It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal. from goodreads.com
Beth says 3.5 Stars…
If I had to go out and rate this, I’d put it at a solid debut – not good, but not bad. The strength of the book is the descriptions of Wyoming and its badlands. They pull you into the book and allow for extraordinary visuals; I could really see what Hubbard was describing despite spending most of my life in the southeast United States. The beauty that came through in this book made me want to go and visit the badlands to experience it for myself. However, I didn’t feel the pull of the plot, or plots as it seemed. I didn’t feel the pull of the story to keep reading because I couldn’t see where everything headed, when I felt like I should have. The pageant storyline gave me Toddlers and Tiaras flashbacks and could have biased me against it. I’ve been trying to forget that scarring hour of television ever since I watched it so anything with child beauty queens creeps me out more than a little bit. The plot didn’t really capture my interest or flow terribly well. It rather meandered around aimlessly without making terribly much sense. The book instead mainly centered on the developing relationship between Mandarin and Grace, but the side plots felt off to me. They detracted from the main focus without enhancing the story.
I found the bad girl angle of Mandarin interesting, but something that hindered me relating to her. At times her rarely visible vulnerability felt forced. Her attitude, however, seemed highly accurate and realistic. I’m not one to tolerate a teenage bad/rebellious attitude in life or in any sort of media. Sometimes I had a strong urge to shake Mandarin and never really understood why she behaved the way she did. I wished that Grace would be stronger because she often ended up as a doormat for whoever happened to be around her. Her character was well formed, but it just wasn’t one that I particularly enjoyed. I think that’s the problem I had with this book; it wasn’t bad, but I didn’t connect with it. The characters were relatively good and decently three-dimensional yet never made a deep impression on me.
This book shows some promise and has moments of beautiful prose. However, I found the plot unappealing and the characters not very easy to relate to. Some people might really enjoy it, but I’m not one of them. If you absolutely adore realistic fiction then I’d suggest giving this one a try. If it’s not quite your favorite then this might not be the best choice. Book from Library
We are more than happy to review YA novels, however we prefer either physical copies or e-books via Netgalley or Edelweiss. If you would like us to review a book please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Here is our rating system: One Star - Use as doorstop Two Stars - Bearable while on pain medication Three Stars - Read once, do not repeat Four Stars - Definitely keep it on your shelf Five Stars - Use as altar
So we've decided to join the challenge! This is just a preliminary list, and is definitely subject to change (we'll be doing a lot of adding as books begin to be released in order to get to the 12 we need!). Also, this is no order whatsoever. (if the book is in a color, it means one of us has read it!)
1. The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal
2. Human.4 by Mike Lancaster
3. Like Madarin by Kirsten Hubbard
4. The Emerald Atlas by John Stevens
5. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
6. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
7. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
8. Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell by Crickett Rumley
9. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
10. Entwined by Heather Dixon
11. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
12. Possession by Elana Johnson
Fantasy Reading Challenge
1. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl 2. The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal 3. Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin 4. Sapphique by Catherine Fisher 5. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins 6. Glimmerglass by Jenna Black 7. Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce 8. Entice by Carrie Jones 9. Hourglass by Myra McEntire 10. Wither by Lauren DeStefano 11. Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr 12. Shadowspell by Jenna Black 13. Matched by Ally Condie 14. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Claire 15. Entwined by Heather Dixon 16. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney 17. Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst 18. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan 19. Possession by Elana Johnson 20. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford 21. So Silver Bright by Lisa Manchev
Welcome to "in BetweeN the pages." This is a little project that we've started and we hope that it will allow us to engage in some lovely book talk. Here's a little about us-
Beth~ I have a feeling that I may have a problem. I adore books. I read whenever I can, and most of the time feel that reading a good book would be a much better use of my time than working on anything else. I'm a recent college graduate with a degree in chemistry and love science! I'm currently living in Finland while doing some research as a Fulbright before embarking on my PhD. Hopefully you will enjoy what I say... but I tend to ramble.
Nathan~ For me, reading is the ultimate escape. A good book is so much better than any therapist can ever be. I am, what many might call, a book addict. It may be wrong, but it feels so right to blow off my homework and sit curled up with a novel. It's the ultimate relaxation. Books have gotten me through school and all the drama that accompanies it. I hope that my humble opinions can help you as you continue your literary adventure.