Sunday, August 31, 2008
I've heard a lot of praise for Barry Lyga's books, so I was quite excited to read this book. I now understand all the praise.
I really enjoyed that this book was about a boy getting sexually abused. Not that he was getting abused, but that the book was about a boy and not a girl. Is it just me, or are there not a lot of books where boys are getting abused? The majority of time it's a girl, so it was refreshing, I guess, to have the story be about a boy. Moving on.
Like I said in the description, Josh is seemingly perfect. The guy has gotten nothing but As since the third grade and he is the baseball player at his school. But the good thing is that he's not. He's got some anger issues (who wouldn't if people kept staring at him and making remarks about him and Eve?) and obviously he's kind of been scarred for life because of what happened with Eve.* He tells the entire story of what happened and in the present, it's easy to see just how much its screwed him up. He, along with the other characters, really is an interesting, well developed character, despite his seemingly perfectness. He grows up a lot in the book and finally figures out that despite his past, he can move on, be happy, and be himself. At the end, he finally knows what he wants.
As implied in the above paragraph, Josh switches a few time between the past and the present. This was a bittersweet thing for me. I did like learning the entire story, but there was a lot of space between time periods. There would be about 100 pages of the present, then about 100 of the past, then back to present, and then back to the past. I would rather have past-present or present-past-present, but I don't think the book would have worked as well as it did if it written like that. Doesn't mean I have to like it though.
You can bet that I will be reading more of Barry Lyga's works in the future. 9/10 for Boy Toy.
*Can I just say that I wanted to strangle Eve for the whole book? I seriously wanted to murder her or grab a stick and hit her with it repeateedly. She made me so mad. I hated her way more than I've ever hated a character (except for Eamonn in Child in the Prophecy. Don't get me started on him though). I think I might've actually yelled out loud at one point because I wanted to jump in to the book and beat her with a very large stick or rock or something that would cause her immense pain.
Friday, August 29, 2008
**Tiny spoiler alert for Violet on the Runway.**
Currently, I am halfway through Violet on the Runway by the lovely Melissa Walker. I have finally jumped on the bandwagon and am reading it. For a while I've felt like I was one of the only people who hadn't read it, but not anymore! I'm joining the club. I'm not very sure if there's an actual Violet Club, but there should be so that I can join it.
Anyway. I am enjoying the book immensely so far. Thoughts:
- Roger= awesome. After finishing: Roger is now amazing.
- Veronica= ew. Can I punch her in the face, please? After finishing: No longer wish to punch her in the face. Still don't really like her.
- Heller= jerk. I'm at the part where he's only been present for about 0.8 pages, but I'm already judging him. Whoo. After finishing: I was right. Mua.
update: I am now finished with Violet on the Runway and it was wonderful. Very, very great. No real review for this book, but I shall say that it was wonderful, had some awesome characterization, and very teenage-sounding writing. Like, Violet actually sounds like a teenager, not that it seemed like a teenager wrote the book. Fabulous job, Ms. Walker. Can't wait to read the next two.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
[description from B&N]
Kelly Ruland's world fell apart when her brother Jasper walked away the sole survivor of a car accident...and kept walking right out of town. She doesn't want to believe that Jasper was at fault - but then why did he run away? How could he abandon Kelly and her parents? Now, former star student and athlete Kelly struggles to care about anything anymore, sleepwalking through school and experimenting with dangerous behavior as she tries to fill the void inside her.Then one night, Jaspers returns...but he's not alone. Someone has followed him home. Someone who hides in the space behind the truth, who hovers in the shadows between the known and the unknown. His name is Archie, and he is the stranger they never asked to know, the guest they never invited . And he's about to challenge Kelly and Jasper to a game that demands a price they may not be willing to pay...
I'm still kind of unsure of what I feel on this book. It's kind of weird and...I dunno. Hmm.
I do know that this isn't really a character driven book. The characters were kind of lame, for lack of a better word. I wasn't interested in them and didn't feel like I really knew them. Each character only had a few traits that were constantly reinforced. Although, I was fascinated by the bad guy, Archie. I would read an entire book about that guy, as long as it's a prequel. I don't think a sequel to the events in this book would work if it was about Archie, but if it was a prequel? Hand it over. I'll read it happily.
However, I loved the concept. The bad guy is a soulsucking powerful leader on a motorcycle with wings who has a band of other weaker people on motorcycles with him all the time. (There's quite a few motorcycles.) Then the bad guy stirs up some major trouble and there's action and mystery and talking coyotes. While the plot was exciting and awesome*, it could not compensate for the less than perfect characters.
Also: I got sort of confused at the end. It might just be me, I don't know, but I got confused. I think there was too much important information packed in at the end and it just confused me. Might be just me though, since I read this after writing an essay and my brain was kind of frazzled. Anyway.
One last thing: I love the cover. It is purdy. Thought I'd get that out there.
I shall give this book 7.5/10.
*I think I should keep track of how many times I use the word awesome in this blog. I use awesome and amazing and wonderful too many times. I need some new adjectives.
Monday, August 25, 2008
*In case you couldn't guess, I had my first real day of school today. I started on Friday technically, but all they did was go over stuff about the classes. Not fun. But today was even worse. I have homework. Rawr. I hate having homework. And school. Less time for me to read and review and do things I enjoy.
So, how many more days until summer where I can actually have time to read everyday?
Friday, August 22, 2008
[description from B&N]
When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night-dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge-he follows her. Margo's always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she's always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they're for Q.
Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers.Review:
I'm a huge nerdfighting John Green fangirl, so it's obvious that I was superduper excited to read this book. Admittedly, I had high expectations because John Green is an amazing writer. I mean, Looking for Alaska was absolutely brilliantly wonderful. So was An Anbundance of Katherines, but only the slightest bit less than Looking for Alaska. But anyway, Paper Towns definitely lived up to my expectations and maybe even exceeded them.
The first third of the book was pure fun and pranks and joy and awesome. (I'm most likely going to use that word a lot in this review. Sorry.) It did a great job at starting to talk about the characters and what they're like, etc.
But then Margo goes and vanishes, and for the rest of the book except the end there's this "ahh what's going to happen where is Margo ahh must keep reading must keep reading" sense going on. It only makes the book more enjoyable. Combined with the humor John Green includes, the book has a nice balance of stuff that is literally laugh out loud funny and the frantic "must keep reading" feelings.
Characters. Oh, the characters. I don't John Green has ever written a bad character (well, I haven't read his stories in anthologies, but I'm sure those contain some awesome characters). By that, I mean an undeveloped boring not teenage sounding character. He owns at this character development stuff. Seriously, all the characters got more mature and realized things about themselves, especially Q.
Needless to say, I think everyone should go buy this book the first day it comes out or preorder it or whatever and read as soon as it comes out. I think everyone should read all of John Green's books, actually. Oh, and you should watch him and Hank on youtube if you haven't already.
Paper Towns will be released in October.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva all get mixed up with a senior boy--a cool, slick, sexy boy who can talk them into doing almost anything he wants. In a blur of high school hormones and personal doubt, each girl struggles with how much to give up and what ultimately to keep for herself. How do girls handle themselves? How much can a boy get away with? And in the end, who comes out on top? A bad boy may always be a bad boy. But this bad boy is about to meet three girls who won't back down.
Ever read one of those books that you really want to review and talk about because it's so good but you have to think pretty hard for things to say about it and your review turns out kind of suckish? For me, that book is A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl.
This book had a lot going for it. Right at the beginning of each girl's POV, the girl said what she was like. (Click here, if you wish, to see what I mean. Scroll down.) I did find the girls kind of similar, but that didn't really bother me. Anyway, the girls were described well and I felt like I knew them. I also felt like I knew unnamed bad boy jerk, even though he wasn't even described that much. The girls just told how he was really hot, but I still felt like I knew him. Maybe because he was a stereotypical bad boy jerk, but the kind that of stereotypical bad boy jerk that actually exists. (Did that make sense?)
So, plot. It was like many subplots in books. There was the girl head over heels for the boy who only wanted her for sex, but she was virtually unaware of that fact. I should dislike this fact, but I don't. This book was just so much better than the other books with this plot. It delivered such a powerful message that I didn't mind the plot I see all the time. It was just a lot better.
And one thing that made me really happy was the fact that they talked about Forever by Judy Blume so much. I absolutely love that book, so seeing it actually play a big part in this book made my inner Judy Blume fangirl happy.
If you don't read this book, especially if you are a teenage girl, you are missing out big time. READ IT I TELL YOU! READ IT! There were so many things that should have bothered me, but they didn't because the book was so engrossing and wonderful.
On the blurb page, Cynthia Leitich Smith (author of Tantalize, in case you didn't know) said this book was "Sure to be the new Forever." While I do not think their should be a new Forever, since Forever was just so wonderful, but if, for whatever bizarre reason, there had to be a new Forever, I'd pick A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl to be it.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Keir Sarafian may not know much, but he knows himself. And the one thing he knows about himself is that he is a good guy. A guy who's a devoted son and brother, a loyal friend, and a reliable teammate. And maybe most important of all, a guy who understands that when a girl says no, she means it. But that is not what Gigi Boudakian, childhood friend and Keir's lifelong love, says he is. What Gigi says he is seems impossible to Keir....It is something inexcusable -- the worst thing he can imagine, the very opposite of everything he wants to be.
As Keir recalls the events leading up to his fateful night with Gigi, he realizes that the way things look are definitely not the way they really are -- and that it may be all too easy for a good guy to do something terribly wrong.Chris Lynch has written a no-holds-barred story about truth, lies, and responsibility -- a story that every good guy needs to hear.
Seeing the "National Book Award Finalist" sticker and blurb from Laurie Halse Anderson gave me some high expectations for this book. Unfortunately, they were not fulfilled.
First off, for the first 40 or 50 pages (that's a lot, considering the book isn't even 200 pages) Keir just told these random stories trying to convince me that he was a good guy. But the more I read of these stories, the more I thought he was annoying and vain and not a good guy.
Then the story gets confusing. The chapters go back and forth between "that night" and days leading up to it, and everything is just scattered all over the place. His thoughts go back and forth and the more I read of these scattered thoughts, the more I thought he wasn't that good of a guy.
We finally reach "that night." I guessed what the inexcusable thing was back at the beginning and was almost dreading reading this part of the book. I was right to dread. Keir was being so stupid and in denial. Sure there was reason for it, but he wouldn't listen to the girl he supposedly loved. It took him forever to realize what he did wrong, which really just made me mad.
There was one other thing I didn't like: Keir never called Gigi just Gigi. He always called her Gigi Boudakian. That gets extremely annoying when her name appears 3 times on every page.
I think the only positive thing about this book is the message it has: The good guy isn't always who you think they are. Sometime they're the bad guy.
This all being said, I give this book a mere 6/10, but one point is for the aforementioned message. And sorry for the many very short paragraphs review.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
[description from B&N]
For seventeen-year-old Winnie, summer can't arrive fast enough -- anything to get out of the house and escape the cold war brewing between her parents. With her older sister, Shelby, spending the summer in Boston, Winnie's left to deal with the situation all by herself. Which is why she's happy to spend all day away from home at a cushy job -- camp counselor at the prestigious Oceanview Inn.
And when the Barclays, a wealthy summer family, offer Winnie an additional babysitting job in the evenings after work, she jumps at the opportunity. Little Cassie Barclay is fun to take care of, and hanging out in the gorgeous Barclay summer house overlooking the harbor is far more pleasant than being on the front lines of the battle between her parents.Then Cassie's older and devastatingly attractive stepbrother Jay arrives on the island after a disastrous first year at college, and he seems to want nothing more than to wreak havoc for his stepmother and the rest of his family. Winnie soon discovers that life in the Barclay summer house isn't so perfect after all, and what was supposed to be a carefree summer escapade is quickly becoming more complicated than she ever thought possible....
This second book in the Martha's Vineyard Summer Series (I don't even know if that's the proper name. And don't worry about getting spoiled because this book is more of a spin off than a sequel. Sure you might understand a couple things better if you read Local Girls, but it's not necessary.) is a summer romancey story, just like Local Girls. This of course begs the question "which one did I like better?" but as of now, I do not have an answer.
My main problem with this story was the fact that things could have been played up loads more. There were multiple things that occurred that I felt were pretty big deals, and I'm sure some people would agree with me, but they were over and done with within 10 or 15 pages. The resolutions of these things were almost anticlimactic since they went so fast. I saw the point in putting them in, but I still felt as if they went by way too fast.
One thing I liked about the book were that the back stories of the characters were included. It was much easier to see why they did the things they did and why they acted the way they did because of all the background information that was included. I especially liked how the back stories of Winnie and Jay were the most explored.
Again, I think I'd only recommend this book to you if you wanted a summer romancey book. Otherwise, don't read it. It had some great characterization, but not a great plot.
Friday, August 15, 2008
This should make me happy, but it doesn't really. I WANT HALF BLOOD PRINCE THAT DAY!!!!! Argh. I can wait until 12/12 for Twilight. Just give me the November 21 Half Blood Prince release back.
With all these movie release date changes, I'm hoping they don't move the Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist or Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging dates.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. Warner Brothers better be joking, because they've got some angry Harry Potter obsessors on their hands.
Gah. Me not happy.
[summary from B&N]
Kendra and Mona are best friends, local girls who spend their summers catering to rich tourists and the rest of the year chafing against small-town life. Then Mona's mom marries one of the island's rich summer visitors, and Mona joins the world of the Boston elite, leaving Kendra and Martha's Vineyard behind. When Mona returns the following summer, everything is different. Now Mona spends her days sunbathing with her private-school friends, while Kendra works at The Willow Inn -- a job she and Mona once hoped to do together.Unlike his sister, Mona's twin brother Henry hasn't changed. He's spending his summer the way he always has: with long, quiet hours fishing. Early mornings before work become special for Kendra as she starts sharing them with Henry, hoping he can help her figure Mona out. Then Kendra hatches a plan to prove she's Mona's one true friend. She'll uncover the identity of the twins' birth father, a question that has always obsessed Mona. And so she sets out to unravel the seventeen-year-old mystery of the summer boy who charmed Mona's mother. But are some secrets better off staying buried?
Based on that description of the book, you would think that it's mostly about Kendra doing some detective work to find Mona's father, right? That's what I thought anyway. But that's not what happened at all. That's the minor subplot that appears only every other 10 or 20 pages. Even then there wasn't the detective work I was expecting, just Kendra looking through the archives of the local newspaper and some old articles stored at some rich people place. And then when this subplot's conflict was resolved, it had one of the worst resolution I can think of. Once I saw its outcome, I was sitting on my bed going "Are you kidding me? That's how it was fixed? That was so cheap. Like that would ever happen."
It was a romance more than anything else. And the romance part was fairly predictable and cheesy and cliche. I won't say who Kendra got together with, but you can guess from the description. I did like how she wasn't obsessed with her boyfriend though. She never went "I must have my boyfriend or I will absolutely die."
Character wise, I was happy with how they grew up and learned about each other. Even though Mona and Kendra were best friends before and knew each other extremely well, I felt as if they learned even more about each other once Mona came back to the island. And Kendra befriended the cook at the Willow Inn, Shelby, and it was nice to see her be able to gain a new friend even though she was determined to become friends with Mona again.
I think I would only recommend this to someone if they wanted a summer romancey type book. If you don't, this wouldn't be the first thing I'd tell you to read. Or the second. Or third.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Twenty-one year old Fenfang Wang has traveled one thousand eight hundred miles to seek her fortune in contemporary urban Beijing, and has no desire to return to the drudgery of the sweet potato fields back home. However, Fenfang is ill-prepared for what greets her: a Communist regime that has outworn its welcome, a city under rampant destruction and slap-dash development, and a sexist attitude seemingly more in keeping with her peasant upbringing than the country’s progressive capital. Yet Fenfang is determined to live a modern life. With courage and purpose, she forges ahead, and soon lands a job as a film extra. While playing roles like woman-walking-over-the bridge and waitress-wiping-a-table help her eke out a meager living, Fenfang comes under the spell of two unsuitable young men, keeps her cupboard stocked with UFO noodles, and after mastering the fever and tumult of the city, ultimately finds her true independence in the one place she never expected.
I haven't read many books set in China, especially ones in modern day China. When I got this book and saw it was set in China and remembered the Olympics are in China this year, I was excited to read it. Being set in China gave the book something that not a lot of other books have: a chance to describe somewhere completely different from where most of us live- that actually exists- and describe what the people are like there. Fantasy books do the whole describing a different world and characters thing all the time, but those places aren't real. Where this book is set is real though, and that's what makes it different.
Other than the awesome setting descriptions, Fenfang was a great character. She was slightly funny, determined, and had a lot of hope and ambition. And she wasn't weak, which was very good. Despite having a stalkery creepy boyfriend and some failed jobs, she kept going. Speaking of creepy boyfriend, I was wondering why the heck she didn't call the cops on him or something. He was crazy.
The main thing I didn't like about the book was the ending. I guessed what would happen, but was hoping it wouldn't. It was a bit cliche, and I felt as if it was thrown in way too close to the last page of the book.
I did enjoy the book though. It succeeded in not only telling Fenfang's story, but also telling the reader about modern China.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging and On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God (The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1 and #2) by Louise Rennison
Anyway, after finding out this information, I read Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging. (Which was marvelous, in case you were wondering. Go read it if you have not.) It was very funny and full of awesome English people. I must get the other 7 (?) book in the series before I see the movie. I have a while to rea them, since the movie doesn't come in the US until October. (The same day or day before the Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist movie comes out. I think I'll be spending a while at the movie theater that weekend.)
I love the trailer. The cast isn't exactly how I pictured them, but I like them nonetheless.
And there is a song by The Stiff Dylans. (The band in the book, in case you didn't know.) I actually enjoy the song a lot.
I really want to see the movie. I would wish for October to come sooner, but if October came sooner, then September and the end of August would come sooner too and I start school at the end of August. Joy.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
[description from B&N]
When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends -- her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.
Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her. [Finding another girl for him to destroy.]
I've read two other Elizabeth Scott books, Perfect You and Stealing Heaven, and they were both great. Really great. But Living Dead Girl blew them both away.
The book is written wonderfully. Alice's emotions and thoughts are written so well that it almost hurts to read the book. It's extremely easy to understand what she's going through, how being with Ray has affected her, and how she'll never be able to go back to being a normal girl. It's impossible not to feel bad for Alice and want to murder Ray for being such a despicable, hypocritical creature.
It's heart wrenching and scary all at the same time. Watching Alice go through day after day of Ray's torture and watching her wait for death is just plain depressing. And when Ray tells her to find a new girl for him, things get scary because you're never sure if she can kidnap another girl for him and be free. If she doesn't, what will happen to her? If she does, what will happen to the new girl?
Everyone should go and buy the book when it comes out in September. I don't think anyone would regret it, even though it's expensive for such a short book.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Now that Breaking Dawn is out and people are searching for something new to read, I've been thinking of what the next big YA series will be. First there was Harry Potter, then Twilight, but what will be next, if anything? Personally, these are my thoughts about what the next big YA series; I'm just going on what Harry Potter and Twilight were like:
- I think it'll be a fantasy series, or at least have some fantasy elements. Harry Potter was a fantasy series. Twilight had vampires and that's a fantasy element to me.
- I think the series will have more than 3 books. Harry Potter had 7 and Twilight had 4. Not the best reason, but it's just my opinion.
- I think that the first one or two books in the series will already be out. Twilight was already out for a while before it became really popular, so that's why I have this one.
- I think it needs to have a lot to obsess over. If there's nothing to obsess over, it's not going to be that popular. With Harry Potter, you can obsess over everything. You can make wands and cloaks and decide what House you'll be in, and a lot more. With Twilight, you can mostly obsess or Edward and Jacob or vampires and werewolves in general. If there's nothing in the series to obsess a lot over, I don't think it'd be as popular.
- I think it has to appeal to both teens and adults. Harry Potter and Twilight definitely appeal to both teens and adults, so that's the thinking behind this one.
I've been thinking of what I'd like to see popular, or what I think deserves to be popular, but not a lot is coming to me right now. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare definitely deserves it, but since the third and final book comes out so soon, I don't think it'll be the next Harry Potter. If vampires are still going to be big, the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead is really good, but I don't know how much you can obsess over that. And I don't know how many there are going to be in that series. If I discard a lot of my reasons, I'd say The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen. That one just has a lot of appeal to teenage girls especially, in my opinion. I think we all just have to wait and see.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Isn't it awesome? I love it. Except for the fact that Norah asked Nick to be her boyfriend for five minutes when it was supposed to be Nick asking Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. But they played After Hours by We Are Scientists, a song and band I happen to love, so I'm good.
And I posted a review of Chasing Windmills this morning- read it here.
Sebastian is a 17-year-old young man who lives a sheltered existence in New York City with a fearful, bullying and controlling father. Maria is a young woman who, at only 22, is saddled with two children and a dangerously abusive live-in boyfriend. They meet while riding the subways under Manhattan late at night.
Together they make a plan to run away to the Mojave Desert in California, where Sebastian’s grandmother lives. But it won’t be easy. Sebastian (or Tony, as Maria calls him, obsessed with the lovers in the old classic movie West Side story) doesn’t even know Maria has children. And he hasn’t seen his grandmother since he was 6 years old. And he has only just found out that his mother is not dead, as his father has consistently claimed.
Maria meets him as planned, and they head west, but with only one of Maria’s two children. The boy remains her secret. But as Sebastian’s feelings of maternal abandonment come forth in words, she knows she must go back for her other child. Now the trick will be to get him and get out with her life.Review:
Other people who've reviewed this have said this book is a beautiful retelling of West Side Story. I, however, can't say that because I have never seen West Side Story. All I know of it is what the book told me, which was admittedly the whole story, but oh well. It was on TV a while ago and I meant to watch it, but I forgot to. But now, after reading this frinkin amazing book, I will have to go and rent it.
The book is also described as being like Romeo and Juliet (which I have read and seen), but I kind of liked this book more. It was, in my opinion, sadder. I don't know why that makes me like it more, but it does. I'm just weird. And I liked the characters in Chasing Windmills more than I ones I liked in Romeo and Juliet.
The characters were absolutely perfect. I don't say that often, but I feel the need to say it now because it's true. They all had such realistic qualities and reactions to the heart wrenching events and were just all around perfect. Even the two year old was.
I've no doubt that the exact events in the novel are happening now. Well, not the whole meeting a stranger on the subway and moving to the desert, but the abusive boyfriend and the controlling father. That's very sad to think about since the emotions of the characters were described so well in such beautiful writing that it makes it easy to put yourself in their head and think about what you'd do in their situation.
Oh, and ending was great. I loved it. And usually the ending is my least favorite part of a book because they're usually all happy and perfect. This one wasn't, and I loved it.
Chasing Windmills comes highly recommended from me. I had trouble putting it down.