The Compulsive Reader: June 2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar

Aspen Quick is born into a strange family, with very strange and very important powers. They have the ability to reach--into objects, into people--and take things. Memories, thoughts, emotions, even physical characteristics. They use this ability as a part of an old ritual to keep the cliff overlooking their small New England town from tumbling down and crushing everything. But Aspen uses his ability outside of this ritual, and he's never given it a second thought...until the summer after his cousin's mysterious death, when he meets Leah, who is a little too curious about his family's strange legacy.

Aspen is a surprising, not-exactly-reliable, and privileged narrator. He makes terrible decisions, but his confidence is engaging, and the flashbacks that Ribar sprinkles in among the present-day drama add depth and complexity to his character. The premise of this story and Aspen's family history is fascinating and fresh, especially as the consequences to their actions become more apparent and nuanced as the story progresses. Aspen starts out confident in his abilities and what he thinks he knows about his family, proud of what he can do and secretly hurting over is mother's abandonment. But as he gets to know Leah, who inexplicably knows about his abilities and his family's legacies, he begins to question what he thought was true about his family. This development is drawn out realistically, a result of Leah's new information and Aspen's own poor decisions pushing him closer to the truth. The somewhat serious story is balanced out by terrific sarcastic humor and banter between Aspen and his friends, and great flashbacks. Like its excellent title, this novel may appear flippant at first, but it's a lot darker, a lot more complicated than it seems.

ARC provided by publisher.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

On Book Riot: Mysteries for Fans of Tana French

One of my favorite non-kidlit authors is Tana French. I adore her dark and atmospheric mysteries, and I am super excited for the sixth book in her Dublin Murder Squad series, The Trespasser. On Book Riot, I wrote an article with four mystery recommendations for people who love Tana French, just to tide you over until The Trespasser releases!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Giveaway: Return to the Isle of the Lost

Hey, Descendants fans! Thanks to the awesome generosity of Disney Hyperion, I'm giving away a copy of Isle of the Lost and the sequel, Return to the Isle of the Lost, both by Melissa de la Cruz! Return to the Isle of the Lost is the latest book in the Descendants series, and it is out now!

About Return to the Isle of the Lost:
Mal’s an expert at intimidating her enemies, but she’s broken the habit since leaving her villainous roots behind. So when she and her friends Evie, Carlos, and Jay all receive threatening messages demanding they return home, Mal can’t believe it. Sure, she’s King Ben’s girlfriend now, and she’s usually nice to her classmates, but she still didn’t think anyone would be silly enough to try to push her around.

The thing is, it kind of worked. Especially since she and her friends have a sneaking suspicion that their villainous parents are behind the messages. And when Evie looks into her Magic Mirror, what she sees only confirms their fears. Maleficent’s just a tiny lizard after her run-in with Mal at Ben’s Coronation, but she’s the worst villain in the land for a reason. Could she have found a way to escape? Whatever’s going on, Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay know they have to sneak back to the Isle and get to the bottom of it.

Without its infamous leader, the island’s even worse than when they left it, but the comforts of home—even a home as gloomy as the Isle of the Lost—can be hard to resist for recently reformed villains. Will the kids be able to beat the evil bubbling at the Isle’s wicked core, or will the plot to destroy Auradon succeed?

To enter, fill out the form below!