Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I love this book for a variety of reasons.....it's funny, it's real and it's one of the few Pakistani lead characters in YA lit.   Nina is smart, but dorky (boy can I identify with that one).  She is also the little sis of a certified genius, which makes school difficult (which, though I am no genius, my younger sister always complained about following me and the expectations that go with).   I also love that Nina has problems with her family, but loves them.  She's not fighting against her Pakistani heritage or her Muslim mores, she's just trying to fit them in with her own view of life (which is what ALL teens do regardless of upbringing or religion).  She's called skunk girl, because she has (to her horror) a stripe of hair going all the way down her back.  Luckily the only one who has seen this is the cute boy she likes.......which is also humiliating (who wants a guy to know how hairy you are?).   Lovelovelove this book.......try it, you might too!

Heist Society goes in the other direction.  Specifically the trouble one has growing up in a family of thieves.....and yes it is meant literally.  Kat wants out of the family profession, but then her father is implicated in the robbery of a "connected man" (yes that means crime lord).  She has to retrieve his art or he will kill her father.  She has only a few weeks.  The art is in a museum that NO ONE has ever tried to rob due to its security.  Suspenseful?  You bet.  Fun ride?  Amazing!  Add a tiny bit of romance (very tame, so appropriate for all audiences) and it's a home run baby!   =)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Good Enough was recommended to me, and was a GSTBA nominee last year for middle school readers.  While the main character is a senior in high school, the book has nothing objectionable in it.  The story is exactly what it sounds like; a girl struggling to feel good enough....in this case, she's a Korean girl trying to be a PKD (perfect Korean daughter).  This means straight A's in school, valedictorian, and a college education in PrincetonYaleHarvard (always said as one word).  She also plays the violin. It's her "hook" to get into a college, and she's very good at it.  So this is the story of Patti, who wants to be perfect, but also wants to be true to herself and her own dreams.  An awesome read and an engaging character....also very quick (Pattie likes lists)  =)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I finally read Millicent Min, and though it looked very young and silly (not necessarily a bad thing, just what I thought the book was going to be) it turned out to be a very thoughtful and fun middle school novel.  Millicent is a certified genius who has few social skills and fools herself into believing that she doesn't want for anything.  Her loneliness she calls independance, her lack of friends she attributes to her brainy nature; some of which is true.  When her mother signs her up for volleyball, she finally meets a friend, but in an effort to KEEP her friend, she pretends not to be a genius.  Yee did an excellent job of showing that knowledge and wisdom are not the same and that while a young child can indeed know many things, they are still children sometimes.  Highly recommended, and greatly enjoyed for a quick fun read.  I might actually go and read the others in the series....hmmm.....

Toads and Diamonds is one I have been waiting to read, and now I have the perfect excuse!  I love fairy tale style stories, and this is an AMAZING one.  It's based on the (grimm?) fairy tale of the good girl who spews diamonds and flowers when she speaks and the bad girl who gets toads and snakes.  Tomlinson sets this story in a made up country that bears a strong resemblance to South Asia under Muslim rule (but the author is careful to say it's a made up religion and country).  The two sisters are blessed by a goddess and each one must figure out how to best use their gifts.  My favorite part of this story is the fact that both gifts are curses and blessings at once......jewels make the one sister a prime target for kidnapping as well as a prisoner of the empire (easier than mining for jewels, that's for sure) and the other sister is able to bring much needed snakes to fight the rat infestation due to the governor's campaign to kill snakes (which has also lead to many diseases and plagues)........and a bit of romance is worked into the tale as well, though subtly, so it's perfectly aligned with classic fairy tales and also great for middle school readers.....or really any age that enjoys a great altered fairy tale.  AMAZING book!

I have been eying this book for a while and finally decided the time to read it was now......right now.  I'm so glad I did!  I am a fantasy lover and anything fae is right up my alley.  Although I must admit to getting a bit picky sometimes.....fairy and fae tales seem to spawn derivative and formulaic stories more than most...but when it's well done.....it's magical (in all the best senses of the word!).  Iron King is very well done.  You have the classic courts of Seelie and Unseelie, but Kagawa adds a new one....Iron.  And since this court's essence is inimical to the rest of the fae it's up to Meghan (as a half human mix) to save the world.......the problem is she had NO idea she was half fae, nor anything about the world of Nevernever (also known as the Faery Realms).  She is thrust into this knowledge when her half-brother is kidnapped and a changeling is left in his place.  Her adventures are engaging and interesting and her reactions to things believable....I mean how would YOU react upon discovering magic is real?  (Well, I have to admit, I'd be thrilled, but I'm a fangirl of all things magical so perhaps my opinion doesn't count....lol)  Love this title and can't wait to read the sequel....I shall have to buy these books.......so so so good!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I was recommended to read this title, and I'm very glad I did. It's a quick read (Poetry format) but touching. Kek is an immigrant from Sudan and he's trying to adapt to life in the US. He's living with his aunt and cousin while holding out hope that his mother will be found, but feeling guilty at having left her behind (bloody circumstances, they became separated). He finds an old cow on a farm and adopts it because it makes him feel closer to home (where cattle are revered).......read this book, it will make you tear up, and might even make you appreciate what you have a bit more.

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, review by Nina Soukhanovskii

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.  A Quote to Consider: “With a shiver of foreboding he saw his marriage becoming what most of...