Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review: Glimpse by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Genre: Supernatural | Teen Romance

Glimpse is an endearing novel about the blooming love between two teenagers who struggle with overcoming the shame of their parent's secret love affair, and coping with the emergence of Zellie's supernatural premonitions. When Zellie begins to have visions of death involving those around her, their new love is put to the ultimate test--she must choose between leaving Avery to protect him from a gruesome death, or remain with him and risk indirectly being the cause of his demise.

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the ultimate religious figure somehow having supernatural powers that are (seemingly) unrelated to God. The first novel does not explain the origins of this power, only that it is specific to women. Zellie eventually gets a mentor who trains her how to use her power to help save people. The plot was decent and interesting, despite the obnoxious teen vernacular, until the second half of the book. When Avery and Zellie discover that their parents had an affair that left Zellie's mother pregnant, they do not stop their relationship. Now, while I understand that they are not technically blood related, this come too close to incest for comfort. Combine this with the secret societies, poor references and language used in an attempt to appeal to a young teen audience, and the sudden appearance of the grandmother who faked her death and you have a good plot gone bad. The brief appearance of a boy who has the same power as Zellie (introduced about three pages after her grandmother says that only women have the power) gives me hope that Zellie will fall in love with him, ditch Avery, and get away from the incest.

Glimpse is an easy read and the plot is intriguing enough to appeal to an older audience, just expect a plethora of valley-girl sayings and character immaturity. It is a YA novel, after all. I'm considering reading the sequel, just to see the direction Benefiel takes.

Rating: 3 out of 5 owls

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Genre: Fantasy | Faeries


Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.
Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.
Laurel's life is the very definition of normal . . . until the morning when she wakes up to discover a flower blooming from her back. As it turns out, nothing in Laurel's life is what it seems. Now, with the help of an alluring faerie sentry who holds the key to her true past, Laurel must race to save her human family from the centuries-old faerie enemies who walk among them.


I believe my love for faeries began when I first watched Labyrinth, starring David Bowie. While I have always loved fairy tales (thanks Disney), I found the world of fae intriguing. I have read many books incorporating faeries, and I find Wings a refreshing twist on the typical faerie mythology. The female faeries actually have flower blossoms on their back in place of wings. Pike takes a scientific approach to the mythology while simultaneously building the romance that the teens are looking for.

However, despite this new take on an old myth, I found several things that annoyed me as an older reader. I have no sympathy for characters who are so beautiful that no one wants to be their friend. Except, they do have friends they are just too self-centered to acknowledge them. Laurel has this mentality and it is annoying. The first 30+ pages are focused on how Laurel has a difficult time fitting in not only because she was home schooled, but also because she is unnaturally beautiful. Yet, within those same pages she gets a new set of friends and a boyfriend. Yeah, some struggle. Furthermore, because she is so beautiful, Pike felt the need to insert a love triangle. I HATE love triangles. I understand that a key  component of adolescent literature  is a love triangle; however, I'm over it. When every YA novel has a love triangle the ingenuity and originality is gone. 

Despite these aspects that annoy me about the YA genre, once you get past the first  30-40  pages the story picks up and is very entertaining. It is easy to become attached to the characters, and the story has a steady pace. Check it out, it's worth the read.

Rating: 4 out of 5 owls

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