Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Kayla Chronicles

A change in scenery for you all! Or genre at least. This is a nice quick read, and it's a girl book (just so you know). I mean, if you're a guy who likes dance teams, best friend fights, and feminism, then go right ahead. (Excuse me while I give you a weird look). Kidding, I'm cool with it. I'm pretty used to weird, hanging around my friends. Okay, I'm semi-rambling. I'm pretty sure I do that on a weekly basis, but if you've stuck with me this long you must be used to it. Anyway, here's The Kayla Chronicles by Sherri Winston.
Kayla is a budding journalist and feminist in high school. She's African American, with a mop of frizzy hair and a flat chest. She has a best friend named Rosalie who is even more relentless about feminism than she is, a well-meaning but clueless mother, a sexist dad, and a sister who's the opposite of a feminist. Under Rosalie's insistence, she tries out for the Lady Lions Dance Team. The Lady Lions are very prestigious, and all the girls on the team are, let's say, blessed in the chest area. Rosalie's idea is to have Kayla try out, and since Kayla's a good dancer, the only reason they'll turn her down is because of her proportions. The whole game changes when Kayla actually makes the team. Suddenly Rosalie starts acting different, and Kayla begins to doubt her cause and herself. Will Kayla make it through the ordeal with her conviction, and her best friend, intact?
Sooo... yeah. It's a good book, and as I said earlier, a short read. Age range might be upper middle school to lower high school. I'm not going to completely rave, 'cause I think it was a bit young for me, but it's definitely recommendable. You can get it at Kettleson. 
P.S. Good news! I reviewed Divergent a while back, and Kettleson now has it! So, you have absolutely no excuse for not reading it now. It's on the display-cabinet-thingy that you see right after you walk in. *Sends more convincing telepathic messages*

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Yep, it's another vampire book. Before you go getting any wrong ideas, let me just make it clear that I am VEHEMENTLY anti-Twilight (another big word. I'm proud of myself). Just 'cause I like some vampire books doesn't mean that I like all of them. Especially not the ones that brought the biggest setback in feminism since the invention of the sandwich *cough*Bella Swan*cough**cough*. If you're a Twilight fan, sorry. I'll try to keep my rants to a minimum. Okay, getting back to the review, let me introduce you to an awesomely a**-kicking girl by the name of Zoey. Here is.... Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast!
Marked seems like it's set in the modern world, with one difference: in the book the presence of vampyres is known worldwide. They tend not to be accepted by society, but many - due to their enhanced skills - are prominent figures in the arts and other fields. How the process works is this: a person is Marked by a Tracker when they are a teenager, which means that a hollow crescent tattoo appears on their forehead and they become a fledgling. They have to go live and study at the closest House of Night, which is basically a vampyre school. There, they learn about how to use their abilities and continue school until they're an adult. Eventually they'll Change into a full vampyre, which is when the crescent tattoo gets filled in.
Zoey Montgomery is a normal girl living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. You know, she has a motormouth of a best friend, a boyfriend-who-used-to-be-sweet-but-was-dumped-because-he-turned-into-a-frat-boy, a slimy pastor stepfather who thinks she's the devil, and an oblivious "mother" who doesn't notice anything except the rules that said Step-Loser instates. Everything changes the day she is Marked. Only, one thing is different about Zoey's Marking. Shortly after being marked, she gets a vision from Nyx - the goddess of night and basically the patron of all vampyres - who tells her that she has a special path to walk and that she is different than other fledglings. Still shaken by this, Zoey enters the House of Night in Tulsa where she is taken in by Neferet, the equivalent of a high school principal (but a lot more powerful and nicer). She meets a charmingly weird group of friends, including Stevie Rae (the sweetest country girl you could ever find ), Damien (who has an extensive vocabulary and clothing collection. Yep, he's gay), and Shaunee and Erin (who are twins in every sense of the word except genetics). Her only problem comes in the form of Aphrodite, who seems determined to make her as UNwelcome as possible. And she might be more sinister than she seems.
Yeah, I'm completely aware that last line was really cheesy. High school writer here, remember? If you've already read the book and are appalled by my reviewing skills, then sorry. But if you are one of those people, what are you doing reading the review? Anyway, excuse me while I rave about this book. I read it at the beginning of the week, and promptly went and read the next two in the series. I'm currently on number four, and am still hooked. They're really funny, well-written, and compelling. I would recommend this to any high schooler, but they're probably not for middle school age. So, it'll be at SHS tomorrow (hint, hint) and you can also get it at Kettleson and Mt. Edgecumbe. *sends telepathic messages to you telling you to check it out*

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Hello, everyone! Soo, this week's book is definitely a girl's kind of book. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I don't really tend to go for older books when I'm picking out new reading material, but this one was recommended to me and I had to try it. I really loved it! Some of you may know it because it was made into a movie (which in my opinion turned out almost as good as the book). Still, I always suggest reading the book before watching the movie. Sooo, yeah. Really awesome book. Here it is, the review for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares.
Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget (nicknamed Bee) are four sophomores who couldn't be more different. Tibby is the cynical, sarcastic rebel who has a soft spot for her friends. Lena is the painfully shy Greek beauty who gets immersed in her art. Carmen is the full-figured Puerto Rican girl with a quick temper but a huge heart. Bridget is the athletic, outgoing girl who is always fearless. The four of them have been inseparable practically since birth. The coming summer is going to be their first summer apart, and surprisingly, reassurance comes in the form of a pair of pants picked up at a thrift store. The girls are amazed to see that the pants fit and look great on every single one of them, even though each has a different body shape. They take it as a sign, of sorts. Through the summer, the Traveling Pants will be passed around between the friends along with letters. Lena goes to Greece to stay with her grandmother, and over the course of the summer finds a love interest, sort of. A chain of events starts, causing her to doubt herself. Carmen travels to South Carolina to visit her dad, who had gotten a divorce with her mom when she was little. When she gets there, though, she gets a nasty surprise and her temper comes out. Bee goes to a summer soccer camp in Baja, breaking rules and breaking hearts along the way. The only problem is, one of those hearts may be her own. Tibby stays put, working a terrible job at a supermarket and filming a "suckumentary," as she calls it, about the supposed losers in her town. Soon, she makes an unforgettable unexpected friend who changes the way she looks at the world. Every girl has a different experience, but in the end the Pants keep them connected.
Wow, that was a long summary. I probably didn't totally do the book justice, because it's really funny, engaging, and poignant (haha! I can use big words!). I super-highly suggest reading it. It's good for anyone in 7th to 11th grade. Pick it up at Kettleson, Sitka High, or Mt. Edgecumbe.
P.S. There are three more books in the series, too, so if you like the first one you should try the others. They're really good too!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Unwanteds

Kay, since I don't have dance class today I can upload a review a little early. The early review is also due to the fact that I read the book in like four hours from 10 pm to 2 am yesterday. Seriously, it's that good. The review says it's a cross between the Hunger Games and Harry Potter, and I agree wholeheartedly. I'll gush about it more later, so here's a review of The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. Lights... Camera... Action!
The book takes place in Quill, the most boring, drab, and brainless place you can imagine. Creativity is tabooed (I love that word. I always imagine it being said in the voice of a huge dopey-looking cartoon dog. I have no idea why), so dancing and singing are infractions. Infractions can be given on other things, too, like drawing a square in the dirt (or-God forbid- a rhombus). Every year, all the thirteen-year-olds are gathered together and separated into groups. Wanteds are the model citizen ones, who have never had an infraction in their life, and they go on to the University. Necessaries squeak by with maybe one infraction, and end up doing random labor jobs. Unwanteds are those who have had a couple infractions, and they are sent to be eliminated (which is a nice way of saying killed).
Alex has just been declared Unwanted. It isn't a surprise, but he has to be separated from his twin Aaron (a Wanted). However, when he and his fellow Unwanteds reach the execution place on the outside of town, they find an amazing sight. Unknown to Quill, the "eliminator" Mr. Today has been taking Unwanteds into a hidden world called Artime. Artime is the polar opposite of Quill, in which everything is colorful and fantastical. Creatures such as rabbitkeys, beavops, squirrelicorns, and owlbats live in the jungle. Magic is freely taught, through mediums like art, drama, dancing, and singing. Alex, excelling at art, makes friends with Meghan (who likes music) and Lani (who's good at writing). They are truly happy for the first time in a long time. However, their troubles aren't all over: the worry that Quill will discover their presence still lurks on the horizon.
Ahhh-maaa-zing book. Really. I probably should have made the review shorter, but I just couldn't explain it in a short paragraph. I also want to mention that the book is good for audiences in middle school, too. If you're a high schooler, I would say the age range might be freshman to sophomore. So, even though the age range seemed a smidge low for my usual tastes, I really loved the book. Lisa McMann has an excellent imagination, and managed to create a world that's similar to Harry Potter. Before I slip into a shpiel (however you spell that) about how good the book is, I'm just going to say it's at Kettleson and you should get it. I'm not above threatening your first born child, you know. Well, I probably couldn't, but don't let my lack of meanness stop you from getting the book!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Vampire Academy

Hey! Hope everybody had a good christmas; I got the usual medley of clothes, earrings, and books of course. They know me so well. I also got several pairs of socks with multicolored aliens on them, which are pretty freaking awesome if I do say so myself. Okay, enough about me. This week's review is on Vampire Academy by Rachel Meade. I'm sure some of you have read the series, so I just want to enlighten the ones who haven't. And now, for your reading pleasure, a review written on my dad's laptop during my parents' incredibly boring New Year's Eve party (joy).
Vampire Academy is in modern day, in a world where humans don't know of a huge vampire society existing tenuously alongside theirs. The vampires live alone in cities, under the radar, or in large groups in places humans don't notice. There are three "types," kind of. 
Moroi are the original type. They need blood to live, but most are humane (taking it from donors and whatnot. Also, unlike Twilight *shudder*, they can't drink animal blood). Sunlight doesn't hurt them, but it's annoying. All Moroi specialize in an element: fire, earth, air, or water. 
Dhampirs are half human, half Moroi. They don't need blood and aren't bothered by the sunlight, but are stronger and have better reflexes than humans. Because of this, Dhampirs make ideal protectors of the Moroi.
Strigoi are the nasty ones, the stereotype of vampires. They used to be Moroi but became Strigoi through a nasty process (don't ask). They have no morals or conscience, burn in the sun, and can only be killed with a stake through the heart.
Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, best friends with a Moroi named Lissa. After being on the run from St. Vladimir's Academy for a reason unknown to the reader, they are found and sent back to the academy. There, Rose has to struggle with figuring out a supernatural bond between her and Lissa, and continue protecting her from whatever they were running from. On top of that, she begins to fall for Dimitri, the Dhampir who was responsible for catching them and bringing them back to the academy. What's a girl to do?
Before you say anything (or I guess think it, because that would be weird to talk to your computer), I know that last line was incredibly cheesy. And yes, the review isn't the best one I've done, but give me a break. I'm sleep deprived. So, I really like this series (I think there are four or so after this one) and definitely think you should give it a chance. The books do a good job of keeping you hooked, and the characters (especially Rose) are funny and bold. Give it a try! Get a copy at Kettleson or Mt. Edgecumbe.
Aww, this will be my last post of 2011. *Sniff*. Nostalgia.