27 July 2012

Book Review No. 65


















Divergent by Veronica Roth

Summary:  In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent).  On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives.  For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both.  So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, included herself.  During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen.  But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death.  And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her sve those she loves......or it might destroy her.  (taken from book jacket)

First Line:  "There is one mirror in my house."

My Critique:  First of all, let me give another "Woot woot!" for another YA book that doesn't involve a love triangle.  This is Roth's debut novel and it's part of a series.  Her second book, Insurgent, is out now.  Now, let me get to my critique.  Did I love it?  No.  Would I recommend it?  Yes.  The book just moved a little too slow and didn't grab my interest as quickly as I like.  By about page 320 I was finally interested.  HOWEVER, that being said, I have a few friends (we read this for book club) who couldn't put it down and/or read it in one day.  I felt the plot was a little too underdeveloped for my tastes and I just didn't care for it...as in, I've read much better dystopian novels.  Without giving too much away, I feel like perhaps it would've been more interesting if, when babies are born they are assigned a certain faction and raised in a communal way...the entire faction raising all babies, etc.  And then someone, as they are older, rebels against their assigned faction or something along those lines.  But at any rate, it's still worth a read.  I can see how many people would be interested in this book.  And I'm not saying it was bad by any stretch of the imagination.  I will read the second book but I have a few other ones to read first.

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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, Divergent, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my own views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with with afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas------------uh, nevermind...

02 July 2012

Book Review No. 64


















The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Summary:  The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion.  For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school.  But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city--gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific work of Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888.  Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses.  Except one.  Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect.  But she is the only one who saw him.  Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man.  So why can only Rory see him?  And more urgently, what is he planning to do about her?  (taken from book jacket)

First Line:  "The eyes of London were watching Claire Jenkins."

My Critique:  HALLELUJAH!  Finally a young adult book that doesn't involve a wimpy female lead or a love triangle!!  I really really liked this book.  Was it profound?  No.  But it was very very good.  And well written.  And intriguing.  And not overly gruesome like some thrillers tend to be...especially one involving Jack the Ripper.  The lead character, Rory, was charming in a clumsy funny sort of way.  I was intrigued by the fact the lead character was from Louisiana and I went from there.  I haven't been able to determine if Maureen Johnson has any ties to Louisiana but her anecdotes and depictions of Louisiana are spot-on.  I don't really know what else to say without giving stuff away about the plot.  I highly recommend this book and encourage you to read it.  Very entertaining and worth the read.  I found out (by superstar YA acquisitions librarian Jennie Weeks) that this is book one of the Shades of London series so I'm super pumped about that and look forward to the next  book!  Oh...and I've started following Maureen Johnson on twitter...she's hilarious.

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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, The Name of the Star, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my own views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with with afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas------------uh, nevermind...

Book Review No. 63


















The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Summary:  Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis.  But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.  (taken from book jacket)

First Lines:  Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.  Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer.  But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer.  Depression is a side effect of dying.  (Cancer is also a side effect of dying.  Almost everything is, really).

My Critique:  This book was selected as our June book club selection.  We met last week and I wanted to wait until after our discussion to post my review.  This was the first book I had read by John Green and I'm so glad I found this author.  He writes in a way that makes his characters seem like they're sitting on the couch with you...they're so real.  This book is about two teens who have cancer so obviously it's a sad book and it pulls at your emotions.  I didn't cry while reading it but I'm not a big cryer.  I normally don't like these types of books, preferring happier books but this one pulled me in.  Jennie said, and I agree, that she found herself liking this book against her will.  I think that's a good summation of how I felt.  It's like you don't want to like it but you can't help it.  The characters are charming and witty and Isaac provides good comic relief...which is strange given his tragic life as well.  In addition to genuinely liking the characters, I really loved the writing of Green.  He has a way of phrasing sentences that are just beautiful.  Like written art.  Here are some of my favorite lines:

(Pg.  9) “It occurred to me why they call it eye contact.”  (after see Augustus for the first time and looking into his eyes)

(Pg. 124/125)  “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep:  slowly, and then all at once.”

(Pg.  153)  “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things.  I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

(Pg. 203)  “As his parted lips met mine, I started to feel breathless in a new and fascinating way.”

(Pg. 262)  “It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself…”

(Pg. 270)  “I love you present tense.”

(Pg. 286)  “Grief does not change you…It reveals you.”

I definitely think this book is worth reading. and I will for sure be checking out some other stuff written by John Green.  This is now up there with one of my favorites.

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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, The Fault in Our Stars, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my own views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with with afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas------------uh, nevermind...




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