Reviews & Ramblings

Review: Riverdale: Death of a Cheerleader by Micol Ostow

Published May, 2020 by Scholastic Australia.

Returning to Micol Ostow’s Riverdale is always a joy. Back to this messed up band of friends and their crazy little town.

Ostow perfectly captures the overall vibe of Riverdale and its characters. Giving readers an additional slice of the proverbial pie.

Death of a Cheerleader follows events of season 4 of the Netflix series. As always Ostow effortlessly joins her novels to the show, allowing for readers to go from tv to book with no hassle at all. The characters read and feel the same as those we love from the show.

I love seeing all of the characters interracting and having their own lives, but part of me is sad that the gang wasn’t together for this book. But I was happy to see Cheryl Blossom in full flight. She may be one of those characters who you can’t believe actually talks like that, but she is so strong and brave and believes in herself and her own worth, she is a fantastic character.

Death of a cheerleader takes us inside the minds of our beloved characters in a new way, things are changing so much for them, they are splitting up, starting new chapters and that change is scary. Ostow perfectly encapsulates that feeling of change and being overwhelmed.

I loved the inclusion of JB (Jelly Bean) in this book, it really showed the reader lore of what Jughead’s home life is like and how much he loves and values his little sister. Not to mention how smart and savvy JB is!

This was a great addition to the Riverdale franchise, fast paced, mysterious and in true Riverdale form, never a dull moment.

Thank you to the team at Scholastic Australia for sending me out a review copy. All thoughts are my own.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Published by Scholastic Australia

Wow. I had high expectations coming in to this book, and I wasn’t dissappointed. Collins writes so well that Panem feels like home. I never expected to feel something other than hatred for Snow, but here I am, feeling sad for him. For his life.

This book is a stark reminder of what a dystopian society looks like. Of what a world looks like when people aren’t united or working for a better world for the goodness of the people. Some of it is hard to read, the brutality and the deaths. But it is impactful and I think that is the point.

I enjoyed every page of this view into Panem in its early stages. Of seeing how The Hunger Games progressed into what we have come to see in Collins later books. How technology and ideas of teenagers made it what we know. That doesn’t make it any less horrific.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was a fantastic prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy. It gave the reader some background to the games, the how and why. It showed us that the villain at its epicenter used to be a sweet, kind boy with huge ambitions. It shows what happens when you are surrounded by people with dark motives and you must do what you can to survive.

As always, Collins writing is amazing. She has a way of drawing you in, transporting you to the districts or Capitol. Her writing flows across the page, keeping the pages turning easily. A great read.

Thank you to the team at Scholastic Australia for sending me out a review copy of this title.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Riverdale: The Maple Murders by Micol Ostow

Published by Scholastic Australia

And just like that, we are back in the world of Riverdale! This is the third book by Micol Ostow and the third original tale from the fictional town.

I feel as though the beginning of this book felt stuffier than usual. Jughead’s prologue felt harder to read and following that with a Cheryl chapter made it clunky. I’m not detered though. I love this town and its characters. I just feel it started slower than the previous books.

Going deeper into the book, I love the contrasting chapters from alternate points of view. Espcially the lightness that Kevin’s chapters bring to the overall feel of the book.

There is never a dull moment in Riverdale. Yes some of it is a little over the top and peppy. But it is enjoyable to be whisked away in a story that you don’t have to think deeply about. With characters and a town that you can see in your mind. Ostow has created stories belonging to the original world so well that they integrate perfectly. And it shows though the ease of reading and the way the characters voices feel the same.

For me, this book is the weakest of the three Riverdale books I have read. Yes, the characters are amazing and the different medias which their points of view are delivered are original and compelling. But the tale overall, was lacking. The plot didn’t really go anywhere and was full of Betty back tracking and pushing the plot based on her suspicions. It felt forced and more like a ghost story that just so happened to have characters we already know.

I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, I definitely did. Any time spent in Riverdale is time well spent. But it didn’t have the same feel as the previous titles and that let me down a little. I think it is to do with, we expect so much from Riverdale to be creepy and action packed, and The Maple Murders had more of a relaxed vibe with a slightly creepy tone. It wasn’t the usual feel, which threw me off. But it was also nice to see something slightly normal, if not doused in murders from the past, happen in the town.

As always Ostow has created a wonderful trip back to Riverdale. You don’t need to havewatched the show to enjoy these books, but there are some major show spoilers, so avoid if you do want to watch the show at some point. Ostow has a writing style that is modern and incredibly easy to read. I am looking forward to the next installment!

Thank you to Scholastic Australia for sending me a review copy of this title. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review Post: My Survival: A Girl on Schindler’s List by Rena Finder

One person with courage to stand up for the innocent can make a big difference.” P3

A Girl on Schindler’s List, is written plainly which not only makes it incredibly easy to read, but it makes it easy to understand the depth of what is happening. In some instances, it makes the horrors of what Rena suffered, so much clearer. But it also gives the reader time to process and to see what it was like for so many people.

The pacing is perfect, it doesn’t rush or lag. It allows the reader to proceed at their own pace, to lose themselves in Rena’s story. What really makes this memoir stand out, other than its amazing adaptation to a middle grade work. Is the way that Finder has explained what is happening, why it’s happening, what things are called and how politics plays a part in what happened. Even though we are reading a memoir, it reads as fiction, which makes it easy to read, but when Finder tells us something factual, the stark reminder that this is truth hits you like a tonn of bricks.

From the first page, the overall feel of this book is heavy and heart breaking. As we keep up with Rena and her horrors, she keeps us updated as to how old he is. To watch people you love, being taken away to be murdered is horrific, let alone when you are a thirteen year old child. The sadness that pours from these pages is unpalpable. This is such an honest and raw memoir.

My only gripe is that this book isn’t longer. I got swept up in Rena’s memoirs and before I knew it, the 111 page book was finished and I was wanting more. I understand why it is short and not highly detailed, but if Rena ever wanted to do a more in depth memoir, I would be lining up for a copy!

Fantastically well written, the simple language used makes it so easy to understand and process, and Rena is such an amazing woman who was one of the lucky few to make it onto Schindler’s List.
This is an amazing read, impactful, simplistic and powerful.

Thank you so much to the team at Scholastic Australia for providing me with a review copy of this title.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review: Riverdale: Get Out Of Town by Micol Ostow

Published 2019 by Scholastic Australia

Riverdale: Get Out Of Town, is quite a bit darker than the first book in this series. It is my belief that it is set after the events of season one of the Netflix series. And, to my knowledge, it flows quite freely, following the series end.

In this book, we have a lot more points of view, and although I enjoy this for the most part, I think there may be too many, it seems to make the book lag a little, compared to the first book. I do love how the book is delivered using different mediums, diary entries and text messages, give the tale a more authentic feel. Like it is a true tale about a group of friends.

Once again, Ostow has written a book that ties in with the Netflix series. It takes our favourite characters and shows a side story that lets us in, a little bit closer.
That being said, I feel like nothing really happened in this book, there was such a build up, just for nothing to happen in the end. All we learned is that Hiram Lodge’s rage knows no bounds. Which, really, isn’t all that surprising.

Even though not a great deal happened, it was still an enjoyable book. Perfect for fans of the show and a great way to wasye some time, solving mysteries with this crew of oddities. Riverdale: Get Out Of Town is well written, action packed and will keep your mind racing, trying to solve the many plot twists and deceptions we are given. The characters feel like the ones we know and love from the show and it is so easy to read.

Thank you so much to Camila and Scholastic for sending me out a review copy of this title. And for sending me the next one in the series. I can’t wait to read what happens next!