The Thousandth Floor by Kate McGee – 1/5
Follow the lives of five teenagers living in the mystical Tower, a futuristic embodiment of capitalism and classism. Noteworthy characters are: Nadia, who had so much potential and who I thought McGee would go somewhere with, but was ultimately wasted; Avery, who turned what could have been an interesting comment on classism into chalk, was more of a tool than a character, and whose only redeeming quality is her engineered beauty; and Wyatt, just because I think he’s the only male main character, and definitely the only male character with any type of decent development.
If you like reading about easily avoidable teenage drama and first world problems to the extreme, this is your book. It was average most of the way through, until the last couple of chapters. The ending was possibly the worst I’ve ever read in a book, and it’s apparently only the beginning to a series. I will not be reading the sequel.
Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Isreal – 3/5
Juniper Lemon is a valiant attempt at an interesting character. Her sister died in an accident she was in, and the book is about her trying to move on from it. She also keeps a terrible secret that is overplayed for being what it is, and she is manipulative and nosy.
There are lots of clichés and tropes we see in nearly every YA book nowadays. It’s mostly enjoyable, if you can ignore the love interest and his actions. He keeps secrets from her that have nothing to do with him, causing her stress for his own selfish interests. He acts out in immature and even cruel ways and makes poor assumptions. He tells her what to do in regards to how she should move on from her trauma, which he was not a part of and cannot understand. Juniper starts out annoying, but grows mostly in good ways. Her love interest starts out cute and misunderstood, then turns into this controlling, violent, insecure boy, and the whole time his true self is being revealed, she’s falling in love with him. I was disappointed to see his actions portrayed as romantic and really wanted to see Juniper kick him to the curb.
The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr – 4.5/5
Flora has no long-term memories and as a result, has remained ten years old mentally since the illness that caused her brain malfunction. Barr writes her internal narration beautifully, skillfully balancing what the audience knows and what Flora knows. Her confusion becomes our confusion, her determination becomes ours as well. The ending, though it felt a bit rushed, was well-developed and satisfying. In fact, it may only have felt rushed because I liked where it was going and wanted it to continue a little longer.
Flora is an intriguing character in an intriguing situation. She grows to overcome her obstacles and become a better person. Other characters are great and the overall feeling is one of hope with the spirit of carrying on bravely, a sentiment much appreciated these days. This was unlike any other book I’ve read, in a very good way.
What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard – 3.5/5
Not a new premise by any means, but done well. Elizabeth has an eating disorder and goes to a treatment centre. As a character, she’s a bit bland without the detail of having an eating disorder, but likeable. From what I know (having never suffered from an eating disorder myself), Ballard has written an accurate and empowering story. Warning: it may have triggers for anyone who does suffer or has suffered from an eating disorder.
The main story is about Elizabeth’s struggle with her disorder and her experiences in the treatment centre. Her parents are prominent characters, her friends are developed well enough, though their relationship with each other and not just Elizabeth seemed a bit forced. However, the secret gifts subplot was necessary to add meat to the plot, but did nothing else. It was just there.
Overall, a decent book. I can easily see it being a meaningful book to some.