I started reading this book by a secluded pond in Yellowstone National Park, one that looked much like I imagine Walden. I remember learning about Tho...moreI started reading this book by a secluded pond in Yellowstone National Park, one that looked much like I imagine Walden. I remember learning about Thoreau and transcendentalism when I was a junior in high school and instantly became obsessed with all of it...to the extent that I'm pretty sure I wrote in my diary once something along the lines of, "I never thought I'd feel comfortable with a religion, but I've found the answer: transcendentalism" and carried around a miniature book of Walden like a Bible.
"You know where to find me, Henry had said. And it's true, I do. He's at Walden Pond. He's here in Maine. He's anywhere nature has the power to make me stop and think. And most of all, he's in this book." That was the one line I highlighted (virtually, anyway, in my Kindle copy) because it seemed appropriate as this was the only book I read during a two-week road trip around some of our country's most beautiful, spacious states.
With that said, this is one of those books that I have a hard time rating as an adult because had it come out when I was a teenager, I probably would have claimed it my new favorite novel, the end. In reality, and as a jaded 30-something, though, I would probably rate this more in the 2.5-3 star range. I thought the beginning, where the main character has amnesia and things get gritty, was going to lead in a totally different, darker direction and I found myself intrigued and wondering how Henry David Thoreau was going to impact this boy's runaway life. Instead, most of the book read like a typical, mundane story of boy meets girl, boy saves girl by convincing her to do Battle of the Bands at her high school. The messiness from the beginning returns and in the end there is a glimpse (a few pages) of enviable adventure on the Appalachian Trail, but ultimately I didn't love it as much I hoped I would.(less)
I remember buying this book as soon as it was released (2 years ago?), and it had been long enough since finishing Divergent (which I liked but defini...moreI remember buying this book as soon as it was released (2 years ago?), and it had been long enough since finishing Divergent (which I liked but definitely didn't love) that I felt bored by the time I got a few chapters in. To the point where I put the book back on my shelf with the following thought: I don't have time to be bored. There are so many other books to read.
Fast forward to about a month or two ago. I saw the Divergent movie in the theater. I actually liked it (still didn't love, but liked as in possibly more than the book) and it inspired me to go home and immediately re-start the sequel.
Through most of the book, like Divergent, I just didn't really care enough about anyone to feel compelled to pick up the book and read it for long chunks at a time (unlike Hunger Games, which I literally could not put down the entire trilogy). I was again often bored and wondering why I was "wasting my time," especially after reading 2 or 3 5-star novels in a row.
I was going to rate this 2 stars (okay, 2.5, but you still can't do half-stars on GR), but then I read the last paragraph of the entire book. That last paragraph bumped it up to 3. Okay, so fine, now I'm slightly more intrigued to read Allegiant (the final book in the trilogy), but I honestly don't think I will until after seeing Insurgent, the movie, because I still just don't quite care enough.
(Also, my mom slipped up and told me the major spoiler alert ending of the third book, which kind of makes me feel like, why bother?)(less)
"Our survival depends not on being superior but on being sufficiently interesting." That is the one quote I bookmarked on my audiobook within the firs...more"Our survival depends not on being superior but on being sufficiently interesting." That is the one quote I bookmarked on my audiobook within the first hour of listening, and it stuck with me through the entire story about Seraphina, a "mixed breed," who is both dragon and human thanks to her parents' forbidden love. Although I really enjoyed the narrator's calming voice and impressive range of characters, as well as her ability to sing the short ballads throughout the story, part of me wishes I had read this book instead of listening to it. I've learned that when authors create a fantastical world with names for people and objects that are purely imaginative, I have a hard time remembering who is who and what is what, and I think that is because I'm so much more a visual learner than an audio learner; I need to see these new words and names on a page for my brain to remember what they represent. With that said, I have a feeling I probably would have rated this 5 stars had I read instead of listened to this extended fairytale, featuring a strong, admirable female lead character. (less)
A graphic novel about a girl who moves and has to attend a new high school. She feels left out not knowing anyone, so she fakes a peanut allergy, a li...moreA graphic novel about a girl who moves and has to attend a new high school. She feels left out not knowing anyone, so she fakes a peanut allergy, a lie that becomes harder and harder to control. Loved the illustrations, cute humor, and her boyfriend, Zoo's, thoughtful Origami notes left in her mail slot and locker, as well as his thoughtful gift.(less)
I wanted to like this given the subject matter and that it's written in verse, but it was really cheesy and some of it rhymed and some of it didn't, m...moreI wanted to like this given the subject matter and that it's written in verse, but it was really cheesy and some of it rhymed and some of it didn't, making it quite frustrating to read. (less)
Wow. Girls from Nepalese towns are sold to sex traffickers in the red-light district of Calcutta. This book, written in verse, is narrated by one such...moreWow. Girls from Nepalese towns are sold to sex traffickers in the red-light district of Calcutta. This book, written in verse, is narrated by one such girl, Lakshmi, in her struggles through hope, disbelief, and despair. It's a fast read, and I cringed through the whole thing. This is really happening places, and there is nothing remotely humane or okay about it. (less)
"It's sort of tragic that we can't remember the earliest of the early years. I feel as if these memories could be the key to the whole 'Who am I?' que...more"It's sort of tragic that we can't remember the earliest of the early years. I feel as if these memories could be the key to the whole 'Who am I?' question." (page 15)
This is another ARC I received for free at ALA (and got signed by the author!) after hearing high praise--"The 'Wonder' of 2013"--at the Harold Washington Book Buzz event a day prior.
It's hard not to love Willow and the way she interacts with all living people and creatures, be it a Vietnamese family, her guidance counselor, a taxi driver, hummingbirds, and every array of plant life that can feasibly grow in Bakersfield, California.
This book, narrated by all of the aforementioned characters, covers tragedy, grief, cultural differences, science, and family (albeit unconventional).
Definitely teared up at the end. As all the reviews I'm sure are already stating, I think this will be a great read for middle school-aged students, especially those dealing with the feeling of being lost in the shuffle. And, really, haven't we all felt that way one time or another? Willow and her growing fan club will help you feel otherwise. Guaranteed.
As a P.S.- Had a neat occurrence on p 152 when Willow makes reference to "the classic book where two kids run away from home and go to hide in a museum in New York City," as I had just finished re-reading "The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" for the first time as an adult right before starting this book. I feel like Willow would have appreciated that. Also on that same page she tells us that "books = comfort." I wholeheartedly agree.(less)
After listening to Daughter of Smoke and Bone exactly a year ago, several students told me, "You HAVE to read the sequel! It's even better than the fi...moreAfter listening to Daughter of Smoke and Bone exactly a year ago, several students told me, "You HAVE to read the sequel! It's even better than the first!" It took me a year to do so, but I just listened to it. I actually thought the first half or 2/3 were pretty slow and found my mind drifting on my commutes. But the last few hours definitely had me hooked, just like the first book, and I'm looking forward to seeing how this saga ends when the third book comes out in April. (less)
B-O-R-I-N-G! I thought I was going to LOVE this book because the main character is deaf, and the front cover brags that this is a "Love letter to rock...moreB-O-R-I-N-G! I thought I was going to LOVE this book because the main character is deaf, and the front cover brags that this is a "Love letter to rock music!" I was so bored throughout this book that I had to force myself to keep coming back to it. Staring at Kurt Cobain's house for a brief paragraph does not equate "love letter to rock." The only reason I gave this book 2 stars instead of 1 is because I liked the aspect of self-discovery that Piper encounters. I'm not sure I would really recommend this to anyone, though, and can't believe it made the Abe list. (less)