Predictable, but entertaining and not a bad way to spend one's reading time. Very "Traveling Pants". The intended teen girl audience will eat this one...morePredictable, but entertaining and not a bad way to spend one's reading time. Very "Traveling Pants". The intended teen girl audience will eat this one up. (less)
I noticed that someone on my friend list read and rated this and it brought back some memories for me. I owned this book as a child. The original one....moreI noticed that someone on my friend list read and rated this and it brought back some memories for me. I owned this book as a child. The original one. Now before you jump all over me, know this: This was back in the 1970s, before political correctness became what it is today. In hindsight, yes, there were definitely some racist elements to the book. So much that it makes the Adult Me cringe to think that I owned (and liked) this book as a little kid. But in defense of Little Kid Me, I didn't know then that this book was racist. I didn't even racism existed. Didn't even know what it was. Kids are beautifully color blind like that. Moreover, my parents are both pretty open-minded and raised me to be accepting of everyone regardless of race, religious affiliation, sexual preference, etc. That said, I think they must have purchased this book for me out of ignorance rather than trying to unconsciously instill in me any racist ideas (The idea of my parents doing that is laughable!).
But stop for a moment. Take out the controversial elements and what do you have at the heart of this book: A story about bullying. Yep, that's right. Here, a clever boy encounters three very nasty bullies. But rather than crying, trying to fight back, or living in fear, he outsmarts those bullies. That there is a very positive message about a topic (bullying) that is more relevant today than ever. Don't give into your bullies. Don't be afraid. Don't be a victim. Be smarter than your bullies and you'll come out on top.
This one has been on my to-read list for a while now (it was recommend to me...last Summer, I think) and I just now got around to it. Glad I finally d...moreThis one has been on my to-read list for a while now (it was recommend to me...last Summer, I think) and I just now got around to it. Glad I finally did. A very quick read. Not even 200 pages. But deep despite its brevity. The Wrap-Up List explored such intense topics as friendship, family, morality, life, death, and what happens afterward. It was unique and enjoyable.
There's a war on, and, because deaths are increasing, departures are also increasing. Departures are when a person is selected at random to die. Age, gender, religious affiliation... it makes no difference. Departures are as random and as rare as winning the lottery or getting stuck with jury duty. And just as final. When a person is selected for departure, they receive a letter from their assigned Death (which are actual beings) informing them of such. Protocol demands that the departed compile a wrap up list (a bucket list) and send it back to their Death who, in turn, replies with hints on how the items on the list can be completed. The only way to get out of departing is to figure out one's Death's noble weakness, but that's next to impossible to do because this is not information Deaths will willingly volunteer. If one does guess correctly, they are free to return to their life while their Death is severely punished. Not exactly a win-win for all involved.
Gabriella, 15, is one such chosen for Departure. She has only seven days to complete her list, which is to obtain first kisses for herself and her best friends and also figure out her Death's weakness to she can get a pardon. Things quickly get complicated as the list proves not as straightforward as she hoped (view spoiler)[The boy Gabriella wants to kiss is also marked for Departure and her friend Iris confesses that she is gay, meaning she won't just kiss any boy even though she could (hide spoiler)]. A spontaneous decision to kidnap her Death, who, oddly enough, pardoned her late grandfather decades before, proves a disaster. Gabriella proceeds with her life and her list until the very end. (view spoiler)[Just before her final departure, Gabriella learns that, although her grandfather was granted a pardon, he did not use it. Rather, he transferred it to his family for future use. Gabriella gives this pardon away as well and, in turn, discovers her Death's weakness: Giving away a pardon. This earns her her own pardon, which she uses to get back to her life (hide spoiler)]. Everything works out beautifully. There are plot twists and, if you're paying close attention, you just might guess them. Still, a highly enjoyable read.
Words cannot describe how much I loved this book. It's such a fantastic coming-of-age story! Bria was, for me, a very relatable character. Having grow...moreWords cannot describe how much I loved this book. It's such a fantastic coming-of-age story! Bria was, for me, a very relatable character. Having grown up pretty sheltered and naïve about the world at large, I longed for something more, to break free of the predictable good-girl habit and let out that free spirit I knew was somewhere inside me...to let go of all worries and have myself a grand adventure...to become something more. I still feel that way sometimes, and Wanderlove reawakened that sense of adventure in me (and made my cabin fever all the worse, but that's ok). I loved the character arcs, how Bria and Rowan, as different as they were, played off each other and grew because of each other. It was believable and it made me feel something other than the typical "Yep, I finished the book" feeling. It was one of those books I wanted to hug when I finished (this has only happened with a small handful of books--and I read a lot!). I was sad it was over, but so, so happy I read it. Kudos to Kirsten Hubbard for writing such an amazing book!
I absolutely loved "Wanderlove", so I had some pretty high expectations for "Like Mandarin". I'm very happy to say that those expectations were defini...moreI absolutely loved "Wanderlove", so I had some pretty high expectations for "Like Mandarin". I'm very happy to say that those expectations were definitely met!
Grace, typical good girl and former (child) beauty pageant contestant, has had a lifelong fascination with/girl-crush on town bad girl Mandarin Ramsey. When the two get paired up for a school project, these two very different girls develop an unlikely friendship. Grace learns there's much more to Mandarin (and people in general) than meets the eye. Mandarin, in turn, learns to take down her carefully-constructed walls enough to have what is probably her first ever true friend. A secondary plot involving the fractured relationships between Grace and her mother and younger sister was well done and fit neatly into the overall story. Plot conflicts were resolved nicely, but not so much as to be annoying clean (in a sense, perfectly).
The story--particularly the characters--reminded me A LOT of John Green's books. The character of Mandarin (wild girl, free spirit, rebel) was very much like that of Alaska Young (Looking for Alaska) or Margo Roth Spiegleman (Paper Towns). Protagonist Grace was the typical good girl who wanted to rebel but didn't know how. Very Q, very Pudge/Miles. The relationship/friendship between these two characters was also very "Green".
This one was a lot of fun! At it's most simplistic, it's the author's true story about how she grew up with, and had a constantly changing relationshi...moreThis one was a lot of fun! At it's most simplistic, it's the author's true story about how she grew up with, and had a constantly changing relationship with, food. But the graphic novel format gave the book a unique twist that separated it from the more traditional biographies. Packed with food-related anecdotes and step-by-step, fully-illustrated recipes, this one is a sure winner. It's easy to see how it got the recognition it did!(less)
I know this one is a Printz winner, but, to me, it just didn't uphold the lofty standards required of this honorable award: The stories far were too b...moreI know this one is a Printz winner, but, to me, it just didn't uphold the lofty standards required of this honorable award: The stories far were too brief to allow for much character development, so I really didn't have the chance to connect with anyone. And the way the plot jumped just as I was getting into a thread made the book difficult to follow. I just couldn't stay engaged. I kept putting it down to check my Facebook, feed the cats, start a load of laundry, paint my toenails, etc. When I'm really into a book, the world as I know it could end and I'd be none the wiser. That's how I wanted this book to be, and I'm profoundly disappointed that it wasn't. Lastly, the concept wasn't fresh. The whole idea of souls (or whatever) following each other through history is old hat. Examples, "Cloud Atlas", "Reincarnation" by Suzanne Weyn, and I'm pretty sure I remember Christopher Pike writing an abundance of books along these similar lines. Anyway, I might have given it a higher rating had it NOT been a Printz Winner (2.5-3 stars?), but I don't know. Hype, awards, or not, this book just didn't grab me the way I hoped it would. (less)
I heard glowing things about this one. Shiny, bright, brilliant glowing things. And I was excited when it finally made its way into my hands. But I co...moreI heard glowing things about this one. Shiny, bright, brilliant glowing things. And I was excited when it finally made its way into my hands. But I couldn't get into it. It was just too scattered and, even after the requisite 50 pages (more, actually) it wasn't coming together for me. Maybe I'll come back to it...(less)
Firstly ignore the cover. This is NOT a light, beachy romance. If you pick up this book thinking that, you'll be disappointed. Sure there's a little r...moreFirstly ignore the cover. This is NOT a light, beachy romance. If you pick up this book thinking that, you'll be disappointed. Sure there's a little romance, but not the hearts & rainbows insta-love variety. For me, the romance felt secondary.
No, this one's more weird suspenseful mystery. It's eerie. It's odd. And parts are downright disturbing. The characters are flawed to the point a reader must work to like them (but redeemable). The setting, a run down beach community, is almost spooky. And the plot twists... Shocking! THIS IS NOT A KISSING BOOK!
For my, this is one I couldn't put down. I went into it with 0 expectations, 0 hype, and 0 knowledge... And ended up loving it. (less)