Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

"From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.
Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.
Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one."

So, as a rule I generally don't review sequels. I figure, if you liked the first book you'd find the next ones on their own. I'm gonna break from protocol here a little though, because this isn't really a sequel and I don't know how many people actually know about this book. It's not so much a sequel as an epilogue of sorts. And it was really good. It's definitely more of an older novel (which I guess is why it's in the adult fiction section of the library) and does a good job of having the characters grow up without really losing their personalities. It's less happy, more into the real world, and deeper. Also, it's really sad. I'm just gonna warn you right now. I'd say it's anywhere from high school to adult age level, and you should really read it if you've ever read the original series. Except, it kinda gives the series a horrifying reality check. Don't read it unless you're prepared to let go of the happy-go-lucky teenagers. Still insanely good, though. Try it, it'll be worth it. It's at Kettleson (in the fiction section, like I said). Prepare your tear ducts!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls by Julie Schumacher

"My name is Adrienne Haus, and I’m a survivor of a mother-daughter book club.  For three of the four of us daughters, membership wasn’t voluntary.  My mother signed me up because I was stuck in West New Hope all summer with my knee in a brace. CeeCee  Christiansen’s parents forced her to join, canceling her trip to Paris when they found out she’d bashed up their car.  Jill was pressured by her mother, who thought she needed to socialize more.  Wallis was the only one who actually wanted to be in the book club.  No one knew why.
We were all going to be in AP English in eleventh grade.  But we weren’t friends.  We were not a sisterhood, and we didn’t share any traveling pants.  We were literary prisoners, sweating and reading classics and hanging out by the pool.  But of course that’s not the whole story.
If you want to find out how book clubs can kill people, you can try searching the Web for mother-daughter literary catastrophe.  Or you can read what I wrote for my summer AP English assignment.
Go ahead.  Here it is."

So, a break from John Green was in order. Don't worry, he'll be back soon. Anyway, this was a nicely contrasting book from the circumstances, though not too much. Instead of being a lazy Christmas, it was about a lazy summer.I liked that it wasn't too hugely pretentious or philosophical or anything like that; it was just an interesting, slightly out-of-the-box novel. It was plainly unapologetic without getting too r-rated or anything like that, and I liked it that way. It didn't adhere very much to boundaries, but it pushed them gently. I liked the characters--I didn't quite fall in love with them or anything, but they pulled me in. I'd recommend this to any girl who's open to a little rebellion. It's at Kettleson, you should really try it!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Paper Towns by John Green

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues - and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer Q gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew."

I'm completely on a John Green streak. I'll admit it, I'm addicted. And such a lovely addiction it is. This book was in true John Green fashion, with some poetry here and there and some laugh-out-loud-until-people-give-you-strange-looks moments. I lovedlovedloved it, and especially liked that throughout the whole thing I had honestly no idea where it would go. The characters were stereotypical at first glance, but started to contradict the stereotypes right after you formed them. And as always with his books, the visuals were amazing, dead-on, and perfect for the story. It was amazingly out-there, but injected with just enough reality to make it even more powerful. He's amazing, as are each of his books. So, while YOU go out to Kettleson or MEHS and get this one, I'll be starting Looking for Alaska. See ya!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

"Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind."

Oh My God. If I could give this six stars, I would. I'm not usually into reading "cancer books," the kinds of books that are sad for the sake of being sad, but this was so much more than that. The characters were really intelligent and interesting, and it made me laugh almost as much as it made me cry. It has some of the best quotes ever in it, ones that'll start to make you re-evaluate what the heck you're doing in the universe.Um, just be warned--don't read the last third of the book: a) before bed or b) without a huge box of tissues nearby. I think I said in an earlier review that I have tear ducts of steel--um, I don't think I can claim that anymore. This literally made me bawl like a baby. Sad, I know, but you try reading it without getting emotional. I think it's pretty much impossible. Anyway, this is definitely getting introduced into my personal collection for good. If I could reach through this computer screen and hand you the book and force you to read it, I would, but I guess I'll have to settle for shameless bribery and threats: any reader will get virtual hugs from me, and anyone who ignores this will have to be blackmailed. Go forth and read, my child. You won't regret it. It's at Kettleson, MEHS, or SHS. Ta-ta! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Girl Behind the Glass by Jane Kelley

"The house on Hemlock Road used to be someone's home. Until something happened. Something that even after 80 years, can never be forgotten or forgiven . . . .

Eleven-year-old twins Hannah and Anna agree about everything—especially that they don't want to move to the creepy old house on Hemlock Road. But as soon as they move into the house, the twins start disagreeing for the first time in their lives. In fact, it's almost as though something or someone is trying to drive them apart. While Anna settles in, Hannah can't ignore the strange things that keep happening on Hemlock Road. Why does she sense things that no one else in the family does?  Like when the hemlock branch outside waves shush, shush. Or at night, if she listens hard enough, it's almost as though someone is trying to talk to her. Someone no one else can hear. Someone angry enough to want revenge. Hannah, are you listening? Is the house haunted? Is Hannah crazy? Or does something in the house want her as a best friend—forever?"

Okay, sorry to say, in my opinion this book kinda sucked. I think it's meant to be this super-creepy story about a haunted house, but it's not in any way terrifying or emotional. The author tried to make it scary by writing from the point of view of the "spirits" inhabiting the house, but it came across weakly. I didn't feel a single thing while reading it except boredom. Part of the problem is that it doesn't give the characters any depth or explain them at all. It's like their main purpose is to be "the family that moves into a haunted house." The plotlines--even the ones that didn't have to do with the haunting--were recognizably cliché. Not that that's always a terrible thing; I've read plenty of books with clichés in them that managed to make them new and interesting. This one was just subpar. And I don't know, maybe it's just meant for a younger audience with less discriminating taste; I can tell you it's definitely not meant for anyone above middle school. *Sigh*. Anyway, if you...want to get it... it's at Kettleson.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

"When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-obsessed best friend riding shotgun--but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which will predict the future of any relationship, avenge dumpees everywhere, and may finally win him the girl." 

This is the first book in a long time that I couldn't put down. I read it in the space of approximately 21 hours, and REALLY loved it. It had me laughing aloud pretty much every five minutes. I think it'll appeal especially to the math nerds, though that's definitely not the only type of person who'd like it. I loved every character, and each one was really unique. It mostly takes place in the country in Tennessee. Even though I'm usually not one to read the southern, rural settings often, this totally didn't count. It was like simultaneously a stereotype and a parody of itself, I loved it. So, in parting, READ THE BOOK. I promise you, you'll thank me later. You can get it at Kettleson or SHS.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it. 

So, being the closet sappy romantic that I am, I really loved this book. It was a nice, easy read that still held some twists and emotional-type suspense, though stayed pretty mellow for a good chunk of the book. It was able to pull you into the settings (especially the airplane and trip) by taking notice of tiny details that pulled the scene together. The characters were pretty relatable, too. The story was sweet with some heart-wrenching parts mixed in; overall a very good read in my opinion. So, if you're in the mood for a classic, intriguing romance novel, go get this at Kettleson. I promise, you won't regret it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sandry's Book (Circle of Magic #1) by Tamora Pierce

"With her gift of weaving silk thread and creating light, Sandry is brought to the Winding Circle community. There she meets Briar, a former thief who has a way with plants; Daja, an outcast gifted at metalcraft; and Tris, whose connection with the weather unsettles everyone, including herself. At Winding Circle, the four misfits are taught how to use their magic - and to trust one another. But then disaster strikes their new home. Can Sandry weave together four kinds of magical power and save herself, her friends, and the one place where they've ever been accepted?"

So, that's a really short description, but I can promise you that you're likely to love this book if you pick it up. This was a re-read for me; I've been reading Tamora Pierce books since I was a lot younger--and probably'll continue reading them while I get older. These books are really timeless, and younger readers will enjoy them just as much as adults, so whatever age you are I suggest reading this. Anyway, this book's set in some undefined, old but still interesting, magical world. Think Graceling meets a little of the Bartimaeus Trilogy and you'll kind of get a feel for it. There are mages and the like coexisting with merchants and traders and street kids. I really liked the characters that the book focused on; the four main characters were really different and quirky in their own ways and their interactions were really entertaining. The imagery--not the scenery so much, but the theoretical and magical images, if that makes sense--was very intricate and descriptive without making the story too heavy. The book's not too long, just a compact little novel that draws you in the farther you read. I can't recommend this series, or this author, more. Seriously. So go to Kettleson or BMS to get a copy, or just check out the Tamora Pierce books at Kettleson.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You by Dorian Cirrone

"Kayla Callaway has been studying ballet since she learned to walk, and her heart is set on a future in the dance world. She's sure she'll get a solo part in Cinderella, the spring ballet at her high school. But when the parts are finally posted, Kayla is shocked that she's only landed a role as a stepsister -- and an ugly one, at that The brutal truth: Ballet and big boobs don't mix. Suddenly Kayla's dream for the future has become a real-life fractured fairy tale.

To make matters worse, bloodred pointe shoes with threatening messages start popping up all over school. When Kayla learns that she'll be wearing red pointe shoes in the ballet, she wonders if the messages are meant for her. But who are they from? And more important -- what do they mean?"

Meh. I'll admit I picked up this book just 'cause I'm a dancer, and in that regard, it didn't totally disappoint. I could tell that the author knew her stuff about the ballet world, but as for the actual story, I was very underwhelmed. I didn't hate it, I just wasn't super impressed. The characters didn't seem to develop any, and they weren't especially three-dimensional in the first place. The "red shoe" plot, which was one of the reasons I picked it up (hey, I like a good maybe-murder-mystery as much as the next person), didn't really go anywhere and wasn't really the main focus of the book. Again, I say, meh. The main focus turned out to be the, ahem, boob issue. It seemed like the whole story was pretty much leading to the Moral at the end. But, and I'll try to say this without giving anything away, the ending Moral wasn't even entirely satisfying to me. It was almost a little controversial, and I'm not entirely sure whether I like the way it went. I dunno. It was a fine book, if you don't look at it too hard. There was some humor in it, and it's a high school maturity level. I would say, if you're a dancer, at least give it a try. It's at the library...but apparently it's missing. Okay. Since I got my copy from the White E, it'll probably be back there soon if you want to look for it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Partials by Dan Wells

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them--connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

Soo, it was a good book, though it felt very first-novel-y. Still, I quite liked it. It's definitely not to the raving point, but it was fairly suspenseful and kept me reading. I liked the different spin on the apocalypse/dystopian society theme; it seemed fresh and had some interesting new elements like the pregnancy laws. The science geek in me also appreciated seeing from Kira's point of view, especially as she was puzzling over the structures of RM and whatnot. I think that's an appealing point, if you're into viruses and/or science. The characters were fairly fleshed-out, though sometimes I had a hard time differentiating between the minor male characters--I dunno why, they just weren't very unique to me. Still, that wasn't a problem with the main characters. Overall, I liked the book and'll definitely read the second one when it comes out. I really recommend it--it's at Kettleson.
P.S. Check out the side bar for some info about a new library event coming up--it should be fun!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Strange things are happening...

Um, okay, so apparently the new review isn't showing up at the top. Scroll on down to below A Monster Calls and you'll see it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them. One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

Yeah, I know. I'm reviewing like one of the most well-known books ever. This probably isn't exceptionally helpful, but hey. I plead borderline insanity. I'm multitasking on about three important projects right now, and this book happened to be the one we just finished reading in English. Sorry about the shortcut. Anyway, I kind of started the book with that annoying mentality that I was being forced to read it, so I didn't completely love the first half of the book (though I have the sneaking suspicion that I would feel the same even if I had started it voluntarily). It was a lot of information and a little too much wordiness with the events. I started getting into it more in the second half, but it definitely wasn't ever to that really compelling point. It was actually pretty surprising, that I enjoyed the movie a good deal more than the book; the events were the same, but the movie made it more engaging. I think one of the hazards of the book is that it was pretty long, and that left a lot of risk to just be plodding along. Still, it turned out pretty good by the end. I would recommend reading it, but (and this is probably the only time I'm gonna suggest this) watching the movie either before, while you're reading it, or after you finish actually does help. I feel bad, but for someone who's not in the mood for absorbing the last 500 years of history and minute details of the story, it helps. You can find the book at Kettleson, KGH, BMS, SHS, MEHS, and all those other letters. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Standing on the fringes of life... offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

This was a really, really good book. The voice of Charlie was straightforward and plain, but surprisingly affecting. He has this outlook that we've all experienced, but maybe not known about it until you pick up this book and start to realize that you know exactly what he's talking about. There were some parts where the writing was so amazing that it just sets you into the head-space of the book, if you know what I mean. At the risk of sounding cheesy, it really can make you feel infinite. The characters were pronouncedly imperfect, in that lovely way that we all are. The book explored our motivations and insecurities, and wasn't afraid to go into the issues that are important to us all. Now, I'll warn you that there are some awkward subjects here and there throughout the book. The voice of Charlie sets everything out so plainly, that it sets you at risk of being a little uncomfortable occasionally. The upside of his narrative of those situations is that he has this almost unassuming type of innocence that softens the situations a bit. I'd set it at an upper-level high school book or above. Anyway, if you think you'd be okay with some mature situations, I'd really recommend reading this book. It's amazingly powerful and real. It's at Mt. Edgecumbe, give it a try!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan

All you have to know now it that a camera is like your eye. To focus, keep one eye closed while you're looking with the other. It brings everything closer....You can hide behind a camera.
It's 1962 and the heat of Jackson, Mississippi, holds more than a potential romance with the wrong kind of boy for fourteen-year-old Sam. There's also the hand-me-down dresses and bobby socks from cousin Tine. There's the gift from her mother's new friend, Perry--a black Asahi Pentax camera. There's their stoic maid, Willa Mae. There are lunch counter sit-ins and black voter registration drives that turn violent.
In a world that sees only in black and white, this is the year Sam learns to use her camera to look for the shades of gray.
I don't usually read historical fiction, but I'm so glad I took this exception. It was short and, maybe sweet's not the word, but it was impacting anyway. It was set in that struggling, agonizing limbo when times are trying to change and people aren't. The themes made it really compelling and let you get completely immersed in the sad truth of the time. I liked the characters--they weren't especially charismatic at first, but they really started to grow on me and by the end of the book I was rooting for them. The book isn't one of those ones where everybody ends up happy-go-lucky in the end and skips into the sunset, but it was achingly realistic and very eye-opening and well-written. It's really worth it to read it; I definitely recommend. It's at Kettleson, you should really try it out.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten

Nina was beautiful, artistic, wild...and adored by her younger sister, Ellie. But one day, without any warning, Nina disappeared.
Two years later, Ellie can't stop thinking about her sister. Although everyone else has given up hope that Nina will return, Ellie just knows her sister is out there, somewhere. If only Ellie had a clue where to look.
And then she gets one, in the form of a mysterious drawing tucked into the pages of a book. Determined to find her sister, Ellie takes off on a crazy, sexy, cross-country road trip with the only person who believes she's got a chance--her hot, adventurous new crush.
Along the way, Ellie finds a few things she wasn't planning on. Like love. Mysteries. Lies. And something far more shocking...the truth.
This was an unexpectedly good book. When I picked it up I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised the whole way through, because it was actually really good. It was full of twists and turns, and I'll give great props to the author for keeping me in suspense and for plot twists that I didn't see coming. The characters were funny at times and interesting and complex and magnetic. I could easily find myself reading this again (after I've forgotten the twists, that is). It was a perfect mix of a suspenseful mystery and one of those road trip novels. I highly recommend. You can find it at Kettleson. Warning: high school maturity level or above.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

You can't stop the future. 
You can't rewind the past. 
The only way to learn the to press play.
Clay Jensen doesn't want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hannah is dead. Her secrets should be buried with her. 
Then Hannah's voice tells Clay that his name is on her tapes--and that he is, in some way, responsible for her death. 
All through the night, Clay keeps listening. He follows Hannah's recorded words throughout his small town...
....and what he discovers changes his life forever.

So, I read this book ages ago and it was absolutely amazing. It was just as good the second time around. It wasn't a suspense novel per se, but there was this gripping quality that it had that made it impossible to put down. The entire book was absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking. The story's kind of told through two perspectives, seeing as how Hannah's story is being told about half the time and it also switches back to Clay's reactions. I think that's what made it different from any other suicide-type book. The characters were incredibly dimensional and imperfect (as all we humans are). The settings were detail-oriented, without being overly explanatory.The author managed to create a stellar image of each place--without describing it word-for-word, which left your mind to fill in exactly what it needed to. The themes centered very much around action and reaction, about how easily the things we do and say can have an effect on another person. It was very introspective, and I have a really hard time believing this is a first novel because it was written so well. I could easily see this becoming a classic, the kind of book that everyone would need to read. It's over at Kettleson, and also comes in audio form. Y'know, if you're too lazy to turn the pages. :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.
But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

So, I read this book in the space of one evening, and it was amazing. This book was  really beautiful. It was kind of unconventional, but at the same time, very classic. I liked that it was originally an idea by Siobhan Dowd, which was then picked up by Patrick Ness after her untimely death from cancer. Both wonderful authors. The story was heartbreaking while also managing to weave a little dark humor here and there. Still, I swear it got me near/in tears about three times--and I don't cry easily. I have tear ducts of steel. Anyway, this book managed to disregard that. Just the wording and handling of the issue of cancer was unlike any other book I've read. And the book wasn't just about that, either. There were so many nuances and underlying issues and things to think about. I was kind of shell-shocked by the time I actually finished it. The story, paired with haunting images scattered throughout the book, made for a truly incredible book. I recommend this to anybody and think you're severely missing out if you don't check it out. It's at Kettleson and Mt. Edgecumbe.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.
Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.
But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.
Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong. 
In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

This was a fair first novel, I think. It didn't have the huge success of Thirteen Reasons Why, but I quite enjoyed it all the same. While the general premise (apocalypse-type disasters, et cetera) was nothing new, I've never seen it told from this specific point of view (think like a more civilized Lord of the Flies). Also, even though the book spent the majority of the time in one setting, it never really got boring. There were always new issues or events. A post-apocalyptic soap opera, ish. The main character wasn't super three-dimensional, nor were most of the characters, but I liked the events and plotlines enough to still be satisfied with the book. It had an interesting mix of events; some parts were mature, some parts were sweet, some parts were weird, and some parts were suspenseful. Like I said: soap opera. All in all, it was a good book that I would probably read again if I come across it in the distant future. So: if you like dramas and/or post-apocalypse stories, give this one a try. It might just surprise you. Anyway, it's on order at Kettleson, so keep an eye out for it.
P.S. (I'm really sorry this is late. My life's a cross between a marathon and a chinese fire drill right now).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Anahita's Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayres

What would you do if you were promised in marriage to someone you disliked? For Anahita, a nomadic weaver living in Iran in the 19th century, the answer is a riddle--literally.
When she learns that her father wants her to wed the leader of their tribe, a man she finds repulsive, Anahita becomes determined to have a hand in her own fate. She devises a contest, in which suitors must guess the meaning of a riddle woven into her wedding carpet. Her idea has unexpected consequences for those around her, and draws the attention of an extraordinary group of men, including a diplomat, a schoolteacher, a shepherd, and a prince. Who will match Anahita in this game of wits? Or, more important, win her heart?
This whole book was a treat. It took a little bit longer to read as a book of its size (300-plus pages) than usual, but it wasn't necessarily slow; it was very rich with details about Persian culture and offset very nicely with elements of poetry from that area and time period. Anahita was likable and, even with the culture and time gap, relatable. I loved that it focused on the country in a time where women were starting to reach out for more freedom. The perspective shifted enough to get a nicely well-rounded view of the country and its situation, as well as the suitors. Each character--even the minor ones--was enormously unique and charismatic. Well, except for the ones that were deliberately written to be jerks. Anyway, if you're at all interested in Middle Eastern cultures, I couldn't recommend it more. A beautifully written book, all around. It's at Kettleson and Sitka High.
(By the way, now that school's started, I'm going to be updating on the weekends from now on. Just FYI).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Daughter of the Flames by Zoë Marriott

Yeah, I know, my updates are pretty random. I'm working on it, sorry. Anyway...
Zahira is a young woman of the conquered Rua people, their country occupied by another, very different culture - the Sedorne. Zahira is an orphan and has been raised to despise and distrust the occupying population, as well as to be a devout follower of the native religion. But everything changes for Zahira when her home and foster family are destroyed and she finds out some shocking truths about her heritage and real family. Realizing that it is up to her to do something about the violence and upheaval that are tearing her country apart, she must learn to accept her Sedorne origins and try to bridge the gap between the warring cultures. But when her own people suspect her of treachery for her ideas - especially after she saves the life of a Sedorne nobleman and begins to fall in love - the epic task ahead of her seems insurmountable...
I think this book is pretty underrated. I don't know anyone who's read it, and it seems to kind of fly under the radar. I really liked it, though. It has a Graceling-esque feel to it, combined with The Girl of Fire and Thorns. There's a review of both in the archives somewhere if you haven't read them. Now, I can't give it equal status to Graceling, because Graceling's just that good, but I can say that it was a very good book and I would happily read it again. It has that somewhere-in-Asia, timelessly old feel that sometimes comes with a fantasy novel, and the visuals are excellent. Religion plays a fair part in this, but it fits right into the setting and characters. As a pretty nonreligious person, I can tell you that it didn't detract from the book at all; quite the opposite, it helped shape the main character and enriched the story. The supporting characters were charismatic, though they could have been a tad more developed. I would certainly recommend reading this, there's a copy at Kettleson.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Yaay! The blog got a makeover! What do you think of the new look? Good? Bad? Just tell me if it burns your retinas or something and I'll change it. Annywaaay...
All sixteen-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school--and life in general--with a minimum of effort. It's not a lot to ask. But that's before he's given some bad news: he's sick and he's going to die. Which totally sucks.
Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure--if he's willing to go in search of it. With the help of Gonzo, a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf, and a yard gnome who just might be the Viking god Balder, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America of smoothie-drinking happiness cults, parallel-universe-hopping physicists, mythic New Orleans jazz musicians, whacked-out television game shows, snow-globe vigilantes, and disenfranchised, fame-hungry teens into the heart of what matters most.
From New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray comes a dark comedic journey that poses the questions: Why are we here? What is real? What makes microwave popcorn so good? Why must we die? And how do we really learn to live?
So, yeah. It's about a guy who gets mad cow disease, and goes on this adventure to find a cure. Let me first start off by saying something: this book is unlike any I've ever read. Which is a good thing (I think). I kind of had to stop periodically and think "What the hell am I reading?" (excuse the mild language). That said, though, I quite enjoyed it. The weird, crazy, and twisted plotline and characters made me wonder about the mental health of the author, while making me laugh all the way through. It would be easy to write it off as just some crazy book, but submerged in the off-the-wall story were some thought-inducing questions. It was a little bit touching sometimes, in its own strange way. Anyway, I think Going Bovine works best if you've got an open mind, and don't mind a little craziness. This book definitely isn't for the faint of heart (or mind). Now, if you fit that description, I suggest you go try it out. (And remember, I'm not responsible for any damage to your sanity that may occur). It's over at Mt. Edgecumbe and Kettleson, and it also comes in audio form. Fancy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Okay, guys, I'm trying out a new format. Hopefully, it should be simpler: Just the official summary and then more of my thoughts about the book. 
Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder's brain interface has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it "a matter of national security," but Cinder suspects it's more serious than he's letting on.
Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder's intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that's been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter's illness, Cinder's stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an "honor" that no one has survived.
But it doesn't take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.
Okay, first of all, this book is part of a series. I liked it, but not quite enough to go rushing out and get the next one. Despite the interesting plot idea, it didn't quite hook me in. It felt like it was written by a fairly new writer; I wasn't even able to get a good mental image of the main character until I was more than halfway through the book--don't even get me started on the supporting characters. I also have to say that the flow of the story was just a little bit disjointed. What I will praise, though, is the author's creativity. The story diverged completely from the original Cinderella story--it brought in political elements as well as romantic ones, and was set in an interesting futuristic era. Overall, my impression of Cinder was good, but not great. You should judge it for yourself: it's at Kettleson.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Whoooo! More Contests and Events!

'Kay, I got two new events to tell you about, which I thought warranted a post. The first one:
It's an online contest for Teen Read Week. Basically, here's what you do: read any book and create a piece of art inspired or based on the story. There are no boundaries: it can be photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, manga, anything. The submission date is September 30th; to read the full details, click here. I think it's totally worth doing--and this is coming from the girl who has barely any artistic talent. If I can do it, so can you. If you are one of those people who's amazingly artistic, then I'm jealous and you have absolutely no reason not to enter. Plus, there's like, prizes and stuff. Who doesn't love prizes?

Now, the next thing is that the library's looking for volunteers to help out at the library on Friday, August 24th from 7 to 8 PM. There's a kid's event going on where they leave their stuffed animals overnight for a "sleepover." When the kids leave, the teens *pointed stare* will help the animals come alive by posing them and taking pictures of them doing activities after-hours. The kids pick up their animals and pictures the next day. 
So, c'mon. If you have a free hour that day, come and help. There's gonna be pizzzaaa! *fans yummy pizza smell toward you*. Cue Smokey Bear impression: Only YOU... can help out at your local library.
Oh, and all this is in the sidebar, too, so if you feel the need to read about it again or something you can look there. Okay. Now that you've endured my immense weirdness, scroll down to this week's review!

Oh. My. Gods.

Haha. Yeah, this book is pretty much as superficial as the cover makes it out to be. That didn't make it any less entertaining, though. I read it in a day, and didn't regret a single page. It's one of those guilty pleasure books, the ones that you're embarrassed to read in public but would happily read again. It was a nice light change from last week's book. Here's Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs.
Phoebe's life is right on track--literally. One of the best runners on her Southern Californian track team, she's thisclose to getting a track scholarship to USC and attending with her two best friends.Then, the bomb drops. Her mom comes back from traveling with a new fiancé and one-way plane tickets to Greece. That's how, to Phoebe's horror, she ends up moving to Serfopoula, Greece: a tiny, secret island on the Aegan. To top it off, her new step-dad has some unexpected news: the Greek gods are real. The island is a safe haven for their descendants (also gifted with superpowers). Phoebe has to start attending the exclusive academy there--despite the fact that she's the only "normal" one going there. It seems that securing that track scholarship is her only hope of escaping the island, but training and maintaining grades will be tough. Her new stepsister's bent on making her life hell, and Phoebe may have found her Achilles' heel in a godlike guy who's almost as infuriating as he is cute. One thing's for sure: finding the will to win and take control of her life may be the toughest course yet.
So, it's cheesy but not too cheesy. I like the main character, and elements of the plot are familiar but done well. I would recommend it to any middle through high school girl. It's enjoyable and relatable (well, except for the Greek gods part. I mean, not that the Greek gods part isn't enjoyable, but it's not exactly relatable--unless you have some very interesting news for me 0_o. Okay, I'm just gonna shut up now). Kinda like junk food for your brain. It's at Kettleson.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Survival Kit

This is one of those books that centers around the death of a family member. Okay, let me just say that I don't usually tend to go for this type of book. It's not that I'm insensitive or anything, it's just that I don't particularly enjoy the slow plot and heavy mood. This one, despite being that topic, was so much better than I expected. I really liked it. So, give it a try: The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas. 
To an outsider, Rose Madison has it all: she's a beautiful cheerleader, dating the quarterback of the football team. Recently, though, her mother has died of cancer and those other things ceased to be important. Her only lifeline to cling to is the survival kit from her mother that she found after the funeral. Inside is:
-an iPod
-a picture of peonies
-a crystal heart
-a silver construction paper star
-a box of crayons
-a tiny handmade kite
The kit goes unopened for the first few months; the memories are too painful and Rose can't think about anything except keeping her grieving family together. Eventually, though, the kit gets opened and she starts to puzzle the meaning and purpose behind each object. An unexpected source of comfort and help is Will Doniger: star player on the hockey team, the family's landscaper, and surprisingly the only one who can understand what she's going through. Can loss lead to love?
Okay, I may have stolen that last line from the book jacket. It's cheesy, I know, but accurate. Anyway, I liked The Survival Kit because it was sad but not stiflingly so, and didn't spend the whole book in a state of depression. It brought in light here and there, and occasional humor. The characters are really well fleshed out and the plotline is interesting and new. Like I said: I enjoyed it even though I don't usually like these types of books, so you should give it a try too. It might just surprise you. Go get it at Kettleson.
One last thing. Have you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? Well, this is right up your alley. There's going to be a zombie-apocalypse-themed event at the library this Friday. Check out the sidebar for more details. You should come, it'll be cool!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dreams of Significant Girls

Wow. This was a really cool book. It's kind of like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series--with three people--except a little more mature and condensed into one book. It got a little slow in the middle, but really picked up at the end. Anyway, I'll let you judge it for yourself; here's Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina García. Ta-daa!
In the summer of 1971, three very different girls are sent to a high-class Swiss boarding school (a summer camp for the rich--French classes, horse riding, cooking classes, etc.) for the summer months. Vivien's the daughter of a persecuted Cuban dignitary, escaping a summer of family troubles and estrangement. What she can't leave behind are her worries about her expanding waistline and self-consciousness. Shirin is an Iranian princess--and acts like it. Resenting being sent to the school by her parents to "socialize," she doesn't believe any of the girls will hold her interest. Ingrid has never been a rule-follower, relying on herself only and growing up way too fast. Sent as a last resort by her parents, she doesn't intend to make it a tame trip. 
When the three meet, they inexplicably take to one another. Through three summers and an odyssey of hi-jinks, failures, crushes, triumphs, tragedies, and revelations, they manage to change each other's lives. And find themselves in the process.
This book is awesome because it touches on such a big range of cultures and issues and experiences. I'm not going to say it was better than the Sisterhood series, but it was as good in a different way. It was almost rougher somehow, more intense and very moving. Highly recommended. (Noted: high school maturity level). It resides at Kettleson. Seriously, try it out.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Book of a Thousand Days

Okay, this is a book that works for practically any age. I could see younger kids liking it, and even as a high schooler I really enjoyed the book. Shannon Hale never disappoints. It's kind of like a twist on a fairytale, but takes it so much farther than that. A good book for a rainy day. Mkay, this is Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale.
Dashti is a maid to Lady Saren, a part of the royal family of a realm named Titor's Garden. When Lady Saren learns that she's being forced to marry a man she fears, she flatly refuses. In retaliation, her father locks her and Dashti in a tower to "teach her obedience." The tower is guarded by soldiers, and there is only a tiny flap open to the outside. As time passes, the food starts to run low and Saren withdraws into herself. They are visited often by suitors--one welcome, the other decidedly not. Saren orders Dashti to speak to them, even though it's a crime worthy of death to impersonate royalty. Dashti must play the role again and again in order to save them from both the tower and the dangers outside. She starts to learn how to take control of the situation in order to help her Lady and herself, and surprises herself with her talents. She begins to believe that even a lowly maid, can get a happy ending.

So yeah--it's kind of a fairytale but with a new perspective. I really liked the mentality of Dashti, who's one of those unlikely heroines you can't help but love. It's not one of those cotton-candy-and-twittering-birds type stories, which I like; too much happy just gets boring, y'know? The characters are very structured and unique, and most are instantly likable. I would recommend this to anyone.  Go give it a try at Kettleson, Blatchley, or Mt. Edgecumbe.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Shadowing: Hunted

Got a spooky story for you guys! Well, more of a supernatural story, but it's definitely suspenseful. It's kinda like a prequel. Ish. It sets up for the main event, which will probably come in a later book. Still, it was a fairly good read all by itself--very short, but good. And now: The Shadowing: Hunted by Adam Slater.
Ever since he was a child, Callum Scott knew he was different. He saw ghosts, though they never seemed to see him. They just went about their business, indiscernible from the living save for their translucence and style of dress. He learned to keep quiet about the whole thing, even to his mother who brought him up after his father left when he was small. When his mother died while Callum was still young, he searched in vain for her ghost. Somehow, though, the only ghosts he ever saw were strangers.
Now in eighth grade, Callum is living with his brusque grandmother in a small town. Things are starting to change, though. He's started to have visions of children being killed by a brutal and terrifying creature--and these visions are coming true. Determined to find out what the creature is, he warily enlists the help of others who know about the supernatural world. Together, they learn that the once-a-century occurrence--the Shadowing--is about to start, weakening the divide between the world of the living and the demon realm. The lone creature will be the least of their problems; demons are gathering anxiously at the barrier waiting to break through. Callum must figure out how he can use his power to stand against the demons--while trying to survive being hunted by the mysterious creature.
Okay, like I said, it's short but pretty intense. I easily read it in a sitting, unable to put it down. I'll be interested to read the next book in the series. I liked the book because, although it traveled a somewhat familiar path in plot, the imagery was very well done and the characters were unique and likable. Give it a try,  especially if you like supernatural books. It's at Kettleson.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod

Kay, so this week you get a vampire book. It's fairly good as far as vampire books go, though it's pretty stereotypical. Very quick read, too; it took me all of two hours to finish it. And without further ado... The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer.
Vladimir Tod, or Vlad,  is sick of being an eighth grader. Bullies harass him constantly for being the pale, "goth" kid, he is constantly being overshadowed by his more popular best friend, and the girl he likes seems to prefer the aforementioned friend more. To top it all off, he has to deal with nocturnal tendencies, sunblock, and strange cravings. Yep, Vlad's a vampire. Or, half-vampire, anyway. His mother was human and his father was a vampire. As far as he knows, he's the only half-vampire in existence. He lives with his aunt after his parents were killed in a freak accident a few years ago. Right now, all he's doing is trying to live as normal a life as possible. That plan's interrupted when one of his teachers goes missing and is replaced by a strange substitute, Mr.Otis. When Mr.Otis starts questioning him a little too closely, Vlad is worried his secret might just get out. That's not even the worst of his worries, though; someone is hunting and killing in his town and he's sure it's the work of a vampire. To top it all off, it seems the vampire is hunting him.
Soo, a short review for a short book. It's primary age range is middle school to low high school, and could work for a girl or guy. It was fairly funny, too, so I'd suggest reading it. It's really small, so ya got nothing to lose. It's over at Kettleson or Mt. Edgecumbe.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Okay, my first comment about this book is that it was very hyped up. There are blurbs all across the back from big authors, and a blurb on the front from Tamora Pierce (heehee... blurbs). These were my main motivation to read it, even though I wasn't quite sure about the description.
Rest assured, this book totally lived up to the hype. I was really glad I'd read it, and can't wait for the next book in this series. Here ya go, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.
Once every century, a person is chosen and destined to do a great service. Elisa is one of these chosen ones, marked at birth when a Godstone lodged itself in her navel--signifying that sometime in her life she would perform a heroic deed willed by God. 
But, as the younger of two sisters in the royal family of Orovalle, she can't imagine that she'll ever do anything special. Her perfect older sister is the one inheriting the crown, and she has no idea what lies in her future.Having been protected and sheltered all her life, she's not prepared when a political treaty causes her marriage to King Alejandro de Vega at sixteen. Now she's being sent off to be the queen of a nearby country, but she notices something is amiss. First, their caravan was attacked on their journey to her new husband's country, then when they arrive Alejandro wants to keep their marriage and her status as the bearer of the Godstone secret. Things are tense at his court, anticipating the threat of war on the horizon from the encroaching Invierne. Then, when Elisa is kidnapped in the dead of night, she finds herself swept up on a journey of terror, adventure, enlightenment, and unlikely courage. She learns that the war with Invierne is closer than they thought, and that she must step up to lead resistance against the brutal Inviernos. And, in the end, will she be able to perform her great Service? Or will she be killed in the process?
After all, most of the chosen do.
This is a very satisfying fantasy book. The main character is uniquely memorable, and is set apart from other regular fantasy heroines. The plot is very carefully crafted, and the settings are vivid. I was a little skeptical about this book in the first chapter, but stuck with it and was thoroughly rewarded. Very worth reading! Perfect for any age. Go check it out at Kettleson.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

City of Bones

Okay, I know there's a good chance that you've already read this one. Sadly, I've only just now gotten around to reading it. If you have read it, well obviously  you have no need for the review. If you haven't, well that's what I'm here to convince you to do. Believe me, it's well worth it. It's definitely going to be added to my collection. Anyway, here's City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.
When fifteen-year-old Clary witnesses a murder by three tattooed teenagers in a nightclub one night in New York City, she thinks about calling the police. The only problem is, the body immediately disappears into thin air and no one can see the teenagers except her. Strange? I think yes. Things get even stranger--and scarier--when she goes home to find her mother missing and a horrific demon ransacking the place. Terrified and seeking answers, she encounters Jace-- a Shadowhunter, and one of the killers from the club. Legend says that the first Shadowhunters were born from the mixed blood of angels and men, and were born to fight the demons who threatened to wreak havoc on the earth. That's what they've always done. Anyway, Jace introduces her to others like him, and the world of the Shadowhunters. Unknown to humans, faeries inhabit Central Park, werewolves prowl the streets, and vampires ride demonically-powered motorbikes. Over this comes a threat to plunge this into chaos: Valentine, a radical shunned Shadowhunter who has his own plans for the world. Clary must learn how she fits into this new world, and how she can help stop Valentine before it's too late.
This is such a good book! It's really funny, has very complex characters, and made you want to never put it down. And even though the review might have made it sound a little cheesy, it's really not. VERY well written and interesting, and it's worth it for any age to read. I would recommend it to girls and boys alike. It's at Kettleson, Mt. Edgecumbe, and SHS, although I don't know if those last two are open. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to immerse myself in the second book of the series.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Okay, sorry. I just had to get that out of the way 'cuz school's over. Now that I have three blissfully free months to do whatever the heck I want, you'll probably be getting updates earlier in the week. 'Specially when it's a really good book. Take this one, for example: started out slow but got to the point where I couldn't put it down. It was unique because it was full of photos to complement the words. Even cooler, though, is that it says all of those were pictures were compiled by the author and are real. Once you read the book, you'll see why that's cool. Mmmkay, here's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
When Jacob was little, his grandfather would tell him wild stories of his youth--including hideous monsters and a secluded orphanage in which he said he had grown up. He spun tales of the children living there, telling about a levitating girl, a boy with bees in his stomach, a fire-holding child,  an invisible boy, and many others. Jacob believed these fantasies when he was little, but as he grew up he began to see them as simply fairy tales. All this changed when he's sixteen.
His grandfather had become seemingly more and more paranoid and senile, firmly sticking to his story of the orphanage and believing monsters were hunting him. When Jacob goes to check on him one day, however, he finds his grandfather attacked and dying and sees one of the "mythical" monsters himself. Shaken and needing answers, he travels to Europe where the orphanage supposedly was. When he gets there, it seems that the orphanage has long been abandoned. As Jacob explores its disused hallways, he finds more evidence that the peculiar children lived there, and also that their world was filled with more danger and mystery than seemed possible. On top of all of this, he finds--impossible though it seems-- that they may be still alive.
Yep. This is a really unique book, and I highly recommend reading it. It's amazing how the author was able to compile all those photos, and fit them into the book; it's really seamless. The writing keeps you guessing, and conceals some interesting surprises along the way. I would say it's an upper middle school to high school range of book. So, please? Go down to Kettleson or Mt. Edgecumbe? C'mon, it's summer! Ya got nothing better to do!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Michael Vey

Wow, things are picking up! I had a few classes that are doing exactly nothing right now, so I get some quality time to read. Okay, this was a fair book. Maybe it's just not my style, or maybe it was the writing, but I didn't  quite love it. I think it's better suited for more middle-school audiences. The concept wasn't bad, though; it just wasn't to my interest. There are probably many other people who would really like it. Kay, I'll let you decide for yourself: here's Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans.
Michael is one of those kids who's just a bully magnet. He's short, not very popular, and has a syndrome called Tourette's that makes him blink a lot when he gets nervous. For his whole life he's been moved from school to school and picked on, and he hates it because he knows he could stop the bullying. See, Michael is different; he, for some reason, has electricity in his body. He can surge (shock people) at will-- and I mean serious, major shocks. Not static electricity stuff. So, he could get the bullies to stop but he can't for fear of exposing his power.
Finally, he snaps. Not caring that there are consequences, and not caring that a cheerleader was watching, too, he surges to get a group off of him. The bullies are scared off, and the cheerleader--Taylor-- gets immensely interested. Turns out she has electrical powers, too; she can "reboot" someone's mind and cause confusion. They get together to try and find out more about their powers, and learn that there are more of them out there being hunted down by a corporation. Things come to a head when Taylor gets taken by the corporation. Michael sets off to find her, bringing along his braniac of a best friend and, surprisingly, two former bullies whose help he needs. Will they be able to rescue Taylor? More importantly, what will it cost them?
Mhmm. So, if it looked interesting to you, great! There were some excellent visuals and scenarios, and some good dialogue. It's not such a bad book, I guess it just didn't appeal to me. Yeah, don't let my opinion stop you from reading it-- you never know what could appeal to you. So, with that shpiel out of the way: it's at Kettleson if you want to try it out.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

(I know, you're shocked that I uploaded a review this early. Cherish it, cause it's a rare event). Warning: this book may cause excessive raving, rambling, and commendation about how good said book is. You were warned. I think I've caught the symptoms, so you'll probably have to be subjected to at least a little before this review is over. Here's a testament to it's greatness: the thing's four hundred pages long and I finished it in like three days. While I was super-busy. That, my friends, is the sign of a good book. Kay, I'll just save the high praise for after the review so you can get on to reading about Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.
Meet Karou. By day, she's a normal art student in Prague. Or well, not normal exactly- even her best friend doesn't know anything about her family, she's had two eyes tattooed on her palms for as long a she can remember, and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that way. Her real life, though, is even weirder. She runs errands for Brimstone, a creature with human arms and torso, a lion's haunches, raptor's feet, and a ram's head. He is a chimaera and also her surrogate family. He, along with three other chimaera, had raised Karou from birth firmly but kindly. Now that she's seventeen, her job is to pick up packages of teeth from Brimstone's many suppliers. She's never known what the teeth are for, but not for lack of trying. Brimstone isn't big on answering questions.
Elsewhere, a seraphim (angel-like being) named Akiva carries out his duties. He and his kind are taking new measures to try and win an otherworldly waragainst the chimaera. Unknown to Karou, chimaera and seraphim have been locked in an endless struggle in another world for eons, and Brimstone is a key part of the chimaera's resources. When Akiva and Karou meet unexpectedly one night, everything goes south. All connections between the two worlds are severed, leaving Karou alone without her "family." She must try to find a way back between the worlds while trying to find out who she is and dealing with Akiva. What she uncovers will shake her to her core.
Ooh, that was a bit long. Sorry if it was a bit confusing, but it's the kind of book where you just have to read it to get it. To really explain it would take several pages. ANYWAY, this book had some familiar elements that I'd seen in other books, but also had a great deal of imagination and incredibly complex storytelling. It completely hooks you and pieces together a story that, bit by bit, makes for a really interesting ride. The characters are very unique and complex. Oh, and the age-range is anyone in high school. So. Are you in high school? Yes? Good. Toddle on over to Kettleson or Mt. Edgecumbe and ask for this book.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

Hmm. This week's book was different. It was pretty short (that's why you're getting it early. That, and I had nothing to do in math) and was very fast-paced. I don't really know what to say about it other than it had something that made it different. Maybe it was the writing style, or the characters, because I don't quite think it was the plot. Not that the plot wasn't good, it just wasn't completely new. Anyway, I'll ponder that while you read the review of Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber.
Perry. What to say about Perry? He's not really that interesting. Lives on the outskirts of NYC, with a preteen little sister, a frazzled mom, and an overbearing father who's bent on getting him into his prestigious law firm. Stresses over college apps, and still hasn't forgiven his father for almost-cheating on his mother. Then, though he doesn't realize it at the time, his life is irrevocably altered; a foreign exchange student (from Lithuania, of all places) named Gobi comes to stay with them. For the majority of her stay, she's pretty boring: doesn't come out of her room a lot, wears insanely baggy clothes, and generally doesn't talk much. Perry doesn't usually get much reason to notice her (and she him), which is why he's horrified to learn at the end of the year that she wants to go to prom with him. He figures the night is going to be a disaster- and doesn't realize how right he is. Turns out, Gobi isn't exactly who she says she is. Um, she may or may not be on a mission to eliminate five targets by dawn, and chose prom night to do it because that's when they would all be in NYC..... awkward situation. Before Perry knows it, he's been roped into a crazy scheme that will take them uptown, downtown, into high rises, basements, and even through a bear fight or twowhich may be the weirdest near-death situation he's ever been in with a stunningly beautiful girl. Whether he likes it or not, the night is going to be unforgettable.
Yep! Really fast-paced, like I said, and very crazy. It's not completely comedy, though; it's kinda twisted at times and is often serious with just an edge of cheekiness. It shares a good deal of similarities with Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. It's weird, but I think I like it. Oh, and a public service announcement: themes and maturity levels are okay for high schoolers, but not much younger. Just keep that in mind. Ooookay, it resides at Kettleson, so try it out!