Thursday, May 30, 2013

TAB

O hai. Me here. Soo, just wanted to put a little PSA out there: if anybody's interested in being on the Teen Advisory Board for Kettleson, there's a meeting tomorrow (Friday May 31) at 6:30 PM. It's basically composed of teens and we work on organizing some events for the library and reviewing books and it's a good time. Soo... if anyone's interested, you could send our teen librarian an email (maitelorente@cityofsitka.com) or leave a comment or anything. It's a pretty low-key board, but it's fun, so give it a try! (Oh, and if you can't make it to this meeting, it's cool. Shoot us an email anyway). Ciao!

The Selection by Kiera Cass

"For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."

Heh. Soo, about fifty pages into this, I had a revelation. This book is basically a really feminized version of The Hunger Games. It's set in the future after some big war (except here the monarchy isn't really dictatorial), there's rebellion, there are levels of society, there's a competition that selects young people to travel to the heart of the country and compete to be the one and only victor, and there's a love triangle. Seriously. It's pretty much identical, only the princess version. But anyway, that said, it was a fine book. Definitely pretty fluffy, despite attempts to make it dystopian-ish. I definitely didn't hate it, it was just a mildly interesting filler book. I think I have some weirdly girly tendencies, so that part of me enjoyed it. I didn't like the love triangle development because I really loathe love triangles (seriously. The angst? And the poor indecisive heroine who's terrible at decision-making? Please.) but I mostly liked America and Prince Maxon because their characters were actually pretty witty and America has some nice feminist tendencies. She's not at all afraid to yell at him. So, maybe 3.5 to 4 stars on this one. If you're looking for a light summer read, I recommend it. A hard-hitting novel, not so much. It's at Kettleson.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

"I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything."

This one gets two thumbs up. I've been getting kinda bored with some books lately, and the main reason is that they seem to all have pretty much the same plot. This one was different and interesting, and really likable. I got really into it, it was one of the more enjoyable books in a while. Character setup and development was good, and, like I said, it got me hooked and rooting for the characters. I think, overall, the best part was the original concept. It was so new that it made the book really captivating. It reminds me a little of maybe one other book, but I can't put my finger on it so I'll just let that go. Anyway, ignore my rambling. Go check it out at Kettleson! I really recommend it!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Different Girl by Gordon Dahlquist


"Four nearly identical girls on a desert island. An unexpected new arrival. A gently warped near future where nothing is quite as it seems.

Veronika. Caroline. Isobel. Eleanor. One blond, one brunette, one redhead, one with hair black as tar. Four otherwise identical girls who spend their days in sync, tasked to learn. But when May, a very different kind of girl—the lone survivor of a recent shipwreck—suddenly and mysteriously arrives on the island, an unsettling mirror is about to be held up to the life the girls have never before questioned."

So...meh. This one went fast, which worked for me. I mean, it was fine enough...which is the problem. It didn't actually get to the point where I wanted to keep reading it. Not much happened for quite some time in the book, then when it did (namely May arriving), it wasn't all that groundbreaking. I'd say the best thing this book had going for it was the imagery and introspection/world examination that the girls did (for their lessons, they were tasked with basically walking around and observing everything), which were interesting. That came in this big chunk though; it lasted about the first third of the book, and that's all that happened for that time. Got a little strung out. The ending was kinda weirdly anti-climactic, too (I think it was supposed to come off as climactic, but it didn't do anything for me).  I don't know--I'm now pretty sure this is a middle-school-age book, so I can't really tell if it'd be good to someone that age. Wasn't my thing, but, hey. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt...It's at Kettleson.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt

"When sixteen-year-old Angel meets Call at the mall, he buys her meals and says he loves her, and he gives her some candy that makes her feel like she can fly. Pretty soon she's addicted to his candy, and she moves in with him. As a favor, he asks her to hook up with a couple of friends of his, and then a couple more. Now Angel is stuck working the streets at Hastings and Main, a notorious spot in Vancouver, Canada, where the girls turn tricks until they disappear without a trace, and the authorities don't care. But after her friend Serena disappears, and when Call brings home a girl who is even younger and more vulnerable than her to learn the trade, Angel knows that she and the new girl have got to find a way out."

Sorry... short review this week. I really need about 14 hours of sleep due to having dress rehearsals and dance recitals all weekend. Anyway, soo...this was heavy. It was actually in verse, too, which I think was right for the story. I can't actually tell if the verse made it more heavy or relieved some heaviness--it just seemed to fit the story. It also made it go a lot quicker. And, yes, it dealt with topics of abuse and addiction, in a different way than I've read before. It was undeniably wonderfully written. Definitely not a super uplifting book, and has a high maturity level, so I would only recommend it to high school age or over. Try it if you are okay with that sort of thing; it is good, I promise. Get it at Kettleson. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Looking for Alaska by John Green


"Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same."

So, as of now, I've read every John Green book I've been able to get my hands on. And it's making me kinda sad. Because each one of them is absolutely wonderful. I don't know what it is, exactly, but John Green has a way of writing things that make them more real and different from other books of the type. It was no different with this one--I could probably name three other books off the top of my head that have this type of story-line (maybe even modeled after this one), but this book's different. It has this ability to, um, how do I say this? Crush your heart? Yeah. In a lovely and terrible way. It makes you see what's going on, it makes you think about something like this playing out in real life. It wasn't so extremely tear-jerking as The Fault in Our Stars, but it still had John Green's flair for the heartbreaking. Overall, really powerful. Can't recommend it enough. Go get it at Kettleson, Sitka High, or Blatchley. Over and out!