This was better than I was expecting, but not as good as I think it could have been. It's hard work, adapting a story like Les Miserables into a mangaThis was better than I was expecting, but not as good as I think it could have been. It's hard work, adapting a story like Les Miserables into a manga, particularly with the page limit that this projects seems to have had. The beginning section, focused on Jean Valjean and Fantine, moved slowly and had a pace that I enjoyed. Not having read the original material, I was learning about new aspects of the story. However, the second half really barrels along, and given the many different plots that are happening, this feels incredibly rushed. I would've liked to have seen the story expanded to a second volume. The art was excellent, though I didn't really care for how ridiculous the Thernardiers were. But the rest of the characters were well-done. The action sequences fell flat for me - it was hard to tell what was happening. For example, the scene where Eponine protects Marius was so awkward with perspective that I hadn't even realized what had taken place until we see her wounded a few pages later. I really do think that, with more room to tell the story, this would've been much better....more
Callie loves theater, but she's no actress. She loves being part of the stage crew, creating the props and setting that transport the audience into thCallie loves theater, but she's no actress. She loves being part of the stage crew, creating the props and setting that transport the audience into the story. Her middle school is putting on Moon over Mississippi, a play about the Civil War, and Callie has grand ideas that have to fit into a middle school budget. However, she's also struggling with her long-time crush on Greg, who just broke up with his girlfriend. At first, he seems interested, but then he blows Callie off. Is it because she's into drama? Younger than him? As she struggles with being angry at Greg and still liking him, she throws herself into working on the play. It's there that she meets cute twin brothers, Justin and Jesse. Justin is outgoing, loves theater, funny, and gay. Jesse is shy, smart, and just as talented as his brother, but unwilling to audition. Callie and the twins spend the school year becoming friends and traversing all the challenges that can be thrown at a drama department. Callie also starts to feel something more for Jesse - but does he like her back?
This was a quick, fun read that's full of all the awkwardness of being a teenager in love. Everyone has a little bit of drama (ha-ha) and I appreciated that being gay was not the issue of the book, but just part of the overall plot. I loved that Callie came through, after many moments of heartbreak, and realized that she didn't have to be someone's girlfriend. My only beef with this book is that the drama department was so amazing... what middle school has this sort of theater, budget, and supplies? I'm not sure why the setting wasn't high school, though I think in many school districts, that'd still be pushing it. Well, maybe this is the sort of drama department that schools should aspire to. We should all have working cannons!...more
This book has an intriguing concept - our main character, A, wakes up in a new body every day. A ages just as we do, and A can only occupy bodies thatThis book has an intriguing concept - our main character, A, wakes up in a new body every day. A ages just as we do, and A can only occupy bodies that are his/her same age. On day 5994 of A's life, s/he wakes up in Justin's body and meets his girlfriend Rhiannon. S/he falls in love with her during that day. She is the first person A tells his/her secret to. And they try to make this relationship work.
So there's the concept. But I really just didn't like the book. Why? I found the concept more than a little creepy. I didn't care for A or Rhiannon. A seemed preachy, but constantly broke his/her own rules about how to live the lives s/he gets for a day. I suppose this was to emphasize the importance of his love for Rhiannon, but it just made me dislike A. And the stalking... oh the stalking! It was awkward from the get-go and got so much worse as time went on.
Really, this book seemed like it was more an opportunity for Levithan to do a variety of character studies and show how we have a lot more in common than we think. And I liked the lives that A got to look in on. That was probably my favorite part of this book. But it doesn't make for a great overarching story.
While I found myself waffling when I listened to this - is this a good book and I just don't like it? - the ending hammered home that it was just not good. Spoilers ahead, so look away or stop or whatever if you don't want the ending spoiled.....
Okay, so apparently there are others like A, who can skip Quantum Leap-style from body to body. We find this out just as the book is ending and the scary Reverend that Nathan (a boy A occupied and used to seek out Rhiannon early on in the story) has confided in is actually a person like A. And the Reverend is full of menace and threat and... well, that's about it, because A runs out on the scene where the Reference confronts him/her. And that's it. He tells A that it's possible to keep a body indefinitely and control how long s/he stays. And A freaks, runs out, seeks answers through an email we never get to read. End of book. Well, that and A sets Rhiannon up with the perfect boy on the planet, who makes mix tapes for his parents' anniversary and is always there for everyone and is in a band and has a beautiful, romantic treehouse. This ending is slapped on and leaves you with the feeling that there was supposed to be more... a lot more. But why it ends the way it does is beyond me....more
When Klaus Voormann wanders into a seedy Hamburg nightclub, he discovers the most amazing English band and has to share the news. He brings his long-tWhen Klaus Voormann wanders into a seedy Hamburg nightclub, he discovers the most amazing English band and has to share the news. He brings his long-time friend Astrid Kirchherr, a photographer and art student, to the club, where they listen to a new band called The Beatles. From these first few sessions, Astrid and Klaus quickly become friends with John, Paul, George, and Stuart Sutcliffe, the bass player. Astrid influences the band's look with her photos, her sense of fashion, and, of course, the haircuts she gives them. At the heart of this story is the romance between Astrid and Stuart, the fifth Beatle. Told in short narrative bursts, this book documents their brief but powerful relationship, up until Stuart's death. Readers will learn a bit about the history of The Beatles, and their time performing in Hamburg. We see the run-down clubs the band played in, the seeds of The Beatles imagery, and the relationships between band members. Told in black and white, this graphic novel's art is warm and has the feel of a charcoaled page, ready to smear under your fingers. I didn't know much about The Beatles' history when I read this, but I came away wanting to know more about Astrid, Stuart, and the band's time in Germany. While the story can make leaps in time that are a little difficult to follow, it's still an interesting read that tells a story not commonly known....more
I felt a bit awkward with the whole mushroom/Brother Bullfrog scene. Just kind of... wacky... even for a Bloody Jack book. But I loved the time that Jacky spent traveling with the gypsies. And, as always, Katherine Kellgren is amazing when reading the audiobook....more
This is actually my first Libba Bray book and I loved it! I tried listening to the audio of Going Bovine and really hated it. Libba Bray reads this onThis is actually my first Libba Bray book and I loved it! I tried listening to the audio of Going Bovine and really hated it. Libba Bray reads this one (no weird man voice!) and I loved the voices. Some of the accents were a little off, but all of the main girls were amazing.
Okay, so the basic plot... teen beauty queens, on the way to the Miss Teen Dream pageant, find themselves marooned on an island when their plane crashes. A handful of the 50 contestants survive the crash and are led by Miss Texas to survival. Well, it's a sort of survival. Because Miss Texas is so sure that they'll be rescued that she sets the group to practicing their pageant routines instead of trying to find food or shelter. But no one will be finding these girls because the island they've crashed on is a base for The Corporation (sponsor of Miss Teen Dream), where they are secretly planning a weapons deal with the sanctioned Republic of Cha Cha. Also, there are sexy pirates. And grub-eating. And snake explosions. And mustache remover for ladies. And a dance number. Seriously.
There's a lot going on in this book. A LOT! And I know that's driven some readers away, and I understand. This is a hectic book that wants to accomplish so many things. And really, I didn't mind that. I liked it. It meant I got to read about feminism, girl power, femininity, lesbians, transgender characters, racism, overachievers and nonconformists. And it was pulled off with humor, wit, and still left me really attached to these characters.
I really liked the twist on Lord of the Flies - one of the girls mentions that, while being stranded on island turned those boys into savages, it took being on this island for the girls to really discover and be themselves.
Fans of Christopher Moore's Christopher Moore books may really enjoy this one. Or Tina Fey fans.Tina Fey There's a similar level of snark and awesomeness.
I'm not really doing this book justice in my review. It's just... amazing. Go read it. Give it to girls in your life. ...more