Tag Archives: ya fiction

Sacred by Elana K. Arnold


I have often been accused of having an eating disorder. At 5’9” 115lbs, I guess it comes with the territory. In Sacred by  Elana K. Arnold, Scarlett suffers a tremendous loss after her brother dies. With his death, not only does she lose her brother, but now her mother disappears into her bedroom for days at a time, and her jock boyfriend and clique don’t know how to treat her anymore. She is sad, abandoned, and extremely tired. When her brother died, so did her appetite. She begins the slow tailspin into anorexia until a mysterious new guy, Will, enters the picture. He seems to have a sixth sense for when disaster is about to strike.

So why does he keep showing up around Scarlett?

I could really relate to Scarlett in that, faced with a hard situation, her desire for food completely vanished. I have the unfortunate affliction that, when faced with a heartbreak or a hard time, I turn away from food. It’s not because of a desire to lose weight, but more of a lack of care about myself during that moment. I turn away from sustenance because it seems like small bananas compared to what’s really bothering me. *shrugs* I know. 

Arnold really did a great job with the prose and the flow of this book, and I like the way that Scarlett and Will’s relationship developed. Everything wasn’t “love at first sight-Prince Charming” perfect. I like realism interjected in my love stories. (Does that make me cynical?) It was also nice to learn more about Jewish culture/mythology, which is rarely mentioned in YA Fiction. This book definitely kept me interested, but it wasn’t a thriller or a page turner.

In a country filled with obesity, it was nice to hear about the other side of the story. Some people starve during times of distress–I know the idea of “comfort food” is completely foreign to me. It’s not always linked to vanity, sometimes when the heart shrivels up, the stomach follows suit. We all have different ways of dealing with things, I suppose. And we also have different ways of triumphing over obstacles.

4 yellow notebook pages of 5

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Forget everything you know about the traditional Cinderella story. 11235712

There are no glass slippers and fairy godmothers to be found here. Here, mechanical limbs and elbow grease abounds.

Cinder is not some weepy damsel-in-distress crying in the ashes. She’s a cyborg. And not just any cyborg, she’s the best dang mechanic in the New Bejing. Too bad her lazy stepmother and selfish stepsister Pearl hate her guts and the youngest sister Peony is hardly ever allowed to hang out with her. After her adopted father died, she just became another burden for Adri. Even though her income supports the whole family, Cinder is not considered a member. Or even human.

Yet when the handsome crown prince comes to Cinder’s stall for help with his android, he doesn’t see her mechanical limbs–they’re hidden by her long sleeves. Instead, he sees a girl with a funny personality who doesn’t kowtow to him like everyone else. But before she can see where this romantic intrigue will go, a nearby vender is struck with the plague that is blighting the city and chaos ensues.

Should she tell the prince she isn’t what she appears to be?

On top of that, Cinder’s life is shattered when Peony is diagnosed with the plague and her stepmother “volunteers” her for the cyborg medical experimentation draft that none have returned from. How will she get out alive?

And did you think the plague was all? Oh no, a new alliance with the evil Lunar queen must be forged–and the prince’s hand in marriage is on the table. Imminent war and mass death is in the cards if they don’t figure out how to placate Queen Levana. It’s up to Cinder to help save the kingdom when the medical researchers realize that there is something special about her… All she can do is hope the queen doesn’t catch wind of her gift.

This book was very cute. Cinder had a good rough and tumble nature that set her apart, and her little android Iko’s spunky personality was adorable. I liked the combination of teenage girl and machine, and the way she used her mechanical parts to her advantage. Wouldn’t we all like to know when someone was lying? And it would be really handy to have a storage compartment hidden in your calf!

I WISH I had the evil queen’s powers, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of what the crazy Lunars have to offer. I liked that this story was geared (no pun intended) towards young girls, but the underlying message is that what you see on the outside isn’t what matters. You can have a beautiful face but an ugly heart. Sometimes it’s better to have skills than to just be another snooty girl unwilling to get her hands dirty.

It’s your personality chip that counts. ;P

4 bolts and cogs of 5