Finished for the first time on November 28th 2008.
Three aces (and five stars or more)!
Small-town Ohio. Sixteen-year-old Hallie Palmer, poker pro and...moreFinished for the first time on November 28th 2008.
Three aces (and five stars or more)!
Small-town Ohio. Sixteen-year-old Hallie Palmer, poker pro and high-school-drop-out escapes her life as the second child of eight in a christian family as she accepts a position as a live-in "yard-person" in the unconventional Stockton household, which consists of Judge Stockton, who - in the last stages of Alzheimer's - is being cared for by his wife Olivia, an eccentric activist, atheist and successful writer of magazine pornography, his son Bernard, antique dealer, Bernhard's husband Gil, stage director at the local theater ... and Rocky, an alcoholic chimpanzee who is devoted to cocktail-mixing and the catholic church.
The coming-of-age-novel passes about a year of Hallie's life. During this time Hallie becomes a valued member of the household, sheds her image as the town's teenage delinquent, repairs the relationship with her parents and learns a lot about friendship, trust, love, life and tolerance and almost as much about culture, history, gardening, cooking, etiquette and religion.
Even if one (like me) does not share Ms. Olivia's belief of a godless universe, the warmth of the displayed relationships, the quirky characters, the comic situations, the puns and the misunderstandings cannot fail to touch and entertain.
I really love this book and have added the following two volumes to my Christmas wish-list.(less)
The beginning was so good ... and so promising. I fell in love with the story right away. Later on I even got emotional and had a cry, which I seldom...moreThe beginning was so good ... and so promising. I fell in love with the story right away. Later on I even got emotional and had a cry, which I seldom do when reading a book. I could relate to the sisters disliking each other in childhood and coming to grow to love each other when meeting as adults. The end was too soapy and pink-rimmed, though. It damped my enthusiasm to read another book of this author somewhat. Do not misunderstand: I like happy endings a lot more than bad or pessimistic ones. But this was over the top. I cannot say when it actually toppled over the brim.(less)
Fred the mermaid is always so much fun! Forget the rather ordinary vampire queen created by the same author. Grumpiest mermaid ever and marine biologi...moreFred the mermaid is always so much fun! Forget the rather ordinary vampire queen created by the same author. Grumpiest mermaid ever and marine biologist Dr. Frederika Brimm, her metrosexual best friend Jonas, her hippy parents, the Undersea Folk including hunky Prince Artur and his SciFi-loving dad the king entertain me to no end. Sadly this third part in the series is the last.(less)
**spoiler alert** Rachel Morgan's very first kick-ass-adventure is a must for fans of course. The novella covers about a quarter of the pages and is s...more**spoiler alert** Rachel Morgan's very first kick-ass-adventure is a must for fans of course. The novella covers about a quarter of the pages and is set in Rachel's pre-IS-time. Still frail from the Rosewood-Syndrome symptoms, 18-year-old, fresh-from-school Rachel is determined to enter the Inderland Security instead of completing her earthwitch studies at the university of her brother's choice. Rachel raises a cute 150-year-old ghost from purgatory and helps him to kick some vampire ass. Ms Harrison managed to make Rachel be Rachel - yet depicts her believably younger, less self-secure, less experienced. 4 Stars! The second story "Run, Run Rudolph" by Lyndsay Sands is rather a romance story with a supernatural twist. A crazy scientist zaps the heroine with a machine that turns her into a shape-shifter and tries to hunt her down for scientific experiments. The flight which involves a lot of shape-shifting and groping gets her nearer to the man of her dreams. To much chick-lit. Not quite my cup of tea. 2 Stars. The third one, "Six" by Marjorie M. Liu, brings together a tough martial-arts-trained Chinese secret agent searching for terrorists and a necromancer hunting vampires in Shanghai. It was fun, thrilling, with a touch of heart and a touch of sci-fi - I liked it. 4 Stars. The last, "The Harvest", written by Vicki Petterson follows Zoe, human-turned Agent of Light, as she tries to hide her new-born granddaughter from the Agents of Shadows. I did not finish this and will cancel books by this author from my wish list. Did not hook my attention.(less)
How much human tissue do you need to be still human? In my opinion this is a truly great young adult science fiction book. California sometime in the n...moreHow much human tissue do you need to be still human? In my opinion this is a truly great young adult science fiction book. California sometime in the near future. Jenna Fox awakes from a coma. Her memory of her own past is triggered by a lot of video discs - and has been uploaded into the billions of her new microcells in the bio gel of which her body now illegally consists; thanks to her parents who are big fishes in the medical industry. Laws state that at least 50% of the original brain have to be preserved. With the old memories a lot of questions surface to Jenna's excellently working mind. Is Jenna really Jenna even if her brain weighs only a few ounces or is she something new, something less human? How much did her parents meddle with her mind? They "improved" some bodily functions. Is that really all? Will her grandmother accept her someday? The novel does not give easy answers. It it written from Jenna's point of view. But it gives hope and a lot of anchors to start thinking.(less)
Cinnamon, wards and blood Wow ... I like it immensely. I don't know how Mrs. McKinley managed to describe Constantine as ugly, non-talkative, definitel...moreCinnamon, wards and blood Wow ... I like it immensely. I don't know how Mrs. McKinley managed to describe Constantine as ugly, non-talkative, definitely non-human and yet made him attractive to the reader and the heroine. In addition the world unfolds slowly but beautifully: A nowadays USA, but after the so-called "Voodoo Wars" between humans and "others" which reduced both the population and the available living space. Keep sweets at hand: The constant talk of rolls, muffins, apple pies and "Dark Chocolate Death" makes your mouth water. This is a keeper!(less)
***Read for the first time: July 20th 2008*** 4 stars. ***Re-read on July 11th 2013*** 5 stars.
It is really astonishing how much of Josie's extraordin...more***Read for the first time: July 20th 2008*** 4 stars. ***Re-read on July 11th 2013*** 5 stars.
It is really astonishing how much of Josie's extraordinary, lively character I had forgotten in mere 5 years. I still do not love her as much as Francesca Spinelli, but I adore her a big, fat lot. And it's funny to think that by now I am even older than her mother Christina.(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)
This is where I stop reading the princess series. The first three volumes had been fun, really, but lately Mia has started going on my nerves. Maybe I...moreThis is where I stop reading the princess series. The first three volumes had been fun, really, but lately Mia has started going on my nerves. Maybe I am too old, but her behaviour towards Michael annoys me increasingly. Miss Cabot's ideas for her character seem to wear thin as well.(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)
I didn't always agree, but a lot of Hawaiian Eric Hansen's insights into our society and culture were quite astounding, and absolutely amusing.
For ins...moreI didn't always agree, but a lot of Hawaiian Eric Hansen's insights into our society and culture were quite astounding, and absolutely amusing.
For instance: There is an unspoken rule which forbids us to like Kitsch. Thus people tend to apologize for liking a Hollowood romance or a book which is considered to be to kitschy or not deep enough by assuring that they normally prefer a different genre, or by mentioning that the movie had been astonishingly entertaining although it contained an inacceptable amount of Kitsch. This apology or confession works like an absolution. On the other hand almost every single Pilcher short-story has been turned in to a German TV-Movie, Winnetou is still alive and kicking and weekly novels celebrating everlasting love between doctors and nurses sell like sweetbread at the filling stations and supermarkets.(less)
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!!
This I where I want a re-reading button and the chance to rate each reading individually: While I thought "The Best Girl" was really fun when I bought...moreThis I where I want a re-reading button and the chance to rate each reading individually: While I thought "The Best Girl" was really fun when I bought and devoured it in 2008, the light rich-girl-pretends-to-be-a-nanny-to-snatch-the-working-class-boy chicklit romance for the young adult audience turns out to be slightly boring and nerve-damaging when you already know what is going to happen. I still love the winter scenery in the lush resort and the holiday feel and I still like the heroine, but I cannot bring myself to want to finish reading. "The Best Girl" is best enjoyed in the first go it seems.
2nd reading: January 30th 2011 (100 pages), unfinished, 2 stars.(less)
Nice story but ... there is almost none left if you take away all the sex. I was looking forward to a romantic Christmas story (Miss Scrooge meets chi...moreNice story but ... there is almost none left if you take away all the sex. I was looking forward to a romantic Christmas story (Miss Scrooge meets childhood sweetheart on Christmas) and was pretty contented after reading the first chapter. However from the second chapter onwards it was a string of flash-backs to former sex encounters of hero and heroine in their teens mixed with new ones (across the hedge, in the car, in the penthouse, in the store ... I don't remember anymore). The characters are likable, but the most important thing you learn about them is that their bodies are lusted after by their counterparts in a fatalistic way. Not enough for me.(less)