Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowan
Published June 1, 2012
Summary: Set in modern day city, Dark Kiss is reminiscent of Twilight with more lovable characters and a stronger narrative voice. Samantha is a teenager who runs into a mysterious homeless boy, Bishop. Bishop seems a little off but after he kills a man in front of Samantha she’s forced to involve herself in his world. Rather than reinventing the YA paranormal trope of a love triangle Rowan sticks to the script and introduces Bishop’s brother, Kraven. Bishop and Kraven have been sent to earth on a mission to save Sam’s city from soul eating monsters called grays — the catch is that Sam herself is a gray and doesn’t know it.
Bechdel Test?: Not at all. Sam and Carly talk a lot about Stephen (a hot guy at their school), Kraven and Bishop but don’t discuss much else.
Maybe because I’ve always found Anne Rice to be the original, but Rowan’s Samantha is more fresh than Bella Swan; for the stronger female character along I found myself wrapped up in Dark Kiss. Even though the story isn’t the most original thing ever I will probably indulge in the sequel when it comes out.
Blogger’s Note: Just a quick note to say I’m sorry this review took so long to get up . I finished the book before my graduation on May 19th but life has just gotten in the way. I have a few more posts coming your way this week so check them out!
Published May 8,2012
Summary: In this slightly more believable version of supernatural YA, lupine syndrome (otherwise known as becoming a werewolf) is running rampant across the United States. Those infected are sent to containment camps where they live out their lives never able to see their families again. The novel opens after Mackenzie’s best friend Amy has been killed by a rogue werewolf. The whole city of Hemlock is on high alert looking for the beast. Mackenzie has seen the evil containment can do and has mixed feelings about the civilian group who has come to look for the killer. Rather than showing “the daily life of a supernatural being” as all too many YA books do, Hemlock draws connections to what situations in the real world mimic the containment of lupine syndrome.
Bechdel Test?: Though Mackenzie spends most of the novel trying to choose between two guys, she does have conversations with her friends about political issues such as the containment camps and the politics of killing semi-human beings.
I truly enjoyed this book for its wonderful portrayal of how a single factor can make society think a person is evil. To me, this spoke to the HIV/AIDS scare in the 90s, the round-ups during WWII and many others. I like YA novels that bring these issues up in an accessible way to introduce readers to complex issues.
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The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Published September 2011
Summary: Rory Deveraux moves to England to attent a boarding school in London’s poshest neighborhood. As soon as she arrives killings like the 1888 Jack the Ripper murders begin. When Rory is the only witness to see the murderer she is forced into a world she doesn’t understand and suddenly she has trouble knowing what is real.
Bechdel Test?: Not even close to passing. Rory lives with two female roommates but most of their conversations revolve around boys or gossip. Also Rory’s mother doesn’t appear in the book.
Series Potential?: Eh. I’m sure that Johnson could write a sequel but I don’t like any of the characters enough to follow them forward.
This book had everything going for it in my mind: British goodness, a connection to Victorian London, a central female character, boarding school, cool supernatural elements. Unfortunately it just didn’t all come together. Honestly, the only reason I kept reading was the England/Jack the Ripper connection. Jack the Ripper has been a bit of a hobby of mine for many years now; I even wrote a paper on how his crimes changed British journalism!
The characters in The Name of the Star were flat and SPOILER ALERT I really don’t love the way the ghost concept was used. I’m an equal opportunity supernatural YA reader (and I loved the Mediator series) but the whole concept didn’t work for me.
1. Judging Books By Their Covers: US vs UK : This post had me at its title alone, but it gets so much better than that! Analyzing the differences between bestselling books across the pond, the article reveals how much a book’s cover affects the buyer’s perception!
2. Josh Groban Sings Kanye West Tweets : I linked the article because it was where I found the video below–but seriously
the video is the main attraction. How cute is he?
3. Twilight is Now Require Reading for a College Level Honors English Class : How did this happen? When did this
happen? Can we all agree this shouldn’t have happened?
4. Kindle e-books Will Add Page Numbers : Okay, so this is more of a news story. But I’m over-the-moon
that now I can buy books for class on my kindle and actually be able to find where the class is looking
5. Literature’s Gender Gap: I find it fascinating how few men will read female authors– do you
find this odd?
BONUS LINK THIS WEEK!
6. Mattel Launches Digital Campaign Aiming to Reunite Barbie & Ken : Just how far will companies go to gain attention?
First Mattel broke them up over the internet, now they’re getting back together?! Give it a rest.
Posting from London,