I bought this book because I read a news article about the author's claim that M. Night Shyamalan stole the story for his movie, "The Village." WhileI bought this book because I read a news article about the author's claim that M. Night Shyamalan stole the story for his movie, "The Village." While the plots are similar, I didn't think this book could be seen as the basis for the movie.
The book is well-written and fast-paced, and I'd be interested in reading more by this author in the future....more
This collection of stories about children who survived the Holocaust is well-written for its intended age group, and would be an excellent way to intrThis collection of stories about children who survived the Holocaust is well-written for its intended age group, and would be an excellent way to introduce young adults to the horrors of the Nazi army without providing too many in-depth details parents may not appreciate. Each story is slightly different, showing the variety of ways Jews managed to survive....more
I like LeGuin, but thought the main character in this story, Owen, was a bit self-involved and mopey without any real cause. I know you can get that wI like LeGuin, but thought the main character in this story, Owen, was a bit self-involved and mopey without any real cause. I know you can get that way during your teenage years, but I didn't think that, by the end of the story, he was any better off than he'd been at the beginning. I would've liked him to grow into himself a little more, or to have a grander awakening to his real desires or potentials, if that makes sense. By the time this short novella ended, I wasn't secure in his ability to continue to move on from the dark place he'd been in throughout the story....more
At 17, Laura Amores is a Cuban teenager in Miami who attends a Catholic high school. But when she is caught reading a letter from a friend and not payAt 17, Laura Amores is a Cuban teenager in Miami who attends a Catholic high school. But when she is caught reading a letter from a friend and not paying attention to the class, the nun reads the letter aloud. Turns out, the missive is from Laura's girlfriend, and details an intimate relationship Laura has kept hidden from everyone.
Suddenly friends Laura has known her whole life turn on her. Her own mother is mortified at her immoral behavior and throws her out of the house, refusing to speak to or even see her until she decides to become straight. Even the girlfriend seems to buy into that mentality, returning to Puerto Rico when her brother discovers their relationship and choosing to settle down into a loveless marriage instead of fighting for her heart's desire.
The only people who stick by Laura is her childhood friend, Soli, and Soli's mother, Viva. They take her in when she has nowhere left to go, and they love her unconditionally. Soli, an over-the-top hairdresser with a zest for life, tries to convince Laura to embrace her sexuality. But the pain of being outed in front of her classmates, coupled with being shunned by her own family, has left Laura confused. If she weren't gay, none of this would have happened.
This story is a wonderful look at the confusion that many feel when they're on the path to discovering their own sexuality. Laura denies that she is gay -- her belief is that she was in love with a girl, but she can't say the words out loud, even to her new queer circle of friends, for fear of a rejection similar to that she suffered when she was first outed. So instead, she vacillates between a growing attraction to a beautiful girl she meets at a gay club and the desire to be accepted as "normal" and "straight." Throw in a growing friendship with a confident lesbian who self-identifies as a "boi," Soli's unrelenting pressure to own up to her own heart, and her mother's continuous cold shoulder, and the reader will find it hard to put this book down until the very end.
Laura's journey rings true. Many times I found myself frustrated with her, only because she couldn't readily embrace who she was, but I had to keep reminding myself she was only 17. The road to self-acceptance is a hard one, for anybody, and the author doesn't go easy on her character. Laura is torn apart emotionally, her life a roller coaster that anyone who remembers their own turbulent teenage years will identify with all too well. When she finally begins to figure things out for herself, the change is vividly written:
"Something comes over me. I feel as if I've finally taken off a tight iron mask that I've been wearing all my life."
"It's about finally letting go of the fear that didn't allow me to be who I truly am."
There is something for everyone in Laura's story, whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, genderqueer, or questioning. Through her tale, she grows into a stronger person, more sure of herself and her heart. In the final pages of this book is a lesson we can all embrace, an acceptance not only of ourselves but of others around us, as different as they may be. Laura learns to embrace her sexuality ~ and, through the process, learns who loves her unconditionally and, in return, is deserving of her love....more
Thorne continues the Masks series with Evolution, which pits superheroes Magnifiman and Calais against two new supervillains while following the borinThorne continues the Masks series with Evolution, which pits superheroes Magnifiman and Calais against two new supervillains while following the boring, average life of Eric Plath, boyfriend to Calais' alter ego, Peter Barlow. As the book's title suggests, this story is an evolution of the characters ~ Eric, his boyfriend Peter, and their gal pal Althea, in many ways. The dynamics of their relationships are forced to change when a new supervillain appears on the scene ... as well as a new female superhero, to whom Peter instantly connects. The only person who doesn't have any superpowers is Eric, a fact that becomes more and more evident as his friends seem to drift away from him.
I thoroughly enjoyed this installment in the series, perhaps more so than the first book. Once I started reading, I literally couldn't put it down, and I raced through the final few chapters with my heart in my throat, on the edge of my seat, hoping against hope that somehow everything would be tied together neatly at the end, and hating that I'd have to wait for the final book in the series to see that happen.
Here we get a visceral account of Eric's personal demons ~ the normal pangs and problems that plague adolescence are compounded by a boyfriend who is too busy saving the city to focus on their relationship and a nagging feeling of incompetence that leaves Eric wishing for any small thing that might make him "fit in." Thorne tackles these difficult emotions with finesse, leaving the reader as frustrated as Eric over Peter's distance, and by the end of the story, we sympathize completely with Eric. Making us understand and, dare I say, condone his actions in the final two chapters is nothing short of brilliant writing. When you read the story, you'll see what I mean.
In this book, as in the first, there were many phrases that stood out to me, bringing the story to life. My favorite line was one where, after a terse standoff between Eric and Peter, Eric finds a rose in his school locker from his boyfriend:
"When I saw it, the universe started all over again. The slate was wiped clean, humanity's sins were all forgiven, the greenhouse effect never happened, and the earth was only two days old."
Such observations capture the immediacy of teenage love and angst perfectly, making Eric more human, more believable, and, in the end, easier to relate to for readers of all ages.
Eric's signature humor is refined in this book, as is his raging libido. He still harbors a secret crush on Peter's older brother, Magnifiman, and when he sees the superhero on TV:
"You will ~ and I swear this ~ feel the hard hand of justice tightening around you!"
My breath caught, my cheeks heating up. "You promise?"
Thorne's writing is fresh and open, indicative of the characters and respective of their ages without being condescending or "too old," as some YA writers tend to be. Eric and his friends are drawn very well, their dialogue believable, their actions true to life. Eric's emotions hit the mark, detailing a feeling of loneliness and ostracism to which we can all relate.
Though the main character is a gay teenager, Evolution will appeal to superhero fans of all ages and sexualities. What starts out as a fun story turns into an emotional roller coaster ride as Eric deals with issues that resonate with us all, and while we may not agree with his actions as the story progresses, we understand his motives completely. If you enjoyed the first book in this series, you'll love this second installment. And, if you're like me, you'll be waiting with bated breath for the final story....more
I fell in love with superheroes in college, and no storyline is more endearing to me than the "coming out" or "coming of age" arc when the hero realizI fell in love with superheroes in college, and no storyline is more endearing to me than the "coming out" or "coming of age" arc when the hero realizes the potential in his powers and struggles to come to terms with them. Most stories of that type center on the superhero himself, and all the angst associated with realizing he's some sort of freak shunned by the society he aims to protect.
One of the things that makes "Masks: Rise of Heroes" so different in this genre is that the main character is not the superhero ~ he's not even the sidekick. He's just your average teenage boy with raging hormones who constantly seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Eric Plath is sixteen, precocious, and lusts over the new superhero in town, who seems to have an uncanny knack for saving his hide.
I really liked Eric ~ his voice, dialogue, and actions rang very true to life. As the story progresses, he learns more about his best friends, Peter and Althea, and his emotions also hit the mark. I also loved spunky Althea, who seems destined to play the role of fag hag for the rest of her life (get used to it, honey, is all I'm saying; take it from someone who knows). And Peter quickly grew from the nerdy "best friend" in the wings into a character of his own right, the perfect foil for Eric: level-headed, weighed down with responsibility, and so very much head over heels in love.
The story takes place in a very somber setting ~ Vintage City. The author's use of language to describe the atmosphere really helped set the mood, and contrasted nicely with Eric's internal landscape. Lines I particularly liked were:
"... rain that seemed to be made of liquid metal."
"Understated jewelry sprouted like sparkling lichen on her arms and neck."
"The wild, manic expressions on the horses' faces and the wide-eyed, watchful looks with which wooden cherubs regarded carnival visitors had that distinct glamour of madness to them. I couldn't help but stare back."
There is a lot of humor infused in the story, as well. The author's turn of phrase sometimes made me laugh out loud ~ Eric has a quick, sardonic wit that I thoroughly enjoyed, particularly in his internal dialogue:
"My glasses clung to my head by one temple with a death grip around my right ear."
"He had a cleft in his chin. God help me, he had a cleft in his chin."
There is also a very strong love element throughout the story. While Eric is already out with his family before the book starts, and is very comfortable with his sexuality, the relationship that grows between himself and Peter is his first true romance. And while the story is YA or "young adult," the boy is sixteen. There are quite a few places where the author subtly reminds the reader of that fact, in such wonderful phrases as:
"Then I dreamed of him 'arresting' me and taking me into custody. Not once did I demand to see my lawyer, and yes, I came willingly."
The reason behind Magnifiman's superpowers is nicely explained, though we don't learn much about the Devil's Trill. The plot involving his interest in Eric comes up in the final half of the book, bringing all elements of the story together to a satisfying ~ if rushed ~ conclusion, but there are still many questions left unanswered. "Masks" ends abruptly, until you realize this is the first in a trilogy, and I hope that the other two books will fill in the bits readers are left wondering about in Book 1.
For a story about caped superheroes and maniacal villains, the human element shines through, a realistic thread that makes the tale believable. What makes super powered heroes so irresistible to us isn't so much the desire to be rescued from our own devices or mundane lives, but rather to know that beneath those rippling muscles, somewhere within that super-smart brain, lies the very same heart, the same emotions and thoughts, hopes and dreams ~ the same soul ~ that lies within us all.
I found myself drawn into the story almost immediately, and couldn't stop turning the pages to get to the end. This book is a great start to what looks to be a fun series about superheroes among us. I can't wait for the next part. ...more
Read this a third time before the movie is released. I enjoy this series a lot and appreciate how Rowling makes the characters very age appropriate. IRead this a third time before the movie is released. I enjoy this series a lot and appreciate how Rowling makes the characters very age appropriate. In this book, we start to see more of the convoluted relationship between Ron and Hermione, as well as the beginnings of Harry's interest in Ron's sister, Ginny.
While this is the second book in which an influential character dies at the end of the story, this will be the first in which those fans who are only familiar with the movies really feel the impact of such a loss. Rowling handled it beautifully, both Harry's feelings and the emotions of the Wizarding community at large.
I enjoyed this book much more the third time around ~ the first time I read it because it was new and I had to devour it to know what happened next. The second time was to brush up on the story before delving into the seventh book. This time I relished reliving the moments in this story and savored the text more than I did previously....more
Ah, the book that started it all. I came to the Harry Potter series late, I'll admit ~ it was a YA book and I was already out of college when it was fAh, the book that started it all. I came to the Harry Potter series late, I'll admit ~ it was a YA book and I was already out of college when it was first published. But my best friend from high school brought a copy by one evening and was like, "You should read this. It's pretty good." So I gave it a try.
And immediately went out and bought the other three books that were available then.
The first book holds a special place in my heart. It's the book that started it all, and I've reread it each time another in the series was released. I love the characters and how we're introduced to each in turn. While there are parts of the book that aren't well-written (I have to silence my inner editor every time I reread it), Rowling is a great storyteller and weaves a world of enchantment that easily captivates me each and every time I revisit it.
My favorite part of the first book is the way Harry, Ron, and Hermione become friends. One of my favorite lines from any of the books is in this one: "There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them." A wonderful start to a great series that has changed the face of literature forever....more
Cute little story that shows young readers how they can make a difference about issues about which they care deeply. I enjoyed the story and, near theCute little story that shows young readers how they can make a difference about issues about which they care deeply. I enjoyed the story and, near the end, couldn't put it down....more
Bought this because I met the author on MySpace and liked the cover. Yes, they say never judge a book by a cover, but there you go.
I started reading tBought this because I met the author on MySpace and liked the cover. Yes, they say never judge a book by a cover, but there you go.
I started reading this but only got to chapter 5 or so before putting it down. While it was well-written and fun, I didn't really like the anachronistic attitude the narrator's love interest had towards women in general and her in particular. I felt this dated the book, even though I read the author's note which said the book had been re-edited to make it more current....more
Though this is a children's book, I didn't read it until high school, when we had to read it for French class. Yes, in French. "Enfants! Fâites attentThough this is a children's book, I didn't read it until high school, when we had to read it for French class. Yes, in French. "Enfants! Fâites attention aux baobabs!" and "C'est triste d'oublier un ami" are the two lines I remember most from it.
Years before, however, I was introduced to Le Petit Prince through an anime series that came on Nickelodeon, so I was already very familiar with the adventures of the Little Prince from Planet B-612. The book is much more parabolical than the show was, and I appreciated its wisdom when I read it as a teenager more than I would have if I had read it as a younger child....more
I really like Budiansky's writing, and I enjoyed this book (I didn't realize it was for younger readers until I started reading it). It's very informaI really like Budiansky's writing, and I enjoyed this book (I didn't realize it was for younger readers until I started reading it). It's very informative without being overwhelming, and I learned a lot about horses (seeing as how I didn't know much to begin with, this wasn't a hard thing to accomplish). Still, they aren't a favorite animal of mine and he managed to keep me interested. Perfect for someone who already loves horses -- I plan on giving my copy to my oldest niece!...more