So I recently finished reading I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak and am still feeling good from it. It's probably the most authentically feel-good re...moreSo I recently finished reading I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak and am still feeling good from it. It's probably the most authentically feel-good read I've encountered, in fact. Nothing manipulative, shallow, or cheesy about this one, it just makes you feel good and want to do good.
My full names's Ed Kennedy. I'm nineteen. I'm an underage cabdriver. I'm typical of many of the young men you see in this suburban outpost of the city--not a whole lot of prospects or possibility. That aside, I read more books than I should, and I'm decidedly crap at sex and doing my taxes. Nice to meet you.
Ed Kennedy drives his cab and plays cards with his three best friends. That's about it for his life. Then one day he somehow manages to react and becomes something of a hero during a bungled bank robbery. Soon after, he recieves a playing card in the mail--the Ace of Diamonds--with three addresses and times written it. Eventually Ed goes to the addresses at the given times and realizes he's supposed to do something for the people he finds. Exactly what is up to Ed to figure out. Sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's simple and easy, sometimes it's the hardest thing he's ever done. When he hesitates too long a couple of thugs show up at his door and rough him up a bit to keep him motivated. After he finishes the first ace another one shows up. It becomes Ed's task in life to find ways to help these people, and in doing so realizes he's helping himself.
I'd read a couple of other Zusak books previously and enjoyed them, but liked this one all the more for having listened to it. I can imagine an Australian narrator in my head, but since it's not who I am it lacked a little something. Having the book read by an Australian actor made it that much better, especially since Marc Aden Gray does an excellent job of bringing Zusak's authentically written voice to life. I recommend going that route.(less)
Even though it's a sci fi, it reads more like a mystery--Lina and Doon have to figure out what/where Ember really is before they can find a solution t...moreEven though it's a sci fi, it reads more like a mystery--Lina and Doon have to figure out what/where Ember really is before they can find a solution to their problems, and all they know of existence is their city and the surrounding darkness (no one is aware the city is underground). As a sci fi reader, I figured out what was going on before the characters or (I'm assuming) the typical kid reader, but it was still a good book with a lot of appeal.(less)
Okay, so maybe there was another book from 2008 better than Frankie Landau-Banks. To superficially simplify things, that one delighted my head while t...moreOkay, so maybe there was another book from 2008 better than Frankie Landau-Banks. To superficially simplify things, that one delighted my head while this one hit me in the gut.(less)
Sam comes across the corner of a newspaper clipping while snooping in the attic, a clipping with a picture of himself when he was three but with a dif...moreSam comes across the corner of a newspaper clipping while snooping in the attic, a clipping with a picture of himself when he was three but with a different last name and mention that he went missing, a clipping that starts a series of vivid dreams and stirs up vague memories he had forgotten. What happened back then and is his beloved guardian, Mack, really his grandfather after all? An intriguing mystery for Sam to solve with the help of a friend, because it is the mystery of who he really is (and will be). Three-and-a-half stars.(less)
My name is Moon. Fletcher Moon. And I'm a private detective. In my twelve years on this spinning ball we call Earth, I've seen a lot of things normal...moreMy name is Moon. Fletcher Moon. And I'm a private detective. In my twelve years on this spinning ball we call Earth, I've seen a lot of things normal people never see. I've seen lunch boxes stripped of everything except fruit. I've seen counterfeit homework networks that operated in five counties, and I've seen truckloads of candy taken from babies.
I thought I'd seen it all. I had paid so many visits to the gutter looking for lost valentines, that I thought nothing could shock me. After all, when you've come face-to-face with the dark side of the school yard, life doesn't hold many surprises.
Or so I believed. I was wrong. Very wrong.
The story of a twelve-year-old, hard-boiled-noir private investigator told with excellent humor, a real mystery, and nice use of language. Petty theft and playground violence (There are several kinds of school fights. The three most popular kinds are the Pinwheel, the Hold-Me-Back, and the Headlock.), but an excellent place to steer series mystery readers looking for something else.
I especially enjoyed his Femme Fatale: This was April Devereux, ten years old and already the head of an entire tribe of Barbies.
Just found out BBC turned it into a TV series. I wish he would write some sequels, because I'd read them.
I thought that my cleverness would make me popular. I was wrong. No one wants a friend who can find out their secrets. Somehow I realized even at three years old that if I wanted friends, I would have to stop finding things out. I didn't stop, and Mary Ann has hated me now for almost a decade. If she wants to do anything about it after all this time, she'll just have to join the club.(less)
An exciting thriller of the don't-know-what's-really-going-on-time-travel-virtual-reality-science-fiction-puzzle variety that kept surprising me until...moreAn exciting thriller of the don't-know-what's-really-going-on-time-travel-virtual-reality-science-fiction-puzzle variety that kept surprising me until the very end. Three point five stars, if I could. It begins with an academic quote about time travel to the past being impossible, then describes a scene in which 7 teen genuises on a hidden, high security military base hang out for a few moments, until: At 2000 hours on Monday, 24 December 2007, Pinewood Military Installation exploded. The blast ripped apart acres of forest and devastated the remote highland valley where the base was located. There were no survivors and no official cause was given for the incident. Inside Pinewood were 185 male and female military personnel--a mix of scientists and soldiers. There were also 7 children. This is the story of their last day. The well-told story just gets more intriguing from there.(less)
As if coping with middle school and life isn't hard enough, Miranda starts finding mysterious notes in strange places. Short, cryptic notes addressed...moreAs if coping with middle school and life isn't hard enough, Miranda starts finding mysterious notes in strange places. Short, cryptic notes addressed to her, referencing things only she'd know about, including one that references future events she doesn't know about yet but will come to. The notes seem to be from someone who knows her, but all of her relationships seem on pretty rocky ground lately. She has a puzzle to solve, not only who the notes are from but how to respond.
It took me a bit to get fully sucked into this one, but it's brilliantly constructed and told in a slightly episodic fashion as a real person might share it (instead of the more usual storytelling writing of most books). Very intriguing and engaging. Of other books I know, I'd compare the experience of reading it to Jellicoe Road (although this one is just as unique).(less)
One of the best books I've read for those who enjoy a hearty, potentially contentious book discussion; one of the worst books I've read for those who...moreOne of the best books I've read for those who enjoy a hearty, potentially contentious book discussion; one of the worst books I've read for those who don't care for ambiguity and frustration. Immediately upon finishing it I flipped back to the start and began rereading, until I'd completely skimmed through the whole book again. I've just browsed through the other Goodreads reviews here and disagreed with the conclusions reached by at least half of those marked as spoilers. I'm dying to delve into this book with others in an attempt to figure out the truth behind the lies--but at this point I'm feeling it's constructed so carefully it's possible to only have theories and opinions with no way of really knowing, regardless of how carefully we comb through the text for clues. It's brilliant that way.
And that paragraph was intentionally vague. I think the less you know about this book going into it, the better. Just know that the title is as apt a one as there is. Micah is a liar. That's the one and only thing I'm sure about at this point. She tells her story, then retells it, then revises it. She admits to lies and then admits the admission was a lie. She lies by omission. She takes the concept of unreliable narrator to new places. This book is a mystery; a murder mystery, an identity mystery, a plot mystery. It might be only a few small details are lies or it might be most of the book is a lie. I'm still not sure.