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Reader's Den is currently in hibernation. Since I now only write book reviews for publications and other review websites, I will no longer be updating this site. However, there are 45+ reviews here and some great guest posts/interviews, so I'll keep this site alive for as long as I can just to keep the content online. Thanks for visiting! If you want to know what I'm currently up to, you can find me at my personal blog or at Editorial Assistance.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sykosa by Justin Ordonez

More than anything, Sykosa is a  character-driven story. It's very close to being a slice-of-life novel, in that, though there is an underlying plot and a back story the main characters are often too afraid to talk or think about, most of the story comes across as just a sample of Sykosa's life from both junior and sophomore year of high school.

One could say that the plot is Sykosa's affection for Tom, how she copes with the 'blackness' brought forth from whatever terrible event happened her sophomore year, and how she handles her friendship with Niko, her troubled best friend. Still, it's not a solid plot with a specific conflict and end, though part of this may be because Sykosa is a two part story and the first book is part one.

I like to think of Sykosa as a coming-of-age novel, with the rites of passage being sexuality, betrayal, forgiveness (or a lack thereof), and simply growing up and taking each day as they come. Author Justin Ordonez is truthful and blunt with his portrayal of Sykosa and Niko's lives. He doesn't sugarcoat anything, from cursing to drug usage to the derogatory forms of sexual terms.  With that said, I can understand how Sykosa can rub some the wrong way. It doesn't rub me the wrong way because I'm open-minded and nineteen, meaning I still clearly remember what it was like to be obsessed with boys, completely out of touch with your parents, and unsure of where you fit. Heck, I graduated from high school a year ago.

This isn't her story. This isn't her life.

I really connected with Sykosa. Just like her, a terrible 'incident' happened my sophomore year. Everyone liked to pretend said incident was an accident (I brought it upon myself) and that it never happened, but after that I wasn't the same. I started to feel the 'blackness,' or an emptiness that couldn't be filled no matter who I latched on to or how much the 'pep rally' in my head tried to silence my negative, anxiety-feuled thoughts. Junior year, I moved to a new place, but I was left with the blackness, and the blackness didn't really disappear until senior year, when I let someone who finally loved me for me into my life and learned to accept myself.

Basically, what I'm getting at is the characters were very realistic, and their reactions to their circumstances - Sykosa to the mystery 'incident' we readers only get bits and pieces of; Niko to the problems with her parents - made sense to me. In a novel that is primarily character-driven, that's an excellent accomplishment.

I really want to learn more about the incident and how Sykosa's relationship with Tom and Niko progress, so part two will definitely be on my to-read list. 

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:
  1. Purchase your copy of Sykosa for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
  4. BONUS:  Leave a comment on this post*
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 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’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. Get it on Amazon.

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 website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.



Please enter me. Thank you


I bought it and filled out the rafflecopter at the other site. Hope I win!


Enter me!


I tend to like coming of age stories.


Please enter me. Thanks!
iwanttowin76 at gmail dot com

Justin Ordoñez

Thanks so much for your review of Sykosa. I've heard a lot of accounts that say Sykosa reminds them of their youth, but never has anyone said that it was so personally reflective of their own struggles. I'm glad to hear that you've worked on your issues. It sounds like you learned a lot and we can only hope Sykosa will decide to do the same!

To everyone reading the book, I hope it can speak to you and that you'll feel the need to tell everyone about it!


Thanks for your review.


I would love to read this and win the contest too. Good luck to everyone entering.


is a new way to treat this topic


looking forward to reading the book


I'd be interested in reading this book.


Since reading your review, I am now very interested in reading this book!

Thank you!

selinda_mccumbers at


Enter me, please!

Thanks! :)

Emlyn Chand

Fantastic and very thoughtful review, Tiffany. You seemed to really *get* the novel, and the comparisons to your own life fleshed it out wonderfully.

Thank you for being a part of this tour! When you have a moment would you please cross-post to Amazon and GoodReads? Also kudos on your active blog following!

Emlyn :-D


I'd really really love to become a regular blog tour stop for Novel Publicity, so I've recently taken my promotion to the next level. So far, it really seems to be working. ^_^

Actually, I cross-posted the review to as many places on the 15 dollar plan list as I could (mainly Shelfari, Goodreads, Librarything, and Amazon):

Since this book was part of a blog tour, I gave him the same level of promotion that I would give an author who paid the 15 Dollar Plan. I hope it really helps him.

I'm glad you liked the review! I read yours too. Very well-written, but then again, who would expect anything less? ^_^


I think I would really enjoy reading this. Thanks for the review.... another book on my list. :)

dorcontest at gmail dot com

Raspberries and Ruffles

please enter me! k_martorana(at)gmail(dot)com

Terri C. McMillan

Sounds like a great read:) Would love to enter too.


THis looks like a wonderful story


Sounds like a good book.
karli1238 at aol dot com


Sounds good. Thank you.


Would love to win this so I can fund my Kindle with new books! :)


Always on the look out for a good YA read. Thanks! judychrz at gmail


I love that it's described as "YA for the 18+ crowd." I will definitely be reading this.

the imagine tree at aol dot com


Sounds like a great read...

ltlbit1 at hotmail dot com

Bee W Bedard

would love to win - thanks for the chance
brendawitherspoon at hotmail dot com

Holly S.

Sounds like a deep read. Thanks for the contest!

anne s.

just the type of a book i would enjoy!

Shannon Palmer

Good book for my kindle

S. R. Carrillo

With a title that is eponymous with its title character, you can only hope the piece is character-driven as you say. I got it for my Kindle already, but only prompted by this wonderfully deep review.

Keep up the awesome work, Tiffany. :]


the book looks great and thanks for the chance to win.


Thanks Sierra! I hope you enjoy it.

Krystle Smith

Sounds good! Krystlekouture at yahoo dot com


ooo i'd love to read this!

hockiemack at

Uniquely Yours

This would be great!


Hello, how are you today? Thank you for this opportunity.


I'm great, thanks! Very happy about the number of comments and views this review and giveaway is getting, and I hope it really helps Justin (and my blog). Thanks for entering.

Bee W Bedard

The book looks good - thanks for the opportunity to win
brendawitherspoon at hotmail dot com


The book sounds exciting to read and sounds like I could probably get into some of the characters myself.I am anxious to win this and read it..being springtime I think a good place for me to read this awesome book would be the park.Then after I am done reading I know my friends would love to read it to.Keeping my fingers crossed for this book.


should try..Anyways enter me, pls.