This is kind of a special review. You see, it's not often I review books out of the Young Adult genre, but after reading this classic gem, and then se...moreThis is kind of a special review. You see, it's not often I review books out of the Young Adult genre, but after reading this classic gem, and then seeing the otherworldly movie, I just couldn't resist. Maybe it's because I read the book with Leo DiCaprio as Gatsby, or maybe it's the tragic love story that left me in a strange state of unshakeable giddiness and depression, but I loved The Great Gatsby, and encourage all of you who are planning to see the movie, to read the book first.
The thing with classics is that even though they might not have many pages, they take much longer to read than a Young Adult novel. One cannot simply skip pages or skim over a section, because every single word, every sentence contains so much. With The Great Gatsby, I finished all 184 pages of it in no less than 4 days. Why, you ask? Because of all the damn, beautiful vocabulary! It's safe to say that my word bank has grown significantly after reading this. And that's not even the best part!
Whereas I didn't end up enjoying Pride & Prejudice as much as I would have liked to, the opposite was true of The Great Gatsby. The parties, the affairs, the corruption at the core of a high-class American society composed of amusing, engrossing characters... I really don't think I've ever experienced anything quite like it! Fitzgerald transported me to a completely different, fantastic world, with characters whom I mostly hated, and captivating stories I was completely immersed in. Not once did I feel bored! This, coming from a 15-year-old teenager girl like myself seems pretty immense in my opinion.
Read it, breathe it, live The Great Gatsby. And if you don't get it the first time, read it again. The Great Gatsby is one of those iconic, timeless novels that everyone should read, at least once in their lifetime. There are so many hidden messages and lessons behind this intricately, beautifully crafted novel that are still relevant today, and always will be.(less)
Confession time. Sometimes... just sometimes, I pick up a book because of its cover *hangs head in shame*. I know what you're thinking, but sometimes...moreConfession time. Sometimes... just sometimes, I pick up a book because of its cover *hangs head in shame*. I know what you're thinking, but sometimes the cover is just so alluring and gorgeous... ever heard the phrase 'a picture is worth a thousand words'? Well that's how it is sometimes. This book, I am proud to say, was not the case.... and I just want to stress to everybody how important it is that you don't judge a book by its cover, because if I had overlooked this book just because it's cover isn't eye-catching or special, I never would have read The Goose Girl.... and that would have been such a shame. Everyone out there, at some time or another, is guilty of being dazed by the glossy exterior of the book, whereas they should be more focused on the words inside.
The Goose Girl is such an amazing read. It made me remember how it feels to become so lost in a story that you can't think about anything else. To fall so in love with the characters that you cry when the book ends (shh... don't tell). But most of all, it reminded me why I love reading so much. Shannon Hale is a master at story-telling, and she creates a world so magical and beautiful, it's hard not to fall in love with it. Ani, the main character, is so likable and will immediately steal your heart.
Something so amazing and magical happened in The Goose Girl... everything in the book come alive. The world of this book, so vividly imagined by its talented creator, captivates you and is easy to get lost in. *SPOILER ALERTS* It starts out with Ani at the age of seven, taking a walk with her Aunt. Her Aunt always tells her magical stories and wonderful yet frightening things about people out there with special gifts that make Ani's mother, the Queen, shake her head in disapproval. But Ani likes them. She loves to get lost in stories of any kind.
I have to say, I really disliked Ani's mom. But not because her character wasn't written well or anything, but because Hale crafted her in such a way so that the reader would automatically despise her. Genius. This book kind of reminded me of Cinderella, with the whole evil stepmom and the handsome prince, and what-not. Another thing I really like about this book is that, even though it's a fairytale retelling, our lovely princess-in-waiting here, Ani, comes to the rescue and saves the whole palace. It's not the prince who has to dash in, but in his stead, is Ani (and I just love me some girl power!). *SPOILERS OVER*
Aaah... the prince. The main guy in this book is actually really likable and down-to-earth, even though, you know, he's a prince and all that. But I'm not going to tell you too much about him, so you'll have to read The Goose Girl to find out more.
Shannon Hale's books, from what I've read so far, are always entertaining and captivating, and never fail to ignite my love of reading. The other three books in this quadrilogy are already out, and are high on my TBR (to be read) list. I would highly recommend this book to anyone out there who loves getting lost in the world of stories, is a fan of female kick-ass characters, and just has a really good taste in books! (less)
I never would have thought, after reading Elkeles' steamy, hardcore romance novels, that she would be able to write and pull off a light, cute Chick-L...moreI never would have thought, after reading Elkeles' steamy, hardcore romance novels, that she would be able to write and pull off a light, cute Chick-Lit read. But she SO did! How to Ruin a Summer Vacation surpassed all my mediocre expectations. I had an inkling that the romance would be worthwhile from past experiences, but so was everything else; from the loveable, quirky characters to the interesting religious background and how could I forget--- the main hottie!
Amy's fabulous Summer plans are thrown into the trash when her SD (sperm donor), who is also kind of her father (but then again, doesn't a father embody someone you don't just see once a year?) wants to take her away to his (and, as much as she hates to admit it--her) homeland; the Holy Land of Israel. As hard as she tries, Amy just can't wriggle out of this one. From Moshavs to pesky relatives, this vacation is going to suck... but despite everything, it may turn out to be the best three months of her 16-year-old life.
This book has it all down. A memorable, fun protagonist, a sweet, modest romance that isn't too sudden or unrealistically mature and a wonderfully eccentric group of characters. Amy may have been slightly annoying at times, but the thing is, that was just part of her character. She was born and bred in America, into an extremely wealthy lifestyle. It would have been a bit too idealistic if she had turned out to be perfectly normal and quirk-free. There were times when she acted spoilt, but I understood where she was coming from. It was so satisfying to get to watch her grow and embrace herself and her culture with open, albeit slightly unwilling arms. She could be serious when necessary, but she was also so hilarious! Especially her encounters and conversations with one certain Israeli hottie. ;) The secondary characters, such as Aunt Yalda, Maren, Osnot, etc, were also very well-developed and contributed significantly to the story. This book is a perfect example of the saying 'there are no small parts, only small actors'.
Along with Amy, I too learnt a lot about the Israeli culture, and even though this is a fairly easy-going read, the depth in which Elkeles delved into the Jewish ways of life opened my eyes to some extremely surprising, fascinating things. She also managed to dispel a few common stereotypes of Jewish people and Palestinians, which was super cool. I think it's awesome that Elkeles was able to use her own beliefs and values to turn what could have been a pleasant Rom-Com to something indefinitely more.
Breezy, fun, addictive, this book showed me that Elkeles truly is a master of the Contemporary genre. Never again will I doubt her ability to write stellar characters and pragmatically beautiful relationships and romances. An enjoyable read that offers so much more than the stereotypical boy-meets-girl story! (less)