Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer

This book was an arc someone I work with got at some meeting or conference. No one seemed to really want to read it and it languished in our summer reading prize box. At the end of the summer we got to grab what we wanted and this made me think of my friend Jenn. She is the one I will go looking for when the zombie apocalypse happens and most likely she would be the reason I just might survive. She loves any and everything zombie. Naturally before I gave it to her I had to read it myself.

In Ally's world zombies, vampires and other paranormal creatures and critters are par for the course. Ally starts the novel and the snotty ice queen. She works on the school paper and her and her fellow journalists are known for her witty but cruel sarcastic commentary both at their lunch table and in the papers gossip column.

I actually really liked this book. I found it to be a more "realistic" Twilight story. (I use the term realistic very loosely I honestly just can't think of a better way to phrase it.) The "realistic" opinions and character development added a lot of humor to the story and made me really respect the author. Ally's first love ends up being a zombie. She goes through the typical responses of a girl in puppy love/lust, but she also realizes that this relationship has a short shelf life and she recognizes some of her mistakes along the way. The relationship changes Ally in a lot of ways, in ways that you would wish any teenager dating someone who's not quite right for her would. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad I thought it was a great take on a paranormal romance that hasn't really been seen yet.

Also worth checking out is the books official website. It's got a great soundtrack you can download for free and some other great extras, such as pamphlets and blog posts detailing where some of the inspiration came from. It's a quick read and I will admit to being sorry to have forked my arc over to my friend, but she loved it too, so it was worth it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

What a great book for fourth to sixth graders. It totally accurately portrays what first young romance is like, and it does it in a fun and funny way. Dwight is the weird kid in class, but he folds phenomenal origami and gets straight A's but only in math. He folds an origami yoda and claims it gives advice/predicts the future. Tommy a sort of friend of Dwight's needs to know if Origami Yoga is real because he asked a very important question and need's to know. The book is his case file, an organized collection of everyone's experience's with Origami Yoda so he can scientifically decide whether or not Origami Yoda is real.

Part graphic novel, part case study, I really enjoyed the read. Also includes directions for how to make your own origami yoda.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Other by Karen Kincy

Gwen is half-pooka in a small town where people don't really appreciate 'others'. She is forced to hide her secret from everyone except her parents and others like herself. Although she is thinking of coming out to her boyfriend. Then Others are being murdered and the police are turning a blind eye, so Gwen begins to search for clues before she becomes the next victim.

Gwen is a hugely likable character even if she is a little bit headstrong and her actions are sometimes unrealistic, to the point where I was becoming annoyed with it. I really liked Tavian too, although I would have liked to know a bit more about him and have had his character more fully developed. (Maybe the next book in the series could be told from his point of view.) Zach was annoying to me but most likely that is because his strong religious back ground. I am always irked by people who let their common sense be blinded by religious belief, even though in this case it lead to some major plot points. (I'm going to leave this ambiguous so that I don't spoil the story.)

I loved the different Others that existed in the story. I thought they were all really interesting and some of them were really unexpected. I particularly appreciated that the author selected mythological creatures from all over the world, and not just the standard vampires, werewolves and fairies.

There was a lot going on here in terms of plot, but it was all dealt with in a timely fashion. Nothing felt rushed or jammed in at the last second. As far as the mystery was concerned I felt like it was maybe a tiny bit predictable mainly because tolerance and lack of tolerance were such a big part of this story how could you not see this coming.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex

It's been a while since I finished this book and I'm still not entirely sure how I know how I feel about it. It starts out as a funny read with a strong focus on nerdy/geeky humor. Doug is an overweight, geeky high school kid that gets turned into a vampire. He's into comics and computers and the book opens with him at Comic con in San Diego. Doug feels cheated regarding his transformation; he may be a vampire now but he's still an overweight nerd that no one really looks twice at. To make matters worse he's got vampire hunters chasing him for television ratings and his vampire mentor is kind of the pits.

The beginning of the book is extremely funny. It's very heavy on nerd/geek humor that maybe only a person that's really comfortable with their own nerdiness could appreciate (which I am), so I loved it. I couldn't stop laughing.

Then about three quarters of the way through the book, it suddenly gets super dark and serious. Friends are lost, personalities suddenly darken and the ending is extremely heavy. (I am leaving this ambiguous because I don't want to leave any spoilers.)

I will admit to really not liking the last page. It felt kind of unnecessary, like it should have already ended but the author was afraid that leaving it with such a dark ending would make readers unhappy.

I loved the beginning of the book and I liked the ending of the book. They were both very strong and definitely interesting. I'm just not sure I felt like they went together. The beginning and the end just didn't feel cohesive to me. However the since I did like everything I think it's still well worth the read.