I picked this up yesterday because I wanted a fast read so I could beat the number of books I read in 2010. I don't expect a lot out of Jodi Picoult,...moreI picked this up yesterday because I wanted a fast read so I could beat the number of books I read in 2010. I don't expect a lot out of Jodi Picoult, but this is actually one of her better ones. Many of her usual tropes are present (male protagonist making noble sacrifices for the woman he can't have, sulky teenage girl who just needs the right person to open up to, sassy female lawyer crusading for justice while wisecracking, tenacious fortysomething heroine) but it was genuinely moving and the story was a new spin on her usual formula. (less)
I actually have no idea what happened at the end of this book because my copy got as far as page 406 and then jumped back to page 342. But I'm still c...moreI actually have no idea what happened at the end of this book because my copy got as far as page 406 and then jumped back to page 342. But I'm still counting this as having read it because by that point I kind of didn't care about any of these terrible people anymore. I think I'm just burned out on stories about financially struggling British families who randomly own crumbling centuries-old ancestral castles, the rich relatives who shun them, and the people they have sex with. There are a lot of those books out there and even when I'm not looking for them and the back cover copy doesn't allude to it, somehow I wind up reading all of them. (less)
Having enjoyed Secrets of the Tomb, The Overachievers, and Quarterlife Crisis, I found this irresistible when it was three bucks in the Nook store. I...moreHaving enjoyed Secrets of the Tomb, The Overachievers, and Quarterlife Crisis, I found this irresistible when it was three bucks in the Nook store. I think I enjoyed it less than the others because I definitely related far more to the other three. Having gone to a small college with no Greek system, I have no actual sorority-related experience to relate this book to, and only a vague notion of what it must be like (based mostly on having lived in single-sex dorms for three years of high school and four years of college, having walked by Fraternity Row at a big state school on a weekend night, and having seen Legally Blonde). I was waiting to be surprised, either positively or negatively, by some aspect of sorority life as portrayed in this book, but it seemed to be pretty much exactly what I'd pictured. Mainstream sorority life as depicted here is classist, shallow, and centered almost entirely on social life (specifically, on entertaining men and drinking a lot). Even though I'm ten years out of college, this would still have struck me as pretty pointless and dull back when I was in undergrad, and not even Robbins's compelling voice fully rescues it.
She has a great talent for portraying her subjects as well-rounded, sympathetic characters, though, and even when their trials and tribulations were at their most trivial and petty, I still cared about the girls in the book and wanted to know what happened to them.(less)
Much as I love George Carlin, I have to admit that I was not as into this book as I wanted to be. There are a few truly great laugh-out-loud moments,...moreMuch as I love George Carlin, I have to admit that I was not as into this book as I wanted to be. There are a few truly great laugh-out-loud moments, but overall it's just Carlin's rants without his great delivery, some of which play solely on his infamous stance that he doesn't really care who he offends. I think I would have enjoyed this more when I was a kid and I frequented the "humor" section of the bookstore. As an adult I feel like humor works better as a spice that augments the flavor of an entire dish. A book that's supposed to be solely humor without trying to tell a story or evoke any other emotion is like trying to eat an entire spoonful of cinnamon.(less)
Yet another freebie for my Nook. It was frivolous, silly fun.
There is a lot of implausible action and crazy wish-fulfillment in this book, but if I h...moreYet another freebie for my Nook. It was frivolous, silly fun.
There is a lot of implausible action and crazy wish-fulfillment in this book, but if I had a teenage daughter, I'd much rather see her reading this than, say, Twilight. It's full of female characters who take responsibility for their own destiny in various ways and who don't see true love as the only noble goal in life. (less)
I'll get this out of the way right away - there are not a lot of original ideas in this book. Battle Royale, Series 7: The Contenders, The Long Walk,...moreI'll get this out of the way right away - there are not a lot of original ideas in this book. Battle Royale, Series 7: The Contenders, The Long Walk, and The Running Man are just the more famous examples, but even if you've never read/seen any of those, surely you were made to read Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" in high school English class, which is basically the reaping, and when you were younger than that, you were made to read any number of the dozens of award-winning children's books about kids surviving in the wilderness. The Hunger Games is basically a pastiche of all of that, with a prickly Mary Sue heroine beating the odds to have every man in the world wanting her and every downtrodden resident of her dystopia wanting to be her. (I don't count it as a spoiler that she beats the odds in the first book. If she hadn't, there wouldn't be two other books.)
And yet it's a four-star read, no question. If I were a teenager, I'd have given it five. I devoured all three books in as many days. The author's sparse, matter-of-fact writing style blends perfectly with the intricate world she's built. And while too many pages throughout the entire trilogy are spent on clothing and love triangles (I guess that's a hazard of reading books meant for teenagers), at least the complexities of Katniss's public persona versus her true feelings that she can't quite get in touch with are fresh. (less)
**spoiler alert** To me, it felt like the author didn't seem to know exactly what she was writing, and so subplots drop in and out with seemingly no w...more**spoiler alert** To me, it felt like the author didn't seem to know exactly what she was writing, and so subplots drop in and out with seemingly no warning. Is it a supernatural tale, what with the mother-daughter telepathic bond and the ghostly reappearances? Is it a tearjerker about love and loss and moving on, what with the mother's death? (This may seem overly harsh, but I feel like if your book throws cancer around, people are afraid to tell you about its weaknesses lest cancer has had a personal, tangible effect on you personally, as if denigrating the fiction is somehow denigrating your experience. Cancer is terrible. I can still feel awful that the author has experienced loss and be critical of the art that her loss inspired.) Is it a family-secret thriller, what with the numerous paternity fakeouts and the baby switch? Of all of these little twists and turns, the love-and-loss one is basically the only one that feels fully fleshed out. Gigantic plot points that would be the climactic emotional center of any other book land heavily and awkwardly, and seem to have lasting impacts on nobody.
This was a dollar at Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and I guess I got my money's worth. (less)
For 99 cents in the Nook store, I figured this would be worth a shot, and I'm glad I gave it a try. Overall, it was light reading with an emotionally...moreFor 99 cents in the Nook store, I figured this would be worth a shot, and I'm glad I gave it a try. Overall, it was light reading with an emotionally resonant core and some truly memorable characters.
In this tale of a "perfect" daughter's slide into rebellion, the author has a terrific grasp of teenagers' emotions and logic, and scenes where parents and children talk past each other are wrenchingly real. At many points, it felt like Leah was finally ready to reconcile with her parents and put a stop to her rebellious behavior, only to have one small thing send her back into the arms of her delinquent boyfriend. A few characters seemed a little flat, but many characters that could very easily have veered into utter cartoons were nuanced and interesting. (For instance, Leah's straitlaced ex-best friend Cissy is a snide, shoplifting gossip hound, where her new, party-loving friend Hope is a genuine, caring friend to her even while she's a terrible influence.)
What the author didn't get right were the cultural references, and this should have been a tiny thing, but it was extremely distracting because of the sheer number of times these totally dissonant references were made. Teenagers in the 00s wouldn't be wearing overalls and listening to Oasis, Rage Against the Machine, or Nirvana. (All on CD, no less.) The author was obviously either a parent to teenagers, or a teenager herself, in the 90s. This would have been a fairly simple thing to get right - either set the story itself in the 90s or do a little googling to find some current references. (less)