Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Review by Alex- The Uninvited

The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones

Mimi Shapiro had a disturbing freshman year at NYU, thanks to a foolish affair with a professor who still haunts her caller ID. So when her artist father, Marc, offers the use of his remote Canadian cottage, she’s glad to hop in her Mini Cooper and drive up north.

The house is fairy-tale quaint, and the key is hidden right where her dad said it would be, so she’s shocked to fi nd someone already living there — Jay, a young musician, who is equally startled to meet Mimi and immediately accuses her of leaving strange and threatening tokens inside: a dead bird, a snakeskin, a cricket sound track embedded in his latest composition. But Mimi has just arrived, so who is responsible? And more alarmingly, what does the intruder want?

Part gripping thriller, part family drama, this fast-paced novel plays out in alternating viewpoints, in a pastoral setting that is evocative and eerie — a mysterious character in its own right.

A little bit spooky, a little bit eerie, a whole lot of family problems. The three young ones, Mimi, Jay, and another guy Cramer, act as the main characters. The viewpoint switches from each of those characters often.

The story is just so compelling. It’s very hard to put down, especially towards to the end. Actually no. At the end, it is impossible to put down. I just had to speed through it to figure out what’s happening.

Basically, there are two mysteries. One is introduced in the synopsis, being Jay is getting these creepy presents. It escalates to thievery and so Jay, Mimi, and also Cramer on his own, are trying to figure out just who is taking all the stuff. I guess it’s not really a considered a mystery, but the second to me is: each of the main characters know a little bit, but not everything of the story. There’s all these different relations between Jay, Mimi, and Cramer, and none of them know all of them to what extent. It’s a bit confusing what I’m saying, but I don’t want to spoil anything…

I thought some of the phrasing was a little funny. The story takes place by a snye (look it up on Google- lots of pictures to place the setting and atmosphere) in Ontario so I guess it makes sense. These are not city folk, and so a lot of them have odd phrasing and speak differently than usual.

A thing I really liked about this book, being Canadian, is that it takes place in Canada, specifically in Ontario close to Ottawa. There were many Canadian references like the University of British Colombia (where my parents went), all the big cities close by, like Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal, etc. As much as I love American books too, Canadian books hold a special place in my heart. Okay, yes, I will go barf at my corniness now.

It’s honestly just this really intense read that’s completely gripping. The setting is amazing and richly detailed. The characters are interesting, all with their separate histories, pasts, and problems, but they all seem to converge on this same path. The ending is a complete shocker. You may think you know the culprit, but no, no, you don’t. Figuring out the mystery is just what keeps you going until the very end.

Shiver trailer and giveaway link

Maggie Stiefvater created a beautiful trailer for her upcoming book Shiver.

Can you believe that? It's simply amazing. And it was made by cutting tons of little papers, photographing it all, and compiling it. That would take a ton of work. I mean, I know I wouldn't have the patience.

Maggie Stiefvater is also holding a contest over at her blog here for copies of Shiver. :D So go check it out.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Review by Alex- Because I Am Furniture

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
Anke's father is abusive. But not to her. He attacks her brother and sister, but she's just an invisible witness in a house of horrors, on the brink of disappearing altogether.

Until she makes the volleyball team at school. At first just being exhausted after practice feels good, but as Anke becomes part of the team, her confidence builds. When she learns to yell "Mine!" to call a ball, she finds a voice she didn't know existed.

For the first time, Anke is seen and heard. Soon, she's imagining a day that her voice will be loud enough to rescue everyone at home--including herself.

Because I Am Furniture is written in verse, and it works. It's quite a powerful novel that deals with an interesting subject: child abuse. Of course, we've seen it, read it, heard it all before. But Anke's not the one being abused, she's the witness of the abuse, which is probably equally as tough.

Even though it's a thick enough book, because it's in verse, it goes very quickly. I was able to read it in one day, almost in one go. I however, thought that maybe it was a little too short. There perhaps wasn't as much depth and detail as I may have liked. It describes her life, her experiences with volleyball, her journey to finding the strength to speak out. But that's really it. I would have liked to learn about more of the characters' opinions. Exactly why her father abused them, why no one really did anything. I mean, obviously the family was scared of the father. But... I just think there could have been more to it.

It's a very simple book in that way. There isn't really that much other stuff or subplots. It isn't really a bad thing, but well... I thought there would be more to it.

I do like the change in Anke. I like how at first she's timid and frankly a little weak, but as she plays volleyball, her confidence grows and grows. She learns a lot and I like the fact that it comes from a sport, in this case volleyball. Through volleyball, Anke discovers a strength and beauty within herself, and others notice. For instance, she attracts the attention of males now, including her father. Which is disgusting.

Overall, it's a great fast read that encourages one to be able to stop abuse. It reminded me a little of North of Beautiful, but with a lot less. But the abuse is the same, always from the father. Why is that? Or maybe I just haven't read a lot of books with an abusive mother, except for Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen.

Read it if you like verse. Read it if you're interesting in learning and understanding more of child abuse. Read it if you want to be able to feel good at the end. Read it if you want to feel empowered.

In My Mailbox (5)

As always, this wonderful meme is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren who was inspired by Alea.

I didn't get as many books this week as last week, but I think the books I got are fabulous. Plus I have a ton of books to read now from last week and previous weeks, so it's good that this week there wasn't quite as much.

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert
A raw, edgy, emotional novel about growing up punk and living to tell.

The Clash. Social Distortion. Dead Kennedys. Patti Smith. The Ramones.

Punk rock is in Emily Black''s blood. Her mother, Louisa, hit the road to follow the incendiary music scene when Emily was four months old and never came back. Now Emily's all grown up with a punk band of her own, determined to find the tune that will bring her mother home. Because if Louisa really is following the music, shouldn''t it lead her right back to Emily?

I've sadly never read this book, but I really want to as I've heard some good things. So I got it out of my library to read. :)

Strange Angles by Lili St. Cyr
Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.)

Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?

I've heard some mixted stuff about this book, but it seems interesting. And I mean, it's from the library, so it's worth a shot.

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background-average student, average looks, average dysfunctional family. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn't believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father's boss's daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy-and Tyler's secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in the school, in his family, and in the world.

In Twisted, Laurie Halse Anderson tackles a very controversial subject: what it means to be a man today. Fans and new listeners alike will be captured by Tyler's pitchperfect, funny voice, the surprising narrative arc, and the thoughtful moral dilemmas that are at the heart of all of the author's award-winning work.

I've read Speak and Wintergirls by the same author and loved them both. And Twisted is written in a guy's perspective which is always interesting. :) My friend was kind enough to lend this to me.

Evermore by Alyson Noel

Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch.

Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste… Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.

I'm not too sure why I haven't read this book yet. :/ But my library copy came after I requested it some time ago, so yay.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

"Don''t worry, Anna. I''ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won''t say anything?"
"Don''t worry." I laughed. "It''s our secret, right?"

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there''s something she hasn't told Frankie---she''s already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie''s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

Since I'd read such wonderful reviews about this book, I had to get it myself. No bookstores seemed to have it in stock however, but I was able to order one from a local bookstore, and it came this week! I just finished reading it this morning, so hopefully the review will be up soon.

So that's my week, how about all of you?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Review by Alex- Willow

Willow by Julia Hoban

Seven months ago on a rainy March night, Willow's parents drank too much wine at dinner and asked her to drive them home. But they never made it- Willow lost control of the car, and both of her parents were killed.

Now seventeen, WIllow is living with her older brother, who can barely speak to her. She has left behind her old home, friends, and school. But Willow has found a way to survive, to numb the the new reality of her life: She is secretly cutting herself.

And then she meets Guy, a boy as senstive and complicated as she is. When Guy discovers Willow's secret, he pulls her out of the solitary world she's created for herself, and into a difficult, intense, and potentially life-changing relationship.

Julia Hoban has created an unfliching sotry about cutting, grieving, and starting anew. But above all, she has written an unforgettable tale of first love.

At first, I was completely surprised by the style of writing. It’s different. It’s in third person and is especially detached. It sounds like commentary. But I wouldn’t say it’s bad thing. It suits the book, and it suits Willow, if that makes sense.

It’s a pretty intense read. It’s about cutting, which is something I’ve never read before this book. It’s kind of gruesome, but thankfully it doesn’t go into details like “the knife cut into my skin, deeper, deeper, oh what pleasure, the beautiful red blood dripped down my arm. Little droplets, only a smidgen at first. And then a whole river of red juice flowed down my arm to the floor.” I mean, I could picture it, but it wasn’t so much that I wanted to throw up or anything.

The characters are interesting and well done, Willow and Guy especially. (Although I don’t like the name Guy. It sounds like a non-name, like Thing #1 or Person #2. Like the author didn’t bother to name the character.) Willow is utterly real and strong and beautifully crafted. I loved the relationship between Willow and Guy. Guy quickly finds out about Willow’s cutting, and so he faces some inner problems of what to do. And they talk. As the book progresses, so does their relationship. It’s incredibly cute and the type of relationship I love to read about.

Although… I did think some parts of their relationship kind of odd. For instance, Willow can guess exactly what room Guy likes in a museum. Guy knows exactly what flavour of ice cream Willow would love. Sure, they tell each other their pasts and fears. But I don’t think that means it tells them about each others preferences on little things.

Another thing I want to point out: there’s very little description of the characters. I mean physically wise. I have no idea what hair colour Guy has, or how tall Willow is. Willow has scars and cut all over her obviously from cutting. And Guy rows and has strong and beautiful arms. But besides that… nothing. Which I don’t think is a bad thing really, just different.

A lot of the book is quite angsty and depressing. I feel some of the side characters were just there to add some lightness to the book. There’s only so much cutting a reader can handle. But the balance was quite well done, and I suppose I knew it wouldn’t be a happy-smile-on-my-face-the-whole-time kind of book.

The ending though was a little too happy. The whole book is sombre, and then the ending comes, and it’s like a Disney happily-ever-after ending. And while I am a lover of happy endings, I don’t think they always work. At least not with Willow.

Overall, Willow’s a really interesting read. Willow is an extraordinary character. There are moments with Willow and Guy together that I really enjoyed. I learned exactly why a girl would start cutting herself, because it’s something I can’t fathom doing.

Booking Through Thursday (4)

Now that summer is here (in the northern hemisphere, anyway), what is the most “Summery” book you can think of? The one that captures the essence of summer for you?
(I’m not asking for you to list your ideal “beach reading,” you understand, but the book that you can read at any time of year but that evokes “summer.”)

I think there are a lot of books that are very summery. Any Sarah Dessen book is perfect for the summer. Some John Green, Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty, the Peaches series, Audrey Wait! I'm also reading Twenty Boy Summer now, and it is such a great summer read. A perfect summer read for me is something cute, addicting, light, but not fluffy; it must have some depth.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Review by Alex- This Is What I Want To Tell You

This Is What I Want To Tell You by Heather Duffy Stone

and unexpected secrets

Nadio and his twin sister, Noelle, always had a unique bond. And somehow, Keeley Shipley fit perfectly into their world. But when Keeley spends the summer in England, she comes home changed, haunted by a dark memory. As she and Nadio fall in love, they try to hide it from Noelle, who's jealously guarding a secret of her own. Slowly, a life-long friendship begins to crack under the crushing weight of past trauma, guarded secrets, jealousy, obsession . . . and an unexpected love that could destroy them.

This is What I Want to Tell You is an emotionally charged read. It’s not just an everyday teenage book. The characters are excellent and really seem like teenagers- I really think they are able speak to readers and are very relatable.

The format of the writing is unusual. It’s more like how one write on the internet, in blocks and chunks, with the dialogue simply indented, no quotation marks. It’s different, but it works. It seems more informal, more jagged and unstructured compared to the usual format. It suits the storyline and the characters though. It suits the book, really.

The narration switches between Noelle and Nadio, the two twins. What I really wonder is why parents (or parent in this case, as there’s only the mom; the dad ditched before they were born) name twins with similar names. I would think that would get confusing and be easier to mess up, but it seems to happen all the time… It’s cuter I guess?

Anyway, I wasn’t all too fond of Noelle, but I could understand why she did things, and I could sympathise for her. She withdraws from her family and her best friend, Keeley, the beginning of her junior year, at the start of the book. She becomes wild and a little crazy, falling for an older guy.

Nadio falls in love with Keeley. Keeley has a past that isn’t revealed until towards the end. I didn’t think it was very original, her trauma, but whatever. Both Nadio and Keeley are complex characters that have strengths and weaknesses, as does Noelle.

I cried a lot, I won’t lie. At first I didn’t find the novel very engaging, but about 60 pages in, I couldn’t put it down. I read most of the book in less than two hours. My left ear went numb since I was pretty much just laying down for two hours on it, flipping page after page, completely absorbed in reading. While tears ran down my cheeks. And snot. Eventually I had to get up and wipe my face since I couldn’t stand it. But it’s that kind of book.

It’s emotional. The characters. The book. The feelings it evokes. Bottom line: It’s great- especially for a debut author. I’ll be looking forward to more by Heather Duffy Stone.

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

Suspicion by Kate Brian (Book 10 in Private series)

I couldn't find much of a description of the book. All there is anywhere is:

In the newest Private book from Kate Brian, Suspicion sets up a mystery that even Reed has never faced.

Private is a long ongoing series with tons of drama, deaths, and crimes set at an upper-elite boarding school. With Gossip Girl-esque characters and tons of craziness, it's somehow completely addicting. I call it my guilty pleasure read. :)

It's not like it has amazing prose or extraordinary characters. But it has so much drama and suspense. Each book ends with a cliffhanger, making the reader want more.

And it comes out September 8th, my birthday! :D

So come on, am I really the only Private fan?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Review by Alex: The Center of the Universe

The Center of the Universe: Yep, That Would Be Me by Anita Liberty


Welcome to the story of my life. Well, at least the story of my junior and senior years of high school. It''s a profound, touching, and hilarious (if I do say so myself) tale told through cunning poems, revelatory diary entries, perspicacious (look it up) word definitions, shrewd bits of advice, and off-the-cuff (but brilliant) insights.

You'll probably relate to a lot of it. Especially the parts about hating my parents, never feeling cool enough, failing my first attempt at the SATs, having an incredibly romantic (but one-sided) relationship with the coolest guy in school, and getting hexed by my ex-best friend who became a Wiccan.

And if you can't relate? Well, step to the back of that humongous line. You''ll probably be right behind my family. If you're lucky, my mom''ll bring snacks.

How can I be who I am and who my family wants me to be when the person I am wouldn't be caught dead with the person my family wants me to be?

The book’s written like a diary, with SAT words and example sentences, poems, and charts rating how annoying her parents are. I’m still trying to figure out how much of this book is fictional. I thought it was all made up, but How to Heal the Hurt by Hating, also by Anita Liberty, is real… so I’m confused. I attempted to Google and figure it out, but my Google skills are somehow very lacking.

But this book is hilarious. Seriously. Anita is completely self absorbed and arrogant, but unapologetically so. She doesn’t pretend to care about anyone outside herself and her little bubble. She never goes on random tangents about poor starving kids in Africa. The book is focused on Anita, and only Anita. But really, that’s okay. Because Anita has her problems, and she makes it so hysterically funny to read about.

She’s every teenager who has ever been unsatisfied with life. She has parents who she hates a lot of the time. She makes tables and rates each thing her parents do that qualify as infractions or compensation to her. She writes angsty and hilarious poetry. I’m not a poetry fan- but still. She goes through her fair share of boyfriend troubles. And then later in the epilogue writes about what happens to them.

Anita chronicles her life from age 16 to 18. It skips a lot obviously, since there’s a little less than 300 pages, and no one can write a whole detailed two year span in that number of pages. But the important stuff is still there.

Slightly raucous with no filter, which makes the book all the better. Looking for a something to brighten up your day? Wanting to escape problems in your life? Read this.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In My Mailbox (4)

This week I actually bought some books. XD Usually I just get them from the library, but my mom was nice enough to buy me some this week as a end of school year gift. So yay.

The Borrowed:

Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti
At the beginning of her sophomore year, Marisa is ready for a fresh start and, more importantly, a boyfriend. So when the handsome and popular Derek asks her out, Marisa thinks her long wait for happiness is over. But several bumps in the road, including her parent's unexpected separation, a fight with her best friend, and a shocking disappointment in her relationship with Derek tests Marisa's ability to maintain her new outlook. Only the anonymous DJ, whose underground podcasts have the schoolas ear, seems to understand what Marisa is going through. But she has no idea who he is, or does she?

In this third romantic novel from Susane Colasanti, Marisa learns how to abe in the Nowa and realizes that the love she's been waiting for has been right in front of her all along.

I've read both of Susane Colasanti's previous novels, and can't wait to read this one too. :)

Fade by Lisa McMann

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open -- but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability -- and it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd feared....

I read the first a while ago. Hopefully I'll be able to read Fade without remembering much of Wake.

The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby
Life in the court of King Henry VIII is a complex game. When fifteen-year-old Catherine Howard catches the king's eye, she quickly transforms from pawn to queen. But even luxury beyond imagination loses its luster as young Catherine finds her life - and her heart - threatened by the needs of an aging king and a family hungry for power. Will their agendas deliver Catherine to the same fate as her infamous cousin, Anne Boleyn - sacrificed at the altar of family ambition?

Engaging historical fiction with a throbbing YA heartbeat, this thrilling novel will draw readers into the intrigues and dangers of the Tudor court.

Not always a huge historical fan, but this sounds interesting and probably is worth the read.

Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia
The wrong angle
Trina: "Hey," I say, though I don't really know them. The boyed-up basketball girl barely moves. The others, her girls, step aside. It's okay if they don't speak. I know how it is. They can't all be Trina.
Dominique: Some stupid little flit cuts right in between us and is like, "Hey." Like she don't see I'm here and all the space around me is mines. I slam my fist into my other hand because she's good as jumped.

Leticia: Why would I get involved in Trina's life when I don't know for sure if I saw what I thought I saw? Who is to say I wasn't seeing it from the wrong angle?

Acclaimed author Rita Williams-Garcia intertwines the lives of three very different teens in this fast-paced, gritty narrative about choices and the impact that even the most seemingly insignificant ones can have. Weaving in and out of the girls' perspectives, readers will find themselves not with one intimate portrayal but three.

I'd never heard about this book before, but I somehow requested it from the library, so here it is. XD Sounds good to me though.

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica George

A tale of twelve princesses doomed to dance until dawn… Galen is a young soldier returning from war; Rose is one of twelve princesses condemned to dance each night for the King Under Stone. Together Galen and Rose will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to dance at the midnight balls. All they need is one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love—to conquer their foes in the dark halls below. But malevolent forces are working against them above ground as well, and as cruel as the King Under Stone has seemed, his wrath is mere irritation compared to the evil that awaits Galen and Rose in the brighter world above.

Captivating from start to finish, Jessica Day George’s take on the Grimms’ tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses demonstrates yet again her mastery at spinning something entirely fresh out of a story you thought you knew.


The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Some summers are just destined to be pretty.

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer -- they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

It sounds good and is recommended by Sarah Dessen. Need I say more? I will anyway. XD It seems like a great summer read about summer.

You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith
Emma Healy has never fit in with the rest of her family. She's grown used to being the only ordinary one among her rather extraordinary parents and siblings. But when she finds a birth certificate for a twin brother she never knew she had, along with a death certificate dated just two days later, she feels like a part of her has been justified in never feeling quite whole.

Suddenly it seems important to visit his grave, to set off in search of her missing half. When her next-door neighbor Peter Finnegan -- who has a quiet affinity for maps and a desperate wish to escape their small town -- ends up coming along for the ride, Emma thinks they can't possibly have anything in common. But as they head from upstate New York toward North Carolina, driving a beat-up and technically stolen car and picking up a stray dog along the way, they find themselves learning more and more about each other. Neither is exactly sure what they're looking for, but with each passing mile, each new day of this journey, they seem to be getting much closer to finding it.

I loved The Comeback Season, so I'm really excited to read this.

Peace, Love, and Rubber Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Growing up in a world of wealth and pastel-tinted entitlement, fifteen-year-old Carly has always relied on the constancyaand authenticityaof her sister, Anna. But when fourteen-year-old Anna turns plastic-perfect-pretty over the course of a single summer, everything starts to change. And "there are boys involved," complicating things as boys always do.

With warmth, insight, and an unparalleled gift for finding humor even in stormy situations, beloved author Lauren Myracle dives into the tumultuous waters of sisterhood and shows that even very different sisters can learn to help each other stay afloat.

Lauren Myracle's great. I've read some reviews about this book and it seems really cute for a summer read.

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick''s mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.

Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon''s mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is des-perate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.

Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians'' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.

This is the Demon''s Lexicon. Turn the page.

Forever Changes by Brendan Halpin
5: 30 a.m., Brianna Pelletier gets ready for her daily pounding. As she lies on the couch, her dad beats her chest, then her back, coaxing the mucus out of her lungs. The pounding doesn't take care of everything. Brianna's held out for a long time, but a body with cystic fibrosis doesn't last forever. It doesn't matter that Brianna has a brilliant mathematical mind or that she's a shoo-in for MIT. Or even that her two best friends are beautiful, popular, and loyal. In the grand scheme of things, none of that stuff matters at all. The standard life, lasting maybe seventy-five years, is no more than a speck in the sum total of the universe. At eighteen, and doubting she'll make nineteen, Brianna is practically a nonentity. Of course she's done the math. But in her senior year of high school, Brianna learns of another kind of math, in which an infinitely small, near-zero quantity can have profound effects on an entire system. If these tiny quantities didn't exist, things wouldn't make the same sense.

Funny, tear-jerking, and memorable, the author's second novel for teens introduces readers to an extraordinary girl who learns that the meaning of forever can change, and that life - and death - is filled with infinite possibilities.

I used to think the girl on the cover was figure skating, so the book was about figure skating. Apparently I was wrong...

Are U 4 Real? by Sara Kadefors
Kyla is exactly the kind of girl Alex could never talk to in real life. She’s a gorgeous, outspoken L.A. girl who parties to forget about her absent father and depressed mother. He’s a shy ballet dancer from outside San Francisco who’s never been kissed. Luckily, when these sixteen-year-olds meet for the first time it’s not in real life—it’s in a chat room, where they can share their feelings of isolation and frustration away from the conformity-obsessed high school scene. Alex and Kyla quickly forge a friendship that’s far from virtual— maybe they’re even falling in love. But what happens when the soul mate you’ve never met moves from online to in person?

Sara Kadefors’s wildly romantic, award-winning Swedish bestseller perfectly captures the universal angst of being a teenager, and the perhaps even more universal struggle to negotiate identity in a multi-platform world.

Swedish? Awesome. I just did a geo project on Sweden...

The Bought:

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Ruby is used to taking care of herself. But now she's living in a fancy new house with her sister Cora, a sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and her husband Jamie, creator of one of the most popular online networking sites. She's attending private school, wearing new clothes, and for the first time, feels the promise of a future that include college and her family. So why is she so wary? And what is Nate, the adorable and good-hearted boy next door, hiding behind his genial nature? As Ruby starts to see, there's a big difference between being given help, and being able to accept it. And sometimes, in order to save yourself, you've got to reach out to someone else.

Read this before obviously, but really wanted to own a copy so bought it. :)

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

When Annabel, the youngest of three beautiful sisters, has a bitter falling out with her best friend, the popular and exciting Sophieashe suddenly finds herself isolated and friendless. but then she meets Owen, a loner, passionate about music and his weekly radio show, and always determined to tell the truth. And when they develop a friendship, Annabel is not only introduced to new music but is encouraged to listen to her own inner voice. With Owenas help, can Annabel find the courage to speak out about what exactly happened the night her friendship with Sophie came to a screeching halt?

I'm trying to own all the Sarah Dessen books. I've got these two, This Lullaby and The Truth About Forever now.

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps."

Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green''s arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

Same as above. Wanted to own an amazing book.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Sadly couldn't find a description for this book on either chapters or amazon. And I don't have time to copy it down from the cover. Sorry!

And that's what I got this week, otherwise known as yesterday. :D How about all of you?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Review by Alex- Going Too Far

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols


All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won''t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge -- and over....

I guess Going Too Far is considered a romantic comedy. I honestly didn't find it all that funny... but whatever. I tend to have a weird sense of humor. I much prefer the odd quirky humor compared to laugh out loud funny stuff. Oh well. It was a great romance, even though the humor wasn't very laughable to me.

I actually really enjoyed Going Too Far. It sounded really good, I heard good things about it from other reviewers, I was excited to read it. Instead of studying for exams... :P Oh well. Side note: SCHOOL'S DONE. thank god. I have officially gotten through half of my high school career.

Back to the book. I thought it would simply be a nice, lighthearted read. A read to distract me (a synonym for procrastinating) from school. But it was more than that. At first, it's a great light read, but towards the middle bit, it gets deeper. It's not just silly and trivial- but has quite a depth. The characters, both Meg and John, have pasts. Although the learning of their pasts was a bit abrupt. It's just kind of blurted out. But there is hinting and foreshadowing towards it, or backwards to it. Backshadowing? Whatever.

Meg and John really are cute together. Meg is caught by John trying to trespass on a bridge, and as punishment, she has to ride with him in the police car during spring break. Which means she misses her special school trip she's looking forwards to. Which means that Meg is not a happy camper at first with John. It's that love-hate relationship kind of- hate that turns into love. :) My favourite kind. There's a lot of teasing in their relationship, a lot of seeing how far each of them can push until the other cracks. It's really very entertaining and sweet.

I had a few problems with the book, but nothing really big. I thought at first that it was weird that Meg kept referring to herself as a girl with blue hair. How John, a policeman, would never date her, a girl with blue hair. She never thought of herself as a delinquent or a child, but a blue haired girl. She was somehow obsessed with it. I just blamed the writing at first, but it made sense after. Also, although now it's really preferences- John wasn't my kind of character. He wasn't dull per say, but he didn't have that outstanding personality( just as a character. He was written and incredibly wholesome) that I enjoy.

The book ends sweetly- maybe a little cheesy. But very adorable. The book changes to more lighthearted at the very end. It's very engaging, and I got completely pulled into Going Too Far. I couldn't put it down all morning until I finished it. It even made me shed some tears. Overall, it's a great book. It would make an awesome summer read- light but not super fluffy. It's substantial enough to feel like your summer reading is worthwhile. :)

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