Title: Revived

Author: Cat Patrick

Release Date: Available

Death is optional for Daisy. Ever since the bus crash when she was five that killed the driver and twenty children, including Daisy, she has been part of the testing of an experimental drug called Revive, that brings the dead back to life. Daisy is very accident-prone and dies multiple times and, as a result, is revived and moved, her name changed. Daisy doesn’t really mind, although dying is a real pain in the rear. And she keeps dying of stupid causes like choking on a grape, or allergies. She lives with two of the scientists on the project. She doesn’t really make friends, as she will probably move again in a few years, anyway. Then, after dying of an allergy attack after a bee sting, Daisy Appleby becomes Daisy West. She goes to a new school, and, hey, actually makes a friend. Yet, the God Project, as it is so fondly dubbed, is even more sinister than Daisy knows. Soon she gets tangled in a web of lies — now her life is at stake, and this time if she dies, she dies for good.

I enjoyed this book. It was not the best book I have ever read, but it was engrossing and, at times, emotional. The writing was well done, but nothing special. Daisy’s view of death is skewered, so when she sees it firsthand, the result is heartbreaking. There are many light moments in the book, but the idea of morality and how fragile we are adds darkness. The relationships between most of the characters were touching and realistic, although the whole romance element in the book didn’t really do it for me. I’m not a huge fan of romance in general, however, so I might be a little biased. Revived is one of those rare Sci-Fi/paranormal stand-alone novels. It didn’t give me all the answers I craved, but the ending was satisfactory and wrapped things up nicely, no jarring, pull your hair out cliffhangers. I recommend this book if you are looking for a quick and interesting read.

Review by Annalise

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Title: Origin

Author: Jessica Khoury

Release Date: Available

Origin is an original (hehe, original) book about a girl who lives in a secluded testing facility deep in the rainforest. She is the product of over a hundred years of testing. Pia is the world’s first immortal human, or so she believes. Her skin is impenetrable, she is immune to disease, she won’t age, and she is faster and more agile than any normal human. She has no knowledge of the outside world, nor is she allowed to. But Pia, although curious, stays in the compound, working hard to become a scientist. Her deepest desire is to create more of her kind, so she won’t be so lonely. Yet all of that changes when she finds a hole in the fence surrounding the compound on her 17th birthday. For the first time in her life, she is free, at least for as long as it takes for the scientists to notice that she’s missing. There, in the rainforest, she meets an indigenous boy named Eio, who shows her what life is really like. Yet the scientists aren’t just going to let her walk away. A hundred years of research, money, and blood went into creating Pia. She belongs to them. They’ve killed to create her and they’ll kill to keep her.

This book had a very interesting premise, and a beautiful cover. I was intrigued and read the book non-stop from the moment I got it to the moment I finished it. Origin was very gripping, but I had a few problems with the ending. It was predictable and not very satisfying. It was a little too convenient and easy. Also, Pia wanted to be free so she could do all of these things in the book, but at the end she abandoned all of her goals. In the book’s defense, however, it was probably the only ending that could have wrapped up the book without leaving a cliffhanger. Yes, I know that’s vague, but I can’t go ‘round spoiling the ending, now can I?

Some of the characters were well developed and likeable, but I didn’t really connect with most of them. They were a little too two-dimensional. I say two-dimensional because most of the characters had one general personality trait and one interesting background story. They were all kind of distant, although most of them were evil scientists, so they have an excuse. The actual story, however, was well written and intriguing. All in all, I thought it was a great story that could have been better. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a quick and interesting summer read.

Review by Annalise

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Title: Beta

Author: Rachel Cohn

Release Date: Available

I have read so many books over the last twelve years that they have all started to mash together in a blurry haze of angsty teenagers, hot guys, and sparkly vampires. It’s very hard to get that perfect combination of genuine emotion and an interesting plot, but Rachel Cohn does just that. Her book, Beta, was one of the most emotional and intriguing novels I have read all year. I stayed up all night finishing it; I just couldn’t tear myself away!

The protagonist, Elysia, is a clone created to serve on the mega vacation paradise, Demesne. She is one of the first ever Teen clones, a Beta model, untested. Clones don’t have souls, they can’t feel or taste, or care. They live only to serve. Any clone that can is labeled a Defect, and is terminated. But Elysia is a success. She is beautiful, strong, and soulless. So what is that feeling she gets when she sees Defect Clones getting tortured in the infirmary, or that pleasure when she eats? Elysia is one of the few lucky clones that gets to serve a family. Her job is to keep the children company, to take care of them. She is living the best life a clone can have.

Yet when horrible things start to happen, Elysia is helpless to stop them. She must be emotionless throughout the plots, and the horror, and the desire, or else be tortured and killed before her life has really begun.

I highly recommend this book. However, it does contain sexual violence, so I wouldn’t recommend it to younger readers. Beta is the first book in a series.

Review by Annalise

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Title: Revel

Author: Maurissa Guibord

Release Date: Available

Revel was one of those books that you read until three in the morning on a school night, until you finally realize that the pain of not finishing isn’t as bad as the pain of surviving eight hours of school on less than three hours sleep. Then you put down the book, shut off the light, and lay there for an hour running through various fantasies involving the protagonist, Delia, the stuck up demigods surrounding the island, and her pissing them off in some spectacularly gratifying way. The next thing you know, your alarm is blaring out something about Mitt Romney and Obama and your whole body feels like it’s going to fall apart from the utter lack of sleep. You wonder “Why on earth didn’t I go to bed earlier?” Then you promptly pick up Revel and start flipping through the pages like a squirrel on Red Bull. The moral of the story is: Don’t buy this book; it’s hazardous to your health.

The best part about Revel wasn’t the original plot or the well-developed characters. It was the pace. The beginning moved fast enough that you never got bored, but it dragged out the gratifying parts, keeping you hooked. There were a few things I would have changed, but they were so small and insignificant, they aren’t even worth mentioning.

At this point you may be thinking, “Okay, okay, I get it. You liked the book, but what is it even about?” Well, dear readers, Revel is about a girl named Delia who goes off to live with her grandmother after her mother’s death. All Delia knows about her grandmother is that she lives on a private island off the coast of Maine named Trespass. When Delia arrives, she is met with hostility and fear. Soon, she learns the big secret; the people on Trespass are not alone. There are monsters living there as well, monsters who specifically forbade anyone from leaving the island… or coming to it.

I highly recommend that you read Revel if you enjoy paranormal, mythological, or just plain awesome books. Five out of five stars.

Review by Annalise

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When We Wake

When We Wake

Title: When We Wake

Author: Karen Healey

Release Date: Available

When We Wake by Karen Healey is a beautifully written YA mostly set one hundred years in the future.  Tegan Oglietti has a fantastic life (I love her name. Tegan Oglietti sounds like a spicy spaghetti dish.). She finally got her brother’s friend to go out with her. She explores the ruins of old buildings by night with her best friend, Alex, and her mom is a culinary genius. Then, one day, Tegan gets shot by a sniper aiming for the prime minister and dies. The end.

On the first day of her second life, Tegan wakes up in a hospital and is told that she is the first successful revival from cryogenic sleep. Her body was donated to science so she, therefore, was entered in a cryogenics experiment, frozen until her wounds could be fixed and she could be successfully revived. And she is. In 2127.

Thrust into a world where computers are as thin as paper and everything is environmentally friendly from the lack of meat at the supermarket to the human manure toilets, Tegan is overwhelmed. The paparazzi swarm her wherever she goes and she is subjected to constant testing. And yet, she is okay. Hey, everyone is caring for the environment and people can marry whomever they want. It seems like many things have improved since her time, and Tegan is thrilled.

That all changes as Tegan finds out more and more about her present. The world is dying; refugees are running to Australia, only to be put in horrible camps. A cult is claiming that Tegan has no soul, and should kill herself. Worst of all, the government has a hidden agenda for Project New Beginning, one that Tegan must expose to the world, before it’s too late…

This book gripped me from start to finish. I loved how Tegan let you know from the beginning of the book that she was on the run. At first, I was kind of bummed. “Well, there goes the surprise ending,” I thought. It’s really hard to pull off that kind of book. You have to make the journey the payoff, not the ending. When We Wake’s journey was filled with likeable characters, believable reactions, and both laugh out loud and tear inducing moments. There also isn’t a whole lot of techno babble. Even if you know nothing about science or technology, you can still enjoy it. The only problem I had with this book was that I felt that it was way to easy for Tegan to break into government buildings and files. If anything, it should be harder to do so in the future, not easier. Other than that, this book was pretty spectacular.

Review by Annalise

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