Book Review

Contagion by Erin Bowman

Contagion by Erin BowmanContagion by Erin Bowman
Series: Contagion #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 24th July 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

It got in us

After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

Most are dead.

But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.

Don't set foot here again.

As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

Apologies for starting out this review on a negative note, but I just have to point out that I haaaaaated Bowman’s debut novel, Taken, and so I was very hesitant to read this book. But Taken came out years ago, so I decided to give the author another go in the hope that her writing had improved and that she had stopped writing abusive main characters. And she did! I ended up really enjoying Contagion, and I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel when it comes out (presumably) next year.

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All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor

All of This is True by Lygia Day PenaflorAll of This is True by Lydia Day Penflor
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 31st May 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . . .

Well, this was a massive letdown. Don’t you hate it when one of the most anticipated releases of the year turns out to be a poorly written snorefest? Especially when it’s marketed as a thrilling page-turner?

Firstly, I loved the idea of it being told in mixed media format. I think Illuminae kicked off an interesting trend here, and I always look forward to books that are told in a different format. That said, it really didn’t work with this story. I’m not really sure what the point was. It didn’t add to the story at all, and it feels like the author just wanted to try this format out, and perhaps it was easier to write than a normal novel.

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All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth

All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth KlehfothAll These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 12th July 2018
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Charlie Calloway has a life most people would kill for - a tight-knit family, a loyal set of friends, and top grades a privileged boarding school. But Charlie's never been interested in what most people want. Like all Calloways, she's been taught that she's different, special - better. So when her school's super-exclusive secret society extends a mysterious invitation, Charlie's determination to get in is matched only by her conviction that she belongs there.

But their secrets go deeper than she knows.

Charlie finds herself thrust into the centre of a decades-old mystery - one that implicates her family in not one terrible crime, but two. Uncovering their past may destroy everything she knows - or give her the answer she's always craved: Who or what was behind her mother's disappearance ten years ago? 

All These Beautiful Strangers was a lot more thrilling than I was expecting! For a YA thriller, it reads fairly mature, and I would say that there’s a good amount of crossover for the target audience. The story alternates between the present day (told from the teenage Charlie’s point of view) and the past (told from her parents’ points of view). This was a really good move from the author, because it gave us a lot of backstory which added to the mystery, rather than having Charlie discover everything and tell us about it herself.

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Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes

Hidden Pieces by Paula StokesHidden Pieces by Paula Stokes
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 28th August 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Embry Woods has secrets. Small ones about her past. Bigger ones about her relationship with town hero Luke and her feelings for someone new. But the biggest secret she carries with her is about what happened that night at the Sea Cliff Inn. The fire. The homeless guy. Everyone thinks Embry is a hero, too, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Embry thinks she’ll have to take the secret to her grave, until she receives an anonymous note—someone else knows the truth. Next comes a series of threatening messages, asking Embry to make impossible choices, forcing her to put her loved ones at risk. Someone is playing a high stakes game where no one in Embry’s life is safe. And their last move...is murder.

I always enjoy Paula Stokes’ thrillers, and Hidden Pieces is no exception. Stokes is very talented when it comes to drawing you in and keeping you guessing, especially as she throws little hints into the story every now and then that you may or may not pick up on.

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The Girl You Thought I Was by Rebecca Phillips

The Girl You Thought I Was by Rebecca PhillipsThe Girl You Thought I Was by Rebecca Phillips
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 31st July 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

No one looking at Morgan Kemper would think she had a secret-at least not one that she's deeply ashamed of. To everyone she meets, she comes across as sweet, pretty, and put together. But Morgan knows that looks can be deceiving. For over a year, she's shoplifted countless pieces of clothing and makeup. Each time she tells herself it will be the last, and each time it never is.

But when she's caught and sentenced to thirty hours of community service, the image Morgan has carefully constructed starts to crumble. She's determined to complete her punishment without her friends discovering the truth about her sticky fingers, but that's easier said than done...Especially once she meets Eli, the charming, handsome nephew of the owner of the charity shop where Morgan is volunteering. Soon, Morgan is faced with an impossible decision: continue to conceal the truth or admit that she's lied to everyone in her life, including the boy she's falling for.

I’ve decided that I love Rebecca Phillips’ writing and I’ve put her on my auto-buy author list. That’s right, it’s official. I loved the book she released last year, These Things I’ve Done, and as soon as I saw that The Girl You Thought I Was was available to review, I had to nab it. And it definitely didn’t disappoint.

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