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Pick-a-Shelf: Monthly -Archive > 2009-01 - Young Adult - Post January's Reviews Here

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message 1: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 8178 comments Mod
Please share your readings this month here...

message 2: by Lynlee4 (new)

Lynlee4 | 134 comments (reposted from other board)
Finished The Second Summer of the Sisterhood. I gave it 3 stars but would have given 2.5, if I could. I think I'm done with that series - the girls came off as too bratty, I don't have a lot of patience with that.

message 3: by Vicki (new)

Vicki Blue is for Nightmares
This book is about Stacy Brown who has nightmares that reveal dangers in her everyday life. She ignored them once before and a young girl died, now her nightmares are about her best friend Drea and she is determined to do what she can to save her.I wasn't that impressed with the characterization and I felt the book was a bit surface. However, it was a quick read, and I was interested enough to see how it ends. I have her other books though and am not in any rush to pick them up.

Rating: 2 stars

message 4: by Julianne (last edited Jan 04, 2009 05:11PM) (new)

Julianne | 42 comments Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, 5 stars

So, I used the January shelf to motivate me to finish the Twilight series. I loved the first book, but my attraction was fizzling out (the middle two were just so-so for me). If this hadn't been the last one (or I hadn't already co-purchased the books with my sister) I probably wouldn't have bothered to delve into Breaking Dawn.

I'm soooo glad I did. The final book in this series made it worth reading the middle two. I fell in love again with Bella and thoroughly enjoyed (almost) the whole plot line.

I think Meyer can tone down the length of her books--perhaps her editors don't reign her in b/c they know the masses will read it no matter how long it is.

I'm glad I read this series. I can see why teenage girls loved these books so much, and I give Meyer props for managing the ending I hoped from her, and not making it sugary sweet drivel.

To those who have made it partway through this series and given up, stick with it. It's worth it in the end.

message 5: by Julianne (new)

Julianne | 42 comments The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, 4 Stars

I picked this one up after seeing it at the Library of Congress's book fair in September. It's just taken me this long to pull it off the shelf.

It's a story about a boy who is raised from a very young age by ghosts, in a centuries' old graveyard (presumably in Europe somewhere).

This was a cute story, though not sweet by any means (it is a precursor to the R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike of my generation). I wish Gaiman had built some of his story lines and clarified some of the plot twists and character motivations, but if I were a 12 year old boy I bet I wouldn't have cared (and I think that's the author's point).

message 6: by Sonja (new)

Sonja (crvena_sonja) 3 Willows by Ann Brashares, 3 *'s

This book was like an add on to Brashares' Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, which I had neither read nor seen the movies of, but it didn't matter much to this plot. It deals with a group of girls going from Middle School to High School and trying to reconcile their friendship from when they were in Elementary School. I appreciated that the problems they were facing were really and the plot didn't feel overdone at any point.

I liked the book overall but I don't think its something I would read again or pursue as a series...

message 7: by Kate (new)

Kate (kathrynlouwca) | 75 comments A Great and Terrible Beauty 4 Stars

I really liked it, though sometimes the writing style resembled that of a much younger other. However, the plot line was good so it made me want to continue the series. I am not really good with summaries so kind of think Little Princess meets Harry Potter meets something else and there you have it. It is a really good book and I recommend it!

message 8: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melitious) Julianne wrote: "Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, 5 stars

So, I used the ..."

Was the end of that directed toward me? lol

message 9: by Angie (last edited Jan 05, 2009 06:43PM) (new)

Angie (angiebowen) Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer - 4 stars

Upon my second reading of this I had to take it from 5 stars to 4. All three main characters are a bit annoying though they all become less so by the end of the book. Jacob especially bugs me with his whole quest to make Bella realize she loves him. And all of Edward's attempts at keeping her away from La Push. It's all too macho, I know what's best, patronization. I love the beginning and end of the series but the middle slouches a bit imo.

message 10: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1004 comments Just finished The Sorcerer in the North by John Flanagan, which is the fifth book in the Ranger's Apprentice series. I planned to read it in December, but didn't get to it until now - which works out perfectly for our YA month.

I've been enjoying this series a lot and would give the overall series five stars. I gave this book four stars for reasons I discuss in my review. My review is a bit spoilerish, so I won't include it here. You are welcome to read it if you like: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

message 11: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 8178 comments Mod
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (3 stars)

The last book of this series and again we join Gemma in her discovery of self through her revelation of English socities, relationships, and magic.

I have to admit I find the series just okay however I thoroughly enjoyed the last half of this book. Lots of actions, things were just happening and I just had to read on. I'm glad Gemma found what it is she wants from life and grew to have the courage to go for it.

message 12: by Nhemskie (new)

Nhemskie | 6 comments I finished reading eclipse by Meyer and I do agree with Angie. I got so fed up with Bella's stupidity in the story and Jacob's stubborness and Edward's too-much-to-be-true patience and understanding. Arrrgghhhhh~ (Anyways I have to see how this will end in the next book...hehehe)

message 13: by Avigail (new)

Avigail (ababaigalit) Well I just finished Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I gave it 4 stars an my review is the following: 02.01.09:
A short and perfectly-voiced story of preteenage Margaret who desperately wants breasts, her period, to fit in, and to understand God. Caught between her father's mother's Jewish heritage, and her mother's Christian, Maragaret--who has no religion--is trying to find God, but speaks to him all the time. A brilliant and well-written (truly in Margaret's voice) story about finding identity and understanding the world and religion. I recommend this book for young girls from ages 10 to 13 and for their moms to read if they haven't already as a young girl.

message 14: by Julianne (new)

Julianne | 42 comments Mel wrote: "Julianne wrote: "Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, 5 stars..."

Sorta...but to anyone with this issue, too ;-)

message 15: by Angela (new)

Angela The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
3 stars
I read the first one about a month ago and I enjoyed it enough that I wanted to read the rest of the series. A story about four teenage girls who are all best friends and usually find themselves apart for the summer. They have a pair of 'magical' pants that they exchange all summer long which keeps them together during their time apart. Each character has their own story and struggles that they endure. Overall a cute read.

message 16: by Angela (new)

Angela Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
4 stars

I liked this one a little better They just finished their last year of high school and will be going to different colleges. Again the pants play a role in the story, but all of them are together for their final summer before college with the exception of Bee. Again a cute read. Nothing mind blowing, but fun!

message 17: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 286 comments Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling

Four Stars

The final instalment in the Harry Potter phenomenon shows how the series has developed over the seven volumes. Harry and his friends face the final battle with Voldemort, deal with doubts about their friendship and learn that not everything they previously believed may be true.

I found the plot refreshingly realistic; there was no clear set of instructions left to Harry, so although he has a general idea as to what is expected of him he is forced to work out most of the details himself. The downside of this is that it takes him so long to work them out that you wonder if he ever will or whether he will spend the entire book wandering around Great Britain arguing with his friends. Obviously an ending that involves Harry Potter freezing to death in a snowstorm would not be satisfactory so there are a number of helpful clues discovered at convenient intervals which push them back in the right direction.

It is important to remember while reading, that Voldemort is truly evil and that he kills for fun. However, there were so many deaths, and so little time to comprehend them, that I quickly ceased to feel for the characters. Of all the sacrifices and heroics from all the characters which I feel I have got to know over the course of the series, it was really only that displayed by Dobby and the other House Elves which moved me to tears.

I hope that this does not give the impression that I did not like the book as I did enjoy it. Most of the more clumsy plot devices are only noticed when you look back at the novel with the intention of reviewing it and are not too noticeable while reading. I meant to have the series last me most of January but I started a little early (after Christmas) and ended up finishing all seven books before the end of the first week.

message 18: by Sunflower (new)

Sunflower | 174 comments Sarah that's a complete readathon in itself!

message 19: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1004 comments The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. 5 stars!

This is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read - and I almost didn't read it at all. The first time I checked it out from the library, I felt like I had too many books to read and it was very long. It didn't immediately catch my attention, so I returned it. This time I didn't stop after the first few pages, which gave Zusak's amazing words and characters a chance to pull me in. They wouldn't let go until I had finished the book. I literally read it in one sitting. At the end, I felt like I had experienced a lifetime's worth of emotions.

Maybe it was good that I waited, though. I recently read a biography of Hitler that attempted to answer three questions: What sort of man could plan and carry out such horrendous schemes? How was he able to win support for his deadly ventures? And why did no one try to stop him until it was almost too late? The Book Thief also answers these questions, but in an entirely different way. Yet even more important themes in the book are the power of words, the love of family, and the bonds of friendship.

I can't believe I almost missed reading The Book Thief. Everyone should read this book.

message 20: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 286 comments Yeah, it kinda ran away on me.

message 21: by Muriel (last edited Jan 10, 2009 04:39PM) (new)

Muriel (spaceyplum) A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Oh what a lovely book this turned out to be! I adored the heroine Anna and all the lovely characters who she meets... the lovely Ollie and her family in particular. I really loved that the story doesn't go the route you expect with Anna suffering terrible indignities.

The meanies on the other hand, led by the insufferable snob Muriel (why do most of my literary namesakes tend to be of the dastardly variety?) were totally loathsome... we're talking of the Dursley variety here ;-)

message 22: by Meghan (last edited Jan 09, 2009 06:01AM) (new)

Meghan (bookreadera) | 22 comments I read The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart for the JAN challenge.

My daughter chose this book for me to read and I was happily surprised at the quality of writing. This isn't just a teen fluff read. The angst of teenage life was expressed with wit and humor, yet I felt every sling and arrow (and I am far removed from my own teen years.)
My What I Learned The Boyfriend List List:
-I need to read more books by E. Lockhart.
-This genre definately deserves some more of my time.
-I'll willingly keep every wrinkle and every stretch mark and every extra pound rather than return to high school.

message 23: by Sunflower (last edited Feb 25, 2009 02:43AM) (new)

Sunflower | 174 comments New Moon, by Stephanie Meyer. Rating: 3 stars.
Nothing new to say that hasn't already been said about this somewhat addicitve series: disengage brain, enjoy!

message 24: by Angie (new)

Angie (angiebowen) Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine - 4 Stars

This is another one of those series where the story draws me in and I read the book in one sitting because I just have to know what happens next. And the cliffhanger endings just kill me when I can't get the next book right away.

As much as I love the story, I have to only give it 4 stars because the writing is only so so.

Lots of surprises in this one that I really wasn't expecting. I won't say more so as not to spoil but I can't wait for the next one to find out what happens next.

message 25: by Muriel (last edited Jan 10, 2009 04:29PM) (new)

Muriel (spaceyplum) The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Another lovely story from Ibbotson. This one is more involved than the last one I read but it still features a lot of wonderful secondary characters from Ruth's family and friends to Quin's imposing aunt. Quin made for an interestingly moody hero and the heroine with her curious chattiness reminded me a bit of one of my all-time favorite characters, Anne Shirley... I actually started to picture Megan Follows in my head as I was reading.

I enjoyed the love affair here and only wish the misunderstandings hadn't gotten quite so convoluted towards the end although I thoroughly enjoyed Pilly's astute observation as to Ruth's behavior at the end though.

message 26: by Lynlee4 (new)

Lynlee4 | 134 comments The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I gave this 3 stars but would have given 2.5, if I could.

It's a story about a young teen girl growing up with an alcoholic mom and a down's syndrome brother. Heartbreaking at times. I didn't care for the author's writing style and feel that although it's a good story, I'm not so sure kids would stick with the book.

message 27: by Jamie (new)

Jamie The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley - 4 stars

I really enjoyed this book. Although the mystery was quite predictable, it was still a page-turner. The story was a bit reminiscent of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series (and I’m sure much closer to his Nursery Crimes series), but I liked this book better, as the fairy-tale world didn’t seem as contrived as Fforde’s world does to me. While reading, I often compared it to the movie Shrek, too, even though the main characters are humans (I haven’t read Shrek yet, though). For the most part, the book seems to have been written for a younger audience than I’m used to with YA books, but I’m still looking forward to subsequent books in this series. One disappointment: Sabrina’s poor attitude lasted for a good portion of the book and it got annoying after a while.

message 28: by Tien (new)

Tien (tiensblurb) | 8178 comments Mod
Jamie wrote: "The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michae..."

Sounds interesting, Jamie. I really liked the Thursday Next series.

message 29: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1004 comments The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. 2 stars.

THIS is one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century? Why? I guess I missed something. Holden Caulfield is just an unpleasant character, and nothing much ever happens in the book. I found it a chore to get through until right towards the end. I liked Holden's little sister and how much he cared for her.

I did find one quote I liked: "What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though."

I'm surprised I could find a quote of that length without a profanity, though. The book is littered with them, and I just don't see the point. Definitely not a favorite.

message 30: by Jean (new)

Jean Oops, I posted my read for this group under the incorrect discussion board. My January 2009 read for this group will be, Are you There God? It's me, Margaret.

message 31: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (manda_82) I have just finished The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. I gave it 3 stars. I enjoyed the book and agree with Angela’s comments above about the series being a cute read.

I can see why it is popular for young adults. I liked how through the pants and their friendship the girls found courage to deal with the issues and emotions they were experiencing.

message 32: by Cam (new)

Cam The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank - 5 stars
What an extraordinary young woman she was! Even though we all know the end of her story, I still found myself hoping for the outcome to be different!
I personally wouldn't have come close to articulating my thoughts and emotions at the age of 13-15 as well as Anne did. Let alone seeing fault in my behaviour and flaws in my character, as she matured to do so as the diary progressed. At the beginning there were traces of the classic teenager (centre of the universe) as well as second child syndrome (what about me? & Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!).
Amazingly she was extremely positive regardless of her environment 'What I'm experiencing here is a good beginning to an interesting life'. I certainly doubt I could have been so pep about life after a year in the worlds first big brother house when eviction didn't mean driving away in a brand new car with a mobile phone it meant your prospects were either instant death or witnessing and experiencing the worst human nature has to offer.
My Heart bleeds for her father, who must have been unbelievably proud and surely gained great comfort from her phyical memory of their time in the annex and yet unfathomably distressed by some of it's content. How lucky we are that he ultimately chose to share it with the rest of the world

message 33: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1004 comments Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. 4 stars.

Wow. POWERFUL. It was interesting reading this directly after The Catcher in the Rye. They have a lot of similar points, yet are vastly different. I was much more sympathetic to Melinda's character and didn't find it tedious to be in her mind listening to her thoughts as I did with Holden Caulfield. Also, Melinda actually had a reason for her actions, whereas Holden was reacting to consequences brought about by his own actions.

I also loved Melinda's sense of humor. I would never have expected to laugh while reading a book dealing with such a serious subject matter. I wish I had had her sense of humor while going through high school!

message 34: by Lynlee4 (new)

Lynlee4 | 134 comments Little Women - 3 stars.

I had a hard time finishing - the middle felt like it dragged on forever. I'm glad I stuck with it tho.

message 35: by Erica (new)

Erica | 1 comments Im reading The Catcher and the Rye for the first time, which I expected to be better, but its ok. Im also reading the third book in the Narnina Series, which I love.

message 36: by Amanda A (new)

Amanda A (carolinabookworm) | 268 comments Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

This is the first book in the Jessica Darling series. Jessica is dealing with a nightmarish year in the life of a teenager. Her best friend, Hope, has moved away leaving her to endure high school along with the rest of her group of friends, most of whom she doesn't like very much. Her ex-boyfriend, Scotty, follows her around constantly, the outcast of her high school, Marcus "Krispy Kreme" Flutie, has made her the object of his mind games and her family is driving her crazy. This book is a light, funny and sometimes sarcastic read that is definitely worth a read.

message 37: by Jean (new)

Jean I just finished my January read, Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret. Written in 1970, but is still relevant for pre-teens these many years later.

message 38: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Tuell (booksloveme) new moon

book 2 was not as good as book 1. the beginning started out strong, but the middle got kinda weak after edward left. the book picked back up at the end. to me, the story was nothing without edward.

edward leaves bella. bella breaks down, but eventually, she finds herself again with the help of jacob black. jacob has loved bella since the beginning. now bella thinks she may be falling in love with him. but then, alice shows up. something is very wrong and bella has to fix it.

message 39: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1004 comments Looking for Alaska by John Green. 3 stars.

I can't wholeheartedly recommend this book, but I wish I could. I loved the characters and the writing style. John Green beautifully captures the essence of "teen" with some smart, likeable, and realistic characters. They question the meaning of life and death (“How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?”), they explore the value of true friendship and life experiences (“I go to seek a Great Perhaps”), and in the end they actually learn something.

John Green has written a novel that The Catcher in the Rye only aspires to be. His characters actually learn and grow as a result of their experiences. Unfortunately, as with The Catcher in the Rye, this novel also has content that I wish it didn't. There is some profanity, but what bothers me more is the constant drinking and smoking and some sexual activity by the teenaged protagonists. I understand that this may be "reality" for many teens, but I still can't endorse it. Without that, I would have given this book a solid four stars.

message 40: by Tango (last edited Jan 18, 2009 12:27PM) (new)

Tango Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

I read this on my 11 year old's recommendation. The plot was certainly interesting and engaging and it is easy to see why he is hooked. As for the actual writing, as an English teacher I have read many, many books that are better written than this one. He writes in half sentences much of the time and his constant use of colloquialism gets quite annoying from the first page. That said, I will probably read the next one just to keep up with my son.

message 41: by Rachel (last edited Jan 18, 2009 01:35PM) (new)

Rachel Brand Nancy's Mysterious Letter by Carolyn Keene

I totally adored Nancy Drew when I was 11/12 so I thought this would be a great revist to my preteen years, but it wasn't at all what I was expecting.

I reckon that the copy of this book which I own is from the 1960s due to the style of drawings, but it appears to be the original 1932 text. I now understand the statement on Wikipedia which said that the British publishers of Nancy Drew "revised" the books to suit the British audience. The British Nancy Drew books which I've read (one of which was published as early as the 70s) have a lot more detail in them, and appear to portray Nancy as a young woman in the 1950s, not the 1930s. There were a lot of comments in this book about Nancy being a brilliant and contentious driver, and several people lectured her on "not knowing her place" and being too independent for a woman of her age. Bess and George barely featured and Ned acted like he was formally courting Nancy! Nancy also wears evening gowns and sets out to buy a hat in the Emerson colours to wear to Ned's football game. As quaint as this book was, I definitely prefer the British Nancy Drew books. The mystery in the British novels is generally much more complex and detailed. Overall, this was a rather sweet book to read, but Nancy just didn't seem to be the Nancy Drew who I grew up with. 5/10

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) Ouch, Natasha!

message 43: by Jamie (last edited Jan 21, 2009 06:21AM) (new)

Jamie The Sisters Grimm: The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley - 3 1/2 stars

This was another fun Sisters Grimm book. I'm quite enjoying this series so far, although I still think it is geared towards an audience that is younger than I'm used to for YA books. I think this is partly because the main theme is plainly stated for the reader - I'm also not a fan of the vocabulary lessons the author keeps tossing in, although they may be helpful for younger readers. This book ends with a cliffhanger, so I may just have to run to the library to get the third book soon.

message 44: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melitious) The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray - 4 stars

Just finished this book. It was a long one and parts seemed to drag, but others seemed to fly by. This book had a lot of lead up to the climactic end. There were quite a few surprises -- one I accidentally ruined for myself by reading Bray's blog, but still kind of shocking. I have enjoyed this trilogy and am kind of sad to see it go.

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) The Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis. 4 Stars.

My favorite in the Narnia series. A boy, Shasta, escapes from his "father" when he hears the man bartering with a visiting tarkaan (great lord) over the price to buy him. He escapes with the tarkaan's war horse, in the direction of "Narnia and the North."

message 46: by Kristina (new)

Kristina (klonk) New Moon - Stephenie Meyer.

The second book of the Twilight Saga, and I'm not as impressed as I was with the first book. The book handles a lot of questions that have to do with life, love and friendship. Overall the story is good, but not as gripping as Twilight itself.

message 47: by Ashley (new)

Ashley  (angelashly) | 7 comments This Lullaby-Sarah Dessen.

Such a good book. Sarah Dessen may be added to my favorite authors list.

message 48: by Donna (new)

Donna (dfiggz) I just started to readBreaking Dawn I am not a big fan of the series but I have to finish what I started so we will see...

message 49: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melitious) The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot - 3 stars

I read this book very quickly. It varies greatly from the movie, but I definitely expected that. I found Mia's character to be very whiny in the book and she kind of annoyed me. But, all in all, I still enjoyed the story enough to consider reading the second one.

message 50: by Avigail (new)

Avigail (ababaigalit) Well I finished The Second Summer of the Sisterhood. I gave it 3 stars.
Here is my review:
What I liked most about the book is that the book describes what each girl is feeling and what they are thinking. It is also very unpredictable. It is impossible to tell what is going to happen next. Bridgets story was the most touching and enjoyable as was Tibby's story. But Lena and Carmen are whiners in this book and it really got on my nerves. It ties up loose ends, which is nice, but doesn't maintain the independence each girl had before.

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