Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pushing the Limits

by Katie McGarry

I really didn't think I would enjoy this book. I actually didn't even think it was for teens based on the cover. It seemed so heavy and mature. Of course, that's what this excellent young adult novel was. I stayed up last night until I finished it, and I know it will be popular in my library.

Something happened to Echo--something that involved the restraining order against her mom and the scars on her arms. Only, she can't remember what and is still overwhelmed by her brother's death two years before. Noah's parents died in a fire and after he defended his foster siblings from abusive foster parents, he is barely allowed to see his real brothers. Mrs. Collins is a clinical social worker running a pilot program to try and help teenagers under the care of Child Protective Services. She brings Echo and Noah together, hoping that they will be able to help each other attain their goals. She never imagines the intense relationship they will forge or how they will help each other much more than she intends.

I've read some reviews that said this book is light on plot, and perhaps it may appear that way, but what Pushing the Limits does excellently, is show how two people survive. Traumatic experiences for high school students are all-encompassing. It takes tremendous internal struggle to move on. Katie McGarry captures this along with the burgeoning relationship.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Throne of Glass

Celaena is jail. No, more of a labor camp than jail. And though she hasn't managed to escape yet, her  notoriety as the deadliest assassin in the kingdom has proved true.

Celaena is released from jail by the prince so that she can compete in a competition and hopefully become the king's champion. Seeing this as her only way out, Celaena agrees, despite her obvious hatred for the King. But there is evil and a little bit of fantasy afoot in the competition and the King's castle.

This is clearly the only the first book about Celaena, as author Sarah J. Maas, leaves many questions unanswered, but allows her protagonist to forge friendships and more and readers will certainly be interested in the following books.

Read-a-likes: Anything by Kristin Cashore, and Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers.