Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mini Reviews: Confessions of an Angry Girl + Adaptation

CONFESSIONS OF AN ANGRY GIRL
Louise Rozett
Contemporary Young Adult
272 pages
Harlequin Teen
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some confessions to make…

1. I'm livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate, don't you?

2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine.

3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry—get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)

(Sorry. That was rude.)


MY THOUGHTS
Confessions of an Angry Girl is a surprising story, the title and synopsis causing our bodies to brace as we prepare to enter the volatile mind of a grief-stricken fourteen year-old girl, but what we find instead is an extraordinarily relatable young woman lost in a sea of change. While there are times when Rose does lash out in anger, for the most part she’s quiet, absorbing blow after blow until she reaches the point her body and mind can no longer sustain another hit without a verbal or physical defense, and by that time young Rose has embedded herself so deeply under our skin we’ve no other choice but to back her every play even when we know no good will come of it.

Though Rose doesn’t likely see herself as strong, we can’t help but see her as such, admiring the strength it takes for a freshmen in high school to not be swayed by the pressure of those around her, instead choosing the more difficult path of non-conformity despite the loneliness that results from a road less traveled. Rose’s journey through her freshman year is emotional and engaging; a pleasant deviation from what was expected, however, it does end abruptly and with little warning, leaving those of us enjoying it via e-reader wondering if somehow our device caught a chapter-eating virus that robbed us of the story's conclusion. Though this is a series and obviously Rose’s story will continue in the next book, the ending knocks our enjoyment level down a peg or two.

Rating: Overall - 4/5 Ending - 3/5


ADAPTATION
Malinda Lo
Young Adult/SciFi
400 pages
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now.

Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.

Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened, where they are—or how they’ve been miraculously healed.

Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.


MY THOUGHTS
Adaptation is one of those stories that sets the gears in our minds turning before we even open the first page, the possibility of government conspiracies and cover ups causing us to have a handful of theories as to what we think might happen in this tale right off the bat, and as we continue reading we can’t help but analyze every thought and action to see if it fits into one of our imagined scenarios. In this first installment, Ms. Lo keeps the science fiction element of the story fairly subtle, allowing our imaginations to run wild as to what exactly happened to Reese and David in the desert, so it’s likely that even those readers who are not huge on the genre will be able to enjoy the labyrinthine mystery that is the United States government and their many and varied secrets.

While trying to uncover the details of David and Reese’s stint in a top secret facility keeps us utterly riveted to the pages, the romantic relationships (yes, plural) create a minor hitch in an otherwise smooth ride. From the beginning we understand Reese is attracted to David, the tension between them present and formidable even in the midst of their harrowing journey from Phoenix to San Francisco, leading us to believe theirs is a relationship that will be explored throughout the remainder of the story. However, not long after their return to California, Reese quickly enters into a relationship with a young woman to whom she feels a magnetic pull, something that throws us off a bit given Reese at no point previously has had even a passing romantic thought for someone of the same gender. Her physical relationship with Amber progresses shockingly fast as well, with very little examination of any confusing or conflicting feelings one might think would be present for someone who has just made a life-altering discovery about herself.

Despite the few flaws with the love triangle between Reese, David and Amber, Adaptation is an engaging first installment that leaves us itching to jump on the internet and see what fascinating conspiracy theory sites we can stumble upon.

Rating: 3.5/5

53 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about the ending in CoAG - but it didn't bother me as much since I knew there will be a sequel!! I'm so looking forward to the next one!

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    1. I knew there would be a sequel too, it just seemed to end mid-action and I was thinking there might be more of a conclusion to the first installment:) Still, I really loved Rose and can't wait for book 2!

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    2. Does anyone know when the sequel of Confessions Of An Angry Girl comes out. Just finished the first one and I really don't know how long I can possibly wait for the sequel.
      You're review was spot on by the way!

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  2. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Confessions of an Angry Girl-it was a definitely above the usual YA contemporary and I'm very excited for the sequel!

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  3. Ok I really want to know what's up with the birds in book 2!

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    1. It was very creepy and awesome and I thought the scifi element was really well done:)

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  4. First off, I want to say that Adaption's cover is absolutely yummi! I don't know what exactly gets to me, but it's really interesting.

    Hmm.. And as for CoaAG, I'm not really into books that have characters younger than 15, because sometimes when grown-ups write them, they seem to put them in the shoes of an adult and it continues to a point where it's not believable anymore. However, this one seems like a story I'd like. I already own an ebook copy so maybe I'll try it someday. Oh, one thing I thought about at the mention of the sequel (CoaAAG) was when I was 11 years old and had my first boyfriend, well.. let's just say we started going out at 5th grade (I think the school system in Europe is quite different from the US one, but anyway..) and we didn't do anything other than just hold hands and tell each other 'I love you' 'n stuff. I really thought I was gonna marry this guy, have beautiful babies, get a dog and own a nice shiny red Ferrari. Well.. Life's tricky that way :D since we broke up after a year of holding hands and now we're not each other's best friends, but whenever we get together we laugh about it and just have a great time as friends. I'm not even sure why I wrote this here, but it's fun thinking back to a time when I was just a kid. Yeah.. I think even if I don't end up reading it, I'll let my sister read it. She is 15 and maybe shel'll like it :) Thank you for sharing both of these!

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    1. 14 is typically a bit younger than I like my YA protagonists to be as well - they either read way too young and I can't quite get on board, or like you said, they appear to old for their age. I thought Rose was the perfect balance - I felt like she acted her age at times but also showed a great deal of maturity and I loved her:)

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  5. CoaAG sounds like something I'd like. Rose seem like an admirable heroine, I love when you see the mc grow/develops on her journey to self discovery.

    Great reviews!

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    1. I loved Rose:) I can't wait to see how she grows in the series!

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  6. Uh-oh, a love triangle? I think I'll be skipping Adaptation and it's a shame about the ending of CoaAG. I hate when that small bit ruins a good story, so perhaps I'll wait for the sequel before picking it up. I love these mini-reviews though, Jenny, so wonderful job! :)

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    1. A bit of an unconventional love triangle, but a love triangle nonetheless. I just felt like if she'd never had any feelings for a woman previously, that should have been explored a bit more, but I know this isn't a story about coming out, so in that case it seemed like maybe she should have at least been attracted to a woman at some point before the story started so it wasn't out of character for her you know?

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  7. Getting to like the whole mini-review thing, aren't you? :) Of course, your mini-reviews are more like my regular ones...and fabulous as always. Both of these are on my maybe TBR list and, after your reviews, they're staying (though they're not moving up the list).

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    1. Hahahah yes:) I was in a review funk for a while, and mini reviews took some of the pressure off:) Plus, they help me get through books in my TBR pile faster so I can fulfill the promises I made!

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  8. I would like one book in the YA market please that does not feature the trope love triangle!! Geez!!

    And neither of these books were ever on my radar, they dont sound appealing to me, however your review has me interested in giving Lo a try...:)

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    1. I really liked CoaAG - much more than I thought I would. And Adaptation was hugely intriguing, I just didn't quite understand her seemingly random switch in gender preference. I liked her relationship with Amber, I just wanted it explored a little bit more since Reese was attracted to David just a few chapters before.

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  9. I loved COAG! For me the ending just left me wanting more! I can not wait to read the next book.

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  10. thanks for the reviews and yes didn't like the triangle in adaption either. I haven't heard of the other book til today. I liked adapation because it was local to me :)

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    1. I tire of love triangles:( I just want a relationship that involves only 2 people!

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  11. I have to be honest that the description of CoaAG put me off as a reader. I used up my patience quota for whiny characters though I'm glad she seems much stronger than expected. As for Adaptation, I had no idea it was scifi! I'm curious about the conspiracies though not glad to see a love triangle. I think I may have to give that one a shot.

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    1. It put me off as well, but I think the description is really misleading. I expected her to be really whiny and frustrating, and I didn't find her to be that way at all. I think you might be pleasantly surprised!

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  12. Oh! I hate when the ending of the book completely knocks you over (and NOT in a good way). Hopefully the sequel to Confessions of an Angry Girl make up for it!

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    1. I know. I just sort of stared at the last page going WHERE IS THE REST OF IT?! Aside from that though, it was really great:)

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  13. Oh I would not have been happy with the ending of the first one. We all know that I need plenty of warning for endings like that LOL I will wait to see what you think of book 2 :)

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    1. I feel like if I had cheated like I sometimes do and read the end first, I would have been better off. I was just not prepared at all for it, even though I knew there was a sequel.

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  14. I'm sad there's not a better conclusion for Confessions but I probably cant read it for awhile so maybe I can just read them both in a row.
    Adaptation never had my attention much before but conspiracy theories are something my husband and I can talk about forever. So that interests me. The romance sounds a bit off though. It seems like she would have had hints of liking the same sex at least. I love LGBT themed books and I like how Malinda Lo has the ability to write them like its just normal, not an actual 'issue' in the book. So I will probably read this one. One day.

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    1. I agree, on the one hand I really liked that the her relationship with Amber didn't become the focus of the story and no big deal was made of it, but at the same time, given that Reese had no prior attraction to women, it seemed strange that a little more time wasn't dedicated to her feelings on being bisexual you know?

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  15. I actually really, really loved Confessions of an Angry Girl! I totally don't think there needs to be a sequel so I was disappointed in that, but I'll read it anyway since I loved the first :)

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    1. I thought it was great as well, and I can't wait for the next book:)

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  16. An abrupt ending would be frustrating. I'm really intrigued by the synopsis. I think all the anger synonyms are hilarious.

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    1. It was a little frustrating, especially since I was so in love with it up to that point. I didn't want anything to detract from the happy feelings I had about it, but the ending left me reeling a touch.

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  17. I think I could handle Adaptation, but NO! to Angry Girl. I'm sorry but I hate abrupt endings more than cliffies. Maybe if the next book doesn't do that, then I can read them both at once.

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    1. This seemed strange to me, it literally just stopped mid-action. I was not amused. Even with that though, it was a fabulous read:)

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  18. I keep reading that word surprising to describe Angry Girl, I guess Rose isn't as angry as people think. I have heard good things but am not thrilled about the abrupt ending. Adaptation was another one I was looking forward to, but to quote you yesterday, " Dammit another love triangle..." I cannot handle that!

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    1. She was definitely not as angry was I was anticipating. I don't even know that I would call her angry at all, she was more just lost and occasionally lashed out, which was more than understandable given the death of her father.

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  19. Confessions of an Angry Girl seems reallly fun to read! I like how Rose is actually quiet in person, because thats how it really is in life. People arent how they always appear to be. Really cant wait to read it. Lovely review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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    1. Hope you like it as much as I did Farah!

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  20. I keep saying this, but it's interesting and sort of embarassing how your and Keertana's mini reviews end up being longer than my regular ones.
    Out of the two, Adaptation is more up my alley, but the relationship with Amber you described worries me a bit because it seemed so sudden.
    Ah, well, I'll read it as soon as I can, of course.
    Amazing reviews!

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    1. Hahaha I know, I call them mini, but sometimes I just can't stop talking so they end up being fairly long anyway:) Books make me chatty.

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  21. I loved getting Rose's view in Confession of an Angry Girl, I kept forgetting just how young she actually was, I honestly can't wait for the next book it's a shame we have to wait so long! :( Gosh I would never think that Adaptation had so much going on just by looking at that cover, it sure seems to cover a hell of a lot! I'm glad it still kept you on your toes! I adore your mini-reviews Jenny! :)

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    1. I know! I need books to come out every 3 months instead of ever 6 or every year. Three months is a manageable wait, a year is downright painful.

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  22. Adaptation sounds like a premise that I would really enjoy...scifi conspiracy theory....sign me up! I'm just a bit worried about the romance aspect...it does not sound properly developed. Thanks for putting this one on my radar even though I'm not quite convinced to add it to my wishlist yet.

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    1. The romance threw me off a little - I was anticipating a relationship with David, so her switch to Amber without any prior indication she was even attracted to women left me scratching my head a bit. Because it was such a huge discovery about herself, I would have liked just a little more of an exploration of her feelings on the matter:)

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  23. Angry Girl sounds great...but the thing that made me pause is that the character is 14...I'm not sure if I want to read about a 14 year old. Is that wrong? However, her character does sound really charismatic.

    Adaptation sounds very interesting, but I can see your pov about her choices with her relationships.

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  24. I loathe abrupt endings.

    I am looking forward to reading Adaptation, however.

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  25. Flawless mini reviews, Jenny! For Adaptation, although I despise love triangles, the premise is absolutely fascinating, plus I CANNOT stop staring at that gorgeous cover. :) I'm really thrilled you enjoyed Confessions of an Angry Girl, which I've heard fantastic things about.

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  26. Hi Jenny! I'm not loving the blurb for Angry Girl but maybe that's not a fair representation of the book. You continue to be a busy reader girl! ;-)

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  27. Yeah, I'm not a huge fan of abrupt endings either. Even if it's a series. I like some closure even if there are questions left. And I'm loving Adaptation's cover and its premise, but not as thrilled about the love triangle. Maybe I'll read these...amazing reviews!

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  28. I can't wait to read Angry Girl but my library still doesn't have a copy =( Hopefully they'll get it soon! Great mini-review =)

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  29. LOL! Love the way you talk about the kindle chapter eating virus. I don't like abrupt endings but I think I'll give the book a shot :)

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  30. Lol, your reaction to the ending of Confessions of an Angry Girl was exactly the same as mine. I just stared confusedly at my Kindle because I couldn't believe that the story had ended so abruptly!

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