes and growth to the way the battle came about. I love that there was this big bad monster that could turn people into raging nightmares. The new monster was a great addition to a story where monsters are already prevalent. He shows the chaos that already exists within all humans and even though he brought it out in the extreme it still showed that human beings exist with a level of chaos in them already.

One thing that was totally new to me and I like that Victoria Schwab introduced me a non-binary person. I have never ever read a book with someone who goes by the “They” pronoun before. At first, I will admit I was so confused! It took a while for me to get used to the fact that she wasn’t talking about multiple people. I love how Schwab explained Soro not only to her readers but to August and I love how August was like okay cool! And never questioned Soro about it. I can learn a few lessons from August!

My only complaint, and it’s not really a complaint (but kind of it is), but there are two major deaths in this book…and if you’ve read it you know what I am talking about. I felt like both of them were kind of given the Severus Snape treatment in that they could have been far grander because their characters deserved more. That being said, I feel okay with them because in war people do not always die in big grandiose ways. Both of these people died protecting those they loved or died doing something that would turn the tide in the war.

War is a terrible thing and I felt like this story really brought displayed that. I also feel like the conflict in this story could be applied to so many things today and that is so important! In America, we may not be living in an active war zone, but sometimes it feels like it and I like that this story, this fight, can represent so many things.