Thursday, May 20, 2010

Book Review: Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

Reality Check Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cody is almost 17. He is the quarterback on his high school football team, has a great girlfriend, and a wonderful summer job making more than minimum wage. For Cody, life is good, until his girlfriend Clea tells him she will be going to boarding school the following year, and at that point everything seems to fall apart. Cody breaks up with Clea, wreaks his knee and his football season, and then gives up on school. Just when things seem the worst, Cody finds out that Clea has disappeared from her New England boarding school, and no one can find her. Taking matters into his own hands, Cody travel across country and dives into the search for the one girl he loves.

Cody is a well developed and likable character whose relationship with his father is tenuous at best. He loves Clea, a fact you can see from the first pages of this book. You want to cheer for Cody’s persistence and his desire to find Clea.

Peter Abrahams is a master storyteller. Although a bit predictable at times, I did find this mystery to be gripping and engaging. You don’t want to put it down and are anxious to find out what happens. I think teens will like Cody and want to know what happens to him.
Cautions for sensitive readers: Some sex is mentioned in the text, but nothing is explicitly described—in fact I would say the book is very modest about the sexual relationship aspects. There is some strong language present that could offend sensitive readers, but it is used cautiously, and not that often. Violence is present in the text.

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Parents In Teen Lit: Why are they all so bad?

You hear a lot of complaints these days about the absentee parents in YA lit.  Not a new trend if you consider the theme of orphans in literature, but something that has good parents all riled up.  As a parent myself, I will do everything in my power to make sure my son stays out of the situations that so many teen characters in today's lit find themselves in, but would there still be a story if the parents were hovering over their children in the stories?  Would Grace in Shiver have been able to sneak Sam into her room if her parents did a bed check every night like my husband and I do (okay, my son is two so I am off the hook--for now)?

Sometimes it is the lack of parental supervision that lets the teens in these stories have the adventures they do.  Why am I bringing up this topic now?  Because Maggie Stiefvater (author of Shiver and the soon to be published sequel Linger) in her blog, The World According to Maggie, shares her opinion of this trend in YA lit.  I found it interesting to see an author's point of view and it gives us something to think about.  (Believe me, I have complained about the trend to, but I always have to ask myself, would there be a story if the teen had good, dutiful, parents?)  Check it out!

Maggie's Inflammatory Blog Post About Parents in Books 

What is your opinion of parents in YA books?  How do you feel about what Maggie says in her posts.  Just something to think about.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Linger Trailer by Maggie Stiefvater (Sequel to Shiver)

Did you love Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver?  Can't wait to find out more about the sequel Linger?  Well here is a booktrailer from the author herself!  Enjoy!  Linger comes out July 20th!  Place your hold on it today by clicking here:  Request Linger

Monday, May 10, 2010

Book Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Fallen (Fallen, #1) Fallen by Lauren Kate

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lucinda Price has seen shadows her entire life, dark twisting blackness that leaves disaster in its wake. It is because of the shadows that she is forced to go to Sword & Cross reform school, because she can’t remember exactly what happened to Trevor the night the shadows came. Now she finds herself living at Sword & Cross, with other “troubled” teens. It is there, at Sword & Cross, where she first sees him, a boy her own age who looks so startlingly familiar, Daniel. As she tries to get closer to Daniel, to discover how she knows him, the shadows too are moving closer to Luce and the people she cares for.

Fallen, from the very beginning, is both intriguing and enticing. It grabs you from the first page and propels you into an ages old struggle between good and evil. At each haunting turn you never know where this story will take you. It keeps you on the edge of your seat as the story progresses. Fallen is both romantic and intriguing. The ending left the reader wanting more, which leaves the door open for sequels. Torment the next installment is due out September 28, 2010 in the US. I will probably pick up the sequel since I enjoyed Fallen so much.

While I would classify this as paranormal romance, I think fans of the genre may find it a little lacking on the romance side. You feel the attraction between the characters, like you do in Twilight and maybe even Linger but unlike those, sometimes the relationship between the characters leaves you cold. You don’t see it; you don’t really feel it. If you are looking for the hot attraction you see in those books, you might what to try something else, because it just isn’t here in Fallen

The audio book is read by Justine Eyre who does an excellent job narrating the story. Her narration is the picture of clarity and is spot on for Luce and her schoolmates. The running time for the audio is just short of 11 hours and consists of 9 compact discs if listening on CD. It was the audio that propelled me through the tough, slow spots, and is an excellent way to enjoy this book.

Cautions for sensitive readers: Mild language and some violence are present in the novel. Mild kissing, but no sex.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Book Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan (Leviathan, #1) Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In an instant, Prince Alek’s life changes forever. His father Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his mother are assassinated while visiting Serbia. On the run with a few of his father’s most trusted men, Alek seeks to escape from those who would kill him or make him a pawn.

Dylan Sharp, a young Midshipman aboard the Leviathan is more than he appears to be. Dylan is actually Deryn, a girl who longed to fly who disguises herself as a boy in order to enlist in the navy. When the Leviathan is attacked by the Germans and forced to crash land in Switzerland, Deryn meets a most unusual young Austrian who may or may not be her enemy.

In a world where Darwinist creations such as the whale of the Leviathan roam the skies, and Clanker machines walk on two, four, six, or even eight legs, you never know what will happen next.

Westerfeld refers to this book as being steampunk, a mixture of history, and science fiction. Where advanced technology may appear in an historical era. That is indeed the best description of what this novel is. It takes place right at the start of World War I, after the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife.

While the book was action packed, it did take a while to get used to the world Westerfeld has created. The book has interesting drawings to accompany the text which is helpful in visualizing the world Westerfeld created.

An audio version of this book is available in the teen book section.  The audio is well done and very engaging.  The only downside to listening to the audio is that you miss out on the interesting (and sometimes helpful) illustration that pepper the text.  The illustrations help the reader visualize the machines, but even this did not detract from the quality and interest of the audio.

Overall, I felt this was an fascinating book, but I found the ending a bit abrupt.  Since this is the first book in a series, I am anxious to see how this story will end. In some ways it reminded me of Eoin Colfer’s Airman, a book I also enjoyed. I just wish I had gotten more of a concrete ending to this book. I will pick up the next though, since I have to know what happens next.

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