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Wednesday 15 August 2012

Review: Now is Good

      Now Is Good    
Title: Now Is Good (Before I Die)
Author: Jenny Downham
Series: None
Pages: 326
Publisher: David Fickling
Release Date: Released
Source: For Review
Rating: 4 stars
100 Book challenge: #73

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallised in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

I read the formerly titled 'Before I Die' when it first came out in about 2007. I loved it then and I loved it now after rereading it. It is a hard read at times due to the subject matter but the writing flows so beautifully, pulling you in.

A lot of people say they cannot connect to Tessa nor understand some of her wishes that she wants to do before she dies. Whilst a lot of these wishes I personally wouldn't desire to complete, I fully understand the want to live before you die. It came across to me that Tessa wanted to live her life as fully as possible before leaving the world. No one wants to die not having left their mark. Some things she did were stupid and reckless and at times she could some across as angry, bitter and mean but it make me feel for her even more because someone who has had such a struggle with life must be so angry at the world.

I think it was Tessa's father that touched me so deeply. His unconditional love for his daughter and his pain not only watching her die but her trying complete the crazy things on her list. The hopelessness was agonizing and I just wanted to give him a hug.

There were a lot of aspects in the novel but the essence what about being thankful for the time we do have and enjoying it to the fullest. It was really touching and made me glad to be alive. Jenny Downham is a beautiful writer and has a way with words and I highly recommend this to fans of contemporary fiction.

Friday 10 August 2012

Review: Glow

Title: Glow
Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Series: Sky Chasers #1
Pages: 385
Publisher: Macmillan
Release Date: Released
Source: For Review
Rating: 4 stars
100 Book challenge: #74

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.

'Glow' is an engaging, mysterious read that really caught me by surprise. It has the same feel as 'Across the Universe' by Beth Revis, not only in its setting within Space but also in the corruption and mystery encapsulated within the plot. There were, however, enough differences to make it a fresh and original read.

The story revolves essentially around Waverly and Kieran, two teens who are in a relationship on the Empyrean ship. It was quite refreshing to have the characters already be in a relationship at the start of the novel because it had the intense feelings and maturity that comes from a long relationship without the issue of insta-love. I found Waverly to be very independent and a real leader. She was smart and intuitive, not always believing everything she was told. Kieran, in my opinion, was a little weaker and had a less clear leadership role which I really enjoyed as it was nice to see a character that was flawed.

Ryan dealt with a lot of heavy topics in this novel such as religion and reproduction and how the two intertwined. As the ship is heading to New Earth, there is a need for a new generation to inhabit the new planet and make it thrive and these responsibilities are placed on the teenagers on the ship. It was really intriguing to explore the religious views of duty and God's will which is explored in depth.

'Glow' is a faily sophisticated young adult novel with an in-depth plot that involves a lot of focus. At times I did feel myself getting a little confused but it has a really engaging plot with some really interesting questions about religion that I found fascinating. If you enjoy sci-fi and dystopians then I would recommend you read 'Glow'. 
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