I read The Adoration of Jenna Fox years ago, and loved it. Mary Pearson is a genius! Her books always have such depth, which is what I love most aboutI read The Adoration of Jenna Fox years ago, and loved it. Mary Pearson is a genius! Her books always have such depth, which is what I love most about her work. There is so much to love in The Fox Inheritance: forgiveness, guilt, avoidance, acceptance, change, and letting go. Pearson introduced the concept of darkness in people, and how it’s not the darkness itself that makes us bad, but how we choose to deal with it. Violence vs. mercy. Calculating, one-track minds vs. compassion and willingness to listen. Absolutely stunning.
In The Adoration of Jenna Fox, we learn that a car accident occurred, setting the whole story in motion. In The Fox Inheritance, we find out more about that accident, and we’re in the head of Jenna’s friend, Locke. Locke’s and Kara’s consciousness ends up spending 260 years in some sort of computer storage before they are given bodies and educated about the new world around them.
I absolutely loved how Pearson managed to take us back to the accident, and at the same time set the story 260 years after it happened. Locke seems simultaneously stuck back in his native time period, and yet also stuck in his new one. As a result, he has a very difficult time doing more than going through the motions of living, which isn’t how he’d lived his life before the accident.
Slowly, he learns to open his eyes to the reality of his new world and begin to deal with the things churning inside of him. In the process, he learns that some people aren’t who he thought they were, both in good ways and bad. It becomes an empowering experience for him, learning his strengths and weaknesses and setting himself on a path to discovering who he is now. Much like a normal adolescence, and yet it couldn’t be more different. Brilliant!
If you get a chance, definitely pick up a copy, and then read it a few times. There is plenty of fantastic subtly and subtext to explore here....more
Wow. This book has some serious chops. Absolutely stunning.
This won the ALA Printz award, and it was also nominated for the National Book Award. I canWow. This book has some serious chops. Absolutely stunning.
This won the ALA Printz award, and it was also nominated for the National Book Award. I can see why. I loved it.
I love books that can *go there* with the darkness of reality and how crappy life can be, and yet not come across as heavy-handed and depressing. Ship Breaker is such a book. I was amazed at how ruthless Nailer’s reality is, the horrible things he’s faced with, and yet I never felt that the subject matter was too harsh or tedious. Bacigalupi does a fantastic job maintaining that balance.
The story is not exactly dystopia since the world hasn’t been destroyed and/or civilization hasn’t fallen apart. The worst thing that’s happened is the ice caps have melted, and there is far less land than there used to be. Also, green energy is used to power ships and cars instead of oil, but it’s expensive so only the rich have it. The story does have dystopic elements, and I think that’s mostly because it takes place in an area of extreme poverty. Survival is the name of the game here, as is the case in many dystopia stories. In Nailer’s world, there is also a huge divide between the rich and the poor, which lends to the overall feel of the book.
There are also strong themes of loyalty throughout the story. The whole concept of ‘we’re crew’ means you look out for one another or risk being branded so everyone knows you’re a traitor, and then you’ll never find work again. Nailer stays with his abusive father, and even feels compelled to save his life. The half-men, genetically engineered half-man half dog. Loyalty was written into their genetic code, so they don’t have a choice in the matter.
The characters are amazing, my favorite being Tool. He is the epitome of individual thought, and I thought Bacigalupi drew him well. Nailer is the ultimate scrapper, doing whatever needs to be done and using whatever he has handy, in order to survive. And Nita is the perfect example of self-respect. She’s not afraid to act, but only if she can live with herself afterward.
This is now one of my all-time favorite books. Highly recommended. ...more
In The Path of Falling Objects is sharp and gripping, and I read it nearly in one sitting. The two main characters are very realistic, and such brotheIn The Path of Falling Objects is sharp and gripping, and I read it nearly in one sitting. The two main characters are very realistic, and such brothers. I have two boys who are close in age (granted, they are 4 and 6, not 14 and 16), but they behave in very similar ways that Jonah and Simon behave. They’re close, but can fight something fierce. So I identified with Jonah and Simon right away.
Actually, all the characters are vivid and fully-developed. It’s clear Lilly is in it for survival, and that Mitch is in it for Lilly. The farther the story goes, the more psychotic Mitch becomes. He is a truly scary character that could give sensitive readers nightmares (because he’s just that real). Mitch's mental instability introduces a high level of violence not often seen in YA. Some reviewers have called it gratuitous, but I disagree. I thought it fit well with the story. But if you don't like violent stories, then you should probably read something else. :)
My absolute favorite part of this book, though, was the multiple viewpoints. First, let me say that I normally don’t like multiple viewpoints because most stories don’t need it. But the way Smith handled this is so unique and intriguing that the writer geek in me got all excited. Even though there are multiple viewpoints, the alternating viewpoints are still being told by Jonah. And that’s just way cool. If I’m not making sense here, then go read the book and you’ll understand...
The title is perfect for the story, too. The term 'falling objects' applies both in the physical and emotional sense, in most of the characters. There is lots of depth to the story, and I'm sure I'll uncover more great stuff on the next read. The only thing that was sparse was physical descriptions of the characters. But, really, Smith showed them to me so well through their actions that I didn't mind. ...more
This is partly a story of strange coincidence, and partly a story of how things are not always what they seem. Destiny begins to understand this on thThis is partly a story of strange coincidence, and partly a story of how things are not always what they seem. Destiny begins to understand this on the road trip she goes on with her classmates, and she realizes that she doesn't see as much as she thinks she does. This sets her on a path toward truth, and then the reader sees more things that aren't what they seem.
This plot is extremely well-crafted. The balance between coincidence and the deliberate is precarious, but the author walks that line well by making the book all about coincidence. She also subtly suggests that we have the power to create our own coincidence, which is a concept I love. If the book just had this, that would be enough for me. But it has even more.
The amount of emotion this story evoked was incredible. Even though I had suspected the Big Reveal at the end, that didn't stop me from being completely absorbed in Destiny's turmoil. It was so moving that I cried big, fat tears for her, and I don't cry for books (because I can't see through the tears). The last time I cried this hard was over twenty years ago, when I read the end of WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. Incredible.
The ending was a little too good in places, which might turn some people off. However, since this book was about strange coincidence and `one fair day,' I thought it fit the rules of the story. So, I'm okay with it.
This book isn't a mystery, yet it's mysterious. It isn't an adventure story, yet the characters experience interesting adventures. And it doesn't say that everything is perfect, yet we get to taste perfection on this one, special day. I found this book to be wonderfully special, and it's going on my favorites shelf....more
I checked this out from the library, but now I need to pick up my own copy from the bookstore. It is amazing, heart-wrenching, joyful, funny, and willI checked this out from the library, but now I need to pick up my own copy from the bookstore. It is amazing, heart-wrenching, joyful, funny, and will leaving you sobbing with a pile of tissue, yet feeling elated at the same time.
A story told from an animal’s perspective is usually pegged as a children’s book – one that no one will want to read. But this is definitely not one of those stories. Enzo’s personality and wit come across clearly, as well as his doggie ways. I found myself cheering him on many times, even though I knew some of the things he was doing would never come from a real dog. But that didn’t matter. And, through him, we feel an immense amount of sympathy for his owner, Denny, and all the things this poor man goes through.
There is car racing sprinkled throughout the story, but you don’t need to be a racing fan to enjoy this book. Nor do you need to be a dog lover. It’s just a story about the parallels between human life and racing, told from the perspective of someone who isn’t human.
I rarely cry when I read books, and this book made me cry. In a very good way. I enjoyed it on multiple levels – as a daughter, spouse, parent, and explorer of life. If you are any of these things, you’ll enjoy it too....more
**spoiler alert** This story is told in alternating time periods. The first chapter starts in the present: the bike trip is over, and Chris has return**spoiler alert** This story is told in alternating time periods. The first chapter starts in the present: the bike trip is over, and Chris has returned without Win. Then the second chapter starts with Chris and Win first getting the idea, and permission, for this bicycle trip across the country. The chapters alternate, past-present-past-present, until they ultimately merge by laying out the whole chain of events.
I’ve read stories with alternating time periods before, and, most of the time, felt it wasn’t necessary. These stories were interesting, but didn’t need to be told in this alternating fashion. SHIFT, however, isn’t one of those stories. Not only is it amazingly effective, it’s the only way this story should be told. A linear story line would have made it average, even boring.
But Bradbury skillfully gives us information that furthers the story in each chapter. I mean, of course, the story as a whole. Not just that particular time period (past or present). If she had a question hanging from something in the past, she answered it in the present. And vice versa. This is NOT an easy thing to do, and I thoroughly enjoyed the thought and precision that went behind each chapter. Nicely done.
There was only one place in this book that gave me pause. That was the post card that Win sends Chris in the present. He sends it posing as a girl they’d met on their trip, dropping subtle clues to let Chris know it’s really him. To the reader, it is painfully obvious. But Chris doesn’t get it. Granted, he catches on a couple chapters later, but the way the post card was presented made me want to scream at him to turn on his brain – the brain that he says he’s been sharing with Win for the past ten years.
I realize that these things do happen, even to friends who are as close as Chris and Win are. And my guess is that the author wanted Chris to discover the post card sender’s identity at a particular moment. If that’s the case, then I think the post card should have been as downplayed as all the other ones he’d received. Since it wasn’t, the reader knows right away that there’s something special about this one. And we start looking at it closely, analyzing the details, until we’ve figured it out. Personally, I find it frustrating when I figure something out way before the main character does...but this was the only place where I had trouble.
The ending was really, really good. Unconventional, interesting, happy, and sad all at the same time. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but all loose ends were well taken care of. Much care, thought, planning, and work has been poured into this book. And it shows. Highly recommended....more