In a terrifying way this TRULY the most realistic portrayal of 9th grader emotions I've ever read. I might argue this should be considered YA, and bri...moreIn a terrifying way this TRULY the most realistic portrayal of 9th grader emotions I've ever read. I might argue this should be considered YA, and brilliant YA at that, but considering the amount of folks who are determined to keep this book, and the movie it derived from, banned, I might want to keep my mouth a bit more shut.
A surefire way to get me to pay attention to something is to tell me how often it's banned. That was the original reason I sought out the film (and an all-region DVD player aka the best purchase I ever made, since this and many other amazing movies are not available in the US market). The film was both extremely violent and utterly charming. I hated it at first, watched most with my eyes half covered, but as I got to know the characters it was so much more about their emotions than the game they were stuck in...40+ students stuck on an island forced to play a "game" of war where one student would survive.
Back to what makes YA YA. Nowadays you can get away with almost anything sex related in YA. Sure you'll still wind up on the banned list, but that's practically an honor. Violence, however, especially violence of this magnitude, is still utterly taboo. (Though I may argue the real reason for the international banning is more related to the strong anti-government themes.) They claim the violence would give kids "ideas" and they would go attacking their peers, but the thing about this book in particular was it was beautiful...the pages which dealt with characters deaths were eloquent and stunning. Glimpses into final thoughts and pages of memories before the final black-out. All the while remaining utterly teen, most of the motives behind all of the characters were crush related, a literal amplification the "if he doesn't love me I'll die." This book made me remember exactly what it felt like to be a 9th grader "in love" and how over-the-top my emotions and reactions to everything were.
There's one memorable scene where one boy has been refusing to fight, but searching endlessly for one particular girl the entire game. You assume they are in love and he's trying to save her, but when they finally meet up you find out not only aren't they a couple, but he's barely ever said one sentence to the girl. She assumes he's there to kill her, and reacts accordingly, having no idea what he went through to "save her." As he dies he tells her he loves her, only to have her say something along the lines of "wait, what! you jerk! You've never even spoken to me!"
Now if you are a fan of the movie, keep in mind the book differs immensely. They didn't try as hard to put in humorous moments between the warring and there is no such thing as compassion from any of the adults represented, BUT characters who only got 10 seconds of screen time get huge chapters here. No one feels slighted and the details only add to the story more.
Definitely one of the most gripping things I've read this year....and while I might argue the YA card, even I didn't feel it right to put this on my YA-fiction shelf.
(originally read March 27, 2008. Re-read: May 15, 2013) (less)
Anyone who knows me knows if you want to watch me get upset or start singing very loudly all you have to do is begin to tell me the ending to a book I...moreAnyone who knows me knows if you want to watch me get upset or start singing very loudly all you have to do is begin to tell me the ending to a book I have yet to read. Of course I always make exceptions with books I'm CONVINCED I'll never pick up, Graceling being one of them. Now it's a pretty cover...but so screams towards its intended fantasy-loving audience, an ultra fancy cover clearly also yelling towards me "Hey Colleen, you don't like fantasy books! This is a Book You'll Hate!" was much more powerful than what felt like 100's of friends telling me I had to read it. So when a friend was about to ruin the ending and told me to cover my ears, I proudly kept them uncovered saying "oh I'll never read that". Lordie! First time an ending of a book really made me HAVE to read it. I won't give anything away but let's just say Katsa is as far away from typical girl as can be. Was sucked into the truly original world from line one. That's always been my problem with most fantasy...it's just the same elements used over and over again without too many innovations. This felt new, and I loved it.
Sure there were some flaws in the story, a little Lord of the Rings syndrome aka an unevenness in pace especially when it came to the climax points of the story which rush by...though there are looong chapters on walking ten feet and then a single paragraph for a HUGE fight scene. But lordie, talk about some amazing characters! Even random strangers you meet in an inn for a few seconds are fully formed in Cashore's mind. Seriously loved this read. Been having a debate with a few friends over whether it's a YA or adult book and I swear up and down it's YA all the way...though that may also just be part of my belief that the only difference between YA and adult books is better editing! Such a great first novel! Can't wait to read what she does next...no matter how many swords wind up on the cover!(less)
A book hasn't hit me this hard in the gut in a while. I expected funny. I expected to love it, but I really didn't expect to wind up crying by the fir...moreA book hasn't hit me this hard in the gut in a while. I expected funny. I expected to love it, but I really didn't expect to wind up crying by the first 15 pages. Little tiny things would get me. Single sentences had the power to change the tone of an entire page. Sentences that seems to slip through the subconscious, sneak into a cover letter, and turn it into a diary. The voyeur in me loved it. The obsessive nostalgia and regret mixed with hints into the present where nothing is going quite right. It felt like a diary or reading a pile of love letters...or perhaps break-up letters is more appropriate. Almost felt dirty for getting into the narrators brain so much and the idea of these letters, so open, obsessive and painful, being sent to HR drones at various soul-less companies completely warms my heart. Oh and I should note, it did make me laugh a lot still. Tears came from both ends of the spectrum. Can't wait to read his other books now.
Totally not as terrifying as when I was a little kid, but I think that's because I remembered the ending. It cracked me up with all the updated things...moreTotally not as terrifying as when I was a little kid, but I think that's because I remembered the ending. It cracked me up with all the updated things though! It was written in 1976 but now there is talk of email and throughly explaining what a darkroom was and why her mother didn't believe in photoshop...probably because it wasn't invented yet. Still gobbled this up. Kids don't know what they are missing growing up without Lois Duncan. I hope these re-releases wind up in some good hands and help jump start the horror/suspense genre again.
PRE-READ REVIEW: I am so in love with these redesigned covers of some of my favorite scary books from childhood (even if the books themselves will still give me nightmares.)(less)
I will never get sick of rereading Babymouse. My fav is still the one where she wants to get a pet...but I'm biased :) I hope the narration box gets h...moreI will never get sick of rereading Babymouse. My fav is still the one where she wants to get a pet...but I'm biased :) I hope the narration box gets his/her own spin-off series one day. (less)
I can't express how much I adored this book! Read it twice, back to back. The first time through I couldn't decide between devouring it in one sitting...moreI can't express how much I adored this book! Read it twice, back to back. The first time through I couldn't decide between devouring it in one sitting, or trying to make it last longer because I was loving it that much! Truly the best thing I've read in a very long time. This. Series. Is. Going. To. Be. HUGE.(less)
Made the mistake of starting this on the train ride home just now. Now it's 2am and HOLY MOLY DOES THIS BOOK HOLD UP! Was my favorite book in 5th grad...moreMade the mistake of starting this on the train ride home just now. Now it's 2am and HOLY MOLY DOES THIS BOOK HOLD UP! Was my favorite book in 5th grade and read it a ton of times then. I even know who the killer is and I'm still at the edge of my seat (or maybe more appropriately edge of my bed, under the covers with a booklight) Lordie. Someone pry this out of my hands and make me sleep!(less)
True stories of the sex lives of cartoonists, ranging from hysterical failed attempted at phone sex to depressing one sided tales of love and pretty m...moreTrue stories of the sex lives of cartoonists, ranging from hysterical failed attempted at phone sex to depressing one sided tales of love and pretty much everything in between. Sweet, funny, disturbing, and a new take on a traditional comics genre. Not as strong a volume overall as the first Volume (which is basically IMPOSSIBLE to get anywhere) but this one has some of my personal favorite tales and artists the first book was missing. Volume 3? Anyone? Anyone? (less)
I finished this with my mind screaming FIVE STARS, but the more I thought about it I was completely haunted by the fact her siblings just floated arou...moreI finished this with my mind screaming FIVE STARS, but the more I thought about it I was completely haunted by the fact her siblings just floated around the story, ghosts with no personalities. I know the focus was on her relationship with her parents and coming out in general, but I find it pretty hard to believe her siblings were almost completely out of the drama. It's also a bad sign I keep writing "siblings" because I can't for the life of me now remember if it was two brothers or a brother and a sister...considering I just read the book about two minutes ago that's not a great sign! Still an intense and important book, specially for those folks and siblings of folks (ahem) who dealt with difficult coming-out stories. (less)
I re-read this to prepare for my moderator job at the SPLAT: Graphic Novel Symposium. This book is filled with great interviews and overviews of some...moreI re-read this to prepare for my moderator job at the SPLAT: Graphic Novel Symposium. This book is filled with great interviews and overviews of some of the best webcomics out there, including three of my all-time favorites CAT AND GIRL, PIXEL, and PERRY BIBLE FELLOWSHIP. The interview with Chris Dlugosz is particularly funny and intriguing as he explains his beliefs in creative purism (aka his desire to make sure he never makes a cent off of his comic) and his strong beliefs on use of color...which goes on for about six paragraphs until he realizes half-way through the sixth that the book is being printed in black and white.
The thing that makes this book stand out isn't only that it's one of the few SERIOUS texts out there about comics on the web, but it's Ted Rall's interview style which feels more like intimate conversations than standard questionnaires. Also fantastic is the fact the book is filled with black-mail level pictures of the creators as kids, often showcasing their 80's computers and game systems behind large pairs of glasses.
Every morning before I put on pants and often while I put on pants I read webcomics. I think there are about 40 i follow on a fairly regular basis, which, considering there are probably 100,000 out there doesn't make a huge dent in the creative pool. Webcomics have become my morning savior, and I'm pretty darn sure I don't want to find out how to handle mornings without them. It's like the newspaper, if the newspaper actually had good comics...um...and no news.
Completely backwards of most hardcore comic fans (as I've become), before I ever read a comic book, before I ever picked up a graphic novel, I fell in love with webcomics. The amount of creative freedom, sense of community, and great work being done turns me into a giddy little kid every time I think about it. While I grew to love graphic novels, my heart will always belong to the DIY'ers on the web. (less)
Just read this last year and already felt the urge to re-read. This book has haunted me. I adore the fact I could never decide whether I wanted to roo...moreJust read this last year and already felt the urge to re-read. This book has haunted me. I adore the fact I could never decide whether I wanted to root for the main character or not. Am now sucked in entirely in the whole series. Only Manga that's ever sucked me in. I may have to rethink my opinion on the entire genre!(less)