on June 20, 2013 :
I was surprised but when Tara Elizabeth offered me her novel free in exchange for an honest review. But I am glad I accepted! I am usually a little reluctant reviewing people's work because I don't want to hurt anyone's feeling but this one, this story and the way it is delivered, made it so easy for me.
Where to start?
Well first, I would like to say that Tara's style reminded me a lot of Charlaine Harris' in the way her protagonist talks. She is lively and real. You can almost feel Emma come alive under Tara's magic fingers. The surroundings are also well described, without being overly done, so it is easy to follow the story and imagine yourself right in it.
(May I say that I pray our world doesn't turn that way in the future? Who wants to be a zoo 'animal'? Certainly not me!)
That said, I am a sucker for time travel stories and this one sure hit the spot. I have to admit that at some point I wondered where the story would lead us—could it get even better or would I slowly fall down to Earth? It did not let me down. I was drawn into the pods with Emma. Once or twice I felt like slapping her so she would wake up and open her eyes to what, us the readers, could clearly see. I even shed a few tears, which I did not expect at all.
Overall, a very good read that I would recommend to anyone who likes the genre (and even to those who are not sure about it.)
This would make a wonderful movie.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
mandy I Read Indie anderson
on June 4, 2013 :
Can you imagine living in an enclosure having people gawk at you like animals in the zoo? It is beyond my thinking. Oh that could never happen to us. Really? Because the world is so perfect right now? Ok, so yeah, maybe it could happen. One of these days maybe. Well that is what happened to Emma. One minute she is sending a text to a friend (while driving) and the next she is sitting in a white room about to be whisked off to a fate worse than death. And this is just the beginning of her story.
I am a huge fan of THE TWILIGHT ZONE marathons that seem to come on around certain holidays. I will gladly stake out in front of my tv a watch a few with the family. I love how some can be so bizarre and creepy…and that is fine by me. So when I started reading ZOO I knew I stepped right into THE TWILIGHT ZONE. There is no other way to explain this book. The creep factor is definitely high and the paranoia is paralyzing. Zoo is absolutely horrifying but in such a good way. I had a hard time putting this book down. It was seriously one of those books that you could never find a stopping place.
I will tell you this. Through half the book I didn't think it could get any creepier...but it did. Lets just say that it is like THE TWILIGHT ZONE meets THE HUNGER GAMES. Oh boy. I literally shuddered when this part came. I thought surely it wouldn't get any worse for these people. And yep, it did. The hell these characters went through was intense and crazy.
Looking for a book that will be sure to give you the willies? One that is sure to capture your attention from the very start and not let go? Well then this book is for you. I gladly recommend it to anyone and everyone out there. Perfect for any age reader. I am sure once you get done you will be seeking out more from this author. I know I will be.
(reviewed 79 days after purchase)
on April 30, 2013 :
When I first stumbled across Zoo by Tara Elizabeth, I knew I had to read it. For me, it seemed to be a book with an interesting premise that was a both different than anything else I have ever read and out of my comfort zone. That was what I wanted.
After adding the book to my to-read list, like others, I was contacted by the author, Tara Elizabeth (who was very friendly), about the possibility of receiving a free copy of her book in exchange for my completely honest review. Excited about the opportunity (this is a first for me), I accepted the offer. This review is 100% my thoughts, opinions and feelings. I hope others find it useful in their journey to decide if this is a book worth reading.
Before I get into my review, I would like to mention that I did NOT read the finished copy of this book. There is a newer version out where the main character, Emma, was tweaked just a tiny bit. Some of the issues that others had with the main character, should no longer exist. With that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Regardless of the fact that changes were being made. I imagine that the new changes would be equally enjoyable to me.
When I don't like a book or can't get into it, I simply can't finish it. When I really enjoy a book, I can't put it down unless I can't keep my eyes open any longer. This was the latter! In fact, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. Honestly, the more I read the better it got. There were several shock moments for me where I realized something big, and I really felt the story.
The writing style is more direct than what I am used to, but I'm not complaining. It flowed very nicely, was easy to understand, had great editing and grammar, and the author told the story quite well. It was a fast paced read, with no hiccups. I would read this author again. In fact, I plan on continuing this series and reading her other one. I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a good dystopian novel.
The rest of this review *may* contain spoilers, so please heed caution before reading any further.
By now you should have already read the description of the book. A girl dies in a car accident, and wakes up in the future encased in a human zoo, and she tells the story of what she went through. It is true that the main character starts out angry, confused and a bit moody. She is scared, but it is believable. I personally was not bothered by this, because it felt real, appropriate and understandable. It would blow my mind if this happened to me, and I felt for her and the others. I would more than likely react in a similar way. Not everybody can be Katniss, after all, and Emma is entitled to her feelings and should not be underestimated or judged too quickly. She is Emma .. and she is tough.
I do feel like her character greatly improved and had experienced a lot personal growth. Emma is flawed. She is head strong, but insecure. She is independent, but still needs help sometimes, which bothers her. She is smart, but sometimes has poor judgment. Simply put, she is human.. A human that I became to adore and root for. Give her a chance, because she ends up surprising you.. She did for me.
The conflict with James vs. Kale bothered me a little bit, but in the sense that I hated the way that she was blind to what was in front of her. I felt like Kale was mistreated and didn't deserve her attitude toward him. That's not to say that I didn't think the book shouldn't have included the conflict, because It managed to suck out a lot of emotions from me. This is important!
At first I wondered where the author was going to go with it. It wasn't until they were transferred that I got completely hooked. Not because I didn't enjoy the first part of it, but because I wasn't sure what kind of conflicts could happen in the zoo. Once in the big dome, though, the action really picked up. Good call for having Emma and Kale so rebellious, and for introducing a few new characters.
Definitely read this book, and give Emma a chance to warm your heart. I'm telling you, it's a GREAT read.
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)
on April 24, 2013 :
I was given a copy of this book by the author, Tara Elizabeth.
The concept of a human zoo is not new, think gladiators, but still disturbing. Other reviewers have stated that Zoo has a Hunger Games feel and I agree.
Emma, the main character, starts off a typical 2013 teenage brat. Her enclosure mate, Janice, is still stoned. I guess when they healed her body they couldn’t fix her rotted brain. Josephine added humor with her terrible singing, but she also kind and caring. James made me suspicious from the beginning. Kale also made me suspicious but he grew on me once I realized he really liked Emma. Victoria was annoying at first, but she was super helpful since her time period aligned better with their situation than Emma and Kale’s.
The love between Emma and Kale went thru the typical dystopian time line: he likes her, she ignores the signs, she likes someone else, he keeps on trying, she finally gets it. But the author makes it new and exciting not typical. I like the last chapter, no spoilers, but its all feels.
The descriptions in the book are great. I could really imagine the enclosures and world outside the domes. I liked that the environments helped the story along and didn’t become a character themselves.
The writing is good and the story moves along quite well. There was never a point where I was confused about what was happening. I was confused along with Emma and Kale, but that was required for the story to not be obvious.
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
on April 23, 2013 :
I really loved this story. This book reminded me a lot of the Hunger Games, which i love. I did not like Emma character at the beginning she was annoying and whinny. But she grew as a person through the trails that she faced. You really grow to either hate or love all of the characters in the story. It is a very unique but enjoyable read. The idea that humans would be put in a zoo for other humans to watch is crazy but this story makes it seems believable. If you are looking for a new book about a dystopian society i would definitely give this book a try.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)
on April 22, 2013 :
When I first read the concept of Zoo I was instantly intrigued, and the book did not disappoint. The idea of a human zoo is something I never could have imagined until reading this book and experiencing being enclosed with Emma. I really loved Emma's voice throughout the book. She's so sassy and sarcastic, but sensitive as well - the perfect balance between the hard-headed heroine and a scared teenage girl. I found myself often laughing or agreeing with her throughout her adventures in the enclosure. Tara Elizabeth was able to perfectly capture a teenage girl thrown from an easy existence into this strange society where humans are kept in captivity (and I would know since I'm Emma's age and I definitely would have reacted the way she did). And then there's Kale, who is so beyond perfect. I really enjoyed reading about these characters and I hope to see more of them in the future. Thank you, once again, to the author for giving me a free digital copy of this book, allowing me to bump it up on my reading list and experience such a unique and captivating story.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on April 21, 2013 :
This awesome book deserves 10 stars! This is truly one of the best YA books I've ever read.
Emma is a headstrong, independent girl who died in a car crash. But before she actually dies, she is taken by the future and put in a human zoo. She hates it there and tries to escape, who wouldn't? She is brave, snarky, sarcastic, but her heart is good while she is trying to escape the zoo and not live like an animal on display.
This book is fast-paced and I absolutely could not put it down. The story is riveting and there are NO GOOD STOPPING PLACES so of course, I had to read until I got done. It is so full of action and surprises and a wonderful combination of good and evil. I love the ending and feel so good about the fate of the characters. There is such an "Ah-ha" moment at the end that I had to read it twice just to feel it again.
I will and have recommended this book to everyone. I hope this is only the beginning of Tara Elizabeth's writing career because I'll be looking for everything from her I can get my hands on!
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
Book Nerds Anonymous
on April 7, 2013 :
This book was a really unique dystopian. I have never heard of one where people who die are taken to a future zoo, and are locked up for the future's people's entertainment. That is what drew me to this book, and I'm glad to say that I was not disappointed.
The heroine of this book, Emma, was not someone who I immediately liked. She was very determined to escape her situation, and I appreciated that. However, sometimes she acted very childishly, and it was only later in the story when she showed her courage and bravery. By that time, I was finding her more interesting, but I never fully loved her character.
As for the side characters, Kale was definitely my favorite. It is nice to see genuinely caring, thoughtful guys in books, because usually, that side of them is hidden under a tough exterior. With Kale, what you see is what you get, and I loved that. Victoria and James were also good characters, because they both change so drastically. They are exactly opposite of Kale, because they were incredibly different than they first appeared to be. I love that the author was able to make both kinds of characters. It made the story that much more interesting.
The plot of the story was intriguing. As I said, I loved the premise behind the story, and I thought it was carried out perfectly. The book started out interesting, and it got even more so. There was a great twist near the end which I loved. Also, I thought the zoo aspect was really well-done, what with the actual spectators, and Emma and everyone else in the zoo having to be entertaining for them. I really felt for the captors, and it really made me think about actual zoos and how they work. When that happens, you know it's a good book.
Therefore, this was an interesting book. The main character grew throughout the story, the plot was really engaging, and characters that we thought we knew were not all that they seemed. This author really knows how to write a well-told story, with great characters. I will definitely be back for the next book in this series, and anyone looking for an original dystopian should definitely give this book a try.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on March 21, 2013 :
I loved it! I enjoyed everything about Zoo. The idea of a zoo being used for humans set in the future seems like a wild idea. But after reading it is scarily convincible! I also enjoyed the characters and watching them grow. Anyone thinking of reading, DO IT ?.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
on March 19, 2013 :
I wasn't sure what to expect, I mean reading the synopsis I knew I wanted to take a chance because it's a very unique and original idea in my opinion. I've never read anything like it or heard anything like it. If it was done right it had so much potential to be amazing. I definitely didn't expect to be captivated by this world so completely. It was absolutely done right!
Emma is fantastic. She's stubborn and fiesty and just the right amount of sarcastic. It is so much fun to read as she tells her story of how she ended up in the zoo and her struggles to try to escape and try to get home. This future world she's taken to after her death is brilliantly designed by Tara Elizabeth and it's so easy to fall into and feel like you're there with Emma and her friends. And such an interesting concept. I mean being pulled from your "death" to be "saved" and put on exhibit at a human zoo?! Insane right?
I laughed out loud so many times, seriously you will love Emma! There's also plenty of anxiety, tension filled, edge of your seat moments, the last 1/4 or so of the book was intense. This book is just so full of everything. I can't recommend it enough!
I want to thank Tara Elizabeth for offering me to read and review this book. When the book grabs me the way this one did, it's simply a pleasure to read! :)
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)