Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August Retrospective

This month I reviewed the middle grade novel THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB, as well as YA novels THE HUNGER GAMES and THE EXTRAORDINARY SECRETS OF APRIL, MAY, AND JUNE, which came out in hardcover this month.

Thank you to everyone who followed me over from Wordpress, as well as any new readers/followers I've gained. You're all so snazzy!

**Retrospective was initially started by Steph, of Reviewer X.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Right Words: Goodbye, my friend.

This week's quote is from THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU, by Heather Duffy-Stone.

It's like she's mad at me for everything that's wrong in the world. It's like she's mad at me for breathing. And there's nothing I can say. I'm trying so hard to keep our friendship. What happened to it?

Oh, gosh. This one about makes me want to cry. Because I had a long, horrible, tear-inducing friendship breakup. And I was mad at her for so much and she was mad at me for so much. And sometimes it was like nothing she could say was right and nothing I could do was right because we'd already gone so far, broken so much between us. And I was trying so hard to keep our friendship, but in the end I just couldn't. It was too much.

~~I'd love for you to participate in this feature! And if you do talk about a quote you're particularly fond of, leave your link below so I can check out your blog!

Also, my YA Lit Chat buddy, Kelsey Sutton, is having a giveaway on her blog. SO YOU SHOULD DEFINIZZIE CHECK THAT OUT.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

This book is taking too long.

I've been working on reading FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS for quite a few days now. I found it at the used bookstore and decided I had to have it. I always try to push myself to read more nonfiction than I naturally would and this is a book that inspired the second-best television show in the world, so of course I added it to my pile. Bonus points if you tell me in the comments what the best television show is.

And let me tell you, as much as I'm enjoying this book (especially seeing what parts of the book and the people in the book translated to the television show), it's incredibly slow reading. I know a week doesn't seem very long, but I'm hardly a third of the way through the book at this point and whenever I sit down to read I only get a few pages finished before I set it down again. It's not that the book is difficult to read or the sort of thing (like some nonfiction books) that you really have to think about and digest.

The book is slow, but mostly, I think, because after over a hundred pages (well past the 50 page mark) it still hasn't captivated me. The book explores the history of Odessa and their football team, going into the stories of the different players, the football obsession of the town, and issues of race that the town and high school face. It's definitely interesting stuff and I'm going to finish the book, but I have so many other books calling to me right now (not to mention my readings for school) that I'm actually putting this one on hold for a while. Until I really have some time that I can and want to dedicate to it.

My question for you: do you ever start reading a book only to save it for later if it's taking too long to read?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blog Hop: Aug 27-30 (My Review System)

This week's Blog Hop question (hosted by Crazy for Books), is one that I especially love:
Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?
My review system is kind of... complicated. I use a rating system, but not your typical 1-5 stars system. Because I love to see what exactly makes a book work (or not work) I look at ten different elements of a book and give each one a 1-10 rating. I look at

RECOMMENDABILITY (ie. how strongly or widely would I recommend this one?)
FANGIRLY (ie. how much did I personally love this book?)

I strive to make every facet of my review (except for the "fangirly" portion) as objective as possible, partly because I feel this is how reviews should be and completely subjective reviews annoy me, but also because I think that's the best way to help readers decide if they would like a book or not. What's important to me in a book (characters, voice, relationships, setting) might not be the most important features to other readers and that's one of the things I really love about books and reading: not only can two people disagree on a book, but they can also love a book for completely different reasons.

By the time I've finished a review, the book has a score out of 100%, which is the easiest way for me to understand how good a book is. The interesting thing (at least to me) about this type of review system is that the books I love most don't always have the highest scores. Objectively, they aren't always the best books. Likewise, I can read a really phenomenal book from an objective standpoint and as great as it is, it doesn't end up being one of my favorites.

(Also: please excuse the mess on my blog as I try to find a theme/design I love.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Current Musical Obsessions (Aug. 27)

Right now I'm really wishing I had an iTunes card because there are a few songs I'm seriously geeking out over. Prepare your ears for awesome. (And yes, all of these songs are country music. Please please please don't let that stop you from listening to them.)

If I Die Young, by The Band Perry - Truly one of the most beautiful songs. It's one of those songs that makes me want to drive around a little longer if it comes on the radio when I'm pulling into the driveway.

Stuck Like Glue, by Sugarland - As my friend said, this song is CRAZY BANANAS AWESOME. The video's kind of weird though, just fyi.

Pray For You, by Jaron and the Long Road to Love - This is a hilarious song. It starts really sweet and nice and then gets terrible and hilarious.

Boys of Fall, by Kenny Chesney - Skip ahead to 2:11 (the song doesn't start until then). This is one of those really great songs that encapsulates one specific moment, one feeling. Plus, it reminds me of Friday Night Lights.

Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer, by Billy Currington - I'm fine with listening to this song fifty times in a row. And the video is great, so you have to watch it.

Trailerhood, by Toby Keith - OMG OMG OMG This song and the video for it are both hilarious (as Toby Keith's songs and videos often are). I looove it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Weekly Geeks: The Baby-Sitters Club

This week's Weekly Geek is on books through the decades.

Tell us about a book that came out in the decade you were born which you either loved or hated. Is is relevant to today? Is it a classic, or could it be? Give us a mini-review, or start a discussion about the book or books.

I love this question and of course the books I'm going to talk about are the Baby-Sitters Club series, which was published from 1986 - 2000. And I was one of those girls who grew up on the books. My library at the time had an entire shelf of the series and I went through them like wildfire. I was positively obsessed. At the time, of course, I didn't realize that every other girl my age was also obsessed. The books, about seven girls between the ages of 11 and 13 who have a baby-sitting club, are about friendship, family, babysitting, and middle school trials. To give you more of an idea, here are the titles of the few copies I have of them (seriously you guys, I used to own the whole series, and I still hope they're boxed up somewhere in my grandma's garage) on my shelves right now...


Honestly, these books are classics in their own right. There are plenty of blogs right now by adults my age and a bit older looking back at their old BSC books. Some blogs (like the incredible What Claudia Wore) focus on the girls' fashion, while others snarkily dissect the writing and plots with a fondness that could only come from nostalgia (e.g. BSC Revisited). These books set forth the "perfect" group of friends long before books like GOSSIP GIRL came on the scene. Instead of being popular, rich snobs, the girls in these books are hardworking, patient, and kind. And despite this they are just as clique-ish as characters from more materialistic novels and series. These books will never be taught in English classes (OMG, I hope not) and won't ever be looked at as the great literature of our generation or of the 90's. BUT for a certain age bracket of girls, these are the books we look back on as being most loved in our childhood. (And, with the re-release of them, I genuinely hope that today's pre-teens will love them just as much.)

Some questions for my readers:
Did you read the BSC books when you were younger? (If you're female, in my age bracket, live in the US, and liked to read when you were younger, you probably did.)
Who was your favorite sitter? Mine were Mary Anne and Mallory, though I don't think I could choose between them. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WIP Wednesday: The grocery store.

Taking a cue from Trish Doller, who always has such incredible WIP excerpts posted on Wednesday, I'm going to give it a try. The novel I'm working on right now is about two sisters and their parent's divorce. This scene is from the younger sister, Zooey's, point-of-view. Because some of the names in here are spoilers, I've replaced them with pronouns.

[The boy] works at the only grocery store in town and even though I have bigger things on my mind I still feel myself trying to hide behind my sister when we pass him. "Okay," says Piper, surveying the aisle of canned soups and vegetables. "What do we need, what do we need?" She looks at me as if expecting an answer.

"I don't know," I say. Mom always does the grocery shopping and lately I've been avoiding the house enough that I don't know what is or isn't inside the cabinets.

"Yeah," Piper says, pushing the cart in front of her. "Me neither. I just had to get out of that house." We walk down the refigerated section and she reaches past the eggs, pushing a tube of slice-n-bake cookies into the cart. Then she grabs a couple bottles of Gatorade and by the time we get to the register we've got the most unhealthy feast possible: cookie dough, Gatorade, Ritz crackers with spray cheese, and two packs of orange Tic-Tacs.

"Wow," [the boy] says as he scans our groceries. His voice has a hint of teasing in it that Piper picks up on.

"Not right now, alright [dude]?" she says, passing me one of the boxes of Tic-Tacs.

"Oh, is this not a good day?" he asks. Then, looking at me, he grins and adds, "Hey there, you."

I don't say anything.

"You could say that," Piper answers.

"Okay, then I guess now is as good a time as ever to, um, warn you about tonight."

She slides her debit card through the machine. "What's tonight?"

"Everyone's going over to Owen's to watch Jaws, and when I say everyone I mean that [she] will be there."

At this Piper stretches hr face into the most unbelievably fake smile. "Oh, [her]!" she says, feigning happiness. "Well, that's great."

"Oh, so you and [her] are friends now I guess?" he asks, teasing.

She keeps grinning. "Best buddies."

"Yeah, I bet. So are you coming?" Then, pointing to me, he asks, "Are you coming?"

"We don't know," Piper says, answering for both of us as I grab the bags out of the bottom of our cart and Ray hands her the receipt. Outside and away from the embarrassing gaze of [the boy], Piper says, "So do you want to go? Tonight?"

I look at her like she's crazy and she laughs. "Yeah, me neither."

"I don't want to go home either though," I say.

"Me neither. You weren't there this morning, but I feel like Dad decided that since Mom's gone it's time for him to bond with us or something."

I don't want to bond with my dad and I don't want him to think that we're going to. I'd rather be in Cedar Heights, with Mom and Jerome and Lisa, or anywhere, really. Piper starts the car and as we head out of the parking lot, in the opposite direction from home, I ask, "Where are we going?"

"I don't know," she says, and something about her voice makes me shut up. She sounds angry and it makes me nervous, so I turn the radio up to drown out the deafening silence of my sister.

Also, check out my Wednesday post over on the YA Lit Six.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

Review in Short: This is an adorable, well-written story about three sisters with superpowers. It's told from multiple viewpoints (all three sisters) and the characters have a depth to them that comes from getting more than one person's perspective. The theme of sisterhood is the driving force of this novel and it certainly doesn't hurt that the characters, relationships, voice, and plot are so wonderful. Though the ending seemed to drag on too long, I completely fell in love with this book. 89/100 = B

Premise: 8.
Not long after their parents divorce sisters April, May, and June (re)discover powers that have been hidden since childhood. April can see the future, middle-child May literally disappears, and June can read minds. Though I don't encounter this much in the contemporary books I read, I know the discovery of powers is a pretty common theme and premise in fantasy and paranormal fiction.

Plot: 9. The storyline here revolves around the sisters dealing with having superhero-style powers and the aftermath of their parents divorce. New friends, love interests, and their complicated relationships with each other and their parents are a huge part of this plot and not to give anything away, but it's really interesting how the stories and characters intersect.

Characters: 10. I loved the characters in this novel. The sisters were so different and the depth of their thoughts and personalities were shown so well, especially with the multiple-POV narration letting you see certain events from different viewpoints. The dialogue between the sisters (and in general) was hilarious and spot-on. I loved it.

Relationships: 9. First of all, I could not have loved the relationships between April, May, and June more. It's just not possible. They laughed and fought and talked like sisters actually do and as the story goes on their relationships develop and deepen. Another relationship I really loved was the one between April and Julian -- their conversations were hysterical and heart-warming. Really, the only slight problem I had with the relationships in this book was how suddenly the May-and-Henry dynamic seemed to change.

Setting: 8. A new school and new house are the settings for this novel but they both seem to be overshadowed by so much else. Which, quite honestly, works for this book. I didn't even notice until I set out to write my review.

Themes: 9. Friendship and family dynamics, but mostly sisterhood. This book was completely wonderful as far as the dynamic of sisters was portrayed and this, more than the divorce or superpowers, was what carried the story. Superlove.

Voice: 10.

Ending: 7. Okay, here's the one place I had issues with this book. The ending dragged on too long and I felt like the book easily could have ended before the last couple of chapters and been better for it.

Recommendability: 9.

Fangirly: 10. Okay, I wasn't expecting much from this book. Unlike so many others, I wasn't a big fan of Robin Benway's debut novel (AUDREY, WAIT!) and I so rarely read anything with a fantastical twist to it. But this is more contemporary than anything else and the relationships and characters are nearly perfect. I fell in love.

This book gets 89 out of 100, a B.
For readers looking for a sweet story of sisters and superpowers, anyone who liked Robin Benway's first novel, as well as fans of Maureen Johnson. Or, you know, just anyone looking for an incredibly awesome book.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Right Words: I've been there, too.

My quote-book is something of a journal. I write down the lines that I especially love and in reading through the book it's easy to see what was on my mind at certain points in my life. Though some of the quotes are humorous and some are beautiful, the majority of them form a picture of who I am and who I was at certain points in my life.

With this in mind I'm starting a new feature on this blog: The Right Words. I'll take a quote that I love and share it with you guys, along with some backstory or the reasons behind choosing it. This feature is a bit more personal, but will also show some really great books.

The first quote is from SEA, by Heidi R. Kling, and it's one of the most recent additions to my quote-book.

Spider had that easy way about him that people who have never had anything bad happen to them seem to possess.

It's horrible to say this, but sometimes, with some things, there's no way to understand what it feels like unless you've been there. I don't know what you've gone through and you don't know what I've gone through. Empathy and imagination goes a long way in rectifying this, but there are still certain events in life that can only be understood by people who have been through the same (or very similar) things. I know for a fact that there are some people in my life who I could never discuss certain things with because I'll get that blank stare and try as they might, they don't get it. By the same token, I have friends (one in particular) who I can say one little thing to and they know what I mean immediately. Because they've been there too.

~~I'd love for you to participate in this feature with me. If you do a The Right Words post, please leave a comment linking me to it so I can check out your blog!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Top 10: Contemporary YA Novels

In honor of The Contemps, I've seen other bloggers listing their Top 10 Contemporary YA picks. So, since I love top 10 lists and contemporary YA, I figured I'd share my list with you guys. Because I guarantee it has a few books that are completely amazing and on nobody else's lists.
  1. SERAFINA67 *URGENTLY REQUIRES LIFE*, by Susie Day. This is my all-time, absoute, top-of-the-charts, favorite YA book. If I could only read one over and over again this would be it. And you know why? Not just because it's written in blog format and the main characters is so complexly imagined (as John Green would say) and it explores themes of friendship and love and family and weight and being happy. But also because this book? IT'S EXACTLY WHAT THE INSIDE OF MY BRAIN LOOKS LIKE. Seriously. I loaned my ARC to a friend and she sent me a text saying, "omg. i'm cracking up while reading this book. it's exactly like talking to you." Read it.
  2. SWEETHEARTS, by Sara Zarr. This book includes what might quite possibly be my favorite quote from any book ever. It's a novel that portrays the sort of feelings that match up perfectly with the beating of my heart, with how I so often feel about certain people. It says the things I've always felt but never been able to say and it's incredible. I just want this book to be a person so I can hug it.
  3. THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER, by Sarah Dessen. This was the very first YA book I ever read and it pulled me in, wrapping me up in the story, characters, and Dessen's lyrical writing. In my opinion it's the best of her books (and trust me, I adore all of them). To be honest it's probably the book that made me realize I didn't just want to write books, but I wanted to write books for/about teenagers. Books like this.
  4. THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, by E. Lockhart. I had read the first couple of Ruby Oliver books before this one and, of course, loved them. But this novel just kicked everything up a to a whole other level. Secret societies, pranks, spying, made-up words... all things that I love. Frankie is the sort of character who reminded me not of myself, but of the girl I want to be, the girl I wish I was. The writing was perfect and the story was wonderful and every single character was awesome.
  5. SCRAMBLED EGGS AT MIDNIGHT, by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler. I'm not generally a huge fan of books that have a romance as the primary plot, but this one pulled it off. Didn't just pull it off, but in fact made me fall in love. With the atmosphere, the language, the teenage protagonists. Everything. This book is one that I can look at in my bookshelf and just seeing it makes me feel like there's goodness in the world. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I don't care. It's that kind of book.
  6. SUITE SCARLETT, by Maureen Johnson. Out of all of MJ's books, her Scarlett series is most reminiscent of the trademark humor found in her web presence. In other words, it's absolutely off the wall and delightful. I am completely in love with Spencer Martin and I adore the relationship him and Scarlett have. Quite honestly, this is what makes the book what it is: crazy awesome.
  7. PAPER TOWNS, by John Green. It's a tough decision between this and AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by the same author, but there's just something about this book. It explores people and our perceptions of them. It involves a road trip (love!) and quirky things like a collection of black Santas. Plus, there's abandoned buildings and a whole mystery aspect that is done so well it defies the genre.
  8. THE UNWRITTEN RULE, by Elizabeth Scott. When I read this book I was astonished at the complexity of the relationship between Sarah (the main character) and her best friend. Unlike many books, the relationship here was not black and white. Sarah's best friend wasn't the trademark loyal sidekick, but then, neither was Sarah. The relationships in this book -- all of them -- were explored so well that when I finished reading I couldn't help but write a gushy fan letter to the author. For me, in some ways, this book was like looking in a mirror that reflected back past friendships and showed me I wasn't alone. It took on the epic task of showing friendship as it is -- messy and uncertain and never as simple as we like to think.
  9. SEA, by Heidi R. Kling. Like a tidal wave in the ocean, this book pulled me in and refused to let go. The emotional depth here is astounding, the atmosphere of the setting is crafted so perfectly, and I'm still in love with Sienna and Deni's journey long after finishing the book. It's a story that, I already know, is going to stay with me a long, long time. This book deserves all the sea love it's getting and more. Absolutely, 100% amazing.
  10. BREAK, by Hannah Moskowitz. I love stories of family and this book takes on the subject like no other. Jonah is a deeply protective, loving, and confused protagonist that we get to know and understand more as the story goes on. This novel shows family love as it really is -- confusing, aching, difficult, and complicated. No matter what the summary on Goodreads or the back cover says, this is a book about love.
So, what books are on your list? If you have a list or want to make a list, link me to it; I'd love to see what books you love!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Blog Hop: Aug 20-23

This weekends blog hop question, from Crazy For Books, is

How many blogs do you follow?

Going by the Google Friend Connect, I follow about 70. But to be honest I mostly just scroll through the dashboard updates and click on posts that interest me. As for blogs I actually follow and read every post of? The ones listed in the blog roll in my sidebar are my favorites.

&& for anyone who's came here from the Blog Hop... HELLO!! Stick around a while. Put your feet up. Hit the follow button. STAY FOR THE CRAZY.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Goodreads: Bookswap Finds

I recently started using Goodreads bookswap to get rid of a bunch of old/unwanted books I had (sorry, books!) and guess what I discovered?


& because I love you guys ever so much, I've made it my mission to find you the BEST YA and MG books listed. Because it's waaaayyyy cheaper than buying them (all you pay for is shipping). Books with stars next to them are the ones I really really really recommend that you need in your life right this second. The more stars, the higher I recommend them.

ALSO ALSO ALSO! The awesome T.H. Mafi is having a huge giveaway over on her blog. FREE BOOK MONEY!! Also, while you're there I suggest reading every single post she's ever written because they're all amazing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review: The Hunger Games

Review in Short: When 16-yr old Katniss takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games -- the annual fight-to-the-death, gladiator-style -- that the Capitol forces every district to participate in, she finds herself outmatched and in the unenviable position of placing her survival over everything else. Including loyalty, love, and even the lives of her fellow tributes, some of whom are even younger than her. This is an incredible story rife with complications, conflict, and a gut-wrenching fight for survival. 95/100 = A
Premise: 8. Teenage "tributes" in a huge arena. A fight to the death orchestrated by the government. A girl who takes her younger sister's place in the struggle for survival. As great as this premise is, I do feel like it's been done to death. PUNS FTW.

Plot: 10. I'm a bit lost in the world of action-packed dystopian stories, but I thought the plot and pacing -- especially the pacing -- of this book was incredible. From the moment Katniss steps up to take her sister's place in the Hunger games, she's closely watched by everyone in the country, and in danger both from her fellow tributes and the Capitol. The pace of this book and the twists and turns were so flawless that honestly I'm having a difficult time pointing out just why it was so great. I just know it was.

Characters: 10. I didn't love Katniss at first. She's guarded, smart, very focused, and very untrusting. But she's in a fight to the death: she has to be these things. And, by the end of the book, I loved her. I loved her confusion and her conflicting feelings and the fact that she knew everything was wrong and was powerless to stop it. And the other characters? Incredible. From Rue to Cinna to Peeta I loved them all. Seriously, seriously good job on making the characters in a very plot-driven book stand out and be multi-dimensional. Such greatness here!

Relationships: 10. Again, incredible, and I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who, like me, is late to the party with this one, but I loved the development of characters and relationships in this book. It was just short of perfect as Katniss' love and loyalty is pitted against her need for survival. The conflict here, as in the rest of the book, is palpable.

Setting: 10. Come on. The setting is the book. The poverty of District 12 contrasted with the wealth of the Capitol and then the wilderness of the arena. Suzanne Collins, I tip my hat to you.

Themes: 9. Family. Loyalty. Love. Survival. Doing what's right vs. doing what you have to. Government. People. Wealth.

Voice: 10.

Ending: 10. I have an incredibly difficult time judging endings of books that are set up for a sequel and this is no different: I'm a little conflicted. But, to be honest, the entire conclusion of this book is awesome and it makes you want to read the next book without telling you what the next book is about.

Recommendability: 8.

Fangirly: 10. This book is like if the world of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" was explored in depth, from the perspective of a teenage girl. It's awesome. Incredible. Gut-wrenching. And I can't wait to read CATCHING FIRE and MOCKINGJAY.

This book gets 95 out of 100 points, an A.

For anyone interested. Honestly, this is one of those novels that I feel like I can't tell you if you're going to like it. As incredible as it is, there is a lot of action, a lot of violence, a lot of death. And you have to decide if you want to read something like that.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Contemps


If you like contemporary YA, go check out The Contemps.
(you can thank me later)

Review: The Mother-Daughter Book Club

Review in Short: When a Mother-Daughter book club pushes four sixth grade girls together, they have to learn to put aside their differences (and maybe even become friends?) while reading the classic book, LITTLE WOMEN, together with their mothers. This is an adorable middle grade book for girls and their mothers. The characters didn't ring as true as I wanted them too, but I think every mother or daughter will be able to relate to one of the relationships in the book. 77/100 = C

Premise: 9. A mother-daughter book club reading LITTLE WOMEN. Seriously, what girl doesn't find that premise adorable? I know I do, and not just because LITTLE WOMEN is one of my favorite books ever.

Plot: 8. The four 6th grade girls in the book club start out as classmates with a variety of ties between them. Two are best friends, two used to be friends but are now enemies, and one is the new girl who hardly knows anybody and is teased because of her un-girly interests. As the book progresses, of course, these girls are forced to actually come together and understand each other as well as deal with the trials of middle school and family life. There's actually a lot in the plot of this book, especially because each girl has her own story, and I can't sum it all up but let's just say: separated parents, dead parents, mothers who don't understand, bullies, and crushes are at the crux of this book.

Characters: 7. I liked all four girls (popular Megan, tomboy Cassidy, farm-girl Jess, and sensitive Emma) as well as the secondary characters (especially Emma's brother, Darcy), but I did feel like the girls were less fleshed out and more stereotypes of girls we all encounter in middle school. I understand this and I still loved them all, but I did wish they were more dimensional. (However, since this is the start of a series, it's possible the characters become more fleshed out as you spend more time with them.)

Relationships: 8. SO MANY RELATIONSHIPS IN THIS BOOK. With family, friends, not-friends, and boys. I loved the girls relationships with their mothers and I'm pretty sure any daughter or mother would be able to find a relationship here to relate to. However, there were just so many relationships that it was hard to really explore them much in such a short book.

Setting: 8. Concord, Massachusetts. I loved that this book was set in such a historical town and that, at times, this aspect of it was played up.

Themes: 8. Family, mothers and daughters, friendship. Like with so much in this book there was just so much here that while it was all good there wasn't enough room for any of it to stand out as GREAT.

Voice: 7.
Ending: 7. To be honest, the book felt like it went from this very grounded, realistic middle grade novel to, in the last couple of chapters, a BSC Super Special. (Not that I don't entirely love BSC Super Specials, but it just didn't work here.) I won't ruin the ending, but you'll see what I mean when you get there. All of the sudden it just becomes all a bit too unbelievable.

Recommendability: 8, especially for middle school girls.

Fangirly: 7.

So this book gets 77 out of 100, a C.

For girls, especially middle school girls, and their mothers. Seriously, this is very much a girls-and-their-moms book. It's adorable.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

9 Rules for Reading

The inaugural blog-warming post. It's like a house-warming party, only different.

Inspired by this article by the best baby-namers out there (seriously. every character I name comes from either their website or book), I introduce:

Jordyn's 9 Rules for Reading Fiction. (ta-dah!)
  1. Read what you want. Unless you have to read something for school, a blog tour, book club, or some other required sort of thing, read what catches your fancy. If you're fifty and you love to read YA, so be it. If that means passing up all the books your friends are reading because they don't interest you, that's also fine, as is reading stuff nobody else has ever heard of.
  2. If you don't like the book, don't finish it. There are some people that feel the need to finish every book they start. I'm not one of those people; the rule with me is 50 pages. If after 50 pages the book hasn't captured my interest, I feel no obligation to finish.
  3. Don't skip ahead to the last page. I admit, I used to do this all the time. I always skipped ahead to the last page before reading the book, but then (and I forget which book it was) I seriously spoiled the book for me. And it was massively depressing. So now I make a firm rule not to skip to the ending with a book I'm reading.
  4. Never dog ear pages. Never, never, NEVER dog ear pages. This should really be rule #1. If you don't have a bookmark handy, use a scrap of paper or just remember where you're at.
  5. Don't take a year to finish a book. Unless it's a massive undertaking like GONE WITH THE WIND, there's no reason to take so many months to finish a novel. By the time you finish you won't remember the beginning.
  6. There is no obligation to finish a series. Generally with series that I halfway like I feel an obligation to buy and read the entire series. BUT I AM DONE WITH THAT. Of course if I love a series I'm going to finish it, even if I have to wait years for them all to come out in paperback (ahem, GALLAGHER GIRLS... I've only read the first two so far), but if I'm not a fan of the books I'm not going to continue reading. (See rule #2)
  7. Skip the boring parts. I don't take advantage of this rule very often , but I do think it's okay to skip the boring parts.
  8. Write down the lines that speak to you. I have a notebook I keep that's full of quotes from books. (I call it my quote-book.) They're the parts of books (lines, sentences, entire passages) that make me feel like oh, somebody else gets it/I'm not alone/holy cow I hope I can write that well someday.
  9. Have fun. In the end, there are no rules for reading. This post is how I read, but not necessarily how you might read because the fact is that unless you're reading something required, there are no rules.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Somebody (me) finally bought The Hunger Games.

HELLO and WELCOME to the blogger blog. Anyone who followed me on wordpress knows that I've been dying to read THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy.


I went to Walmart and bought THE HUNGER GAMES. I also ordered CATCHING FIRE online, and you kind of don't know how excited I am to read them so of course I'm really hoping to love the books as much as everyone else does. I'm also hoping that I can AVOID SPOILERS OMG until I (finally) get to read MOCKINGJAY. Whenever that is.

So yah.

I have epic excitedness going on right now. I plan to do a better intro post tomorrow.