High School Life, Oh High School Life: Sykosa by Justin Ordonez

About the book
YA fiction for the 18+ crowdSykosa is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. Set at her best friend Niko’s cottage, for what will be a weekend of unsupervised badness, Sykosa will have to finally confront the major players and issues from this event, as well as decide if she wants to lose her virginity to Tom, her first boyfriend, and the boy who saved her from danger.

I think this is the first YA book I’ve read that has very mature content.  I normally steer clear from books that talk about really serious stuff unless the cover or blurb were interesting enough to reel me in.  Also, when it comes to YA fiction, I tend to go for the adventure or fantasy genre because I prefer the fast-paced, light and easy reading of these books.  I decided to read Sykosa because I figured I have to review “serious” books once in a while. YES, this is still all about my reading/writing goals. It’s all about me, me, me.  HAH.  I sound like I’m in high school.  Like Sykosa.  No, not really.

The characters. Sykosa is in high school, but her high school life is nothing like mine was.  There’s a wide generation and cultural gap.  This is nothing new nor is it unexpected, but it still floors me how different things are between then and now and here and there.  Seriously different, and I guess that just added to the appeal of this novel for me.  I liked how the author painted such a realistic and raw picture of the lives of these high school kids.  I also liked that the main characters Sykosa and her bff Niko are not your typical high school characters.  They represent a different group and it’s refreshing to have a set of characters that we don’t see in a lot of similar novels. By the way, this book was written by a dude so major props to him for creating such engaging female characters.

The story.  You can say this is some kind of a coming-of-age story, although the entire conflict revolves around a past event that changed the lives of the characters.  The book doesn’t really talk about this specific event in details and instead mentions it in snippets, and you can only try to piece things together.  I have to admit I kept on reading because I wanted to know what exactly happened and I was hoping all the snippets would eventually give me the whole picture.  I may have missed a few details, but the picture I got is still missing a few pieces.  It doesn’t take away from the whole point of the novel though.  It is always interesting to read about how emotional experiences and traumatic events affect and shape young people and drive them to do certain things.

The writing.  I would describe the writing as free-flowing and informal, and though I like that style most of the time, there were some parts where it felt like it was all over the place and I had to double back a couple of pages to get right back on track.  Sometimes I got confused about whose point of view I was reading.  It wasn’t all that bad though.  I realize it fits the story and the characters.  It kind of reflects the sometimes erratic flow of thoughts and emotions of a typical teenager.

The cover.  I love pretty book covers and I do admit that sometimes it is what first draws me to a book.  Before I read Sykosa, I didn’t understand the cover.  After I read the book, I get it now, but I still don’t love it.  I just don’t think it reflects what this book is about.  Anyway, what’s in a cover, right?  At least the novel in its entirety is better than the cover.

I received a review copy of this book at no cost and with no obligations. All opinions and views expressed are my own.

Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes – Win Prizes!

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Sykosa eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

Leave a comment, win $100! One random tour commenter will win a $100 Amazon gift card. Just leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win. For a full list of participating blogs, check out the official tour page. You can enter on just my blog or on all of them. Get out there and network!

About the author: Sykosa is Justin Ordoñez’s life’s work. He hopes to one day settle down with a nerdy, somewhat introverted woman and own 1 to 4 dogs. Visit Justin on his websiteTwitterFacebook, or GoodReads.

4 thoughts on “High School Life, Oh High School Life: Sykosa by Justin Ordonez”

  1. @Ricademus: I agree on all of those! :)

    @Justin: You’re welcome! Always glad to help out a fellow writer! :)

    @Emlyn: Thanks! Will cross-post this right away! :)

  2. Great review, Leah. Well-organized and thoughtful as always! I liked your break-down, it gives a really great overview of Sykosa. When you have a moment would you mind cross-posting to Amazon and GoodReads? That would be gewd (see I don’t forget!)

    Thanks for being an awesome part of this tour!


  3. Thanks so much for your thoughtful review! And I’m very flattered by your comment about my cross-gender writing skills (tho, Sykosa won’t let me take too much credit, cause she’s afraid it’ll go to my head and I’ll be impossible to deal with ~_^). The mystery aspect of the novel is one of my favorite and it definitely does not get resolved at the end of Part I. I debated revealing it, but I thought the ending worked better as a kind of cliff-hanger, plus, the reveal of what happened in Part II is really, really cool and I didn’t want to spoil it. Once again, thanks so much for reading Sykosa, it’s always fun to meet someone who got so much from the book (and someone who went outside her comfort zone to do so)!


  4. I vote no to losing her virginity and yes to confronting what happened years earlier. And like you, I’d want to know what happened. Maybe book 2 will reveal that. =)

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