Tag Archives: young adult book review

The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2) – Katharine McGee


The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2) – Katharine McGee

The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor, #2)

Title: The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2)

Author: Katharine McGee

Release Date: August 29, 2017

Publisher: HarperCollins

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 422

Source: Library

All that glitters is not gold.

New York City, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amid high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…

Leda is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’ll do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden—even if it means trusting her enemy.

Watt just wants to put everything behind him…until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?

When Rylin wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there also means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

Avery is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him…no matter the cost.

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.

But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.

4 out of 5 stars


The idea of this New York City tower is still so cool to me. Even though I know I would despise it, but I guess if I didn’t know anything different then I wouldn’t. Who knows. Anyway. It’s such a cool idea having the entirety of this massive city in one building.

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about Watt and Leda together, but the angstyness between them kind of made it fun to read. They didn’t really seem to like each other at all, but here they are being all couple-y. Who knows.

Atlas and Avery kinda creep me out because even though they’re not biologically related they still are siblings and that’s just too weird for me to be on board for. I get that you can be in love with someone, but does that mean you could never be in love with someone else eventually? I strongly believe that you choose who you love, so that means you could also choose who to not love. But that could be just me, idk.

I really enjoyed this book but I just don’t have a ton of feelings about it. I feel like all readers deal with this sometimes where you like a book but you don’t like anything super specific about it, and it was good but not great. I just don’t have too many feelings about it. I’m excited to read the last book because go me with actually continuing series I start!

Series:

The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1)

Aubrey Joy

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch


Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Dark Matter

Title: Dark Matter

Author: Blake Crouch

Release Date: July 26, 2016

Publisher: Crown

Format: ebook

Page Number: 342

Source: Libby

“Are you happy with your life?” 

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. 

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. 

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.” 

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

4 out of 5 stars


Such a trippy book.

I started listening to this on audiobook way back when I was still in school because I like having something to listen to whilst walking to class, and I was intrigued and didn’t want to put it down, then the stress of the end of the school year came and I just never finished it. I listened to about 40% of it, then checked out the book from my local library when I got home. I didn’t read anything from the physical book, then checked out the ebook from the Libby app, and sped through it. Who knows lol.

I was intrigued right away by this book because I didn’t know what to truly expect. I don’t know how I consistently do this, but I always hear of a book being really great but NEVER actually know what it’s about. Yay for not being all about spoiling myself.

This book followed a crazy smart scientist named Jason. He had a great life with his wife and son, but always wondered what would have happened had he followed his more scientific pursuits instead of having a family. All is well and good until one night he’s walking home after attending a party for his friend, and he gets mugged by a man wearing a mask. The man asks him if he’s happy with his life, and after hearing Jason’s answer, makes him follow instructions and drive to an abandoned building. Once they get there, the kidnapper makes Jason take off his clothes and trade him attire, then gives him a drug in a syringe and the next thing he knows, is waking up to people welcoming him back.

SPOOKY.

So like I said earlier, this book was really fricking trippy. So many things happened that would have been so confusing to me had I read this when I was younger, but luckily I read it now because I really enjoyed it!

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style, but I know that it fit the book well. I don’t think the book would have been as effective had the writing style been any different, so good job Mr. Crouch. I applaud you for that. I wonder if his other books have a similar writing style or if his great authorly skills allowed him to adapt to this new setting.

The idea of this book is one I’ve actually had a dream about before.

SPOILERS.

Having multiple versions of yourself in the same place in time and how that would happen. I, of course, have NO IDEA about any of the science behind it, but I’ve always been curious. Kind of like Hermione with the time-turner in Harry Potter. What would happen if you saw another version of yourself? Yeah, that’s right. Bad things. Really not good, but it’s an interesting thing to read and wonder about.

I’m interested in reading Blake Crouch’s new book, so maybe I’ll try and pick that up the next time I’m at the bookstore or the library!

Aubrey Joy

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) – Maureen Johnson


The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) – Maureen Johnson

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2)

Title: The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2)

Author: Maureen Johnson

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 384

Source: public library

All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.

For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.

The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.

5 out of 5 stars


I loved this book. I was engaged the entire time, and wanted to keep reading and learning what would happen. This is the first book in a long time that I’ve had the “okay just one more chapter” over and over again.

The Vanishing Stair follows Stevie Bell coming back to Ellingham Academy to try and solve the Ellingham case from the 1930s. She was sent home after events that happened in the first book, Truly Devious, and finds herself back at the school. She’s allowed to go back to the school because Edward King, her friend David’s father, sends her back to keep an eye on his son. Even though the reasoning behind her being back may not be the most honest, she still finds a way to do some research and questionable exploring with her friends back on the Ellingham campus.

Guys.

This was a fantastic sequel. I don’t know what to do with myself after the ending because I really just want the next book now! It’s crazy because I enjoyed the first book, but this one blew me away.

The characters are great and mysterious and had me wondering THE WHOLE TIME. What is David’s deal? When will they figure out what happened? What was this riddle about from Ellingham?

The riddles and clues throughout this book were so fun to try and figure out. (I totally didn’t, but was just here for the ride lol) I loved the introduction of the new materials and clues Stevie found out about because it added so much to the story.

I’m usually really annoyed by the presence of love triangles, but omg. This is a good one, actually. I really like David, but Hunter is so sweet. David is mysterious, and Hunter is an open book. Hmmm.

The most underrated character in this series is Larry the security guy. He’s so cool and values Stevie so much. He genuinely wants her to succeed and tries to help her stay at the school. What a cool guy. And they trust each other with information about the case yay for real relationships.

I’m really excited to read book three because SO MUCH HAPPENED RIGHT AT THE END. I’m actually shook. It all happened so fast, but I feel like that’s what would have happened if this were a real case. The influx of information would have happened so fast, and Stevie is just so fricking smart. So smart. It blows my mind every time she comes across something new for the case. 

Series:

Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1)

REREAD Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1)

Aubrey Joy

P.S. I Like You – Kasie West


P.S. I Like You – Kasie West

P.S. I Like You

Title: P.S. I Like You

Author: Kasie West

Release Date: July 26, 2016

Publisher: Point

Format: Ebook

Page Number: 330

Source: Libby app

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

3 out of 5 stars


Predictable? Yes. Still cute? Also, yes.

P.S. I Like You follows Lily and a secret penpal from chemistry class who originally bonded over a shared love for a particular song. Their mutual respect for said song turned into daily letters passed back and forth between them. After daily exchanges and getting to know one another, Lily realizes that she’s fallen for this secret boy. Why oh why did this boy have to only be on paper?! Who was he? Did he also have feelings for Lily?

This book was a little cheesy, but there were also moments I thought were pretty adorable. The whole letter writing thing was super cute and I secretly wish it had happened to me. I’m very partial to letters, so that could be part of it, but also a cute boy waiting on the other end? Sounds pretty great to me.

After Lily finds out who this secret boy of hers is, she freaks her freak out. He’s not who she wants him to be and she holds that against him… viciously. This is the part that bugged me about this book because come on. You obviously like him, why continue hating him in person. Get it together. It just seemed unbelievably childish to me. Can you not set aside your differences to just try and get to know this boy? Honestly.

I loved the family dynamic in this book because they were all so close. One of my favorite things in books is a tightly bonded family because it reminds me of mine. I loved Lily’s siblings and her parents were fun side characters.

The music aspect of this book was a cool choice because we got to see a little more into Lily’s head. She writes lyrics throughout the book and we got backstory on why she wrote them. Pretty nice.

This was a really nice audiobook because it was fast-paced and easy to listen to. I started it on my drive home from school for a weekend and finished it whilst walking to and from class. I’ve fallen in love with audiobooks again YAY!

Would I reread this book? Probably not, but I did enjoy it while listening to it. I think it’s a cute, fast contemporary :)

Guys. I’ve done it. I’ve conquered this reading slump I’ve been in for a few months! I’m actually excited to read again, which is AMAZING. Also, yay for book 20 of the year.

Aubrey Joy

REREAD: Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) – Maureen Johnson


Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) – Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1)

Title: Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1)

Author: Maureen Johnson

Release Date: January 16, 2018

Publisher: Harpercollins

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 416

Source: public library

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history. 

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

4 out of 5 stars


Okay. I think I’m FINALLY OUT OF MY READING SLUMP!

This is the second time I’ve read this book because I REALLY wanted to continue on with the series, but didn’t really remember what happened, and I think I liked it even more the second time.

ORIGINAL REVIEW

Truly Devious follows Stevie trying to actually solve the Ellingham case from the 1930s. Two people died, and one is still technically missing. Stevie is obsessed with detective work and she loves true crime, so when she got accepted to the Ellingham school she dove into trying to learn more and solve the case.

Super cool concept, and it was executed SO WELL.

I forgot how much I love rereading books, and I was a little concerned because I haven’t ever reread a mystery, but it’s so cool to see all the clues when they’re happening! I also remembered way more than I thought I would, but it was great because then I could follow along easily with what I remembered.

I’m so excited to see where the second book goes, and I’m actually going to start it right after I finish writing this. This book set up the next so well.

Series:

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2)

Aubrey Joy

Review: Alice: From Dream to Dream – Giulio Macaione, Giulia Adragna, Jackie Ball, and Jim Campbell


Alice: From Dream to Dream – Giulio Macaione, Giulia Adragna, Jackie Ball, and Jim Campbell

Alice: From Dream to Dream

Title: Alice: From Dream to Dream

Author: Giulio Macaione, Giulia Adragna, Jackie Ball, and Jim Campbell

Release Date: October 2, 2018

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 144

Source: Library

After moving back to Ohio, Alice is stuck sharing a bedroom with her brother, and worse, sharing his dreams! The bright spot in her life is her best friend, Jamie, but there’s more history between their families than Alice realized, and there are secrets buried deep in their small town that only she’ll be able to explore…but only in her dreams!

From writer and artist Giulio Macaione (Ofelia), Alice: From Dream to Dream is an otherworldly trek into a spectacular world of dreams, nightmares, and being a teenager.

4 out of 5 stars


I LOVED the art style of this graphic novel. I think this is my favorite art style I’ve ever seen in anything, honestly. The colors were beautiful and went together so well, and the illustrations were just amazing. It was so whimsical and well suited for a graphic novel!

This story follows Alice who can experience other people’s dreams. She has been experiencing her brother’s nightmares and has been getting no sleep because of it. The only good part about her life is her best friend Jamie because he helps her deal with school bullies, and is always there for her. When he randomly starts acting differently Alice becomes very confused and sad because their friendship isn’t what it used to be. Jamie gets in an accident and ends up unresponsive and in a coma, so Alice decides she’ll try and use her ability to see other people’s dreams to go and help him.

This was a super cool concept and reminded me a lot of Alice in Wonderland. This could be partly because her name is Alice, so that seed was already planted in my mind, but who knows. I am always intrigued by dreams because mine are ALWAYS so vivid. I have the weirdest dreams out of anyone that I know, and I can pretty much always remember them in the morning. Very strange, but this made me connect with the story more!

I loved the diversity of the cast of characters. Yay for actually having different ethnicities, but not making it feel like you’re just checking off boxes. It’s always so impressive. The main character, her mother, and her brother were all black; her father and best friend were white. It was just nice seeing different groups represented.

All in all I think this was a great graphic novel and would recommend picking it up! The color scheme – 10/10.

Aubrey Joy

Review: Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1) – Crystal Smith


Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1) – Crystal Smith

Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf, #1)

Title: Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1)

Author: Crystal Smith

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 373

Source: Library

Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?

2 out of 5 stars


I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of this book; there just wasn’t much to the story.

Bloodleaf follows Aurelia who pretends to be a girl named Emilie when she runs away to a different city. She is learning to use her blood magic powers and ends up becoming besties with some people that are high up in the government in this new place. Emilie (Aurelia) is actually the princess but none of her new friends know this, and she gets brought into different issues because of her blood magic.

There just wasn’t a lot happening in this book that warrants being a great story, honestly. The magic system was NOT described hardly at all. I was just kind of confused when it came to what was actually happening. Also, Aurelia literally has no idea how to use this blood magic. She doesn’t know what she’s doing when she flees home to come to this new place, and then starts messing with it and perform the magic perfectly by the end of the book… umm? I get that you need to practice something in order for it to be a thing, but come on. She has no one teaching her. There’s literally no way that she would know what she’s doing.

The talking to spirits/ghosts/whatever they are was also not explained at all. How does she know how to communicate with these people, and why is she able to? There are just so many unexplained questions I have about this book.

The romance was SO DUMB. So Aurelia was in love with this guy from home before and when he’s bringing her to the new place he literally falls off a cliff. I actually laughed out loud because it was just so dumb, and then she’s magically just over him in 2 seconds. Like no big deal, the guy you’ve been in love with for your whole life is just dead and it’s not an issue. Then she goes and starts falling in love with this guy who turns out to be the sickly prince she was supposed to marry in the first place. *eyeroll*

The relationship with her and this undercover prince is just so… weirdly forced. It’s also unsuccessfully trying to be the hate-to-love trope. Which I actually usually enjoy, but it was just poorly executed, in my opinion.

This is one of those books that I didn’t really realize I had so many feelings about until I starting writing this review… so there’s that lol.

I think part of the reason I didn’t enjoy this book that much was because I just don’t do well with ebooks. So I started reading this on my Nook right when it came out because it is the group book for the readathon I co-host on my YouTube channel, but I just don’t connect with the books as much. Then I got the book from the library and finished it much faster. Idk, so that could be a factor but it could also just not be a great book for me.

Thanks for reading this rant-y review have a great day give the book a try if you wanna.

Aubrey Joy