May 14, 2018

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #8 Neal Shusterman, Karen Healey, Nova Ren Suma


Hello beauties!

Welcome again to my own brand of mini reviews! I never thought I'd do minis, until I recapped a few of my long reviews in some digest post in 2014, and then guest-posted some shorties for a blogging event in 2015. And Karen from For What It's Worth started praising my short recs/recaps 😊. Just to be clear,  I'm NOT taking a break from writing long reviews - no such luck LOL. But while I'm making up my mind about a new book I've read, I might as well give you the short version 😉. Just be warned - this feature will be VERY random! So, here goes...

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman


A raw and yet poetical (though not romanticised) look at a young boy's descent into the pits of mental illness, with a strong (though not sugarcoated) message of hope. The two different narratives come together beautifully - and smartly - without sounding forced, and paint a vivid, harsh but sympathetic image of Caden you won't be able to shake your mind free of. Of course, this is an author's version of his son's plights - creating order (sort of) out of chaos. But even then, that chaos looks you in the eye, and you stare back at it, and if for a moment, you understand what it's like.

More coherent review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

While We Run by Karen Healey
(When We Wake #1)


Rated 4.5 really.

I've struggled with the rating for this one, because on the whole, it was a step ahead of When We Wake - then I decided on 4 stars again because I lacked a strong connection with the main lead (Edit, June 2019: I finally decided to rate both books 4.5 stars). But this is something we rarely see in dystopian YA - a book about mistakes, responsibilities, strategies, having to choose the lesser of two evils, and living with your conscience in the aftermath. Also, though it's ultimately up to teens to save the day, adults are around and integral to the story. The pace is as tight as it needs to be, the characters are diverse and rounded-out, the conflicts feel real (though I could have done without the almost-love-triangle), and the story even deals with consent and rape (off-screen) in a totally different light than you've ever seen it. Recommended for jaded dystopian readers who also long for a different scenery than your usual US.

Full review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma


Suma's books are deceptively soft, until you find out they drilled a hole in your guts - and this one is not different. Part of it is due to her atmospheric writing, part to her walking a fine line between the supernatural and the mundane - only it's not really mundane when girls hurt, or when they hurt themselves, or when they hurt someone else. This book is a love letter to all the forgotten girls out there - the ones society puts a label on and conveniently forgets; the ones their own families give up on. Some are good and some are bad and some are a bit of both, but they all matter. Also, this book is a love letter to all the troubled girls who never physically leave, but get stranded in different, even scarier ways. In either cases, it takes much love to save them eventually - or at least, to try.

Full and less vague (though hopefully non-spoilery) review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

So, have you read/are you planning to read any of the above? And if you have, what do you think of them? Do you post mini reviews? Do you like to read them?


  1. *FLAILS* We loved the same book!!!!!!!

    I loved Challenger Deep and the other two sound amazing too.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    1. Hehe, that's rare, isn't it? Then again, CD is a rare book.

  2. I really want to read Challenger Deep. I am a fan of good mental health books, and my daughter raves about Shusterman.

    1. This was my first book by him, but I know he has a few successful series out, which now I'm curious about. Then again, CD is one of a kind. It's not only a GOOD mental health book - it's poetic and hard at the same time, and all-round wonderfully executed.

  3. That's a lovely description of Challenger Deep! I'm looking forward to that.

    "Suma's books are deceptively soft, until you find out they drilled a hole in your guts..." Ha! Yes! I love this. I already added all of Suma's books to my TBR after Imaginary Girls, but this sounds like more of things I love about her writing. Atmospheric, mostly about girls, marginal populations. I'm glad you enjoyed it! :]]

    1. Thanks hon!

      Suma has become an auto-buy author for me. A different voice in YA lit, and I'm looking forward to reading an adult book by her one day!

  4. I've been meaning to read something by Neal Shusterman for the looongest time, and this might be where I get started. Added it to my TBR. I can't wait for your full review!
    I think I'll wait until your review to decide if I want to read 17 & Gone. It sounds good, but I'm still unsure. (On a side note, I'm incredibly excited for the author's yet unreleased book, A Room Away from the Wolves!!)

    1. Shusterman has another book coming that I mean to read: it's called Dry. Totally different from this one though. Challenger Deep is one of a kind, even compared to the other books about mental health.

      ARAFTW is on my TBR list as well...of course! Yay, we're going to read the same book again LOL.

    2. Added Dry to my TBR, it sounds fantastic! I'm also really interested in Scythe and heard great things about it and its sequel.

    3. Not sure if Scythe is the book (series) for me, but judging from CD, the man can write 🙂.


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