Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Blast of Books!

So the past two weeks have included several hours of flying to two different destinations... which means I had a lot of time to read! I thought I would try something new and write a brief blurb about each book, rather than an extended entry like I usually do... this way I can touch on all the things I read.

Willow-- Julia Hoban

One night Willow's parents, internationally famous anthropologists, drank too much wine at dinner. They asked their teenage daughter, Willow, to drive them home from dinner. Willow lost control of the vehicle and they both died. Willow survived, but is completely emotionally destroyed by the accident. The only way she feels alive and safe is through cutting, that is until an exceptional boy comes along. Perfect for fans of Cut.

My opinion: bleck on the knight in shining armor thing, also it's a bit awkwardly written. However, I know teen girls will eat this one up.

The Compound-- S.A. Bodeen

The Compound is a near-futuristic sci-fi tome that is told from the perspective of 15 year old Eli. He and his family have been living underground in an extraordinary bomb shelter after his billionaire computer genius dad (think Bill Gates) gets word of nuclear attack and rushes his family to the compound he had the foresight to build. Perfect for fans of Life as We Knew It, and even The Host.

My Opinion: Great for both boys and girls. It's definitely a page-turner, but at the end I was left wanting more (could be a good thing?). I could tell this is the authors first novel; she could work on her craft a bit, but it was an enjoyable first book.

Karma for Beginners-- Jessica Blank (no released cover yet)

Tessa's mom is one of those wandering types who bounces from town to town looking for meaning and inspiration-- mostly through men. When she moves them to an ashram in the Catskills and becomes deeply involved with the Guru, Tessa is left on her own. She meets a boy who introduces her to all forms of debaucherous escapism, and tries to find her own meaning for existence before she gets carried away by the desires of others. Fans of Patron Saint of Butterflies, and maybe Outside Beauty might like this book.

My Opinion: Meh. Not terrible, not great. I don't see this particular book being very popular with it's intended audience.

Secrets of Truth and Beauty-- Megan Frazer

This is Dara
's story. She was once a child beauty pageant princess, but has grown into adolescence as a pretty but quite overweight teen. After a tragic (in that petty highschool way) incident, and a complete lack of compassion from her parents, Dara travels to find her long lost lesbian sister, who is shunned by the family and lives on a goat farm. This is a story of self-discovery, overcoming life's challenges, and beauty in all forms.

My Opinion: There are a lot of stories about the overweight teen girl finding her voice and confidence these days. See an older post with a list for more. Still, I did find this fairly original and I think girls will like it. Thankfully the ending wasn't toooo schmaltzy.

Girl in the Arena--
Lise Haines

Lyn is the daughter of seven gladiators... kindof. Lyn's family is a part of the Neo-Gladiator culture, and her mother has watched seven of her husbands, therefore seven of Lyn's fathers, be killed in the arena. After the seventh man dies, and Lyn's mother severely falls apart, it's up to Lyn to pull them through. Ceasar's inc, the corporation that runs the Neo-Glads, is corrupt and putting everything Lyn holds dear on the line for money and publicity. When it comes to fighting to the death to save her family, Lyn feels prepared to do so... unless her techie best friend can come up with a way to save her.

My Opinion: I li
ked this book. I won't rave and wax poetic about it ala Hunger Games, but it was good. Not perfectly written, but I predict this will be very popular with teens. It's a teeny bit sci-fi, but mostly realistic fiction. Although the main character is female, I think both boys and girls will enjoy it.

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