Customer Reviews: Gift
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on March 27, 2012
This story is mainly about a girl named Daisy who has an extraordinary power, she is electric. She can mess with any electrical device; and has to practice yoga and meditation in order to be able to control her ability.

This story has 4 main characters, 3 girls and a boy, Daisy, Danielle, Vivi, and Kevin. Each of the characters has an important role to play. Daisy is electric, Vivi can talk to a ghost, Kevin is Daisy's Boyfriend, he is good at research, and has a form of epilepsy that plays into the story, and Danielle is Daisy's best friend, who feels a bit left out of the group, though she does have the same dreams as Daisy.

Well I don't want to give the story away, but it was quite good. It started out really slow, and I kept thinking, how is this all going to work together. There is the new kid, Kevin, who has a history of being in a metal institute. Danielle and Daisy who believe they are reincarnated and are both having the same dreams from another life. And Vivi, who communicates with a ghost, but she can communicate with him better if Daisy is around, since Daisy's electricity helps him to channel.

The story picks up about 1/3 of the way in and the pieces start to come together, but the ending is a twist, one I never saw coming.

I would recommend this book for 6th grade- adult. The characters are in high school, but the reading level is not super difficult. This book would be enjoyable for both a girl and a boy since there is both a lot of action and mystery, but also a bit of romance for the girls.

This book has no swearing, sex, or compromising circumstances. As a teacher of parent, there should not be a problem recommending this book for your kids to read.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books, I do so in order to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books to your kids.

Please read more of my reviews on my blog: sarahereads(dot)wordpress(dot)com
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on March 28, 2012
It was good story with some twists to it. I kept waiting for a while wondering what her power was and where did she get it. It was slowly panned out.
Daisy is the new kid in town. Daisy is a Sophomore at Castle Creek High.
The story opens when Mr. Terry asks Daisy to go look in the bathroom for Vivi who should have been back by now. Daisy finds Vivi on the bathroom floor not making sense saying its the only way to be with Patrick. Vivi had taken the whole bottle of Advil PM.
Vivi is a loner always seems to be drawing in class. When she is back in school she wants to talk to Daisy at lunch outside where the seniors hangout.
Vivi is a no show but Daisy meets Kevin a senior and he knows her and what her papers are like in english. He is Mr. Terry aide.
Danielle is the only person she has told about her powers. Danielle and Daisy start having the same dreams at night. Vivi says Patrick is showing them the dream and he has been her friend since she was little. Now she can only see him when Daisy is around.
The three girls meet to try and figure out what is going on. Who or what is Patrick? What do the dreams mean? Kevin is now coming to their meetings to help figure out stuff and he really likes Daisy.
It kept my attention I wanted to see how it would all play out in the end.
I was given this ebook to read in exchange for honest review from Netgalley.
03/27/2012 PUB Open Road Media
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on April 6, 2012
The blurb made me want to read this book. I like a story that is about mystery and paranormal with a hint of romance. Gift is a good story, a light read and was written flawlessly.

The story is seen through Daisy's point of view. She was sent to find Vivi, a broken girl who tried to kill herself by drinking loads of painkiller. Daisy saved her from her fate. The story became much more interesting, when Daisy and Danielle shares the same dreams, a dream place where they were people from the past. Who is this Patrick? Is he some kind of ghostly presence? And why is Kevin oddly protective of her? Is it curiosity or a connection between them? You have to read this book to find out.

The story started quite slow for me, it only became interesting at the middle. The dream part got me curious. It gave me chills and left me begging for answers. Who are Jane and Veronica? Like I said, you have to read this book to find out. I don't want to give the story away.

The world building is okay. The setting is more for young readers (Middle Grade). Since the protagonist is a sophomore. It was believable and close to reality. I had some reminiscing going on while reading this book. Danielle, Vivi and Kevin reminds me of my friends back in High School :)

The characters are not that memorable. They lack impact, something that can leave a lasting impression. They seem to be like the other characters from other novels. Not quite unique. Though, I like how believable they are. You will really feel like you are part of Castle Creek High School.

As for the characters, I love Daisy. I find her power very cool "Electricity Girl"; She's smart and brave. Kevin's character gave spice to the story. I like his sense of humor. He is hot and funny. Daisy and Kevin's dialogues made me laugh a couple of times. I don't like Danielle. I find her shallow, selfish and close minded. Vivi is fragile though her sweetness and vulnerability made her likable.

I also like the short graphic illustrations, telling Vivi's story and Dannielle's journal, revealing her deepest thoughts.

Overall, this book is a light and fast read. I recommend this book to younger readers. There was no swearing or any explicit content, a clean read for young readers.
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on March 30, 2012
Daisy's got an issue that I can somewhat, nominally, empathize with: she kills technology. She doesn't have a TV, computer, cell phone, nothing too technologically current because she'd just drive it crazy. I feel that. With the trail of computer deaths in my wake, and the shrapnel of other miscellaneous freakazoid technological malfunctions I've had to deal with, I immediately connected with Daisy. I understood her. Of course she's an extreme but such is the way of books. A boring blue screen of death on a PC is nothing compared to spastic fire alarms or igniting a computer lab.

I didn't really love GIFT but I didn't not like it either. It was okay. I was entertained enough but at various points in the story I felt a little put out by it, like it was a chore to read. It dragged a bit with the dreams the girls were having, what Vivi's deal was, Daisy trying to deal with her issue (considering she'd been dealing with it her entire life her "dealing with it" now seemed kind of forced). But it was interesting nonetheless and I kept reading until the end so I could see what would happen. The pieces laid themselves out for the ending pretty early on but there is a twist in there that I kind of didn't see coming so I enjoyed that. It's always nice to be at least a little bit surprised by a story.

I liked reading Daisy's humanity, especially towards the end. She is a very strong-willed character but she has flaws and I loved seeing them. It grounded out what is rightly a fantastical story into something a bit more realistic, considering. She rationalizes, she reasons, at times she caves to temptation. I really liked that. I felt like I could relate to that, unlike some other YA heroines that seemingly stand strong the entire time. I need humanness.

Vivi and Danielle I felt were a little underdeveloped. They were just kind of there floating along in Daisy's plot while things kept happening. Not that they weren't involved but as characters I just felt their existence was to serve Daisy. Kevin was the same way except his entire being I felt was a contrivance. He just felt like he was shoved into the plot because that might have been what was "supposed" to have happen. Daisy needed a love interest and someone else to connect to. Kevin served that purpose and that was pretty much it. He provided information when it was required, he supported Daisy when she needed it and he was the perfect level of weirdness to complement hers. It just felt too easy. Their personalities were okay. I didn't dislike them. They were just really plot-serving.

The story itself was okay. The whole reincarnation/past lives things interests me by default and I liked the way the past was brought into the present in this one. It used people and manipulated them and it really took the wind out of its implied sails but again, it made it more real, for what that's worth in a paranormal story. I didn't find the set-up or execution floofy but I did think, in the end, Daisy's powers were pretty irrelevant to it all. It was a means to be used but I don't think it deserved the emphasis that it did. I felt the past life issue was so much more relevant and should have been brought to the surface more than Daisy's electrical abilities. It wasn't bad but I wasn't crazy about it either.

Like I said overall it was okay. I wasn't thrilled with it but it wasn't terrible. A decent read if you don't have much else to do. It does stand out a bit from the rest just because of Daisy's ability and the past life thing which I did really like. And the plot isn't crazy centric on the love interest, another plus. And there's only one, love interest that is. Even bigger plus. Ultimately this one didn't leave much of a mark with me but I'm sure others will find the awesomeness that dwells within and give it the love it deserves. There's nothing all that wrong with it. It just ultimately wasn't for me.
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on March 27, 2012
Gift gives you a little of everything. It's a Paranormal, Mystery, Sci-Fi, mixed with rock-n-roll, a little Greek mythology, and even has two novels within as it includes an extra graphic short story. Andrea J. Buchanan definitely created an intriguing storyline that had me flipping pages to find the answers to the mystery who, what, and where in this novel. The four teenagers were fun and cute characters. Buchanan mashed different genres together to give a fantastic new twist in this Paranormal.

Daisy has just started school at Castle Creek High, and is hoping to keep her gift under control. Daisy also has a best friend, Danielle, who knows about her gift, but when Daisy is asked to help Vivi, who is more than a little strange, all three girls are going to find out they're connected to each other, and the connection is a deadly one. When Daisy meets Kevin, who's a senior, he will become the brains that help the girls to figure out their connection to each other and to Stone House.

Daisy and Kevin also make a connection--a love connection. Kevin is a super great guy when it comes to Daisy. He's definitely committed to her, and he would have to be when Daisy has a sarcastic best friend like Danielle. Danielle's mouth never stops, but I do love this girl. She has no problem voicing her opinion.

Gift is an enjoyable, fun read with these four teenagers. Plus with Vivi's graphic short story and Danielle's journal and Kevin's song that he sang to Daisy at the end of this novel you get a more in-depth look into the characters' personality. I recommend Gift as a great read.
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on October 10, 2013
I don't recall ever having difficulty in know which character is speaking in a book. In this story, all three main characters speak in first person, and the characters speaking shift frequently in the story, most of the time with no clue as to which character is interacting with the first speaker.
I would rate the story one star higher if it were not for this lack of delineation of characters.

Update: Now that I'm at 30% through, it's getting easier to know who is talking....
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on April 2, 2013
I liked the concept of the novel, but there were some things about this book that completely failed. First off, the opening chapters were confusing. It felt like a romance brewing between Daisy and Vivi (because of Daisy's obsession with the other girl) and then it abruptly switched to a very long explanation about Daisy's powers. There were quite a few instances where the author said what was happening rather than letting the story reveal the plot. I felt very confused for most of the book, as the reader is left purposely in the dark about very important plot details. I would have rather had some of it revealed early on into the book so I had some inclination as to why the characters acted like they did.

I understood that Daisy wasn't able to use electronic devices, but how could she have survived high school with the high usage of computers in the classrooms. Students today can't avoid computers or televisions or calculators. Not in a public school. I don't buy how someone could have not figured it out. How does she type up her reports? Pass a typing class? Research in the library (most documents are electronically recorded)? Also, it did bother me that Daisy could use a house phone. It was a normal everyday phone. If the author wanted to be somewhat plausible, then she would have made Daisy use a rotary phone. It's still electronic, but it doesn't run by a computer chip like every other gadget that Daisy messes up.

The subplot involving Mr. Terry wasn't handled logically. There is no way that a male teacher would ever house a female student in his home, especially without getting explicit permission from the principal. I have several family members who are teachers and if these exact circumstances happened to them, they might house such student over-night if that student was on the street. But only a single night and come morning the principal would immediately be made aware of the situation. If the student wouldn't return home, then CPS would be called. And even if the teacher was stupid enough to house a student of the opposite sex at their home for a prolong period of time, once the principal was informed of the situation, the teacher would immediately be suspended fired for not notifying the principal. It doesn't matter what the person who `told the principal' said. The simple fact is that the teacher was not acting appropriate.

I just don't think that there was enough research done to make sure that the events that happened in the book were plausible. And for that reason alone, I think I have to give this book a very low rating. It's not the worst book I've ever read, but it's one that I surely won't ever recommend. Still, the author does show potential to write a much better book. I might still check out another book by Andrea Buckanan. (F+)

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)
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on June 12, 2013
I very much enjoyed this book. Once I started, I was not able to put it down. This YA novel has it all...a bit of romance, a developing mystery, ghosts and supernatural abilities.

I won't summarize, as this has been done by other reviewers, but what I will say is that this book will appeal to any paranormal/fantasy fan.

I just love books with a fast pace. The author pulls off the YA voice, and the many twists and turns keep you engrossed until the very end.

While a bit of the story was not 100% realistic, I had no problem with it, as it just flowed so well. There was a great teacher, something that I really wish more authors would incorporate into their work. I'm sure some will find the teachers actions unbelievable...but this is fiction, after all!

I didn't see the ending coming at all. Usually, YA seems to be very predictable in many aspects. This book just wasn't. Kudos to the author for keeping this reader entertained with a really good story.

I used to teach high school English. I'd have loved to have my students read this book. I will be reading more from this author.

I did receive this copy via NetGalley. I'm very glad I picked it!
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What if you had the power to affect electricity and electrical devices? Would you struggle, daily, if not hourly, to keep your power under control, or would you allow yourself the freedom to let go? This is one of the dilemmas facing Daisy Jones, the 16-year-old protagonist of Andrea Buchanan's teen lit novel, Gift. As Daisy says: "I told her how when I was a baby my mom noticed the radio garbling or going static if she happened to be holding me while she touched it to switch stations or fiddle with the volume. I told her how as a toddler I was able to change the channels on our television when I pressed my hands against the screen, trying to say hi to Cookie Monster. How anything - everything - electric went on the fritz when I touched it. Cordless phones, digital watches, microwaves, blow dryers. I told her how it was kind of a family joke when I was little, or a joke between me and my mom anyway, since that was all the family we had - there goes another toaster, Daisy must have sneezed - and how for a while that's all it was: a joke. How as I got older it got more intense. How people started noticing, how stuff happened at school, how it stopped being funny."

To combat her "gift," Daisy practices yoga breathing exercises, which keep her emotions under control. Over the years, she discovered that if she can't moderate herself, things tend to go haywire. This, of course, could be a metaphor for teenagers everywhere, electrical gifts or not.

But then Daisy starts to experience bad dreams, nightmares in which she knows she is in danger. She is not "Daisy" in these dreams, but rather a woman named Jane. Her best friend, Danielle, is in the dream, too, as is another classmate, Vivi. Like Daisy, they are not themselves, but she knows that it's them, nonetheless. One of them wields a bloody knife, another one is missing, and the third is in peril.

The girls struggle to interpret the dreams. Brought together when Daisy rescues Vivi from an apparent suicide attempt, the three bond. Daisy and Danielle have the same dreams, and Daisy begins to be visited by Vivi's ghost/soulmate/guardian angel, Patrick. Also helping them out is Kevin, who is smitten with Daisy and determined to help her understand what is happening.

Is Patrick the beacon of goodness that Vivi believes him to be? Does he have Daisy's best interests at heart when he urges her to use her powers? Or is there a darker, more sinister motive afoot? And what about Kevin and Danielle?

Gift is an engrossing, entertaining book that middle and high school kids will enjoy. Most teenagers experience friction in their friendships, and this book explores that. They also struggle with accepting themselves, the good and the bad. Daisy's gift symbolizes that torturous high school experience.

As I tend to do, though, I found myself distracted by questions I wanted answered. If Daisy short circuits electronics by touch, what will happen when she needs to do schoolwork on a computer? Does her mother write a note or something? What about when she goes to college? How will she avoid computers then? One scene that took place in a hospital room also kind of threw me, because I started wondering what would happen if she got ill and needed treatment or tests.

But those questions are not the point of Gift. Entertaining, relatable characters and an interesting story are.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review originally appeared on cupcake's book cupboard.
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on March 31, 2012
Normally I'm not a big fan of ghost stories. When it comes to supes my preference is normally witches, vampires, and then werewolves. However, my curiosity got the best of me after I read the synopsis; I became instantly intrigued. I have to say, out of all the books I've ever read, Gift has one of the best and most-alluring opening chapters I've ever seen. By the time the first chapter ended I was was desperate to read on.

Gift starts off with introducing our main character and heroine, Daisy Jones who is in a serious predicament. She's been searching throughout her school for a fellow classmate, named Vivi. She finally finds Vivi keeled over in a girl's bathroom, clutching a bottle of Advil PM. (This is the part where I knew I was instantly hooked.) Vivi:

""You don't understand," she sobbed. "It's the only way we can be together. I just have to sleep, and then-" She stopped suddenly, focusing her heavy-lidded eyes on a space above my head. "Patrick you came back." A smile briefly transformed her face as she closed her eyes and slumped to the floor."

Crazy right!? At this point I had a dozen or so questions bubbling in my mind. Was Vivi going to be okay? What drove her to OD? And also, who the heck was Patrick?! At the time I was unaware, but I soon learned that this first chapter was but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the crazy, mysterious, and awesome, that is Gift.

It's a slight spoiler... but Vivi does end up living through this first incident and in doing so becomes quite close to Daisy, and Daisy's best friend, Danielle. The three girls quickly discover shared experiences revolving around bizarre dreams and visits with a supernatural entity. Early on in the book we find out that Daisy has a very peculiar "gift" that she constantly wishes she could give back. She's able to manipulate energy in a some-what uncontrollable way which causes her to steer clear from electronic gadgets such as TVs, celephones, mp3s, etc. in order to hide her anomaly. It surprises everyone including Daisy when they discover her gift is connected to "Patrick" and the weird things that begin to happen.

Gift is all about the three girls, and a boy named Kevin (he comes along later) who are desperately trying to figure out what some crazy shared dreams mean and what "Patrick" really is and wants with the girls. Towards the end I was kind-of able to guess the big revelation, but the majority of the book; I was stumped. I think that Gift's plot was really unique and I loved how they fit a little Greek mythology into the story. Instead of incorporating Greek characters, the author took a different approach by incorporating Greek themes instead.

I give this book a 3/5 star rating because there's some parts I didn't care for. For instance, I mentioned that the first chapter hooked me right in, however the chapters following were kind of a slump for me. The story was moving very slowly and only my deep need to know what or who "Patrick" was, kept me going. I was also confused in how Gift ended in the sense that I wasn't sure if we could expect a sequel or some type of continuation. I really hope there is another book because Daisy had a tiny, family revelation and it never really played out. If there is another book I'm anxious to see if we get more on that development.
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