Bite-Sized Reviews – The Iron Trial, The Last Time We Say Goodbye, & I’ll Meet You There

Posted September 12, 2015 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Middle Grade, Reviews / 12 Comments

I’ve decided to write some quick reviews for books I’ve never gotten around to reviewing or that I just don’t have a ton to say about. I figure a few bite-sized reviews together will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!  🙂

Iron TrialThe Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Published by Scholastic Press on 9/9/14
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Middle Grade
Pages: 299
Source: BEA
My rating:
4 Stars

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

My Take copy3
The Iron Trial is a fun Middle Grade fantasy adventure novel. My kids absolutely loved it, and I really enjoyed it too! When I mentioned to my son that a lot of people had compared it to Harry Potter, he said, “Yeah, this book has all of the best things from all of my favorite books!” High praise from a 12-year-old. I did see some similarities to HP, of course, but I didn’t think it was derivative at all – sure there was a magic school and a group of kids, but it didn’t feel like the same story at all. I liked that the main character had a physical disability that held him back and marred his confidence. And I also loved the concept that he didn’t want to get into the Magisterium. All his life he’d  been told that the Magisterium was a place he should fear – where he would be used and abandoned, so his journey to decide for himself how he felt was really interesting and complicated. Overall, I thought this was a fun MG read, and I would recommend it for fans of the genre!


***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia HandLast Time We Say Goodbye
Published by HarperTeen on 2/10/15
Genres: Young Adult, Suicide
Pages: 390
Source: Library
My rating:
4 Stars

There’s death all around us.
We just don’t pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn’t look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she’s just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that’s all she’ll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there’s a secret she hasn’t told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex’s brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn’t have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

My Take copy3
This book was really hard for me to rate. In fact, when I first put the book down, I gave it five stars because the ending was so amazing and I was definitely on a book high. The problem is that the book just didn’t stay with me like other similar books have. While I enjoyed the book while I was reading it, soon afterward, I couldn’t think of much to say about it. I kept letting time pass without writing a review, and soon I found that I couldn’t remember almost anything about the book at all – except that it was sad and dealt with suicide. Shame on me for not taking notes to refresh my memory, but I find that books that really make an impact on me, I can remember MUCH later – that wasn’t the case with this book. Still, (after a quick reminder), I can definitely remember things I enjoyed about it. The book mostly relates the pain of being left behind by a loved one who has committed suicide – it doesn’t focus so much on the suicide itself, or even what led up to it, but on the aftermath. Lex’s brother’s story unfolds slowly and you don’t find out all the details of what happened that night or why Lex blames herself until almost the very end – and that ending is extremely powerful and emotional! I definitely recommend reading this one if you appreciate books that delve into the subject of suicide, but there are other similar books that, for me, had more of an impact (like All the Bright Things).

Red, vintage, neon motel sign on blue sky; Shutterstock ID 95002717

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Published byHenry Holt and Company on 2/3/15
Genres: Young Adult, Depression & Mental IllnessRomance
Pages: 388
Source: Purchased
My rating:

4.5 Stars

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

My Take copy3
I don’t know what I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said a million times. If you’re at all a fan of contemporary YA and you don’t mind books with heavy themes, you should read this one. The book focuses on the relationship between Skylar and Josh – a relationship that forms after he returns from Afghanistan one leg lighter. Josh is just an amazing character who struggles with PTSD but also manages to give Skylar hope in the process. He shows how it’s possible to transcend our demons and to live through pain, changed but still whole. Just – read this one if you haven’t already!


12 responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews – The Iron Trial, The Last Time We Say Goodbye, & I’ll Meet You There

  1. Love mini reviews. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is on my wishlist at the library. But I read a book recently that was the same way for me – I really liked it after I finished. But then like a week or two later went to write the review and didn’t have much to say and it didn’t stick with me, (And still haven’t written the review yet.) I’ll Meet You There sounds amazing! Great reviews!

    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted: Review ~ Hanover House
  2. Perhaps I’m going to read The Iron Trial after all! I also heard a lot of people make comparisons with the Harry Potter series and that definitely made me less interested in this book, but if it isn’t that similar than I should probably give it a chance since I love middle grade fantasy. I wonder if the second book is going to be just as good though. I thought Cassandra Clare’s first book in her Mortal Instruments series was really interesting and promising, but for me it went a little downhill after that.

  3. Great mini reviews. I have I’ll Meet You There sitting on my TBR shelf, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. It sucks that you didn’t like A Whole New World. I loved the Aladdin movie when I was a kid, so I’ve been looking at that book. I’m still undecided if I’m going to read it. Probably not. I’ve got a few hundred other books that need to be read first.

    Aj @ Read All The Things! recently posted: The Sunday Post #19—Hiatus
  4. The Last Time We Say Goodbye and I’ll Meet You There were both such good books. I was really disappointed by A Whole New World too. The world the author described was incredible and made me want to go there. But there was just no emotional connection to any of the characters. And I don’t think the romance was that developed either.

    Cynthia @ Bingeing On Books recently posted: Top Ten Tuesday - Series Overload!
  5. I skipped the section for The Last Time We Say Goodbye because I do want to read it soon, and wanted to go in blind, but I am glad you liked it! And OMG how good was I’ll Meet You There?! I looooooved it. And I seriously don’t think I have read a positive review for A Whole New World. That is really sad 🙁 But it does save me the trouble of reading and being bored by it 😉 Fabulous reviews!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted: Among the Shadows Excerpt & Giveaway
  6. All apart from the last one, these books sound so promising! I have added them all to my TBR (your book blog is not healthy for that TBR list). I haven’t heard the best things about the latter one though, and I have seen a lot of two star reviews which is why I have decided I am not going to read it. I hope you enjoy your next read better.

    Olivia Roach recently posted: The Fast and Furious (Movie Review)

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