Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Flip By: Martyn Bedford

This is the first novel for Young Adults written by this novelist. The novelist has written five adult books .
The theme he has incorporated for Flip is not that simple. Teens should like this novel, and really get into it.
From the beginning of the story , we find ourselves meeting Alex, a fourteen year old teen, who is trapped in another boy's body called Phil, but nicknamed "Flip."
This novel throughout demonstrates the teen search for self. To me it is the underlying theme
throughout the novel. Reviewers of the novel "Flip" believe the story is written well, and brings out many themes throughout the novel, makes you think deeply, when the novel is finished. Some of the personalities are from New Zealand in the novel. Cherry, Alex's good friend throughout the plot.
The main theme I got from the novel, was we have a soul, whose will do we have. We know it has no limits. Alex demonstrated this point in the novel.
The novel was alright, and better towards the end. It is a good read.
LRD 8/23/11

Monday, August 22, 2011

Carter Finally Gets It By Brent Crawford

This is the author's first novel.. Carter is a freshman in High School, and is the main personality in the novel. Carter has a stuttering problem that shows up when he encounters females belly buttons , and female breasts. He has a problem with attention deficit disorder. Carter is a virgin, because he cannot talk to girl's. In my opinion, Carter is not ready for High School, or going on a date with a girl. Carter is chased by the Police for being underage behavior. Carter surprises everyone, and gets a crush on a drill team member at his High School. This novel becomes interesting, because of all Carter's problems. They become resolved, and Carter finds a girlfriend, which no one thought possible. The novel ended, and I like the plot, although the novel had underage drinking. I believe teens could relate to this novel. I recommend this novel to any reader
LRD 8/22/11

Carter's ADD makes it hard for him to stay focused on his goals. It makes him decide if a little speed on a bike is a good thing then more is better as an example and wonder what that group of hot girls think of him when he should be focusing on something else. He's the kid that carries all his books and papers everywhere in school and still doesn't have the right thing in class. He wishes his brain would let him do better in school and with social situations. The story opens as the summer is coming to an end and his first year in high school is about to begin. He has failed, spectacularly, hilariously to reach his goal of doing THE DIVE the top swim team member can perform. Carter is number two. After lessons from big sister Lynn on dating and relating to girls he goes to the end of summer unsupervised teen party. He manages to leave on good terms with a girl he hopes to date only to hilariously blow it later in the story. The way Carter relates to us his disasters such as, eating an extra large bean burrito before his first official date with predictable results, is a lot of fun for the reader. But, he sometimes lets us in on his frustrations with himself. He has a group of friends he calls my boys, which feels unauthentic to me. They tend to spur him on, kid him and so on. Carter is a good kid trying to figure out how to fit in and making lots of mistakes along the way. There is more than one unsupervised teen party in this book and the kids don't ever face any consequences which bothered me. This is a guy book with lots of rude, crude guy talk, as many guys often do. I'd give this book to fans of David Lubar and especially his book SLEEPING FRESHMEN NEVER LIE. Watch for the sequel Carter's Big Break. JDW9/18

Before I Die By: Jenny Downham

Everyone knows they must die, but we have no clue as to what day, or exactly when it will happen. Tessa the main character of the novel has a list she composes of what she wants to do before she dies. Tessa is sixteen and has leukemia. She has many blood transfusion's, and needs to relieve her pain. Her Dad lives there full time. Tessa has a brother called Cal, who is close to her sister, and Dad. Tessa has a good friend called Zoey. One of the main items on Tessa list is having sex . Tessa wants to spend her weeks at home using holistic methods of healing. Once in a while, Tessa gets bad nosebleeds, which are dangerous. The nosebleeds do not stop very easily. So someone drives Tessa to the Hospital, a Doctor takes care of Tessa. Tessa has a nurse that comes to her house called Philippa she is from the Hospital and takes care of her. Nurse informs Tessa what will happen to Tessa. Philippa brings drugs that will help her as she continues.
This novel was outstanding, and shows , what it might be to die. I recommend the novel. LRD 8/22/11

My Say:

Tessa has been fighting leukemia for four years, now there is no hope for cure, only for management which will delay the end at great cost to her quality of life. Tessa's list of things to do before she dies includes many things that change and evolve as the end nears and as her loving family and friends manages to help her fulfill her wishes. She is often too depressed to get moving. She is sometimes too tired to get on with life. Tessa disposes of many of her belongings, especially hopeful diaries she wrote when she still thought she might get well. She does this in a bonfire created by a neighboring teen. Beyond all expectations, Adam and Tessa bond even as she suspects that he just fills sorry for her. He is able to help her fulfill the most important item on her list, which by the way is not having sex. Tessa's friend Zoey gets pregnant and considers abortion but chooses to keep the baby for Tessa. Whole research papers have been written about the tendency of authors to combine death and dying with birth and rebirth so this part of the story is cliche. Zoey, otherwise is a true friend with all the doubts and strengths any friend might have. JDW 9/21

Breathe my Name By: R.A. Nelson

To me it is a complicated plot, that unravels itself toward the last few chapters of the novel.
Frances Robinson tries to forget her birth Mother, who suffocated her three younger sisters. Frances was able to escape her Mother's crazy doings. Frances is eighteen years old , and tries to forgive her Mother but she cannot forget her past. Nelson writes with compassion, and sensitivity. This novel may disturb the reader. This novel is basically about the ties that connect with our families, and our innermost secrets we hide in our families. Many who read the novel, think Frances and Nix are the most interesting personalities in the novel. Frances with Nix's help was determined to reach where her Mother was. They both had stamina, and determination to follow their goal. I recommend this novel to any teen. It is a good novel, and also has a good message.

LRD 8/22/11

My thoughts. Frances was haunted by the demons that possessed her mother, for her entire life. Her adopted parents would not talk about her past or let her talk. A stranger calling himself a lawyer gives her a letter supposedly written by her mother, supposedly in a half-way house now that her psychosis is under control. The letter gives Frances the idea of finding her mother and trying to lay demons to rest but does not reveal the location of her mother. Nix is the new guy in school and looking for friends when he meets very introverted Frances. He agrees to help Frances visit her past and find her mother. I didn't think any one's motivations were clear. I did not like these characters. I never got a sense that the story was leading to a deadly confrontation as it did about 20 pages from the end. There is a bit of a romance between Nix and Frances but it never quite gets off the ground because of France's haunted past. Frances's mother suffered from postpartum depression/psychosis. There have been several instances in the news of mothers killing their children while suffering, apparently to save the children from the very demons that were controlling them. JDW 9/19

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

This author also wrote the loosely historical fiction teen comming of age novel A Northern Light which I very much enjoyed both for its history and for its strong female protaganist. Revolution is a much more ambitious historical piece with another strong female lead. Andi has had a triple tragedy the past year. First her beloved little brother died in a way that perhaps she could have prevented then her parent's already rocky marriage finally and irreparably falls apart and her mother along with it. Andi is on antidepressants as a result. They tend to have a side effect of causing hallucinations. Andi is trying to care for herself and her mother, grieve her brother's death and turn in her outline for her senior thesis at a private school for wealthy, artistically talented high schoolers. When the school sends Andi's failing grades to her absent father, he appears, puts her mother in a mental institute for help and wisks Andi off to Paris where he is doing dna testing on a well preserved heart which could prove to be that of the son of Louis XVI who was beheaded during the French Revolution. It had been Andi's plan to do a research paper on a somewhat obscure and creative guitarist of that same time period. Now her father has demanded that she turn in her outline and introduction to him by the end of her time in Paris. Andi is a gifted guitarist and very knowledgeable about the history and evolution of guitar music. She has been to Paris before, she knows the language and knows her way around. She and her father are staying with friends. Every one has his or her own busy schedul leaving Andi mostly on her own. The night of her arrival she is handed a guitar which had recently been found in the catacombs under Paris and is believed to be from the French Revolution Period. Andi discovers a secret compartment with a diary inside. From this diary, she has a very detailed account of the beginning and almost ending of the revolution including the death of the small son of Louis XVI heir to the French throne. Andi finds herself drawn into the story told in the diary until she is no longer present in real time. This happens while waiting in a historical library for books on her subject and also when with other gifted musicians she has met in Paris, perhaps aided by the use of antidepressants. She meets the musician subject of her thesis, becomes the young woman whose diary she is reading, and ultimately survives now much stronger than she was before. While the revolution was well researched and no doubt true to history, there is way too much detail for me and I suspect most teens. I enjoyed the history of guitar music woven within though. Andi, being gifted, bilingual, enrolled in a special school and accostumed to travelling to and in Paris may make this story hard for many teens to relate to however well written the novel. JDW 8/11

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Someone told me that every story has already been written and it's the author job to make the story unique. This novel is a storyline that's been done many times before and while the author tries to make it unique, she doesn't quite hit the mark.

Lani believes in fate, from horoscopes to Magic 8 balls and tarot cards. After Erin saves her from a car accident, she believes they'll be best friends tied together forever due to this event. When Erin starts dating Jason, Lani can't help but notice how wrong the two of them are together. What she does notice, is how perfect Jason would be for her. They're connected in so many ways, but he's dating her best friend, so what's she to do. Things don't improve when the two of them are alone together since Erin is at camp. Should she follow her heart or remain true to her best friend? When she goes for her soul mate - because fate basically said they're destined to be together - she'll do anything to keep her friendship with Erin.

The book tried to be special by exaggerating Lani's obsession with fate and all things related to that belief. In doing that and giving the character her quirky moment - the taste of water can be described as a colored shape? - the novel faltered in basic elements of the story. Many scenes felt underdeveloped, just thrown in there. It doesn't really get a good flow until the last half when everything fell apart. The narrator does have a good voice; you definitely feel as if this story is being told by a teenager. However, this novel just falls short of the mark.

I don't want to say this novel doesn't have depth, but it could have a lot more than it does. It's simply a story that's already been told and doesn't do enough to make itself stand out.

Vampire knight Official Fanbook by Matsuri Hino

Dive into the world of your favorite vampires. This is a basic guide to the hit series Vampire Knight. With sketches, story boards, bios, character designs. Even a exclusive interview with the creator Matsuri Hiro. Even art work. If you had questions from the manga this will help you shed some light.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

White Crow - Marcus Sedgwick

Winterfold, England used to be a booming town, but the ocean has swallowed up parts of the town over the years. Rebecca and her father head there for the summer because her father called off a search for a young girl back in Greenwich, and that lead to the girls death. Rebecca explores the village, and encounters Ferelith. Ferelith has grown up in Winterfold, and knows the history of the town. She takes Rebecca to old graveyards, the only church left standing, and a building called the Hall. Back in 1798, a French doctor came to the town and was trying to raise evil spirits to possess people. Ferelith straps Rebecca in the chair where the victims once sat. Rebecca is frightened and scared. After a few hours Ferelith comes back to release her, and Rebecca doesn't want to be friends anymore. Rebecca heads home and realizes that the necklace her father gave her must have fell off in the Hall. She heads back and Ferelith is there waiting for her while a thunderous storm closes in and threatens to take away the Hall.

This book was ok. It left me a bit confused, and unsatisfied as a reader. I did like the journal entries from 1798, which mirrored what was going on with Rebecca coming to town as the new girl. I wish the entries had been incorporated more into the story instead of being just put in between the chapters. The ending and the title of the book left me confused. I think I was expecting more out of the book than what was written.

T.B. 8/16/11

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Everfound - Neal Shusterman

The fight for Everlost and the Earth comes to a head in the final book of the Skinjacker Trilogy. Mary's Afterlights continue their journey westward, hoping to full fill her mission as she lay comatose in the back of the train. They encounter a group of savage Afterlights, and the Afterlights scatter, except for a chosen few who remain loyal to Mary. Jix frees Allie, who has been held prisoner by Milos. Jix and Jill get captured by the Neon Nightmares. After a few days Jix cleverly tricks the leader into holding and Everlost coin, which sends his spirit to it's final resting place. Jill leaves Jix and the Neon Nightmares and rejoins with Milos and the skinjackers. Allie makes her way to San Antonio with the intent of stopping Milos and the other skinjackers from reaping souls to build Mary's army. There she encounters Clarence, who can see both Everlost and Earth. When they find Milos and everyone else Clarence, who according to Everlost legend is a scar wraith, touches Squirrel and his spirit just disappears. This one event sends ripples through out Everlost and Earth, and it awakens Mary Hightower. Once she finds out what has been happening, Mary continues to go forward with her plan to end all life on Earth and bring everything living into Everlost.

I've loved and enjoyed this trilogy, and Everfound was a good ending to this trilogy. A few things I figured out before the end of the book, but there were a few things that I didn't see coming. I recommend the whole Skinjacker Trilogy: Everlost, Everwild, and Everfound. Also, any of Neal Shusterman's books including Bruiser and Unwind.

T.B. 8/11/11