Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lots of Guilt (or, ARCs I'm Not Going to Read)

I know, I know, I'm a terrible person. I get free books in the mail - before they even come out in the store - and then I choose not to even read them? Even I am ashamed of myself. But sometimes you request a book because the teaser sounds amazing, only to find out once you crack it open that they're not nearly as good as you'd hoped. That's what happened with these two books: I got them both - one by request, the other unsolicited - and, before I started them, handed them over to my wonderful mother who sacrifices some of her valuable time to help me pare down my TBR list to the books I'll actually enjoy reading. Neither of these novels were so horrible she absolutely refused to let me read them (which she does do sometimes), but they were bad enough that she talked me out of wanting to. I'm putting the teasers and covers down below, though, so I can give at least some publicity to the books in return for the gorgeous ARCs that the publishers spent the time and money to send me. I'm also putting the reasons I'm not reading them, which you might find interesting. Just be warned, I haven't read the books myself - take all the negative things I write about them with a grain of salt!

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Noah is just trying to make it through seventh grade. The girls are confusing, the homework is boring, and even his friends are starting to bug him. Not to mention that his older sister, Emma, has been acting pretty strange, even though Noah thought she’d been doing better ever since the Thing They Don’t Talk About. The only place he really feels at peace is in art class, with a block of clay in his hands. As it becomes clear through Emma’s ever-stricter food rules and regulations that she’s not really doing better at all, the normal seventh-grade year Noah was hoping for begins to seem pretty unattainable. In an affecting and realistic novel with bright spots of humor, Jo Knowles captures the complexities of navigating middle school while feeling helpless in the face of a family crisis.
(Release Date August 2, 2016)

I feel terrible that I'm not even going to read this, after the folks over at Candlewick Press were awesome enough to send me an ARC when I asked them for one. I still think it looks really interesting - I haven't read many books about people with eating disorders, let alone about the siblings of people with them! - but my mother said that the book is split about halfway between focusing on Noah's sister's eating problems (which she said was really interesting to read about) and focusing on his school life (i.e. his girl-crazy best friends and unsupportive teachers, which she didn't like at all).

It sounds like my mom did really like the eating disorder storyline, but thought the book was ruined by the middle-school romance angle; if you're intrigued by the scenario and not turned off by middle-school romance, then you could still like Still a Work in Progress.

Disclaimer: ARC received from Candlewick Press
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Click to view
on Goodreads 
Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.
In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.
But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget
her.
(Release Date September 13)

I didn't actually request The Forgetting, it just showed up in a beautiful package from Scholastic one afternoon, so while I was thrilled (just look at that gorgeous cover, and read that amazing teaser!) I was also a little nervous from the teaser's mention of "Gray, the handsome glassblower" that the main characters would spend the whole time lusting after each other the way the characters did in Evangeline Denmark's Curio (my review), a book that I was originally so excited for that I reached out to the publisher for a review copy. This time I specifically asked my mom to skim through The Forgetting ahead of time and let me know whether it would be good, because I didn't really want to read another Curio. Unfortunately she told me that (and I quote) "the main characters spend the whole time panting after each other." Panting. Yeah, I wasn't exactly heartbroken when she said she didn't want me to read it. I am a little sad, though, that the author took such a fascinating plot and messed it up by adding romance. Why can't the main character ever just focus on saving the world with her best friend, instead of on saving the world while falling in love with her main ally?

Disclaimer: ARC received from Scholastic
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What do you think, am I right for passing these books by or just evil for wasting perfectly good ARCs? Let me know in the comments section below!

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