I've just finished re-reading "Saving Francesca". I've wanted to do so for a long time, but since my wonderful friend Nic has presented me with a copy...moreI've just finished re-reading "Saving Francesca". I've wanted to do so for a long time, but since my wonderful friend Nic has presented me with a copy of The Piper's Son, which is a kind of follow-up some years later, lately, it was the perfect occasion to set the plan into action.
I am so much in love with this book. I am as enchanted with the style and the whole gang of unusual friends as I was when I first read it. The Spinelli Family, Will Trombal, Justine Kalinsky, Tara Finke, Siobhan Sullivan, Thomas Mackee and Jimmy Hailler, they are all flawed characters, difficult and sometimes annoying people, but so real and so wonderful. I am completely enamored by them all - even Brother Louis and Mr. Brolan and Cousin Angelina ... Would I have to hand-pick just a few alltime favorites (which is an almost impossible task in my opinion) I'd select "Francesca" to be among them without hesitation. Seriously, girls, Amy's and Roger's detour story is indeed epic and gorgeous and wise and funny, but how can it or other examples of contemporary young adult fiction compare to the story of Francesca getting a grip on herself, her family, her friends and her life (well, maybe Dairy Queen can ... a bit)?
Ms. Marchetta, I understand that your jewels take some time to write and polish, but could you not finish a couple more soon? Surely with your expertise the words flow effortlessly now. I want to hear about Jimmy and Justine and a lot of people I haven't met yet, badly!!
Read for the first time in 2007. I would substract one of the stars today - although I still love the book and especially the ending. I need multiple...moreRead for the first time in 2007. I would substract one of the stars today - although I still love the book and especially the ending. I need multiple reading dates and rating for the books on my read-shelf!(less)
This review was originally posted in 2008 after I had read the book for the first time:
"The Blue Girl" by Charles de Lint has been one of the most sat...moreThis review was originally posted in 2008 after I had read the book for the first time:
"The Blue Girl" by Charles de Lint has been one of the most satisfying snatches from the fantasy shelves for me last year.
Is has it all:
1. A very warm-hearted and detailed description of a forming unlikely friendship between tough punk-girl Imogene, who had a criminal gang-member-record in her hometown and a childhood spent mainly on her own because of her drug-consuming carefree hippy-parents, and anxious, smart and conservative outsider Maxine, who has difficulties coming out of her shell because of her ever-present controlling mother. 2. Dark, mysterious fantasy tightly interwoven with reality. Imogene's imaginary childhood friend Pelly - something in the middle between hedgehog and boy with bunny ears and a monkey's tail - turns up in flesh after a long absence and warns her: Somehow Imogene has angered the malicious band of faeries living on the school grounds and therefore her life is suddenly on stake. In her efforts to get light into the matter, she meets the ghost of a former high-school-student whose death was caused by faeries as well. Imogene finds out that faeries are by far not the most dangerous creatures in town. Bonded with Pelly and Maxine the long-time loner learns a lot about trust and friendship and wins in the end. 3. Last but not least there are some interesting sub-plots like Imogene's dealings with the school's bullies, her relationship with her brother and the slowly growing romance with a music-shop-guy - whose granny comes from Ireland and believes in faeries as well...
I will definitly read more books by this author and recommend for anyone who likes finely tuned characters and dark fantasy to have a try as well. (less)
Review in German (01.11.2008) : My most excellent young adult novel. Bitte mehr davon! My Most Excellent Year ist einer dieser Romane, bei denen alle...moreReview in German (01.11.2008) : My most excellent young adult novel. Bitte mehr davon! My Most Excellent Year ist einer dieser Romane, bei denen alle Fäden am Ende zu meiner Zufriedenheit verknüpft worden sind und Story und Charaktere mir so sympathisch waren, dass ich sie sofort nach dem Zuklappen des Buches bereits vermisste. Der Klappentext sagt eigenlich schon viel - obwohl sie kurz ist. Ich führe etwas aus: Hauptaktionspunkt der vielschichtigen, mehrere Jahre abdeckenden Geschichte ist eine High School in Boston (In der Nähe des Fenway Park, dem Stadion der Red Sox). Sie setzt sich zusammen aus für die Schule geschriebenen Berichten (z.B. mit dem TItel "My most excellent year"), Tagebucheinträgen, Listen, Lexikonartikeln, Chatprotokollen, Briefen und E-Mails.
Die Hauptfiguren sind: * T.C. Keller, der bewusst seine Noten auf einem niedrigen Level hält, mit Leidenschaft Baseball spielt, mit seinen Vater (Witwer) zusammenlebt, nach Außen als ein oberflächlicher Jock wirkt und große Anstrengungen unternimmt, die kühle, intelligente Alejandra Perez für sich zu gewinnen.
* Augie Wong, seit der Grunddschule T.C.s selbsterwählter Bruder. Sein Vater hat ein Buchladencafé, seine Mutter ist eine feministische Theaterkritikerin. Augie liebt Broadway-Musicals und Musical-Verfilmungen. Er kann alle weiblichen Parts auswendig und weiß nicht, dass er schwul ist (alle anderen wissen es), bis er sich in Andy Wrexler, Mädchenheld, verliebt. Augie bekommt die Leitung des jährlichen Theaterstücks der Schule zugesprochen.
* Alejandra Perez, Diplomatentochter, fühlt sich schon etwas zu T.C. hingezogen, schämt sich aber dafür, einen oberflächlichen Hohlkopf zu mögen. Ale geht offiziell zum Französisch-Unterricht, nimmt aber heimlich Stunden im Tanzen und Singen.
* Teddy Keller, T.C.s Vater, freut sich, dass sein Sohn wegen mangelnden Einsatzes so oft zu seiner Beratungslehrerin Lori muss, die er seit Jahren erfolglos zu einem Date überreden versucht.
* Hucky Harper, Heimkind, gehöhrlos und fünfjährig, beobachtet immer das Baseball-Training im Fenway Park zu. Dort lernt er T.C. kennen. Er schaut jeden Tag die Mary-Poppins-Verfilmung mit Julie Andrews an und wartet darauf, dass Mary Poppins kommt, um ihn zu retten.
Die Art, wie jede dieser Personen sich um die Probleme der anderen Personen sorgt, sich dabei positiv verändert, selbstkritisch und humorvoll ihre Situation und ihre Vergangenheit betrachtet, ist einfach nur schön gemacht. Ich konnte kaum fassen, dass dieses Buch von einem Mann geschrieben wurde. Seit Liebste Abby vom Autorenduo Hadley Irwin habe ich kein so gutes Buch über männliche Teenager mehr gelesen.
First read first in 2008. I need multiple reading dates, Godoreads!(less)
I want more of this! Why does it have to be a debut novel? If it weren't I would now be hungrily browsing titles at my favourite online bookshop order...moreI want more of this! Why does it have to be a debut novel? If it weren't I would now be hungrily browsing titles at my favourite online bookshop ordering every single thing Miss Cashore published - although about twenty books are awaiting their turn to be read. I did not feel that happy and exhilarated after reading young adult fantasy since "City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare. What a strong and lovable heroine Katsa is! And I fell for Prince Po (a silly name when you know what po means in German) with his cockiness, his vulnerability and his silver and gold eyes right away - even before Katsa was won over. And the suspense - oh my! Perfect, perfect, mindblowingly perfect. I cannot concentrate enough to write a summary at the moment. Maybe later when I am calmly into reading the next book.
Review written after reading 'Graceling' for the first time back in 2009 or 2008. Rereading it in 2013 I noticed that my love for story, characters and writing has not been diminished the slightest bit. A true favorite.(less)
*** Finished for the first time on August 2. 2009 *** Waaaagh, such a cliff-hanger ending ... and I will have to wait for the second volume at least u...more*** Finished for the first time on August 2. 2009 *** Waaaagh, such a cliff-hanger ending ... and I will have to wait for the second volume at least until May.
Kelley Armstrong's first attempt at the young adult genre worked just fine. It has wonderful, believable characters (who doesn't applaud Armstrong for creating someone like Derek in an era full of unblemished, irresistable heartthrob heroes?), supernatural elements and is thickly layered in thrills: Ghost-seeing Chloe Sanders lands in a closely monitored, posh boarding-school for mentally ill teenagers and is quickly diagnosed as being schizophrenic. When getting to know her fellow inmates and their unique problems better, she starts to doubt anybody attending Lyle House is really ill. Can it be coincidence that all six teenagers have supernatural tendencies or is somebody playing down things deliberately and using their otherness for his or her own mysterious means?
In contrast to funny and down to earth mediator Suze (Cabot), who I adore as well, this book's heroine really is living through hell. She believes herself sick, takes her medicine, is confined to a house with a sound alarm system and no one sincere enough to trust, does not know how to deal with ghosts repeating their death scenes over and over and is afraid her friends in school have noticed her freaking out and being shipped off to hospital.
Heart- and gut-wrenchingly good. I just ordered the sequel although still have 14 new books waiting to be read. The plot: Tomboy D.J. Schwenks is 15 g...moreHeart- and gut-wrenchingly good. I just ordered the sequel although still have 14 new books waiting to be read. The plot: Tomboy D.J. Schwenks is 15 going on 16, lives on a dairy farm and does almost all the hard work. In fact she is even flunking grades in order to get the barn clean and the cows milked and fed. Her father has an injured hip, started doing housework instead of farm work and just loves to complain about his daughter's working style. D.J.'s real passion is American football, but her school does not have a girls' team. Trying out for playing is not recommended anyway when you consider what happened to her older brothers, both famous quarterbacks at college. They dared to tell their father that they did not want to inherit the farm and were thrown out past Christmas. So D.J. has decided to shut up and do what is expected from her. Same seems to work for her younger brother Curtis, who does not talk at all, helps her on the farm, collects animal skulls and seems to enjoy his visits to the dentist. D.J.s view of her own situation gets shook up during summer holidays, when the football coach of the enemy school sends his quarterback Brian over to help on the farm and get trained by D.J. He sneers and calls D.J. a cow who just swallows what has been thrown into her trough. My opinion: This is the kind of story that sticks. I cried several time reading this novel. It was so sad but heart-warming to live through D.J.'s self-reflection, her learning to think for herself, the slow meltdown of the whole family never talking problems thoroughly through and the bitter-sweet experience of falling in love for the first time. What got to me hardest was D.J.'s parents' attitude towards her running the farm and messing up her grades in school for the family's sake. It is even more shocking when you take in mind, that D.J.'s mom is the principal of the local primary school.(less)
Hallie Palmer rules! "Heart's Desire" is not as good as "Beginner's Luck". The storyline is not as fresh and unpredictable and the inner monologue is...moreHallie Palmer rules! "Heart's Desire" is not as good as "Beginner's Luck". The storyline is not as fresh and unpredictable and the inner monologue is not as amusing, but I still like Hallie and Hallie's process in growing up with the help of the extraordinary Stocktons very well. The subject of Hallie's "first time" is also tackled. And I was very grateful, that Ms Pedersen uses the opportunity to show a different - but multi-layered - view (through the eyes of unconventional Olivia Stockton) than most of the US-YA-novels obsessed with virginity or some other superfluous message.(less)
*** Read and reviewed on May 14th 2009, re-read on March 5th 2014 ***
This is so good ... and now I am waiting again!
The second part in the "Darkest Po...more*** Read and reviewed on May 14th 2009, re-read on March 5th 2014 ***
This is so good ... and now I am waiting again!
The second part in the "Darkest Powers Trilogy" is basically a road movie. A diverse bunch of naturally supernatural - and genetically altered - kids are running for their lives, because the adults whose guinea-pigs they are, decided to end the experiment and terminate the subjects.
The book starts in the middle of the attempted flight and ends with the - temporary - end of it. But, wow what a roller coaster! Although there is danger after danger, ghost after zombie after spell duel, the story remains believable and the characters real: Bickering, bratty witch Tori, puberty-hit werewolf Derek (with acne, anger-issues, wolfish stink, excruciatingly painful and puke-enhanced half-transformations), brave, unsure and compassionate necromancer Chloe and Simon, a diabetic womanizing sorcerer.
I especially like the non-perfectness of everybody. For example, although the kids decide to call a truce and stop bitching against each other, Tori fails to keep her tongue in check. Although Chloe starts to like Derek more and more for himself as the story progresses and to appreciate her ability to talk freely of her anxieties to him, she still notices his flaws in appearance and is flattered by beautiful Simon's attentive flirtation.
Kelley Armstrong really did a wonderful thing, when she decided to go for young adult fiction. I can't wait to read "The Reckoning" next year.(less)