I totally loved the humor in this book, and, although Ryan Dean/Winger is a jerk, I couldn't help loving him! (He is oThis is one of my new favorites!
I totally loved the humor in this book, and, although Ryan Dean/Winger is a jerk, I couldn't help loving him! (He is only 14, after all--let's give him a break.) The author did a fantastic job staying inside Ethan's head, so that his behavior is justified. . . until you consider objectively that he is actually a pretty obnoxious little cuss.
I guess Ryan Dean could have had this A-HA! moment to demonstrate to the reader that he had evolved, but in real life it is often just as Smith writes it--a long, slow, torturous process taking until adulthood.
The other thing I loved about this book was the character of Joey and his relationship with Winger. The way Winger had a very honest curiosity about and acceptance of Joey's homosexuality and yet also still made insensitive remarks about gays was so genuinely high school teen. I also liked that Joey did not fit the stereotype of a gay boy and that he was out, so the subject could be handled openly in the narrative. I thought this aspect of the story was handled very well.
I loved the characters in this book and their relationships with each other (especially Ethan and Baconnaise). The story was fresh and something I thiI loved the characters in this book and their relationships with each other (especially Ethan and Baconnaise). The story was fresh and something I think teens will relate to--feeling betrayed by a friend, awkward romance, wanting to be on a reality show, etc. It did seem a bit didactic at times: for instance, I felt like I was attending a lecture when I read the part where Ethan helps Maura with her homework, and there was a lot of time spent on literary devices, etc.--some of this was incorporated into the story well, but it did feel a little like sneaky, underhanded teacher propaganda, or something....more
What I think is appealing to teens: The sibling rivalry, especially the love triangle The fantasy element/crossing over into another realm The suspense ThWhat I think is appealing to teens: The sibling rivalry, especially the love triangle The fantasy element/crossing over into another realm The suspense The creepiness The deception/secretiveness
For me, the creep factor was unsettling--all that evil and black magic made me feel a little uncomfortable . . ....more
**spoiler alert** I thought the premise of this book was pretty awesome--it seems very plausible. I loved that Pearson introduced the tension between**spoiler alert** I thought the premise of this book was pretty awesome--it seems very plausible. I loved that Pearson introduced the tension between those struggling to preserve the natural world, and those trying to improve the world through the use of science--lots to talk about here.
I was a little disappointed that she dropped that discussion by the end of the book. Everything tied up a little too nicely. What about the overpopulation that could be caused by the acceptance of the medical procedures that save Jenna and her friend when they had virtually no probability of recovering? How did her friend overcome her objections to this and learn to live with her decision?
Overall a great read, though, and a good one for a book discussion! Very meaty . . ....more
Code Name Verity starts in the torture room of a Nazi occupied French hotel during World War II. Beaten into submission by a cruel Nazi agent, a BritiCode Name Verity starts in the torture room of a Nazi occupied French hotel during World War II. Beaten into submission by a cruel Nazi agent, a British agent known as Queenie writes down everything she knows about the allied war effort. Queenie knows what will happen when she has revealed all her secrets. Nacht und nebel, her captors call it, night and fog—an innocuous sounding term for the “disposal” of those no longer needed by the Third Reich. So Queenie drags out her writing sessions, meting out Allied secrets piecemeal within the larger story of her best friend Maddie’s rise from working class motorcycle mechanic through the ranks of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).
As each written word draws Queenie closer to her end, Maddie waits for her return near a secret landing strip in the French countryside. Eventually, it becomes clear that her friend has been captured, and Maddie joins the group of Allied spies and couriers to rescue Queenie and salvage their mission. But even in weakness, Queenie retains the craftiness that made her an ideal spy. She may yet find a way to get her friends the information they need to complete their mission and to save her from her tormentors.
Wein’s well-researched novel arose out of the author’s curiosity about the options available to female pilots during World War II. Though she admits to taking one or two liberties with the facts, Wein has created believable characters and a clever plot. It is so clever, in fact, that when I reached the end of this book, I wanted to start at the beginning again to look for all the hidden secrets I had missed on my first time through. ...more
This is a masterfully crafted novel that reveals the evolution and demise of a relationship through the mementos saved.
The book begins with 16 year olThis is a masterfully crafted novel that reveals the evolution and demise of a relationship through the mementos saved.
The book begins with 16 year old Min dumping a box of items she collected throughout her relationship with Ed Slaterton, a known womanizer. From the bottle caps she snuck into her pocket when they first met, to an expensive vintage cookbook Ed bought her, Min releases them all, chapter by chapter, as she recalls the circumstances under which they came to her.
Daniel Handler (the Lemony Snicket of _Series of Unfortunate Events_)does an excellent job of creating an authentic voice for his characters. With so many young adult novels creating unrealistic, overly mature situations for teen characters who seem to lack any parental controls and have bottomless pits of money and resources, I began to think all the teenagers I know had ended up with a really raw deal. Handler brings us down to earth again with characters that have the typical meddling parents and transportation woes. Min and her crowd speak like real teenagers--trying to be independent and testing their boundaries, while still suffering from the lack of experience that defines immaturity.
I love the way Min is completely duped by Ed's charm (which, in addition to his good looks, is obviously what gets him a steady stream of girlfriends), and even convinces the reader that he's very sweet--Min's friends must be wrong about him. The reader and Min together struggle to accept Ed's shine wearing off as the novel progresses, with each artifact of their relationship serving both to reveal Ed's "love" and to explain why the relationship cannot last.
Min's relationship with her friends is also authentically handled--as commonly happens when a girl begins dating, her friends are left behind. Of course they remain loyal, though their influence over Min is negligible, since she rarely even speaks to them anymore. And though the reader sees friendship complications develop over the course of the novel, Min is too blinded by her obsession with Ed to pick up on them. The suspense of what will happen when she finally "wakes up" carries the reader through to the end.
Handler has created an authentic novel with a fresh format--can't wait to see what he comes up with next!
I had really high hopes for this book, since it got starred reviews. And it is good--it's just not great.
I was a little disappointed that the main gayI had really high hopes for this book, since it got starred reviews. And it is good--it's just not great.
I was a little disappointed that the main gay character Augie was such a stereotype. I'm looking forward to a YA book about two guys that seem like average guys you meet every day falling in love (because, let's face it, most gay people ARE the average guys you meet every day). Plus TC's love interest (can't remember her name) was a little over the top--I mean, she's met and insulted every world leader there is, rubs elbows with celebs, and has a secret service agent as her best friend? I can't go for it.
The humor is cute in the book, and it is pretty tame, so I could recommend it to younger teens. The development of the romantic relationships is fun, too, except for Augie and Andy's which is a little sickening with all the pet names, etc. I did think their difficulty in getting past the "does he like me in THAT way?" issue was realistically handled, but that was about the only realistic part of the book.
Overall, I think the book is a fun, fluffy, but forgettable read....more
This was a very cheesy book that was recommended by a young library member who like Noel's other books. The characters were so typical of the genre thThis was a very cheesy book that was recommended by a young library member who like Noel's other books. The characters were so typical of the genre that there were absolutely no surprises. The climax was fairly flat, since things were resolved so easily for Daire--of course she is the Perfect Storm of Mystical Powers, allowing her to pick up on her magic training without any effort (how many times has this been done?). And if you can't sleep, skip the sheep and count the number of times the characters in this book say, "Make no mistake"--it'll carry you through hours of wakefulness.
I can see the appeal to teens--hot looking chicks and guys, lifestyles of the rich and famous, magical powers, and super-tolerant adults with Ohm. Hopefully the author will flesh it out by adding some dimension to her characters and spending a little more time in the netherworlds in future episodes.
This book has an engaging format--there is scant text heavily supported by photographs, drawings, IM dialog, letters, etc. After her mother's death, aThis book has an engaging format--there is scant text heavily supported by photographs, drawings, IM dialog, letters, etc. After her mother's death, a teenage concert pianist is coached to fame by her father. As she begins to feel isolated, she develops a relationship with a young man from Argentina. Occasional letters from the boy's private school shows how, in spite of his success in art class, he is struggling to fit in. As the story progresses, the girl's sanity seems to unravel and the reader becomes increasingly confused as to what is real and what is imagined. I won't reveal my take on the story, because it is as much a mystery for the reader as for the characters. The key to understanding this novel (and what makes this novel such a fun read) is in careful examination of the pictures. ...more
Gwen meets a strangely compelling boy on the beach who claims to be her selkie--a mythical seal that removes his pelt to come ashore as a human for hiGwen meets a strangely compelling boy on the beach who claims to be her selkie--a mythical seal that removes his pelt to come ashore as a human for his true love.
This is a great read for teens who love the Twilight series....more