The Edge of a Lovely Heartless Star (or the 4 books I read this Memorial Day)

You have to love the quality time that long weekends (thanks Memorial Day!) give us to catch up on our reading, and sleep, but mainly reading. With my extra 24 hours of freedom, I made my way through four fun, romantic and very different YA ARCs – Jeff Giles’ The Edge of Everything, Kami Garcia’s The Lovely Reckless, Marissa Meyer’s Heartless and Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star. So let the reviewing commence!

gilesBook 1: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

I had picked up this book on a whim, but got really excited for it when Jeff Giles was the-best-host-ever for the-best-panel-ever at BEA (Book Hooked with Sarah Maas, Victoria Aveyard and Laini Taylor). He was sarcastic and funny and just nerdy enough and I was excited to discover that his writing was just as enjoyable.

The Edge of Everything centers on Zoe, a young, semi-average teen (she does have a cool caving interest) with a hippie vegan mom and ADHD adorable little brother. They’re dealing with a loss in the family when a confluence of events (a blizzard mainly) leads Zoe into a life threatening situation where the mysterious – but apparently super sexy – X appears. He’s on a mission from the Lowlands (a scary hell-like home), but is thrown off course when he and Zoe fall for each other.

No spoilers, so I’ll leave it there…. but, I will say that Giles does a fabulous job developing the primary and secondary characters and their relationships and really giving them life. One small con is that some of the twists are a bit predictable, but that really doesn’t detract from the story. This one wins the award for one of the first books I’ve read in a long time that drew me in right away. I highly recommend.

garciaBook 2: The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

So I know Kami Garcia from the Beautiful Creatures series, which I have really mixed feelings about. I loved the first book, but enjoyed each book less than the one before it and was so ready for things to end by the fourth book. However, I did think the characters were great so I was willing to give the authors another shot. Did not love Margaret Stohl’s solo books (the co-author of that series) – I find her writing really hard to get through – but Kami’s book was quite lovely.

There’s Frankie, the rich, perfect (but supposedly mostly average) girl who tragically lost her boyfriend. Then there’s Marco, the tough, caring boy who gets into fights and races cars. She’s from the Heights, he’s from the Downs, lol. All right, so we’ve heard this story a million times, but it was still a sweet, well-written romance. You care about Frankie and Marco, the romance is believable and I’m rooting for spin off novels about the quirky friends. It’s a great summer read.

meyerBook 3: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

People have this enthusiastic love affair with Marissa Meyer and I’ve really tried, but I just can’t get into her books. This one sounded really fun, a story about the Queen of Hearts when she was just a young girl in love. I also read it right after seeing Alice Through the Looking Glass, so I was in a very Wonderland sort of mood.

The characters were excellent. I loved how Marissa made Cath this sweet, normal girl who has dreams to be a baker and tries to find a way out of a bad situation. Jest is also a very interesting love interest and you’re never quite sure how much to trust him, which adds some excitement. But it just didn’t seem compelling to me. The book felt slow and just overly complicated. I didn’t love it, but if you’re a Marissa Meyer/Lunar Chronicles fan, it’s probably perfect for you.

Yoon_9780553496680_jkt_all_r1.inddBook 4: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Nicola Yoon’s books tend to devastate me. Everything, Everything was amazing and the big reveal was just ridiculous (in a good way, well for the reader at least). This new book is even better.

Natasha is a Jamaican girl whose family is being deported that evening, so she is making a last ditch effort to stay in America. Daniel is the Korean boy attempting to be the perfect son and trying to make a good impression at his big Yale interview. Fate seems to throw the two together and scientific, pragmatic Natasha doesn’t quite buy into Daniel, the poetic, dreamer.

I like that there’s no insta-romance (well, a little from Daniel, but mainly attraction). Natasha is willing to, and does, just walk away from Daniel at the beginning. It’s only through his continued efforts that they really start to get to know each other. Yoon’s framing of the story through a scientific experiment to prove/disprove love is also excellent.

While the style is slightly jarring at first, I think the side-notes and mini secondary character histories also wind up really adding to the story. As a New Yorker, I also think Yoon’s depiction of the city is spot on and really does highlight how small connections and choices can make the biggest impact (you’ll love Irene!).

Without giving anything away, I’ll just end with the idea that I’m really happy Nicola Yoon did not give me the ending I wanted when I wanted it. Too vague? Well then you’ll just have to go read the book!

Recap

Read the Edge of Everything and The Sun is Also a Star as soon as you can.

Save The Lovely Reckless for a relaxing beach day.

Skip Heartless unless you’re a big Marissa Meyer fan.

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