Saturday, December 25, 2010
Clay is confused but interested when he gets a box of outdated audio tapes in the mail. After digging out his old stereo and beginning to listen, he is horrified by the voice that speaks: his old crush Hannah, who committed suicide mere weeks before. She committed suicide for a reason, she says. Thirteen reasons, as a matter of fact, and each of those thirteen reasons will receive the tapes in the mail, and have one tape dedicated to them. The novel is set up as a dual narrative, simultaneously telling Clay's story while also telling Hannah's. Both stories compliment, parallel, and overlap constantly.
When I started reading Thirteen Reasons Why, it became apparent very quickly what kind of story it was going to be, and I wasn't sure if it was going to be particularly effective at it. Suicide stories, especially ones like this, can turn out extremely heavy-handed, melodramatic, and insincere.
But I was surprised in a good way at how excellently Asher told the story. I think the most effective part was that we get into Clay's head and REALLY understand how he is feeling at each given moment. We get his side and Hannah's, and his dialog to Hannah and her dialog to him, even though they're not actually speaking to each other, and we can come up with our own conclusion about how justified each of them is (as well as the other 12 characters who are featured on her tapes).
Asher also dealt with the dread of what was going to happen very well. This book was intense and a bit soul-crushing at times, but not so much that I wanted to stop reading (which I also feared would happen). This wasn't a Mockingjay for me. Yes, it was tragic and I was dreading each new revelation, but it was a well-told story and made me empathize with Hannah, but also Clay and Tony (Tony, btw, is a delicious, fantastic minor character) and various other characters. AND there was enough hopeful moments stuck in that it didn't feel like you were being keel-hauled with no break for all 300 or so pages.
The high school setting and various scenarios were also very believable, which I appreciated a LOT because, well, I've been reading a lot of books set in high schools lately, and soooo many of them are trite, cliche, OR just really unbelievable. The world here is very realistic but still interesting and keeps you on your toes. Sometimes things turn out how you think they will, but often they twist around and do something else.
Did I mention I liked Clay? He was a fantastic narrator. He's a good guy, he has flaws, and overall he's just a normal high school guy who makes good choices, makes mistakes, and owns up to everything.
Recommended for: Everyone
Thursday, December 23, 2010
- I was interested in Scarlett, the first time we learn that she is horribly scarred, physically and emotionally, and that this causes her to hunt, hunt, hunt, baby. But after a dozen or so (all my numbers are legit in this review, people) internal monologues that say nothing more or less than the previous information, I get bored with her character. "Oh, okay, so you're obsessed...let's move on to where you give in to the obsession, or GET OVER IT." And she really never has to make that choice; I felt like Scarlett remains essentially the same the entire novel through.
- We also get dozens of heart-pounding fights with Fenris. Well, they would be heart-pounding, except after the first five or so they are ALL. THE. SAME. I was yawwwwwning through the action scenes after page 75 or so. I do not approve of yawning during fight scenes! Also, where are the MACHINE GUNS, man? Come on! Get a gun license and just bust open the guys' faces.
- The Fenris are all the same. I kept waiting for some sort of exception to the rule, but give it up now, folks. I would have even been okay with an Angel or Spike sort of character.
- Even poor Rosie got pretty repetitious after a bit. She was definitely the most well-rounded character in the book, but that isn't saying much. I felt like her entire dilemma in the book was a false dichotomy, and that's all I can say about that, really.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
The challenge starts January 1, 2011 and ends December 31, 2011. You can start anytime you want to especially if you want to start early.
The level of participation: Beginner (3 comics or graphic novels), Intermediate (3-10 books), or Expert (10+)
Overlaps with other challenges is definitely okay
Feel free to post your list at any time
Scott Pilgrim Versus the World (2) by Bryan Lee O'Malley
-Kin by Holly Black
-Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
-Star Wars: Rebellion (vol 3) by Rob Williams, Michael Lacombe
-X-Men: Civil War
-Scott Pilgrim: The Infinite Sadness (3) by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Thursday, December 16, 2010
1. Best book of 2010? Hey, guess what? THIS IS AN IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION. Children’s: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman or The Grey King by Susan Cooper. YA: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. Adult: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens or The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Nonfiction: The Monsters and The Critics by JRR Tolkien. There are MANY MANY OTHERS but those are the ones that popped to mind first.
2. Worst book of 2010? The Line by Teri Hall. I’m astonished by how easy this question is to answer, except that this book was really bad. Really bad. This book was BADLY written and I can’t believe it managed to get published.
3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010? M is For Magic by Neil Gaiman or Gifts by Ursula K Leguin. Both books were fairly okay, but I was expecting EXCELLENT or BRILLIANT, since we’re talking about Gaiman and Leguin, but I was left feeling meh about both of them.
4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010? Probably The Sound and The Fury, or possibly Giovanni’s Room. I expected the worst from both books, and reading them was varying degrees of painful, but after reading them, I realized that they were pretty fantastic, and they stick with you (even when you kinda wish they would leave).
5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010? I’m not the best recommender in the world, mostly because I have like two IRL friends that actually read. I remember recommending Clockwork Angel, Albatross, and Paranormalcy though. Oh, and I definitely gushed about Henry James all year.
6. Best series you discovered in 2010? How To Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell), or The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper), or Dragonback (Timothy Zahn). I devoured the first two series and I am waiting to devour the third one. :D They are all MG series, strangely. I also discovered The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) and Percy Jackson (Rick Riordan) this year, but while I love them, I’m not a raving fan.
7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010? Let’s go down the list, shall we? Cressida Cowell, Susan Cooper, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Josie Bloss, Kiersten White, Robin McKinley, Patricia McKillip, Tasha Alexander, Julie Kagawa, Chelsea Campbell, Wilkie Collins, Erin Bow, and James Baldwin. Homer (don’t judge me, at least I READ the entire Iliad, okay?), Kristin Cashore, Cassandra Clare, and Caragh O’Brien are runner-ups. I’m also a little confused about when I read Dracula. I guess it was last year. Crazy.
8. Most hilarious read of 2010? Probably Clockwork Angel, strangely enough. I think there were a bunch of other books I read that I laughed a lot, but it was mostly because I was laughing at awkwardness and subtext, which I don’t think really count.
9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010? Paranormalcy, Clockwork Angel, and The Iron King. Did you notice that ALL THREE OF THOSE are paranormal romances? I might cry. Paranormalcy is superb, though.
10. Book you most anticipated in 2010? Probably Tongues of Serpents, honestly, cuz I had been waiting for that since I read Victory of Eagles the year before. But I also got pretty hot and bothered over Mockingjay.
11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010? SO MANY BEAUTIFUL COVERS. Well, I bought Leviathan almost entirely because of the cover, and the same with Clockwork Angel. Plain Kate, Sisters Red, and The Rise of Renegade X also made me very happy.
12. Most memorable character in 2010? Possibly Silas from The Graveyard Book, possibly my beautiful Bran from The Dark Is Rising sequence. Runners up are Magnus Bane (City of Bones), Sherlock Holmes (A Study in Scarlet), and Puck (The Iron King). I would read an entire series on Silas, and Bran deserved a better ending.
13. Most beautifully written book in 2010? Plain Kate by Erin Bow, The Bostonians by Henry James, and Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. Delicious.
14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010? Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The first just reminded me why God is a genius and how Christianity really is the answer, and the latter two had heroines that I really related to.
15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read? A Study in Scarlet, aka The Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I read every single novel and story in a matter of weeks.
Book Blogging in 2010 (optional)
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2010? The Lost Entwife and In The Forest.
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010? The Sherlockian by Graham Moore, because it was an ARC that I was reviewing before its release, and also because I got a little cheeky with that book because it made me laugh so much.
3. Best discussion you had on your blog? N/A. LOL.
4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog? I read a lot of really good blogs about Speak, and a lot that I thought got a little carried away with rage.
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? vvb32 reads had a really fun fairy tale event. Also, Dewey’s Read-a-thon in October was fantastic.
6. Best moment of book blogging in 2010? Probably the whole Speak Loud thing. That was kinda incredible to watch and be a tiny part of.
7. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? This site is pretty amazing: http://awfullibrarybooks.net/
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
To get out of this mess, Damien has to survive his dad's "flying lessons" that involve throwing him off the tallest building in the city--despite his nearly debilitating fear of heights--thwarting the eccentric teen scientist who insists she's his sidekick, and keeping his supervillain girlfriend from finding out the truth. But when Damien uncovers a dastardly plot to turn all the superheroes into mindless zombie slaves, a plan hatched by his own mom, he discovers he cares about his new family more than he thought. Now he has to choose: go back to his life of villainy and let his family become zombies, or stand up to his mom and become a real hero.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate’s father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading fear of hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate.
Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he’ll give Kate the means to escape the angry town, and what’s more, he’ll grant her heart’s wish. It’s a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes she can't live shadowless forever -- and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Goodreads plot synopsis:
When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can't get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona's long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer. Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.
This book was horrifyingly painful to read for me, but it was at least 80% personal, and reflected barely at all on the quality of the writing. This was because the book, and especially the narrator Fiona, immediately plopped me back into high school. And it wasn't with that nostalgic, warm fuzzy feeling that you (and I) sometimes think back on high school with. It was the cold, mind-ravaging remembrance of every horrible event and embarrassing misstep; the nightmare-ish wondering of "what is this had happened when I was in high school?" Seriously, the plot of this book constantly made me cringe in deep sympathy with Fiona and her friends (and enemies!). I mean, if I and my circle had had to go through a Marriage Education program, some of us would have died, some of us would be in mental institutions (definitely me) and the rest would end up completely dysfunctional. I can only imagine the barest glimpse of the horrifying things my awkward teenage self would end up doing in a program like that.
Anyway, wow I'm self-centered!
If I look at the book objectively without spiraling into nightmare, it was quite good. The story was solid, Fiona's character arc is satisfying (her self-pity and arrogance again reminded me of me....I was happy to see her learn her lesson), and it was fun to see the various stereotypes slowly get stripped off to the Real People underneath. Well, Real Fictional People, but you know what I mean.
And, like I probably implied, this book is very true to high school, which I appreciated. Sometimes high school sit-com lit gets a little too Hollywood and neatly arranges all of the events and characters into boxes. Johnny Mercer? I TOTALLY knew guys like him. I knew kids like Fiona and Marcie and Todd and Amanda. And Fiona's family was endearingly realistic and fun.
There is a lot of humor in this book, too. I giggled many times, when I wasn't wide-eyed with terrifying memories and imaginings, lol. Fiona's voice is very honest and helps us understand her even when we want to hit her on the head with Sensitivity Stick.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. It definitely gives you what it advertises: high school, romance, comedy, and plenty of teenage silliness. It won't be a re-read for me personally, but if it's your flavor of ice-cream, you'll probably want to, er, eat many times. Yay awkward metaphors!
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
Thursday, December 02, 2010
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.