I really wanted to like this one. I really like Carol's personality and I think I liked her back story, but it was hard to follow. This assumes you knI really wanted to like this one. I really like Carol's personality and I think I liked her back story, but it was hard to follow. This assumes you know Carol's history, it isn't kind to newcomers. The art is ok, I don't think the portrayal of women is too over the top except for one character. (view spoiler)[If you have a female character who is serving in the armed forces during WWII, don't put her in a white crop tank top and super low rise army pants! I found that disrespectful (hide spoiler)] Overall I am interested in continuing Carol's story, but I think I will have to read up on her back story before continuing. Maybe I'll just jump to the 2014 comics....more
I liked Eleanor and Park, but it needed some serious editing in the plot department, namely that there wasn't much of one. This book was more like twoI liked Eleanor and Park, but it needed some serious editing in the plot department, namely that there wasn't much of one. This book was more like two completely different books, one quirky romance between two oddball kids and one gut wrenching story about family drama and child abuse. The two stories, instead of blending together, seemed to compete for screen time.
While the romance was initially cute, it got very repetitive about half way through. Every romantic interaction would basically be like, cute stuff happened but then Park put his foot in his mouth and Eleanor would get mad/flustered and leave and they would freak out the the other was going to break up with them until they saw each other again and the cycle would repeat. Too much time was spent doing the same basic scene in a different location. That time could have been spent developing Eleanor's relationship with her family or Park's personality outside of his infatuation with Eleanor. Also I can't even begin to count how many times we were told Eleanor was FAT and Park was ASIAN. Ok, we get it, can we get to know them as people now?
Even with that said I enjoyed the book up until the very ending. I know this was set in the 80s so cell phones weren't a common thing, but seriously Park I'm sure your parents would have been cool with you driving up to see what was up with your girlfriend after not talking to her for a year. Also Eleanor is a pretty shitty person, just because you move a few states away doesn't mean you get to decide to just end a relationship and not even talk to your partner. If she cared at all about Park she would have at least given him the common courtesy of a phone call. I understand that first loves and young loves can feel huge in the moment but then fizzle out pretty fast at the first real obstacle (ie distance) but come on. And we get almost no resolution with Eleanor's family which was so frustrating. I was especially interested in the development of Eleanor's mother and she was basically flat for the entire novel.
OH and I have a major issue with their last "intimate" moment (view spoiler)[ I HATE HATE HATE that Eleanor was all, "this is our last chance, I don't care that you don't have a condom and that I might get pregnant". WHAT THE HELL. I hate that mentality, it is stupid and irresponsible. Don't have sex if you don't have protection. Period. (hide spoiler)]
BUT with all of this ranting there were some really good parts to Eleanor and Park, in particular Park's mom. I love her so much, she was so supportive of Park exploring his own interests and not pushing her own gender expectations on him.
I have conflicting emotions about this book, parts of it were great, parts were terrible, and parts were meh.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Infinity Ring is a really fun and interactive series for kids. Not only is it a fun science fiction series that incorporates historical events (edThe Infinity Ring is a really fun and interactive series for kids. Not only is it a fun science fiction series that incorporates historical events (educational!) there is also an online element where kids can play a game that continues the adventure. It's a great series for reluctant readers and could be used by parents to connect with their kids on the computer as well.
I think the Infinity Ring series could be a great tool for teachers. Each book focuses on a different point in history and this could be used in the classroom to discuss the events around those major historical events and why they are important. The computer game is a great hook to help draw kids in to introduce them to reading about history.
I was lucky enough to go to a book signing for A Mutiny in Time. James Dashner is one of the most passionate authors I have ever met. Not only does he enjoy the writing process, but he really cares about education and getting kids excited to read. On the day of the signing he had spent his morning at local elementary schools talking to kids about reading and getting them excited about books and school. It was very encouraging to see many young kids (and boys!) at the book signing event. Dashner had obviously made an impression on the kids and it was so awesome to see their enthusiasm about the series.
Overall A Mutiny in Time is a great start to a fun multi platform series. The Infinity Ring will appeal to kids ages 9-11, which I think is a very crucial age for developing an appreciation for books. It's series like the Infinity Ring that will lay the ground work a life long love of reading. ...more
The Diviners by Libba Bray is a dense book. This is by far one of the most historically rich young adult books I have ever read. The amount of effortThe Diviners by Libba Bray is a dense book. This is by far one of the most historically rich young adult books I have ever read. The amount of effort and research Bray put into The Diviners is immediately apparent. Not only do we get the more surface historical elements such as bobbed hair and flappers and speakeasies, but we also get the political, social, and economic climate of the time period in a masterfully subtle way. I think that is the greatest strength of The Diviners. The historical elements are fully integrated into the story in a beautifully seamless way.
Besides the awesome historical element, I really enjoyed the occult aspect to The Diviners. I loved "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies" as well as the various rituals and ghosty things that happen. I think there's a wonderful blend of fact and fiction that creates a really interesting story. I think some people may be initially turned off by the occult elements, but I think if you just remember that this is 100% fictional it will be ok. (I personally love creepy Halloween stuff so that was a huge selling point for me).
Now let's just take a minute to discuss Naughty John. That is one CREEPY mofo. Seriously, Naughty John is one of the best villains I have ever read. I would say he is on par with Stephen King's ghostly bad guys, which are really about as good as you can get. I think a lot villains in YA are watered down but not Naughty John. He's a great villain and I'm really excited when YA authors take their villain out of the box the way Bray did.
The other characters were also wonderful. I really liked Evie, even if she started off rather shallow, I think there will be a lot of growth with her character. I also really liked Theta and Mable, Evie's two friends. I liked their friendship a lot. I've said it before, but I love YA that has girls being friends with other girls. I think it's really important to include in YA and I think The Diviners does a great job.
My only real complaint about The Diviners is the sheer density of the book. Not only is it almost 600 pages, but the story is so full of background and historical elements that it can be a little daunting. This really isn't a negative, more of an observation that The Diviners was a slow burn for me.
Overall The Diviners is an impressive YA novel and really stands above a lot of historical fiction (YA or not). The excellent paranormal mystery woven into one of the most comprehensive historical novels that I've ever read makes The Diviners by Libba Bray an achievement for the YA genre. ...more
The Friday Society is simply a fun read. What I loved the most about The Friday Society was the girl power vibe. Cora, Michiko, and Nellie were all smThe Friday Society is simply a fun read. What I loved the most about The Friday Society was the girl power vibe. Cora, Michiko, and Nellie were all smart, independent, and resourceful but still had different shortcomings they had to overcome with a little help from their friends.
The three main characters were the best part of this novel. It is incredibly refreshing to read a YA that has girls working together to solve a problem, not fighting or swooning over some boy. I think The Friday Society has just the right balance of boy angst in that it's there, but it's not the main focus of the novel. This kind of relationship between girls, friends helping other friends, is really important in YA and sadly very lacking. I also loved how the three girls start off as assistants, but throughout the course of the book they find their own agency and really take control of their lives.
The actual story is cute. It's not anything wildly substantial, but it's entertaining and exciting and would make a super fun teen movie. I wouldn't have minded some of the science to be more fleshed out, but I'm really picky about science and understanding how things work in a novel. I did find some of the technology in The Friday Society to be a bit convenient so I really had to stop questioning it and just let it happen. There's a lot of just silliness in the book (they dress up in super hero costumes at the end to go fight the bad guys) but I just kind of had to be like Michiko and go along with it, even as I rolled my eyes.
The biggest negative was that the book was written with a very modern voice despite the historical setting. However as I continued to read the novel I enjoyed it more and more. Sure the book is set in Edwardian England, but I could completely related to these girls and was really cheering them on.
The Friday Society is a cute and silly novel that I think would work well as an introduction to steampunk and alternative history. I think it's a perfect book for a middle school aged reader and has a great message of team work, friendship, and a healthy dose of girl power. ...more