Looking at this page, I'm very, very surprised by all the negative reviews. I found the Wolves of Mercy Falls books enjoyable, with masterful writingLooking at this page, I'm very, very surprised by all the negative reviews. I found the Wolves of Mercy Falls books enjoyable, with masterful writing and (mostly) three dimensional characters. And it's a book I've put through kind of a lot of thoughtful scrutiny.
I'm wary of werewolf books (and paranormal books, especially paranormal romance), because of You-Know-Who, but Shiver isn't exactly the brainless hey-let's-all-rip-off-our-shirts kind of werewolf book. There's an actual scientific(ish. Mostly, at least) explanation, and rather than being all 'yeah, pack mentality is great, plus we're all bros' a lot of time in the trilogy is spent trying to find a cure. Sure, there's the familial feel of a bunch of people living together for long periods of time, but the same thing would be true if they were all were-sharks (or whatever), or even just regular humans.
The romance is sometimes kind of drippy, yes, but it's also nice to see a werewolf who *cough*doesn'tallwaystrytoseducethepantsofftheheroine, which is a big deal for me. Grace is a strong female character, and Sam isn't the kind of dude who jumps into bed with her, even though she practically orders him in.
The book is engaging, and a perfect escape to a far away town where there's snow for Christmas every year and hot, dusty summers spent in complete small-town boredom.
Something Maggie Steifvater said in a talk at Wordstock in 2011 was 'I don't write about werewolves. I write about humans, and then I write about wolves.' That rings incredibly true in the books. There's no lingering (hah, Lingering... Sorry) humanity, no telepathic 'hey let's try and still be human, even though we are freaking wolves right now' inter-pack human language when the wolves are wolves. They speak in abstract pictures, and even then, it's not speaking, it's more . . . Warning. And maybe, maybe, communicating. Which is different than speaking. And then when the wolves become humans again, they can barely remember what was happening when they were wolves.
So it's not so much a paranormal romance with werewolves book, it's a romance book featuring wolves. And it's good. It sticks with you long after you're done with the actual text (which, might I add, is classily tinted in some editions), and kind of bores into your skull until you have it permanently (but in a good way) fixed in the pleasure center(s) of your brain (probably the ventral tegmental area, knowing Cole)....more
I discovered this book in the back of a library, peeking between a hopeless book about a werewolf and another hopeless book about some cliche teenagerI discovered this book in the back of a library, peeking between a hopeless book about a werewolf and another hopeless book about some cliche teenager doing something fantastic. I had almost given up, but I gave my search for good books one more chance and pulled out Hold Still. The cover flap told me as much as a desperate middle-of-summer-with-nothing-to-read girl needs to know. It was about the fallout from a suicide. That itself was enough to make me think it over. Most books I read (except for the amazing Thirteen Reasons Why, which is really quite similar, and a great book to follow this one up) that even mention suicide are about people who think about it and then are saved for whatever reason. It's not often one comes up that has the gall to start after what seems like it should be the end of a story, when it really is everything but. So I checked the book out and went on my merry way.
As I fiddled with the binding on my way home, I found a little note, written in straight, pretty handwriting on blue-lined graph paper. I'm just going to write it out it here, because I found it so moving to see that books like this really do touch other people's lives, just like it did mine (though it hadn't yet). [First, a few bits of crucial info: Ingrid is the one who committed suicide, Caitlen was the friend she left behind, and Veena was her favorite photography teacher] And the note (with original spelling, capitalization, and punctuation):
"This book made me weep copious tears. I suffer from mild depression, I could be Ingrid. But seeing what she's done, To caitlen, veena, and herself its amazing how much life goes away with hers. Girls like Ingrid are out there, wasted talent over harsh teen hood, one day your beautiful and one day your nothing. Im going to be beautiful to everyone. And I will try to make myself included. I pledge to never be an Ingrid. I will grow up. Be an artist. I will fight though the pressure of media, and peers, I will be strong."
So I had this amazing note in my hands and was already crying even though I hadn't read the first sentence of the actual book yet, and I still couldn't imagine what it would do for me. I, like Ingrid, and like the person who left the note in the book, have dealt with and still deal with depression, and am so grateful to this book. It was an insight into so many things, rich and full of not only words but beautiful art. The story is honest, and doesn't skate over the sticky parts. It deals with things one wouldn't necessarily think about, like feeling guilty for laughing or when you want to buy rope for a swing and your mother thinks you are going to hang yourself. And it seems like a fully-rounded healing process, from the crushing impact of recent death to finally feeling free again. It was a book I feel actually did me good, and wasn't just something to read. I still think about it often. I've been toying around with the idea of giving it to some people I know could use something to show them what happens after you're gone. And I think that something like this is what many teens need, something to show them that even if they aren't sure about it, there are always people you 1) can help with simple kindness and 2) will have an impact on if you are gone. I know that I would be a worse person without it.
And to the person who left the not in the library book, if you're out there, I hope you don't mind I put it one here, and thank you. Thank you for being brave enough to share it with me. I hope you know that you are not alone, no matter what. Stay strong. ...more
All in all, I loved Pandemonium. There were some things I found annoying about it (view spoiler)[(let's talk about that whole I'm-so-weak-I-can't-carrAll in all, I loved Pandemonium. There were some things I found annoying about it (view spoiler)[(let's talk about that whole I'm-so-weak-I-can't-carry-water-buckets thing) (hide spoiler)], and some things I found bone-crushingly depressing (view spoiler)[(let's talk about that whole not-only-did-the-first-love-interest-die-but-so-did-the-cute-little-kid thing) (hide spoiler)], and some things I found completely infuriating about it, but I actually kind of like books that infuriate me sometimes. I loved the characters, so much that I related to them so whole-heartedly that I would sit around and chew on my lips from stressing about them even after I'd finished the book. The plot was fast-paced enough for me to get into and stay in the book, but I found that my absolute yearning for Alex kind of eclipsed the first part of the book. (view spoiler)[That is, until Lena meets a new lovable boy, and then I was sucked up in the I-hate-Julian-why-can't-she-just-be-with-an-alive-and-happy-Alex mindset, and then all I could think was "Ahhh, Julian . . . So good . . . So sweet . . . So innocent . . ." (hide spoiler)] It was a lovely read, a book I found not only interested me but made me forget that I was sitting on a plane or in a 95-degree 11th floor condo in Brazil while I read the entire thing, which is a tough thing to do. Plus, it came out at exactly the time I needed it most. I'd had it pre-ordered for months, and it delivered itself neatly to my Kindle the very morning I woke up and was like 'I really, really need a good book,' which is always a nice thing to happen.
Now, onto the spoilers. (view spoiler)[Oh, Lauren Oliver. You just couldn't let the chance to write a love triangle get away, could you? And dropping it on us in the last, infinitesimal part of the book was just cruel. I got over Alex, finally, and then he was just like 'Oh, actually, I just got more skeptical and bruised (and probably more ripped) instead of getting dead, now let me ruin what little shreds of happiness your heroine had finally managed to collect,' and maybe he didn't actually tell me that, but it was darn sure implied. And it kept me awake for nights. Thanks a lot.
And also, what was the deal with the sad bit of 'Yeah, your long-lost, also presumably dead mother was here, but you just missed her' thing? That also kept me up at night.
But I suppose the mark of a book that really sticks with you is one where you lay awake in bed mentally screaming because you are so passionately connected to the characters, and one where you can sit down and write a review of the book four months after you read it and still feel like you are in Lena's head and she's just been sitting around and jonesing on both love interests for however long you have been. So I commend you, Lauren Oliver. Good job for making me rip my hair out in frustration and bite my nails with worry. (hide spoiler)]...more
My experience with Divergent was stranger than most people's seem to be. You see, I read it backwards, one chapter at a time until I got to the middleMy experience with Divergent was stranger than most people's seem to be. You see, I read it backwards, one chapter at a time until I got to the middle, and then started at the beginning and met myself in the middle. Book club was fast approaching and I was desperate, I suppose.
And let me say, it's a book I would love in any chapter configuration. The writing, which is so often lacking in YA (especially YA Dystopian) was incredibly pleasant to read and not condescending. The characters were full, three-dimensional ones, real people that you could imagine did things even when the main character (Tris/Beatrice) wasn't with them. I loved Tobias/Four (the love interest) and I love Christina (the best friend). The world was not only rich and engaging, but something you could imagine actually happening in the nearish future, and something that, at first glance, I don't think I would be entirely uncomfortable with, which makes it all the more interesting as Tris notes it flaws and tries to address them.
I habitually gobble up all Dystopian novels I see, so I have to say I'm a little disappointed in how late I am to the party on this one. An unspecific review from a friend was what turned me off it, and I say, don't let something like that stop you from reading Divergent, because it is absolutely, 100% worth it.
Also: Many copies have a nice little fluff/interview/sneak peek of Insurgent, which I found not only fun to have and read, but actually enriched the story, which is rare with that kind of thing....more
I absolutely adoredInsurgent. I finished it in what seemed like minutes, but was, probably, in reality, sixish hours. And it is a hefty novel. This iI absolutely adoredInsurgent. I finished it in what seemed like minutes, but was, probably, in reality, sixish hours. And it is a hefty novel. This is, in my opinion, not so much a testament to my reading speed but to Veronica Roth's masterful use of language. Her writing is strong, and thoroughly enjoyable to read. Though I admit I have yet to be able to correctly pronounce Abnegation, I love the names of the factions. And though I admit to having kind of a typical fangirl-type crush on Tobias, I feel that he's a rich and deep character, and that his and Tris' relationship is realistic and just grungy-fighty enough to keep me from rolling my eyes when things take a turn for sappy. Tris, in herself, is an amazingly strong and relatable heroine, and I think, even (dare I say it?) more lovable than Katniss of The Hunger Games.
In fact, all of the characters in Insurgent are realistic, which is not commonly found in a novel this long or popular. Christina's reaction to Will's death and her feelings towards Tris are, while hopeful, realistic. Jeanine's methodic, almost robotic personality is intriguingly foreign, but also fairly realistic. Peter, who I find I don't 100% despise after all, has quite the strange world-view, but I actually like the way it is so different from the other characters in the book.
The plot is heart-racing enough for me, and I didn't get bored, at all. Insurgent is one of those books that I carried around with me, and read in the car even though that's not the kind of thing I can usually stand. I read while people talked to me, read while my entire extended family was not only in town but talking to me, and while holding up my eyelids at three o' clock in the morning because I couldn't bear to leave Veronica Roth's world, even though I've been dreaming about it ever since I read Divergent. And I do mean actual, real, wake up in the morning and wonder what that was about dreams that were narrated in a prose similar to the books. It was one of the most meaningful books I've ever read.
The only thing I didn't like about it was that it had such a cliffhanger ending. I feel like I'm exploding every time I think about the wait for #3. All in all, though, a small price to pay for such an amazing reading experience....more
Sara's Face is one of those books that I come back to every few years to read again because it was so very memorable the first time I read it. It's onSara's Face is one of those books that I come back to every few years to read again because it was so very memorable the first time I read it. It's one of those stories that I think about when I have nothing else to do, something that I'll pull out of my hat when someone asks me what my favorite books are.
Sara should be, by the stereotypical standards, completely happy with her life. She's beautiful, she has a great boyfriend who loves her, and she has the social skills to rise to the top of the high school pack. But she feels out of place in her own skin. She wears masks all the time, painting new faces for herself every day, and she is constantly thinking about plastic surgery. She does things that are borderline self-destructive, 'accidents' that no one can specifically say were on purpose, but happened while no one was there to tell for sure.
And along comes Jonathon Heat, fantastically famous celebrity, promising to take her under his wing and pay for her surgeries if only she moves into his mega mansion. She will have everything she's ever wanted, including a new body. But as she explores the remarkable world of mega-celebrities, she starts to wonder what's really going on, and it seems like Jonathon wants something that she's not ready to give.
Sara's Face ends with such a bang that you can't get it out of your head. It left me with so much to think about that I couldn't sleep for days. Told in such an engaging manner, it's sure to keep you curious. ...more