Monday, May 30, 2011

Stolen: A letter to my captor by Lucy Christopher

It took me a long time to read this book but that had a lot more to do with the other stuff I had going on then the actual content of the book. Gemma was abducted from the Bangkok airport by Ty. Ty loves her and thinks that he is helping her; taking her away from people who aren't looking out for her best interests and a place that is strangling her. This book is a letter to Ty where she recounts their days together and tries to figure out how she feels about him.

The writing style is just gorgeous. Everything sounds just write and kind of beautiful, even the horrible things. The descriptions have almost a poetic quality to them. The landscape is terrible and it's what keeps Gemma in her prison but you can still feel the beauty and stillness of it. How there are hidden gems within the angry desert.

Ty is an interesting character. You know he's wrong but you can't help feeling bad for him. He means well but it's obvious that no he's never really had people with him or taking care of him, so he doesn't realize he's going about everything entirely the wrong way.

It's interesting to see how Gemma's feelings change for Ty over time. She starts out hating him and wanting nothing but to leave. While she never really stops wanting to leave, truthfully I think that she sees him for who he is. Someone that wanted to help her and just went about it the wrong way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Abduction! by Peg Kehret

So this is definitely not a book I would normally have read. I read it for work and it's the last of the must reads for work for a little while. I had to read this as part of my job as a teen librarian but I definitely think it skews younger.

Matt lives with his mom and his sister Bonnie. Bonnie meets him everyday right after school and they take the bus home together. Until one day Matt isn't there. The tale that follows is sad and scary but packed with a lot of important information.

None of the charaters is very deep in this book. Everyone is there to tell their part of the story. The story is an important one. It's important to see how Matt was tricked and how many people saw something and didn't really realize what was going on. There is also a good description of the Amber Alert process and what goes into looking for a missing child.

This book is most definitely a cautionary tale for younger kids. There is a lot of good information here and I think that it's a good reminder to adults that children can't always take care of themselves and that even the strongest precautions sometimes aren't enough. It's also a good reminder to children to always be aware of what's going on, to ask for help and to never go with strangers

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

At the start of Scott's first year of high school he is nervous but calm because he has his three best friends with him. Then he finds out his mother is pregnant, his older brother moves back home, his group of friends desintigrates and he finds himself hanging out with totally different people then whom he would have thought of as friends. Over the course of the year he ends up on student council, writing sports reviews for the paper and working on the stage crew for the school musical all trying to get the attention of one girl. All of this is wrapped around the book he is keeping (it's not a diary) with tips and lists for his future siblings high school days.

I really loved this book. It's another one that I had to read for work but I'm super excited about this one (we'll see how we feel after reading multiple times but for now it was pretty damn awesome.) Scott is a funny, smart and entertaining protagonist. He changes a lot both physically and mentally over the course of the year. He becomes stronger and observant. The things he says to both Mouth after what happens (being vague, no spoilers) and his brother are heartfelt, and wise and the kind of things that everyone needs to hear sometimes.

In the beginning of the story he considers himself someone who is always on the sidelines, but over the course of the book you see him stand up for Mouth, Lee and get Wesley's back. But Scott never goes too far, once the fight is over, he assumes it's done. He doesn't run around trying to get revenge or pick on the little guy.

I loved his english clash and vaguely remember having a similar experience once year. His spanish class on the other hand was the stuff of nightmares and had me constantly laughing. The lists and letters he writes his future sibling are great. Mostly they are funny and goofy and just a way to cope with both high school and his mother's pregnancy. But sometimes they also become deeper and the stuff of real meaning you. Although sometimes I did wonder at what point in his life his sibling would get this book and would the name calling be an issue.

All in all it was an enjoyable read and I'm sorry I never got to it sooner.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Beil

This was another read for work which is why the review is so light. I know I need to read this again so I wasn't willing to go too in depth in case I honestly get sick of it.

Sophie see's a woman in a window at school and drags two of her friends. The women needs help solving a twenty year old mystery that may reunite her with her estranged daughter. In addition to the mystery there are boy problems, a Great Expectations skit and an evil deacon.

This was a cute little mystery. There wasn't anything super exciting about it. If you think about it enough a couple chapters in and you can figure out who dunnit. The girls are sweet and likable as are many of the other characters (except the bad guy of course.)

My one complaint is that there was math. The girls need to solve a series of puzzles and the whole thing leads to some plane geometry. Oh there were vicious vicious flashbacks. I was not happy.

There is also a slightly religious aspect to the entire thing, however it's mostly from a historical perspective and no one's being beat over the head with anything. All of the parts discussed end up being relevent to the story.

Monday, May 2, 2011

March & April in Review

So I've been really really really bad about posting these last two months and at the end of March I didn't even have time to do a review post, so I'm catching up on that now and hopefully I'll be back to posting more then once a week soon.

I knew derby was going to kill me and it definitely did. The league I belong to isn't bouting over July and August because the place where we play gets dangerously hot, so we stacked them a little bit now and in the fall. This means that we've had tons of meetings, trainings and more bouts then usual.

Challenge-wise I haven't done so great either. I had put a bunch of library books on reserve a looooong time ago and didn't realize that they were all being released at more or less the same time so they all came at once and I was just killing myself trying to read them and get them returned sort of, almost, not really even close to on time. (I still have two left to be quite honest.) There were a few things I read just cause the teens kept asking me if I had read them so I kind of figured I better get my butt in gear and read them. Hence my off the shelf challenge and my printz honor/award challenge are a little bit behind right now. My YA historical fiction challenge on the other hand is almost done so YAY.

I also want to mention that for the first time ever I won a book from another blogger. I'm so excited, cause I used to feel that I was the kind of person who never won anything but I've been really lucky lately. I won a copy of Lost and Found: Three by Sean Tan from Presenting Lenore. Hopefully I can review it soon.

Here's this month's books and where they came from, everything is linked to goodreads so you can add it to your to be read list. Some reviews are forthcoming:

1. Jane Goes Batty by Thomas Michael Ford (library book)
2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (off the shelf, signed Christmas present from my boss, Printz award)
3. The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle (library book, Pura Belpre award winner)
4. Strings Attached by Judy Blundell (brought it back from ALA Midwinter conference for me)
5. A Discover of Witches by Deborah Harkness (borrowed from a friend who insisted I read it and I'm glad I did)
6. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (library book)
7. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (library book)
8. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (library book)
9. Al Capone Shines my Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (library book, read for work)
10. I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (library book)
11. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen (library book)
12. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (library book, read for work)

1. The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Bell (library book, read for work)
2. Sleeping Freshman Never Lie by David Lubar (library book, read for work)
3. Abduction! by Peg Kehret (library book, read for work)
4. Stolen: A Letter to my Captor by Lucy Christopher (library book, Printz honor book)
5. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins (library book)
6. Steel by Carrie Vaughn (library book)
7. Beautiful City of the Dead by Leander Watts (library book)
8. Red Glove by Holly Black (library book)
9. After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn (library book)

Hopefully I'll do better this month. What did you read in March & April?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

This is a great gross out read for tween and young teen boys. Gregor is babysitting his 2 year old sister Boots when they get sucked into Underland, a place below New York City that is settled by humans and some incredible speaking animals including but not limited too giant rats, cockraoches, spiders and bats. At first all Gregor can think of is getting home, but then he realizes his dad is a prisoner of the rats and that he may be able to free him by fulfilling an old prophecy.

This book was a great quick paced adventure. There is tons of cool, guy appealing gross out here (did I mention the talking GIANT cockroaches). There are quick escapes, massive battles and last minute saves. There is also a lot of death, betrayal and sadness here as well. There are also politics and intriuge here as well.

This is one of the first of several books I had to read for work that I know I will be reading inside and out and over and over this summer. Hence the short review, I am trying to avoid burning myself out. As I read it again I may add more to the review. Once the summer's over (and I know it wont confuse me) I think I want to read the rest of the series.