Thursday, April 13, 2017

Blog Tour: The Castaways by Jessika Fleck...Review & Giveaway!

Today's my stop on The Castaways Blog Tour!
You can check out my review below and make sure you enter the giveaway!

Book Title:  The Castaways
Author: Jessika Fleck
Release Date: April 3, 2017
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy

The Castaway Carnival: fun, mysterious, dangerous. Renowned for its infamous corn maze…and the kids who go missing in it.

When Olive runs into the maze, she wakes up on an isolated and undetectable island where a decades-long war between two factions of rival teens is in full swing. Trapped, Olive must slowly attempt to win each of her new comrades’ hearts as Will—their mysterious, stoically quiet, and handsome leader—steals hers.

Olive is only sure about one thing: her troop consists of the good guys, and she’ll do whatever it takes to help them win the war and get back home. But victory may require more betrayal, sacrifice, and heartbreak than she’s ready for.

Jessika Fleck is an author, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her work verges on fantastical and dark with a touch of realism. She is a regular contributor to the fantastic kidlit blog, Kidliterati, and is represented by Victoria Marini of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Author Website:
Author Twitter: @jessikafleck
Title: The Castaways
Author: Jessika Fleck
Format: Digital ARC
Source: Blog Tour/Publisher

First, let's all take a moment to appreciate the gorgeousness that is the cover for this book! Hats off to whoever designed it!  I'd frame it if I could.

Now, let's talk about what's behind that cover...

I'm going to try my best not to spoil things or get too lengthy in my review, but there is a lot packed into this fast-paced book.  At first it seems like it might just be a story with a bullied teen girl trying to deal with life and overcome her fear, and yes there are some predictable moments, but the author manages to take a few turns and add a few interesting characters that I wasn't expecting.

When it begins, The Castaways introduces us to Olive, a high school student who is being bullied by a trio of fellow students.  And let me tell you, these three make the characters in Mean Girls look like the Teletubbies with their heinous acts of bullying.  It's actually a little hard to read and stomach the stuff they do.

Anyway, a pirate-themed carnival comes to town and Olive, our main character and favorite target of the bullies, reluctantly agrees to take her little brother despite the rumors about kids disappearing from it in years past after entering the corn maze.  All goes well until Olive returns later on her own and finds herself surrounded by the vicious trio of mean girls. She attempts to flee by entering the corn maze and after a few twists and turns among the corn stalks, she finds herself...well, not in the corn maze. With no idea how it happened, she has somehow been transported to an island where two rival groups of kids with similar stories to hers are battling each other.

Soon she is right in the thick of things as the kids battle it out and try to figure out how and why they got to wherever they are and how to get home.  And I don't want to give too much away, but yes, there is a dreamy boy with an intriguing past involved that our heroine falls for, of course.

Think Mean Girls meets the Lost Boys of Neverland meets Lord of the Flies meets The Twilight Zone.  I know, right? Such an interesting concept and mix.

And with this fascinating concept, the story definitely had the potential to be a favorite for me as I love all of those things, but for some reason I just wasn't as "wowed" as I had hoped.  Don't get me wrong, I really liked this book!  The writing was good, the plot was fun and different, all of the characters were vibrant and interesting, and I never really lost interest in what I was reading. But even though I was entertained and really enjoyed the book, I just felt like it was missing something and I am not entirely sure what.

But as I said, even though the book might not have been what I anticipated, I still enjoyed reading about Olive, her adventures, and her fellow castaways.  I definitely sympathized with her throughout the story, especially at the beginning, and my heart broke for her at times. It is great to watch her grow stronger and change as the story progresses, just as you would hope and expect. I loved the characters and world the author created so I would not mind reading more from this author or even more books set in this world.

I would recommend this one for fans of YA Fantasy and/or YA Romances as it is an interesting blend of the two.

*I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Prize Pack with The Castaways + swag. An Amazon gift card in the case of an international winner.

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