Reviews: 500 Words or Less + Strange Grace

pub 9/25/18 by Simon Pulse
Young Adult - Contemporary (Verse)
Received from pub via Netgalley
I went into 500 Words or Less not knowing it was written in verse. It’s not a style I gravitate towards (despite my love of poetry) but I wanted to give it a shot because I like the premise of her story. It’s about Nic Chen, who is dealing with the aftermath of cheating on her boyfriend, a very popular and beloved guy at her school. To distract people from her new and very much unwanted reputation, she uses her excellent writing skills to write her classmates’ college essays. I actually really enjoyed the essays and while they’re about her classmates, if you read between the lines they say a lot about her too. But I still never felt as if I truly got to know Nic or feel invested in her circumstances. That said, I wanted to. I wanted to know more about her, this “perfect” ex-boyfriend and the guy she cheated on. And while we do eventually learn about what happened and who was involved, there was still a huge disconnect for me. I think that might’ve been attributed to the verse format, which didn’t seem necessary or conducive to telling this particular story.

Do I recommend? If you enjoy verse, I think it’s worth giving a shot but if you’re on the fence like I am, I might pass on this one.

pub 9/18/18 by
Margaret McElderry Books
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received from pub via Netgalley
In the village of Three Graces, everyone is prosperous and healthy but in order to ensure their good fortune, they must sacrifice a young man to the Devil's Forest when the Slaughter Moon rises. The man to be sacrificed is seen as good and pure by the people – practically a saint. So when the Slaughter Moon rises early, three friends are thrown into turmoil and each chapter switches between each of them as they deal with that this means. There's Mairwen, a young witch tied to Three Graces and its rituals but finds herself longing for the forest she's not meant to enter. Then there's Rhun, expected saint, who truly is a good person and probably my favorite character in the book. And lastly, there's Arthur, an outcast with a complicated history with the village and who struggles to define who he is. In terms of world-building and the story itself, I found it to be just okay? It's dark and mysterious but lacked clarity. It was hard to picture what was being described and truly immerse myself in it. Instead what I found the most interesting was the dynamic between Mairwen, Rhun and Arthur. Aside from their collective friendship, the relationships between Mairwen/Rhun, Mairwen/Arthur or Rhun/Arthur were equally complex and I wish more time had been spent on that.

Do I recommend? It wasn't for me so I can't personally recommend but as always, if you're interested you should check it out.

1 comment

  1. I really like the cover for 500 Words or Less, though I do think I would feel similarly about the format used to tell this particular story.


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