Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Five -- Summer Book Style

Happy Friday sweet readers!

One of my favorite parts of summer is reading. The extra down time tucked inside each day . . . reading on the beach as the ocean rumbles in the background . . . staying up late to finish a great book because you can sleep in--no school is calling. (Or in my case, no school for my boys, which means no getting up early to pack lunches! Woot! And sleeping in? Not so much. Not yet anyway. Maybe when my littles aren't so little.:D)

Back to the books. Oh, the books!

Today's Friday Five! It's a shout-out to my favorite YA books of the summer so far. To be honest, these are some of my favorite books of the year, too. I loved each for slightly different reasons.

So here we go, in no particular order:

5. THE FIFTH WAVE by Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Pitched as THE PASSAGE (a book I enjoyed but didn't love) meets ENDER'S GAME (on of my all-time favorite books) this book had me at pre-order.

For me, THE FIFTH WAVE lived up to the hype. The premise was frighteningly realistic and Yancey executed it like a master. The twists were plentiful and unexpected. Plus, in a sci-fi setting, I love the exploration of the qualities that we, as humans, possess that both set us apart and hold the key to our survival. Well-done all around. It's the kind of book that will linger with you, long after you finish it.

I leave you with the quote Yancey chose to start the book: a snippet from the brilliant Stephen Hawking: "If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans."

Chilling, don't you think? So was THE FIFTH WAVE.:)

4. REBOOT by Amy Tintera

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

Another great sci-fi summer read for me. I went into REBOOT with high hopes, and like THE FIFTH WAVE, REBOOT delivered. Tintera never uses the word zombie, yet part of couldn't help thinking it was a fresh twist on the "died-and-came-back-to-life" thing that permeates most zombie books.

Because in Tintera's capable hands, no moaning, mindless walking dead here.

Instead, Tintera crafts lightning fast soldiers, and even better, she creates characters that have depth, internal conflict, and character arcs that keep you turning the pages late into the night. Wren and Callum were FANTASTIC, for different reasons. *sits on hands to not spoil a minute of your reading* I'd say more, but I want you to discover Tintera's brilliance for yourself. Read REBOOT and you'll see exactly what I mean. I just learned that Tintera has a sequel out next year, which makes me happy, happy, happy.:)

3. TORCHED by Andrea Lynn Colt

Cheerleader Rose Whitfield's senior year goes up in smoke when she's framed for arson. Sure that the culprit is her neighbor Paxton, with whom she's been feuding since middle school, she sets out to clear her name and take Paxton down hard--not necessarily in that order.

TORCHED was recommended to me by Caroline Richmond, and wow--what a great rec! A super fun, super fast YA contemporary, with interesting characters and a superbly-plotted mystery that will hook you from page one. Rose was well-crafted, same for Paxton, and I loved figuring out the villain along with Rose--as well as figuring out Rose herself. :)

If you loved Robin Mellum's DITCHED (which I did!), grab a copy of TORCHED. You'll love it, and I'm not blowing smoke.:)

2. TRANSPARENT by Natalie Whipple

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

Let me start by saying I love Natalie Whipple. I think she's amazing--kind and giving and talented, and she was a great CP for NIL. So of course I read TRANSPARENT as soon as I could get my grabby hands on it, and I prayed I loved it as much as I wanted to.

And you know what? I LOVED IT MORE. :)

Mutants, mobsters and an invisible girl that is fighting to see herself--including the girl she is inside, and the girl she wants to be. Fiona is a fascinating character, and I was blown away at how well how Natalie wove Fiona's story from page one, giving Fiona a fantastic cast of friends and family to reflect and encourage Fiona's own growth. There were also plenty of twists, both big and small, and reveals at the perfect moment--all constant reminders that I was in the hands of an excellent storyteller. :)

Last but not least, I also loved that, among the many YA series out there (and I'm a series girl, don't get me wrong), TRANSPARENT stands tall as a stand-alone. Take it to the beach, take it on your vacay--you're in for a treat!

1. ONE by Leigh Ann Kopans

When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.

It makes you a One.

Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover.

If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances.

Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other.

Merrin's mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub's internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed. Now it’s up to her to decide if it's more important to fly solo, or to save everything - and everyone - she loves.

Oh how I loved this book. I ordered a copy of ONE based on the description (X-men vibes were strong for me) and in the meantime, I'd gotten to know Leigh Ann through Twitter. And I REALLY wanted to like ONE when I read it, just because I thought so much of Leigh Ann. Well, turns out I didn't just like ONE; I LOVED IT.

Here's why:



And the whole notion of only having one superpower when every other Super has two. How can you fit in when you don't seem to belong anywhere: Super, or Normal? Merrin's frustrations and hopes are so honest, and Merrin's growth was stellar. Her relationship with Elias was sweet and real, yet I loved how Merrin stood on her own as a character. The ending left me wanting more but not frustrated--the perfect way to end the first of a series. Well-done. The sequel, TWO, comes out in October and I'm all over it.:)

So there you have it. My five faves of summer so far. . . and to celebrate I'm giving two of them away!

Up for grabs? My own personal copy of TRANSPARENT *sniff* *so hard to part with* and a signed copy of ONE.

All you have to do is enter below! May the Rafflecopter odds be ever in your favor :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What's your favorite summer read so far?

**Update: Thank you to the awesome Jay C. Spencer who pointed out that I , ahem, had numbering issues. Apparently I can't count. (I always DID like English better.:D) Thanks Spence for the heads up. :)

UPDATE (7/15): Contest is closed. Congratulations to the winner, Heather Nielsen, as picked by the Rafflecopter pixies.:) Heather, I'm emailing you now!


  1. Looking forward to reading Reboot this weekend and hopefully The 5th Wave next week! I don't have the others but have heard many good things! Well, Torched wasn't on my radar before so thanks for sharing!

    1. No problem Melody! :) I thought TORCHED was fun. I hope you like it too! :) Let me know what you think of REBOOT & THE FIFTH WAVE. Very different, but equally good IMO.

  2. I LOVED The Fifth Wave. To death.

    1. Ditto. COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.:) Thanks KikiD for stopping by!

  3. I loved Transparent and I adore Natalie! I can't wait for House of Ivy and Sorrow!!

    1. Me too! :) On both counts, Becky! :)

    2. Actually, that's on all three counts! :) Me=bad with math. :)

  4. So far my favorite read this summer was The Clockwork Scarab by Collen Gleason and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Mass both great books.

    1. Oh, adding to my TBR list right now! Thanks for the recs Bridget! :)

  5. Favorite summer read so far -- Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler. 5th Wave on my list. Thanks for yours.

    1. Paige,
      Adding Girls Don't Fly to my TBR list night now too.:) Thanks so much for the rec!

  6. I've been dying to get my hands on a copy of TRANSPARENT! Also, the description of REBOOT kinda made me fall in love with the story already. Got to order that one immediately :)

    1. Yay! I think you'll really enjoy REBOOT. Killer premise, well-executed.:) (Puns intended) :) And TRANSPARENT--so good too!

      Thanks for stopping by, Sam!

  7. Favorite summer read so far- BZRK 2 by Michael Grant (not out until October though). I also LOOOOVED ONE. I was a part of the street team (woo hoo) and so I got to read an ealy copy but the day of release I bought it and reread. Ahhhhh still so good. <3