Two New Book Reviews

By Adventures in Obsessive Reading 

Everything I Never Told You

Author: Celeste Ng
Page Count: 304
Rating: B
Keywords: Loss, Identity. Infidelity, Family, Chinese Americans, 1970s
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Duration: 10 hours 1 minute
Younger Readers: Drinking, sex, smoking, abuse, racism, and suicide are all topics that would make this inappropriate for very young readers.

I had seen quite a few people reading this when it first came out but never got around to picking up a copy of it. Seeing it on the Audible app was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It really reminded me of a book I read about a young Chinese American girl when I was in 8th grade. Her struggles of trying to fit in while also embracing her grandmother’s culture reminded me quite a bit of Lydia’s struggles to fit in in Ohio. I wish I remembered the name of the book but all I can remember is that the girl loved jade and wanted to go to school in Colorado to be a geologist. If I happen to remember the title I will update this post.

As you can probably tell from the synopsis this is a dark story about loss. Lydia is shown throughout the book in flashbacks while her family is shown falling apart. The struggles of an interracial family in 1970s America were shown quite well, both through the perspective of the parents and the children. Identity and self-discovery are major themes explored throughout. While this is certainly a depressing story it never felt unbearable to read. I wanted to find out what happened next, wanted to get to know the Lees, wanted to see them come through this.

Traditional YA tends to focus more on the teenagers. I enjoyed that this one explored the Lee parents in more detail. It added a sense of reality and depth to the tale that it would have lacked otherwise. Moral dilemmas that they face are quite poignant. Mr. and Mrs. Lee are devastating and beautiful all at once.

The narration was also enjoyable. Cassandra Campbell’s reading was clear without being overly dramatic. I found it easy to pay attention to the story without being distracted by her voice. I tend to put the speed at 1.5x. Some books this has sounded like a jumbled mess but this reading did just fine.

Asunder

Author: Jodi Meadows
Page Count: 406
Rating: B
Keywords: Fantasy, True Love, Reincarnation, Rights
Genre: Young Adult
Younger Readers: This one is pretty safe. The main character actually doesn’t even know what sex is. It is alluded to as this mysterious thing that everyone else knows about, but she is left in the dark. So no steamy scenes that move past a couple of lines of kissing. I also do not recall in harsh language. 

Asunder is the second instalment in the Newsoul trilogy by Jodi Meadows. Incarnate is the first book that I read about a year ago. I absolutely LOVED that book. Sam and Ana are great together and the action in the book is fast paced. And do I even need to mention the covers? This series is gorgeous. From the dust jacket to the interior illustrations at the tops of chapters I love the attention to detail. Even the bright colors of the hardcovers is fantastic. Needless to say, I love having these in my book collection.

Meadows creates a rich and intriguing world that is unique and can easily draw a reader in, devouring the pages to discover Range and Heart. Sylph are fascinating, creatures of heat that everyone fears. And I love the developments that Meadows makes in this second installment. Their odd attraction to Ana and their history revealed in this book were probably my favorite aspects of the story.

I did not like this book as much as the first one but I still enjoyed it. The action is less obvious in this installment and there is more of a focus on the mystery of how newsouls are being created and the politics of Heart. 

Ana, our newsoul, is the only main character that has not been reincarnated for thousands of years. This causes fear in the residents of Heart, which is the main contention in this book. The fear of more newsouls and darksouls leads many people to abusive actions that could bring up the question of human rights for readers. Ana grows up somewhat and begins to take on the role of revolutionary. I am excited to see where her journey takes her next.

My feelings on Sam were somewhat conflicted. I used to absolutely adore his character without question. He was the knight in shining armor that protected Ana, helped her gain some degree of acceptance in Heart, and played piano. He was sort of dreamy. After reading this one though, I am not quite so enchanted with the young man. While he is still protective of Ana, there is more tension between them. He does not trust her and his opinion is too easily swayed by others. Hopefully he can redeem himself later on.

Not a bad follow up to Incarnate, but not my favorite of the two. I can’t wait to see where the series goes with Infinite.

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