Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Halo Fall of Reach Invasion by Brian Reed and Felix Ruiz

Part of novel Fall of Reach in comic book format. Similar to Star Wars but except with the lasers and combating against a union of alien races. Plot is a very powerful and resourceful planet called Reach being invaded by the Covenant( alliance of alien races) and a group of augmented super soldiers are the best line of defense the planet obtains and if Reach falls then Earth is next.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

I'd give this one to those who enjoyed Morgenstern's Night Circus.  There is actually two magical romances going on here with a nod to the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.  There is a small rural town somewhere in Illinois where the corn grows strong and seems to talk to some folks, where there is a school with bullies, where lives Petey aka Priscilla who believes she is the ugliest beast around, where lives Finn who loves her.  Finn is face blind and has come to know Petey behind the face that only a mother could love. They are high school seniors. Also here is Sean who is Finn's older brother and an emt.  On the day Roza slips through a magical gap in the corn and winds up injured in The brother's barn Sean is there to help her as is Finn.  They grow to love her truly until one day a stranger slips through the corn and kidnaps her.  Finn is witness but cannot describe the man except in terms of the way he moved.  Sean is devastated.  A night horse and then a goat appear in the barn after.  Petey tells Finn why folks see him as spacey and believes he only loves her because she is so distinctive looking and leaves him devastated as well.  Desperate to get Sean back now that he has lost Petey Finn searches his memories of the stranger kidnapper and comes to know he came through the corn that speaks.  And so it is that he journey's through a gap in the corn to the land where Roza is held captive by the man who asks her each day if she loves him yet.  I will leave you all here with Finn trying to get Roza back for  Sean, with discovering what how independent and determined Roza, with Petey learning to see Finn differently and loving him truly.  Face Blindness has not been mentioned in teen fiction before making this a good choice for diversity lists.  Face Blindness can be very severe and disabling and less so.  Finn appears to be somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.  Ok, complex likable characters, lyrical writing, magical realism what a wonderful story.  Give us more Laura Ruby. jdw 12/30 15

Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers

So I will start out by saying that I did not, could not like the protagonist Parker Fadley.  I mentioned earlier about making a person likable no matter how angry, hurt and hurtful to others and how to do it.  One way is to give the person a pet they can relate to even if they cannot let humans near them.  Kathe Koja does this successfully in Stray Dog.  Summers fails, even the dog that tries to like this girl is treated badly and dies possibly as a result.  Parker used to be perfect, then something happens at a party she will not talk about and in her eyes she is irredeemable and tries to prove it to everyone.  This is a short fast read, mostly in dialog which makes it so one can stick with it to find out what happened.  If the characters and plot had been more complex, I am doubtful of that.  This is one big rage that eventually falls apart and the secret is revealed.  JDW12/30 15

Thursday, December 17, 2015

You Can't See the Elephants by Keller

This is an issue driven story.  It focuses on child abuse and the tendency for  adults to look away, just not see, especially if the abuser is a respected community member as he is in this story.  Who can believe that he could do such things to his kids.  Mascha is stuck with her grandparents for the summer, out of her father's hair.  He is severely grieving the loss of his wife, to the point that he isn't there for his daughter and her needs.  Mascha is spending a lot of time sitting on a playground watching kids play.  Kids who refuse to allow her to join in.  This is where she meets Julia who is a bit strange and her even stranger  younger brother Max.  She wants to play running away, he fights invisible monsters and rarely speaks coherently.  Mascha goes to Julia's house after she hasn't seen her for several days and witnesses Max being severely beaten, Julia staring at a wall motionless, emotionless, Mother with a bruised face.  She tries to convince adults of the problem only to be warned off.  This is when she decides to rescue the kids by locking them in a small shack in the middle of a field nearby.  This proved to be wrong in many ways and hard on Max and Julia as well as many other folks.  It did, however, bring to attention that which the kids were enduring.  The reference to the elephants in the title is that they tend to stand still and stare emotionless when they are about to die.  This reads fast and I guess its an ok child abuse story, all the necessary elements in place, mean adults that look good on the surface, adults who care but won't risk their own character as one person did only to be sued.  Kids who act as abused kids often do and are afraid to seek help.  And, of course, a rescuerer.  Sometimes I think stories are too set up to feel natural, plausible though.
JDW 12/17

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

One-Punch Man by ONE

One-Punch Man is a Japanese manga that is now starting to come to the US. It’s about a 25 year old named Saitama that trained hard to be a hero who could send shameless villains flying with one punch. He even trained so hard he went bald. You will follow Saitama as he fights monsters and unwilling train a cyborg he saved. Because of his lifeless expressions it comes at a surprise that Saitama is a superhero, but he does this for fun. 
The biggest problem with that is he can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on. K/S

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

A writer friend talked to me about making characters likable, this author succeeds.  I didn't expect to enjoy this book when I found out it was one more story of a teen not being believed by authorities and therefore taking on the solving of a mystery on her own with great risk to herself.  I expected another egotistical brat.   Sophie is not that.  Sophie is very vulnerable, very likeable and does seek help and support when she trusts enough to do so. 

Sophie and her friend Mina are on their way to a party when they take a side trip, something about a story Mina is researching for a paper.  It ends badly, Mina is shot to death and Sophie is injured.  Sophie and Mina have been close friends since 2nd grade.  There relationship has grown to more than mere best friends, they love each other.  Sophie has to solve the mystery of Mina's death, she has to make sure the murderer is caught and punished.  It is a long winding, very plausible, very interesting path to the solution. The fact that Sophie was framed for the murder and folks initially did not believe her adds to the hardships she encounters.  There is much forgiving needed on the way to the solution. 

Its no secret to the reader that Sophie and Mina have have a gay relationship, nor is it a secret that Sophie must deal with relentless physical pain every day the result of a serious car accident many years early.  This makes this book a good choice for diversity lists.

Calvin by Martine Leavett

This is a short fast read in which teen Calvin begins to experience the first symptoms of schizophrenia.  He sees and here's Hobbs of Bill Watterson's comic strip talking to him, walking with him.  Calvin gets it into his head that if he walks across frozen lake Superior from Canada to the author's home and talks to him that everything will be fixed.  His best friend Susie sticks with him through the beginnings of his illiness, his hike across Superior and the pair nearly perish.  Help comes in the nick of time.  We do not know in the end how Calvin's life will turn out or if Susie will maintain her loyalty to Calvin but we do get a sense of what it might be like to descend into mental illness.
jdw 12/15

Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel

Lorrie was accustomed to boarding school and summer horse riding camp.  She owned her horse. She avoided the shabby big old house in the upscale neighborhood where her aunt and sister lived.  It was the place called home between camp and school.  Aunt said there was a trust fund left behind by her mother when she ran off.  Aunt did not know where the girls' father was.  Then everything starts falling apart, summer camp tuition not paid, school registration not made.  When Lorrie goes home to edgewater house she cannot find aunt, she cannot find the trust fund. She has to borrow money to bring her horse home and ultimately must sell it. She takes on a job at the stables to make money, pay off outstanding debt, bills. She finds her younger sister living with a scruffy boyfriend at edgewater and pawning family possessions to survive.  Things slowly change when she meets Charlie, son of an esteemed senator.  They connect as Lorrie's trust increases.  But something is amiss at Charlie's upscale home.  Secrets will out, the stress of them can kill you and so they do and the intertwined past lives of Lorrie's family and Charlie's family becomes known as do the truth about Lorrie's parents.  This isn't a terrible book but its not great either.  Its ok as a romance as well. 

Thursday, December 03, 2015

The honor Student at magic high school

Imagine if Magic returned to the world. The magic you read in fairy tales and fiction books. Well in this story true magic has returned to the world. Now that humanity has gotten used to there being magic users, a school was build for Magic users, named as First High.

See this through the eyes of Mijuki Shiba, a honor student at the prestigious school.  The life of a honor student comes with its perks, a lot of exceptions among other feelings.

Story by Tsutomu Sato
Art by Yu Mori.

If you like magic and drama. This is the book for you!