I loved every moment I was reading The Family Fang. If I had to sum the book up in one word, it would be "quirky." The characters are quirky, the situI loved every moment I was reading The Family Fang. If I had to sum the book up in one word, it would be "quirky." The characters are quirky, the situations they are in are quirky, just about everything about this book is quirky--in a good way. Which is what you get when your parents are performance artists, I guess.
Each chapter of the main plot alternates with a flashback chapter showing one of the Fangs' "happenings," where they would create art through making a bit of chaos. This is always a family affair, and Buster and Annie just have to go with it. From making their kids attempt to play instruments for a street crowd while singing about killing all parents, to creating candy chaos in a mall store, the Fang kids have been exploited by their parents their entire lives. It's no wonder, then, that when they set out on their own they fail, and must seek refuge back in their parents' home.
There are plenty of twists and turns in the story, and you manage to laugh at and feel bad for the characters all at once. This book is hilarious, and will also make you look at your own relationship with your parents and how it evolves as you grow up, as well as your relationship(s) with siblings. This is a surefire good read for fans of The Royal Tennenbaums and anything with Salinger's Glass family....more
Triangles is one of the most emotionally engaging, heart-wrenching books I’ve read in a long time. It was also my first encounter with Ellen Hopkins’Triangles is one of the most emotionally engaging, heart-wrenching books I’ve read in a long time. It was also my first encounter with Ellen Hopkins’ writing, and now I know why so many people rave about her. It took me a while to get used to reading everything in verse, although I think this was made easier because she does not employ a rhyme scheme. The end of each chapter includes a poem with a structure that singles out words so that they form a statement on their own based on placement on the page, as well as within the text. While that was a cool effect, those pages threw me and I usually didn’t end up reading them with as much attention as the rest of the text. Still, I think the verse was a very effective way of delivering this intense content.
What makes this book so effective is Hopkins’ ability to create real, three-dimensional characters that you can fully believe in. Really, this novel is almost entirely character-driven, rather than action-packed. We alternate narration and storylines from Holly to Andrea to Marissa. I wanted to strangle Holly, I could relate to Andrea, and my heart just broke for Marissa.
Hopkins describes the lives of these three forty-something-year old women with startling honestly and unflinching attention. We see as they go through infidelity; group sex encounters; children who are gay, having sex, doing drugs, have a severe fatal condition, or are just plain distant. This is not a book for the weak-hearted, and probably not appropriate for teens, although emotionally mature teens will probably still enjoy it. As a young adult who is not yet married and has no kids, the three futures here terrified me, mostly because they’re so plausible and true. It made me think about the meaning of marriage, family, devotion, and how much of yourself you lose when you have responsibilities to children and spouses. It isn’t all bad, though, and the futures are as individual as those living them.
Even though it was so intense at times that I could feel my chest tighten and my stomach turn, I did enjoy this book and the rollercoaster of emotions it brought forth in me, and made me curious to read some of the Ellen Hopkins YA books I’ve heard so much about....more
Zombies have been hot for the last few years, and this anthology showcases some of the latest works featuring teens in zombie scenarios. Many of the sZombies have been hot for the last few years, and this anthology showcases some of the latest works featuring teens in zombie scenarios. Many of the stories tell tales of post-apocalyptic zombie-infested zones. That isn’t all there is though: there is a story about a living dead boy who is made that way through magic, the faithful servants of a dead king who rise again when called upon, and the psychological changes that undergo a person who is pretending to be a zombie. Usually horrifying, often funny, this anthology has a story that’s sure to please every zombie fan.
The only disappointment I had with this anthology is that so much of the stories were first published elsewhere. I’d already read the Jonathan Maberry and Kelly Link stories in other books, and so I skipped over them. This was a real bummer because I’m such a fan of their work and was looking forward to something new. My complaint shouldn’t turn off people who haven’t read these already, though, since they are very strong stories and do add a different dimension to the anthology.
That said, all but two of the stories here were new to me, and I read a lot of zombie fiction. If you’re curious, take a look at the table of contents, and I’d bet that most of the stories will be new to you. After I finished each story, I felt compelled to move on to the next, which meant that I finished this anthology fast. And I feel that much more prepared for when the zombie apocalypse does arrive....more
After Jenn's father is murdered and decapitated, and she loses her job, she decides to take a break with her roommate, traveling to the California seaAfter Jenn's father is murdered and decapitated, and she loses her job, she decides to take a break with her roommate, traveling to the California seaside cottage left to her by her recently deceased aunt. What she finds is a strange house full of her aunt's witchcraft supplies, hidden rooms, human bones, and a tucked away witchboard. The townsfolk shun Jenn, because her uncle was known as the Pumpkin Man, a serial killer who went after the kids of the town, leaving only a pumpkin carved in their likenesses. The Pumpkin Man's murder spree ended 20 years ago, but now that Jenn is back, he's at it once again. Before the story is over, she'll discover more than one family skeleton in the closet.
The Pumpkin Man is a kind of steak-and-potatoes horror story. You have the two young couples, minding their own business, when the local serial killer starts to target them. You have the evil house, full of dark magic and hidden horrors. There are grizzly murders and the constant threat of more to come. Best of all, you have the Pumpkin Man, a local weirdo gone horribly wrong.
I enjoyed this book the way I enjoy a good, old fashioned slasher film. Elements reminded me of such classics as Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween. You can't take the book too seriously, but you don't need to. This kind of horror novel is meant to be read and enjoyed for the standard twists and turns that you know will inevitably come. This is not highbrow fiction, and that's why I found it to be so much fun.
Since the central threat of the story is the Pumpkin Man, I think this book is perfect reading for a Halloween night. Just be careful to not play around with the Ouija board, or the Pumpkin Man may pay you a visit too....more