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!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Okay. Now that the complete and utter craziness of my life is temporarily put on pause, I can find time to write this review. This is one of those books that you always hear about, so I decided that it was high time I read it. Now, in advance: let me tell you that I'm not a huge science fiction reader. I'll occasionally read it in the JT section, but this was my first trip into the science fiction section at Kettleson. To my slight surprise, I really liked the book! So, if you're a bit skeptical about science fiction, keep that in mind; you may turn out to enjoy it. Kay. Got your open mind ready? Here's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
Meet Arthur Dent. For all intents and purposes, he's a normal human being. However, his whole world gets turned on its head one day when he's snatched off planet Earth by his friend Ford Prefectseconds before Earth is demolished to make a shiny new intergalactic freeway. Turns out, Ford Prefect isn't actually an out-of-work actor, as he claimed to be. He's a humanoid life form from near Betelgeuse who has been doing research for a revised edition of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (a guide book that can help you get wherever you need to go in the galaxy- and that advises you that a towel is "the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have"). Ford, with an extremely baffled Arthur in tow, sets off through the galaxy. On the way, we meet Zaphod Beeblebrox- the two-headed, ex-hippie, off the wall, President of the Galaxy; Trillian- his girlfriend; and Marvin- the highly-advanced robot who happens to be clinically depressed. When Ford and Arthur get sucked into Zaphod's harebrained scheme to take a stolen starship and go look for a planet that supposedly doesn't exist, things really get weird. What happens next involves a bowl of petunias, some very bad poetry, two white mice, and a very surprised sperm whale. Welcome to the galaxy!
So, I'll say it again: even if you don't usually like science fiction, give this one a try.It works for any age group and is a really remarkable book; almost not so much a SF book as just a book poking fun at anything and everything. It's really funny, has a lot of subtle jokes as well as obvious ones, and is definitely something I'll be reading again. Try it. I dare you! I double-dog-dare you! Aha, can't back out of that one, can you? Go get it at Kettleson, SHS, Blatchley, or Mt. Edgecumbe.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Oooooo, this was one of those really good, but weird, bookskinda like that strange friend that we all have: different than anything else, but your life would be so boring without it. It was kinda along the lines of Storm Thief and Unwind in the terms of crazy scenarios, loads of imagination, and phenomenal storytelling. (Incidentally, all three of these books were recommended by my ever-wise best friend. She may or may not be the strange friend I was referring to up there). Okay, I'll stop filling your ears erm, eyes, I guesswith random chatter. Let's go straight to the review of Everlost by Neal Shusterman.
Nick and Allie, fourteen, both happened to be sitting in cars that got into a head-on collisionsending Allie and Nick through their separate windshields and traveling toward a light (y'know, the tunnel theory?). Only, something goes wrong: they get off course and crash through the side of the tunnel. When they wake up, they're most definitely not in heaven (or hell). Thanks to information given by a boy they meet, they learn that they're in Everlost. It's an in-between world, a shadow of the living world but filled with people and things who, for lack of a better phrase, didn't get where they were supposed to be going. These "afterlights" can see the living world but not interact with it- even the ground. If they stay still too long, they'll sink down through it. Here, where no one is over sixteen, a girl called Mary has proclaimed herself to be the queen of lost kids, taking in anyone she can find. Nick takes instantly to her, while Allie has a lot of reservations. She isn't content to just make a home in Everlost; she wants to find a way either onward or back to the living world. This sets her on a mission to dangerous territory of Everlost, learning the "criminal art" of haunting and encountering the dangerous and legendary McGillthe monster who threatens every soul in Everlost. Soon Nick gets dragged into it as he tries to help her, and things escalate from there. When it's all over, shocking things will be revealed about Mary, the McGill, Nick and Allie themselves, and Everlost itself. Things will never be the same.
Really amazing book. I loved that in the end it didn't tie everything up with a nice little bow; it was perfectly imperfect. Everlost explores the questions that we all have: about life and death and what just might be in between. The author made every detail and nuance count, using surprisingly twisty plotlines and haunting imagery. Anyone would enjoy it. It's at Blatchley or Mt. Edgecumbe (and there's two more books in the seriesguess what I'm reading next!).