Series: Magonia #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published by Harper Collins on April 28th 2015
Format: Audio/Physical (320 pages) • Source: Library, Scribd
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.
Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.
So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.
Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.
Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?
I don’t really even know what to say about it, except that it was incredibly unique and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I actually HATE birds and am very afraid of them, so I’m surprised this book worked for me at all. We chose this one for my book club and pretty much all agreed with that.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I did have a few major struggles:
It was hard to picture Magonia and the bird people. I feel like most fantasy books have the issue of too much description, but this one could have used a bit more. When writing about a land that’s technically an ocean with ships and different bird-creatures, people are going to have a tough time picturing it. I needed more detail overall. I know that Aza was trying to learn what the issues were in Magonia, as well as her reasons for being there, but it was hard to grasp. They didn’t really tell her anything, and thus the reader didn’t know anything. It would have been better to have a bit more information and explanation.
Aza’s reaction to Magonia was not believable. Obviously most of the book is pretty unbelievable, but what struck me the most was that Aza just accepted it. She literally learned that she was basically a bird person in this crazy place above the clouds… and she just went with it! I would have been screaming “what the fuck” repeatedly. Same with Jason. How did they all just come to terms with this shit so quickly?!?!
I contemplated DNFing a lot in the beginning. Honestly, I think the only reason I didn’t stop reading was because of book club. I wanted to finish the book to be able to discuss it. The beginning was weird and I didn’t care too much about what was going to happen. After a while, my curiosity was piqued.
I really liked Jason and Aza. I loved their bond, first as friends, and seeing them do just about anything for each other. I was definitely annoyed when it seemed like a love triangle was going to be introduced. (Very happy that didn’t happen.)
I’m glad I read the book because it was so unique and different. I will definitely be reading the second book, but I’ll have to make sure I’m really in the mood for it first! I was pretty confused overall, but just let myself enjoy it instead of freaking out. I could have spent more time reading closely and trying to figure out what all the new words/creatures meant, but it would have taken away some of my enjoyment. I think the fact that it was incredibly far-fetched really made it cooler and more interesting.
The Good Girls by Sara Shepard
Series: The Perfectionists #2
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Harper Collins on June 2nd 2015
Also by this author: The Heiresses, Pretty Little Liars, The Perfectionists, Vicious, The Lying Game, Never Have I Ever, Two Truths and a Lie, The First Lie, Hide and Seek, Cross My Heart, Hope to Die, Seven Minutes in Heaven, True Lies, The Amateurs, Follow Me, Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet, The Elizas
Format: Hardcover (368 pages) • Source: Purchased
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
From Sara Shepard, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, comes the shocking sequel to The Perfectionists—with an ending you'll have to read to believe!Mackenzie, Ava, Caitlin, Julie, and Parker have done some not-so-perfect things. Even though they all talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, they didn't actually go through with it. It's just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned . . . right? Except Nolan wasn't the only one they fantasized about killing. When someone else they named dies, the girls wonder if they're being framed. Or are they about to become the killer's next targets?
As everyone knows, I do love Sara Shepard. Her series can get long and drawn out, but I will always read them. She has a way of fucking with the reader that I just love. THIS BOOK was no exception. Holy shit. My Goodreads “gut reaction” review kind of says it all: Damn that was pretty crazy. It took me a lot longer to get into than usual, but definitely picked up speed maybe 60% of the way through. It was the kind of ending that made you want to go back and reread things to see what you missed. Craziness.”
The twist at the end absolutely shocked me. I am super tempted to reread it at some point to see if I can pick up on any clues. HOW DID SHE PULL THIS OFF?!
If you’ve been interested in her books before but don’t know where to start, I would recommend this duology (especially if you’re not in the mood for the 16-book-long PLL series!) It has all of the cool mystery/thriller vibes and is really characteristic of her writing. Plus, now you don’t have to deal with the cliffhanger of the first book! You’ve got the second one readily available 😉