Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Review: Aurora Undefined by Kate Hinderer

Aurora Undefined by Kate Hinderer

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Fiction, Young Adult

My Review:
With the description of this book there is not much to go on, but I knew from the first page of this book that I would like it.  Aurora's main struggle on the eve of her senior year is being dumped of her best friend since freshman year Allie, for the popular crowd.  Both girls have yearned for the popular crowd (what girl doesn't in high school), but Allie was chosen and Aurora was sure Allie would bring her with her or at least change her mind and come back to being her best friend but that hasn't happened.  So now she's facing the first day of senior year without Allie.  However she does have her best friends Hudson and Julie who the reader can see trump Allie any day of the week.  But the reader can also understand where Allie is coming from.

Those first weeks are hard, but Aurora starts getting past it and moving on and having fun with Julie and Hudson again.  She's crushing on a popular basketball player but he seems to be dating Allie which hurts Aurora again, but she moves on.  I don't want to giveaway much more because everything else that happened was pretty much a surprise to me (except for the love story part - I saw that coming), but the rest should be a surprise when reading.

Let's just say this one will put you through the wringer.  It's strong, it's emotional.  I thought it was emotional enough with just the betrayal of a friend because I went through that one enough.  But there is so much more.  Ms. Hinderer layers this book beautifully and the characters of Aurora, Hudson and Julie really come to life right in front of your eyes.  They grow and change and become people you really want to know and if you are a teenager I imagine you would want to become.  So the characters are very well-done.

I found the story perfectly paced.  I connected to the story and I'm a good 20-years over the target demographic, so I see teenagers connecting even more.  The emotions rang true,  there is selfishness of teenagers (and all humans) but there is love and caring as well and there is growth.  The growth is what makes this novel really shine.

If you enjoy contemporary young adult with a love story and great high school dynamics then this is a book for you. Ms. Hinderer has concocted a perfect story that teaches a lesson yet reads like the best story you have read in awhile.  And yes I realize a good story and lesson-teaching don't have to be mutually-exclusive but I was a teenager once and I pretty much thought they were :)

On the parenting level:  The parents in this book are very involved in their children's lives, the kids have curfews, they talk with their parents about life, and love and other things.  The language is minimal and seems appropriate when used (I can think of only one or two examples of what I consider minor cuss words).  There is no sex, though there are some references to sex in the past, but nothing graphic, otherwise there is just some kissing.  This is a very clean and well-done book..

I just don't think I can say enough about this book - Aurora Undefined really spoke to me - it's one of those books I wish had been around 12 years ago to give me that boost when I needed it.  Good job Ms. Hinderer!

My Rating:  5.0/5.0

About the Book:
Aurora is entering her senior year and everything around her seems to be falling apart. Her best friend has joined the cool crowd and she struggles to grapple with the loss. But when tragedy strikes, Aurora realizes what loss is really all about and how moving on becomes a fight of the will, mind and heart.

About the Author: 
From Twitter:  Journalist. Blogger. And now writer of a young adult ebook, Aurora Undefined. Social Media enthusiast. Music lover. Marathon runner. Fashion fanatic.


FTC Information: I received through Teen Book Scene for an honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Author Interview: Marilena Mexi (Antara)

Today I welcome Marilena Mexi, the author and illustrator of Antara for an insightful author interview.

1.  Tell us about Antara.
Antara is an illustrated fantasy romance for young adults, and its target audience is mostly women/girls. Of course, it was illustrated by me. A couple of years ago, I've written a short story on a paper and then I started making illustrations based on this story. Afterwards, I decided to sit down and write it from scratch, creating a full novel, where the reader could also see the concept art of the story.

2.  What inspired you to write Antara?
I come from Greece and Greek mythology has inspired me, along with symphonic metal music. Also, my grandfather was a fisherman, and many times he's been telling me stories with mermaids when I was a child, and I adored them. So, my first story couldn't have been anything else.

3.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer/illustrator?
The best thing is that I feel I'm creating a new world. I like the fact that I give color and live to the story by myself; that makes me feel a complete artist. When I write something and then I illustrate it too, it excites me, because I can transfer my thoughts and imagination to the readers much better.

4.  What was the most time-consuming part of writing/illustrating Antara?
I finished the story in six months, but the illustration took me about two years, and it was undoubtedly the most difficult and time-consuming part. I gave everything I got to achieve the best possible result. I think that Antara couldn't have been magical and "different" without the illustrations.

5.  Do you have any other books in the works now?
I'm working on the second and last part of Antara. Many people ask me why it is not a trilogy. I understand that trilogies are common nowadays, but I don't feel that Antara should end in a third book. I'm going to publish that in a few months too, hopefully during the summer.

Thanks Marilena for joining us today - please make sure to check out her other book tour stops on the Teen Book Scene Tour.  Also check out my review I posted yesterday if you haven't yet.