Although well written in andcin perfect keeping with the tone of the historical times I could not finish the story. it was so dark and plausible thatAlthough well written in andcin perfect keeping with the tone of the historical times I could not finish the story. it was so dark and plausible that whites would do something like this in these times that it was just too grim. dwelling on the horrific mind set did not seem useful to my own well being. I guess it could be useful for people who do not understand the legacy of slavery....more
spoilers ahead! Wonderful writing style, interesting characters and great descriptions of places but leaky plot line. Maybe magic and witchcraft are nspoilers ahead! Wonderful writing style, interesting characters and great descriptions of places but leaky plot line. Maybe magic and witchcraft are not my thing. I found the magical situations contrived,far fetched and unoriginal. I loved the parts that took place in the real world. the boy was an interesting character without parents, having problems,with delinquency, hanging out with the wrong friends and foster parents who did not want him. This was engaging enough along with his telepathic powers and would have been enough without all the rituals, magic and characters being predictably offed every other page. It became silly and annoying, just a plot device to keep the protagonist in danger. I began to skip ahead as soon as a helpful adult came along knowing they would soon be dead mysteriously. I might try another of his books because the writing style is so enjoyable and engaging....more
beautifully written, dated stylistically, captures a a time and place and culture in New York for an upper middle class only girl child dealing with abeautifully written, dated stylistically, captures a a time and place and culture in New York for an upper middle class only girl child dealing with an immature mother with no resources of her own intellectually or emotionally, who relies on her beauty for everything ; and a father who does not express emotion but expresses himself solely through his creative work as an architect or project manager, not much detail about his life. Lovely details about New York in the 1950"s. going to a movie for 50 cents and getting a meal at diner for a dollar. Primitive attitudes toward disabled folks and women. showing how far we have come on those issiues...more
You have to suspend disbelief about the precocious Nicholas and his rapid reading. It would physically tear the pages of the books if he turned the paYou have to suspend disbelief about the precocious Nicholas and his rapid reading. It would physically tear the pages of the books if he turned the pages fast enough to finish each book in ten minutes The story is written in an odd, dated style that is very retro and charming once you get into it. It is hard to imagine a 9-year old speaking and thinking as the character does no matter how,intelligent. he sounds,more like an old,man. You often catch glimpses of the grown up writer disguised as a 9 year old peeking through these pretend child eyes. Almost all the adult characters are horribly stupid, peevish people just as a plot device, but it is a fun read anyway....more
**spoiler alert** I picked up Star Girl because a friend had liked it so much. I did not find the character of Stargirl believable or consistent.
Starg**spoiler alert** I picked up Star Girl because a friend had liked it so much. I did not find the character of Stargirl believable or consistent.
Stargirl is portrayed as this "free spirit" who wears long granny dresses to high school and brings her ukulele with her everywhere. She does not notice that people are ridiculing her and has no ego or sense of self beyond giving to others and focusing on the needs of others. This is portrayed as an enviable trait. But it felt to me that the character was mentally unstable and unhealthy, and unable to read social cues in a normal way. She seemed tragic, like someone who has been locked up by abusive parents for most of their life or something terrible has happened to them to make them unable to know what is normal or appropriate behavior. So to me she was a tragic character and not this really great role model.
The point of the story was that we should be authentic and not be jaded and fake but Stargirl's behavior was beyond authentic and was just bizarre, at times scary-crazy a case of very unhealthy boundaries.
I was a teenager from an unconventional background myself and at times I did things that were social no nos and felt ashamed and stupid afterwards realizing how oblivious I was about a lot of things having gone to alternative schools for so long . There was no joy in not getting the social cues and not being cool in public school. It was a painful thing to be so different not at all wonderful or fun.
In the book the total conformity of the other kids seems unrealistic and extreme also. There are always some kids who dress in vintage or goth cloths and bring their guitar everywhere with them. So in some ways Stargirl would not have stood out that much.
The character of the narrator, Leo seemed so much more genuine than Stargirl. He felt discomfort and embarrassment as well as empathy watching her and that seemed very believable.
At a certain point Stargirl becomes popular for a while. The description of her behavior seemed not "free" or uninhibited but disturbed. In an actual situation people would think she was mentally disturbed or developmentally disabled and would perhaps be kind but would probably stay away from her and she would never have become popular.
The story also did not add up in that Stargirl's parents were normal and even a bit conservative. A kid like that does not come out of no where, You have to be indoctrinated or isolated to act in such a dysfunctional way. The reason we know she is dysfunctional is that she is disturbed when Leo tells her that normal people do not do many of the things she does. And she tries to act normal and really wants to have friends but she wants to be the most popular girls in school. But that is bizarre too because she is able to change overnight like an actor putting on a costume and then does not understand why people still do not accept her suddenly, does not realize how fake and in-genuine she seems.
Another thing that did not seem believable was an awkward scene were Stargirl goes to the prom alone makes a grand entrance and is perfectly happy dancing all alone. Again I questioned her mental stability or thought perhaps she had a mental disability to not notice or care that every one still shunned her when she had cared a few days before about what people thought. How is she able to turn on and off emotions so easily and are any of her feelings truly real for her?...more
**spoiler alert** I loved that the characters had moments of true happiness in a horrific situation. The relationship between Jenny and the main chara**spoiler alert** I loved that the characters had moments of true happiness in a horrific situation. The relationship between Jenny and the main character, Linus was very pleasing. He is a good person who wants to protect the innocence of a little girl, and she is a good person. The stark contrast between the normal goodness of the children, her bright eyes, and his thoughtfulness and that of the monster who kidnapped them all so randomly is quite shocking.
So in that sense it was a bit like the diary of Ann Frank in that these beautiful minds of the young people and the older physicist come through even in a prisoner situation. Another sweet moment is when Fred, the tough guy and the two kids end up spending time just staying together in on of the 6 rooms. Because in the end being together is all they have.
It is everything.
As characters were eliminated I wondered if the writer was going to have it play out in a longer view adding new pets as the old ones died off.
After all some people are kidnapped and held for years before they get away. But this whole book took place over a month long period.
It was interesting that the two wealthy business people had nothing at all inside them to redeem them, no depth of character, no writing in the journals. While the other 4 characters turned out to have kindness and depth in the end.
Even Fred, the strong uneducated tough guy was kind and had a sense of refinement that was far above the two business people who were completely one dimensional and thus outside the rest of the group.
I wanted to know what the older physicist had written in his notebook.
This was a beautifully written piece and enjoyable and fascinating to read until it ended as it did with the whole thing becoming a nightmare in the last few chapters. The story could go in several different directions but the author chose the darkest outcome.
It was interesting that we knew almost nothing about the monster that kidnapped them. Obviously he had plenty of time and money to devote to setting up a strange prison-like complex. To have access to an old military bunker would take some clout, ex military connection or a lot of money or all three.
The idea that anyone could possibly be this cruel and unfeeling and use others like lab rats is hard to imagine but we know that there are people who do such things, sadly and this type of treatment is done to non-humans routinely with just as little concern and even more brutality.
This story seemed a bit illogical or contrived because the victims are so random. The collector does not even bother to get three of each sex but settles for 4 of one and 2 of the other. Most "collectors" have a type, a coloring, a sex and an age and usually keep one or two at a time from the little I know of people who have escaped alive to tell of situations like this.
In any case I am not sure I am glad I read this or not. I do not think this is good reading for Young Adults and should be put in the adult category. If I had read this when I was 16 it would have really messed me up badly. Worse than Johnny Got His Gun for nihilism and at least that was done to protest war. This book does not protest anything it just horrifies for the sake of horror....more
I really enjoyed this story and the character of the boy and his doggy. It reminded me a little bit of The Giver by Charlotte Lowery. The sense of sceI really enjoyed this story and the character of the boy and his doggy. It reminded me a little bit of The Giver by Charlotte Lowery. The sense of scene and place was very tangible to me in the way things were described. I loved the inventiveness of the culture and the robots who were so versatile. I loved the metaphor for our own society where we think that everything out there beyond our normal life is rotten and barren and bad when really it is so much more lovely than anything we are clinging to in our little world of TV, materialism and "safety". These characters literally live in a bubble but we in our limited culture live in a bubble that is just as barren and ugly and lifeless. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series....more
The pacing and writing were interesting. Some things did not hold together well or were not explained as much as I would have liked but in general theThe pacing and writing were interesting. Some things did not hold together well or were not explained as much as I would have liked but in general the sense of a girl finding out things rapidly after being asleep her whole life came through. My complaint was that getting to the island and being able to chose to have buses would have meant bringing giant freighters with buses or metal and forges. None of this was really alluded to. It seemed that people came on "boats" which felt as if they were fairly small vessels which would have made the rich folks with pavement and wood furniture. live stock from the past and nice houses unable to create all of these things. It sounded like there was not much room on the "boats" So lots of antique furniture and real fabric jeans for the rich and growing cotton for real fabrics did not seem to be mentioned. Real machinery for processing and weaving would have taken up a lot of room on small "boats", sewing machines etc. Medical equipment, tool and die equipment to make the solvent factories. So this was a big hole in the plot for me. There would not have been such a big difference between rich and poor folks because stuff would start to wear out. That is what happens when you have an embargo like cuba has had for so long.
But I know it was just fiction and she was just having "fun" writing about dystopia because it is a popular topic, like zombies for instance. the author said on her site that she thought it was an exciting topic to write about because of the possibilities available when people are pushed to their limits. So basically the book is meant as entertainment and no real research was done to make it more plausible. Still I like that she did accidentally "go there". The author did tackle some interesting questions even though some details were spotty and not as well thought out as I would have liked.
It seemed as if the situation would have been a bit more like Cuba in that there was no new material and people had to just reuse things. Only I wish they had had the wisdom to do what Cuba was forced to do and grow lots of urban food gardens instead eating inedible crap that the governing body set up for them. I liked that it showed how stupid people are and how we are just setting for seaweed, cheese food and jelly fish instead of creating what we want when there are mangos all over our island and land to grow fresh food if we want it. Instead most of us mutely go off to the solvent factory to work every day. It made a wonderful point without being too preachy: We should learn to adapt to our world instead of destroying it by trying to mold it to our past likes and dislikes....more