When Ernessa comes to the boarding school, Lucy and her become very close. Becca doesn't like this new development at all. This was supposed to be a y...moreWhen Ernessa comes to the boarding school, Lucy and her become very close. Becca doesn't like this new development at all. This was supposed to be a year all about Lucy and Becca. Ernessa is also...strange. She doesn't eat and she always says odd things. No one but Becca seems to notice that she's off, at first. A couple of the other girls start to notice that there is something not quite right with Ernessa, but things don't end well for those who notice. As her allies leave, she is left watching Lucy change. No one will believe her about Ernessa, so she'll just have to solve the problem herself.
I remembered liking this a lot more when I first read it. Maybe I'm just more well read now and so found things more irritating this time around. The hardest thing for me, was that this book just seemed confusing. Realistic, but confusing. Becca's thoughts jumped around way too much to be able to pay attention to what is happening. She also draws conclusions very early on, with little evidence to support the claims. There is certainly something odd about Ernessa, but even after finishing this novel, I am unsure that Becca's deductions were correct.
I do enjoy novels written in diary-form, but I think it didn't quite work for this story. Becca wrote about a lot of useless things, that took away from the main story a little. It made her into a more rounded character, but they changed the tone of the novel. Her daily observances of life just seemed misplaced alongside her depression and detective work.
Another thing that was sort of strange was the relationship between Becca and Mr. Davies. What is going on there. It seemed a bit disjointed and weird. One situation they had between them was the most awkward thing I've read. Really most of their interactions were awkward. I feel like it could have been a bit more decisive one way or another.
Ernessa was such a weird character. I wish that we got to learn more truths about her. She has a lot of conflicting situations surrounding her. I did love that you never really knew for sure what was going on with her or if it was maybe just Becca's jealousy giving her delusions about the whole thing. As much as that was enjoyable, I still wished there was some sort of definitive answer.
This was an interesting, mysterious, gothic tale and as long as you don't mind books that don't have official answers, then you should check this one out. It's a fascinating read to say the least.
First Line: "When Dr. Karl Wolff first suggested publishing the journal that I kept during my junior year in boarding school, I thought I hadn't head him correctly."
Favorite Line: "'I used to say 'Books, my food.' But now all my food has been poisoned.'"
You can check out my review of the movie here.(less)
Jake's said some terrible things to his best friend that he wishes he could take back. Unfortunately the damage has already been done. Jake figures th...moreJake's said some terrible things to his best friend that he wishes he could take back. Unfortunately the damage has already been done. Jake figures that talking=trouble and not talking=good idea. So Jake decides to stop talking, completely. He writes on napkins, whiteboards and in notebooks. Not many people understand why he stopped talking, but Jake just feels it was the right thing to do. His friend Xandra mostly understands, but there are some things he needs to tell her. If he keeps on not saying anything, he might just loose another friend.
This was an interesting story. I really love the idea of not talking for awhile. Jake makes the good point that when you're writing you have time to really think about what you're saying and also not talk about bullshit like the weather. The style of this novel is kind of a mash-up of all written forms; journals, notes, scribbled things, white board convos, everything. This added a great element to the story and also made it a super quick read. I really enjoyed the parts especially where Jake is the only one writing responses to what others are saying. You get to sort of guess and wonder about how the conversation went. Jake was a very interesting character, this was highlighted in his strange notes to "Miss Me". I don't want to spoil who they are, but it was neat. He struggled with his emotions and what to say/no say a lot. I really liked the inner struggle on all that. His friends were all fun too so, an all around great bunch. If you like realistic fiction about love and friendship and the line between as well as novels written in unique formats, make sure you check this one out.
Sophie FitzOsboune lives on Montmaray in a castle—well not technically a castle—along with her younger sister Henry and her cousin Veronica. They also...moreSophie FitzOsboune lives on Montmaray in a castle—well not technically a castle—along with her younger sister Henry and her cousin Veronica. They also live with Veronica's father, the king of Montmaray, but he has sort of been mad for a while. Sophie's brother send her a journal for her sixteenth birthday, which is where our story begins. Sheltered and living on the island, Sophie has only her journal as a close confidant. She writes about day-to-day life as well as her crush on their housekeeper's son. When the war starts growing on the mainlands though, eventually news of it reaches their seclude island. When Germans dock on Montmaray, things take a turn for the worse. As miscommunication and her uncles insanity escalates matters out of control, Sophie gets a first hand look at what the politics of war mean.
This story was very fascinating. It takes place in 1936, a few years after World War I, just at the beginning of the second World War. Montmaray though in the bay of Bascay, is quite sheltered and remote from all the news and hub-bub of the mainlands. They get their news from mailed over papers and the letters from Sophie's brother, Toby. I really appreciated the journal format. It allowed us to watch Sophie grow as things happened. At first her entries were of trivial matters, but as time wears on, with the war, she takes moments to reexamine what she originally though to be her truths. Sophie was a very endearing narrator and I loved her accounts of life on Montmaray. At times the story seemed to lag, I think this was due in part to them living in seclusion, and not too much happening when you can't leave an island with the population of less than a dozen people. If you are one who really enjoys historical fiction, I would definitely pick this one up. It was humorous at times, and horrifying at others. It had moments where your heart was in your throat and you had no idea what might happen next. I really think the fact that it was written as a journal added so much to this story. Things have already happened and are being recounted, but then there is more that happens afterwards that then needs to be told. It was part reflection, part in the moment, which made this story feel very real. I am very much looking forward to picking up the next story, FitzOsbornes in Exile in April. This story wrapped up nicely, but I would love to know what happens next.
First Line: "Dear Sophie, Happy Birthday to my favorite little sister!"
Favorite Line: "Today has been something out of a Brontë novel–strangers having staggered across the hostile moors to collapse upon our doorstep, begging for shelter, and they're not truly strangers." (less)
Is Male, Alex, starts writing in the journal his father gave him at the beginning of the school year. He's started after one of his best friends dies....moreIs Male, Alex, starts writing in the journal his father gave him at the beginning of the school year. He's started after one of his best friends dies. Is Male is not the most direct narrator however, and tells you many stories around his friend's death. Slowly in brief passages the truth of what happened at the rock comes out. Is Male didn't know the whole story, he still isn't sure what is true. His journal helps him through his journey though, helps him be okay.
So, I have never read Moby Dick. Like most people though, I have a general understanding of the story and I know the famous opening line. I really appreciated the comparisons between Alex's life and Ishamel's throughout this novel. Alex was a very likeable character. I felt for him, even if at times he was a little off. He's a teen boy and he fantasizes about his teacher and him being a couple. Not a strange thing, but something that some people might be uncomfortable with. This was set a few decades ago, but it's story is timeless. The only thing that makes you aware of the time period is the absence of technology. The kids actually talk to each other, fish, and hangout. They don't just play video games and text. It was nice to have a story written with a more personal and intimate feeling.
Not too often are journal-style novels written from a male perspective. I always have enjoyed this format, and it worked perfectly for this story. It allowed us to see everything unfolding from Alex's point of view. It makes the narrative the slightest bit unreliable though, because we only see what Alex chooses to tell. Alex does like direct quotes though, so what he does write has a feeling of truthfulness and accuracy.
Paper Covers Rock was an intensely interesting read. As I found out more of the situation surrounding the death, I was at first bored with how plain it seemed, but the more I read the more I found out. The death was more complicated then I could have imagined. There is a lot of behind the scenes stuff happening at the boarding school, as I always imagine there is. If you have the chance to read this one, I highly suggest you do. It's a quick read you won't regret.
First Lines: "Call me Is Male. When my dad gave me this journal two years ago and said 'Fill it with your impressions,' I imagine he had a more idyllic portrait of boarding school life in mind."
Favorite Lines: "Read to your heart's content. Though if you are a reader, the heart is never content."
"No ocean in sight, no wind or wing to carry me into the sky, far, far away."
Claire and her mom don't have a lot of time with each other. Claire's parents are divorced and her mom works a lot delivering babies. Claire is also q...moreClaire and her mom don't have a lot of time with each other. Claire's parents are divorced and her mom works a lot delivering babies. Claire is also quite busy socially, with her boyfriend, homework and babysitting. When her mom goes to the doctor's office, she doesn't not come back with very good news. As their time together ticks by Claire and her mom get into a few verbal fights. Claire's mom just wants to protect her from having to go through this too, but she might find she needs her daughter's love and support even more.
This was a touching story told in brief notes left on a refrigerator in a house rarely occupied by it's two tenants simultaneously. Claire and her mom seem to constantly miss each other. Some things are easier to say on paper, but some things need to be said out loud. This novel discusses growing up and growing closer to those you love and care about. I do wish the notes looked more handwritten, instead of typed out paragraphs. I think this is a great book that shows the dynamics of mother-daughter relationships. A must read for teen girls and their mums. It may bring you closer to your loved one than before.
First Line: "Hey Claire-bear, milk apples bananas avocados onions potatoes tomatoes mushrooms carrots and rabbit food for Peter ground beef bread juice--you choose"
Favorite Line: "I feel like all the colors in the room have got more intense." (less)
Bindy Mackenzie is an over-achiever, but doesn't really realize it. She tries hard and gets good grades etc. and that's all that she cares about. Her...moreBindy Mackenzie is an over-achiever, but doesn't really realize it. She tries hard and gets good grades etc. and that's all that she cares about. Her parents tend to leave her on her own and she doesn't really have any friends except for Ernst von Schmerz. She has her school days completely mapped out until they introduce the new FAD (Friendship and Development) class. Here she is forced to miss study hall and interact with students who she describes as venomous. On top of this disgrace, someone wants to kill Bindy, and Bindy doesn't know who or why. Told in notes, memos, letters and philosophical musings The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie will keep you guessing until the end.
I was hoping this book to be as utterly amusing as The Year of Secret Assignments, and was thoroughly disappointed. Though at times this book was quite funny it didn't have quite the humor of the aforementioned title. I guess the big difference is the people telling the story, Bindy just simply isn't all that hilarious, and since she doesn't really have any buddies they could not be hilarious for her. I will say that this book did leave me wondering about what was going to happen until the end, a very good mystery. I did not like Bindy's father though he was a jerk. I am disappointed that Bindy did not notice what a jerk he was and instead admired him. I liked that this novel takes place in Ashbury school yet again, so I recognized some of the characters from The Year of Secret Assignments and Feeling Sorry for Celia. This book was enjoyable although not as good as TYOSA, so I suggest to read this only if you feel like knowing more about the fruity character Bindy that you read about in TYOSA.
First Line: "I have never spoken to Bindy, but I am sure that behind her extremely annoying personality she is a beautiful human being."
Favorite Line: "No offense, but someone needs to arrange a slow and painful death for you, Bindy."(less)
Ashbury private school students Emily, Lydia and Cassie, are less than thrilled about having to write to the rival Brookfield high school. Despite thi...moreAshbury private school students Emily, Lydia and Cassie, are less than thrilled about having to write to the rival Brookfield high school. Despite this fact, all three of them accept their English assignment and write. Two of them get back normal letters, but Cassie gets a violent pen pal. She keeps writing to him and eventually it seems that he has lightened up. Meanwhile Lydia and Cass end up getting quite a bit closer with their pen pals, even breaking some rules to help them out.
This story written through letters and diary entries is a fun little read. I really enjoy it when novels are written in a different format from usual. This book was funny at some points and others made you roll your eyes. It was annoying yet realistic all of Emily misspellings and miswords (it's catching) in her letters. After reading A Secret Year I saw this book about a year of secret assignments and thought "neat". I'm glad I read this and I will be reading her other novels as soon as I can. It was a really fun read, that kept you guessing. It does have strong language but that's about as bad as it gets, although at some points I thought things were going to get graphic. I really enjoyed how clever and fun all of the characters were and how much energy they seemed to have. This is one of those oldies but goodies, I recommend picking it up for a semi-exciting laugh.
First Line: "Quick! Before you read another word, write your FULL name in every box on this page!"
Favorite Line: "4) It is clear that you are a person who likes Christina, and (in my professional opinion) you are ready to steal any girl from anybody." (less)