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Month: December 2012
Reached did not reach me.
Out of five stars (on Goodreads) I gave Reached by Ally Condie two. Then three. Then back to two. Here’s why:
I really, really loved Matched. It’s a great dystopian romance.
But then there was Crossed, which just made me mad because there just wasn’t enough of the romance. I wanted resolution between Cassia, Ky, and Xander. It did not deliver.
So then we get Reached, which I really hoped would be all kinds of amazing and finish up this trilogy in a satisfying way, but it was just kind of… eh. Bleh. The first 300-400 pages were all about curing a plague and continued frustrations with the whole love triangle thing. Plus, there was the Society and the Pilot and the Rising and confusion about who was who and who was good and who was bad. It was so annoying. So why did I keep reading? I honestly don’t know.
The ONLY reason that I gave this three stars instead of two is that finally, in the last 50 pages or so, I got a satisfying ending.
However, there are still so many things left hanging. All this talk of Matthew Markham in the first half of the book, which is then just ignored in the end when Ky is actually looking for his family. The tacked on voting at the end… How did we get from Society to Rising to Society/Rising to a democratic vote? I mean, it’s a nice thought to wrap the trilogy up with, but you can’t just spend hundreds of pages talking about the corruption of these governing structures and forms of civilization and then be all like, “Oh, it’s time to vote. And everyone has magically learned how to write their names.” What the heck? Everybody’s ok with that? No one tries to stop the process to remain in power? Anna actually WANTS to be in power? Doubtful. Oh, and, the whole world is going to vote just because Cassia and Ky say it will work? What about all those who blindly followed the Society, or chose the Society willingly because of the security it offered? They all just went along with what some teenagers said? Gah.
That all makes me want to go back to two stars. I am.
Good somewhat clean fun
Burning Blue by Paul Griffin
I don’t even know what to say about this, but it was definitely a good mystery with an ending I could never have imagined. Burning Blue is definitely for older YA readers – mature 10th/11th grade and up. Once I got to the answer of the “Who did it?” question, it was hard to make myself keep reading. You’ll understand after reading. I also appreciate the author’s note in the back, in which Griffin explains his reason for writing this story so I don’t just have to think he’s a messed up human being. Maybe I’ll have more to say later… For now, I’m still in shock.
Catching Jordan – Miranda Kinneally
A few weeks ago, I discovered and loved Stealing Parker by Miranda Kinneally. I mean, I seriously couldn’t put it down and stayed up all night reading it.
The Scent of Rain – Kristin Billerbeck
I have been reading Kristin Billerbeck’s books for years, and I always enjoy them thoroughly. Billerbeck is a Christian author, so I appreciate the clean cut content of her books, but I also appreciate that she’s able to write Christian books without having her characters be all perfect and cheesy. She captures very real characters who struggle with issues of faith and temptation and decision-making just like we ALL do. Plus, she’s a smart and witty writer, which I love. :)
In The Scent of Rain, the protagonist is Daphne Sweeten, a perfumer straight out of training in Paris who suddenly finds herself left at the altar and without her greatest asset as a perfumer – her sense of smell. Determined to get on with life and figure out what to do with herself, Daphne goes ahead and reports for her first day of work at a new company, faking her sense of smell the whole way.
Of course, she meets all new people who love and support her, deals with the heartache of being left at the altar, and even finds room in her heart to love again (because really, if she didn’t fall in love again, the book would be sucky and depressing). Daphne is a stubborn, flawed, and hard-headed protagonist that you just can’t help but love and root for.
Upper high school, college, and early career girls are probably the one’s who like this the best, though I’m not putting any age restriction on it. The content is certainly appropriate enough for middle school and relevant enough for those of us who have been out of school for longer than we’d care to admit. And if you like this one, check out Billerbeck’s other titles! Enjoy.
Al Capone Does My Shirts
Friday Favorite: Secrets of My Hollywood Life
Jen Calonita has an impressive way of writing intriguing stories that you’d like to go into and visit for vacation without making them so scandalously inappropriate that I have to worry about putting them on my summer reading lists for middle school. I appreciate that about her. I also love that while it’s good for upper middle schoolers, it’s also great for all high school grades. Heck, I loved it as an adult.
This series, The Secrets of My Hollywood Life, features a protagonist named Kaitlin Burke. She’s a famous teenage TV star in Hollywood, and throughout her adventures and dramas and everything else we get an insider’s look at the life of a Hollywood starlet. It’s very fun. And, as Calonita is a former entertainment editor for Teen people, you definitely get a legit inside look!
In this first book, Kaitlin wants to know what it’s like to be a regular, not-famous teenager in high school and goes behind the backs of almost everyone around her to enroll in a local school under a false ID. Of course, she falls for the school’s hottest lacrosse player (and who wouldn’t, really?)… lots of crazy things happen. And, while this book does have a fully satisfying ending, you totally want to start reading the next book as soon as you finish this one to figure out what happens with Kaitlin and her crew. It’s awesome.
Check this book out, buy it, invest in the rest of the series… you’ll love it. Enjoy!
#ThrowbackThursday – The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
There are so many reasons to love this book. It’s so real and so amazing in the way that it was written – it was instantly popular when published by Hinton (AS A TEENAGER – OMG) and is still popular and relevant to teenage life today. I read somewhere once that this is considered the first of our modern YA novels… sort of a blueprint by which all others are written. I believe it. In an interview she gave, Hinton basically said she was bored by the books she had to read as a teenager and decided to write something she’d actually want to read. You gotta love that fierce teenage determination.
In The Outsiders, you follow the stories of teens in rival gangs – the Greasers and the Socials. While we don’t have gangs and cliques with the same names in today’s teenage society, we do have plenty of rivalry and hatred between groups of people that make this classic story one for today’s teens as well. If you’ve read the book, you know how powerful the story is. If you haven’t, you should.
For some reason, I never had to read this as a student. I really wish I had. As an adult I can appreciate it as I look back on my teen years and identify areas of my life that related to this, but it would have been a great one to make some connections to while I was dealing with high school.
Three Weeks Left To Shop For CHRISTMAS!!!
Want to buy a book or two for a teenager in your life that they’ll actually want to read? Picking books for others can be a bit intimidating… but lucky for you, it’s one of my favorite things to do! So, I’m giving you a holiday gift buying guide for YA Literature. Below you’ll see categories, book recs within them, and links to buy (I’m linking to Amazon this time, but shop around for the best prices, or just head into your local bookstore). Also, I’ve linked to previous blog posts for books I’ve already recommended for more information.