I picked up this book because it had a girl with a sword on the cover, and I have long been a fan of Tamora Pierce and her ilk. I was a bit disappointI picked up this book because it had a girl with a sword on the cover, and I have long been a fan of Tamora Pierce and her ilk. I was a bit disappointed by the story, though. If you're just looking for a classic Arthurian-style knight-adventurer story with a female protagonist, this may answer very well. If you want a story about a young girl kicking butt with more modern sensibilities, you may want to look elsewhere. The author also used a lot of archaic language and made some questionable grammatical choices in places, which I, as a fairly well-read adult, had occasional difficulty deciphering. Some of the vocabulary is well beyond the average 9 to 12-year-old reader, who would seem to be the book's intended audience. That said, I would probably have liked the story more if I had first read it at 12 than I do having first read it as an adult....more
I was in the 4th grade when I discovered this book in my elementary school library. It became an instant favourite. I checked it out countless times oI was in the 4th grade when I discovered this book in my elementary school library. It became an instant favourite. I checked it out countless times over the following two years, and after graduating to middle school, I bought my own copy, which I still have more than 20 years later.
This is a book designed to spark the reader's imagination, with each page containing a title, a picture, and one line of a story. The reader is left to imagine or create the rest.
The illustrations are as haunting as they are beautiful. I have always loved Van Allsburg's unique artistic style, and own several of his other books, but this one remains my favourite....more
There's no cohesive plot here, so I would hesitate to recommend this to someone who has not already read and enjoyed "Every Day". It's just some littlThere's no cohesive plot here, so I would hesitate to recommend this to someone who has not already read and enjoyed "Every Day". It's just some little vignettes from earlier points in A's unusual life, which provide a bit more insight into the formation of the character.
The only part that was a little jarring for me was that the wording of the thoughts of a much younger A were as vocabulariffic as teenage-A's. I would have expected things to be expressed more simply in a first-person present-tense narrative....more
Meet A. A has no race, no class, no gender, no name apart from the letter ze has assigned hirself. Also no family, friends, possessions, or plans forMeet A. A has no race, no class, no gender, no name apart from the letter ze has assigned hirself. Also no family, friends, possessions, or plans for the future. Ze can't. Because every day A wakes up in a different body, in a different life. There are rules regarding how this works -- A is always someone of the same age as hirself, is constrained to a limited geographical area, and can access the memories of the body ze is possessing, but not the person's feelings or consciousness -- and there are the rules A has made for hirself: don't harm anyone, and don't disrupt the borrowed life more than ze can help.
All of this changes on the day that A inhabits a boy named Justin, and meets Justin's girlfriend Rhiannon. Then it all begins to fall apart, because A is falling in love. Ze starts bending hir rules -- just a little at first -- and things begin to spin out of control.
The genius of this novel lies more in the concept than in the execution. A giant "WHAT IF?" is asked of the reader which a novel of this length can barely begin to scratch the surface of answering. It raises questions about identity, and about how much agency one has a right to when one can only ever be a guest in the body of another, and has no independent existence to call one's own. In some ways, A's life is very free. Ze almost never has to face consequences for hir actions, and ze gets to see first-hand a very broad range of human experiences. One day, A might be on the high school football team, the next day, an underage, undocumented housekeeper, or a drug addict desperate for the next fix.
There were some elements of the romance between A and Rhiannon that I found problematic. A is somewhat pushy, coming close to demanding that Rhiannon make room for hir in her life, and all the uncertainty that comes along with that. It's a lot to ask of anyone. While I don't necessarily agree with the way A handles things all the time, I feel nothing but sympathy for the desperation A experiences. With no possibility of sustained relationships or anything else to call one's own, who wouldn't be hungry to forge a connection with another person?
The twist that came at the end was surprising. I thought I knew what was going to happen, but my expectations were turned upside down. The ending itself was rather abrupt. I was left wanting more. I hope Levithan intends to write a sequel. There is still so much to explore here and so many more questions to ask....more
I'm still trying to decide how I feel about this book. I read it slowly, and the plot had a slow build as all the pieces of the story and the characteI'm still trying to decide how I feel about this book. I read it slowly, and the plot had a slow build as all the pieces of the story and the characters were moved into place, and I admit I was a little bored through the first half of the book. It didn't help that two of the first important characters introduced have no redeeming qualities, and it took a while for me to feel more than lukewarm about a few of the other central characters. The story is told out of sequence in some places, and I wish I had paid more attention to the dates earlier on, so I could have a better sense of when everything was happening. If you are looking for a fast-paced, action-packed plot, this is probably not the book for you. About halfway through, it all starts to come together, with a fairly satisfying conclusion. I especially liked the description of how the Circus's fandom, the reveurs, came into being. A visually evocative book. I wouldn't be surprised if someone tried to make it into a movie sooner or later....more
After re-reading The Amber Spyglass, I was not quite ready to put Pullman's world back on the shelf. I've had this small book for some time, but had nAfter re-reading The Amber Spyglass, I was not quite ready to put Pullman's world back on the shelf. I've had this small book for some time, but had never gotten around to reading it before now. It was nice to see Lyra's story continuing, and to find out how she was doing two years after the events of the series. In some ways, she has reverted back to her old self, from before her adventures began, but she is more grown up, and has learned many things which inform her actions here. There is much discussion in this story of symbolism, and of how some things have broader meanings which are not readily apparent. And that's more or less how this story feels -- like one piece of a puzzle -- a keyhole into Lyra's life. I wonder if Pullman will ever get around to answering some of the questions raised here?...more
On all four of my previous readings of this series, this has been my favourite book. I'm not sure that's so any longer. It's still very good, with somOn all four of my previous readings of this series, this has been my favourite book. I'm not sure that's so any longer. It's still very good, with some great characters, fascinating storylines and breathtaking scenes, and Will is still possibly my favourite character in the series, but on this reading, I noticed for the first time how much of a middle book it is. While some new plot arcs begin here and some are concluded, it doesn't have the same sort of tight, self-contained plotting found in The Northern Lights/The Golden Compass. I am very much enjoying re-reading this series alongside the Mark Reads His Dark Materials blog. Mark's love and amazement for this series is infectious. I find I'm appreciating the themes and the Pullman's writing style a lot more as a result of the chapter-a-day format, taking the time to think about and discuss the ideas raised in each chapter. A great series, which teaches the importance of friendship, self-sufficiency, and critical thinking....more