I enjoyed Fangirl a lot. I really related to Cath, especially in the beginning. I remember calling my mom the first week of college and crying about hI enjoyed Fangirl a lot. I really related to Cath, especially in the beginning. I remember calling my mom the first week of college and crying about how I wasn't making friends and that I felt left out and lonely. And, like Cath, that alone-ness was really self inflicted. I just wasn't giving people a chance.
I had the biggest problem with the ending which felt really rushed. I felt like a lot of things were glossed over or not fully addressed. Namely what happened with Cath and her mom's relationship as well as finishing up Carry On and the fiction writing assignment. Those were three huge parts of Cath's life and they didn't get any resolution.
Overall the writing and character are adorable, but it needed some plotting work.
Oh and did anyone else find Simon Snow WAY lamer than Harry Potter? Because I did....more
I really enjoyed this, but didn't have some life changing realization or a deep emotional connection. It's a sweet book about a kid who's a little difI really enjoyed this, but didn't have some life changing realization or a deep emotional connection. It's a sweet book about a kid who's a little different, but it did seem a little simplistic. I didn't like the changing perspectives, there wasn't enough variation and we didn't really get new insight. It felt repetitive. The overall tone was too "happily ever after" for my taste. ...more
I think I've discovered a genre love I never knew I had. I love reading contemporary YA with a male protagonist. Some of my favorite books such as JohI think I've discovered a genre love I never knew I had. I love reading contemporary YA with a male protagonist. Some of my favorite books such as John Green's Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, Jesse Andrew's Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Evan Roskos's Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets feature hilariously awkward and endearing main characters. I can now add Andrew Smith's Winger to that list. Ryan Dean, the main character, is charming and vulnerable and very authentic.
Winger tells the story of Ryan Dean, a 14 year old kid who has the book smarts to already be a junior at a private boarding school, but still has the street smarts of a 14 year old kid (ie, not many). This leads to some hilariously embarrassing interactions because all of his friends are 2 years older than him and are often exasperated at his antics. His immature 14 year old mouth often gets him into trouble. Even though Ryan Dean spends a lot of time thinking that he's a loser, don't believe him. He's athletic, smart (maybe not the most wise but what 14 year old is?), and very charming. He is a complete joy to read.
I really loved the character Joey. He was like the great voice of reason with Ryan Dean. Ryan Dean would go off on some crazy tangent or get himself involved in some crazy scheme and Joey was there to slap some sense into his head. I absolutely loved the friendship that developed between these two characters, it was so endearing and cute and (without spoilers promise) made the ending even more sad.
I am very excited to read this for a second time. There is a lot of subtle development underneath all of the jokes about balls and I'm really excited to re-read it and see what I can catch. It's very artful storytelling and I think the words chosen are a lot more deliberate than they seem. That's very difficult to achieve, and I think Andrew Smith is brilliant for it.
So overall I loved Winger. It's funny and touching and has a great balance between poignant moments of friendship, love, and personal growth and jokes about balls. I highly recommend Winger and I think it's a perfect addition to your YA collection. ...more
This is by far the best book I have ever read on Christianity and homosexuality. I was thoroughly impressed with how the author handled this very tou This is by far the best book I have ever read on Christianity and homosexuality. I was thoroughly impressed with how the author handled this very touchy subject. There is no moral of the story crammed down your throat, no secret agenda. It's a story of a girl dealing with the loss of her parents while on the brink of womanhood, and it is told beautifully, honestly, and lovingly.
One of the aspects of The Miseducation of Cameron Post that I have to comment on is the writing style. It is a lot more like adult literary fiction than YA, but for this type of story it works well. The writing could have easily overpowered the story, making it feel heavy handed and slow to read, but Danforth does an excellent job painting a complete picture. It's easy to get completely submerged in her writing.
I really appreciated how honestly Danforth handled Cameron's sexuality. Nothing about it was overdone, it was understated and shy and exactly what so many kids go through when they get their first crush. Straight or gay, I could completely related to the confusion and excitement of young love.
I also really liked how the Christian characters weren't one dimensional villains. I think it could have been very easy to make these characters judgmental and cruel, but instead I could understand where they were coming from. I wanted to hate Ruth, Rick, and Lydia, but I understood those characters and realized that in their mind they were trying to help Cameron and her classmates. It's fairly obvious that they weren't very successful with their methods, but Danforth doesn't outright condemn them either. It is possible for good people to do very bad things without realizing it.
Overall The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a fantastic addition to the growing LGBT themed books in the YA community. It shows how sexuality isn't a black or white issue and I hope it will raise awareness that people are people first, and their sexuality and religion second. This is a fantastic book for parents and teachers to start a dialogue about tolerance for different sexualities. ...more
Warm Bodies is a really fun mashup of Shakespeare and zombies, two of my favorite things. I really liked the re-imagining of zombies and how Warm BodiWarm Bodies is a really fun mashup of Shakespeare and zombies, two of my favorite things. I really liked the re-imagining of zombies and how Warm Bodies examines what makes a person human and if you have nothing to live for are you really living? I didn't expect a zombie novel to make me think as much as Warm Bodies did.
R was a really great character, and one I could really relate to. He's a great narrator and reading his inner monologue is hilarious and touching. I really loved how he had all of these eloquent thoughts and ideas but due to his zombie self he can't actually express these ideas to other people. There's a quote from the book where R says “In my mind I am eloquent; I can climb intricate scaffolds of words to reach the highest cathedral ceilings and paint my thoughts. But when I open my mouth, everything collapses.” I love that.
I really liked the theme of living your life to the fullest and how it applies to not only the zombies but also the surviving humans. As R and Julie begin to get to know each other they help each other heal. They both help each other find their humanity, because both of them have been wandering and not really living (R literally).
There were a few things that I didn't really like about Warm Bodies. I didn't like how heavy handed the Romeo and Juliet stuff got at some parts. In particular the balcony scene was just too obvious and I found myself rolling my eyes. I also didn't like how Perry's death was glossed over. Julie and Perry had been having problems, but I still think I would have been a lot more upset if my boyfriend had been eaten by a zombie. Just saying. It's not even that Julie's reason for not being that upset was bad (I can understand in an apocalyptic situation preparing for everyone you love to be killed at any moment) but I wish R had tried to talk to her more about it. I wish there had been more of an ethical conflict.
Overall I enjoyed Warm Bodies quite a bit, but due to the sometimes obvious re-telling elements and some disappointing author behavior Warm Bodies fell just short of the 5 star rating. It's still a really adorable and fun read that will also make you think!...more
I picked up a copy of The Reader after watching the beautiful movie version (in which Kate FINALLY got her Oscar. About time!). Sadly the book did notI picked up a copy of The Reader after watching the beautiful movie version (in which Kate FINALLY got her Oscar. About time!). Sadly the book did not live up to the movie at all. It read like a technical article. It was cold, stiff, and unemotional. The best part of the book was when Michael was a teenager, and even then I had a very hard time connecting emotionally to the characters. Once we move on to the trial the book completely lost me.
I think that this book is best for the people who lived during the time the book was published. It is an interesting look at the group of people trying to come to term with the crimes of their parents generation. There was so much opportunity with the idea of this book, but while the movie executes the themes in a way that will just crush your heart, the book falls far, far behind. This is one of those rare moments where I would say skip the book and watch the movie. Further, you MUST watch the movie, it is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen....more
I read The Sky is Everywhere because my friend Gabrielle Carolina really loves this book, and I can totally see why. By far the best thing about The SI read The Sky is Everywhere because my friend Gabrielle Carolina really loves this book, and I can totally see why. By far the best thing about The Sky is Everywhere is the writing. WOW. Nelson's writing style is one of the most compelling and unique of any that I've experienced in YA. The story itself isn't uncommon, a girl loses her sister and is trying to put her life back together after her death, but it is the way in which this story is present that makes it so special. I could completely relate to Lennie, even though I have never gone through the tragedy of losing a sibling and best friend, how Nelson writes Lennie's thoughts make her totally relatable, hilarious, and heart breaking. Also, I loved the note convention used at the beginning and end of the chapters. I loved that the poems were printed on paper, cups, wrappers, trees, whatever was around. I love visuals in books and these really lend to the story and make it way interesting.
I also could totally understand why Lennie has feelings towards two different people. With Toby she's looking for someone who can understand her pain and make it go away. It's not so much that she actually loves Toby, quite the opposite she has tremendous feelings of guilt, but at the same time she is drawn to the person who can understand.
And then there's Joe. Let me just say that a man who can play an instrument well is dead sexy. He's the boy who can actually help heal her. I think it's so important that he moved to town after Bailey's death. He doesn't know pre-death Lennie, and loves her as she is now. I loved how he helped draw the music out of her and healed her with his. He helps her accept what happened and helps her see that life will go on and that she can go on, not forgetting her sister, but remembering all of the beautiful lessons she taught. (My only criticism of Joe is that he fell in crazy love with Lennie a little too fast. I would have liked to see the beginning stages a little more, so the healing love they experienced at the end would have been more supported).
Overall The Sky is Everywhere is a beautifully written book about losing a loved one and finding out that love can heal. (Word to the wise, the UK hardcover edition has full colored photos of Lennie's poems. I really wish I could get my hands on a copy, if anyone knows where I can buy it, please comment!)...more
Looking for Alaska is a coming of age story that is both ridiculously hilarious and touchingly poignant at the same time. This book deals with friendsLooking for Alaska is a coming of age story that is both ridiculously hilarious and touchingly poignant at the same time. This book deals with friendship, love, and death in a real and honest way that will hit home with not only teens but adult readers as well. Brilliantly set up into two sections of "before" and "after", Looking for Alaska shows how a single event can change a persons life forever.
First I want to comment on the humor in Looking for Alaska. There is a lot of it, and I like it. The writing is witty and the dialogue snappy and clever. More than once I literally laughed out loud while reading this book, much to my embarrassment because I got to the mother fucking fox hat in the middle of a crowded Starbucks.
There is sex, drinking, and smoking in this book, but they are realistically done. The sex isn't beautiful and perfect, it's awkward and a little embarrassing. The drinking and smoking are also realistic in that for most teens they can experiment without anything horrible happening beyond a hangover and maybe throwing up after going a little too far. However, I think Looking for Alaska also gives a warning about being irresponsible and the serious consequences drugs and alcohol can have without sounding like a public service announcement. It handles a tough topic in a way that won't turn teen readers off for sounding too much like their nagging parents.
This book is truly unique in the young adult genre. Looking for Alaska has equal parts hilarious moments and deeply emotional moments. There are some great instances of reflection about life's purpose and the morality with which you achieve it that challenges younger readers into thinking beyond the mega hot brooding vampire. That is the best part of this book, in my opinion. How Green challenges the reader with complex issues is what makes this book a true classic.
Overall Looking for Alaska is at it's heart, a story about self discovery. It's about finding out who you are and seeking the great perhaps that lives within....more
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a teen classic. It's paved the way for many novels with its take on drugs, sex, abuse, friendship, and growing up wThe Perks of Being a Wallflower is a teen classic. It's paved the way for many novels with its take on drugs, sex, abuse, friendship, and growing up while told through the letters of a fifteen year old boy whose innocent view of the world charms the reader. It's not so much that subject matter is unique, but the voice in which it is told is delightful. It's Charlie's observations of the world, simple though it may be, that makes this story so intriguing and relateable.
Yes there are certainly aspects of this book that may be difficult for some people to read, in particular the ending, but I think that these difficult elements all make Charlie the way he is, both the things that happened to him in the past and what he experiences over the course of the book.
While I doubt I'll become one of the rabid fans that swear by this books genius, I still really enjoyed the story and would recommend it to kids in high school who might be feeling a little "uncool". I know that I do wish I had read it when I was a freshman, I probably would have really loved it then. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is already over 10 years old, but I still find it extremely relevant to today's young adults. It is a timeless tale of finding yourself that all teens experience. ...more
Book Thief is a beautiful and unique novel about one of the most horrible times in human history. It is a brilliantly constructed look at how the NaziBook Thief is a beautiful and unique novel about one of the most horrible times in human history. It is a brilliantly constructed look at how the Nazi party controlled all of the citizens of Germany through fear and intimidation and the lives of citizens who dared fight back. This book does more than describe the atrocity of the concentration camps and the crimes against the Jewish people; it shows the compassion and courage of the people willing to save them.
The characters are presented in a way that allows the reader to understand their actions and motives and connect with them on a deep emotional level. The characters are tangible, their emotions wonderfully described, making them believable and relatable to the reader. The use of death as an omnipresent narrator weary of the crimes humans continually commit against each other is a wonderful balance between exasperation at humanity's need to repeat the mistakes of their fathers and admiration of compassion that can be shown toward people who are truly in need. Death tells the story sprinkled with humor and a sense of wonder that humanity can still surprise him with its rare bouts of selfless goodness.
This book is not light and easy fare. It is heavy material about the need for people to stand up for what they know is right, even if it means facing foes much more power and control. You as the reader will grow to love the characters for which they are, the mistakes they make, and the dreams they have. The Book Thief does an excellent job of presenting the German people as individuals with their own opinions on morality who were fighting personal battles against tyranny and oppression. These are people just like the reader, not the single minded evil entity in which many other World War II stories seem to lump the entire German community.
Overall The Book Thief is an emotional account of how World War II affected everyone in the world through the one entity that connects us all, death....more
but seriously, I hated this book so much. Every time it almost got good something stupid, gross, boring, or obviously religiousugh man what a bad book
but seriously, I hated this book so much. Every time it almost got good something stupid, gross, boring, or obviously religious would happen. It was like there was a really cool adventure novel about a boy stuck in a boat with a tiger but stupid religious metaphors shit all over it and mucked it up.
(view spoiler)[I really liked the idea that the animals might have actually been people, but seriously Japanese characters? I figured it out on my own, you didn't need to say what animal each person was represented by. I was right there with you. I wish it had just been a crazy thriller that lead us to believe it was animals then at the end it was like JUST KIDDING! They were people! That could have been such a mind fuck. But no. It was about Jesus. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more