Two Book Tuesday

33004248._SY475_Title: Sparrow
Author: Mary Cecilia Jackson
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: March 17th
Ratings: ♥♥♥

Goodreads Summary:

In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a devastating but hopeful YA debut about a ballerina who finds the courage to confront the abuse that haunts her past and threatens her future.

There are two kinds of people on the planet. Hunters and prey
I thought I would be safe after my mother died. I thought I could stop searching for new places to hide. But you can’t escape what you are, what you’ve always been.
My name is Savannah Darcy Rose.
And I am still prey.

Though Savannah Rose―Sparrow to her friends and family―is a gifted ballerina, her real talent is keeping secrets. Schooled in silence by her long-dead mother, Sparrow has always believed that her lifelong creed―“I’m not the kind of girl who tells”―will make her just like everyone else: Normal. Happy. Safe. But in the aftermath of a brutal assault by her seemingly perfect boyfriend Tristan, Sparrow must finally find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past, or lose herself forever….

***TRIGGER WARNING***
assault, death

If you’ve been here for awhile, you know my love for all things dance, especially ballet. I will read any dance book—good, bad, whatever. And this was just whatever.

Savannah Rose—Sparrow— is a talented ballerina starring as Odette in Swan Lake with her best friend, Lucas. Soon she starts dating the popular boy, Tristan King, at school who thinks he can solve all his problems with money. After dating for awhile, things start to go wrong.  It’s told in dual perspective: multiple chapters from Sparrow’s point-of-view, followed by chapters from Lucas.

This is centered around two abusive relationships: Savannah’s mother and her boyfriend Tristan. She had learned from her mother to keep quiet and obedient, that everything was her fault. She took those lessons into her relationship with Tristan. Lucas is constantly pushing Sparrow about her relationship knowing something is wrong, going so far as to confronting Tristan and getting into a fight.

We know nothing about any of these characters when the book begins. There’s one thing getting dropped right into the action, but it’s another when I’m halfway through the book and I don’t understand the backgrounds of any characters. for most of the book I thought the character of Sophie was Sparrow’s stepmother, not her aunt.

I had trouble believing Sparrow and Tristan’s relationship. We get one scene of their first date, skips forward a month or two and he’s already treating her like shit. Usually you see a character like that be very apologetic and show some sort of remorse, but this guy was just the worse, all the time. Then on the flip side, Lucas talks about being in love with Sparrow, but his actions don’t reflect that whatsoever.

The reason I gave this a 3-star, was because of the dance scenes and because it made me cry a lot. I also think Sparrow’s trips to the therapist with her dad and aunt felt very realistic and optimistic.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

46406706Title: All the Pretty Things
Author: Emily Arsenault
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: March 17th
Ratings: ♥♥♥♥

Goodreads Summary:

For fans of Sadie and The Cheerleaders comes an all new thriller about a boy who turns up dead under suspicious circumstances and the one girl who may be the key to solving the mystery of his untimely death.

For Ivy, summer means roller-coaster season, spinning cotton candy at the Fabuland amusement park, and hanging out with her best friend, Morgan. But this summer is different.

One morning, Morgan finds a dead body. It’s their former classmate and coworker Ethan. To make matters worse, Morgan is taken to a hospital psych ward only days later, and she’s not saying much–not even to Ivy.

The police claim that Ethan simply took a bad fall, but Ivy isn’t convinced and realizes it’s up to her to get answers. What she finds is unsettling–it’s clear that some people aren’t being honest about Ethan’s last night at Fabuland. Including Morgan. And the more secrets Ivy uncovers, the closer she gets to unraveling dark truths that will change her life forever.

***TRIGGER WARNING***
Death, sexual assault

This book suffers from false advertising. When reading the summary, you are led to believe this is a mystery thriller. And while there is a sort of mystery being unraveled, this reads much more like a familial drama. Our main character Ivy comes home from a week’s vacation with her whole world upside down. One of her coworkers is dead and her best friend, Morgan, found the body. As Morgan is in no shape to answer any questions, Ivy takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on.

Ivy always wanted to be her father’s right-hand man; she loved his crazy ideas, his love of the spectacle, and his flair. It was the second year as the owner of the local amusement park, Fabuland, and this summer was Ivy’s chance to be her father’s second in command. We follow Ivy as she goes around the theme park, questioning fellow employees about the days leading up to that fateful day.

Ivy’s dad was a total creep. By a few chapters in, it’s clear he had a part in this tragedy. He really only cared about business, cutting corners wherever he can to save money, and make money. He makes crude jokes and has wandering eyes. As the story progresses, Ivy takes a step back to see her dad more clearly. That is pretty much the main plot line through the book, the figuring out of why Ivy’s coworker died is secondary.

I liked the setting of a theme park. I think it was a great way to keep everything focused into one area—the drama, the people Ivy questions, and the source of conversation. I found this to be pretty entertaining, though I could see where readers might feel misled—expecting more of a thriller mystery.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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