This book, published in 2011, is the first in a young adult fantasy trilogy. This first book follows chosen one Elisa, a sixteen year old princess, onThis book, published in 2011, is the first in a young adult fantasy trilogy. This first book follows chosen one Elisa, a sixteen year old princess, on a journey that takes her far from home and safety. Elisa is an unusual chosen one – she isn’t athletic or adored, and she is deeply unsure of her destiny. But like a good hero story, her journey teaches her about what kind of person she is capable of being. For the first time in awhile, I careened through the first book in less than a week. I’ve now begun The Crown of Embers, the second book in the trilogy. What I liked about The Girl of Fire and Thorns is that, though it is beautifully written, the story is harsh and at times brutal. This is fantasy, but without false gilding. The characters are real and complex, the food sounds delicious, and the political intrigues are wrought just enough to give context. But Elisa makes hard choices and she makes sacrifices. Being the chosen one is a hard job; so is being a princess. But as Elisa manages to scrape by or outright succeed with each new challenge, I’ve grown to like her, and to root for her, which is one of the best things a YA novel can spark in a reader....more
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith is about the end of the world as told by 16-year-old Austin Szerba. Austin is confused: He’s in love with his girlfGrasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith is about the end of the world as told by 16-year-old Austin Szerba. Austin is confused: He’s in love with his girlfriend Shann, but he’s also in love with Robby, his gay best friend. Austin is preoccupied with history, and he points out that history chews up sexual confused young men.
Austin’s narration meanders and repeats itself. He gives us history lessons about his Polish ancestors as well as telling us the unlikely series of events that led to unstoppable, giant, man-eating praying mantises being unleashed on the fictional town of Ealing, Iowa. Yes, you read that right: Giant, man-eating praying mantises.
Grasshopper Jungle is a brutally honest work. Smith is an amazing writer. He has expertly tapped into the adolescent male mind. A word of warning: This book is awesome, and it also contains copious profanity, sexual situations and people being eaten by giant bugs. I recommend it to readers looking for a highly original YA book.
Everyone has been in love, is in love or wants love. It’s universal. Young love is white-hot. Rainbow Rowell has captured its intensity in “Eleanor &aEveryone has been in love, is in love or wants love. It’s universal. Young love is white-hot. Rainbow Rowell has captured its intensity in “Eleanor & Park,” an insightful and honest tale of two people who genuinely need each other.
Park is half-Korean and tries to fly under the radar in his own world of music and comics. Eleanor, with her wild red hair, is new in school, wears weird clothes and comes from a broken family. The two characters–and the reader–fall in love over the course of a school-year in 1986. Like any romance, there are complications, but they’re blips. The real problem is Eleanor’s alcoholic, time-bomb of a step-father. Eleanor and Park make the most of the time that they have–but there’s never enough time when you’re young.
If I haven’t convinced you, John Green loved it and recommended it during his Reddit AMA. I honestly don’t think I’ve cared about a fictional relationship as much as I did in “Eleanor & Park.” I recommend this book to everyone–young, old, everything in-between–who has been in love, is in love or wants love.
“If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for“If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” That quote from Stephen Hawking is at the beginning of “The 5th Wave,” an incredible new Young Adult Science Fiction book by Rick Yancey. The quote is appropriate, because in Yancey’s book most of humanity has been wiped out by a hostile extraterrestrial force. At first, when the alien mothership first appears in the sky, people are hopeful. After four waves of attacks–An EMP blast, epic tsunamis, a plague that kills 9 out of 10 and alien sleeper agents–it’s clear that the aliens want our planet and aren’t going to share it.
Cassie Sullivan, a sarcastic and determined teenager, has survived the first four waves, but now isolates herself in anticipation of the unknown 5th wave. Cassie fills in the blanks of the past, describing how the world and her family were torn apart. It’s vivid and heartbreaking. The 4th wave–alien agents that look human, that Cassie refers to as “Silencers”–have made her extremely paranoid. So, when she meets another survivor, Evan, she has serious issues trusting him. She needs his help, even if she won’t admit it, to rescue Sammy, her brother, who has abducted during the 4th wave. Cassie made a promise to Sammy that she would get back to him. It’s that promise that drives most of the book.
“The 5th Wave” is exciting, mysterious and hard to put down. All of the characters are well-written and distinct. I believe and hope that this is will be the next big thing in YA lit, because it is awesome. I recommend it to fans of “The Hunger Games,” Sci-Fi books, YA books and good books in general.
Every so often, there’s a book that makes me stay up reading despite the fact that I’m very tired. Every Day, by David Levithan, was one of those bookEvery so often, there’s a book that makes me stay up reading despite the fact that I’m very tired. Every Day, by David Levithan, was one of those books. It’s a young adult novel about A, who wakes up each morning in a different body living a different life. A’s life has always been this way and it (A considers itself genderless) has always tried to not screw up the host’s life that day. That is until it spends a day in Justin’s body and falls in love with his girlfriend, Rhiannon. After that fateful meeting, A uses its host bodies to try and get back to her. They start a relationship, but the problems of A’s existence eventually catch up with them.
For some reason, my mind focuses on the bad things about this book–it gets a bit preachy, Rhiannon is underdeveloped and the ending is kind of creepy. But I still really liked it. Maybe it’s the concept itself that I like so much. I also really sympathized with A, because it couldn’t have any lasting relationships. So, I wanted it all to work out between A and Rhiannon. Anyway, I recommend Every Day to anyone who thinks the basic concept sounds interesting....more