Maybe it's dystopia fatigue, but once again, I'm relieved a trilogy is over. (I've listened to all three Hunger Games, Matched, and now this.)
I have t...moreMaybe it's dystopia fatigue, but once again, I'm relieved a trilogy is over. (I've listened to all three Hunger Games, Matched, and now this.)
I have to admit that I can miss things while driving and listening, but I still think parts of this were hard to follow; think of all of the groups-factions, factionless, the fringe, the Allegiant, the Bureau of Genetic Welfare...at times it's like a "Who's on First".
Splashes of imagination, such as discovering O'Hare and learning about planes, realizing there was an entire world beyond (shades of Running out of Time) were intriguing. I got a kick out of Indianapolis being mentioned, and thought maybe snow would play a bigger part in the plot.
I'd heard people were disappointed by the ending, but I did understand more after reading Roth's explanations. Let's just say, "Blood is Thicker".
As far as the audio version, after a while I had to remind myself whose chapter it was. The narrator for Tobias sounds pretty hokey when reading women's parts (I cringed when he read as Evelyn).(less)
This was a magical book for me; I listened to the audio version, narrated by Lyle Lovett. At first, I thought his voice was somewhat monotone, but eit...moreThis was a magical book for me; I listened to the audio version, narrated by Lyle Lovett. At first, I thought his voice was somewhat monotone, but either he became more animated, I got used to it, or I am imagining things. When Lovett voiced the "snip snap" and other sounds, it really became more enjoyable and seemed to take off. In fact, one time when I was at a bank machine and had the book playing, Lovett was imitating the feral pigs, and the person in the next lane seemed to wonder what I was listening to.
I think this would be a wonderful read aloud for students; there are some separate plot lines, but having some of the main characters as animals would make it easier to follow. There would be great opportunities for prediction and inferences. There are enough clues that younger students might be able to put some things together correctly.
I once came across a gorgeous visual guide to Appelt's The Underneath that contained images of all of the living things in that book; I think that would be a wonderful mini-project for this book as well. There are also some wonderful vocabulary words and uses of imagery, like the "cloud of loneliness" that Chap experiences (how cool is his real name, Chaparral, named after the roadrunner?) Why hadn't I heard about the feral hogs before? (And yes, I looked them up, and was astounded by their number!)
The raccoons are fun characters (although I find it strangely ironic that at this very moment we have had to chase off raccoons wanting to find refuge from the cold around the perimeter of our house), and I really enjoyed the ways they ended up interacting with Chap.
There is a lot of comic relief with Sonny Boy and Jaeger Stitch, and Appelt makes the case for preserving wildlife and property without being heavy handed. The satisfying ended you would come to expect is nevertheless a great expression of pure joy. I had heard this book bandied about in Newbery predictions, and I would have had no problem with that.(less)
Maybe it's because I stretched out the books so long (listened to all three on CD), or maybe it's because my mind wandered since I was always driving,...moreMaybe it's because I stretched out the books so long (listened to all three on CD), or maybe it's because my mind wandered since I was always driving, but I was a bit disappointed in this. I agree with many others; Matched started out like gangbusters, a really interesting premise. I do think many series suffer from waning interest; we get so excited by imaginative things in first books, then subsequent books can't live up to the initial creativity.
Maybe it would have helped if I had a map, because I certainly got the areas mixed up.
The CD is great in that there are three narrators, one for each major character. Still, it seemed to drag on; the differences in immunities, some of the ideas about viruses (cured by a plant?) and introduction of some main characters so close to the end were a little jarring. I really did enjoy the use of poetry and the archivists, but the Rising, which seemed to mutate about like a virus, and some of the lofty yet deep realizations that are expected were a bit much.
Like Crossed, this one picked up when the characters finally met up.(less)
I don't remember who recommended this to me, but I will be adding it to our school library. So much information and activities packed into one book! S...moreI don't remember who recommended this to me, but I will be adding it to our school library. So much information and activities packed into one book! Some of my favorite suggestions: if you're stuck in an avalanche, spit or cry to see which direction the liquids go; that will help you determine which way is up; I know you can put a scale in an elevator to help measure g's, but I might really do it this time.
Only one small qualm; some times zero gravity is mentioned, then microgravity. As the book explains, everything in the universe experiences gravity! And there are few gas molecults floating around near the moon, but I wouldn't characterize it as no atmosphere.
I plan to check out the other books in this series as well.(less)
I read this mainly because I had seen it mentioned in so many mock award blogs, so wanted to read it before the announcements (actually finished in Ph...moreI read this mainly because I had seen it mentioned in so many mock award blogs, so wanted to read it before the announcements (actually finished in Philly during the Grammy's the night before ALAYMA) I loved the beginning, and wanted to look up so many of the references and fairy tales (I did research some of the Grimm brothers history) Many students of today are pretty lacking in their knowledge of fairy tales and nursery rhymes.
I don't know if students will follow all of the implications of the Zwischenraum, and maybe I missed something: who said "heart" at the TV taping? Was it Castle himself? One part dragged on a bit, but overall, it was nice to read something of a different style.(less)
I read this in preparation for attending ALA Midwinter, wanting to finish it before it perhaps wins an award. I have to say that I was expecting somet...moreI read this in preparation for attending ALA Midwinter, wanting to finish it before it perhaps wins an award. I have to say that I was expecting something a bit more powerful, but I realize that's not the point. I do think the jumps back and forth might confuse students a bit; it is true that as you go through the course of a day, you think back to the many things that have led up to it, but it didn't always make sense. I expected a bigger problem between Ruby and Lucy and Ruby and Nero, but they weren't really that important.
I did like the way Ruby chose to "deliver" her speech (finally), but I thought all of the Newbery name dropping got to be a bit much. The two librarians get rather dubious treatment here: one's old and waiting to retire and spend time with dogs, the successor is a bumbling dufus. Perhaps its my preference for more plotting or action that left me a little wanting. In many ways this reminded me of Hound Dog True; I was expecting something bigger to drive the plot.(less)
While I thought The Selection was a bit cheesy, this was just drivel. I got tired of America waffling between Aspen and Maxon. I found myself almost a...moreWhile I thought The Selection was a bit cheesy, this was just drivel. I got tired of America waffling between Aspen and Maxon. I found myself almost ashamed for staying up to finish, but I actually thought there would be some great payoff in the end... just more waffling. How many stereotyped ideas can you include? When it got to improving public schools I was ready to throw in the towel. Some of the lines were so tiring; Maxon tells America that he can't get a word in edgewise after I know there were a lot of scenes where she said nothing. There's the obligatory social justice idea, poorly executed. When America goes down the hall near the end, "taking in the beauty of the palace one last time, even though it was slightly marred by broken mirrors and chipped frames", it seems a bit flippant since people were just killed there. And, do you really think she would roam the palace in her robe and slippers?
I realize the intended audience is teen girls, but I think it may insult even their intelligence. At least books are viewed with reverence in the story.(less)
I started and stopped this book many times, because it just didn't grab me as I expected. When I got nearer to the end, I kept reading as I anticipate...moreI started and stopped this book many times, because it just didn't grab me as I expected. When I got nearer to the end, I kept reading as I anticipated a climax that didn't really come. However, it is a nice story that more accurate depicts some of the doubts, worries and confusion that a 12 year old girl might experience (or maybe they used to when the world was more innocent).
The lack in cohesion and unresolved issues bother me a bit: were the grandparents really sick, or just tired? We have another boy character with autistic characteristics (I did look up PPD-NOS). I had forgotten all about the opening statements about luck until I came to the end.
I did wonder how many Japanese US citizens serve in roles as described in the book, and how many people live like Summer's family; leaving for part of the year. Their lifestyle seems more stable than many people serving in migrant roles. Coming from the corn belt, I really don't know that much about wheat. I don't agree that there was endless threshing and an overabundance of detail about the wheat harvest. I thought there was a little too much detail about the routine cooking and comings and goings from the camper, who's driving what vehicle when and where, etc.
The Parkers are very complex characters. I was really mad at the way Mrs. Parker talked down to Obaachan, but then she could be very nice, as in insisting that the grandparents rest instead of work. (In the end you wonder if they got the wheat done on time.)
The grandparents do provide comic relief, when they argue over who's going to die first, who loves the other more and other things. I liked the way Jiichan provided guidance with the use of stories, and his glib comments, such as "This not history. This public relation document." I was surprised when Summer, as a Japanese American living in the US, proclaims that she knows little about WW II. I would have thought that her family would have armed her with the truth as she encounters comments and rude people.
In the end, I was a little disappointed, but still feel the book is better than many have described.(less)
Not sure what to think of this. Very interesting blend of illustrations and typography, with a paper choice that enhances the appearance. I had to kee...moreNot sure what to think of this. Very interesting blend of illustrations and typography, with a paper choice that enhances the appearance. I had to keep telling myself to slow down and savor it more.(less)
Very interesting book that left me wanting to know more; I appreciate the background information the author includes. The main character, Georgie, is...moreVery interesting book that left me wanting to know more; I appreciate the background information the author includes. The main character, Georgie, is delightful. I liked trying to figure out is the title was a type of foreshadowing or not.
I was just a little dissatisfied with the way the ending unraveled, although there were times I couldn't wait to find out what was happening. There are several great lines in the book:
"Some people assume your attention. It is annoying."
"If you only talk to nice people, you won't find out the half of it"
"Though men rarely take someone of my stature or age seriously, they will be taken by surprise"
At times it was hard to believe Georgie was only 13, but she did have occasion to sob and second-guess herself as a young teen would do. And how could you not like a book with a character who appeared to be after a man for his books?(less)
In a sentence: "The Bachelor" meets Hunger Games (with castes instead of districts), and, of course, there's a love triangle. (Although I must admit t...moreIn a sentence: "The Bachelor" meets Hunger Games (with castes instead of districts), and, of course, there's a love triangle. (Although I must admit that I've never watched "The Bachelor".) I really wanted to like this book, but some of it was so simplistic that I couldn't rate it any higher. The notion of World War III and the involvement of China was just too much for me to take. And, is there ever really an explanation of why some are rebelling? The idea of the torn up history books is interesting, and there are plenty of reasons to read on. (less)
This book left a lot of unanswered questions, but, in this case that's okay. Maybe it is good to keep thinking about the story after you've finished....moreThis book left a lot of unanswered questions, but, in this case that's okay. Maybe it is good to keep thinking about the story after you've finished. I did want to know more about the boy's background. It was suspenseful to read and keep thinking, "Maybe this chapter someone will come for him". After part of the story was resolved, I really enjoyed the major turn that it took. I did want to know who John and Marta earned a living; they seemed to be able to run off quite a bit for seemingly being "lone farmers". (less)
I really enjoyed learning about Little Italy and life for immigrants in the early 1900's. Some of the details were too coincidental, but knowing that...moreI really enjoyed learning about Little Italy and life for immigrants in the early 1900's. Some of the details were too coincidental, but knowing that some of this was based on a tribute to Trigiani's grandparents made it more meaningful.(less)
Fantasy is not my thing (sometimes too much description, not enough action). I found this a little frustrating in its fits and starts. I did like that...moreFantasy is not my thing (sometimes too much description, not enough action). I found this a little frustrating in its fits and starts. I did like that Oscar realized that things are not always what they seem, and there were some plot twists.(less)
I'd heard a lot about this book, but for me it didn't live up to the hype. Why? Very little ever happened. The idea of collecting silver things for th...moreI'd heard a lot about this book, but for me it didn't live up to the hype. Why? Very little ever happened. The idea of collecting silver things for the teacher was cute, but even the climax was pretty anticlimactic.(less)