Thursday, June 10, 2010

Four mini-reviews of forthcoming YA novels

I read the following four forthcoming books recently and wanted to share a few impressions of them. Full reviews closer to pub date!

MATCHED by Ally Condie
Cassia lives in a society that decides everything for its citizens for the greatest good of them all – even who you marry. When Cassia is matched with her best friend Xander, she is thrilled. But when viewing her matching card, another face flashes on the screen – that of mysterious classmate Ky. This seeming glitch awakens an awareness of forbidden desires within Cassia, and for the first time she begins to question a society where the individual has no right to choose.

MATCHED is without a doubt a well constructed novel, hitting all the expected beats of a YA dystopian novel. And while there may be few surprises for avid readers of the genre, there are some genuine discussion-worthy developments. I enjoyed this installment, but hope that the emotional impact quotient is raised in book two.

Come by my dystopian theme month in August for a full review of this title due to release in November 2010.


DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver (no official cover yet)
Lena can’t wait to get the surgery, that at 18, will cure her of the disease that took her mother – the highly contagious delirium nervosa (or in layman’s terms: falling in love). Lena’s main concern is passing the exam that will determine her future status in society. But then she meets Alex and soon becomes “infected”.

While certain aspects of this dystopian society’s set-up seemed a bit implausible (i.e. why would a society that abhors love allow the family unit to remain intact, putting its most vulnerable citizens – those uncureds under 18 – at unnecessary risk?), the world-building suited the main plot brilliantly. Lena’s relationship with her best friend is heart-breakingly real, and her burgeoning feelings for Alex make the novel soar to dizzying heights of emotion. And that ending...whoa! What are you doing to me Lauren?!

Visit my dystopian theme month in August for a full review of this title due to release in February 2011.

MONSTERS OF MEN, Book 3 of the Chaos Walking Triology, by Patrick Ness

Full scale war is on the horizon for the citizens of New Prentisstown. Will Todd and Viola be able to barter a lasting peace for those already on the planet and those on the way?

This last book in a fantastic series exceeded even my highest expectations. A third POV, from a spackle no less, adds even more to our understanding of the world’s politics. Todd and Viola are amazing protagonists – noble yet conflicted, but it is with the antagonists, Mayor Prentiss especially, that Ness really excels. I don’t think I have ever encountered such a layered villain. He’s someone you hate and wish dead – and yet – Ness makes you hope for his redemption. It is really an amazing achievement.

Visit my dystopian theme month in August for a full review of this title due to release in the US at the end of September (already available in the UK).


THE EXTRAORDINARY SECRETS OF APRIL, MAY AND JUNE by Robin Benway
April, May and June are sisters who suddenly gain superpowers. April can see the future, May can become invisible and June can read minds.

There are a lot of clever ideas at play here, but overall, this novel was kind of a downer. The only one who has any fun at all with her power is June (I love how she used her mind-reading ability to try to get in with the popular crowd) while April and May just generally mope around. Despite the consistently witty/snarky dialogue, I got a bit exasperated with the sisters constant drawn-out squabbles. Group hug already, girls!

This one releases at the beginning of August.

Have you read any of these yet? If not, which ones are you excited to get to? If so, what did YOU think of them?

This article was originally published by Lenore for Presenting Lenore. It cannot be republished without express written permisson. If you are reading this elsewhere, it has been stolen.

33 comments:

Carla said...

Ohhh, I am so excited for Delirium, especially since I read and loved Before I Fall so I have high hopes for this one!! And Matched has been getting some incredible buzz from bloggers, especially since the woman who signed S Meyer has been involved. I'm going to hang fire on this one I think, i'm going to wait until there are more reviews before I make my mind up.

And dang it! I was really looking forward to the new Benway book, because Audrey Wait! was such an amazing debut, but there has been a few reviews milling about that have said they expected more from the book, so it seems like maybe this isn't going to be as good as her debut.

I still feel like such a fraud for not having read the Chaos books, I need to read them soon!! I have no excuse

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

I already read and reviewd april may and june. It was a cute story.

borrowing Matched right now and excited to read it. Been hearing the buzz on this book too. I think i'm in a dystopian theme lately with reading birthmarked and waiting for mockingjay.

Lale said...

Delirium sounds really interesting- I'm a sucker for good world building! And I'm very much looking forward to Matched, too. Thanks for the sneak peeks!

Okie said...

These sound like a lot of fun. I've been hearing lots of good about Matched...will probably try and pick that one up and read it shortly after it comes out. Not sure about the others, but I'll keep my eye on them.

bermudaonion said...

I haven't read any of them. I love the tile of The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June - too bad it's a drag.

celi.a said...

I can't wait for those dystopian titles! They sound fabulous.

Aaron_H said...
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Aaron_H said...
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Serena said...

I love dystopian novels, and matched sounds interesting, but I think that's the novel that is similar to Amanda's at The Zen Leaf, which as yet is still unpublished. It was great to see you at Scholastic. I chatted with your husband a bit at Scholastic before you got there...though I think I forgot to introduce myself. LOL

The Book Owl said...

Oh, I love these sneak peaks! I so excited for all of the books you reviewed.

Andi said...

Matched sounds interesting. Sort of like The Giver but romanced up for the female audience. I'll be interested to read your full review.

Reallyyyy need to hurry my butt up and read the Chaos Walking trilogy. I'm so behind.

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I love dystopian novels. Thanks for the previews!

Hannah S said...

I'm super psyched for Matched (as everyone seems to be!), and of course, Delirium.
Thanks for sharing!
Love, Hannah

Christie (The Fiction Enthusiast) said...

I haven’t read any, but I’m so very excited about Matched!

Nomes said...

I loved the mini reviews. Delirium sounds awesome - and I havent hear much about it - you've left just enough here to entice me :)

And, like everyone else, can't wait to get my hands on Matched.

And, I think I know what you mean about TESOAMAJ. I found her dialogue in Audrey, wait! to be cute at the beginning, then towards the end, it just felt like an author thinking up witty dialogue, rather than characters, you know?

Aarti said...

I feel like parents who would name their kids after subsequent months are kind of lame.

I didn't know that Matched was the first in a series! Good to know. Though I wish there was more stand-alone speculative fiction!

Staci said...

I'm seriously looking forward to your reviews of the first three. Looks like there is some great YA releases to relish!

Chachic said...

I really want to read both Matched and Delirium! I look forward to your full reviews.

Amy said...

Oohh Delirium sounds good! And I have the first in the Monsters of Men series to read on my shelf, I keep hearing great things so can't wait to start the trilogy.

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

The level of jealousy I have for you right now for having read Delirium and Matched is crazy! I am sooooo looking forward to Delirium and crazy curious about Matched. Thanks for posting these mini-reviews! :-)

Jana said...

I have Monsters of Men on my shelf right now, but I am going to "reward" myself with that when I finish a few others I need to get done! I know that once I start I will not be able to stop but it is getting hard to wait!

PJ Hoover said...

I've read both MATCHED and DELIRIUM. So similar. Also so different on how the stories resonated with me.
And I hear you on the end of DELIRIUM. Oy.

cynthial11 said...

Great little mini reviews!! I can't wait to read Matched and Delirium and I'll be adding the others to my always growing list!

Zibilee said...

All of these are new to me, but they all sound really good! I love the mini review format and thank you for sharing these interesting titles with me. I am adding all of them to my wish list and hoping that I enjoy them as much as you did!!

S. Krishna said...

Ooh, thanks for these! I definitely want to read Delirium and Matched. I have the Robin Benway, but am not sure about it after your review.

BookChic said...

I have all those except Monsters of Men, as I've never read that series. I'm excited to read all of them, and it was cool to read your thoughts on each of them. Can't wait for the full reviews!!

Sarah said...

Oh, my. I seriously cannot wait for Monsters of Men. That series is so fantastic and I'm hearing great things about the final installment. I need to get my hands on a copy, like immediately. Thanks for the review.

Sandy Shin said...

Thank you for the mini reviews! I've read MATCHED and it was truly amazing. And I really cannot wait for DELIRIUM -- it sounds really great.

Beth F said...

Yikes! I still have to read the first Patrick Ness!

I love that comment about the group hug! I think I'll pass on that one.

Adele said...

I still haven't read MoM and I am DYING to. I love the idea of reading from the Spackle's perspective. I guess i will just have to hold on a little longer.

Amanda said...

I absolutely love the idea of teaser reviews! After i get a few more ARCs read, I might have to borrow the idea. :D

Bookgeek said...

I so want to read MoM, and am really looking forward to Delirium. I've just finished Matched and am on the fence - to me it was dystopia light. I liked the concept of the book, and some of the twists, but somehow to me it lacked bite.

Christina Farley said...

Thanks for the reviews. So interesting on your take of these novels. I'll defintely have to read Matched.