One thing that amazes me is how differently everyone rates Jodi Picoult's novels. I don't think they're perfect and I only read one every once ina whi...moreOne thing that amazes me is how differently everyone rates Jodi Picoult's novels. I don't think they're perfect and I only read one every once ina while because I feel like otherwise, they would get repetitive.
**POTENTIAL SPOILERS** The first time I read Picoult, I felt like I was reading something which I ahd read before. Something about her writing style feels a bit cliched and unoriginal to me. However, I did like the formation of the narration in this novel. As I delved further into the book, I felt that it read quickly and raised a lot of interesting questions to be contemplated. Some people complain about how the youngest child (whose name escapes me) was born to donate organs to her older sister and how that is highly unethical, but I think part of Picoult's point is to make her reader sit down and question whether he or she thinks that this is right or wrong. I believe that if you a writer and you have made your reader sit down and do this that it is a very positive thing. But when I got to the ending of the book, I felt cheated. I thought that it was a cop out to prevent Picoult from taking a stance as an author. **END POTENTIAL SPOILERS**
Otherwise I actually, despite the writing, quite enjoyed reading it, but once I got to that end I just found myself irritated with Picoult.(less)
It has definitely been a while since I read Speak, but I I wanted to share my thoughts on it with you in the spirit of Speak Loudly. I have a hard tim...moreIt has definitely been a while since I read Speak, but I I wanted to share my thoughts on it with you in the spirit of Speak Loudly. I have a hard time imagining anyone who’s been to high school reading this book and make it through the entire thing without thinking, even if only for a split second, that he or she could relate to Melinda’s story in some way. Anderson tackles many tough subjects, and does so with eloquence.
Melinda is not an easy character to read about. I definitely got frustrated with her at times, and wanted to tell her to stand up for herself. However, she definitely had her moments of wit and humor, which I enjoyed but also added a few lighter moments to an otherwise very tough book. I particularly enjoyed listening to her talk about all of her peers.
Yet like I said earlier, one of my favorite parts of this book is the themes, because so many people, kids and adults, feel the pressure to do what it takes to fit in. This isn’t a theme that’s relevant only when I read the book, or only to teens who are reading it now. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t see concerns about fitting in and standing up for yourself disappearing from life for quite some time.
Speak is a fantastic novel about dealing with trauma in the context of a high school life. Laurie Halse Anderson does so beautifully and honestly, which is why I’m fighting to keep this book on the shelves. I’ll be ensuring that my local library has a copy, and ask my local independent book store to regularly stock it.(less)
After all of the hype about this book, I wanted to read it to find out what exactly everyone was so enthusiastic about. It's not meant to be a great w...moreAfter all of the hype about this book, I wanted to read it to find out what exactly everyone was so enthusiastic about. It's not meant to be a great work of literature, and I would like to note that in this review, I'm not trying to compare Twilight to the classics or any other book. As I read this book, I enjoyed the story enough, but am giving it a rather low rating because I didn't particularly enjoy the writing or the narration. However, I'm really curious to find out what will happen, and I've also heard that New Moon is better, so I do intend to continue reading the series.
Temptation and the idea of being different are both very important concept in this novel, and Meyer talks a lot about these in the context of the high school in Forks. I have to say that at times, I felt like Meyer shared every minute detail of the high school drama (who likes who, etc.), and grew a bit tired of that at times. I also didn't really like the fact that the story didn't really pick up until the last 100 pages. However, I did really like how she wrote about ideas of how vampires were formed and the American Indian legends surrounding vampires.
Another thing that bothered me about the plot is that Bella kept saying how in love she was with Edward. However, she only seemed to talk about how gorgeous and perfect he was. My personal opinion is that one tends to fall in love with someone based on more than looks and with the knowledge that the other person isn't perfect. There were also moments where Edward was kind of controlling of Bella and he wouldn't explain why at first, and at the time I had kind of a hard time relating to this because as I read, I was thinking, "Uh, at this point, I would be really wary and not overly trusting of this guy!" I'll be interested to see how Edward and Bella's relationship and views of each other transform throughout the rest of the series.
I also thought that Bella was kind of a whiny and over the top narrator. There was a lot of angst, and although everyone goes through that phase (I know I did), it did start to get old after a couple hundred pages. I also felt that sometimes the way Bella expressed herself was a little over the top. When I think about it more, I feel that because I disliked Bella and her voice as a narrator, I thought to myself, "I might enjoy Meyer's writing style more if it was told through a different character/narration."
On one last side note, in the end of this edition there are some discussion questions, one of them revolves around the fact that this is supposedly based off of Pride and Prejudice. Although I can see that they are both romantic comedies, I felt that in each work the characters wound up where they were at the end for very different reasons.
I hate to say it, but I am a little addicted, being drawn into the storyline :) I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the next book!(less)
After reading a couple of raving five star reviews of this over the summer, I knew I wanted to check it out for myself. Once I finished some major sch...moreAfter reading a couple of raving five star reviews of this over the summer, I knew I wanted to check it out for myself. Once I finished some major schoolwork I decided to buy this and sit down and read it, since the final book of the trilogy comes out in August. If you haven't heard of The Hunger Games or heard it raved about but generally consider yourself up-to-date on news regarding books, then I'm sorry, but I don't know what rock you have been living under and you should really go track it down at your preferred bookstore or library. Seriously, don't even bother finishing my review, just go. I don't consider myself a huge fan of dystopian literature, but for me, this book had it all. This is one of my favorite reads of 2010 thus far.
The premise of this story is definitely disturbing, and one which had me intrigued right away. I didn't realize how sucked into the story I would get. As the the book went on it became harder and harder to tear myself away. Collins knows to write and develop plot, leaving the reader wanting more at the end of every chapter. Furthermore, her prose is tight and concise yet still descriptive, and definitely something by which I was very impressed. I'm really glad I have Catching Fire right on hand, because I want to find out what happens ASAP.
I loved Collins's character development. I was intrigued and wanted to know more about each character, but was still left constantly wondering who I should and shouldn't trust. She definitely had me choking up over some characters while feeling much less sympathetic towards others. I will admit that at first I wondered how realistic Katniss really was, because she seemed so adept at hunting and defending herself in the arena. However, when I really thought about it, it made sense. What other choice has she had all her life to become a skilled hunter? I liked that Katniss was humbled and expressed some awareness of her strengths and weaknesses in comparison to the other tributes. Her emotions felt real and honest to me, especially as I can't imagine having to be in her position and make some of the choices she does. Of course, in talking about characters, I can't neglect to mention Peeta and the love triangle. The romance had me bursting out laughing at points and going "Awww!" in others. It took me until near the end of the novel to trust Peeta, and I wonder how he will transform and grow in the coming books. I also noticed that Collins characterized Gale largely through Katniss's opinions of him, and I look forward to seeing more of him. I have to say that while maybe I should be better at this by now, but I'm honestly not sure who Katniss will ultimately choose, and I look forward to finding out.
The dystopian elements of this novel absolutely blew me away. Not only did I find it very original, but I also thought it was woven excellently into the story. That may sound kind of irrelevant coming from someone who hasn't read much dystopian, but I think for me the mixture of brutality and emotion is what did it. I think Collins drew some interesting comparisons to our own society and that these are excellent concepts to have readers contemplating. The back of my book jacket mentions that this is a book which "explore[s:] the effects of war and violence on those coming of age" and I think that this is a timeless concept to contemplate. I've thought about sharing a quote here, but ultimately, I want you to read it for yourself.
I did not expect to love this book as much as I did, or to have such a hard time putting it down, yet both of these things happened. If you haven't already, be sure to read it, but be sure to clear your schedule in advance. I don't think you'll be sorry.(less)
**spoiler alert** Wow. This is an amazing book. One thing that helpedme connect with this book and its chracters right away was the fact that Mattie l...more**spoiler alert** Wow. This is an amazing book. One thing that helpedme connect with this book and its chracters right away was the fact that Mattie loves to read and write, so I really enjoyed all of the literary allusions in the narrative. I really liked the book's plot and the sequence of the narration.
One thing I loved as I read this book was watching the characters grow and develop, especially Mattie and Weaver. I thought that considering how she developed Mattie throughout the novel, the author gave the book just the right ending. I thought about other possible endings, perhaps where Mattie stays at the Glenmore and tells everyone herself, but it just didn't feel right in my mind. I thought that the idea of writing letters to everyone really worked, and I really appreciated how Mattie sent everyone money to come to sort of resolution, because I feel like it may have gotten a bit cheesy doing it another way.
I have to say that throughout the book, my favorite character was Weaver. I thought he was one of the funniest and most honest characters in the novel. I didn't like Royal, because I was suspicious of him from the moment the author introduced him, and I'm glad that it didn't work out.
This is one of those stories that I would recommend to everyone who has a love of books, and I think that schools will be making students read this in a few years.(less)
When I first heard about Shiver, I was reluctant to give it a chance. Aside from Twilight, I haven’t read many books where werewolves are prominently...moreWhen I first heard about Shiver, I was reluctant to give it a chance. Aside from Twilight, I haven’t read many books where werewolves are prominently featured, and I think I was dubious about that aspect of the story. However, once I started reading reviews saying that Sam was the sensitive type, I knew I had to pick this book up. I finally decided to read it when Linger came out, and I enjoyed every page of it. Shiver has quickly become one of my new favorite books.
I loved that Stiefvater did a non-traditional take on the werewolves and explained it well. It felt fitting with the setting, but the way she explained the timing of the change made sense. The plot was clearly well though out, and I loved that we got to learn about the other members of Sam’s pack, instead of them just being mysterious figures in the background.
I ultimately grew to love Shiver because I grew attached to Grace and Sam and loved watching the romance romance between them. While I liked both characters, I have to admit that I found Sam particularly endearing. I liked that Grace was an environmentalist, and that she was more careful than to read things as how they seemed. Yet I loved Sam because of his connection to poetry and lyricism, as well as to his own emotions. And I still think he had is sharp, witty moments. Of course, these characters wouldn’t be who they are without Stiefvater’s beautiful, poetic prose. I could envision the snow and feel the bite of the cold even as I sat reading this book in ninety degree heat and extreme humidity. Woven together, these elements had me unable to put Shiver down and tears in my eyes during the last eighty pages.
Perhaps my favorite part of Shiver was the ending. While it wasn’t what I expected, I thought it was perfect and beautifully done, leaving me wanting to know where Stiefvater will take us next. Thankfully I have Linger right on hand, and I’ll be diving in as soon as I type the final character of this review.
I’m so glad that I read Shiver, despite a few initial reservations. This story surprised me in being far more moving than I anticipated. If you haven’t already read Shiver I highly recommend that you give it a chance. (less)
Until this past August, I always felt left out when people started talking about what a talented writer John Green is. Most bloggers seem to love his...more Until this past August, I always felt left out when people started talking about what a talented writer John Green is. Most bloggers seem to love his books and while I knew he makes great videos, I’d never read any of his books, even though I wanted to do so and own all of his books. I recently felt an incredibly strong pull towards John Green’s Looking for Alaska and followed it. Filled with brilliant prose, quirky characters and a heartbreaking storyline, Looking for Alaska is one of the best and most unforgettable books I’ve read in 2011.
I’ve been a little afraid to post this review, to be honest. I’m worried that some people will read it and think that I’m praising this book because I want to fit in with a certain crowd, or because I think it’s what the blogosphere expects of me. What has me singing John Green’s praises after just one book is the fact that I could not stop thinking about Looking for Alaska for days afterwards.
Looking for Alaska is about a teenager names Miles who goes off to boarding school and quickly becomes infatuated with a girl named Alaska. I liked Miles because even though he could be a jerk sometimes, his character read like many teenage guys that I know. I also have to say that I really enjoyed the sense of humor that Miles and his friends had.
Green’s prose is stunning. He sometimes incorporates quotations, and I thought this was done perfectly. They were there just enough to enhance the story but not so enough that the reader became bogged down.
Although this sounds lame, I’m not sure what else I can say to express how amazing this book is. Despite all of the rave reviews I’ve heard, I had never fathomed what a moving and thought-provoking book this is until I was sucked into Alaska’s world. Looking for Alaska has made my list of all time favorites, and I can’t wait to read everything else John Green has written and will write.(less)
To be honest, if I’d never heard anything about The Outsiders, I don’t think I would have felt drawn to it. Yet it’s considered a YA classic, and one...moreTo be honest, if I’d never heard anything about The Outsiders, I don’t think I would have felt drawn to it. Yet it’s considered a YA classic, and one day when I was volunteering at my local library and shelving books, this novel jumped out at me. I was pleasantly surprised.
This novel is definitely not a fluffy read. It’s the story of people struggling to get by amidst discrimination. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t think I would be able to relate to the characters who consider themselves greasers. I’m not sure that I even know anyone who I would consider a greaser.
Part of the reason why I enjoyed this book as much as I did is because the plot is a perfect mixture of action, suspense and emotion. Ponyboy’s problems are real and honest, and while I’ve never gotten into a fight on the streets, I can relate to his struggles of grief and not always getting along with family. While I connected most with Ponyboy, I loved that his friends weren’t just greasers but people with ambitions and interests. Soda was probably my favorite character.
Despite my initial reservations, I understand why The Outsiders is a classic, and it’s a book that will stay with me for quite some time. The content of this novel is often violent, but I wouldn’t hesitate to hand it over to a teenager or an adult, because I think Hinton conveys an important message about choices and mobility.(less)