Monday, July 9, 2018

ARC Review: Baby Teeth

About The Book:

  Title:  Baby Teeth 
  Author: Zoje Stage 
  Pub. Date: July 17th, 2018
  Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
  Pages: 320 
  Genre: Adult, Thriller, Mystery 
  Rate: 2/5 stars 

Synopsis :

Sweetness can be deceptive. 

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.


Baby Teeth is being marketed as a thriller involving Hanna, a (selective) mute girl, who hates her mother so much that she wants her gone so that she can spend all her time with her dad. Meanwhile, her father refuses to believe that Hanna has any ill intentions toward her mother. While this novel is being marketed as a thriller, I didn't find anything thrilling about it.

The synopsis of this book is literally the entire story. It never progressed past that, and went in circles of 1. Hanna planning to hurt/kill her mom, 2. Her mom reacting to the situation, and 3. Hanna realizing it didn't work and goes back to the drawing board. Obviously, I got very bored after awhile. But I stuck with it because I thought something exciting was going to happen.

I will say that Hanna was a creepy, albeit believable little girl. Her lack of empathy turned her into a pretty scary character. Suzette, her mom, was at the end of her rope and extremely confused why her daughter hates her so much and is so defiant towards her but doesn't act this way towards her dad. I do wonder why she wouldn't just put video cameras around to catch her daughter's behavior if it was so concerning to her that her husband wouldn't believe her? The dad, Alex, is just so clueless that there is nothing interesting about him.

While I liked the characters and writing of this book, I was disappointed that there really wasn't any type of resolution or fulfillment to the plot. I felt like we were just reading a big short story with no climactic aspects. This book is being marketed as shocking and disturbing. I guess at times Hanna could be disturbing but it wasn't shocking at all. Because I liked the writing, I would definitely try something else Ms. Stage writes, but, unfortunately, Baby Teeth was not a hit with me.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing this book
in exchange for my honest review

- Jocelyn

Thursday, July 5, 2018

ARC Review: Nine

About The Book:

  Title:  Nine
  Author: Zach Hines 
  Pub. Date: August 7th, 2018
  Publisher: HarperTeen 
  Pages: 320 
  Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction 
  Rate: 2.5/5 stars 

Synopsis :

In an alternate world startlingly close to our own, humans have nine lives—and they can’t wait to burn straight through them.

As you shed lives, you shed your awkward phases: one death is equal to one physical and mental upgrade. Julian’s friends are obsessed with the idea of burning lives, but Julian is determined to stay on his first for as long as he can. His mother, the ultimate cautionary tale, burned through her first eight in just a few years, and Julian has no intention of succumbing to the debilitating rebirth sickness that she inflicted on herself.

But the regime has death incentives aimed at controlling overpopulation, and Julian realizes that he’s going to have to burn at some point—especially when he becomes a target for Nicholas, the manipulative leader of the Burners, the school’s suicide club. And when Julian eventually succumbs, he uncovers suspicious gaps in the rebirth system that may explain exactly why his mother went so far down the rabbit hole years ago. Along with a group of student dissenters, Julian sets out to find answers and is soon on the verge of exposing the greatest conspiracy ever unleashed on the world.

He has just eight more lives to uncover the brutal truth.


Nine is what I'm assuming is the start of a new YA series. The real genre to this is still unclear to me. If I had to pick one - I'd have to say Dystopian (which I love). But it takes place in a "parallel world" - which makes me think science fiction, and there's some weird stuff that happens that makes me think fantasy? I really am not sure what it is supposed to be.

Anyway, Nine takes place in a parallel world where people have nine lives, and the higher life you are on - the more benefits you get from the government. With a higher life, you get more food rations, entrance to a better college, a better job, and a nicer house. So basically, they are encouraging you to burn through your lives. This is being done to control the population. This honestly sounded like such a good dystopian to me and the premise is amazing, which is why I'm do disappointed the novel as a whole fell short for me. Our main character, Julian, refuses to burn his lives, which I don't get why? It's well known that it's important to burn lives to earn money for your family and get a good job. The burners club at school hosts parties to burn lives - and Julian attends them like a mega creeper, trying to dampen everyone's fun, and is also super judgmental while he's there. Mr. Hines tries to peg the burners as the bad guys - but I liked them. They had a semblance of a personality, unlike our wet mop, Julian. Also, I supposed Julian is just innately SO SPECIAL he already knows burning is not natural. It started getting really weird when he can talk to these gross cicadas popping up everywhere and random cats (nine lives, hehe). Save me the special snowflake trope.

I probably liked Julian the least. Right up there with Cody, his partner in crime. None of the characters really resonated with me. There were some semi-interesting characters, but we don't get to see enough of them for it to really make an impact. I liked Molly (who you initially think will be an important character), Nicholas, Constance, and Franklin. But like I mentioned, they had such small roles in the novel, that I still wasn't truly invested in them. Truthfully, I probably wouldn't have cared about the outcome of any of them.

So, if I could compare this book to already published books - I'd have to say it's similar to books like The Maze Runner, Scythe, The Unwind Series, etc. Which, is actually quite strange, considering I love all of those books but am not really a fan of this one. I'm not sure if I'll read a follow up to this one. It left a lot of unanswered questions, but I'm not sure if I care enough about any of it to find out. I've been hurting for a new dystopian since YA is now saturated with the same kind of fantasy, but unfortunately, this is not what I've been looking for.
Thank you to Harper Collins for providing
this book in exchange for my honest review

- Jocelyn

Monday, July 2, 2018

ARC Review: Heretics Anonymous

About The Book:

  Title:  Heretics Anonymous 
  Author: Katie Henry
  Pub. Date: August 7th, 2018
  Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  Pages: 336
  Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary 
  Rate: 4.5/5 stars 

Synopsis :

Michael is an atheist. So as he walks through the doors at St. Clare’s—a strict Catholic school—sporting a plaid tie, things can’t get much worse. His dad has just made the family move again, and Michael needs a friend. When a girl challenges their teacher in class, Michael thinks he might have found one, and a fellow nonbeliever at that. Only this girl, Lucy, is not just Catholic . . . she wants to be a priest.

But Lucy introduces Michael to other St. Clare’s outcasts, and he officially joins Heretics Anonymous, where he can be an atheist, Lucy can be an outspoken feminist, Avi can be Jewish and gay, Max can wear whatever he wants, and Eden can practice paganism. After an incident in theology class, Michael encourages the Heretics to go from secret society to rebels intent on exposing the school’s hypocrisies. When Michael takes one mission too far—putting the other Heretics at risk—he must decide whether to fight for his own freedom, or rely on faith, whatever that means, in God, his friends, or himself.


"How can you change a church that doesn't listen to you?" 

Heretics Anonymous is a cute, stand-along contemporary from debut author, Katie Henry. This book explores important issues like learning to be accepting of other cultures, and it involves diverse characters and witty banter. You are sure to love it!

While this book has a ragtag group of friends, it mostly centers on Michael, who just moved in to St. Clare school because his dad received yet another promotion. Since Michael is an atheist, he is adamant that this school is going to be absolutely terrible. But on the first day at St. Clare's, he meets Lucy, who is arguing with on of their teachers. Michael finally feels there are others like him at St. Clare's. And pretty soon, he is welcomed into Lucy's friend group, for people who don't necessarily fully accept the catholic way (i.e. are of a different religion, sexuality, or have different beliefs). They all start to expose the hypocrisies within the school/church, and start to realize that maybe everyone in the school can disagree with some accept of the church they belong to. We also see that home environments aren't necessarily conducive to healthy relationships - highlights of absentee parenting, family dysfunction, and just a non-accepting attitude (to name a few). There really wasn't anything I didn't like in this novel - it was funny, fast-paced, and romantic - honestly everything you could want in a YA contemporary.

For fans of Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda, Heretics Anonymous is a feel good contemporary that deals with controversial topics like religion, sexuality, and family dynamics in a way that teenagers can relate to. This book is definitely for young adults and adults alike. Ms. Henry definitely rocked her debut novel, and I can't wait to read what she writes next!

Also - a huge thanks to my friend, Heather, for sending me this (and a bunch of other awesome books) to read!!
Thank you to Harper Collins for providing
this book in exchange for my honest review

- Jocelyn