February 14, 2015

Abbreviations #3 | The Maze Runner, Love and Other Perishable Items + Better Than Perfect

This week's set of mini-reviews includes: a YA dystopian/science fiction novel that recently was turned into a film, a contemporary YA that just didn't work for me and an upcoming contemporary YA release that tackles tough stuff.

The Maze Runner book cover The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner #1
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source/Format: Bought || Kindle e-book

When it comes to The Maze Runner, I’m admittedly guilty of judging the book based on its cover and my initial impression of its premise. Fortunately, thanks to book club, I gave The Maze Runner a chance. End verdict? Totally worth it! The story, the characters, the twists – everything kept me turning the pages until I hit the end. It does take some time to adapt to the world of the Maze, with all the different terms + the limitations of the setting. But once it clicks, readers are in for an action-packed adventure filled with surprises at every turn, both good and bad. Thomas, Minho, Teresa, Chuck, Newt – these guys, among the Gladers, are the ones who linger most in my thoughts because of the important roles they play. In fact, they left such strong impressions that I’m actually a little curious to see what happens in the sequel, The Scorch Trials. If my desire to possibly read the sequel is any indication, The Maze Runner was certainly well worth a read.

Love and Other Perishable Items book cover
Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
Source/Format: Passed on by Hannah (Thanks!) || Paperback

After having encountered so much praise for Love and Other Perishable Items in the blogging community, it was a highly anticipated read. Unfortunately, it fell short of my expectations – a subjective opinion, mind you, rather than an objective one. Objectively, there are merits to this novel: the use of two points of view (Amelia and Chris), the almost-but-not-quite-parallel timelines, and the simplicity of the story setting juxtaposed with the emotions running high. Subjectively, however, the barest hint of a connection with Amelia and the lack of any connection (in fact, a rather perpetually annoyed state) with Chris had me feeling indifferent towards the entire novel. Love and Other Perishable Items is, regrettably, a forgettable read for this reader. (PS – If you want to check out someone who felt the opposite, go and take a look at Magan’s lovely review.)

Better than Perfect book cover
Better than Perfect by Melissa Kantor
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Source/Format: Edelweiss (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in my review.]

Kantor sure likes to tackle hard stuff in her stories, be it cancer (in Maybe One Day) or watching a family fall apart in Better than Perfect. While it’s not easy to read about, it certainly feels real – and readers will sympathize with the dramatic turn of events that flips Juliet’s life from perfect to chaos. The story hit a personal chord, as Juliet’s struggle to deal with the situations in her life resonates. She might not always make likeable choices, but they felt authentic to her personality and circumstances. This is what’s strongest about Better than Perfect – how Kantor portrays Juliet and all that she goes through. Where it falls flat, personally, is how certain situations felt a touch too contrived and some a little “soap opera” level of dramatic. Even so, it’s a pretty decent contemporary novel, and worth checking out (especially if you love her previous work). (Major bonus points for Declan, by the way.)


  1. Oh gosh, I read THE MAZE RUNNER such a long time ago, but I remember really loving it as well! I'm glad you were thoroughly engrossed with the fast-paced storyline. I definitely recommend reading the sequel since it's just as fast-paced if not MORE, but the third book was really disappointing.

    I've been wanting to read Buzo's book for awhile now, but that's just it--so many mixed thoughts on this book! If it's a romance, I can't deal with a couple in which there is no connection between them. I think I really just need to pick this up and see for myself.

    I've been hearing so many negative things for BETTER THAN PERFECT. It's a little awkward if such deep topics are dramatized, isn't it? I haven't even read her previous story, MAYBE ONE DAY, so I don't know what to make of Kantor yet. I may skip this one.

    Thanks for the mini-reviews Alexa! Really loved reading your thoughts :)

  2. Leah @ The Pretty Good GatsbyFebruary 14, 2015 at 9:28 AM

    I feel like I'm the last holdout with The Maze Runner! A part of me is a little nervous - I'm not a fan of dystopian novels - but so many friends love this series so I'm thinking I just might have to give it a shot!

  3. I love the Maze Runner! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

    2. That BED quote <3 so beautiful. My favorite from BED has to be "I want you. But I can't have you" "Haven, sweetheart... you've already got me." it never fails to make me cry. I love Haley and Nate but can we talk about the amazingness that is Charmed?! Leo and Piper foreverrrrr <3 (I also love me some Cole heh)

    A lot of my favorite quotes come from Clockwork Princess which is just so bittersweet and beautiful and I would love to share but spoilers :P

  5. I'm so glad you enjoyed The Maze Runner! It's been forever since I read it but it was a totally great book. :) Ah, I'm curious why Better Than Perfect gets bonus points for this Declan. ;)

  6. Belated Happy Valentine's, Alexa! I love that Shakespeare quote in particular! Kiss Me is one of my favourite Ed Sheeran songs- I just absolutely melt every time I hear it! <3

  7. Oh, my! What a great idea! I want to do it, too! Happy Valentine's Alexa! :)


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