17 & 18 Get Graphic

Posted on April 1, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

It just so happens that my next two books are both graphic novels! Now, my personal graphic novel experience has been limited to the Buffy series, but these two are definitely ones I was glad to try. They are both in the top ten of the 2013 Great Graphic Novels.

The Silence of Our Friends cover artThe Silence of Our Friends is a true story (a few details are changed) about the TSU Five trial and the events leading up to it. Mark Long’s father, Jack, is the news cameraman in the story who really wants to do the right thing and cover the race issue in Houston like it should be covered. He’s not scared  to speak up for his black neighbors, but it’s a volatile time. I think the fact that the story is mostly true (and Long covers the actual events in an Author’s Note at the end), makes it that much more powerful. I can’t forget to mention the artwork. The art makes this story. Without the visual, it doesn’t have the same impact.

Trinity cover artTrinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb is very well put-together. I can definitely see the appeal. The information is presented in such a way that teens may find it easier to understand the concepts, and Fetter-Vorm does especially a good job of explaining the science behind the atomic bomb.

Personally, this isn’t a book I would choose to read casually, but I’m not a big nonfiction reader. I wouldn’t really recommend it as a reference source for someone writing a report, but for someone who is interested in the subject or is having a hard time understanding how things happened, I would absolutely give them this book.

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Books 14, 15, & 16

Posted on March 25, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Do I stay in order of when I read these, or do I go in order of the ones I liked most to least? I finished Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, and Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg. No, I’ll go in order of what I read first so I can get my rant out of the way. (more…)

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Book 13 (Where I Gush About Tamora Pierce)

Posted on March 17, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

A long, long time ago, when I was in middle school, I was introduced to Tamora Pierce in the form of her Circle of Magic quartet. I remember that I actually started with Tris’s Book because Tris had red hair and wore glasses, like yours truly. I loved it so much that I started over from the beginning, and I made sure to read every book Tamora Pierce has written since. (more…)

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Books 11 & 12

Posted on March 13, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I actually have a reason for putting these books together in the same blog post. They are both Alex Award winners, books written for adults that are deemed to have an appeal to teens. Both of these, I feel, completely fail in having appeal to teens as anything but historical fiction. (more…)

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Books 9 & 10

Posted on March 8, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Two more books this week. One was a struggle. One I would really  like to see a sequel. (more…)

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Books 6, 7, & 8

Posted on February 27, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

So I was lazy, and when I finished Boy21 last week, I never posted. Since then, I’ve also finished The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which took me up until the day before yesterday, and The Night She Disappeared, which I started and finished yesterday (partly because it’s short, and partly because it’s really good). (more…)

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Book 5 Finished

Posted on February 19, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Cover art for Enchanted

When I was a kid, I read all of the really scary fairy tales where people’s eyes were pecked out, or they cut off their own toes. (And people talk about modern YA being dark!)

Enchanted by Alathea Kontis doesn’t have any of that, though it does have an evil fairy godmother. It starts off as a sweet retelling of The Frog Prince, and then things get complicated. It’s as if all of the fairy tales we know and love all happened to the same family. Sunday Woodcutter, the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, is doomed to a happy life (she’d rather have an interesting one). Her elder sisters, those still living, each have their own gifts, and hers is that anything she writes will come true. This means she can only write about the past, and no one wants to listen to her stories until she meets a frog named Grumble. They become fast friends, and Grumble, who is falling in love with Sunday, asks for a kiss each time she leaves. Sunday obliges, and the day that she is truly in love with him is the day the spell is broken. Too bad she’s not there to see it happen.

Sunday’s older brother is the infamous Jack (of all of the Jack tales), and he’s presumed dead. It’s her adopted brother Trix who trades the cow for magic beans which become the beanstalk. There’s references to Rapunzel, Princess and the Pea, Cinderella, and I can’t remember all of them, but they come off as tongue-in-cheek rather than contrived. Some might be bothered by the insta-love between Sunday and the prince, but that just made it seem more like a modern fairy tale to me.

Read Enchanted, named one of the top ten 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults, if you like Robin McKinley and Shannon Hale’s fairy tale retellings.

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Book 4!

Posted on February 16, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , |

Cover art for Struts and Frets

It’s been a few days since I finished this book, which was in the top ten for the 2013 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. Unfortunately, I got distracted and perturbed by library-haters, so I’m just now getting to my review.

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Book #3 Complete (Finally!)

Posted on February 13, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , |

Cover art for DodgerDodger is a right tosher, which just means he travels the sewers of Victorian London looking for anything of value. One rainy night, he emerges to find a beaten girl trying to escape her captors and comes to her rescue. This is how he comes to meet Charles Dickens (that’s right), a reporter for the Morning Chronicle and Henry Mayhew, co-founder of the satire magazine Punch and activist for the poor. Mayhew and his wife take the girl into their home to recover, and Dodger, being a good sort (and already falling for this girl), is determined to bring her captors to justice — or at least for a ride on the Thames without a boat. This girl isn’t just anyone, though, and Dodger finds himself emerging from the stews and into London’s poshest neighborhoods to keep the girl safe.

I really like the plot of Dodger, but the book is so character-driven that I often felt like the story was coming to a standstill. Pratchett does a lot of world-building, though he admits in a note at the end that he took some liberties with history to make it all fit. Dodger comes into contact with the historical figures of Dickens and Mayhew, but also Sweeney Todd (fictional), Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts (real), and Sir Robert Peel (real and also helped create the modern police force). A lot of detail is given about life in Seven Dials and the ins and outs of being the lowest of the classes. The language adds to the authenticity. All of this detail immerses you in Victorian London, but like I said, I was often wondering when the mystery of the girl would pick back up, and I ended up skimming quite a few pages.

I would recommend this to people who like to be immersed in history. If you’re looking for a mystery, though, I would steer you elsewhere.

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Book 2 Complete!

Posted on February 8, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , |

Cover art for Wonder Show

I’m having a hard time describing Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby. I’ll start with what it’s about. Portia Remini was nine when her father left her with her Aunt Sophia (and even younger when her mother took off). Portia wasn’t a particularly easy child, and Aunt Sophia had no patience for a headstrong girl who constantly made up stories, so at the age of thirteen, Portia was sent to the McGreavey Home for Wayward Girls, run by a man known only as Mister, who believed that the girls were there to be his own labor force. After all, none of their families were ever coming back. Portia, as always, maintains faith that her father will find her, but she soon realizes that she can’t stay at the Home. Remembering how her father loved the circus and learning that there was one passing through, Portia literally runs off to join the circus. She ends up with the Wonder Show, a sideshow group traveling with the circus, and they become her family.

Wonder Show is written in a very nontraditional style. Chapters go back and forth from first person, Portia, to third person, to first person, a different character. It makes for a constant readjustment, especially with short chapters, that might not be for every reader. For me, it made for a very quick, enjoyable read.

Wonder Show is a 2013 William C. Morris YA Debut Award finalist, edged out by Seraphina. I can’t think of anything I’ve read that’s been quite like this book.

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