Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Hmmm.  I didn't love this book.  It was an okay, fun read.  It had a strong message to girls, which is, don't erase yourself when you fall for a guy.  Positive, I guess.  There was just so much competition with the 'stronger gender', the more 'powerful sex' that it gave too much credibility to that old school way of thinking for me.  If you can get passed that, you end up with an exciting story of a girl at a boarding school who feels left out of her school's boys-only secret society so she decides to infiltrate them.  They literally become her puppets and she, the puppet master.  She does this at the expense of all of her new friends and her boyfriend though.  Like I said, I didn't love this one.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

This is the second installment in the Body Finder series.  I really enjoyed reading the first one and enjoyed this one just as much.  Violet's abilities are improving in this book.  She follows a calling she has to an echo that leads her to the body of a little boy trapped inside a shipping container on the harbour.  When she anonymously calls the police to say she heard noises, she raises suspicions with the FBI.  At the same time, a new boy and girl at school are creating quite a stir.  Strange things begin to happen to Violet, dangerous things.  Violet indulges her callings further and puts herself into danger time and time again, much to the dismay of her parents and boyfriend.  A lady from the FBI seems to know her secret, but Violet has kept her secret for so long, she can't possibly start sharing it with anyone now.  Can she?  If you like romance and mystery, but refuse to give up good writing for it, this is the book for you!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Years down the road, science has taken genetic engineering to the next level.  Scientist have completely eliminated cancer.  In doing so, they have created a new problem.  When the first generation of genetically engineered people start having their own babies, there is a very rigid time limit on their lives.  Girls live to age 20 before getting the virus, boys live to 25.  In an effort to create a legacy, the men in the wealthy class marry multiple wives.  These girls are kidnapped from all over the streets of North America, the last continent.  Rhine is taken from her twin brother during what she thinks is an interview.  She is brought to a beautiful mansion and is married to her new husband, Linden.  Linden's father is a scientist, and after Rhine accidentally ends up in the basement of the mansion after Linden's first wive dies, she discovers that her new father in law is up to some very scary experiments.  She vows to herself that she will escape.  This book is top notch, but definitely for a more mature reader.  Think The Handmaid's Tale.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Um, wow.  This book was published in 2008 and I'm only hearing about it now?  Todd Hewitt is the last boy to become a man in Prentisstown, a place where only men exist after an illness killed all the women.  It's also a place where everyone else can hear each other's thoughts, called Noise.  A person's Noise can be heard and if you are close enough, it can be seen and felt.  There is no hiding what you think.  When a boy turns thirteen, he officially becomes a man in Pretisstown and Todd can hardly wait.  One day while he is at the swamp collecting apples, he hears something outside of his understanding.  He hears nothing.  Emptiness.  In the form of a girl.  But girls aren't supposed to exist, are they?  Todd's discovery of the absence of Noise (this girl, whose thoughts cannot be heard) turns his world on its head.  He is immediately sent away from Prentisstown.  Since he didn't know there was a place outside of Prentisstown, it seems that pretty quickly there is a huge list of things that aren't the way the were supposed to be.  All of a sudden an army of men is after him.  He must leave everything behind in order to save himself.  He runs although he doesn't really understand why he's running or why he's running with this girl.  I'm not sure what to tell you other than read this book.  There is just so much there.  If the plot doesn't get you, the narrator's voice surely will.  Or that of his dog.  Dogs have Noise too.  How cool is that?  This is book one in a trilogy called Chaos Walking.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

What a mystery!  This novel tells the story of a girl with a 'sixth sense' for being able to find bodies, and also their killers.  Violet is able to pick up a sense (auditory, visual, feeling) from the body and detect an imprint of it on the killer.  So when girls start to go missing around her, Violet's senses kick into overdrive.  She finds one girl in the water while she is at a beach party.  Girls are going missing at an increasingly alarming rate in the towns surrounding hers and then from right in front of her nose.  Even with a killer on the loose, Violet puts herself in danger  trying to find out more information about the girls and their killer.  This book is suitable for more mature YA readers.  It contains some bad language and a few near scandalous scenes.  It is a really good story though!  There is also a love story intertwined in here, one strong enough to remind you of first loves, and powerful enough to make you relive heartbreak.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Valerie, a school-outcast, finds herself in a tough situation when her boyfriend decides to shoot up the school. For years, Valerie and Nick have been creating a 'hate list' of people who have bullied them, laughed at them, or annoyed them.  Valerie thought they were just blowing off some steam.  But when a bully breaks some of Valerie's personal property, she sends Nick after the bully to make her pay.  Valerie just didn't know what price that would be.  When Nick starts picking people off the list to shoot, Valerie throws herself in front of the boy she loves--only to get shot herself.  This is a story of a girl trying to come to terms with her role in the high school shooting.  Her parents distrust her, she has no friends and she desperately misses the boy she loved, the one who decided to start 'checking things' off the list.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have read and posted about each of the three books in this trilogy in a row.    Having said that, I feel like congratulating Maggie Stiefvater for being able to commit to writing a trilogy, instead of writing one book after another, thinking that maybe it will be the end and maybe it won't.  Having written enough myself, I know how hard endings can be and I feel like some current writers just don't know how to write an ending.  Maybe I should sick my seventh graders on them with their determined finality.  THE END.  This final book in the trilogy has the best writing in it.  I've got a trained eye for finding best writing.  Here's how it works.  If the writer creates an image in my head that I have thought often to myself, but have not ever read before on paper, that's good writing.  It speaks to our secret world of daydream.  In this novel, Grace is a proper shifting werewolf.  Isabel's dad is out to eliminate the pack in Boundary Wood and somehow Grace, Sam and Cole must figure out a plan before it is too late.  There was an awful lot of substance abuse in this novel, in the name of science.  If you enjoy analyzing character development, this book was loaded with it (the series in general was).  One scene brought me to tears.  Stiefvater's afterword states that she will miss living in the world of Boundary Wood.  So will I!  Pick it up!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Book two of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series proved to be a rewarding experience.  The first novel had two narrators and this second installment has four.  Will book three have 8?  or 16?  I hope not!  While four seems like a lot, Stiefvater seems to have each distinct voice mastered.  The protagonist Grace, was bitten by a werewolf as a small child.  Her father subsequently left her in a hot car.  The theory is that this is what actually stopped Grace from becoming a werewolf herself.  In book two, the wolf inside Grace is clawing its way out of her.  Except she can't shift.  She gets into monumental fights with her distant parents and runs away from home to be with the newly human-only Sam.  He tries to ignore the fact that she is getting sicker by the day.  He has other things to worry about, like new werewolves that he has to clean up after and look out for.  At some point, Grace becomes far too sick to ignore.  Tough choices need to be made.  Life and death or death and different death choices.  The new wolves add a new dynamic to the second book, strange characters that make you question teenage choices.  The second book is as intoxicating as the first.  Enjoy!