The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
It's a shame I couldn't post about this book right after finishing it, because my review would have been even more glowing. This is one of the best books I've ever read.
Usually I dislike first person books. I loved it in Knife.
Usually I HATE accents typed out. I loved it in Knife.
Usually I hate romance in YA books. I... well, didn't mind it at all in Knife. It was realistic and non-annoying. No sappy unbased-in-character-development stuff. The two characters were close, but I believed the relationship.
The problem with trying to describe this book is that every little detail is a spoiler. In fact, I'd encourage you to go to Amazon and buy it without reading the site's review or any customer reviews. Discovering everything about the book's world is magical, don't spoil yourself with anything. (You trust me enough to buy a book based on only that, right? :P )
I love Knife's world-building, characters, and that every single thing that happens in the plot is 100% believable. If you buy one book based on my posts, it should be this one.
Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman
(Book received for free for review from Random House.)
When I started Sky Jumpers, I was darned happy with it. It's set after World War 3, but it's actually not dark at all. (Yes, usually I love dark books best of all, but this was a refreshing and nice change.) "Green Bombs" were used in WW3 -- meant to kill people but be safe for the environment. Unfortunately they changed the environment in unexpected ways, like changing metals and making magnets no longer work. Only small groups of people were left, and they couldn't remake the old tech because of how the Green Bombs changed things. Such an interesting idea!
For the first half of the book, I was enjoying the heck out of it. The main plot kicked in about 60% into it, and that's where it lost me.
Unfortunately Sky Jumpers became one of those stories where all the kids outsmart all the adults with an unbelievable ease, where all the adults make stupid decisions, and where none of the action could be believed. This was the last scene I read before giving up on the book:
Bandits were raiding the town that the main character (a young girl) lives in. Most of the town's men were gone, the town had a grand total of two guns (every bandit was armed to the teeth). The bandits wanted medicine and they didn't seem to care who they hurt or kill (they shot the main character's father just to make that point). The kids escaped the building where all the town people were being held. They ran through the snow, avoiding bandit/guards by the skin of their teeth. (The author never addressed how their tracks in the snow weren't seen.) A bandit spotted the main character. She used a slingshot to shoot an apple at a horse, of course hit the horse, and the horse reared and threw the bandit off, then ran back towards the stable. (They were just barely on the outskirts of town)
If you were that bandit, would you:
A) Shoot the girl -- you know that if she escapes, she'll bring the town men back... the men with all the guns.
B) Shoot the horse.
The bandit shot at the horse.
Knife of Never Letting Go: A YA book that's as good for adults as it is for younger folks.
Sky Jumpers: A YA book that young people would probably enjoy, but adults might want to give a pass.
You can't blame a YA book for trying to target young readers, but I'll stick with the ones that adults can enjoy as well.