Saturday, December 24, 2011

Beauty Queens

Aww, you guys get a Christmas update. I must be feeling extra generous, or maybe I'm just bored. Maybe a bit of both. This week's book was... interesting, to put it one way. I'm not really sure what possessed me to read it, as the cover doesn't seem like something I would normally pick up. Still, it proved to be funny, thought-provoking, and suspenseful at times. Also, before I get into this review: you should know that there are some mature themes in the book, and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone under high school age. That said, on to the review of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.
Beauty Queens is pretty much set in modern or near future times, with one difference: a corporation known as, well, The Corporation, is in high influence. The majority of the population is essentially brainwashed into watching Corporation shows (Things like What Would You Do to Be Famous? and My Drama So Tops Your Drama!) and buying heaps of beauty products as if their only purpose is to get guys to notice them. In the middle of this are the beauty pageants. 
Currently, the contestants of the Miss Teen Dream pageant are on a plane to a photo shoot in the Caribbean. Things start to unravel when the plane crashes on a deserted island. All the girls have are the wreckage of the plane, seat cushions, jars of Lady 'Stache Off (see what I mean about the Corporation?), and any makeup they can salvage. After a girl named Taylor (Miss Texas) is voted to become leader, she proposes that the remaining contestants (there are ten or fifteen of them) continue to practice for the pageant instead of trying to be rescued. Thankfully, some of the girls actually have some sense, like Adina (Miss New Hampshire) who got into the pageant as a joke. She does her own thing, and soon gets to know other girls who are also more clearheaded. As the girls continue to wait for rescue and work out shelter and food, you get to see a little more of each girl's personality. You start to realize that there isn't a single person there who's actually a brainless beauty queen, and that many of the pretty faces hide secrets- good and bad.
So, this book definitely makes fun of anti-feminism taken to the extreme, and as it progresses the characters get more and more defined. I really loved it. Sometimes it gets kinda weird, but I would say a good weird. Though, I guess I shouldn't be talking about weird myself; as you've probably gathered, I'm not the most normal person in the world. *Random evil laughter*. That is all. Kay, if you were absolutely smitten with the review (which I kinda doubt, cuz I'm just a random high schooler who does reviews as a side activity and therefore isn't all that brilliant at them) then you can go down to Mt. Edgecumbe or Kettleson today (Kettleson closes at five today, though, so hurry). Even if you weren't particularly impressed with my schizophrenic reviewing skills, you really should give this a chance. I bet you that if you read twenty pages into it, you'll be hooked. Trust me. And with that, I leave you with the mental image of a fat guy riding on a sleigh into the night, shouting "Merry Christmas!"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Into the Wild and Five Flavors of Dumb

*Trumpet fanfare* And I'm back and better than ever! No more comatoseness, no more sleepiness! Just pure, unadulterated (whatever that means) reviews and peppiness! Yep, I've had caffiene. How'd you guess? So, to live up to last week's promise, I have TWO, count 'em, TWO reviews for y'all. Happy holidays!  So, the first review is on a really phenomenal book called Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter.
Into the Wild takes place in modern day, more or less. In a forest and other habitats near a town, a group of wild cats live (and yes, they talk. It's not as dorky as it sounds). They are split up into four clans: Thunderclan, Riverclan, Windclan, and Shadowclan. Thunderclan cats live in the forest and tend to be friendly and diplomatic. Riverclan cats live on an island in the middle of a river (I know, you're shocked) and are proud but reasonable. Windclan cats live in the bare hills and are very fast (also, Windclan is kinda like the Hufflepuff of the clans; they're likable but still get picked on by the meaner cats). Shadowclan resembles Slytherin a lot; they're haughty, sly, and nobody really likes them. Shadowclan lives among the pine trees. Come to think of it, my not-so-inner Harry Potter geek can make a lot of connections with Thunderclan and Gryffindor, and Riverclan and Ravenclaw. Anyway, I digress. 
The story follows Firepaw's (who used to be known as Rusty because he had been a human's pet) struggle to get accepted in Thunderclan, and prove that he's not just a soft kittypet (the clans' mocking name of any cat who lived with humans). In his new clan, he makes a few definite friends, learns some valuable lessons, and even makes an enemy or two. Nobody ever said clan life was going to be easy!
Okay, I can't impress upon you enough how good this book is. I'm not really a world-class reviewer, so you might not have really been impressed by my attempted description of it, but I ORDER YOU TO TRY IT. Seriously. It's part of a series, and is so good I can't even begin to say. There are a billion copies at Blatchley and a copy at Kettleson, so there should be nothing stopping you from getting it. Imperio! (Yeah, Harry Potter nerd over here. Deal with it). 

Sooo, in a completely different 'genre' but just as good, here's the second book! This is Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John.
The book takes place in Seattle, following eighteen-year-old Piper. Piper has never quite fit in with the kids at her school, but she sees her chance to change that when Dumb arrives. Easily living up to their name, the sorry band is composed of an egotistical lead singer, a lead guitarist with green hair and anger issues, and the lead singer's anything-but-identical twin brother, who attempts to hide behind his hair on a regular basis. Somehow, she finds herself roped into a manager job for them, trying to get them a paying gig AND make them sound good (neither is an easy feat, trust me). Things look up a bit with the discovery that Ed Chen, Piper's Harvard-bound friend, can play the drums like nobody's business. While the band's prospects start to look up a little, however, Piper's parents are less than supportive. They devote all their energy into Piper's eleven-month-old sister, the "more perfect" daughter. Piper's workload is starting to pile up; she has to keep the band together, deal with her parents, not fail senior year, and make sure Dumb actually sounds good. That last part's giving her a little trouble because, well, she's deaf.
Another awesome book! This one kinda reminds me of Audrey, Wait, because it's funny and has that similar music theme. The deaf element gives it a lot of character and things to think about. So, add this to your list of things to get along with Into the Wild. I promise, you won't regret it! Get Five Flavors of Dumb at Kettleson or Mt. Edgecumbe.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Matched

Hi, everyone. I'm just about comatose right now. I really tried to read a book (which isn't the one in the picture) this week, but I couldn't get through it (sometimes I have a not-so-good taste in books. Seriously, the one I chose was really weird and depressing and historical-fiction-y. Weird combination). Add that to the fact that my teachers don't seem to be getting into the holiday spirit and decided that four projects would be good for us, and hey presto! I haven't been doing anything lately but working. So, I hope you accept these video reviews and this imaginary box of chocolates (think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- the candy is still traveling through the airwaves) as an apology. *Ducks as readers start throwing shoes and tomatoes at her* Seriously, please don't. Anyway, I have actually read this particular book, but it was about a year ago and I can't remember the intricacies of the plot enough to give a full review. I do remember that it was a really good book, though, so you should definitely try it out: Matched by Allie Condie. Here are the links to user-made trailers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hYK0STf3t8&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNjdgAmuHjQ&feature=related
There is a sequel out now that I have yet to read, too. It's called Crossed. Also, to make up for this week, I will post two reviews next week if I can. So, get Matched at Kettleson and Edgecumbe (though the library website says that the copy at Edgecumbe is missing, so I guess just Kettleson). So, go get Matched at Kettleson, and I hope you're having a quieter week than me!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Abandon

Okay, wow. This week has been so hectic, I can't begin to tell you. I doubt I've had a minute of downtime between school, Nutcracker, and sleeping, and I was definitely light on the sleep part. So, don't expect everything I write tonight to make complete sense! I'm kind of in a daze of exhaustion/relief/astonishment now that the Nutcracker is totally over. Don't worry, the reason that you're reading this is because I was able to read a quick book backstage, in between rounding up fifth graders to put costumes on them because I was apparently the designated "responsible one," (I dunno who made that decision, they must not know me very well). Okay, sorry, I'm rambling. Anyway, the review is for Abandon by Meg Cabot. Drumroll...
Pierce Oliviera is an NDE, someone who's had a near death experience. In her case, she was "dead" for over an hour and in that time, she managed to do a lot. Finding herself right after her death on the shore of a lake, waiting in line for some kind of boat was just the first of weird things to happen to her. She soon met a strangely familiar man named John who knew her from her past, and seemed to want her to stay there with him forever. So what did she do? She threw a cup of hot tea (which had been offered by him) in his face and ran, and somehow found herself fully alive, staring at all the doctors around her hospital bed. Since then, she's been different. For some reason, she's become somewhat of a "problem child" and seems to attract accidents and misfortune. Another factor not really helping the situation is that John is now popping up in real life, and seems to cause more problems than he tries to fix. Her last shot at anything normal is moving to Isla Huesos, a Caribbean-type island, to be with her divorced mom. Her attempt at normalcy fails miserably because John refuses to stop bugging her and other scary things start to happen. She died once, now does Death want her back?
Okay, in my adrenaline-crashed state this probably isn't a brilliant review, but I'll do better next week. I think this book was a little outside my normal interest range, or maybe I just am kind of weird this week, but I didn't hugely love this book. I usually really like Meg Cabot books, but this one kind of jumps around a lot. I think it's just my taste in books; some of you readers out there might really like it. So, don't knock it till you've tried it, and pick it up at Kettleson.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Birthmarked


Wow, I actually uploaded my weekly review before Sunday! It’s a miracle. Thanks to the extended weekend this week, I was able to actually get some good reading time in. So, on to the review of Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien.
Birthmarked takes place in the year 2400 or so and focuses on one city and the town on its outskirts (It’s not clear if that is the only city left in the world, but there is a vast wasteland all around the city). The technical name for the city would be the Enclave (it’s also separated from the town by a huge wall around the city), and the town outside it would be Wharfton, which is split up into six “sectors.” There are no hospitals anywhere, so midwives deliver all the babies in Wharfton. Every month, each midwife (there are a couple per sector) has to take the first three babies she delivers and give them to the Enclave. The babies are taken away from their real parents, adopted by families inside the Enclave, and supposedly have a great life inside the Enclave. The Enclave seems perfect.
               Gaia Stone, sixteen, is one such midwife in Wharfton, taking after her mother. She hates having to take babies away from their mothers, but she believes that it is for the good of the Enclave. Then one day, a panicked friend gives her a ribbon with a strange code sewn on it right before her parents are taken away for questioning. A soldier starts asking her about any records kept of the births her mother has overseen. Though she doesn’t know why it’s important, she keeps the ribbon secret and evades his questioning. Weeks pass, and her parents still haven’t come back from inside the Enclave. She sets out to break in and discover where they are, and is horrified by what she finds. Not only by what she finds out about her parents, but by what the happy fa├žade of the Enclave hides. Things begin to spiral bigger than she had ever imagined.
                Sooo, I’m sure you all know my shtick by now. This is a really good book, copy and paste admiration and whatnot here. I'm expecting a sequel. The only comment I have other than that is that the code stuff is sometimes a little confusing (and this is coming from a somewhat-math-whiz). Though, maybe I’m just a little slow today and it’s perfectly clear if you’re lucid. Hey, we don’t have school. My brain has no obligations to work. Okay, you can pick up Birthmarked (which you should) at Kettleson or Mt. Edgecumbe.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Graceling


Okay, I know this is a day late. See the review below for excuses. I didn’t get time to actually read the book until the weekend, and then didn’t have time to write the review on Sunday. Long story short, I’m sorry and I’ll try to not let it happen again. Put your pitchforks and torches away. Aaaand on to the review of Graceling by Kristin Cashore!
                Graceling is set in an olden land with seven kingdoms (I love it… even “olden land” sounds all, um, olden). In these lands, some people are born with two different colored eyes and have Graces. A Grace is basically an extremely heightened skill at something. It could be anything, like swimming, archery, cooking, or sewing (yeah, that would be a lame Grace). Some Graces are completely odd, like the ability to hold your breath for a really long time or climb really tall trees. Anyway, all Graced children are sent to their country’s king when they are young. If a king has use for their Grace, they’ll be brought up at court. If he doesn’t, they’ll be sent back home.
                Katsa, who in the book is in her late teens or so, is ruled by King Randa of the Middluns. She has a very unusual Grace, though, the Grace of killing, and is forced by Randa to do his dirty work—dole out punishment and the like. One day she meets Prince Greening, or Po. Po is Graced with hand-to-hand combat. He shows Katsa that it would be possible to get out from under Randa’s thumb, and tells her about his purpose being there. Soon the two set out on a journey to uncover the truth about his mission that is buried deeper than anyone realizes. They must learn to trust each other to survive, a process which isn’t helped by some shocking discoveries about both Katsa and Po’s Graces.  Will they both make it through the journey unharmed, or will they be ripped apart by forces beyond their imagining?
                Dun dun duuuun. Yep, this is definitely an adventure-type book. I personally read it in one sitting because I couldn’t bear to put it down. And, I’m not the type to collect a lot of books (I consider it my duty to keep the library running) but I can say that this book is on my Christmas wishlist. Seriously, read this book. It doesn’t matter what age you are, everyone would like this book. Get it at Kettleson, SHS, BMS, and Mt. Edgecumbe. I’m not kidding. Go.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Audrey, Wait!


Okay, I have an essay, an eight minute presentation, and a poster to work on, so you should feel lucky that I even got time to do this. Still, I guess it was a good thing that I read this book. I’ve been kinda stressed lately, and this book totally cheered me up. I swear, I got so many weird looks because I was laughing out loud at things in it. So, Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway is of more of a normal teen book, no fantasy or anything like that. Trust me, it’s really good.
                Audrey, Wait's main theme is definitely music, and how it can make you feel anything from happiness, to sadness, to anger, to utter embarrassment (which applies here). It's about a normal girl living near LA named Audrey (shocker) who has a deadbeat boyfriend, a job at an ice cream place called the Scooper Dooper (need I say more?), and a slightly insane best friend (don’t we all?). She decides to break up with aforementioned deadbeat BF Evan, due to a very long list of reasons. Unfortunately, Evan is in a band and decides to pour out his feelings into a song called Audrey, Wait, perhaps the only good song the band has ever played. Much to Audrey’s horror, the song gets famous, almost overnight. Everyone in the country knows the song, and even worse, knows it’s about her. She’s suddenly getting calls from reporters, and stalked by paparazzi (seriously, not as much fun as you’d think).  Her every action is being documented and twisted in a not-so-good way.  A fight with her best friend is the final straw, and Audrey decides that she’s had enough. The only question is, how will she fix the huge mess she’s in?
                So, as I’ve said before, this book is awesome. The only thing is, it’s got a bit of language here and there, so if you’re very conservative I’d say don’t read it. Though, I’d say overall the language shouldn’t be much of a deterrent. It's totally your loss if you don't read it, because this book is hilarious and great for anyone who needs a mood-lightener.  It’s available at Kettleson, Blatchley, and Sitka High.

Friday, November 11, 2011

RDYF

That stands for Read Down Your Fines in the Dictionary of Little-Known Acronyms. Yeah, I made that up. Shocking. Anyway, if you, yes you, have any fines owed to the library, don't worry. It happens to the best of us. I'm assuming you like to read (why else would you have overdue books?), so you can come into the library any Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to read away your fines. Just bring a good book, tell the librarian what you're doing, and for every fifteen minutes you read, $1 will be taken off your fines. *In cheesy infomercial voice* Watch your debts literally disappear! Sideeffectsmayincludeheadachesnauseaupsetstomachdizzinessandfainting. Naw, you don't get those. You just can't do an infomercial without a blurred-together list of side effects, many nastier than the thing the product is curing in the first place. Okay, enough with my rant about infomercials. If you want to see the nifty, official flyer, scroll down and look on  the bar on the left. It pretty much says what I just said, but looks nicer. Okay, I have a very extensive workload (*cough*English*cough**cough*), but I'm trying to get your weekly review up by Sunday. Wish me luck!

Bookface Pics

Okay, wow! We have a lot of bookface pictures now, so I'm going to start naming them by their subject and/or by a letter. If you look back at those two pictures I posted a bit ago, you'll see that I've re-labeled them, in the poll too. Sorry for the confusion, it should make more sense soon. Okay, I give you... the photos!


Label: Rebels (C)

Ouch (D)

Code (E)


Half (F)

Hugo (G)


Silhouette (H)

Wolf (I)

Stork (J)

Preacher (K)

Shaker (L)

Butterfly (M)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vote!

Hey, people of the interwebs!
The bookface poll is now fully operational, so move that mouse over to the left.... a little more... down a bit... there you go! Vote! I'll add more options when we get more pictures, so go ahead and submit one! Be the change! (heh heh. anyone at SHS will get that.) Anyway, I'm hyped up on sugar right now, as you could probably tell by my abuse of exclamation points, so I'll stop before anyone else catches my hyperness. Is that a word? My microsoft word spellcheck says no, but it's also saying microsoft isn't a word, so it can't be all that smart. Okay, I think I said something about stopping. Bye!

Tiger's Curse

Ooh, I love that feeling when you finish a really good book! Very satisfying. Okay, let me say that this is kind of a girl’s book, cause it has some romance-y tendencies. Still, there’s also a really good plot and setting, so any boys reading this should at least try it.  The name is Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck.

       Tiger’s Curse starts out in Oregon with eighteen-year-old Kelsey Hayes. She gets a job at a circus and makes friends with a white tiger they have, Ren. Soon a man named Mr. Kadam shows up, showing a great interest in Ren and Kelsey. When he manages to buy Ren from captivity, he offers Kelsey the chance travel with him to India and get Ren to a safe place. Little does she know what she’s about to get into (ominous music. Nah, don’t worry, it’s not like a horror movie or anything). Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, India. So when they get there, Mr. Kadam reveals that Ren is actually a prince that’s been put under a curse; he can only be a man for 24 minutes of every day, and only when he’s not in captivity. (I know it sounds like a cheesy fairy tale, but stick with me. I’m not the best at explaining things.) Kelsey and Ren unearth a poem/prophecy that outlines their task: to find four special items somewhere around India. So, they set out to find the first object, Kelsey learning a lot about Indian culture and maybe a little about love (see, that’s where the guy deterrent comes in). She learns that she is Durga’s (the main goddess of Hinduism) chosen one, and that sometimes doing what’s right isn’t the easy way. She also learns that you should really stay away from monkeys while in India, but that’s a different story. I’ve probably said too much already, so I’ll leave you with that.
       Okay, since I just finished it, the book isn’t at the library yet, but I’ll turn it in tomorrow. Pick it up at Kettleson, I promise you won’t regret it! (Also, don’t be daunted by the size, it’s really interesting and it goes fairly fast.) Ciao!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bookface Pics!

Yay! We have our first bookface entries! The one on the top is from Jack Peterson, and the one on the bottom is from Luci Cannizzaro. I'm setting up a poll on the side so you can vote for your favorite, so stay tuned! Also, I plan to post a review today or tomorrow, so look for that.


This picture is labeled as: Kiss (A)





































This Picture is labeled as: Anatomy (B)



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Human.4

My second review! (Okay, that's not exactly a hugely auspicious moment, but I like to praise myself. And use lots of parentheses. Deal with it.) Okay, this week I'm doing Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster (I wonder what the A stands for? Arthur? Archibald? Andriloween? Okay, now I'm just getting off topic.) Aaaaand without further ado….


Human.4 kind of plays with a couple themes, like a “higher power,” but the main theme is technology gone too far. Kyle lives in a small town, where an annual talent (I use that term loosely) show is held. This year, his friend Danny is doing a hypnotizing act and on a whim he volunteers to be hypnotized. When he and his friend Lilly, who had also volunteered, wake up, they are greeted with an odd sight. Every human in the area is as still as a statue (kinda like a freeze frame, but in 3D). The phones don’t work, the computers all display a strange code in some foreign language, and the TV’s just show static. All of a sudden, everyone wakes up.  They’re definitely not the same, though. Everyone simply gets up from where they were frozen and walk home. To Kyle, it’s creepily quiet. When he tries to ask his parents what’s going on, they reply in unison: “Nothing.”
So, is this all part of the hypnosis? Are they going to wake up to a roaring crowd at any second? Or is something much more sinister going on?
(Insert evil laugh here). Sorry, I just wanted the chance to say sinister. Come on, you can’t say sinister without doing an evil laugh in a supervillain voice. It’s just the rules. Anyway, this is an awesome book. Kind of gives you the creeps, though, once you’ve read the whole thing, because it’s science fiction-y but if this was happening in real life none of us would realize it. I’ll let that serve to pique your curiosity, so go out and get this book! It’s available at Mt. Edgecumbe or Sitka High.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Divergent



Okay, first and foremost, you have to read this book. This is one of those ones that you just don’t want to stop reading. I probably would have read it in one sitting if I hadn’t had to go to school.
Divergent is set in the future, after the apocalypse. It focuses on one city where everyone has been split into five factions: Abnegation, Erudite, Amity, Candor, and Dauntless. Each faction stands for one virtue which they hold above all others: Abnegation for selflessness (everything about them is plain, and they’re exceedingly polite), Erudite for knowledge (they’re always studying, they have a reputation for being a bit shrewd), Amity for peace (they all are always happy and loving), Candor for honesty (they aren’t afraid of being brutally honest), and Dauntless for courage (they’re wild, risk-taking, and maybe even barbaric). When a child reaches sixteen, they have the choice to stay in the faction they grew up in or switch factions.
Beatrice has grown up in Abnegation, but she doesn’t think she’s really meant to be there. In the test that figures out the faction that she’s best suited to, she gets an odd result. Her examiner tells her furtively that she’s a Divergent –someone who is suited to more than one faction—and that being a Divergent is very dangerous. She keeps that quiet, but later that will come back to haunt her (don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything). In her choosing ceremony, she makes a, well, daring choice and chooses Dauntless. Renaming herself Tris, she makes some new friends and enemies in Dauntless (and maybe gets a love interest, too). Surprising herself and others with courage she never knew she had, Tris is sure to have an important future ahead of her—if she can survive initiation.
Again, I say: read this book! Seriously. DO IT. It’s available at Mt. Edgecumbe.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hello!

This is the brand new library blog for teens in Sitka. I'm currently working on my first post (or that would be the second post, since I guess this is the first), but my first review, anyway. Stay tuned!