Review: Arctic Zoo (Robert Muchamore)

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Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: July 11th 2019
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 456

Blurb from Goodreads:

From London . . .
Georgia gets straight As at school, writes essays for fun, has been placed first in twenty-six drone races and has a serious addiction to buying Japanese stationery. She plans to follow her older sister Sophie and become a doctor, but her worldview is shattered when Sophie commits suicide.

To Lagos . . .
Julius lives in Ondo, a Nigerian state where half the population lives on less than a dollar a day. But he isn’t one of them. His uncle has been governor of Ondo for more than a decade and his mother is the power behind that throne. He finds refuge in a derelict zoo with best friend Duke, but as the two of them grow close, the world outside becomes more and more hostile.

Following two teenagers living very different lives, ARCTIC ZOO is a startling contemporary novel about protest, sexuality, mental heath and flawed leadership, from the bestselling author of CHERUB.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This story follows two teenagers leading very different lives named Julius and Georgia. Julius is the rich kid living in Nigeria, with his family’s huge wealth while Georgia is a drone pilot, having entered many drone racing championships and scored flying colors in exams.

The moment I laid my eyes on the synopsis of Arctic Zoo, I know this book is going to be different from previous YA books that I’ve read before. Arctic Zoo is about teenagers protesting against a corrupt leadership and finding themselves as a whole. There is not a lot of YA books which tells more adult and mature stories like this one, and that attracts me the most.

I am very intrigued with Julius and Georgia’s backstory as they both have diverse stories and family background and it is interesting how their fate crosses path in a mental health unit.

Julius struggles with his sexuality and tries to live boldly but his mother disapproves his choice. Besides, having a boyfriend who comes from a middle class community motivates him to fight his own family, to right the corruption and money laundering that poisons the political system in his country.

Georgia on the other hand, feels depressed by her sister’s death, as her death is resulted by overworking. The system forces workers to do overtime and night shifts for long hours until workers lost their work and life balance. Night shifts can totally disrupt the circadian rhythm or the biological clock that may perturb body function. Georgia feels responsible to make a change and starts a revolution as a sign of protest towards the government’s negligence.

What draw me into reading Arctic Zoo is these two young teenagers are able to start a revolution, to change the world that they are living in for the greater good. The fact that they are braver that some functioning adults in the government is astonishing. They are both selfless and brave, willing to sacrifice themselves for a great cause.

The problem is in the real world, teenagers under 17 don’t get a chance to have a say in the political system. When they protest against ridiculous rules made by the higher management, they are often taken lightly because they think teenagers are not matured enough to understand the whole picture. My answer is teenagers nowadays are brilliant than before. They have the sources from the net to read and they have the mind to make their own decisions already. By reading, we can change the ruling government. Protest is healthy, not to the extent of extremism such as rioting until damaging properties and hurting people.

“It isn’t easy to change the world, but you’ve got to keep trying.

Overall, I enjoy reading this book as the story opens my perspective to the harsh world. Anyone can make a change in the world, you just have to keep trying.

Special thanks to Pansing Books for providing me this awesome copy.

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Sabrina

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Review: You Only Live Once (Jess Vallance)

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication date: August 23rd 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 400

Blurb from Goodreads:

The start of a hilarious new teen series for fans of Geek Girl.

Gracie Dart has always worked hard and she’s got a wall covered with revision timetables and French verbs to prove it. But now GCSEs are behind her and she suddenly starts to think: what was the POINT of it all?

When Gracie thinks she’s dying of a disgusting tropical illness, she starts to worry she’s been wasting her best years being sensible. It’s like people say: you only live once – so isn’t it about time she started LIVING?
(OK, so the tropical illness turned out to be a fake-tan miscalculation. Anyone could make the same mistake.)

When Gracie decides to do something, she does it properly. Gracie Dart is about to live out her dreams. However embarrassing.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This book is totally aimed to students who have just finished school and trying to figure out what are the things that they want to do in life. By reading the synopsis, I can guarantee that the main character is going to have one helluva journey.

I truly enjoyed the concept of the book — trying to make the most out of life and being spontaneous. Gracie Dart is truly an excellent student, she scores well in her exams and turns down school trips just to be able to study at home. After finishing GCSE, she lives by the motto of “You Only Live Once”. We can see her doing spontaneous activities such as going for a horse-turned-to-a-donkey ride at beach, bungee jumping, trip to Paris with her sick grandmother and many challenging things that she has never done before. I imagine myself doing all of the things that Gracie has done while reading and wishing that I have guts to do that. I love it how this book discusses on the importance of relationship with friends and family as well as sexuality. Gracie is a lesbian and she has a great support system who truly supports her sexuality.

Gracie is the living reflection of a young adult who wants to do and try everything in life, but greatly vulnerable and sometimes undecided about on what they truly wants to do in life. Gracie is very spontaneous and brave, but she also pushes away people who truly care about her. I guess that is just the ups and downs of being a growing teenager. Even though I cannot connect thoroughly with her character, I love how the writer successfully connects the meaning and worth of life with Gracie’s story. Circumstances that happen in the story test Gracie’s view on the worth of knowledge learned from school towards to the reality of life. There are a few discussions on the quality of life, where she feels like quitting school. At some point of life, you will realise the ugly truth of the cycle of life. You have to work hard to earn. You cannot escape it. I feel very enlightened by the moral of the story. Sometimes in life, we do get carried away with life that we fail to realise the meaning of it.

The ending is okay, everything that I expect it to be. I like how Gracie tries to face the music after for what she has done. Gracie goes through some intense self-development and self-discovery in her journey, and that is why I can say that this book is one of the best coming-of-age story ever.

I look forward to read the next book of the series, To Be Perfectly Honest.

Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

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Sabrina

Review: The Cruel Prince (Holly Black)

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*This book will be available in all good bookstores.

Blurb from Goodreads:

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.


RATING

3.75 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This is one of the books which totally sucked me in. This one has been gaining tonnes of hype recently so I have decided to go for it. While I was absolutely entertained by the story (the cover is gorgeous by the way!), I didn’t actually get the hype that the book has received. I was left a little bit disappointed hence this has taught me to never put so much hope on books before reading them. Nonetheless, the book kept me entertained the whole time.

I liked the plot. I went into it not knowing how the story would take me and also this was my first reading Holly Black’s book. The plot started slow, as in any YA Fantasy book you would ever read but this is NOT necessarily a bad thing. I was very much enjoying all of the chapters for the first 100 pages. I didn’t feel it was boring because I was totally engrossed with it.

The world building was ON POINT. The writer did an awesome job in building the foundation of the characters, plot and universe. However, some things weren’t explained well and thoroughly and it bothered me because I didn’t understand the hell of it. The book was full of politics and royal drama, which was one of my favourite part of the book.

The characters were very different from characters in other YA books. They were all full with light and dark elements, no one was the hero or the villain. Jude, the main character totally changed from a fearful, ambitious girl to a very manipulative and greedy person. She has lived to become someone who wanted power, and when she climbed the way to the top, she grabbed the opportunity to do anything that she could to proclaim power. I didn’t agree to all of her actions, some of them were honestly selfish and out-of-place, but nonetheless it was interesting to see her coming-of-age story. There were so many characters and that made me forget about their existence and whereabouts in the story. The three sisters’ dynamic was very well fleshed out, all of them have their own wants and interests to achieve.

The book was not that fantastic and mind-blowing, there weren’t any major plot twists and something inventive, however, the plus point of the book was the way that the book was shaped and structured for character development and story wise. 

I am absolutely looking forward for Book 2, The Wicked King and I do hope that the series will blow my mind away!

Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

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Sabrina