Thursday, February 28, 2013

Marisa dreams of being an engineer, but her family doesn't see the value of an education; they just know that they need her there to help with bills, babysit, etc.   She is fighting to be herself and also to not let her family down; but as things get more intense due to a family crisis she begins to wonder if she will truly ever break free or if she should just settle for what her family expects.
I really liked this book.  Marisa is a strong character but she deeply cares about her family as well.  I also liked a story that points out the fact that not every family unit is the same; expectations and norms are different for everyone..

Perfect is another Ellen Hopkins novel in verse.  This time we have four intertwining characters who all strive for their own version (and their family's) of becoming "perfect".....but all find trouble along the way.  Hopkins deals with eating disorders, steroid abuse, racism, alcoholism, coming out, and just striving to find your own dream amongst those family expectations that can drown you.
A job well done as usual.

I read this awhile ago, but re-read it for the GSTBA nominations and it again struck a powerful chord.  It is a fictionalized biographical journey of an Iranian young man who goes missing after he goes to protest the fraudulent elections iin 2009 and the struggle of his family to find out what happens to him.  This is a powerful book, not just in pointing out the problems in Iran, but also the hope and passion of the people who still live there.

This book BLEW me AWAY!  Karou is a strange young girl living in Czechoslovakia but actually residing in a little shop with mystical creatures made up of various pieces ....think dragon, minotaur, etc......she inadvertently finds herself in the midst of a war between angels and the chimaera......a war that has gone on so long that no one even knows to think about peace.   I can't say too much about the plot without giving things away, but this is an amazing, original fantasy tale and you should just go read it...right now!

The Space Between is yet another rich and lush fantasy tale.....this one also featuring angels but also demons....and the story is told from the viewpoint of Daphne, daughter of Lucifer and Lilith.......and her journey to Earth in order to save her brother and how she also finds love.  Yovanoff writes such rich and amazing stories; she truly is gifted and I just loved everything about this book....I didn't put it down until I finished......

Ten Things We Did is a fun romp and a quick read.  April and her friends trick parents and teachers alike in order to live alone for the last six months of her junior year of high school.....she gets into all sorts of trouble and learns about being an adult (which happens when you're the one taking care of dishes, bills, laundry, etc).......following April on her journey from spoiled little girl to responsible adult is fun...Mlynowski has a talent for building believable and flawed characters that you feel like you know.

This book is a play on immortals/zombies.......set in Paris, with sexy undead saviours who fight a common evil threat....there is love, there is danger, there is excitement.......All in all, not a deep novel, but a quick, romantic getaway that will appeal to anyone who likes a good paranormal romance.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Au Revoir is a blast a minute read....and I cannot believe someone hasn't already claimed the rights to make it into a movie (or have they?)  The premise is that Perry is forced to bring his very homely exchange student to prom.....but things don't work out as he expects AT ALL......first, she isn't as homely as he thought....second, she convinces him to take her to NYC, and the BIG change is......well, don't want to spoil it, but suffice to say, blood is shed, shots are fired and his life changes that day......I was a little skeptical about all the good press I was hearing, but HELLO!  AMAZING!!  I shall have to clear time in my schedule to read the sequel Perry's Killer Playlist asap......definitely a cool fast read

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

This mystery is a fun romp through the alibis of various authors who have been accused of the murder of their editor, Mr. Mildew.  There is a huge variety of authors in here, with varying lengths of stories....all quite amusing and fun.  This book was maid to benefit the 826NYC a NY charity that encourages young writers.

The Running Dream was an AMAZING book, about a runner and a track star, who doesn't just run track for scholarships or acclaim but because it's who she IS, a runner.......and then in a terrible accident, she looses a leg....and she is faced with the dilemma of who is she without running.....and can she ever run again?  Mixed in with her own personal agony, she also begins to notice how many other students she ignored or only noticed as having a disability...and she begins to try and make up for her short sightedness as well as educate others in the diverse personalities of the "invisible" students in her school, especially on girl with CP that becomes a close friend.  I think Van Draanen did an astounding job with bringing this character to life.....through the denial, the depression and getting back her fighting well as the realities of the costs of prosthetics and struggles to learn to use them.

One night, after a party two young men are cold blood.....and there was one witness that the shooter didn't notice in the back seat........she swears she didn't see anything; but no one knows if they believe her.....and the WHY of the incident begins to tear apart the town and the school.....everyone just KNOWS that she saw more than she is admitting........and the murderer is out there, somewhere.......

I really enjoyed the quick pace of this story....and the suspense and rawness of the plot really made this a fast read.

Readers don't know what happened to Ariel until the end of the story....but it has left Jack (her boyfriend) and Evan (her best friend) devastated.  The story is narrated by Evan, and begins with him finding a photo mysteriously left for him.  The photos get more personal and he begins to wonder who else knew Ariel the way he and Jack did?  Could Ariel be sending them?  The whole situation is tearing Evan apart and driving him to the brink of insanity......
I found this an interesting concept with the photos interspersed with the text....and the angst and loneliness of the main character is deeply evident.  I wasn't enthralled though......and somehow I found that disappointing, as usually Levithan's writing captures me and captivates me....and this title simply interested me......well executed and intriguing though.

Money Boy was VERY disappointing.....the concept was fabulous....(well, sad, but still a strong concept) of a young boy, a Chinese immigrant, who is kicked out of his home because his father finds evidence of him looking at gay websites.  His father tells everyone he is a stubborn boy, and no one questions that it was HIS decision to leave rather than his father's......which is part one of why this disappointed, the boy is homeless and gets robbed and ends up in a homeless shelter....and then decides to prostitute himself......but not because he is hungry/homeless/alone....but because he just HAS to have a laptop and access to his computer game that he is active in...really?..... THAT right there is the number one reason that I am extremely upset with this book.......I don't know why ANYONE recommended it (and someone gave it high recommendations because it's on my GSTBA reading list)......the main character is sooooo self centered and literally whines about his gaming as if he would rather be dead then miss out on it........and the fact that none of his friends or family question why he left?  That seems flimsy...but if we take that as a given...then WHY does the step-father do a quick turn-around when the grandfather comes to town, and brings the boy back home (of course making him promise to act straight)....and when the boy outs himself to the grandfather, the story ends (grandfather is more accepting than father, possible, but really, don't you think the father is just going to kick him out again? And since the father KNOWS about his son being a "money boy" wouldn't he talk to him, or.....dunno, something? Get him counseling, a dr appt, anything?)
Ugh, that's all I can say....just......ugh

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad Aisha Saeed’s Amal Unbound is about a girl named Amal who lives in pakistan and goes to school...