Everyone wants to be pretty right? This futuristic novel looks at what happens when everyone embraces plastic surgery and allows the government to tel...moreEveryone wants to be pretty right? This futuristic novel looks at what happens when everyone embraces plastic surgery and allows the government to tell you what is right. Brainwashing, plastic surgery, and free will clash in Uglies. (less)
In this stunning debut, Whiteman elaborates on the myth often called The Rape of Persephone. Whiteman’s Persephone however, is not the damsel in distr...moreIn this stunning debut, Whiteman elaborates on the myth often called The Rape of Persephone. Whiteman’s Persephone however, is not the damsel in distress that you often find in the traditional myth. What sets Whiteman’s Persephone apart is that everything that happens to her is by her own choice.
Tired of being treated like a child and ignored by her mother the goddess Demeter, Persephone silently rebels against her mother who refuses to acknowledge that her daughter is no longer a child, but a young woman. When Hades appears to Persephone in the protected vale Demeter has created, Persephone finally has someone who treats her as an adult rather than a child. Hades offers her the choice to stay in the vale or become his queen, and Persephone makes her choice. What follows is the story of how Persephone transitions from self absorbed child to a caring and determined young woman and finally to a radiant queen.
Radiant Darkness was a quick read. I have always loved mythology and truly enjoyed this version of the story. It was engaging from the beginning. Although I felt that it took Persephone a little too long to catch on to both her husband and her mother’s desire for more power, the story is still entertaining. Persephone’s chafing at the beginning under her mother’s over-protectiveness will be something that teens ready to experience their own independence will easily empathize with.
I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
Cautions for sensitive readers: Persephone is married to Hades, but nothing that happens in the bedroom is shown—everything regarding sex happens off screen. There is no language and no violence. (less)
It happened when they were at the Isles of Wonder, designed to be the “ultimate theme park.” For them it would soon be their home. When a mysterious,...moreIt happened when they were at the Isles of Wonder, designed to be the “ultimate theme park.” For them it would soon be their home. When a mysterious, genetically engineered virus kill all the adults and older teens, the younger teens, children, and infants, have to find a way to live in a world with no parents or any other adult. They have to recreate their own world and new lives. For Josh and his little sister Maddie this means creating their new life where the old one had abruptly ended in the Isles of Wonder Amusement Park.
As the older kids come to terms with the tragedy, they begin to organize and follow the charismatic Milo who steps up as the leader of the Isles along with a core group of kids who volunteer to help him. They create borders and try to protect the Isles from those from the outside who would try to steal what the surviving islanders have. As time progresses, Josh, his new friend Zoe and some of the other islanders begin to wonder if there are other reasons the core insists that they shouldn’t venture out of the Isles.
This novel was terrifying. In a sense it was a modern Lord of the Flies. The thought of infants and small children suddenly left to be raised by older brothers and in some cases complete strangers was a difficult concept. At the same time it was a book that was very hard for me to put down. I had to know what would happen next. I recommend this to anyone who likes books about survival, dystopian futures, or is looking for a quick read.
Cautions for sensitive readers: In the very beginning of this book all the adults die and the kids have to organize the burials for all of the dead while this is not explicitly described it is referred to. There is also violence in this novel. As the teens get older they do form families, and some sex is referred to although there are no explicit details. (less)
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr is the second book in what could be called the Wicked Lovely series. Although reading Wicked Lovely first would give you...moreInk Exchange by Melissa Marr is the second book in what could be called the Wicked Lovely series. Although reading Wicked Lovely first would give you more insight to the world, I believe both novels can stand alone. I have to admit that I didn’t like this book as well as I liked Wicked Lovely. While Wicked Lovely is what I would call a dark fantasy (or the more modern term urban fantasy), it wasn’t nearly as dark as Ink Exchange. This book dealt with many addictions, and the answers presented in the book were not clear cut. I guess it is a more accurate reflection of the world in that sense, but I have to admit a fondness for nice tidy endings in my fiction. After a slow start, the story of Leslie and her tattoo begins to pick up. Niall, a fairy sworn to the Summer Court, is assigned to protect Leslie, but he is unable to protect her from her choices that lead her into the grasp of the king of the Dark Court. This novel has a much more gritty feel than Wicked Lovely, but it does begin to appeal to you later in the book. While I don’t believe reading Ink Exchange will be necessary to understand Marr’s next book Fragile Eternity (due out 4/28/09) which will pick up where Wicked Lovely left off with Aislinn and Seth, I think it offers interesting insight in to the world of fairy courts that may be beneficial to the readers. Recommend this to fans of Wicked Lovely, dark fantasy, and urban fantasy. Cautions for sensitive readers: This book is definitely written for older teens. There is sex, drug additions, and a mention of the main character’s rape before the events of this book. There is also violence among the fairies. (less)
Alice, named after the character from Alice in Wonderland is still realing from the death of her mother. Her father has remarried and has had a baby w...moreAlice, named after the character from Alice in Wonderland is still realing from the death of her mother. Her father has remarried and has had a baby with his new wife. Alice feels like he is pushing her away and that she isn't part of the family. She resents her stepmother and the new baby and struggles to come to terms with the death of her own mother.
Alice expresses her feelings in her music and to her boyfriend Blaze, but feels largely misunderstood by her father, stepmother, and even her best friend, Claire. When disaster strikes April has to learn to rely on her new stepmother and her faith to see herself through, and learn to let go of her painful past.
This novel written in verse is well written. It is a quick and enjoyable read with well developed characters. It should appeal to fans of Lurlene McDaniel and teens who like a story about finding hope in tragedy.
Cautions for Sensitive Readers: There is some foul language in this book, but it isn't overdone. Alice and her boyfriend talk about having sex and even go to a hotel, but when Alice says no, her boyfriend respects her decision. The situation is handled well. There is no violence in this book.(less)
**spoiler alert** Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson tackles the tough topics of eating disorders and cutting. It is the haunting story of Lia, who...more**spoiler alert** Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson tackles the tough topics of eating disorders and cutting. It is the haunting story of Lia, who recently lost her best friend Cassie to an eating disorder. She and Cassie were wintergirls together. They were both going to be the thinnest, skinniest, most beautiful girls in school. Cassie dies alone in a motel room, leaving Lia to sort through her own issues and eating disorder. Lia, hospitalized twice for her own battle with anorexia, doesn’t want to believe that anything is wrong. She thinks that everyone else has the problem, and she is fine. On a subconscious level though, she recognizes that her disorder is taking her down the same path as Cassie. She feels the cold, and the loss, but she cannot bring herself to eat. She doesn’t believe that eating will solve her problems. At one point Lia states, “I want to eat like a normal person eats, but I need to see my bones or I will hate myself even more and I might cut out my heart or take every pill that was ever made” (203). Lia, clearly unbalanced by both the disease and her friend’s sudden death feels that she is being haunted by Cassie who climbs out of her coffin and refuses to stay in her grave. She knows that she doesn’t see the world the way others do, but she doesn’t understand why. “They yell at me because I can’t see what they see. Nobody can explain to me why my eyes work different than theirs. Nobody can make it stop” (197). Anderson has written a gripping tale of pain and loss and a search for identity separate from her disease. Her language is poetic, drawing you into the story and not letting you leave until you reach the very last page. Often disturbing, this book takes you into the mind of girl suffering from an eating disorder, a girl who injures herself for letting that one morsel past her lips, a girl whose inner voices tear at her self esteem, a wintergirl. Cautions for sensitive readers: The main character does refer to herself as a stupid b***h throughout novel and cuts herself as punishment for not living up to her expectations. There isn’t any sex in the book. (less)
Glass Houses is the first book in the Morganville Vampire series. When scholastically brilliant Claire Danvers sets off for college in Morganville, Te...moreGlass Houses is the first book in the Morganville Vampire series. When scholastically brilliant Claire Danvers sets off for college in Morganville, Texas, she gets more than she bargained for. Claire quickly makes an enemy of one of the most popular girls in the dorm and finds her life in danger because of this girl. After leaving the dorms, Claire finds a home in Glass House with three mysterious roommates who are willing to risk their own lives to keep her safe. In Glass House, the mystery of Morganville and its vampire heritage are slowly revealed. Glass Houses is a fast read, and not a bad one either. Is it original or profound? No, but it was an enjoyable read and a good light vampire story. It is definitely meant to be read as a series, and ends with a cliff hanger that will have you dying for the next book. I recommend this to teens looking for the next vampire read. Entertaining. Cautions for sensitive readers: This book contains a lot of violence and profanity is used in some of the more extreme situations. As of yet, there is no sex in the series, but I can not say what will happen in the later books. (less)
In this long awaited sequel to Tamora Pierce's Terrier our heroine Beka Cooper is now a full-fledged dog who has difficulty keeping a partner. This ne...moreIn this long awaited sequel to Tamora Pierce's Terrier our heroine Beka Cooper is now a full-fledged dog who has difficulty keeping a partner. This new mystery takes her to Port Caynn to solve the mystery of the counterfeit coins that are circulating through Corus and Port Caynn. Together with her former training partner Goodwin, Beka investigates the gambling dens and the court of the Port Caynn Rogue. Pierce has done a lot of character development in this second novel, and we begin to see more from once shy and mousy Beka. This book is definitely a worthy sequel to the first book. Highly recommended to fantasy fans and anyone who likes to see strong female characters. I just hope the wait for the third book in this series, Mastiff, isn’t quite so long. (less)
**spoiler alert** First let me say that my dislike of this book is no reflection on the author’s abilities or skills. In fact, I found her writing sty...more**spoiler alert** First let me say that my dislike of this book is no reflection on the author’s abilities or skills. In fact, I found her writing style appealing. The story has a fascinating premise, a young man is sent to a rehab hospital in Florida to regain the use of his body after suffering from Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome. Her depictions of the syndrome were interesting as were many of her characters, with the exception of one character—our main character Dane.
Dane is an extremely caustic narrator. He is self centered and selfish, and cares for no one but himself. Although he begins to “thaw” throughout the course of the book, I found it difficult reading about this highly intelligent teen with the emotional capacity of a computer. For instance, after one of his ski teammates injures himself in a meet, Dane states that he wishes we humans were like the rest of the animal kingdom and followed Darwin’s survival of the fittest. He says, “Why can’t we just cull out the dead weight so the rest of us can achieve the way we’re meant to?” He later goes on to show that his only interest is in himself and winning when he says “In spite of Forrester’s crap, I think we’ll still win this one.” Dane shows no concern for his injured teammate, and it is ironic that he ends up being the one that becomes dead weight that others have to help to survive.
As Dane struggles to regain the use of his body, he does begin to soften and become a little more considerate, but still for the most part he is obnoxious.
The book is well written, but I found a difficult read because I didn’t like Dane. It will find it s audience, but it definitely isn’t me.
Cautions for sensitive readers: Some sex (although nothing explicit) and foul language are present in this book. (less)
Frankie Landau-Banks is a sophomore at Alabaster Preparatory Academy, a boarding school, once attended by her father and his friends. Known to her fam...moreFrankie Landau-Banks is a sophomore at Alabaster Preparatory Academy, a boarding school, once attended by her father and his friends. Known to her family as Bunny Rabbit, Frankie longs to show people who she really is. Frankie knows she is not Bunny Rabbit, but she can’t make anyone else see that. Her father and his friends were once members of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, a secret society that often played pranks on the grounds of the academy. After locating the secret history of the Order, entitled “The Disreputable History of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds,” Frankie concocts a plan to get people, including her senior boyfriend Matthew who sees her only as an adorable girl, to see her for her own genius and ambition. I really don’t know where to start with this book and my feelings about it are a bit confused. Did I like the book? Yes, definitely. Did I like the setting? Yes. Did I like the main character? I think so, although this could require more though. Did I like the plot? Hmm…this is where it gets more difficult. The events in the plot and the pranks the Loyal Order plays were amusing and ingenious, but my plotting dilemma goes back to the main character Frankie. At moments I think I like her, while at others I don’t think I do. I know—I need to make up my mind! This book was well written and entertaining. A good read. One I think teens may enjoy and appreciate especially if they are fond of boarding school fiction. Cautions for sensitive readers: I don’t recall any foul language in the book, and there is no sex (although it is mentioned) or violence. (less)
Sixteen year old Colie is used to being picked on. At her school she is commonly known as “hole in one,” due to a malicious rumor that one of her adve...moreSixteen year old Colie is used to being picked on. At her school she is commonly known as “hole in one,” due to a malicious rumor that one of her adversaries spread around the school. This summer, Colie is traveling to Colby, North Carolina where she will stay with her eccentric aunt Mira. There she will find friends and a job in a place that isn’t familiar with her past. I love Sarah Dessen’s books. She has a knack for writing realistic teen characters and situations. Despite the aspects of the story that are now a little dated (i.e. Cassette tapes, and a walkman) the story is still relevant. Colie struggles with the perceptions people have of her. The story explores a teen’s search for identity and the friends she makes along the way. This is a great book and still very relevant. Highly recommended! Cautions for sensitive readers: There are some references to sex in this book, although nothing is depicted. Violence is not present, but there may be some mild language, although I am not recalling any at the time of this review. (less)
Jennifer Harris created a new life for herself after the death of her best friend Cameron Quick in elementary school. He was her only friend and confi...moreJennifer Harris created a new life for herself after the death of her best friend Cameron Quick in elementary school. He was her only friend and confidant. She was an outcast, overweight, and picked on. After her mother remarries, Jennifer recreates herself. She changes her name to Jenna Voughn, loses the weight, and resolves never to cry at school again. Until the day Cameron Quick returns to her life and everything begins to unravel. Who is she really Jenna Voughn or Jennifer Harris? And how can she face the secrets of her childhood now that Cameron is back. This book was an interesting read. The characters are well developed and the story is paced nicely. I can’t say that this book was a favorite though, because I am not sure how I feel about the main character, Jenna. She is a contradiction, and very hard to peg. Parts of her are still Jennifer Harris, while she struggles to be Jenna Voughn Overall, I did like the book but I wouldn’t say it was a favorite—mostly because of my frustration with the main character. It is realistic though in the sense that people tend to fall in and out of our lives and they do make an impression on us. Recommended for older teens who enjoy realistic fiction. Cautions for sensitive readers: There is some language and verbal abuse by a parent, but no violence. (less)
Graceling is a stunning debut novel by author Kristin Cashore. According to the book flap, the story grew out of the authors daydreams about a powerfu...moreGraceling is a stunning debut novel by author Kristin Cashore. According to the book flap, the story grew out of the authors daydreams about a powerful girl. Let me just say I hope she keeps daydreaming because this book was a wonderful adventure.
Katsa was born Graced. In her land many people are born with many different types of graces. Some are graced with the ability to cook, to fight, to dance, or even to read minds. Katsa’s grace has set her on a lonely path, her grace is the ability to kill. Feeling more cursed than graced, Katsa is the unwilling arm of King Randa, who uses her as a threat to any who would oppose his will. Katsa feels like a hired thug. .
In secret, Katsa created the Council to help the kingdoms from the rule of unfair kings. It is her work with the Council that leads her to cross paths with the Leinid Graceling Prince Po. When Po’s grandfather is captured, Katsa rescues him, but they struggle to find the reasons behind the kidnapping. What they find leads them on an adventure that will threaten both their lives. Can Katsa become more than a thug, can she see her grace as a gift rather than a curse?
This was well written and very entertaining. In fact, it was very difficult to put the book down. Fans of authors like Tamora Pierce and other fantasy authors with strong female characters, will find themselves drawn to this novel.
Cautions for sensitive readers: There was no language in this book, but you will find a lot of violence. The main character does have sex, but there are no explicit descriptions or detail.(less)