Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

"When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living."

This is a book that at first glance could seem like any other dime-a-dozen dystopian novels. It's not. I don't know how, I can't really pinpoint it, but this one was different. It was really memorable, and undoubtedly very good. I loved it. The author managed to, if not trailblaze her style of writing, then at least take some paths less traveled. What could have been a familiar concept was made unique by all the singular little details of characters and plots, and the excellent writing. The author didn't go for stereotypes with the characters, giving them humor and depth and unexpected choices and plotlines. She made me get hooked and stay that way until the very end, and I now can't wait for the sequel. I'll say it again: this is a very good book. You're seriously missing out if you don't read it. So, yep. It's at Kettleson, go pick it up!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

"It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery….
Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever they are to be found.With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul."

I don't care who the heck you are. Boy, girl, preteen, adult, whatever--you need to read this. There's a reason this book's been a bestseller for so long and is on its way to becoming a classic: it's well-done in every single way. The writing is really powerful; it's not overly descriptive, but it uses ways to say things that are completely different and raw. You'll find no clichés whatsoever.Secondly, when you combine writing of that quality with a setting and situation like this, there's no doubt it'll be an uncommon book. There were new angles to situations that hadn't ever been brought to your attention in this way before, and new images you get of those historical events. And yes, before you ask, it did make me bawl like a baby. I guess that's a hazard of really good books. (Yep, I'm looking at you, Fault in Our Stars). Another thing about this book was that the power of the writing and the story were the main focuses. Suspense wasn't needed; the book was too candid to have been able to pull that off. And it's kind of a testament to the book that I basically knew what was coming from the very beginning, and it still managed to make me cry. Thanks. Thanks a lot. But yeah. Anyway. You can find it at BMS, Sitka High, MEHS, and Kettleson. Go forth!
(Oh hey look, it's my 100th review. *cue tiny confetti shower*)

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

"Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.


Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target."

Yes, I know, I technically didn't make it to the week cutoff. But hey, birthday weekend. Free pass. And it won't happen again; I now have blissful freedom for much of the summer. But this review's gonna be short, sorry. In a nutshell: I really enjoyed the book. It was kinda quirky, played around with new ideas I hadn't seen before, and was nicely paced and written. The characters were likable and relatable. All in all, there's not much to dislike; it was definitely a good book. It's at Kettleson, you should check it out.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

"The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities."

Me gusta this book. It's very different from anything I've read before, in a really good way. I liked the history integration, I learned some new things. It was a creepy book, which I  kinda have a thing for, and as ghost/mystery stories go, this one was original and well-written and captivating. The characters were pretty varied and not really stereotypical, and surprised me a couple times. Some bits were a bit predictable, but with a description like that it's bound to happen. Honestly, it was new and caught my attention and built intensity until the end and got me attached to the characters and you should read it if you're into creepy/ghost stories. Go. Do it. It's at Kettleson.