Monday, January 28, 2013

Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker

I never knew I would be seeing Latin phrases at my age, but this novel has many `Latin phrases that I have known for years.  This is an excellent mystery novel that gets down to rock bottom for teenagers; by using  Latin phrases such as, “Veritas vos liberabit”, which means in English, the truth shall set you free. It is quoted on page 303. This novel sparked my interest so much; I checked it out twice from the Poplar Creek Library.  The author of this novel also wrote Body Finder & other novels.

One of the main characters of the novel was Grace, who was a teen attending a venerable private high school called Pemberly Brown Academy.  I got a kick out of the way the author’s description of Grace’s handwriting.  The author’s called her handwriting, “loopy handwriting.” Grace apparently, had a big crush on her next door neighbor, who was a teen called Cameron Thompson.

  The academy had a lake on campus, where new freshman try their luck swimming across the lake at midnight before the first day of school.  The upper-class teens came to watch the freshmen, who attempt to swim across the lake.  I was a bit shocked at the attire the teens wore. The teens, the upper-class students wore lacey panties that were fancy. During another initiation at the beginning of the school year Grace died leaving her best friends Kate and Maddie as well as boyfriend Cameron devastated. 

Suddenly almost a year later Kate is receiving cryptic e-mail’s that seem to be from Grace telling her to find out what happened on that fatal night.  Kate’s search for the answer leads her back to neighbor and friend Seth, whose obsession with secret societies, and ability to get into Pemberly Brown records helps solve the mystery.  Along the way, Kate meets Liam the handsome bad boy with secrets to keep who wants to protect her, but from what?  She falls in love with him against her better judgment.  She sees Cameron sink ever deeper into drug abuse, and then disappear after leaving behind his only clue about the fatal night. Kate watches Maddie suffer from anorexia. There is a mean girl clique that turns out not to be as they seem.  Actually, little is what it seems on the surface.  Everyone is lying and keeping secrets.  Even the Latin verses located throughout the Pemberly Brown Academy have a purpose other than inspiring students. It was thought that there were 13 Latin plaques but Kate had been unable to locate that 13th plaque.  There are sequels to this story.  Although we know what happened to Grace (read and find out) we don’t know the deeper secrets of Pemberly Brown Academy and especially the truth about the secret society or perhaps societies that are very real. 




Friday, January 25, 2013

Adaptation - Malinda Lo

Reese and her debate partner David are in Phoenix for nationals, along with their coach Mr. Chapman.  Their flight is delayed, and all of the sudden birds start dropping out of the sky onto the tarmac.  On the TV there is a report of a plane crash in New Jersey, then a plane crash near Seattle, and a third crash in Texas.  It is being reported that Canadian Geese are the cause of the plane crashes.  The FAA grounds all flights, and leaves Reese, David, and Mr. Chapman stranded in Phoenix.  After a few hours it is decided that they get a rental car and drive back to San Francisco.  As they head toward California they are told to detour through Las Vegas because of a road block.  They stop for gas and in the chaos Mr. Chapman is shot dead.  Reese and David escape, and as they near where Area 51 supposedly is a bird flies right into their car causing them to crash.  They wake up twenty-seven days later in a government hospital where they have been recovering from their injuries.  They are escorted home by the FBI and are told not to say anything about the treatment they received at the hospital.  As they get back to their normal lives, Reese starts having headaches and strange dreams.  One day Reese gets run into by Amber, who is house sitting her uncle's place.  They start hanging out and Reese feels this instant attraction to Amber.  She questions if she into girls, or if it is just Amber that makes her feel that way.  Amber does have a reason to get close to Reese, she is assigned to make sure Reese is adjusting to the procedure that healed her injuries from the car crash.  Reese and David both notice that their scars have healed quicker than they should.  As Reese and David investigate the hospital they were at it gets the attention of the United States government, and they are taken to another government facility for follow up examinations.  What really happened to Reese and David in the twenty-seven days after their accident?  Did aliens have anything to do with it, or is the government covering something else up?

I really enjoyed this book and as I was reading it I got this it could happen vibe from it.  Just the whole idea of birds causing planes to crash and crippling air travel isn't that far fetched.  Who knows what is being tested where and what effect it could have on humans or machines. 

T.B.  1/25/13

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily , and Anne

For some time now, I have been  interested in reading the published works by the Bronte sisters, but in all honesty I do not know any background information about the sisters. So I came across this book that just got published in 2012 and in very simple terms explains their lifes. It goes into detail about each sister's life and their difficulties each encoutner trying to successed. I personally was not aware that the sisters had two older sisters that died at a very young age due to tuberculosis and a brother who was unsure what do to with his life.
 On the other hand we had the sisters, who knew their passion was writing, but they came across with many males that did not believed in their work or judge them because they were females.
Cathorine Reef, the author, knew exactly what she wanted in this book in order to get the readers attention, I really enjoy this book because it is appropriate for the audience that is being targeted to and by reading this book, reading the Bronte sister's work can make a little bit more sense.

RPA 2/7/13

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

This novel brings Grimms' fairy tales to a new audience with just a touch of humor.

The narrator finds the fairy tales of today boring, the original Grimms' tales "awesome." With that established, the narrator goes about telling the story of Hansel and Gretel, starting for their parent's beginnings all the way to the end. The twins' tale centers around them trying to find a home after their parents "kill" them for the sake of a faithful servant. Feeling that's no way parents should treat their children, they run away and try to find a new place in the world, only to encounter multiple obstacles along the way. The well known story of the witch and the candy house is merely a chapter in their long tale. There are multiple stories (that all connect) and include such interesting situations as beheading that don't end in death, children eating witches, boys turned into birds, creatures that were once human, dragons, the devil and more interesting encounters as Hansel and Gretel try to find a place in the world. As their tale is told, the narrator interrupts multiple times with either reflections of what's happening or warnings about what is to come (especially warning that upcoming events are too horrific for small children).

This novel is interesting in terms of the extended tale of Hansel and Gretel. I only know of the witch who tried to eat them, so it was enlightening to read what else has happened to them. This book peaked my interest in the original stories - as in how true did he stick to the original tales in his retelling. The narrator of the novel (the one who pops in and out during the tales) was both a good addition and a bad one. In the beginning it was cute and quirky. The constant reminders to put the children to bed because it was too scary, however, became a tiresome warning, especially since the scenes were not all that horrific (by today's standards). Towards the end, when the tales really picked up, the narrator - who had disappeared for a bit - seemed like an interruption to the story. I understand how the narrator is adding humor, but in my opinion, it killed the mood of the story - although I'm sure the mood was meant to be more lighthearted than how I read it. Sometimes, though, it just fell a little flat.

The way this novel is told, with the humorous narrator, will appeal to younger audiences who are not familiar with Grimms' fairy tales. With or without the narrator, this was an enjoyable read.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

October Mourning by Leslea Newman

 During the fall of 1998, to be precise in October a horrible hate crime was committed in the state of Wyoming. Gay Awareness Week was just getting started in University of Wyoming, not everyone agreed but it still managed to go one.
Matthew Shepard only 21 years old was invited to come along with two other young men and later a horrilbe discovery took place. Matthew was found, he had been robbed, beaten him with a pistol, tied to a buck-rail face, and left him to die in the outskirts of Laramie. He was taken to the hospital but unfortunately never regained consciousness and died.

This is a beautiful piece a work in memory to an innocent victim due to a hate crime.
October Mourning is a novel in verse, the author does a fantastic job creating poetic fictitous monologues from different points of view in Matthew's story.

RPA 01/10/2013