Thursday, August 4, 2016

Abbreviations #27: July Minis

Mini-reviews, mini-reviews, mini-reviews for all! Here's a brief selection of novels that I've read in the past month, and when I say brief, I mean just three reviews this time around. That's quite a departure from my usual number of minis, but I fear that summer has sapped my will to read (and so has Pokemon Go). Anyway, without further ado, check out these three mini-reviews for your reading pleasure!

SuperNova book cover
SuperNova by Liz Long
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: June 16, 2016
Source: ARC received from the author (Thanks!)

Nova Benson’s life changes forever when she sees her beloved little sister murdered in front of her eyes. The killer? A man named Fortune, who is making himself quite at home as a criminal mastermind in the city of Arcania. Nova is determined to set things right, and armed with her impenetrable skin and unnatural strength, a secret only her family knows about, she tracks Fortune’s every move. In her quest for justice, she meets siblings Cole and Penelope Warner, who are hiding special abilities of their own. Together, these three decide to team up and take Fortune down once and for all. Now, if you’re thinking, wow, SuperNova sounds like your typical YA novel, well, you’re not wrong. The story is fairly formulaic in execution; it was definitely predictable in terms of plot and romance. What kept me reading, however, was the whole superhero-slash-vigilante aspect. Even though the abilities these characters possess are never fully explained (or maybe I just missed it), I still liked seeing them in action and taking it upon themselves to be the superheroes their home needed. Unfortunately, aside from that, I didn’t find myself getting particularly invested at all. I couldn’t connect to the characters, and I found the plot too easy to guess at, which I’d say is where it fell short for me. Still, I have to admit that it’s a solid read, even though it wound up not being particularly memorable in the end.

You Know Me Well book cover
You Know Me Well by Nina La Cour & David Levithan
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Source: ARC downloaded from NetGalley

What happens when you see someone you know from school somewhere you didn’t expect to? Take Mark and Kate, classmates who have never spoken to one another, and who, unexpectedly, find each other on the night the Pride festivities are kicking off in San Francisco. Both are having undoubtedly complicated evenings, specifically in the romance department: Kate is running away from the chance to meet the girl she’s loved from afar and Mark is in love with his best friend whose feelings are unknown. Drawn to each other, they end up becoming incredibly important parts of each other’s lives after one crazy night – and that, friends, is what You Know Me Well is all about. Now, personally, I liked the alternating points of view and the jumps in time. It seemed a fitting way to portray a friendship that blossomed so suddenly and yet, with such strength and intense understanding. There’s a lot that happens within the pages of so short a novel, and while the brevity and abruptness did not help me connect with these characters, I thought it worked for the sake of the plot. It feels like the authors were trying to show how friendships can blossom out of surprising circumstances and still be as strong and true as if there had been years behind it; how relationships, especially romantic ones, can be complicated by personal or external factors; how sometimes, the universe really just brings two people into the right place at the right time. I liked those themes a whole lot, and that definitely led to my overall enjoyment of this story – in spite of the lack of connection with the two main characters.


Cure for the Common Universe book cover
Cure for the Common Universe by Christian McKay Heidicker
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
Source: ARC from the publisher (Thanks!)

Jaxon has had the most wondrous experience of his sixteen-year-old-life: an actual girl – Serena – laughed at his jokes and agreed to go on a date with him. Unfortunately for him, minutes after, he’s booked into video game rehab in the middle of nowhere. In order to go on a date with the girl of his dreams, he’s going to have to muster up a million points or else submit to the rehab activities that threaten to expose his truths. If you think the premise for Cure for the Common Universe sounds right out of a movie, I would have to agree, as I could totally see this book being turned into a film. The way the plot progresses – the inclusion of various video game references, and the structure of Jaxon’s rehab stint as a real life video game where he has to earn points – is definitely easy to visualize. And it’s certainly not like my usual reading fare! Sadly, I couldn’t connect with the characters, nor did I really find the story to feel fully developed, and it wound up simply being okay.

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