Posted in Uncategorized

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

15745753Eleanor and Park
Rainbow Rowell
2013 St. Martin’s Press
ISBN – 9781250012579
Genre – Realistic Fiction
Age – High School
3.5 Stars

Its 1986, and Eleanor is the new girl at school. She has bright red hair, and is a bit heavier than normal. She dresses differently, and just doesn’t fit it with the other kids in school. Then she meets Park when she sits next to him on the dreaded school bus. It is on these rides to and from school that a friendship, and more begins to blossom. The two come from completely different families. Eleanor is from a broken home, and has an abusive step father, while Park lives in a loving and nurturing environment. Despite their differences they fight to help each other survive their teenage years.

I like this book, but I didn’t love it. I think this may have something to do with all of the hype and publicity surrounding the book. I thought that Rowell did a great job of expressing the foibles and awkwardness of adolescence. I also like that the narrative goes back and forth between the views of Park and Eleanor, and does a great job at distinguishing between the two minds. Park was a great character; he was strong, and brave, but not so much that he is unbelievable as a teenager. He was a great example of how nothing about teens is black and white; there is no mold to fit. I have mixed feelings about Eleanor, sometimes I love her, and sometimes she really annoys me. At times I thought she was courageous and daring, and almost superhuman, and other times she seems utterly pathetic. Ok I know that sounds mean and the more that I think about it, the more realistic she seems to me, especially keeping her home life in mind.

One of my favorite things about the book was that it was set in the 1980s, it was very nostalgic for me, and then it just made me feel old. However, Rowell added in lots of little aspects that made it have an authentic 80s feel. I loved and hated the ending. It just ended, and I wanted more. This is a good thing. Too many books these days have a ton of chances to end, but they go on and on and on. Also, I listened to this book, and have nothing to complain about there. The narrator did a good job of using distinguishing voices in the different viewpoints.

Posted in Uncategorized

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

7664334Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour
Morgan Matson
2010 Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN – 9781416990659
Genre – Realistic Fiction
Age – High School
4 Stars
Amy has had a terrible year so far. A few months ago, her father died. Since then, her brother entered rehab, and her mother bought a house on the other side of the country. So for the last month Amy has been living by herself in her California home until she finishes up the school year. Now that school is over, her mother has arranged for her to drive her car from southern California to Connecticut with her friend’s college aged son, Roger. Her mother has the trip concisely planned out, including routes, hotels, and timeframe. However, when Amy and Roger begin the trip, they decide this may be their only chance to see the country.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s not that I particularly liked either of the characters separately. I loved the dynamic of the relationship they shared. Both have been through tough situations recently, and both are able to commiserate, be sensitive, and support each other in sorting out the next chapter of their lives. I loved that they basically know nothing about each other at the beginning of the book. It makes for some awkward and interesting interactions. I also like that they have the guts to take chances instead of playing the trip safe. They are also brave enough to face their fears, and change their outlook. I thought it was really inspirational with a lighthearted nature, which is not always easy to do.

 

Posted in Picture Books

Hush, Little Dragon by Boni Ashburn

2210405Hush, Little Dragon
Boni Ashburn
Illustrated by Kelly Murphy
2008 Abrams Books for Young Readers
ISBN – 9780810994911
Genre – Picture Book
Age – Preschool
5 Stars

 

Sung to the tune of Hush Little Baby, the momma dragon sings a bedtime story to her baby dragon. She sings to him about all the things he likes to eat, and when the day is done and he is so very full, it is time to sleep tight. I love this book, because it can be read, but is better when it is sung. It has great rhythm and rhyming. I also think it is funny in an adorable way. Some might think it is a bit weird, because the dragon eats all sorts of people and royalty. I think what keeps this from being morbid and disturbing, is that it is so obviously fantastical. I love the illustrations, the dragon is so adorable. The colors are bright yet soft, as are the pictures as a whole. The facial expressions of the dragon as well as the dragons meals are priceless. This book may not be for the faint of heart, but is perfect for those with a sense of humor that aren’t afraid to sing. I am thinking of purchasing this for my Nephew for Christmas!

Posted in Young Adult Lit

A Hodge Podge of YA Books

So with my new job, I have gotten quite a bit behind on writing these reviews. I have read several YA books in the last few weeks, and do not have the time for a full review on all of them. Due to that, here is a short one on each book. Hopefully, I will be able to keep up now.

 

12930909Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, by April Genevieve Tucholke  2 Stars

Violet lives in a large house on the seaside. She lives with her brother as her parents have been in France for quite some time. In order to bring in some income, she rents out her guest house. The boy who starts living there is gorgeous, but something else is going on with him, and as soon as he appears, strange things start happening in her small town. The plot was interesting to be sure, but I could not stand Violet’s character, she was weak, and dependent on her new male renter. Just as bad as Bella Swan, and there is nothing I dislike more than a pathetic female lead.

 

17347389The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater 3 Stars

The sequel to The Raven Boys, takes on a bit more interesting of events in my opinion. Ronan is having quite a difficult time with his nightmares, as they seem to be seeping into his real life. On top of that, some very strange characters are searching for the same things that the Raven Boys are after. Who will find the key to the puzzle first, and how will Ronan’s dreams play into the story? The beginning of the book was a little confusing to me, and in turn, not so very interesting. However, in the end it seemed to flow better and pique my interest more. I liked it better than the first in the series.

 

1582996City of Ashes, by Cassandra Clare 3 Stars

The sequel to City of Bones, shows Clary settling into her life as a Shadowhunter. Its not that she doesn’t wish that her life would go back to normal, but she accepts that it never will. In this second installment, Valentine is back to collect another one of the mortal instruments. All sorts of trouble seem to ensue. I know that is vague, but I hate to give spoilers to the first book. This book was a solid decent in my mind. I feel like Clare did not do quite so well in world building, but there was a bit more to the plot. I have some severe issues with Simon as a character, and got pretty irritated by his part in this story. I’ll keep reading, but not as eagerly as I wished I would be. Side note, I listened to the audio book. The narrator was good. No too dramatic, and not too boring!

 

11366397The Program, by Suzanne Young 3.5 Stars

In a world where teen suicide has become an epidemic, society has found a solution. Whenever a teen does not seem perfectly happy, they are entered into The Program. During the program, much of their memory is erased, so that the teen will have nothing to be upset about. This is the story of a group of friends fighting to stay together, stay alive, and avoid the program. Decent book. The beginning was completely heartbreaking, and pulled at many memories of being a teen, the end, seemed a bit more cliche. It seems at if Young tried to combine aspects of realistic fiction with dystopian writing. It worked, to an extent.

 

12665819Another Little Piece, by Kate Karyus Quinn 3 Stars

Annalise had been missing for a year, when she was found several states away from her home. She doesn’t remember a thing about her old life. Throughout her first few weeks she begins to have memories of her life before, but she also has memories of different girls lives. This book is a bit choppy, and can be a bit confusing because of this. I liked the writing, and the characters. Nothing about this book was stellar in my opinion.

 

Posted in Young Adult Lit

waveThe 5th Wave

Rick Yancey
2013 Putnam Juvenile
ISBN – 9780399162411
Genre – Science Fiction
Age – High School
3.9 Stars
So far there have been four waves of attacks, and the aliens are most certainly winning. With a majority of the human population decimated, the remaining survivors have learned to trust no one. After all, somehow the aliens look completely human. Cassie watched her mother and father die, and now she is in search of her brother, who was sent to a safe camp. She travels alone, because she is the only one she can trust. That is until she meets Evan. She has just been shot and is minutes away from death, and then she wakes up in a clean and mysterious bedroom in someone else’s clothing. Enter Evan. He says he wants to help her find her brother, but can Cassie trust him? More importantly can she survive without him?

I liked this book a good amount. I liked how it was set up. The book is broken up into several sections, and each section changes the viewpoint. This was great because it was made very apparent how the invasion affected people in different situations. I really liked the main character Cassie. She is a strong female personality, at times she is stubborn, but overall I feel like she is a realistic person in the most unrealistic of situations. I like that she has a battle inside of herself to decide whether to trust another and accept help. I liked that it was not an easy decision. She doesn’t just fall head over heels for the handsome man who comes to her rescue. There is some amount of predictability throughout the story, but not so much that it becomes a pointless read. It has a fast and exciting pace that easily combats that issue. I really do enjoy Rick Yancey’s writing, although this was definitely not my favorite.