This is excellent as an audiobook. Full Cast Audio puts it on, and everyone has their own voice. I can't imagine reading all the songs, but listening...moreThis is excellent as an audiobook. Full Cast Audio puts it on, and everyone has their own voice. I can't imagine reading all the songs, but listening to them is perfect.(less)
This book is unlike anything I've ever read before. It's either a book that's going to grab you immediately and hold your attention throughout, as it...moreThis book is unlike anything I've ever read before. It's either a book that's going to grab you immediately and hold your attention throughout, as it did for me, or you're going to slog through it wondering what all the hype is about. It is not a fast read. It is a book you wander through, enjoying the atmosphere and the complexity.
And for this reason, it is surprising that I loved it. Usually I need a faster-paced book. But something about this book called to me.
Now full-disclosure, I read the first half of this book on a red-eye flights so I was ready for the circus of dreams atmosphere. But the book is like the circus. You wander through it discovering its mysteries, soaking up the dreamy atmosphere, learning pieces of its participants.
The book isn't just about the atmosphere. There are two plotlines that run through it too. The main one is the contest between Celia and Marco that's mentioned in the description. It is true that the competition isn't as intense as it seems from the description. The two collaborate at times, even before one of them knows who the other is. But I actually enjoyed that because it was the building of their relationship, not to mention a big "screw you" to their mentors. And it fit with the rest of the circus and the book.
The other plotline is that of a teen boy who enters the circus on a dare once, then goes back to find the girl he met there. This plotline is in a different time from the Celia/Marco plotline, and the two timelines get closer and closer as the book progresses until they finally intersect at the end.
In the end, all these great threads are pulled together like a great performance you didn't think the illusionist could possibly pull off until she does.
I definitely recommend The Night Circus, but I certainly understand if it doesn't pull you in. It's not going to be for everyone. I'm just glad it was for me.(less)
I read this book in it's early stages, and have been living on a "I love Gone Gone Gone" wavelength for so long that I was actually afraid that I woul...moreI read this book in it's early stages, and have been living on a "I love Gone Gone Gone" wavelength for so long that I was actually afraid that I wouldn't love this book as much as I did the first time. Actually I might love it more.
It's the way the voices are so different, the way the relationships feel so real, the way the themes are reflected, the way the animals are portrayed so realistically, the way Lio feels about cancer after having survived it, and so many more things.
What I love most about this book (besides Craig and Lio's relationship, I mean, because, obviously) is the numbers game the boys play and how it seems so logical at first, all the statistics that Lio is throwing at us and that 9/11 in New York *should* be considered more important than 9/11 at the Pentagon, which *should* be considered more important than the few deaths at the hands of a sniper. And then Hannah clues us in to what too many people already know, that what matters to each person is how connected they are to those deaths. One boy dying of cancer can be just as important as 3000 people dying when the towers fell, if you knew that boy.
While there were a couple of "should I come out?" moments (Lio and his dad), it was by no means a focus of the book, and that is refreshing in a book about two boys in love. But I like that it wasn't totally ignored because I think that even people who are totally out of the closet still wonder who actually knows sometimes.
There are just so many moments where Lio and Craig are interacting and thinking about each other that I adore. Seriously, anyone who likes reading about boy/boy relationships should read this book, hands down.
Without the sniper shootings, there would be no Gone, Gone, Gone. They are always in the background, at first peripherally. As there are more shootings, the people in the area become more aware of them, more frightened by them. It brings a sense of mortality to our boys, gives them a reason to be together and a reason to stay apart.
I highly recommend this to fans of: Hannah, boy-boy relationships, stories about animals, and stories about the aftermath of 9/11. And everyone else.(less)
There is so much beauty in the darkness of the Hobverse. Cat's use of language and world-building are simply amazing, and she wins the prize for compl...moreThere is so much beauty in the darkness of the Hobverse. Cat's use of language and world-building are simply amazing, and she wins the prize for complex relationships of all sorts. I was particularly impressed with the complexity of the relationship between Felicita and Jannick, right up to and including the end.
I was surprised multiple times during this book, including which characters were sacrificed. The end was perfect, and I had so many feelings about it, but I do not wish to spoil. I can't wait to read the next book in the series and see where Cat takes us.
Recommended for fans of: When the Sea is Rising Red, complex relationships, amazing world-building, beautiful language, unique magic systems, politics in a fantasy world, and non-sparkly vampires.(less)
What can I say about this book, except how brilliant it is? Obviously, I already knew I would love it, since I beta-read an old version of it. I can s...moreWhat can I say about this book, except how brilliant it is? Obviously, I already knew I would love it, since I beta-read an old version of it. I can see some of the differences (like a whole new character!), but one thing that didn't change was how well it was written and how poignant it is.
At its heart, Zombie Tag is not a book about zombies. Yes, there are zombies. Yes, there is a game called Zombie Tag. There are absolutely spatulas all over this book. But the book isn't about those things. This book is about brothers and growing up and death and grieving and living. The zombies and the spatulas and the game are just metaphors for those things (well, maybe not the spatulas).
Some of Hannah's published books were written when she was a teen, but when I read this book, I can hardly believe that she is not a 12-year-old boy, she has that voice down so well. It is impossible not to feel for Wil, even when he's being selfish or dumb. We want to see Graham come back, and we are heartbroken when he comes back wrong. And we can see so clearly the metaphor between the zombies and grown-ups from Wil's point of view. Had Graham lived, would Wil have found himself one day with a Graham he barely recognized? And would he one day grow up too and be the same way? Zombie Tag explores the themes of growing up just as well as it does the themes of loss and grieving.
A solid choice for any fans of Hannah, zombies, MG, brother stories, or games that involve spatulas.(less)
This is a very interesting book, completely original (which I'm sure nobody's going to believe once they read "vampire" in the description). Magical d...moreThis is a very interesting book, completely original (which I'm sure nobody's going to believe once they read "vampire" in the description). Magical drugs, a variety of magical creatures and abilities (some familiar, some unique, some both), and complicated relationships all wrapped up in a beautiful and mature storytelling package.
Recommended for fans of intricate world-building and unusual love triangles, and basically anybody who loves non-contemporary fantasy (and doesn't shy away from books with drugs or GLBT relationships).(less)
This may not be the best Dresden Files book, but it is the most fun, and it is the only one I've reread multiple times. It is the last Dresden Files b...moreThis may not be the best Dresden Files book, but it is the most fun, and it is the only one I've reread multiple times. It is the last Dresden Files book you would expect me to love, because the plot revolves around a porn movie, but from the first line in the book to the end, the book is just plain funny. And yet so many things happen in it that are important to the series and the characters.(less)
What happens when you cross Miss Congeniality with Lost and tell it in a style reminiscent of Good Omens? You get Beauty Queens.
I loved this book. I...moreWhat happens when you cross Miss Congeniality with Lost and tell it in a style reminiscent of Good Omens? You get Beauty Queens.
I loved this book. I will admit that I loved the first half a little more than the second half. Learning the truth about each contestant was a lot of fun So was seeing how resourceful the girls end up being with what little, seemingly useless, stuff they have. That's what the first half revolves around. The second half brought us romance, a little preaching about positive female and sex attitudes, and more action (an elaborate plot to kill them). By the time the second half rolls around, we've already seen these girls kick butt, so while it's fun to see if they can outwit the bad guys, it's not as surprising when their solutions succeed.
Overall the book is quite fun and I recommend it for just about anyone.(less)
I can't get enough of contemporary novels introducing the average teen to nerdy things. This time it's RenFest!
Sure, the novel starts in a stereotypic...moreI can't get enough of contemporary novels introducing the average teen to nerdy things. This time it's RenFest!
Sure, the novel starts in a stereotypical way: A girl is mourning her romance after her boyfriend is caught cheating (or appears to be caught cheating, though in this case it's true). So what does she do? She finds a new "thing" in her life, a way to hide from him and her feelings about the situation. In this book, the perfect place to hide comes in the form of a Renaissance Faire.
Of course, the usual love triangle arrives. Imagine my joy to learn that the love triangle was between two guys at the faire, though, instead of one at the faire and the return of the ex. So often in these cases, it turns out that the rumors about the ex were false and that what she thought she saw was wrong, or that the rumors were right and he either convinces her they weren't or he has some "reason" why it happened but it won't happen again. But, nope, the ex is out of the picture, although the recent break-up does complicate her attempts at Fairemance--that would be a no-strings-attached summer fling between faire workers.
Ro, our heroine, does struggle with more than just the romantic during the summer. I was surprised at the beginning that she wasn't invested in this art thing. So many YA main characters have that artsy thing that they're passionate about and wish they could go on with. Ro starts out thinking that art was this fun elective that she felt she was doing well at, and that might qualify her for this face-painting gig at the RenFest (Since the Renaissance faire in the book is based off Ohio Renaissance Festival, I'm going to keep calling it RenFest, hope you don't mind). Only through the reactions of those whose faces she paints does she find a true love for painting. Then the problem becomes her parents and their goals for their daughter, and then telling them what she wants to do with her life becomes a big source of conflict.
Will had my heart from the moment he showed up (chapter 2, I believe). So, when Ro starts pining after Christian simply because he's hot and plays a knight, I started rolling my eyes. But Christian did show her a lot of attention, and it was clear that he did want a Fairemance with her, so at least it wasn't a case of chasing the hot guy who doesn't notice her and ignoring the adorkable hottie who wants her. Will is pretty much an A-plus in my book, though. A guy who's nice and considerate around her, who she can carry a conversation with, who knows what he wants to major in in college and is passionate about it (physics, btw), who is funny, and who is strong enough to do whip tricks? All Christian has going for him is that he's hot.
The book is full of setting, obviously: a remote fairgrounds where the employees work and live. You had jousts, and sword-crafting, and wood-carved trolls, and a king, and the mud show, and troubadours, and lots of turkey legs. I could have used a few more details that I'm used to seeing at RenFest--girls with raccoon tails, belly-dancers, tavern songs at the tavern, fairy wings, and so on. Where were the customers in costume? And this is a probably a readability thing, but except for Will, the employees rarely played their part during faire hours. I wanted to see Ro's struggle with playing the Renaissance maiden, but all she had to deal with were clothes and turning off her cell phone.
Anyway, overall a light-hearted, fun read, especially for a nerd like me :)
Recommended for fans of: Renaissance festivals, love triangles, contemp YA, face-painting, jousting and/or whip tricks, adorkable love interests, coming-of-age in an artsy way, and wood-carved trolls.(less)
Oh, man, I don't know how to review this one, but I feel like I should because I enjoyed it so much throughout.
First of all, the world and characters...moreOh, man, I don't know how to review this one, but I feel like I should because I enjoyed it so much throughout.
First of all, the world and characters were just so well-developed. And I know, you're thinking, "but they're the world and characters from Peter Pan," but they are and they aren't. Just starting off with the world-building within Tiger Liiy's tribe was beautiful. I fell in love with the characters within her tribe, Tik Tok, Pine Sap, Moon Eye, and of course Tiger Lily herself. The pirates (well, Hook and Smee) are always well-developed, though I think the Lost Boys might have been a little less so.
For those who are Pan purists, you probably won't like the romance. While I took it thoroughly as Peter "playing house" with Tiger Lily ("and you'll be my wife"), he does kiss her, and we're not talking thimbles here. I did feel like he could be a little more heartless, and yet so many of his actions come across as heartless anyway, and Tink (who is the narrator and can read emotions and thoughts from time to time) explains how he could simultaneously want to be with Tiger Lily and yet be heartless enough to act the way he does around her near the end.
Everything's a little off from the Neverland you know, but for me this was a good thing. Some fantasy things are explained away (the boys don't fly, Hook didn't lose his hand to a crocodile), and yet there is still enough fantasy to make it magical (at a certain point, people stop aging, there are mermaids and fairies). And yet, here comes a little bit of tragic history as well. One of the most surprising things for me was when the Englander that Tiger Lily saves in the beginning--something you feel like cheering for at first, thinking this is a triumph on her part--begins a depressing reality for the tribe. He teaches them Christianity and how to be "civilized." One of the most heart-breaking parts is when he convinces the tribe that Tik Tok, Tiger Lily's dress-wearing male guardian and shaman of the tribe, should be wearing trousers.
There's a lot of heartbreak in the novel, and for a world where people stop aging, there's a whole lot of growing up, but the hopeful note at the end of the novel was exactly where I hoped it would end for Tiger Lily, and the combination was perfect for me.
Recommended for fans of: retellings, Tiger Lily, Tinkerbell, Peter Pan (but not purists), fantasy tribes, pirates, excellent world-building and characterization, stories that break your heart with a little bit of hope at the end, cross-dressing characters who are (at least for a while) comfortable in their own skin, crocodiles and clocks.(less)