Seventeenth summer

The problem with expectations when something don’t live up to them is that empty feeling you get. You hoped for so much and you got… nothing at all. I had great expectations for Seventeenth summer and I got… nothing at all. And that empty feeling, when you hope for so much and then are left with nothing at all is disappointing. So very disappointing.

Angie Morrow has just graduated from high school and is spending the summer home with her family before going off to college. She has never dated and don’t see all the fuss over boys, like the other girls in town do. But then she meets Jack and, despite what she herself has previously thought about love, finds something in him that isn’t just a spark or a feeling. It’s a connection. And the seventeenth summer turns into a summer of romance and pretty moments with the boy she cares for so much. But the summer must end, like all summers do, and when it does, Angie will no longer be left in town. She and Jack must eventually decide if what has happened between them is just a thing over the summer, or something more.

It seemed like a perfect book to read during summer, something light and sweet that just fits with the warm weather and the sun and the overall summery feeling. But I was oh so very wrong about that. My expectations for Seventeenth summer was quite simple, actually. I thought it would be a book about a boy and a girl falling in love and spending the summer together doing cute, romantic things and then either deciding to try and keep the spark alive while Angie was away at school or just break up peacefully, happy for the time they’ve gotten together. Sounds nice, right? A perfect summer book. But no. I was so disappointed. Because even though the book did indeed tell the tale of Angie and Jack and that connection between them and even though there where cute moments, everything just felt… off. The book was a bit over three hundred pages and about little more than half of that did not have much to do with Angie and Jack’s relationship at all. It was about the weather and the flowers and the birds and the sun and rain, the smell and the taste and the sister or the other sister or the third sister or the sister’s boyfriend or the other sister’s boy and yes, you get my point. I understand that you need more to the story than just a guy and a girl and there is nothing wrong with a little poetic talk about how nice the summer was. But it was not needed on every other page.

The whole book was built pretty strange, I haven’t really read anything like it before. Instead of chapters the book was divided into June, July and August. These three parts where, as you can imagine when I just said the book was three hundred pages, pretty big. It was a lot of text and even though it was fun to read a book written a little differently, I wouldn’t have said no to chapters either. You could still have divided it into June, July and August, but made it nicer to read by cut the text up a little with chapters. A breather instead of a marathon of words and moments and happenings that didn’t feel important to the story. Despite only being three hundred pages long, the story felt ginormous.

Like I mentioned earlier, there was a lot of talking about the weather and the smells and the sunshine and rain and that’s nice, you need that in a book to make it feel real. To make it feel like the reader can touch what’s happening in the story. I would’ve complained if there weren’t anything like this in the story. And now I’m complaining because there was too much. Instead of chapters, the story had smaller parts to make it easier to read. A part could be a page or two or more, maybe five, six, seven or even ten. And more than once a whole part like this only contained a summary of how the garden looked. It was, frankly, boring, because it happened so many times. When I think back on Seventeenth summer, I don’t think about Jack or the love story, I think about the garden and the tomatoes and the grass and flowers and really, is this what one is supposed to think of after finishing a love story?

Another thing what bothered me a great deal was all the interactions between Angie and Jack. Because she waited and waited and waited to see him and when she finally did… there was usually no dialog or if there was, just a small one. They usually just sat together and thought by themselves and that’s nice to do with some people, but it’s boring to read about. Angie longed for Jack and he said he loved her and yet there was no spark between them. Nothing happened, during three hundred pages that made me say “Aw, that’s cute.” Nothing. They just… were. And that was no fun at all to read. A love story without no visible love. Just a ‘honey’ there and a little touch of the hand there and then came the tomatoes talk again or the talk about supper and ironing clothes. Reading Angie’s thoughts, you knew she liked Jack, but she never really told him or showed him by taking his hand or sitting closer to him. She just expected him to do it all and when he didn’t, she just seemed to not mind at all on the outside while on the inside being sad. More, and better, interactions between the two main characters would have made the book better. A moment or two at least, that had a real spark and not just being together and not saying anything after longing for him all day and then go home and lie in bed thinking about him and all the things she did not say. It was tiring to read.

You might have realized by now, if you’ve made it this far, that the story wasn’t set in the twenty-first century. Frankly, I’m not sure exactly when it was set but they didn’t seem to have either computers or mobiles, though they had cars so it must have been during the forties or fifties maybe. I’m not sure and that also bothered me. Though I’ll give Maureen Daley one thing and that was to at least have her characters speak the way they did during those years, with the fellows (there was a great deal of talking about fellows) and going steady and so on and so on. That was something, but it wasn’t enough by a long shot.

I kept reading because I thought it would get better. I smiled at some point and even laughed here and there, but there was also moments when I just threw the book away and thought about not picking it back up because it was so boring. I still did, to see if the end at least was good. It was not. The whole thing was bad from start to finish and it isn’t often I say things like this about books but really, it wasn’t good. At all.

It might just be so that I was a little too old for this story. Maybe it would be something more fitting a fifteen year old (I hardly think many seventeen year olds will go for it since, in my opinion, it is a bit childish and I can only speak for myself but I certainly did not think like this myself when I was seventeen and I don’t think many other does either) or girls younger than that. I say girls, because I honestly don’t think boys would find this story entertaining. But I might be wrong about that, too. In conclusion, though, I wouldn’t, and won’t, recommend this book to neither girls nor boys. For me it was just a waste of time. Tedious and boring and not even close to ‘romantic and enchanting’ as promised. I will not reread this book again.

A million suns

I have to admit, my expectations for Across the Universe was very high and even though it wasn’t exactly what I expected, it really lived up to those expectations. Thus, it was only natural that my expectations for the sequel, A million suns, would be even higher. And there are few things I love more than books that live up to expectations. A million suns definitely did this.

In Across the Universe, we meet Amy and Elder. Amy, a girl from earth who chooses to follow her parents on a mission across the universe, in search of a new planet to live on. This means that she leaves her live on earth behind to be frozen for three hundred years during the trip to the new planet. But Amy is awoken too early and all off a sudden a resident on the ship Godspeed where she meets Elder, the guy who one day will take over the leadership of the entire ship.

In A million suns, Amy has accepted the fact that she is awake and can't be refrozen, as well as the fact that she will never see her parents again. But she has not accepted a life onboard Godspeed and the walls are pressing in on her, more and more each day that passes. Elder, on the either hand, has taken over the leadership role after Eldest died, but it’s not very easy to rule a ship of nearly three thousand people when they aren’t on Phydus anymore. Elder does the best he can, but Godspeed’s residence are starting to ask questions as to why Elder is in charge and as the days go by, the ship is in more and more distress. There are talks of a revolution and people dies right and left, killed in Elder’s name. While Elder tries to calm everything down, Amy searches around the ship for clues left for her by Orion, a man she hates but now, frozen in a cryo chamber, asks Amy to make a very difficult choice. And in between the search of these mysterious clues, the riots and the revolution that doesn’t seem far away, Amy and Elder gets closer in their relationship and Amy realizes that there is something quite real between them.

A million suns is an action packed story and I mean that. Even the shortest chapters are filled with exiting revelations and things that will make you bit your nails while asking What will happen next? One thing I really love with the story itself is that Beth Revis has written it in both Amy’s and Elder’s perspective, every other chapter. I think it’s fun to read out of both main characters perspective, getting to know exactly what they think about the same thing, because it’s usually very different. And it’s always interesting to get inside two characters heads. It works perfectly in Revis story as well and I think that is very much due to how different Amy and Elder are. They see each other differently, they see everything around them differently. Elder has only ever known Godspeed, but Amy has been on a planet. The difference between them is huge, interesting and very fun to read through both perspective.

Reading A million suns made my heart beat faster out of nervousness and adrenalin and once I started reading, it was practically impossible to stop. Revis writes in a way that will make you turn page after page without realizing it until you’re halfway through the book and you think How did this happen? Another one of Revis strengths is chocking with her writing. You never know what will happen next or who will die, because no one is safe. And that makes it even more fun to read.

All in all, A million suns is a well written, fun and action packed nail biter that you won’t forget in a rush. Across the Universe was good, but A million suns was better. The perfect sequel that just grows and grows and then erupts in firework only to explode and leave the reader yarning for more, yarning to know what happens next. I can’t wait until I have the final piece of the trilogy in my hand and can see for myself.


Dystopian young adult novels seems like a never ending category with more and more books of the like for ever passing month. Ally Condie is one of the many authors who has written a dystopian trilogy, with Matched as the first book and Crossed its sequel. I read Matched a few months ago and I was interested but not really intrigued. Though I couldn’t help to pick up the second book, for no other reason than simply wanting to find out what happens do Cassia and Ky. In retrospect, I’m glad I did.

In Matched we met Cassia, Ky and Xander and was introduced to their world, called the Society. In Cassia’s world there are three way of living. As a citizen, an aberration and an anomaly. Only citizens gets the perks of life in the Society and one of those things is getting the chance to be matched with someone. Cassia is matched to one of her childhood friends, Xander, and is so very happy when she sits down to view the micro card she’s gotten, with information about Xander, only to see another boy’s face on the screen. Ky Markham, a guy who lives on the same street as her and who happens to be an aberration, thus not being allowed to get matched. But his face is on the screen in front of Cassia and as the days pass by, she realizes that she’s falling in love with the wrong boy.

Matched ended with Ky being taken away from Cassia’s life to be sent out to the Outer Provinces by the Society. Cassia decides to do what she can to find him, knowing it will be practically impossible and that he's probably dead but not giving up either. Because you don’t give up on true love. In Crossed Cassia starts her search for Ky, working in the Outer Provinces herself, but without a clue as to where Ky might be. On the last day in her work camp, Cassia escapes with her friend, Indie, to continue searching for Ky. She soon realizes that he is indeed alive and has even left clues which she follows, trying to find a needle in a haystack but certain that every step she takes is one toward Ky and not from.

While Matched seemed almost dull and even got me tired of Cassia and her almost blind way of seeing the world, Crossed was anything but. For me, it was a giant step up. The novel focuses on Cassia trying to find Ky, and since every other chapter is written out of Ky’s perspective there’s a lot of insight in his character as well, and you get to see the Society in a different way. Cassia does no longer seem blind and ignorant, she seems compassionate and determined  to get exactly what she wants. Even though things seems impossible, she never gives up. And that’s very different from the Cassia in Matched. She got everything served on a platter from the Society; her food, her job, her husband. She didn’t have to work for a single thing because as a citizen, she had every right to have all those things. But in Crossed Cassia is leaving the Society behind, trying to solve the mysteries surrounding her world. And, all of a sudden alone out in the real world with no Society to protect her, Cassia is forced to take care of herself. And out of the shell of that ignorant girl in Matched steps a brave, powerful woman who sees something and goes after it instead of waiting for someone to give it to her.

Crossed was, I won’t call it action packed, but rather filled with things happening. Comparing the first and the second book and I would go so far as to say that Matched is just the book where the reader gets to know the characters and the story in itself. Crossed is the one where things really starts to move forward. There’s the obvious question of Where is Ky? followed by Will Cassia find him? But also others like What is the Rising? and Who is the Pilot? and What’s beyond the border of the Enemy? These are question I asked myself while reading and questions Cassia asked herself as well. The end of Crossed leaves everything hanging in the air, a great way to set off the final piece of the trilogy, Reached.

The two reasons that made me dislike Matched was that the story seemed dull and that Cassia was ignorant. I still read the second book, to give Ally Condie and Cassia another chance and I’m glad I did because Crossed was all that I was hoping Matched would be. Now there’s no question whether to continue reading or not; I want to find out what’s going to happen and I intend to do it soon. I just really hope Reached is a step up from Crossed and not a step down to Matched.