Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later: an Aussie YA novel I didn’t enjoy at all! In fact, if not for my two wonderful readalong partners who ma...moreWell, it was bound to happen sooner or later: an Aussie YA novel I didn’t enjoy at all! In fact, if not for my two wonderful readalong partners who made the experience not only bearable, but extremely fun, I would have given up after a hundred pages or so.
Ava’s parents are supposedly very liberal, and her girlfriend Chloe has an owerpowering personality. Together they’re pushing Ava into an alternative lifestyle she secretly hates. Oddly enough, all Ava wants is to wear pink and sing in a musical. She decides to move to a new school, where she plans to find a way of joining the in crowd, or Pastels, as she calls them. However, that doesn’t turn out so well for Ava. Instead of getting the role she wanted in the school musical, she ends up working with the stage crew, a group of misfits led by a boy named Sam. She ends up balancing three different lives and three different personalities, none of which are compatible with the others.
Characterization is where Wilkinson failed spectacularly. Having read A Pocketful of Eyes first, I knew that she was more than capable of creating more interesting and complex characters, which is why I have to conclude that she did this on purpose. But why? Every character in Pink is a walking stereotype: we have Ava’s intellectually snobbish girlfriend Chloe, playing the role of a lesbian feminist; Ava’s parents, so obsessed with being tolerant that they end up not tolerating anything mainstream; Alexis, the shallow blonde, perfect in everything she does; a gay friend, a secretly gay friend, a friend embarrassed by his rich parents, and in the end, Ava herself, completely devoid of personality.
Ava is one of the most self-centered, infuriating characters I’ve ever stumbled upon. The series of disastrous decisions she made in such a short period of time nearly drove me insane. Stories about personal growth by definition introduce a character that makes poor choices at the beginning, but finds a way to redeem himself/herself by the end. After one particularly bad decision, I’m afraid Ava reached the point of no redemption in my eyes.
Unfortunately, I doubt that I’ll be reading any more of Wilkinson’s novels. After reading two of them, I can honestly say that she’s not an author whose work I enjoy. (less)
I wish I could pay someone to write this review for me… I think it will turn out to be one of the hardest I’ve ever written. Or one of the easiest… wh...moreI wish I could pay someone to write this review for me… I think it will turn out to be one of the hardest I’ve ever written. Or one of the easiest… who knows with these things?
First of all, don't you just love this cover? Maybe you need to read the book to fully appreciate it, so all of you who haven't… what are you waiting for? There aren’t many authors who can portray emotions and transfer them to the readers like Eagar does. Her writing style is readable and clear, and still it draws you in completely, making you feel so many different things. For me, sometimes those feelings were pleasant, but most of the time powerlessness and sense of detachment overwhelmed me, so much so that I feared I would suffocate. That probably sounds like a bad thing, but it depends on what you’re looking for in a novel.
Some of the most beautiful and the most honest moments in Raw Blue are related to surfing, and while I don’t know anything about it, and despite not being a water person at all (terra firma for me, thank you!), I can certainly understand the passion and the single-mindedness behind it.
Carly is one of those characters that crawl under your skin and stay there. And Ryan… he is the perfect person for Carly precisely because he’s not perfect at all. He doesn’t feed her insecurities by having none of his own. He’s a guy with many flaws, but he’s also the one to find all the undamaged parts of Carly’s personality and bring them to the surface.
I thought that the awkwardness of having sex with someone for the first time was amazingly well described. It makes me happy that there are YA authors who write sex scenes the way they should be written, removing any illusions and silly expectations. We’ve all been there: the little insecurities, self-consciousness, fear of not being accepted, of doing something wrong. Carly worries about all that and much more because her mind is not that of a normal 19-year-old.
The value of this book lies partly in the secondary characters: the neighbor Hannah, whose life is so messy that her symmetrical name is the only thing she’s proud of; Danny, the precious 15-year-old with synaesthesia; Emilio the café manager and others that make this story far more real.
I've posted most of my favorite quotes as status updates.
That's it! I'm moving to Australia! Oooh, boy. You truly can’t go wrong with Aussie YA authors! I’ve read some awful books lately and by the time I pi...moreThat's it! I'm moving to Australia! Oooh, boy. You truly can’t go wrong with Aussie YA authors! I’ve read some awful books lately and by the time I picked up Thyla, I was becoming quite desperate. Kate Gordon saved my life, or at the very least the rest of my vacation.
Amazing writing. And I mean AMAZING writing! Not as good as Raw Blue, but close enough. Gordon has this way of making you picture everything in your head without being overly descriptive. In fact, her writing is not descriptive at all. If anything, it’s pretty simplistic. The woman knows how to write dialogues and she’s very good at paying attention to details.
What would you do if you woke up in the bush one day, badly injured and with a complete memory loss? How would you explain to your new classmates that you have no idea if you like waffles or that you don’t really know whether you have a boyfriend or not? Tessa doesn’t know what a TV is, she can’t remember what food she likes and her period completely freaks her out. She only knows her name and that she does not cry. Ever.
'How can you have never seen a TV?' you asked. Then, when you saw I was becoming more and more distressed by the tiny people in the small black box, you said, 'It's nothing to be scared of, Tess. You're right. It's just moving photographs. It's pretty boring, actually.'
Originality is this novel’s strong point. I can’t remember the last time a YA paranormal surprised me completely. New names, new creatures, new situations – Kate Gordon did it all. There were some minor things that were predictable, but the most important parts were utterly surprising. Thyla is not a story you will easily forget.
The only thing that bothered me was the unresolved ending. It wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger but I kept hoping that one more chapter will magically show up and make me feel better. There will be a second book, but not until 2012, and that’s a really, really long time. I hate it when authors do that. That said, this book is definitely worth reading. Highly recommended! (less)
< i>Every time he looked at me I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. In art class I’d watch him lean back and lis...more4.5 stars.
< i>Every time he looked at me I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. In art class I’d watch him lean back and listen and I was nothing but zing and tingle. After a while the tingle turned to electricity, and when he asked me out my whole body amped to a level where technically I should have been dead. I had nothing in common with a sheddy like him, but a girl doesn’t think straight when she’s that close to electrocution.
Wow. My GoodReads friends are all people with excellent taste. I thought so before, but I’m sure of it now. A few of you took the time to notice what I like and recommend this book to me. Thank you! And a special thanks to Lisa O. and her lovely review for making me read this when I did. Anyway, where was I?
The strength of Crowley's novel isn’t so much in the story itself as it is in the poetic writing that left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Don’t get me wrong: her writing isn’t overly descriptive. She doesn’t go on and on about places, events or works of art. Somehow she says more in one sentence than most people are able to say in twenty. She also has an excellent sense of humor and I found myself crying with laughter over some of her passages.
I know they still love each other, but I guess love is kind of like a marshmallow in a microwave on high. After it explodes, it’s still a marshmallow. But, you know, now it’s a complicated marshmallow.
Lucy doesn’t date regular guys. She went out on one date in her life and ended up breaking the guy’s nose. The fact that her parents spent two straight months screaming at each other isn’t helping her at all. Instead, she dreams about meeting a graffiti artist called Shadow, convinced that he is the guy who could never disappoint her.
Ed left school when it became obvious that he won’t be able to hide his dyslexia much longer. It also happened to be right around the time when Lucy broke his nose on their first date. Words don’t mean anything to him, but he draws the most amazing graffiti all over town. He is Shadow and his best friend Leo is Poet. And he wishes Shadow was as amazing as Lucy seems to believe he is.
Jazz and Leo are both weird in their own way but they might be compatible. He only needs to find the courage to tell her that he’s actually Poet, the guy whose works she’s been admiring all over town. It may sound easy, but once you get tangled in your own lies, it’s very hard to tell the truth.
All of them end up together in a pink van where the truth must come out - whether they like it or not.
There’s something in this book for everyone: amazing writing, poetry, flawless characters, a funny story, love, glass, art, pink van and criminals. Highly recommended. (less)
Actual rating: 4.5 stars! Lately I’ve been lucky enough to add a few books to my all-time-favorites list, all of them Australian. Raw Blue, for example...moreActual rating: 4.5 stars! Lately I’ve been lucky enough to add a few books to my all-time-favorites list, all of them Australian. Raw Blue, for example, left me with this feeling of beauty and despair that just won’t go away. I realize that I’ve been going on and on about Aussie authors and that I’d even threatened to move there at one point, but I see no reason to stop. Good Oil is just another proof of how special and engrossing their writing style usually is.
This story is about 15-year-old Amelia, 21-year-old Chris and a group of young people working at Woolworths grocery store in Sydney. The narration is equally divided between Chris and Amelia, and although I definitely preferred Chris’ point of view, I felt that both their voices were captured really well.
Amelia is the girl that doesn’t really fit anywhere. Her family life is a mess and, as a rule, she isn’t getting enough attention from her parents or other people. Chris, on the other hand, gets too much attention. He is one of those people who fill the room with their presence. Loud, very intelligent, completely messed up, extroverted and fun, he’s everyone’s favorite guy. He draws Amelia to him like a magnet and they spend a lot of time talking about books and feminism.
She's amusing - all frizzy-haired and fiery. I suspect she can, like, construct sentences and read books.
This is a book you will need to think about. My rating was all over the place while I was reading. At first I thought it will end up being a 4-star book. Then, after reading the last page, I felt very confused and tempted to go with 3 stars, but now, not a day after, I’ve decided to make it 4.5. Processing a book that doesn’t distance itself from reality is always harder than dealing with something you know in your heart is fiction. It’s strange for someone who claims to be such huge fan of realism to have problems with very realistic novels, but that’s me - a walking contradiction.
Usually when I read a book I know exactly how I’d like it to end. I was at a loss this time because no matter how much they have in common intellectually, at the end of the day, Amelia is a kid, and Chris is… not. I was very curious to see how Laura Buzo would handle that particular mess, and I have to admit that I was very impressed, regardless of my initial (conflicted) feelings.
I could go on and on about this book because, unlike most of my friends, I find it much easier to write about books I loved, but I see no point. I loved it. That's all you need to know. I’m asking you all to read this. I promise you won’t be sorry. (less)
“When death captures me,” the boy vowed, “he will feel my fist on his face.” Personally, I quite like that. Such stupid gallantry. Yes. I like that a lot...more“When death captures me,” the boy vowed, “he will feel my fist on his face.” Personally, I quite like that. Such stupid gallantry. Yes. I like that a lot.
A few days ago, when I was starting The Book Thief, my mother stopped by and saw the book on my coffee table. Having just read it herself (and knowing me better than anyone else in the world, I might add), she was determined to save me from myself. She did her very best to convince me not to read it. She described in detail the three day long headache all the crying had caused her and the heartache she now has to live with, but I’m nothing if not stubborn. I guess I never learned to listen to my mother. I’m pretty sure her parting sentence was: “Don’t come crying to me.” And I didn’t. I huddled in a corner and cried inconsolably instead.
Death himself narrates the story about a little girl named Liesel growing up with her foster parents in Nazi Germany. At the beginning, I felt somewhat intimidated by the idea of Death as a narrator. I assumed that his voice would be dark and thunderous, but for the most part, he was a ray of light illuminating earth’s saddest time. Incredibly insightful observations and occasional dry humor are only some of the things no one but Death could have brought into this story. Besides, we hear people calling God’s name every day for many reasons, but when Death calls to Him in despair and even those calls fall on deaf ears, no one can fail to understand the gravity of the situation.
I do not carry a sickle or a scythe. I only wear a hooded black robe when it’s cold. And I don’t have those skull-like facial features you seem to enjoy pinning on me from a distance. You want to know what I truly look like? I’ll help you out. Find yourself a mirror while I continue.
The Book Thief is not one of those books you read compulsively, desperate to find out what’s on the next page. No. It is, in fact, better to read it slowly, in small doses, in a way that allows you to savor every word and absorb the power and the magic it contains. All the while, you know what’s going to happen. Death has no patience for mysteries. However, anticipation of the inevitable makes it even worse. My whole body was tingling with fear because I knew what was coming and I knew that it was only a matter of time. Zusak found a way to give a fresh approach to a much-told story. He offered a glimpse at the other side of the coin. Really, should we feel sorry for the people hiding in a basement in Munich suburbs? Sure, bombs are falling on their heads, but most of them are members of the Nazi Party, willingly or reluctantly. Some of them truly think that Jews are no better than rats. Some, on the other hand, are hiding a Jew in their own basement. Some are just innocent children. But the more important question is, are we any better at all if we don’t feel compassion and sorrow? Death does a great job of asking all these questions in a calm, unobtrusive way.
I’m not pretentious enough to believe that my clumsy words can ever do this book justice. I won’t even try. Time will speak for it, as I’m pretty sure it will survive for decades and generations to come. The Book Thief and Markus Zusak should find their place in every school textbook all over the world.
Seven thousand stars could never be enough for this book.
Does this book really need another glowing review? A book with 225 reviews on GoodReads alone and 4.62 average rating? What can it possibly change? Ma...moreDoes this book really need another glowing review? A book with 225 reviews on GoodReads alone and 4.62 average rating? What can it possibly change? Maybe not much, but yes, I believe that it does.
Melina Marchetta is extraordinary. Duh. I won’t sing her praise in this review. Almost everyone who ever gave one of her books a chance knows how brilliant she is. Writing about it here seems unnecessary and a little bit silly since it’s the one thing we all agree on, regardless of our favorite among her books or her characters. And that’s just it, there is no doubt about it: we all have plenty to choose from and we love them all, but we all have a favorite – that Melina Marchetta book we simply cannot live without. My favorite is Froi of the Exiles.
You can try, if you so wish, to convince me that Froi of the Exiles is not a real person. You can tell me that Finnikin, Perri, Phaedra or Lady Beatriss are all products of someone’s imagination – a brilliant someone perhaps, but just characters nevertheless. You can talk at me until you turn blue, you can offer any number of convincing arguments, you can even bring Melina Marchetta herself to tell me to my face that she made them all up (I doubt she would, though), and I still won’t believe you. Here’s a fact: I’ve never seen my best friend in the flesh, and nobody’s trying to convince me that she’s not real. So why wouldn’t Froi be? I just know that he’s somewhere right now, counting to ten before opening his mouth.
The protectiveness I feel towards him after reading “his” book is something I hadn’t anticipated. I went from despising him in Finnikin of the Rock, just tolerating him later on, to loving every little thing about him, the strengths and the many flaws. But I cannot count Froi among my fictional crushes. His story and his raw vulnerability appeal to my maternal instincts and nothing else. (Finnikin is another matter entirely, though, but if I could choose, I’d choose Trevanion.) And in this book, he finally met his match.
Where can I even begin with Quintana of Charyn? First of all, who the hell is she? I still don’t know. Isaboe was so easy to love, but Quintana is nothing like her. Where Isaboe is fierce, Quintana is avoidant. Where Isaboe is kind, Quintana is far more likely to bite your head off. But I’m grateful for the difference between them. With this, Marchetta showed that she is perfectly capable of creating not just easily acceptable heroines, worthy of admiration by anyone’s standards, but also unpolished and infinitely crazy girls you’d die for in a second.
I won’t lie to you, there were events in this book I was able to predict. But the way they were done, the way secrets were brought to light and my emotional reactions to them exceeded all my expectations. There were parts I had to reread three times in order to fully process them and move on. There were parts where I had to stop for a while and do something else because they were too painful. There were moments that made me laugh out loud and there were parts that left me with my mouth open in sheer and utter amazement. There was a bit of everything, except for a part that left me indifferent. That I have yet to find in one of Marchetta’s books.
Now this is where I should write something short and witty to conclude this outburst of admiration review, but I’m drawing a blank. If you live on planet Earth, you’ve probably heard it all anyway. So here’s a useful info instead: the lovely Chachic at Chachic’s Book Nook is celebrating Melina Marchetta throughout the week. There are and will be some pretty awesome guest posts, including a not-quite-awesome one by your two favorite nocturnal librarians.
4.5 stars There aren’t that many real Maja books out there, books that hit the very center of my soul, that make me dizzy with admiration and excitemen...more4.5 stars There aren’t that many real Maja books out there, books that hit the very center of my soul, that make me dizzy with admiration and excitement. And as it turns out, I love heavily atmospheric books. If you’d asked me yesterday, I would have vehemently denied it. Sure, some of my favorite books fit the description (The Scorpio Races, The Space Between), but I always thought of them as exceptions rather than a rule. What I realized with Night Beach is that the way these books make me feel is what I’m chasing the entire time, what I’m hoping for every time I open a new book. Night Beach made me want to cry and throw up and hug the book and laugh and rock back and forth and hide somewhere warm and safe, but most of all, it made me Feel! And nevermind that the strongest feeling it evoked was dread, it made everything sharper and more beautiful.
Slipping into Abbie’s skin was almost effortless, she is conscious of her every feeling, every color she sees, every breath she takes. Even when she dislikes herself, she understands what she’s doing and why she’s doing it. I kept wondering whether anyone can truly be that self-aware and aware of their surroundings. Most people just stumble through life with one eye closed, squinting through the other, but good authors, really good authors like Kirsty Eagar, stop to notice things and then make you notice them too. They provide insight you wouldn’t normally have. Peeking through my fingers, what I see is light. I take my hands away from my face, and stand up, and I can’t understand how it is that I’m aware of the rest of the world, but I’m not really in it. It’s like I’ve been tucked into a crease. Because although the southerly is still howling, and the ocean is snarled and messy, and further up the beach are my friends and the break and the wall, where I am is completely still, except for a circling cloud of luminous sand.
Night Beach is filled with symbolism. In one of the most powerful scenes, Abbie eats little pieces of paper she’s been collecting since she was a kid. They contain every hope she ever wrote down, and she opens the little box and swallows them one by one. There is so much emotion in that little scene. I choked up thinking about this girl burying all her hopes and dreams deep into herself, literally eating everything she’s ever wanted. Things like that make this book really unforgettable. Most of the time though, trying to understand it is like trying to interpret a dream you can barely remember. There are dozens of possible answers, but the right one is just beyond your reach.
Raw Blue was one of the first books that showed me how YA can have true literary value. Unbelievably enough, Night Beach took this a step further and made me forget I was reading YA, made me forget I was reading at all at times. Abbie’s shadows engulfed me, surrounded me completely, and made me want to run to the brightest, sunniest place I could find.
If you’re very attached to clean endings and logical solutions, this is most definitely not a book for you. I’m still not quite sure what it’s about, I have no idea what to make of it, but I know it shook me to the core, and that’s all that matters to me right now. This book was a birthday gift from Lisa and I was so happy when it came in the mail, but now that I’ve actually read it, I can honestly say it’s one of the best presents I’ve ever received.
My full name’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...moreMy full name’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.
After accidentally preventing a bank robber from escaping, Ed Kennedy receives his first playing card with three addresses written on it. He understands that he needs to deliver a message to each of these places, but the card offers no further instructions. Relying on his intuition alone, Ed starts touching people’s lives and trying to understand what he has to do. The messages vary from simple to horribly complex and painful, but they all have one thing in common: they need Ed to shake them up and save them from themselves.
I think the most wonderful thing about Zusak is the surprising humanity of his characters. Not only do they come alive for the reader, but they also take so many different roles in the process. Their simple acts of kindness often end up being impressive and life-changing. I’d noticed this about so many characters in The Book Thief and I feared it was a one-time deal, but Ed might be the best of them all. In complete contrast to the ending, Ed is one of the most real and tangible characters I’ve ever stumbled upon. The fact that he’s completely unaware of how extraordinary he is just adds to his charm. My only regret is that the same cannot be said about Audrey. I really needed her to be just as well developed, but she was the only one who didn’t feel real to me, and that’s the sole reason for my 4-star rating.
I Am the Messenger will make you happy in at least three ways: it will give you a truly authentic, approachable story that will go straight through your heart, it will make you examine the way you treat complete strangers and it will catch you completely off guard. I wish I could hold up that knife and tear open the world. I’d slice it open and climb through to the next one. In bed, I cling to that thought.
I suppose many people will not be comfortable with the ending. I thought it was unexpected, brilliant (like the man himself), mind-blowing (still picking up the pieces) and audacious. It didn’t take anything from the story, it didn’t diminish the importance of any of the characters, and it added an extra dose of memorability the book wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise.
Choosing a favorite quote this time was just like choosing a favorite child, but there was one I needed to share: What would you do if you were me? Tell me. Please tell me! But you’re far from this. Your fingers turn the strangeness of these pages that somehow connect my life to yours. Your eyes are safe. The story is just another few hundred pages of your mind. For me, it’s here. It’s now. I have to go through with this, considering the cost at every turn. Nothing will ever be the same.
4.5 stars When I first felt myself being pulled into this story, I glanced down and saw the number 156 written at the bottom of the page. 156 pages of...more4.5 stars When I first felt myself being pulled into this story, I glanced down and saw the number 156 written at the bottom of the page. 156 pages of barely understandable, agonizingly slow and almost painfully dense prose - that’s what it took for me to start enjoying Stormdancer. But here’s the thing: now that I fully understand this book, I understand the necessity of such a beginning. This is how the rain becomes a flood. One drop at a time.
There’s something mesmerizing and magical about a world well-built, and Kristoff’s is more detailed than most. As hard as it is to understand it at first, once you become a part of it, it is unlikely to ever let you go. It is a grim, filthy world, poisoned by blood lotus, a plant that kills the land it grows from and is used for everything from fuel to drugs. It is a world of stark contrasts – excessive wealth and excessive poverty, mythical creatures and technology. Not much in it can be described as beautiful, and yet, the beauty of it in its entirety is undeniable. It is reminiscent of the most intricate filigree work. Even if it doesn’t appeal to your personal taste, you must appreciate the skill that was necessary to create it.
And yet, in many ways, this stunning, complex world quickly becomes overshadowed by the characters. Each of them was created just like the world was – slowly, with much attention to details, in a million layers, some more important than others. Yukiko herself cannot be reduced to a one-sentence description, but what truly surprises me is that none of the characters can either. They are all so many things at once, their histories interconnected, their stories all somehow related. Hatred doesn’t sprout from nothing in Kristoff’s world. Everything has an explanation, everyone carries some trauma and hurt, and every single character has hidden motives.
Among them, the thunder tiger stands out as the most fascinating by far. I must confess I’d never given much thought to mythological creatures such as griffins, but seeing Buruu through Kristoff’s eyes made me realize how blind I’d been. He is truly a magnificent creature, powerful and fiercely intelligent, yet tender and caring toward Yukiko, his Stormdancer. The telepathic connection they share is one of the most interesting things I’ve ever read about. Spending time in each other’s minds changes them both ever so subtly. The arashitora’s understanding of the human world increases, and she becomes slightly more explosive in nature. They call each other brother and sister because that’s what they truly are, and that’s how protective they are of each other.
The hindquarters of a white tiger, rippling muscle bound tight beneath the snow-white fur, slashed with thick bands of ebony. The broad wings, forelegs and head of a white eagle, proud and fierce; lightning reflected in amber irises and pupils of darkest black. It roared again, shaking the ship, cutting through the air like a katana in a swordsaint’s hands.
All good things come at a price and with Stormdancer, that price is your patience. Understanding the initial chapters or even caring about the characters won’t be easy at first, but if you persist, you will be heavily rewarded.
3.5 stars I hate to admit it, but I actually enjoyed this. Armentrout is kind of funny when she's not busy copying other people's work. There'll be no r...more3.5 stars I hate to admit it, but I actually enjoyed this. Armentrout is kind of funny when she's not busy copying other people's work. There'll be no review, but it seems there's hope for us after all. *cue sappy love song* (less)