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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Would You by Marthe Jocelyn Review



Title: Would You
Author: Marthe Jocelyn
Pages: 165 pps (H.B.)
MSRP: $15.99
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Rating: * * * */ 5

This was just unbelievably heartbreaking. You can't help thinking, "What if this was me?" All the time.
Would you rather know what's going to happen or not know? That's how this book starts. I was drawn in from there on out, and read it in one day, nonstop.
Natalie is Claire Johnson's younger sister. Claire has just graduated high school, and is ready to move on to college. "I just feel like there's... promise!" Claire said the Friday night before... the Accident happens.
A summery Saturday night. A break-up. An accident. Suddenly, because of that one night, Nat's whole world is flipped upside down and shaken all around.
Claire goes into a coma, and Nat knows life will never be the same. No one to tell her darkest secrets to. So much for spending her summer pool-hopping and hanging out at the DQ with her 4 best friends- she's trapped in a nightmare world of false hope, unhopefuldoctors, and a sister who will never be Claire again.
I cried at least twice in this book, it's so heartbreaking, like I said- but in a comforting way, like your problems seem like nothing compared to what happened to Claire and Nat! It's well written, witty and funny as well. Deserves every star it got.

















Tuesday, April 28, 2009

If A Tree Falls At Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko Review



Title: If A Tree Falls At Lunch Period
Author: Gennifer Choldenko
Pages: 217 pps (Paperback Copy)
MSRP: $6.99
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Rating: * * * */ 5

This book reminds me so much of my own school. The characters, the events, the cliques, everything, it happens at my junior high and every other one in the world. That's what makes this book so good.
The book is divided into two narrators, both 12 and in seventh grade: Kirsten and Walker (Walk for short). Kirsten's chapters are written like she's talking, while someone narrates Walk's chapters, but they both are expressed just as well. These two really couldn't be more different: Kirsten is chubby, Walk thin, for example. But the most important difference is that Kirsten's white and Walk's black. The both are just starting Mountain Junior High, a school where the academic competition is fierce, and the popularity race is fiercer. They slowly become friends.
Then, Kirsten hears a big secret from her constantly-fighting parents- a secret that affects both her and Walk big-time. It was a creative plot twist that came at the right time, but I just couldn't get behind it. What it is, you have to read to find out.
I'm exactly like Kirsten, I noticed- right down to the chubbiness and being a gigantic Friends TV show fanatic (Anyone else? ;) ). She's a really sweet person, and is so nice to her little sister, Kippy, who for some reason was my favorite minor character, of which there were a lot.
This book is also good for those who like to read in short periods of time- the chapters are only about 2 or 3 pages, and several are only one page.
I actually had no idea the book was over when I read the end a few minutes ago- it kind of startled me, I didn't want it to end!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Airhead by Meg Cabot Review


Title: Airhead
Author: Meg Cabot
Pages: 352 pp (including Being Nikki preview)
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
H.B. price: $16.99
Rating: Hands down, a * * * * */5

For whatever reason, I put off reading this book forever. Then, on Thursday when I was at the library, I just picked it up, to see what everyone was so excited about. Now I know- this book ROCKS! It has everything, romance, drama, hilarity, and plenty of suspense. You have to read this, seriously.
Emerson Watts didn't want to go to to Stark Megastore grand opening in SoHo with her little sister, Frida, but Frida's famous crush Gabriel Luna would be there performing, and Em's mom thought it would be best if Frida was supervised. So there she was, with Frida and her best friend Christopher (who Em is also secretly madly in love with- awww!), when it all happens.
Because of what happened that day Em's body is secretly transplanted into Nikki Howard's, the new Face of Stark teen supermodel exraordinaire, body. Stark Company pays for it, and it's top secret, so Em's stuck being Nikki, and can't even tell anyone besides her family about it.
I absolutely looooooved it. The whole being-in-love-with-her-best-friend-and-now-not-being-able-to-tell-him-it's-really-her thing? My favorite romance plot, at least the best friend thing. There aren't many books out there about whole-body transplants like that.
The characters were funny, believable, and for the most part likeable. Though I really didn't like Frida, or Christopher all that much.
Now I know why everyone's so crazy over Being Nikki, the sequel to Airhead, coming out. It's great! I definitely suggest you join us crazy Cabot fans!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

In My Mailbox (3)








I'm finally on time with my IMM! I got some pretty interesting books, hope you did too...







Map of the Known World by Lisa Sandell






I just love this cover... It's dark and sophisticated. The main character, Cora, seems very artsy, and the book itself is so lyrical. Can't wait to read this! The only thing I take issue with in this book is that the names, like Cora and Nate, seem like they're copied from Lock and Key. If I see a character named Ruby, that'll confirm it. But other than that, it's a different storyline.




If A Tree Falls At Lunch Period, by Gennifer Choldenko




I got this because I need to know why it's called this! It'd just one of those totally weird titles. It's about a boy and girl at a competitive junior high, just starting seventh grade. They're totally different, from weight to height to race and even more, but they become friends. I've heard some good reviews for this, and that's where I get most recommendations from, and usually they're right.


Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix




"Somewhere in the world I have a tiara little box. It is not safe for me to wear it. It is not safe for me to tell anyone who I really am."

That's the first paragraph of this. Makes you want to read it soooo bad, right? I know I do! It's a companion to Just Ella, like the same kingdom and all, with minor characters becoming major, and vice versa. It's about a girl named Cecelia, who s 14 and has a big secret: Under her peasant clothes, she's a princess. It's not safe for her to take throne as the princess because there are evil conspirators who killed her parents, the king and queen. A girl named Desmia is the decoy princess. Cecelia wonders when her real life will begin...

Now you know what I got. I'm curious, what about you?

Mmkay, bye!
















Saturday, April 25, 2009

Great Upcoming Books!




I know I don't write about new books very often, but I need some of that to make it interesting, right? I'm soooooo excited about these books coming out soon, most in May and June!












Prada and Prejeduce by Many Hubbard



Doesn't this look cool? I'm so excited about this one because I love Pride and Prejiduce, and it's a girl transported into that, so it has a modern twist. Coming out June 11 of this year! Sorry I don't have anything else to say about the plot, I can't find anything just yet, not many people know about it apparently... yet.




How To Buy A Love of Reading, by Tanya Egan Gibson


This one comes out May 14 on Amazon... I heard about this on another blog, I can't remember which, and I've been trying to remember so I can read about the plot... Oh, it's from GreenBeanTeenQueen! I have a link to that, btw, on the list. ANyways, here's what I remember:

Carley, the protagonist in this story, hates reading. When asked by someone what her favorite book is, she says, "I never mat a book I liked." Who can blame her for it not being her fave thing, with her lit teachers? Their lessons have names like, "Backstory Is Afterbirth"... and that's not e en the worst name, trust me. Her personal trainer also says she's fifty pounds overweight. Yup, she has a personal trainer, lucky rich girl. Her teacher's say she is cultureless, so her parents try to buy her a love of reading, hence the title...


Peace, Love and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle


Besides How to Be Bad, in which she wrote in one of the 3 character's P.O.V., I haven't read her books, but I've heard she's phenomenal. Anyone know if that's true? HTBB was great, so probably! Anyways, there's a review of this on Em's Bookshelf, the April 24th post. She tells all about this book, and the highs and lows of it. Coming out in May this year!

Okay, buh-bye now.









Friday, April 24, 2009

Home, and Other Big Fat Lies by Jill Wolfson Review


Title: Home, and Other Big, Fat Lies
Author: Jill Wolfson
Pages: 224 pp (H.B.)
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, Incorporated
H.B. Price:
Rating: */5

Oh my God, I didn't realize how bad this book is. It started out kind of funny and pretty interesting. Then all the character were introduced, each more annoying and weird than the last, and I just... wow.
Before I continue, I'll give you a little background: Whitney is headed to her 12th foster home, way up in California, where there's nothing but trees, trees and more trees. The social workers say a little ball of energy like her would love living there, but Whitney is sure that it'll be just one more place where a loud-mouthed, hyper, small-for-her-age girl who "kicked heart disease in the butt" doesn't belong.
The plot was pretty predictable, the dialogue was annoying, and I couldn't stand any of the weird characters! I'm sorry, but I just hated this book. Few things were good about it, really, but at least that's something.
The girl, Whitney, is obnoxious. The author attempts humor, but it's not funny. It's two main stabs: Whitney uses all these expressions (like, "That really sticks in my craw" and "hold your horses"), and mixes them up. That was okay at first, but I started looking for them- and there was at least one EVERY 2 PAGES. C'mon! It wasn't that funny in the first place.
Another was spelling things with a lot of vowels and saying, with [NUMBER] [LETTER]'s. That also happened all the time. And she had all these catchphrases that put the likes of those in the Nancy Drew series to shame in their dorkiness.
Seriously? Just don't bother with this book. Sorry I bring you no good recommendations, but that's the way it is, I gotta tell all.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Bookish Meme

Hey all! I'm catching up on my books, and we're testing her at school, so that's making it a bit difficult. I found this on http://www.thebookladysblog.com/, and it's compressed a little. You can go to her awesome blog and check it out for the complete version (it's the April 3rd post)!



Hardback, trade paperback, or mass market paperback? It depends on the book, and how good I think I'll like it. Usually, I get whatever type is available at B&N, but I prefer hardbacks for keeping, paperbacks if I'm going to sell them. Most of my mass market paperbacks fall apart, so usually trade.



Barnes&Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million, or indies? I really don't like Borders- it's an impersonal atmosphere, the lights are too bright, and there's no good books beyond ones I've read. And on top of all that, they don't have a teen section (the audacity)! Yeah, I'm 12, I guess I could go up to the juvenile... but once you've read YA and regular, non-specialized books, you can't go back to the unrealistic plots, etc.... I really like B&N, they make you want to stay a while, and they have a decent teen section. If my town had ANY indie stores, I would fully go there at LEAST twice a week, but things like that aren't around my town. But any chance I get, when I'm traveling or whatever, I go to the stores there. I HATE Books-A-Million, because their books don't appear to be classified in any way.


Bookmark or Dog-eared? I have this weird hang-up about dog earing. Don't ask me why, but I think it was that video we watched all the time in the library when I was little, with all the sick, abused books. That TALKED. Yeesh, you can't blame me for being scarred :). I have a pretty good knack for remembering my page anyways. I read to benchmarks, or make up little things to remember it by (like, 180 pages, I think of angles... dorky, may be, but it works!).



Alphabetize by author, alphabetize by title, or random? I guess random. Well, I separate them by categories, but in the categories, it's a free-for-all.



Keep, throw away, or sell? Keep, and occasionally give to the library. Who would throw away a book? C'mon, people.



Read with/ without dust jacket? Throw away/keep dust jacket? I take the jacket off when I read the book. It crackles annoyingly, and keeps falling off so you can't focus. But when I'm done and add it to my bookshelf, I put it back on. It makes it a bit more colorful and interesting looking. Next!

Short story or novel? I like reading collections of short stories, like Shining On and Does This Book Make Me Look Fat? (which is on my reading list to get). But I usually read novels for the simple reason that there's just more of the novels out there.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Lemony Snicket, all the way. I don't read the Harry Potter series. A Series of Unfortunate Events is what I spent my whole 4th grade summer on! His books are total cliffhangers though, right down to the very last book EVER, and I just hate that.

New or used? New, definitely. If there's a book I desperately want, I will get a *slightly* used book from a book store. But to me, there's something about used books that's kind of... icky. You don't know where it's been, after all.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendations, or Browsing? Mainly browsing the shelves of a library or store. You just can't enjoy that great feeling of peace and anticipiation and awesome book smell without being there for a while. I also get a lot of wonderful books from reviews, as seen from the long list of book blogs.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger? I'm not much for either. Tidy endings work out too well, and I don't like it when the plot isn't completely realistic (which is why I dislike sci fi and fantasy so much). But cliffhangers, especially in stand-alones, since it's just over, annoy me as well, sometimes. I want things to not be completely perfect, but the conflict resolved in an original way, etc.

Favorite book to reread? I've read Island of the Blue Dolphins so many times. I was going to do the favorite books question, but I love too many.

Do you ever smell books? Um, I can't say I put the book up to my nose, but I do like the smell of books in a library or store. It's the best, most comforting smell in the world. Agreed?

Okay, now you know my opinions: go to the above-mentioned blog and make your own meme of the bookish variety!




Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Geography of Girlhood by Kirsten Smith Review


Title: The Geography of Girlhood: A Novel in Verse
Author: Kirsten Smith
Pages: 184 p. (H.B.)
Price (HB):
Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.
Rating: * * * */5

I like books that are written in a different style, like in verse as this one is. This author has a real talent for conveying important, major things as well as sweet, minor details, all in fun, well-written poems, each at the most a page and a half long.
For such a short book, it covers about four years- the partings, the reunions, the fights, the deaths, the love, and the spaces in between it all. I really couldn't find out a lot about Penny Morrow, the girl writing the poems, personality-wise. She was pretty much just an average teen girl with the small insecurities that matter so much to us all ( I can't tell you how much I sometimes obsess over if my eyes are too small, stuff like that :P), the crushes, and mistakes she makes.
Another thing is that you feel how Penny is feeling. When she faints that at one point talking to a boy who likes her, you feel like it happened to you and you feel her embarrassment. Good books do that.
Penny's mother left when she was almost 5. A few weeks before her mother left, on her 4th birthday, she gave Penny a globe and said, "If you ever need me, remember that I'm a;ways somewhere on here." She also said Penny was just like her. Then, weeks later, she was gone.
And Penny is like her- the best place she wants to be is away, and she's restless.
Penny has two best friends, Elaine and Denise. Denise is sick, like mentally, which you find out towards the end. She burned down her own house. Elaine, somewhere in the second year of the book, becomes a cheerleader and doesn't hang out with Penny that much anymore. Don't tell Denise, Penny, she says, and Denise says, Don't tell Elaine, Penny.
When she starts high school, which she has been dreading doing because a popular girl, Jenny, threatened to kill her when she got there. Instead, she starts being friends with Penny!
Most any teen girl can relate to Penny, and will probably enjoy this.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In My Mailbox (3)



Yes, I'm well aware that this is STILL not Sunday, but that isn't when I get stuff, I got this Monday, and I didn't want my excitement to wear off...


So, once again, thanks bunches to The Story Siren blog for this meme!


Would You by Marthe Jocelyn




"A question: Would you rather know what's going to happen? Or not know?"


That's the first line of the book, and the only thing on the flap where it's supposed to tell about the book. From what I can tell on the copright page, which is where I go for info when there isn't enough on the flap, it involves a medical emergency. Huh. I've looked all over Amazon too, and still no clue what this is about...



Airhead by Meg Cabot




There's been a lot of publicity for this book lately, due to the sequel, Being Nikki, coming out... I love Meg Cabot's books so much, but for whatever reason, I never checked it out of the library. I read a review about it a while back, and decided to give it a try.










Saturday, April 18, 2009

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott Review

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Title: Stealing Heaven
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Pages: 320 p.s (Hardback)
Hardback Price: $16.99
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Rating: *****/5

I read this months ago, but it's still like I read it last week- that's how I know if a book is truly fiver material.
Okay, let's see what I can remember when aided by Barnes & Noble!
Danielle (Dani for short) is eighteen, and she's been stealing things for as long as she can remember.
That how it's starts out, only in her point of view and more, um, shock-factory.
Danielle has been trained to be a thief all her life by the best one there is- her mother. They move constantly, and it's all Dani has ever known. She makes sure never to make friends in any way, shape or form- and especially not to fall in love.
Then, after a successful robbery, they move to the beach town of Heaven, Florida. This time, it's different. She makes a few friends, and even meets a guy, named Greg. But then she finds out Greg is a policeman, and is looking for the people committing the robberies in Heaven! Danielle is faced with a tough choice: the life she's always known, or the life she always wanted.
This book was wonderful. I seriously couldn't put it down. I tucked it under my desk in math class to read, as opposed to doing algebra, it was so good (well, I probably would have done that with any book. I don't like math, but who does?... No offense to you math-lovin' dorks, like my BF. ;) )! And I had a major crush on Greg. He was so incredibly developed... I've been meaning to get more by this author, and Perfect You has been in my stack of bought books for months!
Dani was likable, confusing, and easily related to, as well as many other things, through out the book. I was so amazed at her depth! I knew Ms. Scott was a phenomenal writer, but wow.
There were a lot of twists and turns in the plot, which were sad, romantic... well, varied.
All, YOU MUST READ THIS. It was a great summer read, which is what I'm focusing on reviewing as school winds down.
Peace out, Meggin (aka Megan, which is boring, so I changed the spelling.)

P.S. Did any body out there participate in Operation Book Drop? I never know about these things! I totally would have dropped of my copy of Audrey, Wait (review for that soon, by the way)! Guess I'm not In with the Book Blog spot community yet... :(

Okay, bye for real now, chocolate is calling me... and so is that copy of Perfect You. I hope it's as good as this!

Alice, I Think by Susan Juby Review


Title: Alice, I Think
Author: Susan Juby
Pages: 290 (HB)
HB market price: $16.89
Publisher: HarperTempest
Rating: * * * */5


This book was really funny, but it wasn't what I expected. The characters were developed well, and the plot was really interesting. But a really important character, i.e. Alice's love interest, came in ten pages before this book was over. AND, we didn't even know his name! At least there's two other books in this series; Ms. Juby probably didn't want to wear this new character out.
By the way, this book is Canadian, so when you see references to America in third POV, don't be all, "krybcjsacdswhat?" Like I was. I had no clue where this girl was, sad I know! But it's British Columbia. Anyways, on to the reviewing!
On her first day of 1st grade, Alice went to school dressed as a hobbit, which for those of you who don't know, is that freaky elf-like creature that goes, "MY PRECIOUS!" in The Lord of the Rings. She did this because she had read The Hobbit (parent-assisted to the point of reading to her, obviously) months before, and due to the truth of what Alice said in her first diary entry ( "I grew up in one of those loving families that fail to prepare a person for real life..."), her hippie mom and dad only encouraged it. Her mom even made her a little hobbity outfit: a tunic-dress made of sackcloth with rope fringe, shoes made of sackcloth with little tufts of fake fur on them, and even a matching rope-and-cloth bag, plus a little green elfish hat. Having a hard time picturing it in all it's, er... glory? On the back of the book there's a little blond girl facing away from the camera, apparently little Alice the Hobbit.
Reading her diary and getting to know Alice is like watching a cartoon Tom and Jerry train wreck, in the way that it's funny, embarrassing, and no one gets hurt. Well, Alice does by Linda. A LOT. But that's not the point. She's just so adorably clueless. She wants to be like her cousin Frank (yep, Frank's a girl), who is very "alternative", and so she gets all these vintage clothes that I cringed at the thought of wearing. I'm all for vintage, but she was wearing red-and-white check stretch pants, things equally cringe-inducing. I don't know, maybe that's the style in Canada? Anyone up on what's hot/not up in Maple Country?
So, a little info on her family and the other characters. Her mom works at a New Age bookstore, and is a total hippie, which is good for a lot of hilarity. Her dad "works", if you can call it that, at writing romance novels that he never gets published. The most normal person in her family (besides her, at least, that's what she thinks) is her brother, Macgregor, who loves animals and actually goes to school at the local elementary.
The characters were original and quirky, well enough developed for it being only diary entries, and the plot was different, but I have to warn you that most will probably not like it. It's whiny a lot, the people and protagonist are embarrassingly weird. But geekologists like myself can appreciate this.
Well, that's it for today, y'all! Expect that Audrey, Wait! review soon, I just need to get over to the library and get it...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Almost Epic Summer by Adele Griffin Review


Title: My Almost Epic Summer
Author: Adele Griffin
Pages: 170 p.s (Hardback)
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
HB price: $15.99
Rating: ***/5


I really liked this book, and if I didn't have to use whole stars in my rating system, this would be a 3.75, so it's above average.
Nothing much happens in this book, like epic, as the title says. Just a very believable story about Irene, a girl with a big dream, and her summer before ninth grade.
My favorite part of any book, the characters: there weren't a lot. I can count the main and semi-main characters on my two hands, and a lot of these characters were underdeveloped. But it is only a 170 paged book, and meant to be a light summer read. I really liked the main character, Irene, but she had her odd moments. She wants to be a hair stylist in L.A. when she grows up, even though she's so bad at helping to run her mom's that her own mother fires her! She reads classic books like "Lolita", which has been on my reading list to get for a while, or "Jane Eyre," which is what I liked so much about her. We were actually a lot alike , and that's really important in a story. When she reads these books, she sketches the heroines' hairstyles in her notebook, which she calls "Heroine Heads," for inspiration in her future dream stylist place.
I hated the other main character, Starla, so much! And Irene just obsessed about her throughout the whole book- how beautiful she is, and her attitude, etc. It's kind of like Regina George and Cady in Mean Girls. She hates her, but can't stop thinking about her. And in Irene's case, haunting her blog.
Overall, even though important characters were severely underdeveloped, this author had great use of literary elements, which made it more interesting to read, and partially made up for the others.

Monday, April 13, 2009

In My Mailbox (1)

In My Mailbox is a weekly post about books obtained by you this week- be it by library, bookstore, borrowed from a friend, etc. Thanks to The Story Siren blog (http://www.thestorysiren.com/) for coming with this fun meme!


P.S. I am supposed to do this Sundays, but I didn't know about this until today, so I'll start Sundays next week.








The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This looks so, SO great. I've started the first few pages, and it's just... wow. The narrator kind of interacts with you, and I'm in love with the plot any mystery of it all. It's set in the Holocaust (er, did I spell that right?), and it focuses on a German girl named Leisel, whose brother died on the way to their foster home. At his burial, she finds a book, The Grave Digger's Handbook, nestled in the snow by his grave, and she takes it. That lights a passion in her, a passion for words. Soon she's getting books everywhere she can, like Nazi book burnings. It just sounds like such a different, wonderful read, right? Okay, I'm done gushing. What did y'all get in your mailbox this week?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Confessions of A Teen Sleuth by Chelsea Cain


Title: Confessions of A Teen Sleuth: A Parody
Author: Chelsea Cain
Pages: 160 p.s (Hardback)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Hardcover Price: $15.95
Rating: * * */ 5
I honestly don't know what to think of this book, and I don't mean that in a positive way. Er, I think. So we'll give it 3 *s, mmkay? Just average, didn't hate it, didn't love it, like the way you feel about a neighborhood cat that sometimes comes around. ANYways.
This book is a parody of the Carolyn Keene series, Nancy Drew, who I'm sure many of us- me reluctantly included- read the books in this series. I, for one, refused to read anything else but the new Nancy Drew series by- possibly the 18Th Carolyn Keene? C'mon, we know this person didn't live to still be writing this stuff. The first was in 1913!
If you're expecting a hilarious, obvious parody of the annoyingly perfect "not blond, TITIAN" - haired eternal 16 year old who always had something like a lock pick kit handy (yet she's never arrested!), then keep walking. This is more subtle stabs at the above-mentioned qualities that made her perfect enough to give a girl some SERIOUS self-esteem issues, like at the words Nancy uses (catawampus, hypers, SPECIAL FRIEND- Ned N., but still... CREEPY much?), and how she constantly mentions her titian hair.
This is the blurb on the back of my library copy, which hopefully explains it: "As many of you know me only as a character in a series of books written by a former friend of mine, let me make one thing clear: she used my name without my permission, and made a career for herself telling stories of my adventures. I feared that if I revealed myself, details might come to light that would embarrass my husband and child... I feel that it is time to set the record straight."
- Confessions of A Teen Sleuth by C. Cain
The book is Nancy Drew's manuscripts, which it says in the intro was sent to Ms. Cain to be published. Carolyn Keene was actually her college roommate ( who Nancy had no issues pointing out was fat in the chapter about her as much as possible).
This book is more of a dry humor, which is weird that I didn't like it, because of my intense love for all things like the Office (WHAT!!!????! You don't like the Office? Breathe... okay, back to the review). If you enjoy things like that, however, give this book a try. It's pretty short, I finished it in half a day (Sooner if I had read nonstop).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald Review


Title: Veil of Roses
Author: Laura Fitzgerald
Pages: 309 p.s (paperback)
Publisher: Bantam Books 2007
Rating: * * * */5

This book is from the P.O.V. of a an Iranian woman named Tami. She's 27 years old, but I just kept forgetting that- she seemed so innocent, like she was 14 or something!
Tami is from Iran, but her parents get her a visa on her 27th birthday to go to America and "wake up her luck." She is supposed to find a husband before her visa expires. Her parents' hope is that Tami will never return to Iran, which means she has just 3 months to do that.
She goes to live with her sister, Maryam, and Maryam's husband Ardishir. She has all kinds of wonderful adventures her in America, things she would never do in Iran, where she has always been forced to wear a veil and live in fear, like her first Victoria's Secret bra, first ride on a motor scooter with an American man, as well as a country line dance. She picks up an interest and talent in photography, taking pictures of "tiny acts of rebellion." But the fact that she has to concede to an arranged marriage soon looms over her fun and freedom. To make matters worse, her feelings for Ike, the American boy who works at Starbucks, are becoming harder and harder to ignore.
The plot was good, but it didn't make sense at the end. It wasn't resloved right- it was really sweet, as obviously much of this book was, but it didn't go along with the whole "expired visa, must go back" thing.
Now to my favorite part, the characters! Ike was really sweet, if a little under-developed than I would have liked. Tami was very sweet and the author wrote this book in what seems to be an authentic way. It had just the right amount of minor characters, who all did their jobs in an enjoyable way. I also liked it because it taught me a lot about a culture I didn't know anything about before, and made me appreciate the freedom we in America have.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Meg Cabot Gives Away Books!

Meg Cabot, my absolute favorite author, is said to be giving out the sequel to her hit book, Airhead, to blogger and other book reviewers! It's called Being Nikki, and I have yet to read the first book, I know, bad. But since it's by Meg Cabot, I'm sure it'll be good. Bumping to top of my reading list.
If you have a book reviewing site, email Meg Cabot and see if you can get a free copy! Check out The Story Siren (http://www.thestorysiren.com/) for more information. I got this from Em's Bookshelf (http://www.emsbookshelf.blogspot.com/) on the April 5th post. Go check it out for more info, Cabot fans!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee Review


Title: Artichoke's Heart
Author: Suzanne Supplee
Pages: 224 p.s (Hardcover)
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Rating: * * * */5
Artichoke's Heart is about a teenager named Rosemary Goode. Rosemary is smart and funny and loyal, as well as the best eyebrow waxer in Spring Hill, Tennessee. But only one thing matters to anyone about her, including Rosemary herself: her weight.
Her terribly annoying aunt is constantly pushing her to lose weight. Her "wonderful" Christmas present? A $700 treadmill, and tickets to Healing the Fat Girl Within. That's showing some love, Aunty Mary, but I'd prefer a laptop. And her mom doesn't help either. She just stands there and agrees when Mary rips Rosy apart, plus she's sick ,which adds stress to Rosemary.
So Rosemary decides to lose weight. She starts drinking these diet shakes, and only eating gum besides those. She runs on her treadmill.
Then she meets Kay Kay Reese. Kay Kay is thin, beautiful, and perfect for the mean Bluebirds (the Bluebirds are like the equivalent of the Pink Ladies. Only they don't smoke and drop out to go to beauty school and... um, never mind. They're just like that in the sense of being pretty and popular and mean to all others). So why does Kay-Kay talk to Rosemary? That's what gets Kay banished from the Bluebird table. Rosemary is a prime target of theirs. In fact, they're the reason the book involves artichoke at all... long story. So they start to eat lunch together, and eventually they're friends.
And she meets Kyle, who is "delightfully huge." She likes Kyle- and even better, he seems to like her back!
I really only got this book because of the awesome cover. What's not appealing about chocolate and pink curlicue lettering? Nothing, I tell you. I had a deep hatred for Mary so that's what made this book less enjoyable.
UPDATE: This book has been nominated for the 2009 Cybil YA book awards! Three cheers for Suzanne Supplee and Rosemary, too!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How To Be Bad by E. Lockhart Review


Title: How To Be Bad
Authors: E. Lockhart, Sarah Mylnowski, Lauren Myracle
Pages: 325 p. (Hardcover)
Publisher: HarperTeen, 2008
Rating: * * * */ 5
How To Be Bad is written by 3 really famous good YA authors, but E. Lockheart gets most of the recognition (just because her name comes before Mylnowski and Myracle). They each write a chapter from the character's point of view, and I don't know who wrote what. I'm pretty surer E. Lockhart wrote Vicks' chapter, because Vicks' personality is like a lot of characters in Lockhart's books.
Anyways, the book's about 3 girls: Jesse, the human moral monitor who's mom is not alright; Vicks, whose boyfriend, Brady, hasn't called and has sent exactly 1 cheesy text over the 2 weeks he's been gone (which is why the three set off in the first place); and Mel, the new good girl in expensive jeans who just wants everyone to like her. Mel was my fave character and I really didn't like Jesse, only a little.
Vicks and Jesse are best friends, but lately, since Jesse's mom got sick (which Jesse hasn't told Vicks about), things have been different between them. They both work at a Waffle House in Niceville, Florida, where Mel just started as a hostess.
Jesse suggests to Vicks that they take a road trip to Brady's college so Vicks can see him and make things right, and Mel wants so badly to be friends with them, so she says she'll pay for everything and they let her come. Jesse is a real brat to Mel until the end.
This book was hilarious, and it moved really quick. I'm definitely going to read more of these 3 author's work!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli Review


Title: Love, Stargirl
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Pages: 274 ps (Hardcover)
Publisher: New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007
Rating: * * * / 5

I haven't read anything by Jerry Spinelli before (I tried to read Eggs and Stargirl but got bored as they were boys, thus I couldn't really relate to them), but I'm pretty sure this is his only book where the main character is a girl.
A description in one word of this book I would have to say is: adorkable. It has really random, quirky characters that have some depth, and the book is written entirely in diary entries that are part of "The World's Longest Letter" to Stargirl's boyfriend, Leo, who lives back in Arizona (she moved and is now in Pennsylvania).
There's a book before this, called Stargirl, but it's not about Stargirl. It's about the boy that the letter is written to.
You don't have to read Stargirl to understand this (I only read 10 pages and those I just skimmed), but you need a little background. Okay, so Stargirl is actually a girl named Susan. She named herself. When she moves to Mica High, where Leo goes to school, everyone is captivated by her. She's so different, so unique! And Leo falls in love with her, and she falls in love with him.
But then, all the students at Mica turn on her- they don't want someone different. Leo has to choose between the one he loves, and everyone else. Guess who he chooses? Well, Stargirl wouldn't be so sad if he had chose her.
But then she meets her neighbors: Charlie, who goes day after day, all day, to the grave of his lost wife, Grace, to relive the past; Dootsie Pringle, a lovable 5-year-old who becomes Stargirl's best friend; Alvina, an angry 11 year old with one sparkly nail; and Betty Lou, who is a middle-aged agoraphobic who becomes Stargirl's friend and confidant.
Stargirl does a LOT of seemingly random and pointless things. Like, she puts orange slices out every day, in different places, getting farther away. But she has a really sweet reason for it you have to read to find out. She also does this thing where she buys a lot of plastic spatulas from the dollar store, and sticks one in a circle each Thursday on a field, where she also goes to meditate. This is so she can have a Winter Solstice Festival.
Then, there's Perry Delloplane: the blue-eyed thief who lays his own claim to Stargirl's heart. Who will Stargirl choose?
It was a really sweet book. It took me forever to read, because i have a Big Scary Bookpile of books from two different libraries, where i have reached the maximum allowance on one, and have quite a few on the other (don't think I'll reach the other maximum because there's no limit, it's too big for them to care!).
That's it for today!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Serafina67 by Susie Day


Title: serafina67 *urgently requires life*
Author: Susie Day
Pages: 240ps
Publisher: Scholastic Press, Sept. 1 2008
Rating: *****/5

serafina67 is different because it's written entirely in blog form (how appropriate: P). The blog belongs to Sarah, a funny (if slightly emoish) teen in England. Sarah really tries to do her best for her mom and at everything else as well, but it always turn out badly.
It starts from her life New Years Eve onward. She got a "Shiny New Laptop" from her dad, who is getting remarried soon, and along with that comes a shiny new blog! She makes a resolutiion to be happy by April 22nd, which is when the mysterious Incident happened.
Another thing she wants to do is find out who the mysterious blog-reader, daisy13, is. Boy? Girl? Friend? Foe? Gooey chocolate goodness!?! Whoever it is, it's definitely not who you expect.
This book was absolutely hilarious! It has wierd British slang in it (no offense, British peeps) but has a glossary in the back for foreigner types like myself. It's a really easy read, and if you read in short periods at a time, the "chapters" are post and usually only a page long, plus you'll probably find it unputdownable like I did, especially if you're of the teen girl variety.
P.S. You can visit the author, Susie Day's, newly-renovated blog here: http://www.susieday.com

Friday, April 3, 2009

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbaleister


Title: How to Ditch Your Fairy
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Pages: 32o ps
Publisher: Bloomsbury US Children's Books, September 16, 2008
Rating: ***/5
Price:$16.99
How to Ditch Your Fairy focuses on a 14-year-old named Charlie. She lives in New Avalon (which is a country like a mix of the US and Australia as well as something else, which was my favorite thing about this story), where everything about your life is determined by your fairy. Almost everyone is assigned a fairy, except for a few who don't believe, which decides whether you make a team (Charlie's high school revolves around sports), pass a class, or find the perfect outfit.
Or in Charlie's case, the perfect parking space. Charlie has a parking fairy, which ensures that whatever car she's in will get a perfect parking spot. She doesn't even drive, and she hate cars! Tired of always being dragged along by neighbors, friends, relatives, and the school bully Danders Anders (yes, these people have some funky names, like Fiorenze or Steffi) in their cars (as well as always smelling faintly of gasoline), she devises The Plan: She'll walk EVERYWHERE. No buses, no taxis, no cars, just on foot. She thinks that "starving" her fairy will make it go away and be replaced.
This almost works, but Danders grabs her and her fairy comes to life once again.
And on top of all this, there's Steffi- the new, more-than-noticeably handsome boy in her grade. Charlie's sure how she feels about him, but not what he thinks of her. But at least he doesn't seem interested in Fiorenze, who has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy. Until he meets her...
FIorenze's mother has written a book called the Ultimate Fairy Book, but thinks no one knows about. So Charlie goes over to Fi's house, and they sneak in her mother's room, unlock the case it's in, and read through it- turns out Fi hates her fairy as well, which shocks Charlie. They finally find a swapping method, and Fiorenze gets Charlie's fairy and vice verso.Charlie couldn't be happier- Steffi loves her now! But her new love fairy isn't what it seems- compared to this, she would have gladly embraced her parking fairy! Steffi obviously isn't in love with Charlie herself, just the fairy forcing him to. What should Charlie do?

I gave this only 3 stars because it had weird slang, and most people don't know there's a glossary of it at the back, so you're seriously confused when people say "doos" or "spoff's" and "poxy". I knew, and it was kind of hard to read to read when you have to keep flipping to the back.
Another thing was that I didn't fall in love with Steffi. You have to fall in love with the boy that the character does, and I didn't. In 4 and 5 star books, I do. Twilight fans might understand what I mean, you probably fell in love with Edward or the other dude, whatever his name was, I"m not reading it, right? He just seemed fake. Yes, I know it's a book. It's really hard to explain. I just didn't like him! Anyways, I really liked it besides, despite the characters and weird slang, and it's pretty cool besides. Maybe if it's at the library, because it's kind of expensive, and only in hardback.

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