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Coming 2021…A Fresh Take

Hello friends!

Thanks to anyone who still follows this blog. I make a goal every year to be more consistent about posting, and I’m hoping 2021 will be the year I can actually stick to it.

I’ve decided that book review blogs are pretty common, and I had a thought of something that I’ve never seen before but that I’ve always wished was available.

Instead of book reviews, book summaries.

Have you ever read a book, and then a year later the sequel comes out, and you find yourself reading the first few pages not remembering anything that happened in the last book? Or even having to go back and re-read the first book so you can get everything possible from the second one?

As much as I love re-reading books, I only get to 50-55 books a year, and I don’t have time to re-read the first book to every sequel that comes out.

I’m going to be writing a short, one paragraph review of the book, then write a summary of the book as a whole, which will include important plot points and a character list, along with a brief review of how the books end. Then when it’s time for the sequel, all I’ve got to do to refresh my memory is read the summary. Then I’m all ready for the next adventure.

For standalone novels or final books in a series, I’ll likely just post a review that is mostly spoilers.

This is something that might not be of use or interest to anyone but me, but I’m going to try them out.

Look out for Sarah’s Summaries, starting January 2021.

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Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

elusion book

# of Pages: 378

Time it took me to read: 5 days

# of pages a day to finish in a week: 54 pgs

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Life should be great for Regan Welch. The product that is the life’s work of her father is about to hit the nationwide market. Elusion is an immersive virtual world that allows the user to Escape for up to an hour in a variety of different settings. You can be anything you want in Elusion, and the best part is, you can’t get hurt, and you can’t die. Regan’s very best friend, Patrick, is the programming genius behind much of the product, and his mother is the CEO of the company that manufactures it. Everything would be perfect, if her father were still around. Six months before the national release of Elusion, Regan’s father died in a freak accident, and now Patrick has risen to be the face of Elusion.

 

There are those out there who seek to stop Elusion from releasing around the country, and Regan will do whatever it takes to defend her father’s legacy. Until she meets Josh, an old friend of Patrick’s who has his own stakes in the fate of Elusion. Together they discover that Elusion might be dangerous. Very dangerous, and Regan must decide fast who she can trust to help her find the truth.

 

I’ve read a couple of books recently that made me wonder if I’m losing my touch. I’ve typically been pretty good about choosing books that I really like based on the blurb and the cover, but I read a lot of duds this summer. I sort of thought that Elusion was going to be another one of those duds, but I was pleasantly surprised.

 

This story takes place in a highly polluted, near future version of our world. Which is a pretty unique experience, I haven’t read a near-future dystopia in a long time, if really ever. All of the technology in this story is super advanced, but based in technology that readers can connect to from our modern day.

 

Regan starts out as a pretty naive, but loyal and likable character. As evidence begins to stack up against Elusion and it’s creators, Regan is slow to accept the fact that those she loves most might be at fault, but she has a strong moral compass that makes her determined to find the truth, no matter what.

 

This is something that I’ve been noticing more since I read The Black Witch, characters that start out specifically as products of their environment, but then grow out of it. I’m liking the idea more and more, because it seems realistic to me. Regan seems like a realistic character to me. No more “badass” than the average teenage girl. And while I do love reading books about powerful YA badasses, sometimes it’s nice to feel a strong relatability to a character.

 

The plot was pretty engaging, but I was never racing to get through it, which is what keeps the rating at a 4 rather than something higher. This is definitely the book that I’ve liked the most in the last month, so that’s something. I’m super in it for the sequel.

 

So, to recap: a lovely, three dimensional, relatable protagonist, a relatively engaging, but not totally off-the-charts plot, and a nice, near future dystopia world. All excellent qualities in YA.

 

The only downside isn’t really a downside, I guess. I just know that YA can be so much more than this, if you know what I mean. This book doesn’t transcend genres. Don’t get me wrong, I still firmly believe that all novels are written for everyone: there is no such thing as being too old for a genre, etc. But this book isn’t really anything more than what it claims to be: a book written for young adults to be enjoyed primarily by young adults. Like this isn’t a book that I’ll probably be recommending to any of my more discerning reader friends, because they aren’t into YA anymore because they’re “adult adults” rather than “young adults”. Books like Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On, and The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins, those are YA, sure, but those are books that can reach beyond readers ages 14 to 19. Elusion, while I liked it alot and would definitely recommend it to lovers of YA, and dystopia in particular, isn’t something I’d recommend to a general audience.

 

Sorry, the end of this review turned a bit ranty. To end this post, I’m going to try make a goal for myself to mix up my reading a little bit, because I think I’ve recently gotten a little stuck in the genre, and I’m going to try and read some things that are a little out of my comfort zone. You might not see it come up on this blog right away, but hopefully you’ll see some changes in the content of the reviews that I write…you know, eventually.

 

If you liked Elusion, try: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

  Matched by Ally Condie

  Wither by Lauren DeStefano

  Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder