**spoiler alert** I decided this year that I should begin reading the classics that I felt I should have read as an English major, and began with The**spoiler alert** I decided this year that I should begin reading the classics that I felt I should have read as an English major, and began with The Picture of Dorian Gray. The ide of the story intrigued me - a man does not age while a portrait painted of him does. I had no idea that the book would be so difficult to read and the language would be written so above the average reading level. In some respects, I liked the fat that the vocabulary was challenge. Basil Hallward was a talented artist who had not yet had his first real success. He lives with his rich relatives who do not require him to work and allow him to spend his time painting and spending time with the upper crust of London. But Basil meets Dorian, a young man to whom he feels deeply connected, and he paints Dorian. The painting is his best work, and as he finishes, Dorian says a small prayer that Dorian should never age, but instead should stay the age he is at the time of the painting, and that the painting itself should age instead. Basil's friend, Lord Henry,. or harry as basil calls him, meets Dorian, and Dorian is entranced by Lord Henry. He spends less and less time with Basil, and more with Henry, who feels that it is man's duty to do what makes him happy in the moment, and to enjoy life to the fullest, and never regret ones actions. He does not believe in love, marriage, or really even morals. He begins to corrupt Dorian, and drives him away from Basil, who does believe in morals. One night, Dorian strays into a lower-class theater and falls for a young woman named Sibyl Vane. Sibyl is an excellent actress, the daughter of a former actress and sister of a young man with an anger problem and soon to be leaving for the military at sea. Dorian does not tell Sybil his name, but instead calls himself Prince Charming, and eventually asks her to marry him. Dorian and Lord henry continue to spend their time at restaurants and at men's clubs, socializing with the upper crust, entertaining women, and finding ways to indulge in the things that make them happy. One night, Dorian goes back to the theater and brings Harry along to watch. But Sybil is awful, no longer acting about being in love and playing one of Shakespeare's characters, but since she herself knows what true love is, she can no longer play the part. Dorian is disgusted and Henry is embarrassed. Dorian tells her that he no longer wants to marry her, and Sybil eventually kills herself. Dorian is at first distraught, but Henry convinces him that it is not his fault. Dorian sneaks in to see his painting of himself that Basil has made, and he sees it aging, carrying in its face the wrinkles, anger, and rage that Dorian himself does not show in his face. Dorian becomes angry with the way his life is going - Sybil's brother is following him and he swears revenge. Dorian looks to drugs to wipe away his guilt. Eventually, the night Basil is to go away on a trip for a few months, Dorian kills him, and hires a former friend to use science to dispose of the body. Eventually, Dorian cannot take any more of his life, even after Sybil's brother is accidentally shot and killed during a hunting game. Dorian takes the knife with which he had stabbed and killed Basil Hallward, and stabs the picture of himself. He knows this will take his own life, and when his body is found, it has aged and the picture left is of the young man Dorian had looked. The story is one of morality, and how responsible we are for not only our own happiness and well being, but of that for the others that we touch in our lives....more
**spoiler alert** This book was much better than I expected it was going to be. It was written by a local author and I have no idea how it ended up on**spoiler alert** This book was much better than I expected it was going to be. It was written by a local author and I have no idea how it ended up on my shelf at school. It is the story of Gwen Raine, a thirty-something stay at home mom who lives in the suburbs. Gwen likes to smoke pot occasionally, and one day, goes to a former boss and lover to get a small stash. She smokes a bit before driving home, and is in an accident which kills an old man. Although Gwen is not at fault, because she had marijuana in her system, and her purse, she is vilified by some in her community, and looks as if she may be prosecuted. What entails is the unraveling of the marijuana industry in her local community, and how large it has become due to Jude, the owner of an upscale restaurant and Gwen's supplier. Gwen's husband, Brian, is a pharmaceutical company executive on the verge of a very large case in which a drug not prescribed for weight loss may be brought to the forefront for this usage. One of the females who works with Brian has recently lost a considerable amount of weight due to the off-label use of this drug, and she seems to be throwing herself at Brian, while Jude would be more than happy to rekindle a romance with Gwen. Gwen decides that what is most important to her is her family, and eventually gives up Jude's name. In the process, we meet Jude's daughter, who Gwen occasionally babysat and who is a runner on her way to college. Jude has had his side marijuana business for a while, and he runs it out of a cabin that he owns outside upstate New York. The man who runs it, Chris, a former marine, spent his time growing Jude's weed, getting high,, and being depressed over his life. In the end, Jude gets in over his head with an NFL player who has Jude shot in the head, execution style. Gwen gets off and puts her family back together, but continues to smoke the occasional joint. Jude's daughter has been raped by another former military man who was physically damaged in the war, but she remains strong and vows to begin her life over again with her friends. And Brian decides not to cheat on his wife....more
**spoiler alert** Definitely not my most favorite Stephen King book, but it was an entertaining read for the summer. What I did like about it was that**spoiler alert** Definitely not my most favorite Stephen King book, but it was an entertaining read for the summer. What I did like about it was that it was another one of King's books of short stories. This one contained 4, and the second was my faorite. "1922" was the first story, one about Wilfred Leland James and his hatred for his wife. Wilfred's wife, Arlette, wants to sell the house and to move to Omaha. But this is not what Wilfred wants. Their debts are almost paid off and he wants to settle down and enjoy the rest of his days in the farm with his wife and son. Bit his wife will not agree, and he is afraid that if they divorce, he will lose the farm, and his son. So he decides to kill her, and convinces his son that it is the right thing to do, and asks him to assist in the murder. Henry helps, but then loses his mental stability at the sight of the blood and his dead mother. Although he helps his father hide his mother in an unused well, Henry is never the same again. He now spends most of his time with his girlfriend, the daughter of a well-to-do farmer that Wilfred has always been a bit jealous of. The girl becomes pregnant, and the evil of the killing effects them all. Rats begin eating away at Arlette, and then they come to attack the family cow, which must be killed and put down the same well as Arlette. The police wonder where she has disappeared to, henry is no longer allowed to see his girlfriend and she is sent away, and everything goes wrong. Henry eventually steals a car, "rescues" his girlfriend, and they become like Bonnie and Clyde, getting themselves killed while she is pregnant. Now Wilfred has nothing.
Story 2 is called "Big Driver". This is the story of a mystery writer named Tess who drives to a book signing at an out-of-town library. She feels obliged to give these book talks, but does not really enjoy them and does so for the money. The head librarian offers her a shortcut for the ride home, and on the way, Tess runs into some trouble and a large man stops to help. But he rapes her and leaves her for dead, in a pipe drain with other dead women. Tess escapes, and realizes that the man set her up all along. She does some research in an attempt at retaliation, and finds out that the man is the son of the librarian, and she assists him in trapping and raping these women, though she can't prove it. Tess plots his death, and finds out that he and his brother own a trucking business. Tess eventually kills both him, the brother, and the mother in revenge for his death and that of the other women.
"Fair Extension" is the story of a man who has cancer and not long to live. He has a wonderful family and a relatively happy life, but he has always been jealous of his friend who has a better job, more money, maybe a prettier wife...So he makes a deal with this man at a roadside Flea Market, which changes Dave's outcomes and ruins his friends life. The friends wife dies, his aacountant embezzles money from his business that he is v=never able to recoup, his daughter, Gracie, develops a strange disease where she loses all her teeth, her husband is killed in a car accident, and her baby is born dead. Her brother Carl, a former Emerson student, suffered a heart attack which leaves him mentally disabled for the rest of his life. While Dave's son invents a video game that sells for $750,000. Tom Goodhugh's oldest son then stabs his wife in a fit of rage, killing her. Although he calls 911, it is too late and he goes to ail. Carl eventually chokes to death.Dave is able to enjoy the rest of his life, and his marriage, cancer free, while paying yearly funds to a Children's Fund in return for his wonderful life.
The last story, "A Good Marriage" is about a woman who thinks she has a wonderful marriage with her husband. They are both happy, financially sound, and have two wonderful children. Although he is a bit nerdy being a scout master of a local boy scout troupe even though his son has long outgrown boy scouts, she loves him and he affords the wonderful live she lives. But one night when he is away on business and she is looking for batteries out in the garage where her husband works, she comes upon a box containing graphic pictures of women with addresses and mail, and it is clear that he has killed these women. She does not know what to do and is scared. Darcy has loved Bob and is shocked at this double life he has led. So she lies to her husband when he asks her what is wrong, and he blames her sadness on her dead sister. At first, she thinks he believes her because he too lost his best friend when he was young. Darcy does some research while her husband is away and realizes that he has committed upwards of 12 murders and is called Beadie, one of the most wanted criminals. he ven taunts the police with evidence from the murders. But Bob discovers that she has found out that Darcy knows and so he explains to her why he killed these women. He tells her they were "snoots" and while he and his friend Brian were in high school, they planned to "shoot up" the school and "fuck" a bunch of the snooty girls. But Brian ran out in the road and was killed before they could do it, so Bob does the killings in his name, BD, Brian's nickname. Darcy agrees, for her own safety, to forgive Bob and they move on with their life, especially since their daughter was getting married. But an old detective is on to Bob, and starts asking a lot of questions. though Darcy tells him nothing, he can see in her eyes that she knows her husband is the killer. Eventually, Darcy kills Bob by pushing him down the stairs, where he breaks his back and she suffocates him. Though the detective clearly can tell that she has killed him, he writes it off as an accident and leaves her alone. ...more
**spoiler alert** My son asked me to read this book because he really liked it and both he and my oldest daughter play the video game. It is the story**spoiler alert** My son asked me to read this book because he really liked it and both he and my oldest daughter play the video game. It is the story of Andrew Ryan, a businessman and tycoon who is disenfranchised with America and its values. He believes that one day, man will destroy himself through technology and war, so he decides that he will instead create a Utopia under the sea, with himself as ultimate "ruler". Bill Sullivan is a plumber, but he has bigger dreams and aspirations. Andrew Ryan sees this and asks him to help him build Rapture, the city under the sea. Unfortunately, some of the choices Andrew Ryan makes in who he allows to come down to Rapture will lead to its ultimate downfall. He brings with him scientists who discover a sea slug that contains a venom that can be used to make "super powers" in humans. They make Adam and Eve, which become some of the most highly addictive drugs. There is also not enough work to be had in Rapture, so there becomes a section where people are out of work and starving. Frank Fontaine is also looking for power, and he is in direct opposition to Andrew Ryan. We have dancers and singers looking for their next big break, but instead they become wrapped up in the warped life of Rapture, and the evil Adam that comes with it. Rapture itself is not indestructible, and Bill Sullivan, with his new wife and young daughter, does his best to keep it together. In the end, Rapture will destroy itself under the control of Andrew Ryan. Those who die are harvested to become Big Daddies, men whose bodies become mostly machine, and are used to help control those who get out of line, or to make repairs on Rapture that men themselves cannot. But the only ones who can control the Big Daddies are the little sisters, young girls who are stolen from their families in order to live with the Big Daddies. In the end, Bill Sullivan has the chance to kill Andrew Ryan, but he does not, and is killed in order to become a Big Daddy himself. Only his wife and daughter will escape Rapture - the failed experiment of life under the sea....more
**spoiler alert** This was a very strange book based on a number of pictures that had been found by the author. Although the book was slow to start, I**spoiler alert** This was a very strange book based on a number of pictures that had been found by the author. Although the book was slow to start, I enjoyed it more than I expected and am looking forward to reading the next in the series. Jacob is a 16 year old boy who has always been very close with his grandfather. His grandfather has always told him stories of growing up that Jacob always believed, though no others in the family did. But then Jacob's grandfather is killed by who he thinks is a monster. Jacob is then required to go to counseling, and then receives a book from his grandfather and information about an island on which he grew up. Jacob then asks for his birthday to be allowed to go to the island to investigate. Jacob's parents finally agree as long as his father is able to come (Jacob would otherwise have to continue working at his uncle's store and be trained to spend his career there, something Jacob does not want to do). Jacob has not been popular at school and has only one real friend, and that friendship has been strained, so there is really nothing that Jacob is leaving behind except his family's money, in which he has never been interested. When they land on the island, the weather is strange and they realize the island is very backward. There is very little electricity and only one phone on the whole island. Jacob wants to begin looking for Miss Peregrine almost immediately at the home, but when he questions the owner of the bar, it seems that the house has been deserted for decades and that Miss Peregrine and all the children have passed away, which seems strange to Jacob as his grandfather received a letter from Miss Peregrine indicating that she was very much alive. Jacob, with the aid of two island ruffians, is shown to the house, though the boys do not go in with him. As Jacob is investigating the house, he realizes very strange things are occurring and the house looks as if it had been hit by an atomic bomb. He eventually makes his way to the basement and that is where the really strange things begin to occur. He has found a way to shove a very large chest off the third floor and have it land in the basement in order to find out what was inside, and here he finds more pictures of the peculiar children - strange looking twins, a girl who can hover off the ground, another girl with the strength of ten men, a boy who looks as if he is invisible. Then Jacob believes that the children are coming - he sees them and believes they are talking to him. He passes out and when he recovers he heads back to the bar below where he is staying, and on his way back he is being chased, about to be killed, when one of the young girls from the picture comes to his rescue. It is as if Jacob has entered a portal and now is in the land where Miss Peregrine and her children live - the place in which his grandfather grew up. This young girl was once his grandfather's girlfriend, and she misses him terribly. She is saddened by his loss, but develops a relationship with Jacob. She explains to him that against Miss Peregrine's warnings, Jacob's father left anyway because he insisted that he needed to fight in the war - the war that just misses the home for imaginary children each night when the time portal resets. Jacob develops a relationship with these children, and enjoys spending his days with them outside and hearing the stories of their lives and watching their magical powers - the girl who can hover into the air, the boy who can take hearts from living things and put them into inanimate objects to give them life. And the boy who is invisible - even Miss Peregrine herself who can turn into a bird. There are also other headmistresses in other world's, similar to Miss Peregrine, who can turn themselves into birds. These women are assigned to protect these children, and it is clear that there are people out there who are trying to kill them. One has met Jacob's father, and eventually captures Miss Peregrine. The children are eventually able to save her, but others have been killed by him. One of the children is even shot....more
**spoiler alert** Another very enjoyable book in the Lunar Chronicles series. My only issue with this book is that it was hard to keep track of all th**spoiler alert** Another very enjoyable book in the Lunar Chronicles series. My only issue with this book is that it was hard to keep track of all the characters and there separate stories once they are separated. Early on, Cinder, Captain Thorne, Iko (who is now the voice of the Rampion ship), Wolf and Scarlet. They have connected with Cress who has spent her entire life in a satellite orbiting the Earth. She was put here by thaumaturge Sybil as punishment for being a shell. Her job was to help Sybil monitor the earth, and especially emperor Kai for Queen Levana. But Cress has told Cinder that she wishes to be rescued, so they are trying to dock with her satellite. Cress has for years been following Captain Thorne and has had a crush on him. When they arrive, Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf enter the satellite in order to save Cress, but right before, thaumaturge Sybil also docks with the satellite. During the fracas, Sybil is shot, Scarlet is captured, and one of Queen Levana's soldiers, a pilot, defects from Luna and comes with the rest. Cinder and Wolf are able to get away in the Rampion with the soldier, but Cress and Thorne are trapped in the satellite that is now plummeting to earth. Luckily, they are able to land it relatively safely without it blowing up or shattering, but Thorne has lost his sight when he hit his head. Cress and Thorne wander though the desert until they come upon a group of middle eastern traders who agree to assist them and son enough take them into the city. While there, Thorne gets caught up playing cards and winning a cyborg woman, and Cress gets jealous and is soon kidnapped by these people who she thought were her friends and is sold to a doctor in another city - one who collects shells. This doctor is none other than Dr. Erlander, the man who helped Cinder to escape and told her that she was Princess Selene. He also turns out to be Cress's father, and she is his Crescent Moon, the child he thought had been killed. Wolf is quite wounded and eventually is assisted by Dr. Erlander, but he is devastated at the loss of Scarlet, who they assume is dead at the hands of Sybil. They, too, make their way to Dr. Erlander and they have a plan to kidnap Prince Kai before his wedding to Queen Levana. Dr, Erlander agrees to help all of them, but in the end he too comes down with Leutemosis and must quarantine himself. He is only once able to speak to his daughter and explain who he is before they must leave him to die. Wolf has been helping Cinder work on her powers, which she will need to use against Sybil. The day of the wedding, Wolf and Cress attend together while Cinder and Thorne plan to capture Prince Kai - they are able to and Cinder is able to mentally defeat Sybil. The lunar soldier assists them and he too is excited to get back to Luna because he is in love with the other princess, Winter, Levana's step-daughter. She is next in line for the throne, and is completely crazy. She keeps a zoo of animals and people, and Scarlet happens to be one of them. She refuses to use her powers on others, which has made her crazy. Kai realizes that he is in love with Cinder, but is angry when he finds he has been captured and is on his way to Luna with Wolf, Thorne, Cinder, Iko (now in a cyborg body) and the lunar soldier. He is worried that Levana will send more of the monsters, like Wolf, to kill more humans. Cinder tells him that she is Princess Selene, and they all head to Luna to take on Queen Levana and win over her people....more
**spoiler alert** Unfortunately, I read this book a couple months ago so it is hard for me to remember exactly what happened, but I do know that I con**spoiler alert** Unfortunately, I read this book a couple months ago so it is hard for me to remember exactly what happened, but I do know that I continue to enjoy this series and am eagerly anticipating the next book. My only issue with this book as there were so many different things going on and so many characters to follow. First, we have Clary and Jace. At the end of the last book, Jace goes missing at the end. We soon realize that Jace is with Sebastian, who is not dead, due to Simon's blood. Lilith made Simon give Sebastian his blood so that Sebastian could continue to live, and now, Jace and Sebastian are bound together. What happens to one, happens to the other, so Sebastian cannot be killed. Clary finally realizes this when Jace and Sebastian come to see her. They ask Clary to come with them to the house, which is able to go to other realms undetected. Clary agrees, but only after she steals the ring of the fairy people that will help her keep connected to Simon, even when she is in another realm. Alec and Magnus are haing problems in their relationship because Alec is upset that he will one day die and Magnus will live on forever. We also follow the relationship of Jordan and Mia, who go back to Jordan's werewolf pack looking for help. Magnus, Isabelle, Simon, Alec and Mia decide that they need to summon an angel to help break the bond between Jace and Sebastian. While Clary spends time with Jace and Sebastian, she realizes how much she hates him, though she tries to act kind to him in order to find out what he is doing. He steals her ring and she knows it, and she follows him, watching him make deals with demons, one who she tries to defeat but cannot without the help of Sebastian. In some ways, it seems that Sebastian loves Clary, and blames all his bad behavior on his father. The mortal cup eventually ends up in the hands of Lilith, who is using it to destroy the Shadowhunters, and Amatis, Luke's sister, is one of the first she destroys. Luke has been poisoned and is almost dead, and that is what Jordan and Mia must get the help of his pack in order to help him to recover. Simon is the only one who can save all of them through the use of the mark that Clary gave him because he can enter the circle of the angel Raziel. The angel is very angry, and though he does give them what they need to separate Jace and Sebastian, Simon loses his mark and now may be killed. There is much I am missing here, but at the end, Jace is different, and he and Clary must not have much physical contact, though they almost had sex in Paris while he was under the control of Sebstian. Next book, I must make sure to keep notes as I go along because so much occurs in the book that it is hard to keep track of everything, and it is forgotten soon after it is read....more
**spoiler alert** This was a very cute book for middle school level readers. It is about a girl names Anabel, or Anna the Belle as her father likes to**spoiler alert** This was a very cute book for middle school level readers. It is about a girl names Anabel, or Anna the Belle as her father likes to call her. She is in middle school and is trying to handle her new life filled with a step mom and step siblings who live in Australia with her dad, and her mom and her new boyfriend who's son happens to go to her school and is called Wheaties. Anabel loves living in her New York City apartment with her mother and her grandmother, but she misses her dad who has moved to Australia. His new wife has two children, a daughter, Lucy, who is Anabel's age, and her younger brother Angus. They also have a new baby named Beatrice. Lucy and Angus' father was killed in a car accident before their mother, Penny, met Anabel's father, Jack. Jack used to be married to Angelina, an actress and Anabel's mom. They were young and hipsters when they had Anabel, and therefore Anabel calls them by their first names. Angelina is now dating Harvey, Wheaties father and a very successful mattress salesman. Angelina decides that Anabel should go visit Jack and his family in Australia for the Christmas break. Anabel does not want to meet her step mother or step siblings, and is not kind to them when she arrives. Her plan is to convince Jack to come home to New York with her. Lucy is very excited to meet Anabel and wants all her attention, but her father screws up her first meal by forgetting that she is a vegetarian. Eventually, Anabel tries to spend some time with Lucy by going shopping with her, and she helps Lucy to deal with the girls at school who do not like her and make fun of the way she dresses. Anabel also meets Bem, Lucy's former step brother who Anabel develops a crush on. While Lucy and Anabel don't become friends, they come to an understanding that they are both angry at their parents. Angelina calls to surprise Anabel and tells her that she and Harvey are getting married and that they are expecting a baby. This sends Anabel over the edge and she and Lucy run away to go see Lucy's grandmother, who she was denied a visit because of Anabel's arrival. The board a train and go on an adventure before they arrive at the grandmother's house. Both families are so worried that Anabel's mother, Harvey, and Wheaties fly to Australia to find the girls. Eventually they are found and everyone goes back to Jack and Penny's house. While at the grandmother's. Anabel is able to see Ben one more time as he and his father come for a visit, and he and Anabel kiss. In the end, when Anabel returns home, she and Lucy are good friends and communicate via email. Anabel is even planning to go back for a summer visit and Lucy and her family are planning a visit to New York. A sweet book about learning to accept the family you have even if you had no choice in who they are....more
**spoiler alert** Another good book that has a good message to it. Although I read this after I read Rage, this is the first book in the 4 book series**spoiler alert** Another good book that has a good message to it. Although I read this after I read Rage, this is the first book in the 4 book series. Lisabeth Lewis is anorexic, and she is in a constant battle with the thin voice in her head that tells her she is fat and prevents her from eating. Her ex-best friend has accused her of being anorexic, so she will no longer speak to her. Her boyfriend and childhood best friend James is becoming worried about her because they fight all the time and she is always on edge, and he has noticed her lack of eating. And she has little relationship with her parents as her father is too busy and is too consumed with making her mother happy, and her mother is always judging her. Lisa's new best friend, Tammy, is bulimic, and seeks out Lisa for her homemade cookies and for someone to be there when she binges and purges. Now, when Lisa has lost so much weight that she is close to death, she become Famine, a rider of the apocalypse who must find a way to ease the hunger of starving people in other countries. She rides on her black steed with her scales, forever searching for balance. She finally begins to understand the impact of food when she is taken to a third world country where people are truly starving because all their crops have been eaten by rats. She also meets war, who, unlike Lisa who wants to right the wrongs that starvation and hunger bring, wants to cause was and fighting. War even tries to kill Lisa, but in the end, Lisa finds a way to harness the powers of Famine, and is able to starve War to death, upsetting Death himself as they had a thing together. All the while she is still trying to figure out how to be Lisa, not eating in front of her boyfriend, vomiting in the bathroom, running away and finally having to tell the truth, that she is anorexic. She almost kills her mother by using her power to take her mother's life away, and this is a defining moment for her when she realizes that she loves and needs her mother, and she brings her back. But n doing so, Lisa herself is dying, and it is her mother who tends to her and helps her realize that she needs help. In the end, Lisa is send off to get therapy for her anorexia and must learn how to eat again, and makes up with her former best friend. She and Tammy are no longer friends as they have nothing in common. A well written book with an important message, that it is never too late to get help. IN the end, she tells Death, who she happens to find very good looking, that she no longer wishes to be Famine, and turns over the scales, and the beautiful black stead, in order to resume her old life again....more
**spoiler alert** This is the Story of Melissa Miller, a teenage girl who was a cutter. One night, when she cut too deep, she was visited by Death, an**spoiler alert** This is the Story of Melissa Miller, a teenage girl who was a cutter. One night, when she cut too deep, she was visited by Death, and he made her one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, War. Now Melissa, who was on the verge of death, would ride atop her horse, Ares, at night, and bring war to people close by, or in other countries, depending on her mood. All of this because her ex-boyfriend, Adam, had embarrassed her at a party by pretending he wanted to get back together with her, trying to have sex with her, and exposing her cutting to everyone at the party, and on the internet. Death comes to her with the sword of War, and summons her as a rider. Melissa does not currently have a good relationship with her family - her parents are just too busy and expect her to be perfect, while her younger sister, Susan, spends her time with the popular kids at school and hates Missy. Missy is still on the soccer team, and finds it is the only time she can really be herself, when she is in the goalies box. She really wants to stop cutting, and marks the days she is able to make it without cutting, but eventually, when the pain gets too much, like when the soccer team pees on all her equipment and she is not invited for ice cream, she again must cut. Eventually, she is kicked off the soccer team for being "weak" according to her coach. But on her rides with Ares, and her time spent with Death, she realizes that she does not have to make war, as happened her first night in a restaurant where she unleashed anger and utter chaos amongst the patrons. She realizes that she can also find a way to make peace and understanding between warring sides, and is able to help refugees find a way to get food from trucks caring donations to them. Eventually, Melissa must ask for help, and she turns to her former best friend, Erica. She calls her and tells her she wants to die, and so begins Missy's slow healing process. Erica knows about the cutting, and continues to be Melissa's friend, and helps encourage her to tell her parents and her sister. They are more accepting than Melissa expects, and she eventually begins to find her way back in the world, though she is still War and must at night ride, and at times meet the other Horsemen, such as Pestilence, who carries disease wherever he goes. It was a quick read, but very enjoyable and great for anyone suffering with this type of disorder. ...more
**spoiler alert** I wanted to love this book as much as I loved The Fault in Our Stars, but I just couldn't. The writing was not as touching, the char**spoiler alert** I wanted to love this book as much as I loved The Fault in Our Stars, but I just couldn't. The writing was not as touching, the characters not as sweet and charming. I just could not connect to this book. Not that I didn't enjoy it - I did. But the characters seemed too one sided - caricatures of real people. The one I liked the most was the Colonel - he seemed the most realistic. Alaska was too depressed, too angry, too out of control. Adults in her life, especially the ones at school, should have seen that she was spiraling out of control. And while I understood Pudge's love for Alaska, his constant pining for her and whining about it was a bit too much. Pudge was new to the school and has joined the Colonel (Chip) ad a roommate. This is Pudge's dream - to follow The Great Perhaps. He wants something other than his life in Florida with his parents and his friends that do not really exist. Alaska is the girl they are all secretly in love with, and with their friend Takumi, and later Lara, they go on adventures trying to find their way out of the labyrinth that is life. Alaska's boyfriend is one of the weekday warriors - one of the rich kids who lives off campus. Pudge has a fascination with famous last words, and Alaska has a life library of books that she has read and reread, or that she plans to read. They define who she is as Pudge's litany of famous last words defines him. The four spend much of their time smoking, and later drinking, and planning pranks against the weekday warriors. They are all relatively good students, so they spend time studying also, with Alaska tutoring in math. But they all have things in their life that haunt them. Lara is from another country, and came here when she was in her early teens. She had to grow up, as her parents could not speak the language so Lara had to do it for them - to communicate and to fill out forms, and to do all the basic tasks that required reading. The Colonel came from a very poor family with a mom who worked hard but all she had to show for it was a trailer in which they lived. And Alaska, she talked as if she had no parents, though they all knew she lived with her father. Finally, one drunk night in a barn, she told them the story of how she allowed her mother to die of a seizure, when she was too young and too scared to call 911. Her father forever blamed her for the death of her mother, and she never forgave herself. We see them in class with their old teacher, Mr. Hyde, who is speaking to them about religion. And we see them in the cafeteria eating bufriedos - deep fried burritos. But underneath it all we see the pain they all are facing. One night, after one of their drinkign bignes and pranks, Alaska and Pudge begin to kiss. Eventually, she gets a phone call and then runs screaming, asking the boys to cover her so she can go do something that she forgot. Because she is so upset, they agree, knowing that she is very drunk. The next day when they wake up, the Eagle, one of the teachers who runs the school, is at the door, and tells the boys to come to the gym. The entire school is there, and the Colonel is afraid that Mr. Hyde has died, but when Hyde shows up, Pudge yells that they cannot begin until Alaska arrives. At this point, the Eagle beings to cry and the boys, in their hearts, know what is wrong. They soon find out that Alaska has been killed in a car accident. The boys are broken and do not know how to go on, and Pudge is devastated as Alaska had told him the night before that their make-out session would "be continued". The rest of the book is about Pudge and the Colonel trying to come to grips with Alaska's death, whether she killed herself going "straight and fast" to find her way out of the labyrinth, or whether she was too drunk to notice the police car she smashed into. They recreate her accident, they call her boyfriend, Jake, and ask him what happened during their phone call, and finally they realize, that she what Alaska had forgotten was her mother. Takumi finally tells them that he, too, saw Alaska before she got into her car and she told him that she had forgotten the day her mother died, and needed to get to her grave to bring her flowers. He too, had been embarrassed about his role in her death and that he had not stopped her. For the final exam, Mr. Hyde uses Alaska's question about the labyrinth and how man is to get out of it, and Pudge decides that if life is the labyrinth, he wants to stay. The message of the book is a good one, but the characters just feel too undeveloped and I could not connect with them....more