Cover Impressions: The cover image for The Raven Boys is really stunning. The beautiful...more This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: The cover image for The Raven Boys is really stunning. The beautiful blues, blacks and red work wonderfully with the eggshell background. Closer inspection of the raven reveals swirling brushstrokes that add depth and texture.
The Gist: On a cold spring night, Blue stands in an abandoned church yard waiting for the parade of death to begin, not that she has ever seen anything. Blue is not a psychic, she serves more as a battery, enhancing the powers of those who already display abilities. But, on this night, everything changes. The face of a boy emerges from the darkness and gives her one name: Gansey.
A member of the ultra elite Aglionby school, Gansey's balances the demands of his schooling with his passion for ley-lines and the search for a long lost king. When he crosses paths with Blue he and his friends, Adam, Ronan and Noah, finally start to see magic in the everyday and are sent on an adventure that will test their friendships and their dedication to the search.
Review: The Raven Boys surprised me. I was not a fan of Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver series and I entered into this world with a little reluctance. Things did not start particularly strongly. I was not instantly enamored of any of the characters and I found the world building a little slow and difficult to follow. However, once the characters began to interact and made huge leaps in the progress of their search, I was completely drawn in.
As I mentioned, I was not a huge fan of any of the characters. I found Gansey and Ronan rather difficult to like (both for very different reasons) and, while I liked Adam, I found his "I'm poor but I insist on fighting on my own for everything and not accepting a lick of help from the people who clearly care about me" attitude more annoying than endearing. I did enjoy Noah - though I would have liked to see him feature more and Blue was cute but I think her quirkiness could have been played up a little more. These initial impressions, however, may change as the series continues and more of the characterization is revealed.
The true strength in this novel, lies in the world building and the plot advancement that occurs in the second half. Once the characters truly embarked upon their quest and started to uncover new mysteries I was thrust into the story and entangled with the magic of this new world. The woods becomes a whole other character, beautiful and enchanting one moment, tricky and fickle the next. For the first time in quite a long time, I found myself completely surprised by a particular plot twist and from that moment on, I was hooked.
While there is nothing particularly racy about the plot of The Raven Boys, it does involve a smattering of swear words and an abusive situation that would make me recommend it for my older and more mature students.
I will be anxiously awaiting the next installment in this series. Write fast, please, Mrs. Stiefvater.
Age: 16 and up Gender: Both Sex: None Violence: Fist fighting, Gunplay, Physical Abuse, Murder by blunt forced trauma Inappropriate Language: Bitch, Fuck, Shit, Bastard, Jesus, Shit Substance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking (less)
Cover Impressions: I really like this cover. The colors are muted but eye-catching. You...more This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: I really like this cover. The colors are muted but eye-catching. You get just enough of a feel for the setting of the book and I LOVE that the cupcake dresses are featured.
The Gist: Phoebe Swift has suffered a terrible loss. Riddled with guilt and regret, she removes every trace of her old life and sets up Village Vintage, a vintage clothing shop, in the hopes of burying herself so fully in her business that she does not have time to dwell on the past. In sourcing clothing for her shop, Phoebe encounters Therese Bell, an elderly woman with painful past of her own. Through the tale of a child's blue coat, both women will come to a new understanding of love, loss and regret.
Review: In moving to a new school this year, I found myself in the thick of traffic for the first time since I started working. In an attempt to circumvent the frustration of the bumper to bumper drive, I turned to the audio of A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff. The narrator, Violet Mathieson, had a wonderful voice couple with a beautiful accent. She was also quite skilled in creating voices and accents for each of the characters. A Vintage Affair so enraptured me that I actually looked forward to getting stuck in traffic as it ensured me a few more moments in that world.
The characters themselves are almost all deeply flawed and beautifully broken. The pain of both Phoebe and Mrs. Bell was palpable, as was the love for their lost friends and their regret at not having made different choices. Supporting them, was a cast of men and women who all had issues of their own and who evoked in the reader a sense of understanding and sadness. There are no villains here.
The descriptions in this novel made me long to walk into Village Vintage, to hear the bell tinkle overhead and to trace my hand along some of the beautiful fabrics that were sure to greet me. If you have not developed a love of vintage clothing already, A Vintage Affair will certainly set you on that path. I, personally, have fantasies of a deep purple cupcake dress.
While this novel is not exactly fast paced, it doesn't lag either. The stories unfold themselves in intervals and, more often than not, the readers sneaking suspicions are proved correct. The true beauty in this novel lies in the underlying humanity behind the characters' actions and the pain and regret that is so relatable by anyone who has suffered a loss.
I highly recommend a venture into the painful and poignant world that Isabel Wolff has created. (less)
Cover Impressions: The cover is ok. It doesn't even come close to showing what a great b...moreThis and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: The cover is ok. It doesn't even come close to showing what a great book this really is. I am happy to see that Noah and Echo are pictured as described (even down to the long sleeves - though I would like to have seen her in gloves). The lighting is well done, but I'm not sure this one would stand out very well on a shelf.
The Gist: Overnight, Echo Emerson went from Miss Popularity to the High School Freak and no one knows why. The horrible scars on her arms prove to Echo that something awful happened that night, but she can't remember. Under the guidance of a new therapist, she meets Noah Hutchins, a boy who is not only dark and dangerous, but just as damaged as she is. Fighting their undeniable attraction, they set out to reveal each other's secrets. In order to do so, they must each let their guard down and let the other in.
Review: Jumping on the Awesome Book Band Wagon in 3...2...1... WEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!
Confession time: were it not for the amazing reviews from other bloggers, I never would have picked up this book. I don't read a lot of contemporary fiction and I tend to steer clear of books that appear to focus mainly on a romance ESPECIALLY if they throw out the words "soul mates" or "destiny" (which the UK version does - right on the cover). But Pushing the Limits, is not one of those books. Yes, the romance is a big factor, but it loses center stage to some wonderful character development with a smattering of mystery.
McGarry has a remarkable skill in writing broken characters. Echo and Noah both had moments that forcibly grabbed me and threw me into their world. It is not often that a book can evoke such a strong emotional response in me, but this one succeeded. There were several instances where I blinked back tears or fought the urge to shake somebody (usually Echo's parents). The two main characters felt so real that I could easily picture them sitting in my classroom, trying to be invisible, while I sit behind my desk trying to think of a way to reach them. Those are the type of students that break your heart - when you can see so much potential being smothered by so much pain. As characters, Echo and Noah are always compelling, often raw and never boring. They carry the story and have the kind of chemistry that makes the reader's heart race right along with them.
I was impressed by the manner in which McGarry tackled the relationships not only between Echo and Noah but between all of the characters on the periphery, especially Noah and his brothers and Echo and her parents. It was heartbreaking to watch Echo interact with her "friends" and family as she struggled to meet their demands and win their love and to stand by while Noah spent supervised visits trying to maintain his connection to the two little boys who were his whole world. Throughout the novel, I was pleased to see a great deal of growth in both characters, but a realistic journey to it. There were struggles, there were setbacks, and, in the end, there were issues that weren't exactly solved, but where steps had been taken down the right path.
The writing in Pushing the Limits is clean (though I wish Noah would have laid off the siren and nymph comparisons) and the plot moves at a steady pace. In character driven novels such as this it is easy to let action and excitement fall by the wayside, but the truth behind Echo's scars is revealed in such as way as to keep the reader engaged. As Echo's memory returns in snatches, we begin to see the true horror and sadness behind what happened to her and how broken her family truly was. In splitting the narration between Echo and Noah, McGarry ensures that each chapter leaves the reader wanting to turn one more page, read one more line until, if you are like me, you have finished the entire book in just a few short hours.
The only mark against Pushing the Limits is that the sexual nature and vulgar language would prohibit me from recommending it to my Junior High students, though I highly recommend it for teens over 16 and adult lovers of YA novels.
Katie McGarry has earned a fan for life. I have already listed Dare You To (Beth's Story) as to-read and will count down the days until it's eventual release sometime in 2013.
Age: 16 and up Gender: Female Sex: Kissing, Sexual Acts, Vulgar Sexual Language. Violence: Fist Fight, Drugging, Attempted murder Inappropriate Language: Varied and Often: Fuck, Tits, Dick, Ass, Shit, Bitch, Jesus Christ, Pussy, Slut, Bastard, Whore
Cover Impressions: This cover is so beautifully intricate. It is not the type of cover t...more This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: This cover is so beautifully intricate. It is not the type of cover that jumps off the shelf but it is the type that encourages the reader to stop and study it. I am already intrigued to see the artwork for the next in the series.
The Gist: The kingdom of Goredd holds a tenuous balance between it's human citizens and the dragons who can take their form. As the 40th anniversary of their peace treaty approaches it seems that someone is determined to tip the scales and renew the old conflicts. Seraphina straddles the line between humans and dragons. When a member of the royal family is found beheaded, she becomes an integral part of the investigation - if only to try and keep her own secrets hidden.
Review: Oh God. These are always the hardest reviews for me to write. I can rant all day about books that I hate, pointing out the slow plot, annoying characters and writing that would fit quite well in my stack of grading from grade 7. Those reviews are my bread and butter, they flow through my fingertips like water, gracing the page with WTF's and FFS!'s.
Every now and then, however, I come across a book that was just so fan-fucking-tastic that I can barely put into words why. Seraphina was one of those books. The world building is complete and unique. The characters are fully developed, sometimes flawed and remarkably human (even when they are not). The writing is polished and elegant, begging you to savor every word. The plot never lags or races but maintains a pace that keeps the reader enthralled (seriously - as soon as the baby went to bed I begged my husband to just leave me alone and go watch sports or something so that I could read).
Seraphina is easily one of my favorite characters thus far this year. She is intelligent, talented, brave, vulnerable, and loyal. She struggles with her own self worth and undergoes remarkable growth. The secondary characters are also not to be missed. Hartman has not allowed for one dimensional characters here. Between the members of Seraphina's garden, the dignitaries at court and the dragons in human form, there was always someone intriguing to watch and someone else to wonder about.
Hartman creates a world that is wonderfully strange yet oddly familiar. Though the people and dragons of Goredd negotiated a peace treaty nearly 40 years ago, there is still a great deal of animosity and racism on both sides. The hatred and anger between these peoples was palpable and created some of the most tense scenes in the novel.
The writing in Seraphina flows beautifully. The one thing that I did not enjoy (and this is a criticism of fantasy in general rather than this book in particular) is that choosing not to explain certain terminology in the text and to rely on a glossary is fine in a physical book, but I find it becomes rather tedious while reading an e-book.
This novel easily makes the list as one of my top books of 2012. Now, when is that sequel coming out???!!!
Age: 13 and up Gender: Both Sex: Implied at Violence: Death by be-heading, Knifeplay, Swordplay, Death by Poisoning Inappropriate Language: Bastard Substance Use/Abuse: Drinking of Wine(less)
Cover Impressions: The cover is simple, clean and to the point. It isn't something that...more This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: The cover is simple, clean and to the point. It isn't something that would normally attract me to pick up a book, but after having read it, I like it.
The Gist: Jeff has been sentenced to 45 days in a psych ward following an attempted suicide. Despite his insistence that he is not a "nut job", he must endure therapy and group with other kids that society has deemed disturbed. As time goes on the patients start to seem less crazy - or is it that Jeff is becoming more so?
Review: Suicide Notes is one of those books where I never really know where to start with the review. Each chapter follows a different day of Jeff's 45 day sentence and this works really well to keep the story flowing. Jeff is funny, self-deprecating and an all round little shit. But a loveable little shit. As the narrator, he spends the beginning of the book lying to his doctors, himself and, consequently, the reader. His sessions with Dr. Cat Poop were laden with humor and thinly veiled disdain and it was compelling to watch as Jeff's walls broke down and he became tired of lying all the time.
The secondary characters are fascinating in and of themselves. As Jeff opens up, we begin to learn more about these characters but they continue to hold a sense of mystery. We watch them struggle, make breakthrough and suffer setbacks. No one is miraculously "cured" and we are left to wonder what happened to them upon release.
This novel deals with some pretty heavy issues, Suicide, Arson, Drug Use, Sexuality and Self-Hate to name a few. I fully admit that while I would allow my own children to read this one once they reached a mature age, I would not recommend it to my students due to the frank talk of sex, description of sexual acts and description of attempted suicide. As an adult reader I can appreciate the realism and sincerity behind many of these scenes but I would be concerned that many parents might not share this view.
Age: 16 and Up Gender: Both Sex: Masturbation, Groping, Oral Sex. Violence: Suicide and attempted suicide, Inappropriate Language: LOTS: Fucking, Suck my Cock, Retarded, Fag, Jacked Off, Pissing, Queer, Bitch, Dick, Asshole, Substance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking, Talk of Drug Use(less)
Cover Impressions: Very nice cover. Dark colors that portray the overall mood of the boo...more This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: Very nice cover. Dark colors that portray the overall mood of the book and eye-catching imagery. Can't wait to see how this theme continues through the rest of the series (Dear God, please let this be the first in a series).
The Gist: When children begin to die from a mysterious disease, it is discovered the those survivors are left with dangerous and frightening powers. A new special forces is quickly formed and the children are rounded up for "rehabilitation". At the age of 10, Ruby enters Thurmond and witnesses unspeakable horrors. When she escapes at the age of 16, the is quick to realize that it is not just the camps that had been the setting of these atrocities, but that the entire country had transformed into a dark and dangerous place.
Review: I can see already that this is going to be one of those reviews where I simply cannot do justice to the fabulosity of this book. Just a few chapters in, I found myself exclaiming "holy crap this is good!" and that didn't cease until the last page was turned. I am beyond excited for the upcoming release date and cannot wait to get a copy for my classroom. The Darkest Minds transcends issues of gender and genre preferences in the same way that The Hunger Games did. It is exciting, fast-paced and full of genuine emotion.
The world of this novel is horrible, but all too possible. Terrifying parallels can be drawn between the rehabilitation centers and concentration camps during WWII. It seems that danger lurks around every turn and almost no one can be trusted. The world building is intense and details are slowly unraveled as we move forward in the plot.
The characters are wonderfully well written and developed so that the reader comes to love them, but also recognizes that they are flawed in a very realistic way. Their relationships are so genuine and the romantic angle is weaved into the plot so that it supports the action, rather than stealing center stage. The villains (about whom I cannot give many details without spoiling the storyline) are equally well written and aided the plot in becoming one of the more exciting and horrifying ones that I have read this year.
I do not even know what else I can say. I am still reeling from the ending and wishing I was able to spend more time with these characters. Books like The Darkest Minds, are the reason I continue to love YA and why I get excited about bringing titles like these to the attention of my students. Alexandra Bracken, the YA world awaits news of the next release with baited breath - please hurry!
Age: 15 and up Gender: Both Sex: Kissing Violence: Gunplay, Knifeplay, Mind Control, Concentration Camps, Execution, Possible Rape Inappropriate Language: Asshole, Shit, Piss, Bullshit, Fucking, Bastard Substance Use/Abuse: None(less)
Cover Impressions: So much cover love. Even before reading the book I was a big fan of t...moreThis and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: So much cover love. Even before reading the book I was a big fan of the creep factor behind each of the Bad Girls Don't Die covers. After reading, I am happy to note that every detail included in this cover, from the dress to the flowers, is reflective of the story. The color scheme features the prettiest lavender and makes me want to blow it up and frame it.
The Gist: Alexis and ghosts go way back. She has successfully thwarted both a possessed doll and a demon seeking poise, perfection and death. These encounters have left her with the ability to see ghosts through the lens of a camera and stripped her of her best friend, her boyfriend and now the one thing that was keeping her sane; her photography.
Review: I have been waiting for this finale for a very long time. I had high hopes of growth for Alexis and some truly scary moments for myself. I was not disappointed on either point.
The fact that Alexis only sees ghosts (other than Lydia) in pictures and on film is a really neat twist. Especially being faced with them in magazines and textbooks. It makes me think about how often we look at photographs and video in our everyday lives. For Alexis, this twist seems to take away the one constant in her life – her photography. At this point, she has lost Megan, Carter and now her one refuge. It makes for a bleak start to the novel but I think Alexis needed to be broken down and stripped of her safety blankets so that she could grow into a better person.
This plot twist also creates some truly terrifying moments. Imagine shooting pictures in the dark that show a gruesome specter standing right in front of you, but not being able to actually see the creature with your own eyes. It adds an extra element of terror to the novel's ghostly encounters. This time around, the ghosts are incredibly intense and terrifically terrifying. This is not one to read while home alone. Or perhaps it is the perfect book for that.
Alexis continues to struggle with her character flaws but growth is on the horizon, I promise! I know some readers are annoyed by characters who take too long to start behaving in a manner that we see fitting, but I believe Alender has portrayed an accurate representation of the effort and emotion that goes into seeing one's flaws and attempting to fix them. That said, I was very happy when Alexis finally begins to trust other people and, eventually, herself. And then there is Lydia. Despite her trying to kill all the member of the Sunshine club in From Bad to Cursed, I always liked Lydia. I was very happy to see her return and even more happy to see her role advance from background lurker to strong supporting character. Lydia has a way with snarky remarks and reminds me that even the prickliest of teenagers can be hiding a real strength of character beneath.
Katie Alender manages to create a plot with an exciting blend of low build and high action. Chilling moments are interspersed with emotional breakdowns and relationship building. The intricacies of the story are slowly revealed and begin to knit together to create an ending that incredibly satisfying for those of us who have read and loved this series and these characters (even Alexis). I am sad to see it end, but happy that it did so on a high note. I cannot wait to see will flow from Mrs. Alender's pen next.
Age: 13 and up Gender: Female, though not strictly. Sex: Kissing Violence: Death by falling, Attempted murder/suicide Inappropriate Language: None Substance Abuse: Some underage drinking
“A cute accountant, piped up the voice in the back of my head. Shut up, voice.”
“After school one Monday, I decided I deserved a break. A little fun in my life, for once. So I set aside the whole afternoon to organize the kitchen junk drawer.”(less)
Cover Impressions: The cover doesn't stand out as much as I would like. It is simple and clean...more This review can also be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: The cover doesn't stand out as much as I would like. It is simple and clean and I do like the gold crown and lettering on a blue background.
The Gist: As an orphan running the streets of Carchar, Sage has learned to depend on his quick wits and quicker mouth to survive. When he finds himself one of four boys bought by a wealthy nobleman with a dastardly plan to gain control of the throne, Sage must use every trick at his disposal to outmaneuver the other boys and convince the kingdom that he is fit to rule.
Review: The False Prince is the first book in The Ascendance Trilogy, and when I finished this book I was incredibly thankful that there are more to come while, at the same time, lamenting that I did not have the next installment NOW. This novel manages to invoke the same sense of intrigue and danger that Game of Thrones does, but presents it in a manner that is appropriate for a young audience. At the end I found myself warring contradicting emotions as half of me wanted to finish quickly so that I could find out what happens while the other half wanted to slow down a savor each word.
The voice of Sage, hooked me from the very first page. He is clever, witty and self-deprecating. He interjects a wonderful sense humor into the most serious of situations and is able to manipulate the other characters into playing along in his grand master plan. His antics left me laughing, shaking my head or asking "why can you not keep your mouth shut!" (and sometimes all three) in the most wonderful of ways. Sage is the type of character that is impossible not to root for and I truly feel that he will appeal to both male and female readers, a feat that seems difficult to accomplish in most YA novels.
The plot unfurls slowly but steadily, with secrets and betrayals around every corner. There was not a single moment when I was bored or wishing for more action. This is one of those books in which seemingly insignificant details will later be revealed as integral to the plot. I adore novels where all the puzzle pieces seem to fall into place, creating a finished piece that is full of detail and leaves the reader reflecting on all of the moments that brought us to this place.
The False Prince is easily the best book I have read this year and I am especially excited because this is a book that I can hand both my male and female students knowing that they will return begging for the next in the series. This is a wonderful addition to any classroom library, kid's bookshelf or adult's to-be-read pile.
Teaching/Parental Notes: Age: 12 and up Gender: Both - Boys will LOVE this book! Sex: None Violence: Shooting with an arrow, swordplay, stabbing Inappropriate Language: None Substance Abuse: None(less)
Cover Impressions: The white rose dipped in blood speaks to innocence lost and is an image tha...more This review can also be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: The white rose dipped in blood speaks to innocence lost and is an image that stands out among the plethora of girls in pretty dresses that make up a huge chunk of YA novels today. However, I am not a fan of the title font. It seems a little too weak against such a stark image.
The Gist: Mirabelle has spent her entire life listening to the rules and sanctions set forth by her Godmothers. Now, as her 16th birthday draws near, she is about to break their biggest one: returning to the place of her birth, Beau Rivage. Here, Mira encounters a world where fairy tales take a dark turn and everyone has a role to play, whether they wish to or not.
Review: In Kill Me Softly Sarah Cross creates a fairy tale world that interposes with our own. It lies, just beneath the surface and can be seen by anyone willing to peer through the veil. However, these are not your disneyfied princes and princesses fending off colorful dragons and over-the-top Queens (though, don't get me wrong, Maleficent scared the CRAP out of me as a kid) instead, Cross takes inspiration from the original Fairy Tales which feature evil plot twists, casual murders, the hacking off of limbs and buckets of blood.
Against this backdrop of Happily Ever After gone wrong, Mira meets Blue, a boy who does everything to push her away and his brother, Felix who does everything not to. As a character, Mira is a little difficult to like. She is often rude and ungrateful, which seems completely out of character for a person who, up until now, has blindly followed her Godmother's orders. It feels a little unreal that a character who is so quick to anger, did not question these rules or show any sign of rebellion prior to her slipping away in the middle of the night. Blue, on the other hand, is a character who does everything possible to make Mira dislike him but she (and the reader) cannot help but root for this wounded hero. Whenever I hit a section where Mira was spending time falling in love with Felix, I found myself itching to turn each page, hoping that Blue would be waiting on the other side. The "love" that Mirabelle claims to have for Felix, feels forced and wrong but shows it's importance by the end of the story (much like Romeo's "love" for Rosaline).
The plot is interesting but more character based than action based. Because Cross weaves together a number of fairy tales (some of which are less likely to be recognizable to most readers) we have a vague idea of where the story is headed, but are still able to be surprised by plot twists. I do believe that the novel is a stand-alone and I hope that this is the end of Mirabelle's and Blue's story. However, I thoroughly enjoyed my walk through Beau Rivage and would very much like to read the tales of some of the other characters. This world is simply too interesting to let go of so easily.
Age: 16 and up, this one is NOT for your 12 year old! Gender: Female, though some males may enjoy the clever re-working of well known fairy tales Sex: Intimate touching, talk of sex Violence: Loss of limbs, murders, Inappropriate Language: Bitch, Shit. Substance Abuse: Underage drinking. Smoking. (less)
There are no words and if I try to find any, I will start to cry ... again.
Teaching Note: One instance of sex, but pretty tasteful. Favorite Quotes:
- "...moreThere are no words and if I try to find any, I will start to cry ... again.
Teaching Note: One instance of sex, but pretty tasteful. Favorite Quotes:
- "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once."
- " 'Keep your shit together,' I whispered to my lungs"
- "Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.
- " 'Oh, I wouldn't mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.' "
- " 'When the scientists of the future show up at my house with robot eyes and they tell me to try them on, I will tell the scientists to screw off, because I do not want to see a world without him' "(less)
Great Characters, sweet story with elements of danger. It is the characters that make this book. I found myself chuckling along with some of their lin...moreGreat Characters, sweet story with elements of danger. It is the characters that make this book. I found myself chuckling along with some of their lines and waiting with baited breath for the moment when Lucy would figure out who Shadow is (view spoiler)[I was so happy that she figured it out on her own and that we aren't told exactly when she did so or how long she pretended not to know. (hide spoiler)]
- Recommended for grade 9 and up. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This novel is inspired on The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, however, rather than use the story as a map for her own, Hillary Jordan jumps off...moreThis novel is inspired on The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, however, rather than use the story as a map for her own, Hillary Jordan jumps off from this point in order to create her own unsettling and disturbing world.
To me, the descriptions of the over-arching power of the church were just as frightening as the treatment of the chromes. I found it very interesting to read of the power of the "Texas Internet Authority" on the same day that many sites had willingly shut down in protest of SOPA. Clearly, a world such as Jordan writes about, is not that far removed from our own.
As a character, Hannah shows immense growth, though her epiphanies sometimes seem to come unprovoked and are a little difficult to believe. I found Kayla to be more interesting and wish that she had featured more. As for Aiden, his acceptance of Hannah and willingness to give up everything that he has worked for doesn't feel real to me. I simply don't see a man that created the ultimate public image as allowing that to be threatened by an illegitimate child and illicit affair.
Overall, the novel is very well written and the reader remains enthralled while Hannnah experiences one terror after another, forcing her to take control of her life in a way that she never expected.
> Some discussion of adult themes such as sex, rape and murder makes this novel inappropriate for young audiences. I recommend Grade 10 and up.
It was surprising how much I enjoyed this book. It was not fast-paced, nor exciting and the first few pages had me doubting if I could come to like th...moreIt was surprising how much I enjoyed this book. It was not fast-paced, nor exciting and the first few pages had me doubting if I could come to like the author's style. The characters, however, are what made it. I very much disliked Francesca at the beginning. She chose horrible friends, was unwilling to take any risks and was complacent whenever anyone else was being treated terribly. (view spoiler)[I understand now, that Francesca had to start from a place this low in order to show the growth she did by the end of the novel. Once the others worm their way into Francesca's life, the story is much more enjoyable. (hide spoiler)] I often lament that authors attempt to write about teenagers without having spent any time with them. They could learn a thing or two from Marchetta (I'm talking to you Maggie Stiefvater). The dialogue and interactions between the characters feels real and has an appropriate amount of poor language for the age group. I found myself wanting to hang out with the girls on Alanis night and I cracked up at the boys antics. This was my first foray into the world of Melina Marchetta and I couldn't quite come up for air yet, so I immediately started The Piper's Son.
Side Notes: (view spoiler)[- Literally laughed out loud at several points, including rosary night and the S biscuits (These tidbits are what makes for good reading - take note authors). - Literally "Yes"d (imagine fist pump in the air a la Bender in the last scene of The Breakfast Club) when Francesca got up to dance with Thomas - Love Thomas "For a moment I can't help thinking how decent he is - that there's some hope for him beyond the obnoxious image he displays. Maybe deep down he is a sensitive guy, who sees us as real people with real issues. I want to say something nice. Some kind of thanks. I stand there, rehearsing it in my mind. 'Oh my God,' he says, 'did you see that girl's tits?' Maybe not today. - Love Jimmy, especially how he follows Francesca home despite being told "You're not coming home with me, Jimmy", and how he calls her father Rob, despite the fact that he clearly hates it.
- "My grandmother's disapproval of the way Mia runs the household is very vocal. I shouldn't walk around naked in front of my brother, for example, and nor should my mother." WTF? I'm going to wholeheartedly agree with Nonna on this one!" - "I loved those times on the beach at the end of the day, when the sun was gone and our sunburn would make us shiver in the cool breeze. Luca and I would lie against my parents, licking the salt off their arms ..." Seriously???
I realize the book is written by an Australian and takes place there, is this some type of cultural barrier between Australia and Canada? Or is it just that Francesca's family is a little strange, because seriously, I'm an adult and seeing my parents walking around naked would still scar me for life and I can't, even in a post-apocalyptic world, imagine a circumstance in which I would be tempted to lick salt off of them - *shiver*. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)