Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cat Paradise

By Yuji Iwahara At Matabi Academi, all students are allow to bring their pet cats to live with them at campus. For Yumi a new transfer student is a dream come true since she can bring her beloved cat Kansuke and mixed breed. Starting like a dream, making new friends and even getting to talk to not only to the most popular kid in campus but with the class president as well. When Yumi though her day could not end any better, she finds herself attacked by demons. At the verge of danger Kansuke tries to defend his owner, a mysterious princess appears in front of him and grands him and his owner the power to protect those who they care about. Now Yumi and Kansuke find themselves helping a society that has been protecting the world for hundreds of years. And this is only the first volume!

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

A teen who has had trouble making close friends loses her one long time best friend to suicide and is devastated, almost paralyzed by sadness. The event took place at the end of the last school year, before this book begins, all summer long Caitlin's parents have been trying to help her move on, come out of her depression. Caitlin has agreed to start the new school year where things both good and bad happen. She meets Dylan, new girl at school but can't quite bring herself to be a friend at first. Her father gives her a stack of timber with which to build something to get her mind off Ingrid and she finds Ingrid's Journal hidden under her bed as if Ingrid left it for her as a suicide note. Jason and Taylor guys she and Ingrid cared about both approach her with sympathy and efforts of friendship. Caitlin is photography student and the teacher at first cannot bear to look at her, being reminded too much of her gifted student Ingrid. Caitlin works through much of her grief while reading Ingrid's Journal, working on her building project, learns from Dylan and Jayson to be a friend again and comes to understand others are hurting as well. This is a quiet, hopeful book that follows in a fairly standard way the stages of grief and acceptance. For someone needing or wanting to read about overcoming grief this is a good choice. jdw3/30/11

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

This novel, while lyrical in its imagery and metaphors, failed to keep my attention. In fact, I felt as much of a hostage in this book as the main character.

Gemma is writing a letter to her kidnapper, recounting their time together when he kidnapped her in the Bangkok airport. Ty - her kidnapper - took her to a remote area in the Australian Outback where he hopes to keep her forever. She fights him as you would expect and tries to escape despite the fact that they are in the middle of nowhere. He never hurts her but she still fears at different times he's going to kill her. At one point they catch a camel which is (as I read in another review and agree with) a metaphor for how Gemma is caught and held as a hostage. Ty tries to win Gemma over and she tries to fight the situation until the land which she's falling in love with bites her in the foot and shifts the story.

When I picked up this book, I expected there to be more too it. Initally I thought there would be more meat - like sex trade or abuse - but really it's just a book about a girl who was kidnapped. I felt like nothing happened - at least nothing of consequence. Believe it or not, I wanted him to beat her or do something extreme just so I could experience some sort of emotional respone to the book. The escapes held a bit of fun and the camel capture was okay but the most exciting part was when she got bit by the snake but even that dragged on too long. This book seriously lacked the hook to keep me coming back. From what I read in other reviews, this book tries to be poetic with metaphors and imagery - WAY too much time was spent on the land. However, I think few readers pick up books looking for that. I think the vast majority - including myself - read to be entertained without much thought. I don't always pick up on the deeper meanings and hidden metaphors because I'm reading a story, that's all. I want things happening in a steady flow with excitement that keeps me coming back - this book did not have it and I think it will lose a lot of readers before they even make it halfway through for that very reason. (I, sadly, have a condition where it's nearly impossible for me to give up on books and forced myself to finish this book with a lot of complaining along the way). One thing that irked me about the book - besides its lack of anything really interesting going on - was how easy it was for Stockholm Syndrome to take effect. One minute she hates him, the next their snuggling in the sand. COME ON!!! I did like how the story was written as a letter. I found the style interesting and I did come to sympathize with Ty but I needed more out of the book.

If you like books with beautiful imagery and deeper meanings, pick up this book. If you want an interesting story that's going to keep you coming back for more, skip this book.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I Will Save You By:Matt De La Pena

I picked this novel because I grew up by the Pacific Ocean for twenty years in theRepublic of Panama. The cover of the novel attracted my interest. This is a novel about a seventeen year old teen called Kidd Ellison, who leaves his home,and works for the summer at a beach campsite in California, where his handy work, and good looks, attracts friendship, and love. But painful past memories surface in weird ways.

Olivia is a female teen that Kidd is attracted to. She is a blond hair blue eyes girl with a rich Dad. This beach site is near Cardiff, California . Many teens, and adults surf, and hang out on the beach. At night, teens build bonfires, and talk for hours, and grill their food, or whatever.
Devon is a male teen, and plays a role in the novel. Devon is a mean person, and seems to be driven by a death wish. He is Kidd's best friend, and worst enemy. Devon seems to be stalking Kidd. In fact, Devon follows Kidd to the beach Camp site in California. He always is hiding Devon all around , and scares poor Olivia. Devon, and Kidd fight a lot physically. It is not pleasant to watch . There is a cliff near the beach, where Devon pushes Kidd over. Kidd ends up in a critical hospital room, where it seems to be very serious.

The novel is excellent, and I recommend it.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Scrawl By:Mark Shulman

This is a novel about how bullies are dealt with in some schools. In this school, most of the delinquents students were given detention. The students remained after school when it was closed for the day. This was punishment in the eyes of the Administration of the school.
The next big happening, or event was vandalism done by the teens. They were punished of course.
I found a quote in the novel that hit a chord with me. "good grades are like motor oil, they keep out the friction. Good grades are like insurance."  (Found on page 71)
I forgot to mention the punishment after school was writing in a journal under the supervision of the school guidance counsellor who was called Mrs. Woodrow. Todd Munn, the teen who was punished had to write his story in the journal.
I was bored with the novel at first, but then became fascinated with pretty much of the aspects of the novel. The novel is worth your while to read


Faithful By: Janet Fox

This is a novel about a sixteen year old called Maggie Bennet whose life seems to be falling apart. Her Mother has disappeared . Maggie's father has dragged her away from their elegant Newport home, to Yellowstone in Montana. Maggie is furious at her father.

When Maggie arrives at Yellowstone, she is attracted to Tom Rowland, the son of a Park geologist. She also loves the wild romantic beauty of Yellowstone. Maggie has to choose between, who she is, and who she wants to be.
Back in Newport, Maggie had a serious boyfriend called Edward who would ask for her hand in marriage in no second flat. Now Maggie is crazy about Tom Rowland in Yellowstone. Maggie is torn with with Tom , and the promises of freedom that captures her heart. Maggie went to a special place to search for what she lost, her Mother. Maggie found a life she did not expect. She discovered love.
The author of this novel prefers the mountains of Montana. Ms. Fox the author, depicts well the surroundings of the mountains in Yellowstone.
To me the novel is real, and very informative about people transporting themselves on wagons.
Another person, Mrs. Gale showed Maggie the techniques of shooting photos of her beautiful surroundings. Mrs. Gale became good friends with Maggie.
The novel is a good read.
LRD 3/7/11

Friday, March 04, 2011

Amigas Fifteen Candles By Veronica Chambers

This is a novel that deals with the "quincianeras" a slightly different way normally planned. The novel takes place in Miami, Florida.

The teens Alicia Cruz, and her three best friends Carmen, Jamie, and Gaz, who is a male, formed a Company called "Amigas." This is a Company that plans "Quincianeras" for fifteen year olds, who want a birthday splash. This Company is run by teens who are "Latinos ."

The teens all attended Coral Gables High School in Florida. The girl's were involved in forming the "Amigas" Company .

The "Amigas" try to plan the location of the event. The music is also gone over for the big event. The event is handled like a pre-wedding reception .

Some fifteen year olds need guidance in choosing her dress, shoes, evening purse. That's what Alicia, Carmen, and Jamie do amongst other details.

I grew up in Latin America, where this tradition was common. I believe it still is done. I have been to many quincianeras in the past, but have never been involved in the actual splendid event. The novel was written well, and I liked the novel very much.
3/4/11 LRD