I read a few mini-books, plus a very short ARC, so I’m going to put them all together in one post. Enjoy!
Forged by Jennifer Rush
Author: Jennifer Rush
Genre: YA, science fiction
Publication date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Before Anna and Sam, there was Dani and Sam.
There’s one rule that all Branch operatives must live by: No attachments. When Dani O’Brien entered the Branch, she planned to trade her freedom so that her family could have a better life. But joining up with the mysterious organization is more than she bargained for. Branch head Connor watches over her closely–too closely. The training is brutal, the experiments are secret, and the missions promise to be anything but ordinary. The only thing getting Dani through each day is the hope that she’ll run into Sam–a young man, about her age, who wears the world on his shoulders.
Find out how it all began in this short-story prequel to Jennifer Rush’s thrilling and suspenseful Altered series.
This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say that I have no idea when things come out. I was stalking Andi on Instagram, and she had posted a pic of her Nook shelves – I noticed this cover and wigged out, and then she said it was already released! So I paid my 1.99 and read all 30 something pages in about fifteen minutes. I loved Altered, so I was super excited to see the beginnings. And I did like it, though I wish it had been a bit longer. It cut off really abruptly!
Since it was so short, I didn’t have too much time to get to know Dani, so I had a hard time really connecting with her. There was a lot hinted about her family life, but nothing truly confirmed. I think the character I liked best in this one was Connor – it was nice to see him before Altered, and learn a bit more about the creep. And then there’s Sam, but his character didn’t change too much from Altered. If anything, he was a bit colder, and a lot more robotic, than the Sam in Altered.
This was a nice little episode in the lives of Sam and Dani before everything happened, but I almost wish it had been set a few months later, when Sam and Dani actually loved each other. They were supposed to have this epic romance, but I didn’t see any of that. It was a good prequel, but nothing sparkling like I had hoped for.
PS: See that cover model’s shoulder to waist ratio? Just had to point it out.
Life Before Legend by Marie Lu
Title: Life Before Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA, futuristic, dystopian
Publication Date: January 15, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Find out more about June and Day in this never-before-seen glimpse into their daily lives before they met in Marie Lu’s New York Times bestselling LEGEND series. As twelve-year-olds struggling to survive in two very different worlds within the Republic’s stronghold, June was starting her first day of school at Drake University as the youngest cadet ever admitted, and Day was fighting for food on the streets of the Lake sector. LIFE BEFORE LEGEND contains two original stories written by Marie Lu that give readers a sneak peek into the lives of their favorite characters in a thrilling new context.
I finished Champion, and then because my heart was hurting and I couldn’t say goodbye to these characters, I sped through LBL. And you know, it actually kind of helped! LBL didn’t have the breakneck action pace of the rest of the series, but it was a nice little blip in the lives of Day and June before everything happened in Legend.
Day’s story was the time he had his first kiss (a question June had asked him in Prodigy), from a girl named Charlie, after he was caught stealing food. He works for Charlie’s dad a bit, and then the government steps in and causes a ruckus. Day fights back, and at the end of the story he starts to morph into the rebellious Day that we see in Legend. It was a sweet story with Charlie, and added to Day’s development, starting from a shy boy to a leader in the later parts of the series.
June’s story was about her first day at Drake University, and while I didn’t enjoy that aspect too much (it was just June fighting with the other students), I loved seeing Metias again. I fell in love with him in Legend, and was heartbroken when he died – apparently I need to read the synopsis a bit more carefully. June and Metias’s relationship is just so sweet, and it was really nice to see them together again.
If you’re looking for more action, this isn’t it. But it’s a nice farewell to the characters, and it adds a bit of depth to their personalities.
More Than Good Enough by Crissa-Jean Chappell
Title: More Than Good Enough
Author: Crissa-Jean Chappell
Genre: YA, contemporary fiction
Publication Date: January 8, 2014
Trent Osceola’s life is turned upside down when his mother announces that he will be moving to the Miccosukee reservation to live with his father, who was recently released from prison. Only half Miccosukee, Trent feels alienated from rez society and starts to question who he really is. When he changes schools, he reconnects with Pippa, a childhood friend who moved away, and together they tackle the class assignment to make a film of their lives. When he starts to see himself through Pippa’s eyes, Trent’s not sure he likes what he sees. Will he ever be good enough for the rez, for school, and for her?
So I thought this would be a nice, light read about finding yourself and reconnecting with lost love. And it was, sort of. But mostly it just felt like a lot of loose ends that never tied up. The basic idea was fantastic, but the execution left a lot to be desired.
First of all, the characters. Trent whined, a lot, and focused mostly on how drunk he could get, how much his life sucked, and how much he had screwed up with Pippa. I was getting really tired of his inner monologue after about 40%. He picked up towards the end, but still… Half the time I wanted to smack some sense into him. Pippa was a really flimsy character, and not well defined or well developed. All I know about her is that her mother is a hoarder, and Pippa likes film class. It was really hard to connect with her, and the romance between her and Trent, when I didn’t even know who she was! And then as a last mention, Trent’s dad. He was just an awful stereotype of directionless Native who’s always drunk. It just seemed cheap.
Like I said, the plot had a lot of potential, but ultimately it fell flat. There were a lot of loose ends at the end of the book that were unresolved, and I was really confused about most of the story. The reservation, and Trent’s position in the hierarchy, wasn’t explained, and I never felt like I could connect to his culture. Ultimately, it was just a lot of parts and pieces thrown together, and they never meshed.