Waiting on Wednesday: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

The Raven KingPublisher: Scholastic Press

Author:  Maggie freaking Stiefvater

Release date: April 26, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Why I’m excited: As I was sitting down to do my WoW post this week, I checked to see if I’d done TRK yet and FREAKED when I hadn’t. How is that even possible? Maybe I just assumed everyone knew I was waiting on the edge of my seat for this one. Either way, I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR THE RAVEN KING YOU GUYS OMG. This book is going to end one of my absolute favorite series ever and SPOILER the lives of one of my favorite characters. It’s going to destroy me, but I cannot freaking wait. Honestly considering taking off work to read it.

Also, you guys, THIS. Because if it is what I think it is, ASDFJKL;ASGO9UW3TEOU DEAD BUT DEAD FOR GOOD REASONS. But hopefully not dead like Gansey’s going to be. *cries for days*

ARC Review: George by Alex Gino

George by Alex GinoAuthor:  Alex Gino

Genre: Middle Grade, contemporary, LGBTQIA

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: August 25, 2015

240 pages, hardcover (195 ARC)

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I read this entire thing in one day at work while attempting (not well) to hide my tears from all the emotions. This is SUCH AN IMPORTANT BOOK, you guys. George is a fourth-grader who has always identified more with the girls in the magazines she nicks than anyone else. All she wants to do is play Charlotte in the school’s production of Charlotte’s Web. As you can imagine, a lot of heartbreak, struggle, hope, tears, and more follow.

George’s story will have you rooting for her from page one. It’s hard not to love her and cheer her on as she finds her way to making her dream come true. Her story is genuine and honest and, while hard, joyful and beautiful. I love that this story is out there and I sincerely hope it finds its way into the hands of as many transgender youth (and youth, in general) as possible.

Gino’s writing is earnest and honest and undeniably easy to read. George is short but it packs an enormous amount of character into its 240 pages.

The bottom line: I am so happy that Scholastic is publishing George, and I really hope that it comes to be a resource for not only trans youth, but youth everywhere. You do not want to miss this one.

Rating: 9 – practically perfect

Book Review: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare was my second read of Bout of Books 12, and I quite enjoyed it.

The Iron TrialAuthor:  Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Genre: Middle grade/young adult, fantasy

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: September 9, 2014

299 pages, hardcover

Check out the synopsis on Goodreads.

Call’s father has always told him to stay away from magic, that magic is what killed his mother, and so unlike the other kids at the Iron Trial, he wants to fail. Unfortunately, one of the teachers at the Magisterium, Master Rufus, sees something in him, and suddenly Callum Hunt is somewhere he’s been warned will kill him.

If you want to see how I would describe The Iron Trial in pictures, check out my challenge post from Bout of Books.

I think my favorite part of this book was Call. He’s not your average protagonist. He’s kind of a jerk (seems like I like jerk main characters. Remember my review of Firecracker?). He’s abrasive, insubordinate, says the wrong things, and pushes people away when they try to befriend him. It takes a little while to understand him and why he does this, but once you do, you can’t help but care for him.

A lot of people have compared (or criticized) this book to Harry Potter – there’s a young boy who goes to magic school, befriends another boy and girl, and has to fight an evil wizard. Okay, yes, those are indeed very similar to HP, BUT The Iron Trial is also unique. The magic is probably the main way it’s different – mages use the elements to create and change and destroy. The focus is on nature and the elements, which is really cool. There are creatures called elementals who’ve been consumed by their element, and chaos-ridden animals and people who have a piece of the void inside them. I’m not going into the whole Clare debate blah blah blah. I liked the magic, characters, and ideas, and that’s what matters.

I felt that Call’s friends – Tamara and Aaron – as well as the other characters were well-developed and full. On the other hand, I think there were a few too many minor characters and I would constantly be confused which character was doing what.

One last thing: No one, and I mean NO ONE, will see that twist coming at the end. It was wholly unexpected, a crazy twist that was both awesome and strange. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book.

The bottom line: The Iron Trial is a fun, unique take on magic school and child wizards. I had a few issues (too many minor characters; middle that was a little drawn out), but I enjoyed it overall. I loved the main character and the world that Holly Black and Cassandra Clare have created.

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

Have you read The Iron Trial? What did you think?