Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sister Wife-- Shelley Hrdlitschka

Imagine that it's your 15th birthday. Will you celebrate with your friends? Your sisters? Your mothers?

For most girls, turning 15 is a celebration, but not for Celeste. Celeste was born into Unity, a conservative, reclusive, polygamist society. At 15, she is old enough to marry. Recently, Celeste has been questioning everything she's been taught, and has been sneaking kisses with Jon by the river. This is strictly forbidden by the Prophet, and to make sure she is securely put in her place, she is married to a man old enough to be her father... the man who happens to be the father of her lover.

Sister Wife is a tale of religious fundamentalism, polygamy, and hard choices. I wish the author would have written more about what it was like living in that society, what it's like to have multiple mothers and sister wives, etc. Mostly we just get Celeste's mental conflicts and some other side stories told by two of her sisters. It was interesting, but anyone who wants a realistic portrayal of what it might be like to live in such a society should look to a different book. Fans of The Patron Saint of Butterflies, and The Chosen One will like this book.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pretty Dead-- Francesca Lia Block

First two confessions:

1. I passionately loved the Weetzie Bat books, therefore I will always be biased when it comes to Francesca Lia Block.

2. I also love sparkly glittery things, rainbows, fantastical creatures, phenomenal love, and blurred reality.

So, it's hard for me to be totally neutral when reviewing a book by said author. Still, I've read millions (hyperbole? You decide.) of vampire books over the past few years and this one stand out from the crowd. First and foremost it's the love story of Charlotte and William, Jared and Emily... and in typical Block fashion the lines of love are all smeared about. Charlotte the vampire befriends fragile-human, beautiful Emily. Their friendship is deeper than any love Charlotte has ever know, even more how much she originally loved William, her maker. But as often happens, tragedy strikes, and Charlotte finds out that she can feel again for the first time since she was changed. The more pain she feels, the more human she becomes. And just when she learns to love again, trickery and deception threaten to take away all she has gained.

Basically, Block weaves a unique twist to the typical vampire romance, and I think teen girls will really like it. She writes poetically, but her style is still accessible. Also, her books tend to be very short, which can also be a perk depending on the teen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Almost Perfect-- Brian Katcher

Logan is an average guy living in a tiny town in middle America. He is trudging through his senior year of high school, trying to get over his ex-girlfriend, and thinking about the day he can move out of the trailer he shares with his mother.

When Sage shows up, everyone in Logan's high school notices. Sage loves colorful, homemade clothing, is taller than the average girl, and is distinctly feminine in a way Logan isn't used to. Although he is still wrestling with his feelings about his ex, Logan is totally sucked in by Sage's charisma, and develops true feelings for her. Although Sage is super flirty with him, when Logan tries to kiss her or hold her hand in public, she pulls away. Finally, after the hot-and-cold games start to drive both of them insane, Sage confesses a secret that changes the way Logan looks at the world forever: Although Sage identifies as, and is a totally convincing girl, she was born with boy parts and is still biologically male.

As a person who grew up in the Midwest, I know how deeply conservative thought can run. When generations of families have a singular perspective and then someone rocks the boat, that person is usually persecuted in some way. In Almost Perfect, I feel that Brian Katcher successfully captures what it would feel like to be Logan... a small town kid who doesn't even know a single gay person (so he thinks...) all of a sudden hooked up with a transgendered person... this is a big deal. Logan's voice and character are not extremely compelling, but his character almost works as a canvas onto which Sage's story is painted. There is nothing gratuitous in this book, and it could be recommended to younger teens in addition to older teens. Fans of Julie Anne Peter's Luna will enjoy this book.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Swoon-- Nina Malkin

Oh, my poor neglected blog. I've been trapped in this terrible blackhole-timewarp called overworked and too much on my plate. But I did finally find time to read something!

Swoon is a Connecticut town where Dice and her cousin Pen live. Always the daredevil, Pen climbs to the top of a tree and falls... and in the moment when she should have died, a spirit came into her body. Because Dice is clairvoyant, she is able to communicate with that spirit and knows it's Sinclair Youngblood, a man who died in the late 1700s and has revenge on the mind. Sin creates chaos wherever he goes and is bent on destroying the family line responsible for the horrific deeds from his time period. And, even though he is no good AND inhabiting a body that's not really his own, Dice can't help but to fall in love with him...

It's easy to lump this book into the paranormal romance category, and I would easily recommend it to girls who are fans of Twilight, Blue Bloods, and Beautiful Creatures. However, I appreciated Dice's confidence and sass, and even though she makes decisions that make me cringe, she at least has a mind of her own. Personally, I couldn't stand Sin's character, but I think his Edward-esque qualities will appeal to teen girls who heart the paranormal romance genre.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


So in December I posted about the book Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I compared it to Twilight because of the highly unsettling stalker-dude twisted love storyishness about it...

Well, I was browsing through earlier (don't judge me) and saw this ad on the sidebar:
Guess the marketing team thought it was just like twilight too.