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If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 12:03pm

"Remember to keep your head up in the sky; otherwise, you’ll miss the stars."

Reading If Birds Fly Back is like having a breeze dancing off your cheeks while the ocean waves gently crashing into your heart. It is not outstanding in comparison to others in its genre by any means, but it is a refreshing and perfect summer read.

I specifically enjoyed how the author handles Linny and Sebastian's duel POVs. Linny is an aspiring film director whose sister ran away, while Sebastian is an astrophysics nerd whose dad's identity is unknown. Circumstances bring them together at Silver Spring, a senior home, which happens to have answers for them both. The reader feels Linny's insecurity and grief through her voice, and Sebastian's uncertainty and awkwardness are wonderfully embedded in his character as well. Although the POVs alternate between both protagonists, they are done seamlessly. The author just knows when to let her characters speak. Oh, and I absolutely adore the fact that Linny's POV has a script in it (beautifully written) and Sebastian's is totally flooded with physics quotes and equations (they are more interesting than boring, I promised!).

A clear set back for me was Linny and Sebastian's somewhat instant attraction. Their relationship was my favourite kind, awkward and cute, but unfortunately this "love at first sight trope" makes me less invested in them being together. Granted, it is more like both of them crushing on each other at the same time, but something like that simply bothers me. Sebastian also keeps repeating that he finds Linny hot, which annoyed me after a while. However, the mysteries and the relationship between our protagonists and other people around them were what keep the plot entertaining for me.

Overall, If Birds Fly Back is a 3.5/5 stars read for me. It is certainly less eventful, and may come off as dull or daunting, but keep to it if you are still feeling intrigued because you will be rewarded with so many wonderful feelings by the end.

- Phuong, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

If Birds Fly Back will be available June 27.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 7:25pm

When @EricThornSucks sets out to troll @TessaHeartsEric, things don’t go quite as planned. An unexpected friendship forms, and late-night messages evolve into a deep connection. But online secrets have a way of coming out IRL. And with pop star Eric Thorn himself involved, it won’t be long before fandom turns to obsession... and a single stroke of the follow button turns deadly.

I first read Follow Me Back by A. V. Geiger when it was being written on Wattpad, a site for reading and sharing stories. I loved it and read it a couple more times as the author was editing and rewriting. It was really cool getting to see the changes and improvements between the online and published version, especially because I like the characters and story so much. Even having read this book before, I absolutely could not put it down. The characters are so intriguing, you just have to know what is going to happen to them next. Simultaneously, it makes you think about how ingrained social medial is in our society and the sometimes terrifying results of that. The plot has so many layers it's impossible to predict the ending. I would highly recommend reading this book, especially for thriller lovers.

- Lilja, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Follow Me Back will be available June 6.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

Generation One by Pittacus Lore (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 6:18pm

It has been over a year since the invasion of Earth was thwarted in Pittacus Lore’s United as One. But in order to win, our alien allies known as the Garde unleashed their Loric energy that spread throughout the globe. Now human teenagers have begun to develop incredible powers of their own, known as Legacies.To help these potentially dangerous individuals, the Garde have created an academy where they can train this new generation to control their powers and hopefully one day help mankind. But not everyone thinks that’s the best use of their talents. And the teens may need to use their Legacies sooner than they ever imagined. 

Generation One is an odd book and one I generally didn't enjoy. For a book that has a character-driven plot, the characters just didn't seem to entice me enough to say that I loved this story. The story itself is okay, but nothing I would say really different. This was my first read by Pittacus Lore, so I was a little worried that I was going to be confused a lot, but that didn't end up being the case. I may have enjoyed this book a bit more if I had been introduced to this writing style before. 

I found the plot had a lot of action, but that being said, nothing really happened. What bothered me the most was the amount of dialogue this book actually used. I for one am all for dialogue, but the interactions between characters felt unnatural and a bit forced at times. I found myself skimming through conversations and not really engaging with the characters. I am not sure if I didn't like all the dialogue because of my lack of connection, or if really the interactions were really that forced.

Overall, this book is not my favourite and may have been a bad introduction to the the author's work. I followed the story easily enough, but it just didn't do it for me. The characters are not easy to connect with, which leads for a very unsatisfying character-driven plot. I give this book a 2.5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend this book to those who have previously dealt with this author's style.

- Sabrina, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Generation One will be available June 27.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 9:28am

I give the novel The Fashion Committee a 0.5/10. At the beginning of this novel, I disliked everything about this book: the characters, the plot, the writing, everything! And the more I read the more I hated.

The two protagonists, John and Charlie, have very different personalities, and at the beginning I hated Charlie and I absolutely loved John. John had all the right characteristics I was looking for, but then he started to go down the wrong path! Charlie on the other hand, started out like a spoiled brat. She tried to add French vocabulary into her chapters and I despised it! But then she started to understand that she was being a brat, and I started to like her more and more! However, throughout the whole book Charlie kept trying to add a different language into her P.O.V., whether it be French, Spanish or Japanese. That made me dislike her more then I would have otherwise.

All the way through this book, I wasn't fond of Susan Juby's writing. The style of her poetic writing didn't fit the feel of this drama-filled book. The plot of this novel was also too far-fetched! I hated how John had that whole, I-hate-you-all-and-I-hate-this-school attitude. The only reason why John was doing this was because he wanted to do metal art classes at this school. That is a terrible reason to do something that he "hates" for the whole book! Susan could have done a way better job with his character. John needed to learn a lesson at the end of this book, like never give up on something you love or try something new and maybe you'll love it. He needed to learn that you can't get away with everything in life by cheating. Overall, John just sucks! This whole book was ruined because of stupid John!

So, this is what I think of the novel The Fashion Committee. I would recommend this book nobody because no one should have to go through the pain of reading this terrible mistake of a novel! You should read this book only if you want to bash it or if you love horrendously bad books.

- Courtney, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

It's Not Like It's a Secret by Misa Sugiura (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Monday, May 22, 2017 at 12:47pm

Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like the fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—like how she might have a crush on her best friend. When Sana and her family move to California, she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. There are just a few problems: Sana's new friends don't trust Jamie's crowd; Jamie's friends don't want her around anyway; and the sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl. Telling the truth is easy, what comes after it is a whole lot more complicated.

It's not like it's a Secret by Misa Sugiura is about Sana Kiyohara, a Japanese-American girl who thinks her dad may be having an affair and is starting to realize she might be lesbian. I thought this was an interesting book. The characters weren't very likeable and many of them were racist, but their thought processes and views of the world were still interesting to read about. The novel discussed a lot of the stereotypes that people make based on race, such as Asians are smart or Mexicans are lazy, and it showed why these stereotypes are hurtful and untrue. As someone who likes poetry, I also enjoyed the role poetry played in this novel.

Overall this book made me think about the harms of stereotyping people. I'd recommend reading this if you're interested in books about race and sexuality issues. People who like poetry may also enjoy this novel, and I discovered some new poems I like as a result. This was an enjoyable read.

- Niina, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up
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