I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

“…if comics have taught us anything, it’s that death is rarely a permanent condition.”

princess-x

Synopsis from GoodreadsOnce upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure. Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her. Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window. Princess X? When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby’s story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon – her best friend, Libby, who lives.

Feelings: I’m always open to reading different book formats – comic books, graphic novels, ebooks, audiobooks, and any combination. This book was a new venture for me in that it’s both a graphic novel and a chapter book. I wasn’t sure how that would play out, but I really enjoyed it! It broke the story flow up a little bit, in a positive way, and made it so that the visuals added a totally different kind of depth to the plot.

Probably my favorite thing about this book was the author’s writing style. The little quips and quirks were so enjoyable and unexpected. This was the author’s first foray into the realm of YA lit and I think she did a great job of being grown-up funny and interesting, while not being too far away from the core of YA. We still got our healthy dose of friendship, loyalty, identity, and all our favorite YA nuances.

This story was twisty! Is Libby alive? Is she publishing Princess X? If so, how’s she managing to pull that off? How did the bad guy make everyone believe that she was dead? After about 50 pages, I was hooked. There were so many different avenues that the story could go down and at that point, I really couldn’t pinpoint where it would go. I like stories that keep me on my toes and keep me guessing!

Issues: I feel like the author was trying to hard sometimes. I don’t know how many references to Seattle I need before I understand that it’s Seattle. I get it. There’s coffee everywhere and the weather and the building and OK ALREADY.

There was so much intensity and mystery…up until literally the last 15 pages. It all just felt rushed and something happens that makes zero sense. As May is telling us where she’s looking (no spoilers) I kept thinking…I get that you’re not a hacker, but you should know that it ISN’T hidden in a drawer or on a bookshelf. She was looking for other clues, yes, but they literally had like 4 minutes to look for what they needed and it just felt like wasted time.

Final thoughts: Don’t judge a book by its cover, friends. Ha! It looks all princessy and cutesy, but dang…it was super creepy at times. It didn’t help that I read this book right around midnight, but still. In the end, I enjoyed this book and thought it was a quick, easy read. It’s different from anything I’ve read before, so it was a nice palette cleanser since I tend to binge read in a genre for a while. As a teacher, I think this is a great book for those students who only choose comics or graphic novels. It would help to bridge the gap towards higher level reading and building those comprehension skills, while still keeping them entertained and close to their comfort zone.

*On the Amazon.com page for this book, it says, “for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen.” I don’t know Cory, but I know Sarah. I make zero connections between this book and Dessen’s dozen books. That’s my two cents on that.

 

Goodreads rating: 3.99/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.2/5

My rating: 4/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

September 2016 Wrap Up

This month has been a dud for reading. I’ve been so busy with work and moving…I’ve had very little time to read. In the end, I managed to read a total of THREE books.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

  • Unexpected. Day of the Dead. Graphic Novel.
  • My rating: 4 stars

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

  • Lysandra. Manon. Elide. (Obviously what I love about this book is people. Female people.)
  • My rating: 4.5 stars

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

  • Unexpected. Creepy. Quick and easy.
  • My rating: 4 stars

What all did you read this month? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

“Even telling you this much probably isn’t smart. But without my big mouth, no one would know that a seventeen-year-old who likes Death Cab for Cutie was responsible for the murders. No one would know that somewhere out there is a B student with a body count. And it’s important that you know, so you’re not next.”

unbecoming mara dyer

Synopsis from GoodreadsMara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.  There is. She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love. She’s wrong.

Feelings: I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I don’t usually watch TV shows that are super creepy and I tend to shy away from creepy books. I’m very visual, so if it’s too descriptive, it’ll stay in my head for a while. With this book…let’s just say that when I was done reading for the night, I’d watch a couple episodes of Parks and Rec before I went to sleep. Ha!

There’s really not much I can say about this book without spoiling it or messing with its mystery. There were SO many hints about what was really happening and lots of AHA moments that I experienced from beginning to end. I really liked the small details that kept reoccurring and the way the meaning unfolded as it went along.

Issues: It was PRETTY CONVENIENT that Noah had oodles of cash on him (like in the thousands) and had KEYS to the most random places. Some things just kind of came together too easily for my taste.

Characters: At first, I felt sorry for Mara. Then I was suspicious of her. Then I didn’t trust her. Then I felt sorry for her again. I’m STILL not sure how I feel about her. This story is so confusing! (As in, it’s making me feel conflicted, not so much that it’s actually confusing and hard to understand.) I liked the way that we flipped back and forth between BEFORE and the now. It was really interesting how the author gave us pieces of the truth as the story unraveled. We learned about the BEFORE Mara and the now Mara simultaneously, bringing us to a better understanding of her in the end.

Immediately upon meeting Noah, I had a Why is he important? train of thought. It took me a while to understand him because he’s pretty complex and generally has a lot of layers. He started out as a creepy man-whore and ended up being actually likeable. I liked the way he was welcomed into the Dyer family, but I’m curious to see how that relationship will continue (or not) in the next book.

 

Final thoughts: This story is wrapped in mystery. I have a large number of lingering questions, but they’re the types that I really think will be answered in the next 2 books. At least, I hope so. I need some better understanding of what is actually happening… I thought this book was really great and I’d highly recommend it!

Pick this up if you liked:

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings (for the Florida + death side of things)

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (for the teenager with powers side of things)

Goodreads rating: 4.10/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.2/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn