This is a fantastic treatment of Cinderella that has drawn a lot of comparisons to the work of Gail Carson Levine. Bella's mother dies during her birt...moreThis is a fantastic treatment of Cinderella that has drawn a lot of comparisons to the work of Gail Carson Levine. Bella's mother dies during her birth and the infant is sent away to be raised by peasants. Her best friend is a prince, a lowly 4th son. The class differences lead to an awful snub, and then Prince Julian is sent away as a hostage for peace. Bella is called back by her father and, for the first time, learns her peasant family is not her family. And here we get some evil steps.
The great thing about this story is that Bella has some real agency and there isn't any magic. I'll tell you now that the fairy godmother does not make an appearance in this book-- Bella does what has to be done for herself. It's lovely, really.
Wonderland has just survived a bloody civil war and an uneasy peace reigns, but on Alyss Heart's seventh birthday, her Aunt Redd storms the palace wit...moreWonderland has just survived a bloody civil war and an uneasy peace reigns, but on Alyss Heart's seventh birthday, her Aunt Redd storms the palace with a rebel army. Alyss's parents are killed before her eyes and the young princess flees through a lake to Victorian London where her stories of Wonderland brand her as odd. Eventually, Alice (her new family forces her to change the spelling of her name) thinks she finds a friend who believes her stories. But when Lewis Carroll publishes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the details are all wrong. Alice knows she has been betrayed. Will she give up on Wonderland altogether? And what about the ragtag band of rebels, who call themselves Alyssians, who are fighting Redd's horror-filled regime?
Bador's action-packed adventure takes readers from Wonderland to England and back again, and shows us a different side of well-loved characters and places. An interesting (and bloody) twist on a classic story, this is the first in a trilogy-- I'm looking forward to the next ones.
It's also a great "boy book." Who would have thought to turn Alice into a bloody book about war and revenge?
Beryl/Natalie is a teenager in Toronto during the World War II. It's mostly written in diary form, but with a few-stand alone scenes scattered through...moreBeryl/Natalie is a teenager in Toronto during the World War II. It's mostly written in diary form, but with a few-stand alone scenes scattered throughout--mostly towards the end of the book. The story deals with the feelings of always been left behind as she sees one more friend, relative, or neighbor off at the train station nearly every night--some of whom she will never see again. She drops out of school to work in an airplane factory and tries to go on with life, despite rations, black-outs, and no boys left to date.
Beryl (who hates her name and is trying to change it to Natalie, if only her friends and family would remember to call her as such) is a real voice dealing with the frustrations of always being left behind, of British girls snatching away the Canadian boys when they're stationed overseas, and in being laid off and having to go back to school when the war is over and the most of the boys come home. Her voice is very straight forward and matter-of-fact:
Dad had resurrected the Quebec heater from the garage and set it up in the kitchen so we would use less coal in the furnace. Coal was scarce these days because it was needed in factories like The Steel Company of Canada. Dad said the munitions factories practically ate it up by the ton.
I prefer more evocative prose and this language left me a little 'meh' on both the story and the character, but that's just me. I think it's still a good book about life on the home front and the hardships and heartbreaks the girls left behind had to endure.
Nana Wong has disappeared! All she left was a hastily scrawled note that doesn’t sound like Nana at all! Agatha is convinced she’s been kidnapped. If...moreNana Wong has disappeared! All she left was a hastily scrawled note that doesn’t sound like Nana at all! Agatha is convinced she’s been kidnapped. If that weren’t bad enough, now she has to stay with her Uncle Boonie, who doesn’t even have a couch for her to sleep on and makes her go to bed at 7pm! If she has to go to bed so early, how will she and Orville ever find Nana? Not to mention that they’ve been given a new case of proving Stu innocent of breaking one of his mother’s collectible plates. As they investigate, it looks like the two crimes might be related to each other and to a string of recent vandalisms. Will they find Nana in time? Will they ever get out of detention? Will Agatha have to sleep in Boonie’s old sleeping bag forever?
It’s the big football game against Lake Placid and the cool kids have a great idea for a prank. Even better, they need Agatha and Orville’s help. Well...moreIt’s the big football game against Lake Placid and the cool kids have a great idea for a prank. Even better, they need Agatha and Orville’s help. Well, they need Orville’s amazing skills with science and mechanics to make a fire-breathing lake monster. They have it all figured out, but when the big time comes, the field house explodes and the football field catches on fire! Everyone blames Orville for miscalculating the distance of the fire. Worse, everyone blames Orville and Agatha for the fact that everyone on the prank committee has a month of detention and all sports have been cancelled–not just for the season, but forever! Agatha was so excited to be accepted by the cool kids, and now she and Orville are social outcasts. Plus, Lake Placid is the rich town, Bottomless Lake is relativly poor. They've always been nasty rivals, and this has just made things worse. Agatha and Orville know it wasn’t the prank that caused the fire–Orville’s calculations are never, ever wrong. The timing was just a coincidence–or someone is framing them! Can Agatha and Orville figure out who really set the fire? Will anyone ever speak with them again?(less)
Lady Sarah has run off and eloped with a sea captain! But when Lady Grace looks at the letter Sarah left behind, she knows it isn’t in Sarah’s handwri...moreLady Sarah has run off and eloped with a sea captain! But when Lady Grace looks at the letter Sarah left behind, she knows it isn’t in Sarah’s handwriting. Maybe she really didn’t run away. Maybe she was kidnaped. Maybe she was kidnaped by pirates! In order to rescue her, Grace cuts off all her hair and dresses like a boy to explore Francis Drake’s ship with Massou. But then, the boat launches and Grace and Massou are trapped at sea and their ship is going into battle! Will Grace ever get back to England? Will she have to fight in a battle? Will she ever find Sarah? Was Sarah really kidnaped by pirates? And what will the Queen say when she finds out?
An excellent look at the Queen's navy and Elizabethan warfare and piracy!(less)
Much to Lady Grace’s displeasure, the queen is making her chose a husband to marry when she turns 16. Sir Charles is nice, but old enough to be her fa...moreMuch to Lady Grace’s displeasure, the queen is making her chose a husband to marry when she turns 16. Sir Charles is nice, but old enough to be her father. Sir Gerald is mean and stuck up. Sir Robert is quite handsome, but poor and doesn’t talk much. Which one should she choose? But after she makes her choice, one of her suitors is found murdered and another is accused of the crime. Who really killed the man and why? Can Grace, Ellie, and Massou figure it out?(less)
In this sequel to Chasing Vermeer, Balliet turns from Vermeer to Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect who designed a famous house in Hyde Park, right by...moreIn this sequel to Chasing Vermeer, Balliet turns from Vermeer to Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect who designed a famous house in Hyde Park, right by Petra, Calder, and Tommy’s school. But the Robie House is old and falling apart and the university wants to tear it down to send different sections to different museums. Ms. Hussey’s class is on the case! Can a building be art? Can a piece of art survive if you take it apart? Can the kids save the house? Why does Petra keep finding copies of The Invisible Man? Is the jade fish that Tommy found Frank Lloyd Wrights lost talisman? What are those voices Calder hears from the house and who are those strange men breaking in? More importantly, will Tommy and Petra ever be friends or will Calder have to choose? With more secret codes and clues hidden in the illustrations, Balliet tops her previos work-- The Wright 3 has even more suspense and coincidences and patterns than Chasing Vermeer! (less)
What does it mean that Calder finds an old box with a painting by Vermeer and then finds the painting again hanging in a house? What does it mean that...moreWhat does it mean that Calder finds an old box with a painting by Vermeer and then finds the painting again hanging in a house? What does it mean that Petra dreams about a woman and then finds out that woman is in a valuable Vermeer painting that gets stolen? Petra and Calder are surrounded by weird coincidences and odd patterns. Why was this painting stolen? Who stole it? Is the theft linked to Ms. Hussey’s homework assignment about life-changing letters? Can Petra and Calder find the painting?
This is an tremendously well-done book. Balliet really brings Chicago's Hyde Park alive and I'm planning to spend tomorrow at the National Gallery of Art so I can see Vermeer's "A Lady Writing"! This is wonderfully illustrated by Brett Helquist (who is probably best known in kidlit circles for doing the Lemony Snickett books) and clues are hidden in his illustrations-- a whole new puzzle to figure out! This book is full of puzzles, patterns, messages that need decoding and coincidences and will have greater questions how what makes an art expert and who can own art...(less)
In this conterversial book, Gin is planning a Rainbow Party-- where a group of girls each put on a different color of lipstick and give blowjobs to a...moreIn this conterversial book, Gin is planning a Rainbow Party-- where a group of girls each put on a different color of lipstick and give blowjobs to a group of guys-- leaving behind a rainbow. (Although one character does point out that the lipstick would just get all smeared together and make a mess of brown, but that's neither here nor there.) The book follows the characters through about five hours of time on the afternoon and evening of the party-- Gin who's preparing and the classmates who are contemplating going.
Although the book tries to deal with the sexual politics involved in such a situation, double standards, and teen motivation for sexual practice, it remains a relatively light book. Not funny, but it doesn't get very deep. Despite the subject matter, it is not sexualy provacative or explicit and is fairly tame. Still, it was a fairly enjoyable read and teen sex and relationships and one more example of why people getting all up in arms about books they haven't read are just stupid.(less)
Liz is more than confused when she wakes up one morning to find herself on a cruise ship with a girl she’s never met before in the top bunk. But then...moreLiz is more than confused when she wakes up one morning to find herself on a cruise ship with a girl she’s never met before in the top bunk. But then she starts to remember being hit by a car as she rode her bike to the mall and eventually is brought up to the observation deck to watch her own funeral.
The boat eventually lands in Elsewhere, where dead people get a day younger every day until they are taken down the river back to Earth to be reborn. In Elsewhere, Liz meets up with the grandmother she never knew and struggles with the fact that she won’t be turning 16, getting her driver’s license, or going to college. Instead, she’ll turn 14, then 13 and then 12. Again. Liz nearly drives herself crazy watching her family’s grief.
But she eventually finds her avocation counseling dogs who have just arrived to Elsewhere and starts to make friends. But death it seems, is just as complicated as life. What’s the protocol for when your boyfriend’s wife dies and is suddenly in the picture? What do you do when a bottle washes up on the shore inviting you to your best friend’s wedding? Is there a way to go back? Does she want to go back?
Beautifully written and an ingenous look at the after life, Zevin manages to address the subject at hand in a serious manner without getting too heavy or melodramatic, but also not getting too light and fluffy. Very well done.(less)
School’s about to let out for the summer and Sammie’s life has just been turned upside down. Her dad just walked out on her mom and moved to Californi...moreSchool’s about to let out for the summer and Sammie’s life has just been turned upside down. Her dad just walked out on her mom and moved to California. Sammie’s mom decides to move to New York City. Sammie would rather go with her dad, but finds herself packed into a one bedroom apartment in the city with her dog and a mother that won’t get out of bed. In addition to dealing with her missing father and leaving her friends and life behind, Sammie is finds herself having to take care of things she feels her mother should be in charge of–like making sure there’s food in the apartment.
Her mom doesn’t have a job and keeps flaking out on her interviews. The closest thing Sammie has to a friend is Phoebe who she sees every morning at the dog park, and Becca, the eight year daughter of her mother’s college room mate, whom Sammie watches on Tuesday afternoons. Then there’s Eli, Becca’s older brother, summer draws to and end, Sammie realizes that she’s not as lonely as she was when the summer began, and maybe things will be alright.
According to the cat, the beasts of Wild Island have a baby dragon tied up and make him give them rides across the bay. He’s forced to ferry them all...moreAccording to the cat, the beasts of Wild Island have a baby dragon tied up and make him give them rides across the bay. He’s forced to ferry them all day and all night and if he doesn’t, they twist his wings! He doesn’t have any friends, except maybe the alligators, who say "hello" to him maybe once a week if he’s lucky.
After hearing this, the author’s father, Elmer Elevator decides to be a sneak onto a boat bound for the port of Cranberry, on the Island of Tangerina, where he could then walk across the rocks to Wild Island and rescue the baby dragon.
But the animals of Wild Island know there’s a stranger there and they don’t like it one bit. Everyone knows that people who go to Wild Island are never seen again. Elmer Elevator has seen the cat, so he knows this isn’t entirely true, but he must use all of his wit and cunning if he’s going to keep the animals off his trail and to save the dragon!
I would have really loved this book when I was 8. But I'm no longer that young, and as an adult, it held little appeal for me. It was too nonsensical and simplistic. There was no character development or subplot or anything... like I said, great when I was 8. Not so much now.(less)
Jessica Darling is anything but darling–so much so that her father calls her Notso. Jessica Notso Darling. She hates her friends, except for Hope, who...moreJessica Darling is anything but darling–so much so that her father calls her Notso. Jessica Notso Darling. She hates her friends, except for Hope, who just moved from New Jersey to Tennessee. But she’s halfway through her sophomore year of high school without anyone to talk to except the Clueless Crew and maybe the new girl, Hy.
She hates her family–her sister and mother are completely wrapped up in Bethany’s upcoming wedding and expect Jessica to be as well. They don’t understand why she wouldn’t want to take Scott as her date, he’s so cute! Never mind that they shared an awful first kiss two years ago and Scott is still pining after her and she just doesn’t like him that way. Jessica’s father is obsessed with her running career, follows her on his bike when she runs and makes video montages of all the races she’s lost so they can analyze what she did wrong. He takes it as a personal insult when she breaks her leg one night and is out for the rest of the season.
And then there’s Marcus, the class junkie, who keeps showing up wherever Jessica is and knows way too much about her. Marcus, whom she can’t tell Hope about, knowing Hope would disapprove. Marcus, who got her to pee in a cup to fake a drug test. Marcus, who shouldn’t effect her they way he does. Marcus, who might be the best thing since Hope left...
Biting, funny and well written, this is not standard chick-lit fare. Jessica’s journal entries and monthly letters to Hope tell a story that rings true and entertains without being sappy or melodramatic. I also liked this book because it gets lumped in the YA chick-lit section but really isn't... I know my library actually originally cataloged it as an adult title, and it really is. This is a great book for teens who read the teen lit stuff and want to bridge to more serious stuff (and contains lots of good vocab words). This is also a great book for adults... now I'm just babbling. It's been a long night.