I’ve got two bite-sized reviews for you today: a YA audiobook and a YA anthology. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!
Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski
Series: Dare Mighty Things #1
Published by HarperCollins on October 10th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Narrator: Soneela Nankani
Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
Source: Edelweiss, Library
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
The Selection meets The 5th Wave in this heart-racing debut duology about a girl competing for a spot on a mysterious mission to the outer reaches of space.
THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.
Eighteen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she is to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.
Cassie is ready for the toll that the competition will take; the rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push her to the brink of her endurance. But nothing could have prepared her for the bonds she would form with the very people she hopes to beat. Or that with each passing day it would be more and more difficult to ignore the feeling that the true objective of the mission is being kept from her.
As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down...even if it costs her everything.
I had high hopes for Dare Mighty Things, but when I started reading it originally, I was in a reading slump and couldn’t get into it. I eventually put the book down and then got the audiobook from the library. This was a good choice for me for this book. I enjoyed the narration by Soneela Nankani—I thought it enlivened the story since the MC’s (Cass’s) voice can be a little dry (she is a very logical thinker and, especially at the beginning of the book is a bit detached from others and from her own emotions).
The story was somewhat similar to Nyxia, and I’ll confess that I had a hard time not comparing the two in my mind (often). But this was told in a different manner (much less focus on the competition itself, which I appreciated) and in a completely different voice (I preferred the MC in Nyxia). I did like that the MC in this book is Indian and asexual—reps we don’t get often, and certainly not together. My one complaint about the book was that even though things in the competition were supposedly extremely difficult, it all came off as a bit too easy for Cass. She was almost too perfect, so I never felt like there was a huge struggle to win the competition. She was practically perfect—only Luka was ever better than her, but he had a major flaw that made it completely unbelievable that he would be chosen over her. Because of this, I felt like the book lacked some dramatic tension.
The ending threw me for a major loop, and I’m really curious to see where it all leads!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Welcome Home by Eric Smith
Published by Flux on September 5th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Short Stories
Welcome Home collects a number of adoption-themed fictional short stories, and brings them together in one anthology from a diverse range of celebrated Young Adult authors. The all-star roster includes Edgar-award winner Mindy McGinnis, New York Times bestselling authors C.J. Redwine (The Shadow Queen) and William Ritter (Jackaby), and acclaimed YA authors across all genres, like Adi Alsaid, Lauren Gibaldi, Sangu Mandanna, Karen Akins, and many more.
I was really excited to read this anthology because of my personal connection to adoption: my youngest is adopted. In general, the stories were very short, which could make them a bit harder to connect to. Still, some of these were gems.
A few of my favorites were “Up by a Million,” “Happy Beginning,” “The Take Back,” “Jar of Broken Wishes,” and “Upon the Horizon’s Verge.” That last one was my favorite and has stuck with me the longest—it had a really interesting twist and a bit of magical realism.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via ALA Annual ’17 in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***