Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mini Reviews #16

There are still so many 2011 and 2012 Netgalley titles on my review list that I thought I'd feature three of them in today's Mini Reviews post. NEW GIRL by Paige Harbison, ALL THESE LIVES by Sarah Wylie and DANCERGIRL by Carol M. Tanzman are on the darker and more thrilling and mysterious side of YA contemporary reads.

New Girl by Paige Harbison

This year a new girl is attending Manderley Academy. And she took Becca's place. Becca who was friends with everybody. Becca who was perfect. Becca who is gone now.
There are chapters alternating between our new girl and Becca’s point of view.
Set at boarding school, I was looking forward to a lively setting with a bunch of fun and individual characters. But the characters weren’t as I imagined them to be. Our protagonist who is known as the new girl at Manderley is welcomed by prejudiced and withdrawn people who have to constantly compare her to Becca. And I found myself growing irritated by the permanent references to the perfect girl who disappeared one year ago. So our new girl doesn’t really have a chance to be herself, people started defining her before she even arrived.
The love stories of Becca and the new girl aren't ordinary and solely romantic, they are bringing lots and lots of drama, intrigues and lies to the story. Becca is very different from the new girl who is only interested in one boy, Max. His and new girl’s relationship was one of my favourite parts of the story. Although Becca went missing over one year ago the story is mostly about her relationships and friends that the new girl picked up. It’s interesting to see how both girls started their lives at boarding school differently and how they define their relationships.

4/5 **** NEW GIRL - A cleverly constructed, lulling psychological drama.

The uncertainty about Becca Normandy's whereabouts, the strange behaviour of other students towards our protagonist and otherworldly occurrences play with the reader's imagination. This whole story is very mysterious and scary and I caught myself developing the wildest theories about who the new girl really was and what it was about her connection to Becca.

Publisher:Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: January 31st 2012
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, mystery, missing girl, boarding school, romance
Source: Netgalley

All These Lives by Sarah Wylie

Dani is devastated about her sister having cancer. She is convinced she has nine lives and should be the one to offer all of hers for the one life her sister seems barely able to hold on to.
It must be a tough fate to deal with the looming death of one of your closest confidantes. ALL THESE LIVES is told from Dani's perspective in a first person point of view. We see how much Jena's weakness and pain upsets her and forces her to take fate and the life of her sister into her own hands. Dani wants to save her sister by giving away her own lives, of which she believes to possess nine. Her story is filled with dares and many risky stunts and near-death experiences. Where I first found the concept of her having nine lives intriguing, I never found a tangible point to feel like the things she was doing made sense. The whole story just didn't work for me, seeming dubious, inordinate and generally confusing. While Sarah's first book just wasn't for me and I highly missed a memorable romance, I'll still be keeping my eyes on her next book, SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH YOU, coming out in 2014.

2/5 ** ALL THESE LIVES - A profound sisterly bond, the fear of losing the other and very absurd ways to express your support.

Sarah Wylie's debut novel might have been a quick read for me, but not one that will stay with me for long. The cover was what drew me towards this book on Netgalley and the concept of Dani having nine lives was an intriguing feature, but in the end I couldn't find many points to connect with her, the other characters and her breakneck behaviour and irritating ways of thinking. 

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publishing Date: June 5th 2012
Length: 245 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, cancer, family, nine lives
Source: Netgalley
Author's Homepage

dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman

Alicia Ruffino is a dancer. And when one of her friends posts a video of her online, everyone knows her as dancergirl. There is admiration and adoration. And behind a mask of false pretense, watching her every move, someone is stalking her. Wanting to be near her, to observe her. And that person wouldn't stop from hurting her either. 
Dancing is her passion. It was her private joy, her excersise and now she's sharing her talent with the whole world. DANCERGIRL was my favourite book about dancing so far. Ali was a cool character and very natural, modest and confident about her talent and her passion for it.
The love story underlying the overall stalking drama was beautiful. Ali's best friend Jacy is always there for here and would do anything for her. Jacy is such a sweet person. Whereas Ali's stalker is a major creep. It could be anyone who stalks Ali and it only takes a few chapters to feel watched yourself.

4/5 **** dancergirl - It's a fine balance between passion and obsession. Well-written and relevant YA contemporary read! 

Dancergirl was more exciting than any thriller and I'll happily pick up its companion novel, CIRCLE OF SILENCE, set at Washington Irving High, too.

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: November 15th 2011
Length: 248 pages
Keywords: YA, thriller, contemporary, dancing, friendship, love, stalker
Source: Netgalley
Author's Homepage


  1. New girl sounds like a book I might like :D

  2. All These Lives sounded so promising :( It's a shame it wasn't executed so well. I hate it when books have such promise and fail to deliver!