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The Split: A Young Adult Book Review Podcast for Readers and Writers
44 minutes | Dec 21, 2015
Episode 60 - Vicious (by V.E. Schwab) and I'll Give You the Sun (by Jandy Nelson)
Two reviews for the price of one and a big announcement! Listen up! Vicious Victor and Eli were college best friends. “Were” being the operative word. What was the horrible supernatural discovery that got in the way of their friendship and turned them into lifelong deadly enemies? And why did they both have to die to discover it? Vicious tells the story of two once-inseparable friends who became sworn-to-the-death enemies, and the growth of the “EO” or ExtraOrdinary: humans with extra powers. I'll Give You the Sun Jude and Noah, 13 when the story begins, are twins, and like most twins, share a secret language and an-almost telepathic mutual understanding of their desires, frustrations and deepest fears. But it all goes horribly wrong when the totally cool Brian shows up, the twins’ mother is killed in a horrible car accident, and Noah and Jude are forced to confront the fact that not everything in their history is accurate; not everything that they both wish for will be possible in this new world, and that they have already begun to walk a dangerous path by lying to each other. If you can’t tell your best friend the truth, then how real will your life ever be? First love, confusion, desire, friendship and standing up for yourself are all mere bumps when it comes to the whirlwind that is about to hit Noah and Jude.
33 minutes | Dec 9, 2015
Episode 59 - Golden Son by Pierce Brown
Will Golden Son (by Pierce Brown) live up to its predecessor, our favorite book of 2015? Robert and Bryan may be a little SPLIT on that... In the Training Institute, Darrow vanquished his opponents using his street-smart tactics and by being the compassionate leader that no Gold would even dream of becoming ... but now, as the Golden Son, he is in the Academy, and this is no student battleground. It’s training for war. With the balance of power delicately held, and backstabbing among the ruling classes a daily occurrence, Darrow must also walk a thin line: between building his growing band of supporters; playing the Gold politics (of which he has zero experience), and never for one moment, giving away the fact that he is not – and has never been – a Gold. For underneath all the genetic surgery and bio-implants, unbeknownst to almost all, Darrow is the Gold’s most despised creature ... a Red. A Red hell-bent on vengeance.
28 minutes | Dec 2, 2015
Episode 58 - Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
Let's light a fire under Bryan and Robert's behinds as they talk about the sequel to Steelheart! Check out their thoughts on Brandon Sanderson's superhero sequel: Firefight. David Charleston returns in Firefight, this time as the point man in Prof’s top Reckoner team, along with a new mission: to stop Regalia recruiting more high epics and taking over the world ... at the expense of every human being. Although David has already avenged his father's death and dispatched Steelheart, it's left him with a dilemma. Is his job with the Reckoners over, or has it only just begun? But it seems he won't have to make that decision, as Prof has made it for him. Join the clan and head to Babylon Restored with the team to take down the high epic, Regalia, or clear out and don't bother the Reckoners again. David, of course, is not a quitter.
22 minutes | Nov 26, 2015
Episode 57 - Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Where did she go? Bryan and Robert have the answer with their review of Gayle Forman's sequel Where She Went. Bryan’s quick summary: Mia Hall only woke from a coma because Adam Wilde – her fast-becoming-rock-star-boyfriend – told her he’d do anything as long as she “stayed.” So Mia did what Adam asked, and used one of his offered options: Leave him. And go to Juillard. And break his heart. Following on from three years after If I Stay ended, Where She Went follows Adam’s descent into depression and drug-dependency, in parallel with the megasuccess of his band, Shooting Star and his relationship with one of Hollywood’s rising stars. He’s never been unhappier.
24 minutes | Nov 19, 2015
Episode 56 - Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Bryan is back and so is Celaena Sardothien! The first in our four sequel episodes, check out Sarah J. Maas' second book in the Throne of Glass series. Celaena is now the King’s Champion ... or in other words: his top assassin. Having been pulled from the salt mines and pitted against all the others in a cruel contest, when Celaena won, she knew she’d be required to do the King’s bidding. Which really means killing all his potential opponents. While the work is distasteful, Celaena carries it out with cold precision, raising the eyebrows of her two previous suitors, Chaol, the Captain of the Royal Guard, and Dorian, the King’s son. But unbeknown to anyone, Celaena is playing a deadly game. One that would be fatal for her if the King were to know. And now the King has given her a killing spree task that will prove to be her undoing unless she can stay one step ahead of the intense political posturing and the hidden power the King seems to command.
38 minutes | Nov 11, 2015
Episode 55 - An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Hayley Lawson is once again filling in for Bryan. Will this be the ember in the ashes of another fiery episode? You betcha! An Ember in the Ashes is by Sabaa Tahir. Laia, 17, discovers her brother, Darin is working for The Resistance, when a raid of Martials - the Scholar's enemy and oppressor - sees her grandmother and grandfather brutally slaughtered in front of her and her brother. Scared for her life, she runs at her brother's insistence, only to be caught by a dreaded Mask, one of Blackcliff's elite trained warriors. But the Mask lets her go, leaving his chilling words etched in her mind: "Run, little girl." With Darin her only family, Laia resolves to find him and free him. But how can she do that when everything and everyone is against her?
40 minutes | Nov 4, 2015
Episode 54 - The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
Fly into our latest review with The Angel Experiment by James Patterson. Featuring guest co-host Trudi Jaye! Max (full name: Maximum Ride) is 14 and can fly. Part of a secret group of six kids bred to be genetically altered, complete with avian DNA and big wings. Max is the oldest, and after their surrogate “dad,” Jeb, smuggled them out of the horrible cages they were forced to endure; taught them how to fight and look after themselves, then left them a couple of years ago (presumed dead), Max has had to look after the “Flock” as best as she could. But the “School” that created them wants them back, and keeps sending other genetic mutations (“Erasers”), horrible human kids who morph into wolves, to try to capture them. When Angel, the youngest of the Flock, is taken by Erasers, Max vows to find her and to finally find out the truth about why the School made them in the first place ... and discover the answer to everyone’s bringing questions: do they have real parents? If so, why did they give them up to the School?
31 minutes | Oct 28, 2015
Episode 53 - The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
With Bryan off on his walkabout, author Hayley Lawson visited the show today to chat with Robert about bloodsuckers! Check out their review of The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa! Robert's Quick Summary: Allison Sekemoto hates Vampires. Unfortunately, she lives in a post-apocalyptic world, where after a virus killed most of humanity, or turned them into “rabids” – a sort of vampire gone wrong – the vampires, or bloodsuckers as she calls them, have become the ruling class. To avoid becoming a source of food for the vampires who rule her city, New Covington, Allison chose not to be registered. Unfortunately for Allison, that means scavenging an existence with the other Unregistered in small gangs inhabiting the Fringe. Most of the time, hunger is the main driving force, and Allie has become quite the streetfighter. Until one day, her hunger, and the lack of food available at her usual scavenging haunts, drive her to explore outside the city. A trip regarded by many as foolish ... or fatal. For Allison, it IS fatal ... with one dire consequence. She is resurrected from the point of death by another vampire. And now she is one of them. A bloodsucker – but a bloodsucker who might just be able to save the world from a slow death by bloodsucking.
30 minutes | Oct 22, 2015
Episode 52 - Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Bryan took the week off, because he hates rainbows. In his stead, Trudi Jaye visited the show as a guest co-host with Robert! Check out their take on Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Park Sheridan is sitting on the school bus when he first meets Eleanor, the new girl. She's not just any old new sixteen-year-old though, Eleanor is .... quirky. Red haired, stockily-built ("fat" according to Eleanor), wearing eclectic men's clothing ... and very self-conscious ... Eleanor is a perfect target for all the school bullies, in fact maybe everyone in The Flats. Out of pity, Park - the nerdy Asian kid who no one touches - makes room for Eleanor to sit next to him, when everyone else on the bus makes it clear she's unwanted.Little does he realize how much that one action will change his life. Eleanor & Park is by Rainbow Rowell
50 minutes | Oct 14, 2015
Episode 51 - The Year in Review!
Bryan and Robert have been podcasting for nearly a year together! Time to recap what we've read and learned! So What Have We Learned In One Year Of Reviewing YA (Young Adult) Books? We'll lead with our top 3 books, then various thoughts and prompts (it's better if you watch or listen to the show below!): Bryan's top books and notes 1. Red Rising - Pierce Brown2. Steelhart - Brandon Sanderson3. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver Books we can learn a lot from: 1. Shatter Me- We need a protagonist with consistency, redeeming traits, and some like ability2. The Prince- A story needs a purpose, it can't just skirt around the edges of another tale, there needs to be a conflict and there needs to be something new readers can sink their teeth into3. Never Let Me Go- Bring readers closer, don't push them away. Pace for young readers. Give your main character something to do that doesn't require a romantic entanglement or another relationship. What's their deal? Top 3 things a YA book needs 1. Mystery2. Compelling, snarky main character3. Transport to another place(Bonus - Training montage scenes) Robert's top books and notes 1. Red Rising – Pierce Brown2. The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater3. All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven(and all recommended by listeners – you rock!) Runner ups: 13 Reasons Why; TFIOS; Beautiful Creatures; Poison Princess, Grasshopper Jungle; Legend; Anna Dressed in Blood; Steelheart; Blood Red Road; Before I Fall; Ready Player One Worst books? (Not necessarily the bottom 3) • The Prince – Kiera Cass• The Selection – Kiera Cass• Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi or Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro What makes a great premise for a YA book? Eg Coming of age (The Testing, I am Number Four, The Paper Magician, Paper Towns); Dystopia (Divergent, The Maze Runner, Cinder, Delirium , Legend, Blood Red Road, The Knife of Never Letting Go); Apocalypse (Monument 14, Poison Princess, Angelfall, Meta, Mockinjay, The 5th Wave); Personal and intense relationships (TFIOS, Paper Towns, All The Bright Places, Before I Fall, Delirium, 13 Reasons Why, The Scorpio Races); Illness, desperation & depression (TFIOS, All The Bright Places, Before I Fall, If I Stay, 13 Reasons Why) Unusual settings (Grasshopper Jungle, Red Rising, Ready Player One, The Night Circus, Steelheart); Superpowers (Steelheart, Meta, I am Number Four, Shatter Me); Magical powers (The Paper Magician, City of Bones, Beautiful Creatures, Poison Princess, Daughter of Smoke and Bone); Fighting prowess (Graceling, Throne of Glass, Divergent, Phoenix Island, Red Rising); Arena battles (gladiator-style): Hunger Games obviously led the way, Red Rising, An Ember in the Ashes, The Testing; Smart/clever protagonists (The Screaming Staircase, Heist Society, Red Rising Grasshopper Jungle, Anna Dressed in Blood, Artemis Fowl); Sci-Fi (Molly Fyde, Red Rising, Matched, The Knife of Never Letting Go); Plots and twists; suspense and mystery eg The Paper Magician, Red Rising (the best intrigue!); Great characters. Puck and Sean. Darrow and Mustang. Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. David (Steelheart). Saba. Conflict – do the characters have things “too easy,” or does almost every plan go wrong (David in Steelheart, the inner selfish conflict of Austin in Grasshopper Jungle, the relationship conflict of Evie and Jack in Poison Princess, the war conflict in Red Rising); Dialog – misdirection, snarkiness factor, realism of teen world-view; Setting eg Red Rising, The Scorpio Races, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Night Circus; Writing style – pace, detail, dialog, ability to transport to “another place” perhaps “where I fit in better”? POV and tenses. Alternating POVs eg All The Bright Places. Single POV eg The Knife of Never Letting Go. First person present tense, 3rd person past ... YA “suitability” eg language (if Harry Potter used the F-bomb), age (if Harry Potter first book had been a 19-yr old), sexual content (if Harry Potter had sexual relations in the last two books), gore and violence (okay, Harry Potter did this!). Something slightly forbidden or normally out of reach? The “Theme” – the underdog rises; the plain girl goes to the palace; the rebel spy; the oppression by elite society (Red Queen, An Ember in the Ashes, Hunger Games, Divergent); Having to “choose” (Red Rising, Mockinjay, The Selection, If I Stay, All The Bright Places); Genre eg Fantasy, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, School, Superpower, Dystopian Government; Bonus Review: Counting By 7s Robert’s quick summary: (From Amazon) Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now. Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.Counting By 7s is by Holly Goldberg Sloan So what did we think? (From a reader’s perspective) 1. (Robert) Beautifully written and heartwarming story – if you liked Rain Reign, you’d like this for sure. Willow’s obsession with numbers (especially “7”s of course!) and her precision zooming in on the things about our fellow human beings no one else really likes to do – make great reading. 2. (Robert) She is a great narrator: Goldberg Sloan endows Willow with a detached, completely logical view of the world – but in all of its detailed pieces. She is well-informed and doesn’t make mistakes. You like Willow right from the get go! 3. (Robert) Then there is an inciting incident (no spoiler – it’s in the book description), both her parents are killed in a tragic road accident, and Willow must find her way in a new life that makes sense to her, but confuses the adults around her – especially Dell, her school counsellor, who has a lovely redemption arc. What did we think from a writer’s perspective? 1. (Robert) ALL the side characters are brilliant, as is the mish-mash of cultures (the lazy counsellor, the Vietnamese family). 2. (Robert) Some of the dialog interchanges, underlined by Willow’s thought processes are hilarious. What could be a tragic and sad story is uplifting and spiritual because of her (sometimes unwitting) influence on all those around her, and her unerring logic. 3. (Robert) The separate POV (of Willow, Dell, Mai) are very different, which is always tough to achieve, and especially Willow HAS to be different, of course. Robert and Robert’s Famous Takeaways: 1. It’s a short read (like Rain Reign), but there’s a LOT to learn about sparse writing techniques and the interplay between characters. 2. This is a relationship and family dynamics story – no grand dystopian worlds, no post-apocalypse, no angsty-teen bad-boy romance. Just pure story about a young girl making her way in a world that wasn’t built for her. 3. Adult readers would appreciate the book, and the underlying elements of what it means to be human that arise from Willow’s ability to pull those around her into her life and unknowingly healing them. Beautiful. Prompt of the Week: Your protagonist suddenly finds herself alone in a strange world, and must befriend the most unlikely companions if she is to survive. What qualities does she unknowingly possess that others are attracted to? How does she stop those who would profit from her abilities from taking advantage of her? Write your response to the prompt or the show in the comments! Click here to check out Counting By 7s on Amazon Listen to the podcast: Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-fntGGu9II
27 minutes | Oct 7, 2015
Episode 50 - The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Will Bryan and Robert see red? Probably, since today's book is The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard! Mare Barrow is about to go off to war. That's what happens to all Reds when they turn 18, sent off to the front lines by the Silvers, the oppressive and powerful leaders of the realm. When a chance encounter with a strange man leads her to a servant position in the Royal Palace, her conscription and her ability to see her family have been taken off the table. During a showcase of Silver abilities, Mare is inadvertently tossed into the arena and onto the deadly electrified shield. It should've killed her. Instead, it revealed that she's a Silver's worst nightmare. A Red with incredible abilities.
26 minutes | Sep 30, 2015
Episode 49 - Phoenix Island by John Dixon
Can Bryan and Robert rise like a Phoenix after reading the book Phoenix Island by John Dixon? Only listening to this episode will give you the answer! At 16, Carl Freeman is already a state and national boxing champion. But his penchant for stepping in and punching out anyone victimizing or bullying anyone else has got him into big trouble, over and over. So much so that Carl has had to move around the country, as institution after institution can't handle his fits of rage against the underdog anymore, as well as the trail of bloodied noses and broken jaws. But Carl is doing his best to live up to his deceased father's expectations of doing good. Badly wounded in a domestic violence investigation, his father retired from the police force a broken man, his mind destroyed from his injuries. At a very early age, Carl was left to defend his traumatized father from neighborhood taunts ... until a judge suggested he join a boxing club, and he met his mentor. Then Carl's father passed away, and his mother committed suicide. Now ... with no place left willing to take him, one judge sends Carl to Phoenix Island, to be held captive until he reforms and he is eighteen. Or face life in prison. Carl accepts his fate ... but has no idea of the hell he is about to face.
32 minutes | Sep 23, 2015
Episode 48 - Blood Red Road by Moira Young
On the road again with Bryan and Robert as they review... Blood Red Road by Moira Young! Saba and Lugh are twins, but they couldn't be more different. In the parched dry lands left after The Wreckers ruined it, the two eighteen year-olds scavenge for scarce food, eking out an existence to support Pa and their nine year-old sister, Emmi. Pa ain't been too good since Ma died, starin at the skies and muttering about everythin all bein in the stars an all. Unlike her slightly older brother (always first, then me behind), Saba is prickly and morose, often mean to Emmi. She dotes on Lugh though, and relies on his instinct and kindness to keep them all sane. Until the Tonton arrive and kidnap Lugh, proclaiming him to be "the one, born at midsummer." Pa is killed in the kidnapping, and Saba is beside herself, angry and grieving all at once, and she resolves to pursue their attackers and free Lugh. First she must ditch Emmi, who would only be a hindrance, and make her way across the dangerous Sandsea. Emmi, of course, has other ideas ... and so begins a pacey, twisting, dark tale of revenge.
28 minutes | Sep 16, 2015
Episode 47 - Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Will Brandon Sanderson "steel" a great review from Bryan and Robert? Yes, yes he will. Check out B&R's review of Steelheart today! The Epics changed humanity for good. Imbued with incredible powers, they stole, and killed, and they conquered. David Charleston was there the day Steelheart took over. He was the only survivor in an attack that left his father dead. He was also the only one who saw the supposedly immortal epic bleed. When David hunts down the Reckoners, a shadowy group of humans bent on leveling the playing field, he'll find that the true heroes don't come from the sky.
23 minutes | Sep 9, 2015
Episode 46 - The Here And Now by Ann Brashares
Will Bryan and Robert agree to disagree on The Here and Now by Ann Brashares? Only time will tell. Prenna James is a time traveler. Her, her family, and others from her time live on the outskirts of the present day after escaping from a future where a mosquito-borne illness has taken the form of a plague. Prenna and the others follow strict rules to never interfere with history, never reveal their origin, and to never, ever be intimate with the time natives. When Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves, all rules go out the window, and a race to stop a catastrophe is thrown into action.
22 minutes | Sep 2, 2015
Episode 45 - Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Do Bryan and Robert have secret powers hidden beneath their mild-mannered podcast veneer? Maybe. But you can count on a legitimately split review from them this week on the book Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Alina Starkov is an orphan, a soldier, and a second-class mapmaker. The best thing in her life seems to be her best friend and secret crush Mal, but even he seems to be looking for bigger and better things. When Alina learns she possesses a great power that could reunite the once-great nation of Ravka, she's whisked away from Mal to train as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the captivating Darkling. Nothing is what it seems, and as the kingdom counts on her to destroy the Shadow Fold, a darkness swarming with monsters who feast on human flesh, she'll learn to tame her power or doom the kingdom in the process.
30 minutes | Aug 26, 2015
Episode 44 - The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Just a boy and his girl... and his horse?! Read Robert and Bryan's take on Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races. Sean Kendrick is the returning champion of the Scorpio Races, an annual competition in which riders try to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Not all of them make it through alive. When Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to enter, joins the race to keep her family intact, both Sean and Puck could never be prepared for what happens next. One race will decide their fate or kill them in the process.
28 minutes | Aug 19, 2015
Episode 43 - Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Finally, the behavior of cats has been explained! Check out Robert and Bryan's take on Kendare Blake's chilling and entertaining Anna Dressed in Blood. Ghost killer Cas Lowood travels the country keeping the murderous dead at bay. When he arrives in a new town with his kitchen-witch mother and spirit-sniffing cat in tow, he expects nothing more than to track, hunt, and kill. When he tracks down a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, however, he finds a girl trapped in a curse and filled with rage. Anna has killed every person who dared step into her deserted house since the day of her violent murder in 1958. Except for Cas. The ghost hunter doesn't understand why he's been spared, but with the help of some new friends, he'll find a mystery unlike anything he's faced before. If only he can survive the business that killed his father any many before him.
27 minutes | Aug 12, 2015
Episode 42 - Angelfall by Susan Ee
Who will survive in this battle of good vs. eevil?! Check out Bryan and Robert's thoughts on Angelfall by Susan Ee. Penryn has always taken care of her young, disabled sister, even before the angels of the apocalypse descended upon the earth. When Penryn and her family make a run for it, warrior angels snatch her little sister, setting the teenager on a dangerous quest. She'll make a deal with a handsome and powerful angel named Raffe to travel toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco. If all goes well, she'll get her sister back, and he'll get the chance to be whole again. The apocalypse may have other plans for them both ...
24 minutes | Aug 5, 2015
Episode 41 - Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
If you love horny, hungry grasshoppers, then you'll love Bryan and Robert's review of Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle! Ealing, Iowa doesn't have much, but it does have a phosphorescent mold that could cause the apocalypse real quick. Austin and his best friend Robby do everything together, so it's no surprise that they'd accidentally unleash an unstoppable army during a late night break-in. As the horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises ravage their small town, Austin and Robby may be the only ones who hold the key to Earth's salvation. As long as a confusing love triangle and Austin's hornyness don't get in the way.
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