My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park
Author: Steve Kluger
Publication Date: 3/13/08
Best friends and unofficial brothers since they were six, ninth-graders T.C. and Augie have got the world figured out. But that all changes when both friends fall in love for the first time. Enter Alé. She's pretty, sassy, and on her way to Harvard. T.C. falls hard, but Alé is playing hard to get. Meanwhile, Augie realizes that he's got a crush on a boy. It's not so clear to him, but to his family and friends, it's totally obvious! Told in alternating perspectives, this is the hilarious and touching story of their most excellent year, where these three friends discover love, themselves, and how a little magic and Mary Poppins can go a long way.Review:
I miss Boston. I miss walking through the Commons in the fall, drinking on roof decks in the summertime, riding the T and just getting off at random stops, shoveling my car out, pumpkin ale, my book club besties, Fenway franks, that feeling that a bar gets when a Dropkick Murphys song comes on, and perusing the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. Hell, I even miss the frakking BU students who ride the green line and the 57 TWO STOPS instead of just walking. This book almost made me physically sick with nostalgia. That’s the kind of hold Boston can exert over a person--and only lived there for a few years. I loved this book. It filled the Boston-shaped hole in my heart.
The author blurb on Goodreads does not tell me where Steve Kluger
grew up, but if it isn’t Boston/Brookline, I’ll eat my own hand. Alright, don’t worry too much about me, I’m back from visiting his website and he lives in Boston. I’m glad I checked him out because it confirms something else I'd been thinking—this book is very close to Kluger’s heart. He wrote what he knows and is passionate about and did a fabulous job of it. I read a lot of science fiction, fantasy, romance, and speculative/dystopian fiction. All of these genres are fun to read but I rarely connect with them on an emotional level. Young adult books often get a bad rap but I honestly can't think of an adult book that has moved me the way that several YA books (most recently this one and The Piper's Son
, which I can't recommend highly enough) have--especially lately.
What do an Asian gay teenager, a deaf orphan, a single dad, the Hispanic daughter of a diplomat, Julie Andrews, and a same-sex couple, one of whom is a Congresswoman have in common? That's right, they are all characters in this book. People on the lookout for absolute realism should probably give this one a skip but I truly think they would be missing out. This book is about the little magical moments in life and it would be a shame if a reader couldn't just run with the story on this one. After all, we're supposed to be the dreamers, aren't we? Back to the story: TC Keller (Anthony Conigliaro Keller) is named for a famous Red Sox player, as are many other members of his extended family, including his father, Teddy. (after Ted Williams of baseball AND tunnel fame in Beantown) After losing his mother at age six, TC became best friends and brothers (of a sort) with Augie Hwong. Fast forward to high school and the two are now writing a school essay about their "most excellent year." (freshman year) Still best friends, the two are joined in their essay-writing by Alejandra Perez, TC's crush who recently moved to Brookline when her father accepted a position at Harvard.
The story is told in epistolary fashion and I think it is the better for it. Because we not only have sections of Augie, TC, and Alé's essays, but also snippets of news articles, IM coversations, parent/teacher conference transcripts,and letters, we get a feel for so many side characters. One of the best things about this book, if not THE best part, is how you get a feel for the community--not only the family members but also the school, the neighborhood and Red Sox Nation. Boston has a very community feel to it to begin with and I loved how the book really hit home (pun intended) on that note. I've lived all over the place but there aren't many cities where it is totally normal to go to little league or pick-up baseball games if you aren't a kid and don't have a kid on the team. And Kluger takes readers all over the city on dates and adventures. He just gets it.
This book is a wonderful example of getting relationships right. Parental relationships, lifelong friendships. sibling relationships (whether blood or otherwise), and I think the most moving relationship was that of mentor/big brother. I think Hucky Harper might be one of my favorite characters ever. TC first sees Hucky, a six-year old boy, watching his baseball game. After Hucky gives TC the pitch calls when TC is at bat with stunning accuracy, TC befriends him and they form an adorable relationship. Hucky, for the depressing reason in the spoiler above, is orphaned. (not at all depressing in itself but only because he was in the foster system because
of it) He hasn't spoken to anyone in over a year and spends most of his time watching Mary Poppins. While the book is about what made that specific year the most excellent for TC, Augie, and Alé, I know it will be far up there in Hucky's life as well. The extent to which everyone in TC's life went to bring Hucky into their fold was heartwarming.
The blurb about this book indicates that it is about young love. I mean, I guess it is. Both Augie and TC spend most of their year developing meaningful relationships with classmates. When it comes down to it, I cared much more about the secondary storylines in this one. But don't get me wrong--I loved every bit of it.
The bottom line is that this book made me want to move back to Boston, find a cool house in Brookline, and start procreating.
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publication Date: 9/1/08 (US)
"What do you want from me?" he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.
Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.
In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her futureReview:
A lot of people think that Henry David Thoreau* went to Walden to live a solitary life. I felt like that until I actually went to Walden Pond. Imagine my surprise when some friends and I decided to go for a hike, go for a swim and check out the scenery--we left Boston around 9...and we got there by 9:30. Yeah right, HDT, I could live deliberately in the woods, too, if I knew my transcendentalist cronies would bring me a Cinnabon and some pumpkin ale once in awhile.** Nevertheless, Thoreau’s idea served as the inspiration for Yeats’ poem Lake Isle of Innisfree
*** from which Melina Marchetta
quotes in this novel. Yeats, who looks a little like Kenneth from 30 Rock
, wrote about Innisfree because, to him, it served as an idyllic place where he could always go for peace and solitude. (I find it rather amusing that both Thoreau and Yeats wrote fascinating works about livin’ la vida simple that become so popular. Lesson:
If you find a perfect place, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF) But Marchetta's magnificent storytelling was only enhanced by her reference to Yeats' poem. Instead of pounding quotations into your head, like a sad number of authors do, Marchetta only mentioned Innisfree
once in passing...but it stuck with me through the rest of the book.
I don’t want to go into the plot of this book too deeply, for the point I took away from the book is that we all have those idyllic places we go to in our minds. For some of the characters in this novel, their Innisfree was with family, or with their childhood friends, or even just spending time with one particular person. It doesn't have to be a place at all. No matter how far we get away from those memories, they are always all polished up in our minds like the Hope Diamond when we need to imagine a perfect place in time.
Marchetta’s characters, as usual, were intriguing and fleshed out. It is constantly amazing to me that I can read a book and be unable to visualize even the protagonist, while this author is able to give me an extensive cast of characters and I feel like each one of them is someone I know. From Santangelo to Griggs to Raffy to the Brigadier, I understood where they were coming from and could reasonable predict what they would do in a situation. Very rarely was I frustrated with choices that characters made. I also have no idea how Marchetta can make my heart hurt one moment and make me hysterically laugh the next.
I must admit that the territory war aspect of the novel was not my favorite, though I understand its place in the overall story. The transfer back and forth between Taylor's present day and Hannah's story was rough for the first fourth or so of the book. If you try it and get stuck, please truck through it--it is so worth it.
As I knock each of Melina Marchetta’s book off my to-be-read stack, I am a little more sad. When I’m done with them, how long will I have to wait for a new one?
*The Wikipedia entry for HDT informs me that he wore a “neckbeard” for many years and insisted many women found it attractive. 1) I never knew that hideousness had a name; and 2) If you are a woman that finds a neckbeard attractive and we are friends on here, just go ahead and defriend me.
**He was only 1.5 miles from his homeboy Emerson’s house.
***This poem is the shit.
EDIT: I listened to the first third or so of this book and read the rest in book form. The audiobook was great but I wanted to read it faster. The only negative for the audiobook was the annoying DMB-type music that played between every chapter and at the beginning and end of every disc.5/5 stars
Blood Red Road
Author: Moira Young
Publication Date: 6/7/11
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back. Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization. Blood Red Road
has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.
Have you ever wanted to read a bleak quest novel narrated by a rough and ready Elly May Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies? If so, this one’s for you! Just kidding. Er, sort of. The narration style of this will certainly alienate some readers but after the first 15-20 pages, I didn’t really notice it anymore. In fact, it actually felt comfortable. Saba, the protagonist in this work, lives in a barren dustland with her Pa, younger sister Emmi, and her twin, Lugh. Saba’s narration is due to the fact that she and her siblings have lived an isolated life and never learned to read or write, which seems typical of basically everyone in the story. It’s never totally clear how our world has morphed into Saba’s world or where all the “Wreckers” (presumably us) have gone, but Young’s world stands on its own. (and frankly, at the rate our disposable culture is going no one has to try very hard to convince me that our world will be shit in the not-so-distant future) The descriptions of the sandy dunes, the blowing winds, and the overall bleakness of the landscape made my lips dry and my throat raspy. It’s probably best to keep a cup of ice water nearby—you’ll want it. Trust me.
After a group of men on horseback come to their home, kill Saba’s father, and kidnap her twin brother, Saba is on a mission to rescue Lugh from the danger he is in. For me, the best part of the story is Saba’s journey from the time she leaves home until she leaves Hopetown. (this makes up roughly the first half of the book) I mean, wouldn’t every YA book be a little bit better with more cagefighting? Think on that. I absolutely don’t want to ruin any of the storyline for you. I want you to be as surprised as I was—and there were several moments when I was super excited to find out what would happen next.
This novel has a very strong set of supporting characters. Saba is supported in her mission by her sister, Emmi, whom Saba undervalues and disregards for much of the book. Emmi shows her worth several times over, and I’m hoping that she will be an even larger part of the rest of the series. I had a smile on every time Epona showed up in the story--any fellow Zelda lovers will know why. (cue me watching 20 minutes of people playing the ocarina on Youtube) Epona, Maeve, and Ash are all Free Hawks, a gung-ho group of female warriors who raid and harass authority. They show up several times in the story, and will likely be part of the series to come. In addition, Saba’s love interest, Jack, is along for most of the journey. I can see how the romantic elements of this story might annoy some people or feel unrealistic. However, I thought Saba’s naïveté in some respects balanced out with her tough exterior. She fumbled a bit, they both did, but I believed it in this world where people are lacking human connections. The love that frustrated me the most was that between the siblings. Saba is willing to risk her life more than once to save her brother, who we only get to know for the first 10 pages or so. Emmi, on the other hand, Saba is willing to just dump off several times in the story. Young does
give an explanation for this but it just comes off as Saba being absolutely one-minded about saving Lugh and her self-involvement. She really does come more into herself by the end of the story—and I hope she continues to become the woman she could be in later series installments.
Zach Galifianakis does a comedy bit wherein he describes “suggested looks” for his stylist to go for including the “person who writes on alpaca message boards,” “the homeless professor,” and “the lighthouse attendant.” His beard really lends itself to all of these looks. Anyway, I was thinking about how to describe this book and here it goes…
Just give me the Wizard of Oz
quest with grit and less happy fun times.
Just give me The Road
with teenagers and a fantasy vibe.
Just give me a post-apoc Dune
not in space and with less bizarre shit.
Just give me The Fellowship of the Ring
set in Mordor without the overly burdensome description or any of the fantastical beings.
Just give me House of the Scorpion
but instead of opium, it’s chaal and there isn’t any cloning.
The last one is probably the most accurate but please don’t get the idea that I think this book is overly derivative. Pretty much everything is derivative these days and that is not always a bad thing. I love all of the books I compared this one to and Moira Young
did a fantastic job of telling a gripping story. I agree with other reviewers who argue that the first half of this book is much more solid than the latter half. That’s true, but I was enthralled the entire way through. My gripes with the novel were few but the most glaring was the number of coincidences. In real life, plans don't go off without a hitch and people don't show up at the exact moment
you absolutely need them.
I think this book stands out in the YA dystopian scene and it is a solid 4 star read. I’m crossing my fingers here but I think the second and third books have immense potential to be 5-star reads.
If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Publication Date: 1/1/09
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile, Audio-Penguin AudioBlurb (GR):
In a single moment, everything
changes. Seventeenyear- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she fi nds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...
A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make - and the ultimate choice Mia commands.Review:
Books about death and dying are particularly hard to review. The way we react to them is so deeply personal that I'm skeptical about the actual value of my (or anyone's) review of the work to other readers. When we read, we don't come to the book with a clean slate--we come to it with years of experiences, friendships, and memories that provide us with a vantage point from which to view the story. And if you have an awful tendency toward existentialism, like I do, these books only become more emotional as you evaluate your own life,choices, and relationships along with the protagonist.
I spent two years of my life moving around the US doing service projects, and most of that time I lived in the gulf after Hurricane Katrina. Living in a tent city and gutting houses for months in what basically felt like a post-apocalyptic world was life-changing for me, but the absolute devastation of the area wasn't what did me in, it was the people. Most of the people whose homes we gutted had not returned from evacuation yet. Their homes had been under 10-12 feet of water for two weeks. My point is this: we threw out almost all of their belongings. Barely anything was salvageable--at the most, we found a few pictures or some of their silver or china. I cannot imagine what it was like for those families. Is it better to come back to a nightmare or to come back to an empty, clean slate from which to start again? I still don't know. But I realized, after speaking to so many residents, that most of their stuff didn't matter to them. They had their lives. Their family. Their connections to other people. I know it sounds cliche, but I feel like it is something that a lot of us tend to forget. Even when it feels like all is lost, there is always
something there to hold on to.
Mia, the protagonist of If I Stay
is in the intensive care unit after a horrible car accident. While she is in a comatose state, some part of her (her soul?) is able to see everything that is going on outside of her body. I found it fascinating--so often with an outside watcher, we see a person hovering over their funeral or watching to see what happens afterward. In Mia's case, we were able to follow along with her while she makes her decision to stay or go. I wasn't sure what Mia's choice was going to be, even to the last second, and I appreciated that fact--Gayle Forman
gets it. The relationships between the characters felt so real to me, especially because a lot of my immediately family are doctors and nurses so I've spent a lot of time in hospitals.
I read an article today about the decline of the "book review." The author was discussing the extent to which people used to depend on critical and objective book reviews for suggestions of what to read and how the number of literary critics has severely decreased. (actual literary critics, not just reviewers)It got me thinking about what I actually look for in a book review. What makes me want to read it? Though I definitely enjoy the NYT Book Review, I am much more likely to buy a book that my friends recommend, on Goodreads or in real life. Give me a subjective book review about what a book made you feel
and I am all over it. If you are the same way, you should know: This book made me feel optimistic for the future at a time when I have been feeling completely lost, so for that, it is getting 5 stars. (9/10 on my blog scale)
As an aside, I'd just like to add that this book was fantastic in audio format. Once in awhile, cello music played in the background and it was lovely to hear it considering Mia was an amazing cellist. Also, having a person actually read me the lyrics to Mia's father's song and to hear Adam say his speech to her was beautiful. I'd definitely recommend this book in audio format.5/5 stars
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Publication Date: 4/8/11
Publisher: DelacorteBlurb (GR):
It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.Review:
Grace Carpenter has lived in the same small town her entire life. Her mother forced her into pageants when she was younger but Grace sabotaged her way out of them. Now a sophomore (after skipping a grade), Grace has a few interests (collecting rocks, plotting how she might get out of her tiny town) but she spends a great deal of time stalking being mildly obsessed with Mandarin Ramey. Mandarin, a senior, is rather mysterious. She is known around town for her...loose moral character. Grace finally gets her chance to get to know Mandarin when she begins to tutor her. (If you can call it tutoring, because there really wasn’t much tutoring going on.) The two of them cause trouble around town and Grace learns what it is like to have a reputation. At the same time, Grace feels alienated from her mother. Grace’s father has been out of the picture since her birth and she feels like she lost her mother’s love when she left pageants. Now that Grace’s younger sister Taffeta (no joke) has taken up the pageant rein, Grace feels forgotten.
Okay, enough about the plot. I found the writing to be rather heavy on the description but I didn’t mind. I read this book in a day—and I wanted
to finish it, which is more than I can say about a lot of books I’ve been reading lately. I wanted to find out if either Grace or Mandarin came to some life-altering realization about life. (erm, not really) Throughout the story, I was more fascinated with Mandarin than with Grace. This book suffers from Secondary Character Syndrome—when the side characters are more interesting than the protagonist. John Green
seems to want
his books to have this affliction. (Tiny Cooper, Alaska, Margo Margo Roth Spiegelman) Anyway, I wanted to know more about what made Mandarin the way she is. Her story seemed like it was begging to be told but he could only grasp onto small bits of it through Grace’s perspective. It was frustrating.
There are several aspects of this book that just didn’t do it for me. I don’t want to spoil anyone’s read so I’m going to put them into a spoiler. Read at your own risk: spoilers in original Goodreads review.
I find it rather amusing that I read Unearthly
last week and remarked on how few books are set in Wyoming. What are the chances that I'd read another in the same week? Like Mandarin
is set in Washokey, a fictional town that seems to be located in the Northeast corner of the state. (Just about every town in Wyoming gets a mention but I couldn't pin it down) Kristen Hubbard
describes the town, environs, and weather in such a way that I could absolutely picture it all in my imagination. Then again, I've been through that area of Wyoming several times and I think seeing some of those tiny towns in the middle of nowhere really helps form the picture in my mind. Even if this book wasn't my favorite, I'd really enjoy reading more books set in this town from the author.
Overall, though, I just didn’t find Grace’s story engaging. However, it seems like many other Goodreaders did so it might be a case of wrong book, wrong time.
Author: Laura Buzo
Publication Date: 8/10
Publisher: Allen & UnwinBlurb (GR):
A wonderful, coming-of-age love story from a fresh new voice in YA ﬁction.
'Miss Amelia Hayes, welcome to The Land of Dreams. I am the staff trainer. I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei and I will give you the good oil. Right? And just so you know, I'm open to all kinds of bribery.'
From the moment 15-year-old Amelia begins work on the checkout at Woolworths she is sunk, gone, lost...head-over-heels in love with Chris. Chris is the funny, charming, man-about-Woolies, but he's 21, and the 6-year difference in their ages may as well be 100. Chris and Amelia talk about everything from Second Wave Feminism to Great Expectations and Alien but will he ever look at her in the way she wants him to? And if he does, will it be everything she hopes?Review:
Amelia Hayes works at the “Land of Dreams,” also known as Woolworth’s. (which isn’t American Woolworth’s but instead a Australian grocery store. Who knew? I just read about it on Wikipedia) For a large part of this book I was picturing them working in a Rite Aid/CVS type deal and I couldn’t figure out how they could have so many registers. *facepalm* Also, they wear bow ties? Anyway, she works there a few times a week to earn money while she finishes up high school. Most of her co-workers are vacuous drones but she develops a crush on the 21-year old who trains her. Chris, who is 6 years her senior, chats books with her (and we all know what a turn-on that is. This is Goodreads—book lover central!) and they discuss issues while the rest of their coworkers are gossiping.
There was only one singlet sighting in this one. I’m always on the lookout since I started my Aussie YA binge. For those of you who are not hopelessly addicted to Australian YA books, a singlet is a cami or tank top. And the title of this book is a reference to an Aussie slang saying that means “useful information.” So, I’mma give you the good oil on this book…
It’s worth the read. It flips back and forth between Amelia’s point of view and Chris’s journal. I actually really enjoyed the change back and forth because it was rather large chunks of time and pages. The author will play a month or two through with Amelia and then give you Chris’s half of the same time period. I know most people reading this would probably reconnect with their memories of being a lovestruck 15-year old girl but I really identified with Chris’s point of view. He’s almost finished with uni but has no clue what he is up to. Just add on a few more years to his age and change him into a girl and he could’ve been talking about me. I especially enjoyed hearing his take on what other people are up to. I’ve mailed the book off but thankfully the lovely Arlene kept the quote I wanted to include: “I can’t run my own race. I’m constantly checking what’s happening in the other lanes.” Luckily, most of the people running in the other lanes in my life aren’t reading my reviews on Goodreads.:) It is depressing, though, to not have a clue.
Like every other Aussie book I’ve read, I definitely recommend this one. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the queen of YA’s books or another recent read (Pink
) but it is solid. It is funny and fast-paced but I just wanted more from it. I was annoyed at the ending3.5/5 stars
The Juniper Game
Author: Sherryl Jordan
Publication Date: 1991
Blurb (GR): Juniper is a beautiful and popular 14 year-old girl. She has many friends and a handsome boyfriend – 7th former Kingsley Blayd. However, Juniper has an interest that sets her apart from her peers. She is obsessed with all things medieval. Her room contains an impressive collection of medieval treasures - bunches of dried herbs and flowers, pictures of castles, brass rubbings, a beautiful stained glass window and a shelf ready to hold the ornate silver chalice that Juniper knows will soon be hers. She even has straw on the floor!
In addition to Juniper’s penchant for all things medieval she is also telepathic. When she discovers that the new boy at school Dylan Pidgely is a talented artist she realises that he would be the perfect person for her to conduct her experiment of telepathic image exchange with. And he is. The experiment is a success right from the start. Soon the pair have established a strong telepathic bond. Through mediation they are able to travel through time to medieval London and record their experiences. However, Juniper soon becomes obsessed with the experiment. She gets drawn further and further into another time – one that seems to be happening simultaneously with the present and begins to threaten the future…
I wanted more time travel, I got more of Juniper treating Dylan like a doormatfriend for almost the entire book and long descriptions of Dylan drawing better pictures than Da Vinci.
Or maybe I was just Sassy McCrankypants while I was reading this. I wanted it to be BAM! POW! TIME TRAVEL! $*(#& and it totally wasn't.
Can you think of more quirky cool or quirky annoying characters? Let's discuss! (I am immovable regarding the characters on the list but feel free to disagree:))
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Eon, #1)
Author: Alison Goodman
Publication Date: 8/1/08
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Blurb (GR): Eon has been studying the ancient art of Dragon Magic for four years, hoping he'll be able to apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But he also has a dark secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragoneye, the human link to an energy dragon's power. It is forbidden for females to practice the Dragon Magic and if discovered Eon faces a terrible death.
**When I originally made this graph, it was on a 5-star scale. It would be 6.5-7 out of 10 on a 10-point scale.
A Few More Points:
*If you want someone to seem like a villain, do NOT make them taste like a creamsicle when you kiss them. Vanilla and orange=AWESOME.
*How DARE you end a book at that point! (just kidding, Ms. Goodman. You hooked me for the next one)
*I hope that Chart is part of book two. When he says "Sluuuuut" to Irsa, I laughed out loud at the audiobook. (One high point of the audio version which, overall, left a lot to be desired)
I listened to part of this and read the remainder because the narrator began to grate on my nerves.
Author: Lili Wilkinson
Publication Date: 2/8/11
Blurb (GR): Ava has a secret. She is tired of her ultracool attitude, ultra-radical politics, and ultrablack clothing. She's ready to try something new—she's even ready to be someone new. Someone who fits in, someone with a gorgeous boyfriend, someone who wears pink.
Transferring to Billy Hughes School for Academic Excellence is the perfect chance to try on a new identity. But just in case things don't work out, Ava is hiding her new interests from her parents, and especially from her old girlfriend.
Secrets have a way of being hard to keep, though, and Ava finds that changing herself is more complicated than changing her wardrobe. Even getting involved in the school musical raises issues she never imagined. As she faces surprising choices and unforeseen consequences, Ava wonders if she will ever figure out who she really wants to be.
Humor, heart, and the joys of drama—on- and offstage—combine in Ava's delight-fully colorful journey of self-discovery.
So there's that.
A War of Gifts (Ender Saga, #5)
Author: Orson Scott Card
Publication Date: 10/30/07
Blurb (GR): Orson Scott Card offers a Christmas gift to his millions of fans with this short novel set during Ender's first years at the Battle School where it is forbidden to celebrate religious holidays.
The children come from many nations, many religions; while they are being trained for war, religious conflict between them is not on the curriculum. But Dink Meeker, one of the older students, doesn't see it that way. He thinks that giving gifts isn't exactly a religious observation, and on Sinterklaas Day he tucks a present into another student's shoe.
This small act of rebellion sets off a battle royal between the students and the staff, but some surprising alliances form when Ender comes up against a new student, Zeck Morgan. The War over Santa Claus will force everyone to make a choice.
You know that part in Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams finally gets Matt Damon to realize that his childhood abuse was not his fault? Yeah, this book is kind of like that except I didn't want to sleep with the main character (which would be illegal since he is 8) and I didn't get the visual of how weird looking Matt Damon is when he cries.
What's that? You want an actual review? Well, FU. I think that's in the spirit of all the gift-giving and moral value reaffirmations that abound in this book.