Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bits and thoughts about books

It's been a while since I talked about great length about books. Perish the thought! I haven't read anything earth-shattering in the past few months, so here are some short thoughts and notes.

I finally read Delirium, and I was kind of underwhelmed. Part of the problem was that the dystopian setting is all too familiar at this point, and another was that I couldn't get how society would make such a drastic and radical change. A lot of people hate prologues, but I think this is one book where a view of the tipping point would have served the story well. But the real issue for me about sympathy with the main character. For the first half of the novel, Lena has thoughts about love that are, in her world, completely understandable. But we as the readers know her reasoning is completely flawed and incorrect. Even though Lauren Oliver does a good job of showing why Lena would think this way, I was missing a connection to Lena and her views that would allow me to sympathize with her more completely. I'm not explaining it well, but there you go.

Should I read the other two books in the series, or just look up the plot on Wikipedia?

E. Lockhart is my new favorite teen contemporary author. I loved The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and The Boyfriend List. Her characters feel more like real teenagers than most books (painfully and hilariously so), and her plots are far from ordinary. See? Frankie Landau-Banks was nominated for the National Book Award AND the Printz Award. (I've done very well reading books recommended by those awards; it's how I discovered E. Lockhart (and John Green said she was one of his favorites)).

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club.
Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.
Frankie Laundau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.
Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.
Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

Speaking of John Green, I just noticed that The Fault in Our Stars has 11,000 reviews. With an average of 4.8 stars. Wow. I mean, if you're looking for any evidence that you should read a book, there you go.   

Did you know that advanced mathematics could make the basis for an awesome, creepy middle grade/YA novel? Me neither. But it worked. And now I know what vampire numbers are.

Another recent read. The characters and the concept wasn't particularly new. But this book served as a reminder to me that just making your book fun can carry you far. This won't make my top ten list at the end of the year, I'm so in for the sequel. And the inevitable movie adaptation. 

Speaking of movies, there were two big YA trailers released this week: Maze Runner and The Giver. Both trailers look amazing, though I'm not 100 percent sure about the free bonus romance they've added into The Giver. I'll probably still go see both, because Dylan O'Brien and Meryl Streep, respectively.

I am not, however, planning to go see Divergent. Mostly because I'm still bitter about the third book (all of it, not just the ending), but also because it only has a 35 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. What a shame that the filmmakers apparently screwed it up so much. It had such great potential for a movie, my personal bitterness aside. Blargh.

Ack, I almost forgot about this book!
 Despite the fact that it slipped my mind (which I blame on my long, long work day today), this was one of my favorite recent reads. Anyone here who loves romantic YA definitely needs to read this (looking at you, Melanie and Sheena). I wish I'd known when I read it that it was a one-off rather than the start of a trilogy (there are two other books the authors are planning, but they're going to be about different characters). 

Upcoming reads:

Because I keep hearing good things                            Because Sheena loved it.
about Bacigalupi. 

Because that cover. Wow. Also, the Book Smugglers gave it a 9, which is super rare, so I'm sold. 

This book looks at Frankie Landau-               Won a paltry one award, but it 
Banks' two  awards and scoffs.                  was the Nebula. Also, it happened   
 The Book Smugglers gave it a 10,               to be sitting visibly on the shelf 
which I think they've done to a grand            at the library, so I decided to 
total of a dozen or so books in the              give it a try.
history of their blog.

In closing, I would like you to know that this is a real thing. 

Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one. It’s not as if she had much choice. Her parents were trying to eat her.

Now it is 1894.
In the wake of her trial, Lizzie has changed her name to “Lizbeth Andrew,” and she’s bought a house on the other side of her oceanfront hometown—a sprawling Victorian mansion called Maplecroft. Her inherited fortune has been invested in a terrific library and laboratory, installed in Maplecroft’s basement; and from this center of operations she observes and researches the supernatural foe that so hideously transformed her parents.
Someone has to. And no one else even suspects what’s truly happening. No one knows that just offshore lurks an ancient god, starved for blood. Its agents are masked, and eager to kill. They are ready to invade.
But one woman stands guard on the shore between the ocean and Fall River. She has seen the dark forces of the Atlantic firsthand, and she has no illusions. Every night she hears the tide bring messages of madness, apocalypse, and monsters.
And she is ready to meet them all. With an axe.



  1. The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks is my favorite favorite feminist YA book ever. Plus it has Wodehouse. How can one book be so awesome? (Connie, I mention the Wodehouse, just in case you happen to read this comment.) This book makes me so happy.

    I've heard of almost all of these books, but have read very few. I'm adding several of them to my list, but not Maplecroft. I read two chapters of Pride and Prejudice with Zombies, and that was enough Zombified classics to last me a lifetime.

  2. Anna Dressed in Blood is also on my TBR list because of Sheena. :)


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