Posts tagged ‘reviews’
Everyone seems to be in love with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the new book by Laini Taylor, and I have to say it’s with good reason. It’s been on my list for awhile, namely because of all of the great reviews, but once I actually started to read it, I couldn’t put it down.
The story centers around Karou, a seventeen year old art student who lives in Prague. Karou is a little strange and mysterious. Her hair grows blue, she’s covered with tattoos, and she fills dozens of sketchbooks with creatures that could surely only exist in the imagination. Karou never talks about herself and deflects all questions from friends so that they don’t find out the truth. See, Karou isn’t really from Prague. She’s not from anywhere, actually. She’s from Elsewhere. Karou grew up in a shop with four chimaera and was raised by the Wishmonger, Brimstone. Brimstone, like all of the chimaera, is part animal, part human with the head and horns of a ram, eyes of a crocodile, torso of a human, legs of a lion, and feet of a dragon. Brimstone sells wishes to any who can pay the price, but instead of cash and coins, Brimstone’s currency is teeth, and only the best teeth will do. He gives Karou small wishes and provides her with money and a place to live in the outside world, and even a fake grandmother to enroll her in school. In return, Karou runs errands for Brimstone, errands that are often very dangerous and even life-threatening, but Brimstone is the only family she’s ever known. Karou doesn’t even know who she really is, but a chain of events that starts with handprints scorched into the doors to Elsewhere leads her to find that the chimaera are not the only ones in Elsewhere, and her family is under attack by beautiful, winged creatures.
Laini Taylor creates a world – two worlds, really – that is complex and rich in detail. Karou is the perfect, fierce heroine, good enough to rival Katniss of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Katsa of Graceling by Kristin Cashore.
Here’s an insider tip for all of you: Read the book now before it starts getting a huge hold list! The movie rights have been acquired by Universal Pictures, and the second book is due out September 2012. I predict that this book is only going to get even more popular.
- Heather Botelho, South Branch Library
Honestly, when I saw this cover, I was a bit dubious if I would like the book. She is, after all, almost beheaded and in a bikini (implications?), but the cover is saved by the bandolier crossed by her beauty queen sash.
Of course, Beauty Queens is by Libba Bray, author of Going Bovine, which won the Michael L. Printz Award last year, as well as the Gemma Doyle books, so I had high hopes. She definitely did not disappoint. The book is in turns both horrifying and hilarious (hilarifying?). She starts the book with a plane full of Miss Teen Dream contestants on their way to compete for this illustrious title. It’s too bad that everything goes down from there, and I mean down literally. The plane crashes on a deserted (or is it?) island, killing off all of the adults and most of the contestants. Only a handful are left, and it’s true that at first, most of them seem like shallow airheads who are only concerned with continuing their choreography practice while they wait to be rescued (yes, that would be Miss Texas). Eventually, they realize that rescue just isn’t going to happen, and they set about using what they’ve scavenged from the wreck to provide food, fresh water, and shelter (and still practice their choreography). It turns out that most of these girls are not dumb and actually have hidden talents, like the one who is pre-pre-med, or the one who is on her way to becoming an electrical engineer. Miss Texas is a member of Femmes and Firearms, and she goes first militant and then out-in-the-field-too-long crazy when the girls start to find out they aren’t alone on the island.
In the midst of all this character development, Bray introduces pure satire that makes fun of everything from reality TV to product advertisements to politics to religion. This is not a book to be taken too seriously (see Bray’s Q & A with herself on the book’s Amazon page). True, there is no cannibalism to make this really Lord of the Flies-esque, but you can’t read this book without a healthy appreciation of its absurdity.
And speaking of… Bray creates a playlist for each book she writes, so if you’d like a soundtrack for Beauty Queens, here are a few tracks taken from her self-conducted interview: Beauty Queen/Roxy Music, Mystery Girl/The Yeah YeahYeahs, Guyana Punch/The Judys, Paper Planes/M.I.A., Diamonds Are Forever/Shirley Bassey, Porpoise Song (Theme from “Head”)/The Monkees, Teenage Dream/T-Rex, and Ladybird/Nancy Sinatra in honor of Ladybird Hope (you’ll meet her in the book).
- Heather Botelho, South Branch Library
Welcome to the Teen Lit Scene! Every month we feature a review from an actual teen. These reviews are meant to be short blurbs about books teens want to share with others. Feel free to add your comments about reviewed books. Interested in writing reviews or want more information? Email your reviews or questions to Juli Gonzalez at email@example.com.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Before I say how good this book was, I want to say that this is not a book I would usually take off the shelf to read. Jandy Nelson does a terrific job of telling Lennie’s story. By chapter 3, The Sky is Everywhere had my attention and then I just couldn’t put it down! I wanted to know Lennie and what was happening in her life; the way Ms. Nelson put in excerpts from Lennie’s journal made me feel very connected to the character. I am SO glad that I read this book and look forward to other stories by Ms. Nelson.
Review by Zsuzsa, 13
Welcome to the Teen Lit Scene! Every month we will feature a review from an actual teen. These reviews are meant to be short blurbs about books teens want to share with others. Feel free to add your comments about reviewed books. Interested in writing reviews or want more information? Email your reviews or questions to Juli Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
It is said that the eyes are the reflection on one’s soul. When Grace saw Sam’s yellow eyes, she knew he was her wolf. For Twilight lovers, Shiver will be the icing on the cake. Beautifully written, this love story will stick to your heart and loosen you from reality through the very last page. Truly captivating, I’ll name it the Book of the Year.
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
In Shiver, Sam and Grace found each other. Now they must fight to be together. Then there’s Cole, a brand new wolf, whose past brings danger to the whole pack, and Isabel, who lost her wolf-brother, and is now in love with Cole. Romantic, dramatic, charming, and captivating, this is a book that will surely make you cry. For all teenagers or anyone with a thirst for a good story from beginning to end. Linger, is another book you will not be able to put down. Stiefvater writes another winner and I can’t wait for the final installment in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Forever, coming July 2011.
Reviews by Coraline Bronwyn, 15
Yup…it’s The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It came out in 2006, but I didn’t read it until this year. Loved it. Fans of 1984, Brave New World, and other apocalyptic/future-questioning books will love it too. –Sian