suspense

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

26116473Title: The Outliers

Author: Kimberley McCreight

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia comes a fast-paced teen series where one girl learns that in a world of intrigue, betrayal, and deeply buried secrets, it is vital to trust your instincts.

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice but to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

In this breakneck tale, New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight brilliantly chronicles a fateful journey that begins with a single decision—and ends up changing everything.

It started out so, so well. I tend to ignore/dislike a lot of contemporary YA, but this one had a hold on me from the start.

Wylie receives a mysterious text for help from her best friend Cassie and sets off on a road trip with Jasper (Cassie’s boyfriend, who Wylie hates) to find her. Wylie struggles with her inner demons all throughout, and it’s great how she doesn’t come off as horribly whiny and angsty.

The characters were interesting. Wylie, Cassie, and Jasper (Cassie’s boyfriend) all have their own struggles, and you can see the different ways they deal with it. They’re not so annoyingly whiny/angsty that it seems unrealistic, unlike characters in other contemporary YA I’ve read. You get little glimpses of their lives through flashbacks and little stories, and it got me curious. I wanted to know more about them, and I wanted to know how it all tied up to Cassie’s disappearance and all the weird stuff happening.

The road trip itself was pretty much everything I wanted it to be. The agony of waiting for another text from Cassie, that fear that started off as a tiny sliver when they started out, but soon became more apparent the further they got from home. The full-blown fear when they discovered people were not what they seemed to be.

I read a lot of the book while I was on a 12-hour bus trip home, and the descriptions of the surroundings as they started getting darker and, well, a bit sinister, started sending shivers down my spine because I took a night trip and could easily imagine myself in Wylie’s shoes. (For some reason, I imagined myself getting stranded in the middle of nowhere alone and having to ask from help from strangers…. *shudders* Needless to say, I did not leave the bus except for a quick bathroom break at a stopover for fear I’d get left behind lol)

I think I’d have enjoyed this book more if the plot twist that explains everything didn’t…feel kinda out of place. I guess I was expecting something else altogether, so I wasn’t expecting the plot twist to be so….scientific-ish. That and the fact that the story started getting a bit draggy around the last 1/4 of the book (this irony) just didn’t sit well with me. I am so disappointed I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would. 😦

The book also ends in a horrible cliffhanger, which is probably understandable since this is part of a series, but I’m not sure if I’m going to read the next book. We’ll see. Haha.

Disclaimer: I won an Advanced Reader Copy through a book giveaway hosted by National Bookstore.

 

Advertisements

Smaller and Smaller Circles by F.H. Batacan

1431558Title: Smaller and Smaller Circles

Author: F.H. Batacan

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Suspense, Filipino Literature

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary:

Smaller and Smaller Circles is unique in the Philippine literary scene – a Pinoy detective novel, both fast-paced and intelligent, with a Jesuit priest who also happens to be a forensic anthropologist as the sleuth. When it won the Carlos Palanca Grand Prize for the English Novel in 1999, it proved that fiction can be both popular and literary.

F.H. Batacan has a degree in Broadcast Communication and a master’s degree in Art Studies, both from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. She has worked as a policy researcher, broadcast journalist, web designer, and musician, and is currently a journalist based in Singapore. She previously won a prize for her short story “Door 59” in the 1997 Palanca awards, and her work has appeared in local magazines, as well as in the online literary magazine Web del Sol.

Smaller and Smaller Circles is one of those rare one-of-a-kind books that you discover by some lucky stroke of fate and treasure for a lifetime.

(more…)

Dwellers by Eliza Victoria

DwellersTitle: Dwellers

Author: Eliza Victoria

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Filipino Literature

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

From Goodreads:

Rule No. 1: You don’t kill the body you inhabit.
Rule No. 2: You should never again mention your previous name.
Rule No. 3: You don’t ever talk about your previous life. Ever.

Two young men with the power to take over another body inhabit the bodies and lives of brothers Jonah and Louis. The takeover leads to a car crash, injuring Jonah’s legs and forcing them to stay in the brothers’ house for the time being.

The street is quiet. The neighbors aren’t nosy. Everything is okay.

They are safe, for now.

Until they find a dead body in the basement.

If anything, this book is a sign I definitely need to read more Filipino literature. In fact, it’s the reason why I’ve begun stalking NBS branches at every mall I get to visit. Which were several this month, because it’s the holiday season and I’ve had to run errands and hunt down exchange gifts. Lol.

I’m a horrible person but I’ve always thought of most contemporary Filipino books as subpar to their international counterparts. This is probably because I’ve been ignorant about the hidden gems I don’t really see in bookstores, because usually all I ever see displayed prominently are books about love, humor, love and humor combined…you get the idea. (Are Pinoys so obsessed/problematic about love that this is all that is ever written about? lol)

Dwellers was an eye-opener because it is NOT about love at all. It’s actually a thriller and it is all the right kinds of creepy and mysterious. I wanted to shout, “Where have books like these been hiding all my life??” I had no idea there was such a deliciously creepy tale hiding in the shelves of NBS all this time.

It hooks you right at the start, when you are introduced to two people who tell of switching bodies and a car accident and mention rules about inhabiting a body. What. And as the mystery unfolds, you find that you just can’t put the damn book down because you need to know what is happening. What are they doing. What is that damn body in the basement that was mentioned in the book’s summary doing there?

I was up the whole night reading this, fighting the urge to throw it away when things started to become scary. Because I’m a wimp like that. Haha. But it was such a fun and surprising read, and I’m really glad because I’ve now got a thirst to find more books by Filipino authors. Yay!

Dwellers is the reason for this:

pinoy tbr list

crappy picture is crappy but look at all those pinoy authors! \o/

My wallet is complaining but my inner bookworm is super duper happy! Here’s hoping I find more of the books on my pinoy-lit shelf. Hehe.