Saturday, January 4, 2014

Mini Reviews #19

The first Mini Reviews post in 2014 introduces you to three YA contemporary stories that I read or started in 2013. So much high praise for THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE by Leila Sales and I couldn't resist to pick up a copy. I had high expectations for NOBODY BUT US by Kristin Halbrook and SUCH A RUSH by Jennifer Echols, too, unfortunately they weren't met in the end.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Elise is friendless, she is lonely and an outsider in every possible social scenario. And when life couldn't look any less dead-end, she discovers the magic of music at a warehouse party. The opportunity to DJ there opens up a chance to experience life in a whole new way. Maybe Elise isn't lost yet...
Elise is only sixteen and she's already part of the DJ and nightclub scene. I didn't think her too young to go out to the warehouse parties she's attending, playing music, meeting new people. Scoring a DJ job was functioning like a therapy and as much as you hurt with Elise for everything that's happened to her so far, you also see that there's a bright future ahead if she just keeps doing what she loves.
Having no friends in school, no one to turn to, never feeling accepted or even being bullied are very relevant for Elise's story. Everyone of us can in some way relate to this young girl and her thoughts about life, friendship and love. She's searching for meaning, unconsciously wanting help and waiting for that one moment that finally points her in the right direction.
Music is of high importance for Elise's story, too. It has soothing and healing qualities, is her best friend in the worst moments of her life. As much as the music and the fascinating new DJ job are drawing you into the story, Elise's love story with the local DJ, Char, does the same. But unless the strong music parts, the romance lost me somewhere on its way. So I suggest you start THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE with the desire to fall in love with Elise's music rather than her love interest.

4/5 **** THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE – Leila Sales' third book is equipped with the perfect tune to touch many readers' hearts with its musical magic.

THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is about Elise's favourite bands and songs and the music that influences her life. I'm not very into the music that she listens to. Reading about the power of the songs she plays, I know I have a lot of music education to make up for, starting with Elise's playlist now.

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
Publishing Date: September 17th 2013
Length: 288 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, music, DJ'ing, friendship, romance
Source: Bought for Kindle
Author's Homepage

Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Zoe and Will are young and in love. They both haven't grown up in the most stable environment and without a big family who showed them kindness and understanding. Their problems make them want to run away so badly. And then they do... 
It's a lot of fuss about nothing. Yes, Will and Zoe didn't have the easiest childhood, far from it, and they are dissatisfied with their current situation. Originally I thought about them running away as an exciting adventure to find themselves and solve their problems. Only along the way offences kept accumulating and things got more out of hand and complicated the longer they ran. But did they do anything to solve their problems and think up a way to make things better? Not at all. They just ran without thinking about the consequences and act without thinking what it could do to others.
A dual point of view is implemented to show how troubled both of them are and that they are a perfect match. Their romance was one of the most immature and unfulfilling I've read about in a while, Will and Zoe are not a couple I could make myself sympathize with.

2/5 ** NOBODY BUT US - This is the story of rash and immature Zoe and Will who were not the thrill-seeking, brave and clever couple I was looking foward to meet.

 Very poor Bonnie and Clyde retelling, without the glamour and brains of their role models. When I first heard about NOBODY BUS US I expected a very intense love story (which it is) but it stressed me out more than it grew on me, ending in a complete disappointment. 

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: January 29th 2013
Length: 272 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, romance, runaways, troubled teens
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage

Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols

Leah spent her life on the move, from one trailer park to the next. Being stuck with her uncaring mother and a hopeless future, Leah decides to become a pilot and get away from all of it. She starts flying with Mr. Hall, training to fly planes and there she meets his two sons who are going to play a big role in her life, too.  
Grayson and Alec are getting to know Leah better only now. Grayson and Leah's love story could've been romantic, but not with the lies and deceit that Grayson unnecessarily brings into our story. And it annoyed me beyond belief that he wanted his brother Alec to seduce Leah while truly Grayson wanted her for himself. It's an unfair, oppressive and stupid game the teens are playing.
The majority of dialogues is unsatisfactory and very often infuriating in their naivety and impertinence. And the characters didn't feel well-rounded and too imbalanced in all their extreme behaviours. The only thing that kept me reading were Jennifer's well-written love scenes, which I devoured in no time.
Airplanes and flying are the main theme of SUCH A RUSH. Leah is working at a small airport and is dreaming about becoming a pilot herself one day. The flying gives her space and opens up a whole new world of possibilities, freedom and happiness. It was cool to learn more about the different types of planes and how they are functioning.

3,5/5 ***/* SUCH A RUSH - A pilot girl fighting for her future and sexy scenes on the one hand, upsetting romantic confusions and redundant dialogues on the other.

SUCH A RUSH appeared to be pretty unpolished, with many rough edges I didn't like. Why did the characters have to be so obnoxiously stubborn and inconsiderate of other people's feelings all the time? I'd like to read this story again, the nice version please. 

Publisher: MTV Books
Publishing Date: July 10th 2012
Length: 325 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, flying, love triangle, brothers
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage


  1. I've heard all good things about This Song Will Save Your Life - need to check that one out soon!

  2. I like Echols' earlier books but haven't too much success with her latest releases and so will be passing on Such a Rush.

    I've heard great things about This Song Will Save Your Life so it's awesome that it lived up to your expectations. I'm hoping to read it this year :)

  3. I'm ridiculously excited to read This Song Will Save Your Life. It's been on my shelf since last month, but I haven't had a chance to read it quite yet. I've heard nothing but excellent things about it and your review only has me more convinced that I need to bump this up higher on my list.

    Sorry that you didn't enjoy the other books ;(

  4. Glad you mostly loved This Song Will Save Your Life :D I did too. <3 Thought it was pretty amazing. But aw, I'm sorry about the other books. I have Nobody But Us, but not sure I want to read it, with the whole death (?) thing in the end. Sigh. Still. Amazing reviews :D Thank you for sharing :)

  5. Ooo, I'm so glad you loved THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE! (It's the only one of these three I've read, I'm afraid.) It was pretty interesting to see the author take a non-traditional route with the romance, I rather admire her for that.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden