Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers. Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when shes roused by regular nightmares about her younger brothers death. Across the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books as well as a peculiar set of friends: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, the mayors reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal), and especially her foster parents. Zusak not only creates a mesmerizing and original story but also writes with poetic syntax, causing readers to deliberate over phrases and lines, even as the action impels them forward. Death is not a sentimental storyteller, but he does attend to an array of satisfying details, giving Liesels story all the nuances of chance, folly, and fulfilled expectation that it deserves. An extraordinary narrative.

This is the touching story of a girl surrounded by tragedy. Having Death as the narrator made the story intriguing, though with Death telling the story I knew Liesel would have plenty of tragedy in her young life. Still, even with the tragedy, it was a beautiful and well-written story.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

CoralineCoraline by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.
This was a fairly short read that does a great job in the creepy department. It is imaginative and well written, quirky and clever. Though I don't think this is something I'd want my nephew or niece to read (yet) I think it's something I'll suggest for them when they get older.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young GirlThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For some reason I never read this in school, so I decided it was time that I did. I didn't expect great literature to come out of a diary of a teenage girl, but I did appreciate her insights.

Of course, anyone who is stuck in a house for that long is going to have times of bitterness and she coule occasionally be awful, but Anne did seem to be a sensetive soul. I was sometimes annoyed by her "poor me" attitude but, being a teenage girl myself at one point, I could understand where she was coming from.

Their struggles and fears were real and her writing ability was exceptional for someone so young.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Best Young Adult Novels

Yesterday, NPR Books released the results of the Top 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels poll.

I was pretty excited to see some of my favorites on there, especially The Hobbit. I've read that book a couple of times and will probably read it again before the movie comes out. I figured Twilight would be included somewhere, and sadly, I was right. Oh well, you can't get everything. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the list and will probably try to read some of the books on the list that I haven't read yet. Yay books!

Are any of your favorites on the list?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Revamp by Beck Sherman

RevampRevamp by Beck Sherman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free digital copy of this book for my review.


News reporters scrambled. This was the biggest story to come along in weeks.
They called it a blackout.
The last one was in New York City in 2003, but this one was different, special, because the grids in six major cities across the country had been fried, kaput, see-you-next-Sunday. Everyone with some jurisdiction blamed each other, and when there was no one left to blame, terrorism rode in on its gallant steed.
It was the media’s fault. They were so busy stuffing fanatical Muslims with a penchant for Allah and decapitations down the American citizen’s throat, that they never saw it coming. I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on them.
They were partially right.
It was terror after all, but a whole new kind. And when the lights came back on, things had changed.
The dark had brought us visitors.
Overall it is a good read, though I was hoping for more horror. Things really start to get weird for Emma (or Em) when she is supposed to fly to L.A. and only 15 people are on the plane. Honestly, I would never have stayed on that flight. When I saw who was on it (or, more precisely, who wasn't) I would have ran out of there faster than an Olympic sprinter. Of course, her bad judgement ultimately led to her being found by a group of hunters who teach her how to kill vampires. I really liked the book until she gets to the hunter's "camp." Then it became less "horror" like I was hoping for and more "I'm gonna learn how to kill and save the world! Yay!" Another issue I had was it skipped over the whole "blackout" thing and the story picked up after the power was back on for a while. So many creepy things could have happened during a blackout. Now I'm just being whiny.

Up until the hunters find her I was enjoying the creepy factor, though there was a lot of action and some more creepyness thrown in here and there. The characters were likable (most of them anyway) and it was an entertaining read.

A kindle version of the book can be purchased for 99 cents at Amazon. And it is well worth the 99 cents!

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