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Monthly Archives: August 2012

 

Reviewer: Rebekah

Title:  The Book Thief
Author:  Markus Zusak
Source: Library
Pages: 550 Pages
Genre: YA Fiction/ Historical Fiction/ Experimental
Publication Date: March 14, 2006
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5/5

 It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

This might just be one of my new favorite books, ever.

It took me a while to finish it. I think most people (or at least the people who are on Goodreads) couldn’t finish it quickly either because it’s not a quick read. It’s heavy.

The main character, Liesel, isn’t your average girl. She’s poor and alone, but she’s also tougher than she looks. It’s hard not to feel what she feels. Her misfit friends and family are some of the best characters I’ve read in a while. Who couldn’t love the boy with lemon hair? Or the gentle, accordion-playing Papa?

Her love and fear of words and books drives the story. You see power and destruction, love and hate, death and life. All by words.

I should also talk about the narrator, huh? I don’t want to give anything away, but if you pick up this book and start to read…it’s probably not going to be what you expect at first. But keep reading, because the narrator keeps an open perspective. You learn about Life through Death.

Like I said, it’s a heavy book. But it is also beautiful. You can’t go into a book set during Holocaust time during Germany expecting happy endings all around. But you’ll gain much more, I think.

Waiter: Taylor
Title: Feedback
Author: Robison Wells
Pages: 356 Pages
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Mystery
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen

This is a Weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

 Benson Fisher escaped from Maxfield Academy’s deadly rules and   brutal gangs.

Or so he thought.

But now Benson is trapped in a different kind of prison: a town filled with hauntingly familiar faces. People from Maxfield he saw die. Friends he was afraid he had killed.

They are all pawns in the school’s twisted   experiment, held captive and controlled by an unseen force. As he searches for answers, Benson discovers that Maxfield Academy’s plans are more sinister than anything he imagined—and they may be impossible to stop.

Variant blew readers away with its breakneck pacing, flawless plotting, and impossibly high stakes. It earned starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and VOYA, which described it as “an exciting, edge-of-your-seat read that combines psychological themes from works like Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and Ender’s Game in a truly unique way.”

In Feedback, Robison Wells delivers all the answers you’ve been craving—with enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the very last page.

I read the first book in this series, Variant soon after it came out. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this book majorly took me by surprise. It was CRAZY. And that ending… wow! Can’t wait to find out what happens in this sequel!

Leave me links to your WoW below!

-Taylor

Reviewer: Taylor

 Title: Grave Mercy
 Author: Robin LaFevers
 Source: Bought
 Pages: 549 Pages
 Genre: YA Historical/Action Adventure
 Publication Date: April 3, 2012
 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
 Rating: 5/5

 Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Main Idea: AHHHHHH! That is the only way I can think to put my excitement into words as I sit down to try to write a quick review.

First of all, freaking historical fiction for the win! I think we as an entire YA community do not read enough/have enough historical fiction. I absolutely loved being transported into a completely different time and place- one that was very real at one time in history!

Our main character, Ismae (love that name), has dealt with some MEAN, rugged men in her life, namely her father and her “betrothed.” So, when she mysteriously gets swooped away to a convent involved with the dealings of death one night, she is not opposed. In fact, Ismae learns that her dance with death in her mother’s womb (her mother drank poison when she was pregnant with Ismae to try to “expel her from her womb.” yuck.) was not just a coincidence. Apparently, death would not allow her to die and “sired” her in order to do his work. It is revealed to her that she has special abilities in order to help her deal death more efficiently. Example: she is immune to all poison.

Towards the beginning of the book, Ismae literally JUMPS at any chance to do st. mortain’s work by killing one he has marqued. However, quickly after her first kills, Ismae is assigned a job that will change her life forever.

The romance is amazing. The love she gains for unexpected people is touching. And the mystery, action, and excitement is amazing. Even the longer parts in the middle did not bore me. I was glued to the book the entire time I was reading it and just LOVED it.

Go read it. Now.


Reviewer: Taylor
Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Source: Bought
Pages: 290 Pages
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: June 1, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Rating: 3.5/5

 According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar   Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.

 

Main Idea: Anna and Frankie have to deal with their loss out loud instead of ignoring the truth, and the way Sarah Ockler writes the girls through their heartbreak and confusion is beautiful.

I certainly was expecting a LOT from this book as I went into it. I have been hearing so many good things about it. How it is heartbreaking but still so good. Well, I agree! (for the most part).

One year after the heartbreak of the loss of Frankie’s brother and Anna’s secret love, the girls head to California for a fresh start with Anna’s parents. After her brother’s death, Frankie has become completely self obsessed and tries to win the affection of any boy that turns her way. Anna is still dealing with the heartbreak of losing the one she loved and keeping it a secret from Frankie. They go with a mission to meet and flirt with twenty boys while hopefully losing Anna’s “albatross” (virginity) along the way

Frankie’s character really frustrated me as she was self obsessed and boy crazy. But apparently this is the “new frankie” and not how she used to be before Matt died. Anna was a pretty good character and acted as I think I would if I lost someone that special that suddenly. I just don’t get going on a mission to seduce boys and lose your “albatross,” but then again, I am very different from our main characters!

Overall I really enjoyed this book. The plot moves along quickly with plenty of heart-pounding late night sneak-outs, make out sessions, and boys. But the book goes deeper than that. Anna and Frankie have to deal with their loss out loud instead of ignoring the truth, and the way Sarah Ockler writes the girls through their heartbreak and confusion is beautiful.

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Taylor and Rebekah