**spoiler alert** Overall this was a pretty enjoyable read - not as scary as I was hoping for, but still good. I liked Cas as a character. He was stro**spoiler alert** Overall this was a pretty enjoyable read - not as scary as I was hoping for, but still good. I liked Cas as a character. He was strong, stubborn, and could be a little bit of a jerk. Perfect! I love characters who aren't the perfect hero. His flaws made me like him more.
I do have a few things that stuck out for me though. The side characters all felt like after thoughts. I never felt particularly connected to any of them.
However, the biggest issue I had with the book was Tybalt the cat. If you're going to introduce your cat to the reader by telling us that he's a ghost sniffing cat and then completely ignore his crazy behavior when you're standing under the attic trapdoor, you're a little bit dumb! Seriously, the cat keeps acting weird, you're having scary nightmares about something hovering over you, and your mom is hearing noises in the attic. Oh yeah, probably just rats...or a raccoon. OR a big freaking homicidal ghost! Sigh, should have paid more attention to the cat....more
I appreciate authors who aren't afraid to write about hard things for teens. Especially when they do so in a real way that wiWow. This book was...wow.
I appreciate authors who aren't afraid to write about hard things for teens. Especially when they do so in a real way that will mean something to them. Jay Asher writes with such detail and respect for his characters that the reader will have strong feelings for Hannah and Clay from the moment they start reading.
Suicide sometimes seems to be the last really taboo subject. There is a part in the novel when a high school class discusses suicide. They brush the topic off and become annoyed with it. The students in this class, who were so unreceptive to talking about suicide, had already discussed, "abortion, family violence, cheating--on boyfriends, girlfriends, on tests. But for some reason, they refused to have a discussion on suicide," (p 172). There is obviously something wrong with this.
This is not an easy book to read, and an even harder book to like, but I read it very quickly and it definitely made me think, which I always appreciate. This is not a book to pass around to teens lightly, but I do think it is one that many will benefit from reading. If I were a high school English teacher, this is a novel I would very much want to have in my classroom. ...more
Ethan Wate always thought of Gatlin as a slow, sleepy Southern town where nothing ever happened, until he met Lena. Lena showed him a new world buriedEthan Wate always thought of Gatlin as a slow, sleepy Southern town where nothing ever happened, until he met Lena. Lena showed him a new world buried right beneath his every day life - a world full of magic, danger, and love. Ethan and Lena have already fought for their relationship against strong evil and he thought they'd won, but at a price. Lena has lost her uncle, the man who was the most important person in her life. Now she's pulling away from Ethan and acting less and less like the girl he knows, the girl he loves. Ethan finds himself pulled deeper into the world of the Casters, a world he isn't sure he belongs in, and one that Lena may not want him in anymore.
Readers made their first trip to Gatlin in last year's Beautiful Creatures. The novel that introduced us to Ethan, Lena, and the magical world of the Casters. Ethan and Lena were drawn to each other and could communicate with each other in ways that had never linked Casters and mortals before. They fought for their impossible love and now we find them on the other side of that battle, with new scars that are still healing.
Ames has everything she's ever wanted; private school, huge mansion, perfect, loving family. Until the day her father betrays her. He loses everythingAmes has everything she's ever wanted; private school, huge mansion, perfect, loving family. Until the day her father betrays her. He loses everything that matters and takes the family far away from their safe, comfortable home in Boulder, Colorado.
Now this once privileged family lives in a slum in Texas. Ames hates all of them for what they've done to her. All she wants is Marc. Marc, who just wants to protect her. Who tells her she's beautiful, who is dark, violent, and dangerous.
This is the type of book that sucks a reader in from the first pages. Giles prose is tightly woven, no wasted words here. Ames is introduced to the reader as a sweet, innocent fifteen year old girl who loves her family with all her heart. She's kind and gentle, but prone to fits of self destruction, that even she isn't aware of. She views herself as just an innocent girl, completely ignoring the deeper darkness within herself. Readers will pick up on clues that Ames is not quite what she seems from the first chapters of the novel.
I was never certain what I felt for Ames's parents. They seems so wonderful, but it turns out to be all on the surface. Once they're put under strain, the cracks start to show and their perfect world shatters. The two people in her family who I loved were her grandmother and younger sister. These two characters serve as the voices of reason for Ames and, frequently, her parents. Her grandmother's voice is full of wisdom and life experience, while her sister's is the pure, innocent voice of a child.
This is a dark and twisty story that will pull readers in and leave them breathless. I found myself uncertain where Ames would end up and never knowing what she'd choose to do next. Even in the last pages of the book, I was still wondering what would happen. This is a book for those who want something to think about and will generate a lot of discussion among readers.
Want my copy of Dark Song? Head over to the blog for a chance to win! Giveaway open until August 16th....more
Louisa Cosgrove wants to know everything. She is smart, driven, and confident. Unfortunately, she's also a Victorian girl from a well to do family andLouisa Cosgrove wants to know everything. She is smart, driven, and confident. Unfortunately, she's also a Victorian girl from a well to do family and only expected to marry and have children. Louisa fights the constraints placed on her sex until the day she's locked away in an asylum. Stripped of all her clothes, her dignity, even her own name. Louisa, now called Lucy Childs is certain that a mistake has been made. She is not Lucy Childs and she does not belong in Wildthorn Asylum, but the more she insists this, the more mad she seems. She has to look deep within herself for strength and trust in the goodness of others to be able to climb her way out of the hole she is in.
I was originally drawn to this book because of the awesome cover. The image of the heavily corseted woman is completely perfect for the story. Louisa is constrained in every aspect of her life. Yes, she physically has to wear a corset, but she's also kept from doing all the things she loves, everything that interests her. Instead she has to watch her brother live the life she longs for - a life he neither wants nor appreciates.
We are given Louisa's story in snippets of flashbacks after she is committed to the asylum. Through these peeks into her past, the reader will come to care more and more for her. I found myself really identifying with her. I can't imagine wanting to read and being told that a woman who learns will be driven insane by too much knowledge.
During Victorian times women could be locked up in asylums for behaving in unbecoming ways. Seriously, wearing the wrong clothes, speaking too loudly, disagreeing with men, and having interests other than home and hearth could get you labeled insane! Whoops, looks like I'm completely off my rocker. The view of the inside of the asylum was horribly fascinating. The author used to be a teacher so you know she did some serious research before writing the book. It was awful to think that places like Wildthorn used to exist.
The story itself is engrossing. The plot unfolds slowly and steadily and I could not stop turning pages. I read this book practically in one sitting (had to do some dishes/laundry) because I needed to know what was going to happen to Louisa next as well as what had led her to Wildthorn. This is a compelling story with engaging characters and prose that will transport you off your couch and into the life of a Victorian girl who will enthrall you. Seriously, read this book. ...more
I'm never sure how to phrase my opinions when talking about books like this. I liked it, but somehow that seems like the wrong thing to say. Can you "I'm never sure how to phrase my opinions when talking about books like this. I liked it, but somehow that seems like the wrong thing to say. Can you "like" a book like this? I read it in 2 hours, just dove right in and couldn't stop. Usually that means that I like a book, but with this one it might have been more of a fascination. Seeing into the mind of a person like Daelyn is such a unique experience, not really about enjoyment, more about a need to understand something different from one's own experiences, or a need to find something similar.
Bullycide is a new term for me, but it's been cropping up a lot lately; in the news, in books, in library journals. Why does bullying seem to be on the rise? Was it such a big issue when I was younger? I don't remember, which means I should probably count myself lucky. Thank goodness there are authors out there like Julie Anne Peters who can take something like bullycide and present it to teenagers. I hope that there are teens out there who find hope in Daelyn's story, or who see the hurt bullying leads to and adjust their behavior, or reach out to someone they see being bullied. Books like this serve a real purpose and make the reader think.
This book reminded me of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. However, Daelyn's story had more of a sense of hope to it. In Thirteen Reasons Why, you know from the very beginning that Hannah is dead, but in this book, you can hope that someone will be able to reach Daelyn before it's too late. Both stories are rife with material for discussion and both serve a purpose. This is a powerful novel that I think many high schoolers should read. ...more
Miles (Pudge) Halter has spent the last 16 years being a nobody in Florida. He has school friends, but no one who he's really close to. He decides thaMiles (Pudge) Halter has spent the last 16 years being a nobody in Florida. He has school friends, but no one who he's really close to. He decides that the best way to really change his life is to go to boarding school in search of the "Great Perhaps." His roommate, Chip, becomes his first real friend and through Chip he meets Alaska Young, the living embodiment of a "Great Perhaps." She and Chip introduce Pudge to the world of rule breaking, drinking, pranking, and smoking. They also show him what it means to be a friend. Alaska's mood swings and deep sadness effect the trio's friendship and keep Pudge from really being able to understand her.
As a fan of John Green (as a person as well as his books) I can't believe I waited so long to read this one! It was nothing like An Abundance of Katherines or Will Grayson, Will Grayson, but I absolutely adored it. Pudge is such a sweet, believable character. He felt like a friend after only a few pages. I also immediately loved Chip, for all his flaws as well as what a great friend he was to Miles. Alaska was exactly what she was supposed to be, enigmatic. I could never decide if I liked her, loved her, or hated her. Which means she was perfectly written.
The southern setting for this novel was so well realized. I could feel the heat and humidity, I could see the trees surrounding the school. Culver Creek is fully fleshed out in my head. The school itself felt like another main character, helping shape who Miles, Chip and Alaska would become.
The novel is broken up into two parts - before and after. The before is full of first experiences, meetings, and possibilities while the after is devoted to understanding, mystery, and self discovery. It was a wonderful way to follow Miles' transition. When he first arrives at the Creek, everything seems great to him - the food, the people, the classes, the freedom. He's constantly amazed, but, in the after, he is finally able to see everything and everyone for what it/they really are. The shine has worn off, but he finds that some things are just as great as he had always thought they were.
This is an amazing story that just about anyone would enjoy. I devoured it and now look forward to reading Paper Towns, which is the last of John Green's books that I have yet to read. However, I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone younger than high school because some themes wouldn't make a lot of sense to younger readers. ...more
Matteo Alacran is a clone, but not just any clone. He's the clone of El Patron, the richest, most powerful, and (possibly) the most evil man in the woMatteo Alacran is a clone, but not just any clone. He's the clone of El Patron, the richest, most powerful, and (possibly) the most evil man in the world. As a clone, Matt is no better than livestock to the other members of the Alacran family. They keep him around, teaching him, and taking care of him on the orders of El Patron. Matt lives in the country of Opium, sandwiched between the United States and Aztlan/Mexico, it is named for the drug that brings the ruling family their wealth. As Matt grows and learns what it means to be human, and whether or not he really is, he finds himself wondering why a man like El Patron would want a clone. What purpose does his life really serve, and what sort of future can he have in a world that views clones as less than human?
This was an amazing, incredible, gut wrenching, awesome book. Seriously, one of the best I've read in awhile. I was hooked from the first chapter and couldn't stop listening (audiobooked this one) to Matt's story. On an audiobook note, this is a great book to listen to. The reader uses great Spanish pronunciations of the names and places, it made an already vibrant story come alive even more for me.
Matt is a wonderful character. The reader is first introduced to him as just a little boy living in a little house with a woman who loves him, but is not his mother. She tells him to never leave the house, but, as all little boys do, he eventually disobeys her and sets the story in motion. I found myself wondering throughout the story, how much of Matt is really Matt, and how much is just a copy of El Patron. Matt idolizes his maker and tries to model his behavior after him, but ultimately he is a different person. This brings to mind the old dispute of nature vs. nurture. Yes, Matt is a clone, but as a person, he's grown up much differently than El Patron, and ends up different from him. For instance, Matt has great natural musical skill while El Patron does not. The relationship between the two people who may or may not be the exact same person would be great for discussion with a junior high English class.
Nancy Farmer is the kind of author who writes science fiction that you can really sink your teeth into. She doesn't baffle you by throwing a whole new world at you right away. She gives it to you in little pieces, like she's passing out chocolates. Each bit of world building is folded neatly into the rest of the story so that it flows organically into your brain. This made all of the places seem so real and vibrant, I could see the whole story expanding in my imagination like a movie. At one point I turned on the air conditioning in the car (audiobook, remember, I don't usually read while driving), not so much because it was actually hot, but because the descriptions of the desert were so incredibly real that I needed to cool off a little!
This book was originally recommended to me by a family friend who just happens to be an 8th grader, well I suppose a 9th grader now since school is out. He said that this is his absolute favorite book and was mildly shocked that I hadn't read it. My favorite recommendations are the ones I get from kids and teens, especially when they turn out to be so good! If you don't already, try asking the kids around you what they're reading and what they think you should read. You will probably find something really great! ...more