The Faithful Spy by John Hendrix

The Faithful Spy, by John Hendrix, is a riveting true story about the enemies of Hitler, presented in illustrated form. It tells the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a young theologist who loved his home country of Germany, but despised the man who gained control of it. Dietrich’s only wish is to protect his beloved country and restore it back to what it used to be. For this to happen, he has to get rid of Hitler. Dietrich and his friends conspire, travel, and spy, all in the name of German safety.
John Hendrix writes with determination and interest, sharing the unknown details of many important figures in Germany’s unfathomable history. This book is riddled with knowledge about World War II and the Holocaust. It is informational, yet also a journey through one man’s sacrifices. Stunning pictures and an amazing format bring the images to life as the book takes you through the entirety of World War II and the Holocaust, all through Dietrich’s eyes.
The Faithful Spy is intense and emotional, but teaches so much lost history about these tragic events. This book is great for history buffs, or anyone interested in learning more about these events and the different sides of humanity.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall follows the life of a senior girl in high school, Samantha Kingston. She and her three friends are some of the most popular girls in school. Samantha has it all, perfect boyfriend, three supporting best friends, everything any teenage girl could hope for. Everything was perfect until February 12th. Samantha and her three friends attend a party and make a drunken mistake, resulting in Samantha’s death. However, instead of going to heaven or hell or whatever, Samantha relives February 12th seven times. Through these seven repeats she uncovers secrets about her death She uncovers secrets about everything and everyone close to her. How much will she risk to save her own life?

The book started off rather slow and a little too cliche for my tastes. Oliver portrayed high school in a very stereotypical way and Samantha as a character was very unlikeable to start off. Her and her friends were catty and rude and I was sick and tired of hearing the character complain about trivial things such as spilt coffee. However, I am no quitter as a reader and so I pulled through. And boy, am I glad I did. The story started picking up, hitting its climax in the most amazing way. Samantha changed as a character and the reader could see clear as day the character development. She changed from a snotty teenage brat to a sophisticated human being who slowly uncovered the secret to life. The secret to really living life and not just gliding by it. Samantha began treating people differently and making new risks that popular Samantha Kingston would’ve never made in the first chapter.
The last two or so chapters kept me totally captivated, I was unable to set the book down. Flipping page after page new secrets were uncovered and Samantha turned into someone that the reader should aspire to be. Samantha was on a mission, a mission to not only save others but to also save herself. The ending to the story left me with a full feeling. I did feel like crying, if not more than just a tear or two.
Samantha Kingston was a one layered character that, personally, I did not connect to at all. She was unlikeable, and for good reason. However, Oliver used her writing skills to change the reader’s mind, and instead we fell in love with Samantha Kingston and her selflessness and her constant need to save herself. Because, in the end, Samantha really did save herself.
This was the first book I have ever read by Lauren Oliver and I think it was a good introduction into her writing. She uses a lot of metaphors and similes, which when you first start reading feels a little weird and out of place. However, adjusting yourself to her writing really helps you connect with Oliver’s characters and in turn makes you feel many new emotions. Personally, I really enjoyed her writing and I felt myself attracted to the way she described things in new ways, even trivial things.

Overall, as a fellow reader, I would say pull through. Pull through the first two or three chapters because it gets better. It gets much much better and if you start the book and don’t finish you will surely regret it. I promise.
If you enjoyed the following books I think you will enjoy Before I Fall:
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

I’m sure you’ve at least heard of Victor Frankenstein, right? You know he creates a monster and brings it to life. With the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein being this year, Kiersten White has written a spinoff novel focusing on Elizabeth Lavenza, Victor’s childhood friend. With her new book, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, Kiersten White brings a thrilling and twisted new perspective of the classic tale.
Elizabeth’s mother died in childbirth and she was left with an abusive caregiver who made it known that Elizabeth was a burden. Yearning for a better life, Elizabeth was happy to keep Victor calm and happy in exchange for the new home the Frankenstein’s offer in exchange for help in controlling Victor. Her youth is spent keeping him— and herself, safe, even when she doesn’t know the whole story. When Victor set off to pursue his studies he left Elizabeth behind, and she soon grew concerned about how secure her place in the Frankenstein household was with Victor gone. But when Elizabeth set out to find Victor and bring him home she had no idea what she was getting herself into.

Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day by David Levithan, is probably my favorite book. It is a beautiful story about love, the obstacles of life, and how important making memories is. The main character, A, wakes up every single day in a new place, in a new body. He takes over for a day, traveling through this strange life and seeing all kinds of things. One day, he wakes up in the body of Justin, and meets his girlfriend- Rhiannon. Love at first sight is such a cliche, but David Levithan makes it fascinatingly real. He tells the story of A and Rhiannon, and the intense obstacles they have to face, even just to talk to each other! This love story is one of a kind, and it will keep you wanting more.
I love this book because it is a completely new take on a love story. They get repetitive after a while, and this brings a fresh take to the YA genre. Every Day sucks you in; you feel the character’s emotions; you live this story. I read this a few years ago, but even now I still remember the feelings washing over me as I indulged in this. It is memorable, beautiful, and heart-racing. This is the most interesting book I have ever read, and that’s saying something! David Levithan truly brings such a riveting storyline to such a unique group of characters. I’m glad it has a sequel! I cannot praise this book enough, and it will always be an all-time favorite.

MunMun by Jesse Andrews

In MunMun, by Jesse Andrews, a different world is taking place. A world where your amount of money determines your size. For littlepoors, the world is dangerous and full of huge cats, crazy cars, and people accidentally stomping on them. For middles, the world is comfy; everything is their size. They have average lives, but live in fear of becoming poor and being scaled down at any moment For bigs, the world is tiny. They tower over literally everything, and are never completely full or hydrated. They have to eat entire cows and move in slow motion and whisper in order not to kill anyone smaller than them. The whole point of living in this world is to scale up, but the question is, where do you stop?
Warner is born littlepoor, along with his sister Prayer and friend Usher. They travel throughout their little, terrifying lives and try to find ways to scale up. The only problem is, it seems the world is built for everyone bigger. It’s difficult to scale up when it feels like everything is against you
MunMun is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s a very interesting take on how money impacts people’s lives. It’s full of adventure, plot twists, betrayals, and interesting friendships. Andrews writes this in a different way, with fascinating spelling/grammar and impeccable descriptions. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a truly crazy story formed from an idea no one has ever seen before.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf is a harsh and beautiful book, vivid and brutal and haunting from the from the first page.  Wolf by Wolf is set in 1956 Germany, with one twist– the Nazi’s won the war, and Adolf Hitler rules most of the world. The protagonist, Yael, is a girl with the ability to alter her appearance at will, due to experiments conducted on her in the prison camp before she escaped. Now Yael is an agent of the resistance, an agent with the most important mission of all upon her shoulders—assassinate Hitler.  Yael is one of the strongest female characters I have ever encountered in YA literature, strong and smart and fearless. Wolf by Wolf provides a hauntingly plausible look into an alternate past that is powerful and engaging.  The book is brutal and beautiful at the same time, making for an amazing story as Ryan Graudin blends historical fiction with science fiction, and adventure in this brilliant YA novel.

Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashmore

In a tale as delightfully confusing as the mismatched halls of Tu Reviens, Kristin Cashore brings to life a world of art and mystery. The story winds through five alternate universes that take place if Jane had made a different choice in the first half of the book. Each retelling solves a separate mystery that takes place at the same time and place but is never really revealed in the others. Each choice spins the tale into a new direction and genre, be it sci-fi, mystery, adventure, fantasy or romance. With its colorful setting, dark secrets, and unique and quirky characters Jane, Unlimited more than lives up to Cashore’s previous books.

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

In the first book of the Prisoners of Peace duology, Erin Bow introduces us to a new type of future dystopia. A dark sci-fi set in a terrifyingly plausible future, The Scorpion Rules is a true masterpiece. Complete with a captivating storyline, sprinkled with wry humor and gems of wisdom, The Scorpion Rules is one of those rare books that demands your attention and is impossible to put down. In The Scorpion Rules, Bow demonstrates a unique writing style that defies every cliché and expectation. With complex characters who think and act like real people, and plot twists you won’t see coming,  Bow explores the very meaning of friendship- and love. The Scorpion Rules, in conclusion, is a true gem in the world of Young Adult literature.


Invictus by Ryan Graudin

In this fast-paced time-travel novel, Ryan Graudin blends everything from sci-fi and fantasy to historical fiction, romance, and humor. With a compelling and action-packed storyline, and a vibrant and unique cast of characters, Invictus is perfect for a wide range of readers. Graudin brings a new take to the idea of time-travel, weaving in themes of friendship, romance, mystery- and the odd red panda. Whether or not time-travel or sci-fi is your usual genre, Invictus is a book that will grab you from the first chapter and not let go until you reach the last page. In the space of five minutes you’ll laugh, and you’ll cry. And you will definitely fall in love with Imogen’s rainbow hair, Priya’s patience, Farway’s ego, Gram’s cluelessness, and Eliot’s mysterious mission. Hop aboard the Invictus, and sit back to enjoy this wonderful, quirky, mysterious, beautiful book.