Ads 468x60px

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Golden, by Cameron Dokey

This was a good one. It's not on the nomination list (too old for this year), but it's a neat little book. I don't think I've ever come across a retelling of the Rapunzel story before. And this one's pretty good--a whole "build your own destiny" kind of story.

From the publisher's blurb...

"One so fair, let down your hair. Let us go from here to there."

Before Rapunzel's birth, her mother made a dangerous deal with the sorceress Melisande: If she could not love newborn Rapunzel just as she appeared, she would surrender the child to Melisande. When Rapunzel was born completely bald and without hope of ever growing hair, her horrified mother sent her away with the sorceress to an uncertain future.

After sixteen years of raising Rapunzel as her own child, Melisande reveals that she has another daughter, Rue. She was cursed by a wizard years ago and needs Rapunzel's help. Rue and Rapunzel have precisely "two nights and the day that falls between" to break the enchantment. But bitterness and envy come between the girls, and if they fail to work together, Rue will remain cursed . . . forever.

Raider's Night, by Robert Lipsyte

This is definitely a boy book. One of my girls started to read it and suggested I just watch "Remember the Titans" and cuss a lot more. She was quite a bit off on the connection, but, it's still a boy story.

The publisher says it's a "hard-hitting look" at high school sports. Sure, it's a harder look than I think most books would provide, but I still don't think it's quite hard enough. The kind of "hazing" that goes on in this story is felonious. It just is.

Then again, if you get too hard on this subject, I can see it turning off readers. No one wants to read about high schoolers going to prison, least of all high schoolers. I don't know.

I did like the story. Just wish it was a little meatier.

From the publisher's blurb...

At Nearmont High School, football stars are treated like royalty, and Matt Rydek has just ascended to the throne. As co-captain of the Raiders, he's got it all, or so it seems: hot girls, all the right friends, plenty of juice to make him strong, and a winning team poised to go all the way. If he can keep his eye on the ball now, his future will be set, with a full ride to a Division One school, a shot at the pros, and-most important-his dad off his back. But when the team turns on one of its own, should Matt play by Raiders rules, or should he go long alone?

Robert Lipsyte, an award-winning journalist, in consultation with Dr. Michael J. Miletic, a leading sports psychiatrist, takes a hard-hitting look at the world of competitive high school sports in a novel straight from today's headlines.

Devilish, by Maureen Johnson

You know, the publisher's blurb likens this to Faust--in a 21st century YA kinda way. I didn't read that until just now, when I pulled it up at Barnes & Noble, but I've got to agree. As I read it I was thinking about that. Of course, I just reread Faust back during the summer.

This is a really a fun story. I enjoyed it quite a bit more than I thought I would. I identified with Jane--not because I pushed the envelope at school growing up, but (as Mom will attest) I pushed it at home. Jane's just a rebel who isn't prepared to be completely rebellious (hm..I'm like that, I think.)

From the publisher's blurb...

The only thing that makes St. Teresa's Preparatory School for Girls bearable for Jane is her best friend Ally. But when Ally changes into a whole different person literally overnight the fall of their senior year, Jane's suddenly alone--and very confused.

Turns out, Ally has sold her soul in exchange for popularity--to a devil masquerading as a sophomore at St. Teresa's! Now it's up to Jane to put it all on the line to save her friend from this ponytail-wearing, cupcakenibbling demon . . . without losing her own soul in the process.

This YA take on Faust in a Catholic girls' high school is clever, fun, and full of tasty surprises.

Incantation, by Alice Hoffman

This is another quick read. And really, a fascinating little story. I actually read it through, cover to cover twice yesterday (yes, it's that quick a read, for me at least) because I wanted to catch the extra nuances I just knew I'd missed the first time.

I can't say as I can remember reading a story about what happened to Jews during the Spanish Inquisition. Ironically, I'm trying to read The Book Thief (Marcus Zusak) right now, as well. Interesting how I paired those up..and in my mind I'm making the connections. I'm probably going to come back to this post and add some more, I want to dig in the book a bit more too.

From the publisher's blurb...

Estrella is a Marrano: During the time of the Spanish Inquisition, she is one of a community of Spanish Jews living double lives as Catholics. And she is living in a house of secrets, raised by a family who practices underground the ancient and mysterious way of wisdom known as kabbalah. When Estrella discovers her family's true identity - and her family's secrets are made public - she confronts a world she's never imagined, where new love burns and where friendship ends in flame and ash, where trust is all but vanquished and betrayal has tragic and bitter consequences.

The Braid, by Helen Frost

This one was...different. Really it didn't touch me one way or the other. Short read. It's about the connection between two sisters who are separated by an ocean--the life they live apart and the things that connect them despite the distance and the lack of communication.

I can see my romantic girls reading this. But my outspoken, not-so-girly-girl student worker would probably not appreciate it.

From the publisher's blurb...

Two sisters, Jeannie and Sarah, tell their separate yet tightly interwoven stories in alternating narrative poems. Each sister - Jeannie, who leaves Scotland during the Highland Clearances with her father, mother, and the younger children, and Sarah, who hides so she can stay behind with her grandmother - carries a length of the other's hair braided with her own. The braid binds them together when they are worlds apart and reminds them of who they used to be before they were evicted from the Western Isles, where their family had lived for many generations.

The award-winning poet Helen Frost eloquently twists strand over strand of language, braiding the words at the edges of the poems to bring new poetic forms to life while intertwining the destinies of two young girls and the people who cross their paths in this unforgettable novel. An author's note describes the inventive poetic form in detail.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

I wasn't sure about this book at first. Seemed a little Victoria Holt-ish for my taste. Just too Victorian romance feeling.

But then, I realized it's a pretty finely crafted mystery story. Just when I thought I had it figured out, suddenly some other piece of information pops up that changes EVERYTHING! I wouldn't say I loved the book, but it was good. (For me to love a book, I'd have to be willing to read it again this month.)

From the publisher's blurb...

All children mythologize their birth...So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself -- all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.

As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling but remains suspicious of the author's sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that we loved as children. Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter and, in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life.

Dark Water Rising, by Marian Hale

As I read this book, I could picture everything in my head. In fact, I could picture the streets and areas (Like St. Mary's Orphanage, John Sealy Hospital, etc.). In fact, from the description of where Seth and his family live, I think he lived on the same street my great-aunt has a house on today!

I really enjoyed this one. It's a quick read, and just fascinating. I can't think of another book built around the 1900 storm written for YAs that is so interesting and well done.

From the publisher's blurb...

A poignant coming-of-age novel set during the Galveston Storm of 1900. I looked south toward the gulf, trying to keep an eye on the stalking sea. Wild waves rose up like a great hand and wrenched loose the Pagoda's long staircase, sending planks tumbling through the air. With horror I watched the end of one twin building sway and dip into the surf.

I yelled at Josiah, but my words disappeared on the wind. I grabbed his arm, pointed, and we stood together, shoulder to shoulder, mouths gaping, watching the impossible.

Like a wounded Goliath, the great bathhouse shuddered, folded in on its long legs, and collapsed into the sea. Galveston, Texas, may be the booming city of the twentieth century, but to Seth it is the end of a dream. He wants to be a carpenter like his father, but the family has moved so Seth can become a doctor.

Just as things begin to look up for Seth, a storm warning is raised one sweltering afternoon. A north wind always brings change, but no one could have imagined anything like this.

The acclaimed author of The Truth About Sparrows has crafted an unforgettable story set during the Galveston Storm of 1900.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Keturah and Lord Death, by Martine Leavitt

This was a good story, well done, interesting..and certainly a different take.


I mean, really, falling in love with Death? After cheating him out of not one, not two, but 3 extra days of life? And exacting a promise to let you live if you just complete one task?

But I suppose the idea is that one should always be true to one self, and committ selfless acts. That I get. I can see my artsy, in love with the idea of love kids falling for this book. It's got the historical feel and romance-y thing going on big.

From the publisher's blurb...

Martine Leavitt offers a spellbinding story, interweaving elements of classic fantasy and high romance. Keturah follows a legendary hart into the king's forest, where she becomes hopelessly lost. Her strength diminishes until, finally, she realizes that death is near. Little does she know that he is a young, handsome lord, melancholy and stern. Renowned for her storytelling, Keturah is able to charm Lord Death with a story and thereby gain a reprieve -- but only for twenty-four hours. She must find her one true love within that time, or all is lost. Keturah searches desperately while the village prepares for an unexpected visit from the king, and Keturah is thrust into a prominent role as mysterious happenings alarm her friends and neighbors. Lord Death's presence hovers over all until Keturah confronts him one last time in the harrowing climax.

Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine

I love a good, believable fairy tale. I don't particularly like those that seem entirely too far-fetched. But then, I tend to read the kinds of things that I write (realistic type stuff.).

Anyway, Fairest is the Snow White story...only believable. It's honesty at some of its finest. I love it when the message is finely woven in. The message here is that physical beauty is only skin deep and it is fleeting when you aren't true to yourself.

Will teenager's get that? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, it's a wonderful story.

From the publisher's blurb...

I sang an aria.

Or so I believe. I have no one to tell me the truth of it. I was abandoned when I was a month old, left at the Featherbed Inn in the Ayorthaian village of Amonta. It was January 12th of the year of Thunder Songs.

The fairy Lucinda has once again given a dreadful gift. This time it's a mysterious magical mirror.

The gift is disastrous when it falls into the hands of Aza, who never looks in a mirror if she can help it. In the Kingdom of Ayortha, Aza is most definitely not the fairest of them all. Many spurn her. Many scoff at her. She keeps out of sight.

But in a land of singers, Aza has her own gift, one she's come by without fairy intervention: a voice that can do almost anything, a voice that captivates all who hear it. In Ontio Castle, merry Prince Ijori is drawn to it, and vain Queen Ivi wants to use it for her own ends. Queen Ivi would do anything to remain the fairest in the land.

In this spellbinding tale filled with humor, adventure, romance, and song, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine invites you to join Aza as she discovers how exquisite she truly is.

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, by Barry Lyga

Hm..this one was...different. I didn't expect to like it. Still not sure if I do or not. It feels like a fairly typical teenage-angsty kind of book, kinda drama queen meets outcast loser boy. Only, I'm I don't think Goth Girl's the drama queen. It's just weird.

I can pick out the characters in the hallways here. That definitely helps the appeal factor.

From the publisher's blurb...

Fanboy has never had it good, but lately his sophomore year is turning out to be its own special hell. The bullies have made him their favorite target, his best (and only) friend seems headed for the dark side (sports and popularity), and his pregnant mother and the step-fascist are eagerly awaiting the birth of the alien life form known as Fanboy's new little brother or sister. Fanboy, though, has a secret: a graphic novel he's been working on without telling anyone, a graphic novel that he is convinced will lead to publication, fame, and- most important of all- a way out of the crappy little town he lives in and all the people that make it hell for him. When Fanboy meets Kyra, a.k.a. Goth Girl, he finds an outrageous, cynical girl who shares his love of comics as well as his hatred for jocks and bullies. Fanboy can't resist someone who actually seems to understand him, and soon he finds himself willing to heed her advice- to ignore or crush anyone who stands in his way.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed by Jennifer Turney under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Animated Social Gadget - Blogger And Wordpress Tips