Where do I begin with another amazing book by the ever-so talented Ellen Hopkins... Perfect is a novel that everyone must read, not just teens. It's m...moreWhere do I begin with another amazing book by the ever-so talented Ellen Hopkins... Perfect is a novel that everyone must read, not just teens. It's message transcends age, gender, sexuality, race and time. We all want to be perfect, and for each and everyone one of us defining what is 'perfect' is different. Ellen Hopkins explores the idea of 'perfection' through characters that struggle with things that many of us have and still do: being the prettiest, the best at sports, the best academically, and to be just perfect for ourselves by being who we are.
One of my favorite characters is Cara, Connor's sister (from Impulse). Not only is she under thumb of her parents' constant pressure to be the best academically and at everything else, she is left behind while Connor works on his own issues (must read Impulse to find out more about this). And if that wasn't enough she is finding something about herself she never knew... she could be be a lesbian. Can I just say this girl has a strength of wills like no other!
Such a simple question that carries so much meaning and weight. Ellen Hopkins has created a reality in verse perfectly (no pun intended), a reality that many of use tend to ignore or pretend doesn't exist. Ellen Hopkins continues to grab the attention and respect of all her readers through her brute honesty and artistic craft. Without her our Literary World would be less than it is. She gives us hope to find the truth in ourselves, that we are all perfect, just the way we are, in Perfect.(less)
Rene has a very unique story to tell. Rene is very unique himself. Rene knows he is not popular, and 'normal', but he doesn't care. He doesn't even ca...moreRene has a very unique story to tell. Rene is very unique himself. Rene knows he is not popular, and 'normal', but he doesn't care. He doesn't even care what others think when he wears his Batman cape out in public. Rene truly believes in super powers and once he meets Gio, a new student, he gains more power by just being his friend. Rene is cleverly written; he is both a child while adult - a child in believing in super powers and wearing a cape but adult in that he is obviousness to others' opinions, while he clearly has much growing up to do still (as he is only 14). He is also very hilarious and spunky. Matt Blackstone gives an inside look into his mind and thoughts, including his OCD concerns, which brings a new light to something that needs more awareness. Most importantly Matt Blackstone takes great care to never make fun of Rene or his characteristics - he allows Rene's voice to truly be heard.
While Rene's character is wonderfully developed I do wish many of the other characters were developed a tiny bit more. I highly recommend this novel for every teen - not only has Matt Blackstone weaved in serious topics into a fun and quirky plot, he has shown great promise as a new Young Adult author. I will be looking out for what Matt Blackstone comes up with next. (less)
Want To Go Private? is the perfect PSA for internet safety, not just for teens but for everyone! Sarah Darer Littman has superbly combined the realiti...moreWant To Go Private? is the perfect PSA for internet safety, not just for teens but for everyone! Sarah Darer Littman has superbly combined the realities of teen emotions and the dangers that lurk just behind the computer screen.
Abby is a very smart girl - she's a straight A student and follows the rules to a 't'. In an attempt to share her fears of being a new freshman in High School and all the changes that she knows are on the horizon, Abby visits a virtual Teen world. There she meets Luke. Luke is understanding, listens to her rants and complaints... Luke is the perfect boy! Or is he? Abby learns quickly that he is not as young as she is, but that doesn't matter. She doesn't know much about him: where does he work? where does he live? But again, that is all okay. Abby finally feels like someone understands her. Soon she starts to act in ways that never crossed her mind. But for Abby it is all for Luke, so there is nothing wrong... Right??
At the same time, Abby and her best friend, Faith, start to drift apart. No one notices the changes in Abby. Then one day, Abby is gone.
Abby where are you? How could you just be here one day and gone the next?
While Sarah Littman shows Abby's side of the story, her emotions and thoughts, she also shows the affect that Abby's decisions and disappearance has on those surrounding her. Her family and friends are left to wonder where she is, is she hurt, and what exactly happened. Some even feel to blame.
But I can't help thinking that there must have been something I could have said or done or noticed that would have stopped her.
Writing on any "social" issue can be difficult without the added fear of the response. But Sarah Littman's writing shows no hint of failure. Want To Go Private? touches upon our fears, concerns, emotions and the reality of a technological world. Her characters and the consequences of their actions are real. By throwing a real life danger in our face, Sarah Littman has created the perfect novel on Internet predators. (less)
Bitter End is a novel that stands out from the norm, tackling a subject that is unfortunately all too common today: abuse in relationships. As the boo...moreBitter End is a novel that stands out from the norm, tackling a subject that is unfortunately all too common today: abuse in relationships. As the book synopsis points out, Cole turns into an abuser. Reading this novel, armed with this knowledge you find yourself pointing out all these little clues the come up in the first part of the book. While you want to scream at Alex for not picking up these clues it becomes clear that if you did not have prior knowledge of Cole's 'true' character, you would not see these clues either. Unfortunately, this is very true of many abusers - Cole is very charming, good looking, athletic, and smart. He showers Alex with affection and understanding in the beginning of the book (minus his reactions to Zack, Alex's best friend). You can't help but like him a little.
"His eyes, searching deep into mine, felt like danger and safety all rolled into one."
It is hard to not feel for Alex, but also for Cole. Obviously, as Alex is the one being abused, you want to protect her and you want others to stand up for her. Cole, while he is the abuser, also has no one to help him. While his abuse inexcusable you really wish that someone would step in to help him, and Alex.
While abuse should never be acceptable, Bitter End really shows that it is not always black and white. Jennifer Brown has created very real and believable characters and situations. While Bitter End is an amazing novel, one that speaks truth, it is not for everyone. There were many times it was hard for me to continue reading the novel, only because the scenes were real, in every way - physically and emotionally. For those that are willing to delve into a gruesome yet wonderful read, Bitter End is your pick! (less)
You are first attracted to Alexandra Adornetto's novel by the AMAZING cover! I personally think this cover is absolutely gorgeous!! That being said, I...moreYou are first attracted to Alexandra Adornetto's novel by the AMAZING cover! I personally think this cover is absolutely gorgeous!! That being said, I do wish the content of the novel was just as gorgeous. As with many novels, there are good things and there are bad things about Halo. I really enjoyed the dynamics between the 3 main angels: Gabriel, Ivy and Bethany. However, I really do wish their relationships with each other were explored and developed more. They are very different from each other, and these differences are focused more on than their similarities (beyond the fact that they are all angels). Because of such a hard focus, it was hard to see why they see themselves as a 'family' (again outside of the fact that they are angels).
I was torn between believing in Bethany. On one hand it is made clear that while Bethany is an angel she is still rather new, and thus she is more susceptible to the "human" emotions and pressure. Adornetto shows these susceptibilities wonderfully. You see her grow more and more human as the novel moves forward. On the other hand, it was hard to believe her as a character because she falls too quickly into the human ways and even at times act too human, if possible - her angel ways are completely forgotten at times to the point of being almost fake.
The relationship between Bethany and her 2 boy interests, Xavier and Jake, are wonderfully created. Both are developed at the appropriate speed, not too fast or too slow. The only aspect I find lacking is Xavier's acceptance of Bethany being an Angel. However, Xavier coming from a religious household really does explain his unwavering belief in her, but I do wish this was explored more (Xavier's background in his beliefs in God).
Even though Halo's premise is not 'unique' it still manages to stand apart from many of the current YA Literature for a few main reasons. First, Alexandra Adornetto's age (about 18) grabbed my attention. I am always amazed at authors who get as much hype as Adornetto has, even more so when they are indeed a Young Adult. While reading Halo I could see where improvements could be made but more importantly I could see her growing as an author as the series continues. While Halo may not be a new favorite, it engaged me enough as I look forward to reading the rest of the series. (less)