August 13, 2009
Cicada Summer by Andrea Beatty
Twelve year old Lily hasn’t talked in years. Not to her father. Not to her classmates. Not even to Fern, the grandmotherly owner of the small town’s general store. Most people assume that she has brain damage, a resulting from the events of “that night”, an assumtion that Lily doesn’t bother to correct. In truth, she just wants to be invisible, vowing to silently keep guard over the dark and tragic secret of what really happened “that night” .
Lily’s invisibility is challenged when Fern’s grandniece Tinny comes to town. Tinny quickly discovers that Lily is not as slow as everyone thinks and spends her time plotting ways to get Lily in trouble. But when a strange man shows up in town, Lily learns that Tinny may be in serious trouble. Will she be able break her vow of silence in order to keep Tinny safe?
This book should appeal to kids who like thoughtful stories mixed with a little bit of mystery (such as Patricia Reilly Giff’s Pictures of Hollis Woods
June 26, 2009
I Am Legend
I saw the Will Smith movie I Am Legend a while ago, and really liked it (which should come to absolutely no surprise to those who know of my fascination with creepy monsters that go bump in the night). Somehow though, I had never read the book. Then I discovered that one of my favorite comic writers, Steve Niles (who wrote many of the 30 Days of Night books), had done a graphic novel version of I Am Legend. Somehow I felt if I was going to read it, I should at least start with the original book, and I’m so glad that I did.
The movie tie-in version of the book is actually a collection of short stories by Richard Matheson (not sure if this the the case with other versions). It leads off with I Am Legend; after a plague decimates society, infecting the living and creating vampires, Robert Neville finds himself as quite possibly the last living human on earth. It was creepy, but ultimately just a really sad, kind of heartbreaking portrayal of a man faced with the utmost loneliness.
There were a couple of other stories that I were just the right amount of weird and creepy. There were a couple that I really liked. The Near Departed, had a tinge of dark humor when a mysterious client plans for a death. In From Shadowed Places a young man suffers the wrath of an angered witch doctor. And my favorite, the uber-creepy Prey, where the trapped spirit of a bloodthirsty hunter escapes from it’s prison. Definitely an enjoyable collection, I can’t wait to look for more books by Richard Matheson.
June 17, 2009
Forever by Pete Hamill
I’ve put off writing about this book for a while now. I loved it so much, I’m not sure I can really do it justice without giving away the magic of the book.
Forever begins Ireland during the 1740s. Cormac O’Connor is a boy who learns that he is half Irish, half Jewish in a time and place where the only acceptable heritage is to be an English Protestant. After the death of his family, he accepts the Irish vow to avenge his father’s death by ending the familial line of his father’s killer, the Earl of Warren.
This vow takes him on an adventure, crossing the Atlantic to the bustling port city of New York. Through a series of events and encounters, Cormac is granted immortality (this is where I don’t really want to ruin the plot). His immortality comes at a price though….he may never again leave the island of Manhattan. Doing so would be considered suicide, a death that would prevent him from ever joining his family in the afterlife of the Otherworld. The story then follows Cormac through the ages as he tries not only to really live, but also stay true to his original vow of avenging his father’s death.
It’s been a really long time since I’ve loved a book as much as I loved this one. It weaved a wonderful story, combining history together with a bit of magic. I’m kind of sad that it had to end.
June 17, 2009
BPM (Beats Per Minute) by Paul Sizer
I saw that another librarian had read this, and I just had to check it out. BPM (Beats Per Minute) tells the story of Roxy, a New York City DJ who is trying to work her way up through the clubs as she struggles to maintain her personal life. After a chance meeting with a recluse DJ legend, her sets start to improve until she finally has a chance to fill in for a friend at one of the hippest clubs in the city.
Overall, the story was good, but not great. What really made me love the book was the attention to detail. Each page has a song listed at the bottom, a sort of tracklist/mixed tape for the book (which can be found on I-Tunes). There was also a Liner Notes section that pointed out various background type details in the panels throughout the book.
Paul Sizer really captured what it is like to love music and spinning; in the forward of the book he claims that this is his “love letter to the two things he’s loved since he was a kid.”
April 24, 2009
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
Despite my small addiction to romantic comedy movies, I spend very little time reading the equivalent chiclit book genre (teen books aside…I’m currently refering to just adult fiction). I have my favorite authors in this genre…Cecelia Ahern, Jane Green, Meg Cabot…but sometimes I get tired waiting for them to publish a new book and I find myself craving a nice adult fiction chic-lit book. Emily Giffin’s book Something Borrowed was recommended recently by a friend, and it one defintely took care of the craving perfectly.
Ever since they moved next door to each other twenty five years ago, Rachel and Darcy have been best friends, despite Darcy being “that girl”. The popular girl who always must be on top, one upping and using her friends in order to always get her way. Rachel used to defend Darcy, saying that was just who she is. But now they are turning 30, Darcy is getting married and Rachel is beginning to wonder if it is really worth it to always keep putting Darcy ahead of herself.
Then the completely unplanned happens, after a drunken night of celebrating her 30th birthday, Rachel sleeps with Darcy’s fiancee Dexter. At first she is willing to pretend it never happened, but when Dex admits he has had feelings for her since their law school days, Rachel must admit that she just may feel the same way. But is Dexter willing to leave the perfect Darcy? Is Darcy really perfect? And will Rachel finally take a stand and put her own feelings and needs before Darcy’s?
Something Borrowed was a great read, Giffin has created some great characters who perfectly demonstrate the morally ambiguous world we live in. This is also the first in a series, one which I hope continues to be as good as this first book was.
April 22, 2009
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I decided recently at work that I need to brush up on my science fiction books for teens; it’s a genre used as part their required summer reading and I’ve never been particularly good at recommending or describing them. I figured I might as well start with Hitchhiker’s, I’ve had a copy of it floating around for as long as I can remember, and most people are appalled when they discover I have never read it.
And appalled they should be.
I absolutely loved this book and can not believe that it has taken me this long to finally read it! I’m not going to describe the whole plot in depth, most people are fairly familiar with it….Arthur Dent is saved by his friend Ford Prefect (who happens to be an extraterrestrial) in the last minute just before the earth blows up. The two then find themselves traveling the galaxy in search of answers to the universe’s biggest questions, meeting strange and funny characters along the way.
This was funny and thought provoking at the same time, and I can not wait to read the next book in the series. That and I can finally let myself watch the movie, even though I know it will never be as good as the book!
March 15, 2009
Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls
List No. 1-Five Facts About Me
1. My name is Sam.
2. I am eleven years old.
3. I collect stories and fantastic facts.
4. I have leukemia.
5. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead.
And so begins Ways to Live Forever, a collection of lists, stories and snippets about 11 year-old Sam and his attempt, despite all odds, to live a full life.
At times funny (List No. 4-Ways to Live Forever, item 2. Become a vampire. Hope you don’t meet Buffy.) and at times serious (Questions Nobody Answers No. 2 Why does God make kids get ill) Nicholls portrays a realistic view of what’s it is like and the issues surrounding being terminally sick at such a young age.