Libri Dilectio: June 2010

28 June 2010

Book Review: Ivy and Bean

Ivy and Bean, Annie Barrows
(Gr 2-4)
Chronicle Books May 2007. Reviewed from library book.

Bean lives across the street from Ivy, but doesn’t ever want to be her friend. Ivy is boring. She spends all her time quietly reading books, never getting into trouble, and never having any fun – or so Bean thinks. Then, one day, Bean needs help after trying to play a joke on her older sister and Ivy proves to be not only a great partner in crime, but a great friend as well.

This is a really sweet series about two little girls having regular little girl adventures. They both think, act, and talk like a little girl should. I loved it. Frankly, both girls reminded me of myself and my elementary school friends. Which is probably precisely the point.

I started flipping through this at work and a 3rd grader came over to me and asked what I was reading. I showed her the book, book talked what little I knew of it (having not actually read it at that point) and then proceeded to have it stolen away in the best way possible! You know a book is good when you have to go searching for a second copy like that.

That whole interaction really cemented something for me that I already knew, but hadn’t actually experienced before. Kids need to be led by example. If they see you reading something, or checking something out, or even just idly flipping through it, they are going to be that much more interested in it. I have always tried to make reader’s advisory personal by recommending books that I’ve read and enjoyed, but it seems like I can make it even more interactive. I can let kids see me browsing and strike up conversations with them, not as a librarian, but as a fellow reader. I’m not saying that they’ll forget I’m a librarian, but it might be a fun way to sneak in some reader’s advisory in a less professional style.

In short, this is a sweet, simple story and a very easy sell to girls looking for something to read. Just watch out, because they’ll snatch it right out of your hands. And you’ll love it.

24 June 2010

Take Two Review: A Wrinkle in Time

Every once in awhile I like to re-read the books that I loved when I was younger – my second opinion is a Take Two Review.
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
(Gr 6-8)
Square Fish May 2007. Reviewed from library book.

Margaret, Meg, Murray is a little bit of a shambles, or so she thinks. She’s always getting into trouble at school, doesn’t really have any friends, and thinks she’s about as plain as a person can be. Until the night when a stranger crashes into her home and sparks the adventure of a lifetime. Mrs. Whatsit, along with her companions Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, take Meg, her younger brother Charles Wallace, and friend Calvin on a journey across time and space to save Meg and Charles’ father from an unspeakable evil. Along the way Meg will learn to appreciate herself for who she is and to start to view her faults as the strengths they really are.

As a children’s librarian, I don’t think it would surprise anyone if I said that this is one of my all time favorite books. Loving this book is practically a pre-requisite for the job! I will say that I hated it at first. The plot was just too much for my seven year old mind to wrap around.

My mother gave me this book when I was in elementary school and staying home sick. It was one of her favorites when she was a child, so she was excited to share it with me. However, the whole idea of “tesseract” was too much for me. I remember starting the book over and over and always stopping when I got to the explanation of tessering. The fact that it actually had a diagram to help get the point across completely baffled me. As a result, the opening scene in the kitchen between Meg, Charles Wallace, Mrs. Murry, and Mrs. Whatsit is one of the most vivid and permanently ingrained in my imagination of any book ever. I have read and re-read that scene more times than any other ever, and, eventually, I did make it past the beginning and into the meat of the story.

Madeleine L’Engle is the type of author who doesn’t write down to children at all. The fact that I, a lifelong obsessive reader, had to struggle to find my footing in her novel is very telling. This is the type of story that children have to come to on their own. Some will be ready for it much younger than others, but I do think that most kids will love it, whenever they feel ready for it. For the record, I officially actually read this book in 4th grade after starting and stopping it periodically from 2nd grade on.

This is the type of story that I get excited to recommend to kids. I’ve booktalked it, frequently pass it along on the reference desk, and fully plan on giving it to my own children someday. Although, lately, it’s been met with a whole new sort of enthusiasm. After the popularity of Rebecca Stead’s Newbery winning book When You Reach Me, A Wrinkle in Time is MUCH easier to booktalk. Now I can just say, “This is Miranda’s favorite book” and the kids practically snatch it from my hands!

I thought I’d end this post with a quick thought on the many, many book covers this story has worn. Frankly, my favorite is the current paperback cover. It’s enigmatic and timeless. There’s nothing off putting in this cover. Some of the older ones look older and make some kids a little wary. For instance, it’d be pretty hard to sell the cover of my copy to kids! Especially, boys, but I do love it, if only for the sentimentality of it. What you can’t see in this image is that the sides of the cover are HOT pink. Also, the illustration of Mrs. Whatsit is pretty girly. At least the new covers are unisex.

In the end, no matter the age of the reader or the style of the cover, this is one of the best books for children ever and I doubt anyone would disagree with that. I fully plan on reading the rest of the series, which, for some reason, I never read as a child. I’m excited to go on more adventures with the Murrays and hope that I like them as much!

23 June 2010

Blogoversary Contest

In honor of my first blogoversary, I thought I’d give some of you presents! I’ve pulled together some books that I hope a lot of you are interested in and haven’t read yet! Here’s what’s up for grabs.


Beryl: A Pig’s Tale, Jane Simmons (ARC)
Nomansland, Lesley Hauge (ARC)
Once Was Lost, Sara Zarr (ARC)
School of Fear, Gitty Daneshvari (ARC)
Once a Witch, Carolyn MacCullough (ARC)
Freaks and Revelations, Davida Wills Hurwin (ARC)
Blue Plate Special, Michelle D. Kwasney (ARC)
There will be 2 winners. The first will get to choose four books from the pile and the second will get the three remaining titles. This contest is open to US residents ages 12 and up only. The contest will end on Wednesday, June 30th.

22 June 2010

Happy Blogoversary to ME!

Libri Dilectio is one year old today! Hooray! Here’s a look back at my first year of blogging and all the fun I’ve had!
22 June 2009 – I made my very first blog post! I remember being super excited and also a little bit nervous that people might actually read it!
Also on 22 June 2009 – I reviewed my first book, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. I read it in one sitting and it was a great novel to start off my blog with. It really got under my skin and stayed with me.
7 July 2009 – I got my first comment on my review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. This might seem like a silly thing to mention, but it totally made my day at the time. I couldn’t believe that anyone would read what I was posting!
11 July 2009 – I went to my first ALA Annual Conference and I posted about it the next day! I was completely overwhelmed by the experience and hope to be able to go again some day.
21 July 2009 – I reviewed my first ARC, Clash of the Demons by Joseph Delaney! Wow, it was beyond cool to be able to read a book from one of my favorite series before it was published!
5 September 2009 – I made my first Fanfare Friday post for Here Come the ABCs by They Might be Giants. I’ve done this periodically since then to highlight music for children!
Those are my big blog milestones and here are some other fun stats from the past year!
Books Read: 124 (my goal for this year is 150)
Posts: 187 (hope to do more than that this year!)
Favorite Book Read: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E Lockhart
Book Challenges: The Harry Potter Reading Challenge, The Georgia Nicolson Reading Challenge, The 48 Hour Book Challenge, and my own challenge to myself, a Fairy Tale Challenge (which I didn’t get very far with, but am still working on).
Check back later in the week, because I’ll be having a contest to thank all you awesome people who have read this blog for the past year! I am so grateful to you for your time, your comments, your book recommendations, your help, and your friendship! THANK YOU!

Book Review: Sisters Red

Sisters Red, Jackson Pearce
(Gr 7-10)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers June 2010. Reviewed from library book.

Scarlett and Rosie March have lived alone since the day their Grandmother was attacked and killed by a man who was not what he seemed. The stranger looked normal, but turned out to be a fenris, a man who becomes a wolf. Now Scarlett, who was horribly scarred in the attack, has made it her life’s mission to hunt and kill fenris. Her younger sister, Rosie, is a hunter as well, but wants more from life than just stalking and killing. She wants to see the world, experience new things and fall in love. The March sisters don’t hunt alone though, Scarlett’s hunting partner, Silas, is there to take out just as many monsters as the girls. And he’s starting to look like a lot more than a friend to one of them.

This book was fun, with lots of action, romance, and a great sisterly relationship. Scarlett and Rosie were the sort of characters that a reader feels attached to right away and that makes the story easier to get into. Although, as far as characters go, I never really got a feel for Silas. He was just sort of there. I wanted to like him because Scarlett and Rosie did so much, but I never really felt anything for him at all. I certainly didn’t dislike him, I just didn’t care.

The fenris are an interesting take on werewolves. They change when they are hungry, angry, or aroused and prey solely on young, attractive females. The longer they’ve been fenris, the less human they are, even when technically in their human state. When they transform, they are truly disgusting creatures. Their fur is greasy and matted, and they smell awful. They are not moral gray areas, they are monsters without souls and without pity. Sometimes it’s nice to read a story that has 100% evil monsters. I didn’t have to feel anything for them or look for the humanity. I just wanted Scarlett to skewer them.

The plot was, overall, really fun. It lagged a little bit for me in the middle and I did figure out the big moment way before it happened, but I didn’t mind. This is an enjoyable story that I would definitely recommend to teenage girls. It’s certainly unique, as it’s a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, which, as far as I know, is a largely un-retold fairy tale. Pick this up if you’re looking for some light reading this summer!

16 June 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Reckless

Waiting on Wednesday is masterminded by Breaking the Spine. Check out her blog for more upcoming releases that bloggers are waiting patiently for.

 Coming 14 September 2010
Reckless, Cornelia Funke

Description from Amazon:
“For years, Jacob Reckless has been escaping to another world–a world behind the mirror, where witches haunt the forests and fairies and dwarfs roam. A world for treasure hunts and magnificent quests–but also a world locked in a deadly war.

Jacob’s secret seems safe, until one day his younger brother Will follows him, to disastrous consequence. Faced with a curse that is quickly turning Will to stone, the Reckless brothers are thrust into a race against time to find a cure before one of them is lost forever.

Inspired by the Brothers Grimm, master storyteller Cornelia Funke introduces a lush, enchanting landscape of fairy tales and legends re-imagined as never before. Reckless is a thrilling adventure and a tale of heroism, filled with danger, mystery, and above all, magic.”

This story sounds really fun! I can’t wait to read about Jacob and Will’s adventures. School Library Journal recently featured the book in an article that said, “Funke says she learned from her “Inkheart” series that children’s books don’t need children heroes. That’s why in Reckless Jacob ages from 12 in the first chapter to 23 in the second, she explains.” A children’s book with an adult main character is incredible intriguing for me! Can’t wait for September!

15 June 2010

Book Review: Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska, John Green
(Gr 9+)
Dutton Juvenile March 2005. Purchased copy.

Miles (Pudge) Halter has spent the last 16 years being a nobody in Florida. He has school friends, but no one who he’s really close to. He decides that the best way to really change his life is to go to boarding school in search of the “Great Perhaps.” His roommate, Chip, becomes his first real friend and through Chip he meets Alaska Young, the living embodiment of a “Great Perhaps.” She and Chip introduce Pudge to the world of rule breaking, drinking, pranking, and smoking. They also show him what it means to be a friend. Alaska’s mood swings and deep sadness effect the trio’s friendship and keep Pudge from really being able to understand her.

As a fan of John Green (as a person as well as his books) I can’t believe I waited so long to read this one! It was nothing like An Abundance of Katherines or Will Grayson, Will Grayson, but I absolutely adored it. Pudge is such a sweet, believable character. He felt like a friend after only a few pages. I also immediately loved Chip, for all his flaws as well as what a great friend he was to Miles. Alaska was exactly what she was supposed to be, enigmatic. I could never decide if I liked her, loved her, or hated her. Which means she was perfectly written.

The southern setting for this novel was so well realized. I could feel the heat and humidity, I could see the trees surrounding the school. Culver Creek is fully fleshed out in my head. The school itself felt like another main character, helping shape who Miles, Chip and Alaska would become.

The novel is broken up into two parts – before and after. The before is full of first experiences, meetings, and possibilities while the after is devoted to understanding, mystery, and self discovery. It was a wonderful way to follow Miles’ transition. When he first arrives at the Creek, everything seems great to him – the food, the people, the classes, the freedom. He’s constantly amazed, but, in the after, he is finally able to see everything and everyone for what it/they really are. The shine has worn off, but he finds that some things are just as great as he had always thought they were.

This is an amazing story that just about anyone would enjoy. I devoured it and now look forward to reading Paper Towns, which is the last of John Green’s books that I have yet to read. However, I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone younger than high school because some themes wouldn’t make a lot of sense to younger readers.

14 June 2010

Book Review: The Red Pyramid

The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid, Rick Riordan
(Gr 4-7)
Hyperion Book May 2010. Purchased copy.

Carter and Sadie Kane have been raised apart ever since their mother’s tragic death. Carter travels the world with his Egyptologist father while Sadie lives in London with her maternal grandparents. They only see each other one day a year, until the day Dr. Kane takes them to the British Museum and blows up the Rosetta Stone, releasing the Egyptian Gods.

Carter and Sadie find themselves thrown into a world of magic, adventure and danger. Not only are they descended from Egyptian magicians, they are direct descendants of the Egyptian Pharaohs on both sides of their family, the most powerful magicians in thousands of years. They are the only two who can stop the newly released God, Set, who wants to take over the world through Chaos. With the help of a cat Goddess, a basketball loving baboon, and a magician who may or may not be on their side – Carter and Sadie set off to save the world, and their family.

I’m already a big fan of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, so I was excited to read this first book of his new series. It was a little jarring at first to read something that felt so familiar and yet, know nothing about the characters or the story. Do you ever find that starting a new series or book by an author with a distinctive voice is confusing? The Kane Chronicles, while different from Percy Jackson, felt so similar that I had a little trouble not expecting Percy, Annabeth, and Grover to come crashing into the adventure. Once I got used to the story though, I did enjoy it very much.

Before starting this book, I went and saw Rick Riordan at an Anderson’s Bookshop signing. He gave some pretty interesting insight into the story that I thought I’d share. First off, he said that it takes place in the same world as Percy Jackson. That’s why Carter and Sadie’s uncle lives in Brooklyn and not Manhattan, in his own words, “Manhattan has other problems. Other Gods. It’s best we stay separate,” (p. 52). I really like that he didn’t feel like he was wiping the slate clean of his other books and starting over. He was just switching deities and locales.

This is a great book for reluctant readers. Yes, some may balk at the size (528 pages) but the combination of fans of Riordan’s other books and enthusiasm of friends will make most kids want to pick up this weighty adventure. The story itself moves at an almost break neck pace, with the characters traveling from London to New York to Egypt to France to Washington DC and so on in a relatively small number of pages. Sometimes they stay in one place for only a page or two before whisking on to the next adventure. This does make the story a little hard to follow, as does the dual narrators. Carter and Sadie switch off narration, but their is no real difference in their voices. I found myself frequently having to check which sibling was narrating because I could not keep it straight. This might be a grown up problem though, because every kid I’ve talked to about the story has loved it, and had no problems with the rapid location switching or keeping the narrators straight.

Every copy of this one has been out with a line of holds waiting since it hit the shelves in early May. When we went out on our school visits to promote Summer Reading, every class (above 2nd grade or so) had at least one kid who was reading this book. I’m hoping it will spark interest in Ancient Egypt and Egyptian mythology! Riordan said that he plans to release a new Kane Chronicles book every Spring until the series is complete AND a new Heroes of Olympus (his new series set back at Camp Half-Blood) book every Fall! This guy must not sleep! I know the kids at my library (and myself) can’t get enough of his books, so I’m happy that he seems to be so dedicated to churning them out.

11 June 2010

Book Review: Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, Beth Fantaskey
(Gr 9+)
Graphia January 2010. Purchased copy.

Jessica Packwood is a t-shirt wearing, horse loving, mathlete – not exactly a prime candidate for love with a dark, Eastern European stranger. Lucius Vladescu is mysterious, refined, and also, a vampire prince from an ancient Romanian family and Jessica just happens to be his princess. What’s a girl to do when she finds out that the family she was born into were actually vampire royalty and that the family who raised her knew about it all along? Jessica might know a lot of things, but she has no idea how to handle this new identity or the vampire prince who just won’t leave her alone.

A few months ago it seemed like the entire blogosphere was in love with this book. I seriously don’t think I read a single bad review, so, when it came out in paperback I immediately went out and bought a copy. It took me a pretty long time to actually get around to reading it though. When everyone seems to love a book so much it simultaneously makes me excited and wary. Would I be the one person who didn’t devour this book with obsessive gusto? Nope. Definitely not. I can safely say that I am in the majority and that I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Jessica is such a fun character. She’s tough and interesting while still being a little mousy and shy. She’s a really believable teenage girl. I loved how long it took her to believe that Lucius is a vampire. She went through just about every other possibility first, even the really implausible ones. I also loved how much she disliked him! Yes, she can admit that he’s attractive, but beyond that, she pretty much thinks he’s a creep. This made the romance of the story much more palatable. Instead of pining for him, she actively avoids him, before falling madly in love of course.

Lucius was an interesting turn back to more traditional vampires. Although, since he was Romanian, in my head he talked a little bit like the Count from Sesame Street. I like that he wears a lot of black clothes, long flowing coats, and carries himself with the disdain you’d expect from nobility. As a reader, I didn’t like him very much at first either. However, the author lets the reader get to know him and hear his voice through letters to his Uncle back home. We get to see his gradual change from cold, Romanian (vampire) royalty to almost normal American teenage guy.

Beth Fantaskey has completely re-imagined vampire mythology. She seems to have taken all of the traditional mythology and thrown in it a blender with all other pop culture vampires, while still adding a dash of her own imagination. The result is an entirely new vampire story that will satisfy readers clambering for the next blood thirsty romance. Overall, this was an enjoyable story that entertained me and was as satisfying as a large Strawberry Julius (winkwink).

09 June 2010

Book Review: Yellow Star

Yellow Star, Jennifer Roy
(Gr 5-7)
Marshall Cavendish April 2006. Reviewed from library book.

Jennifer Roy’s verse novel tells the story of her Aunt Sylvia’s childhood in the Lodz Ghetto. Sylvia, then called Syvia, was one of only 8 children to emerge from the Ghetto at the time that it was liberated by the Russians. Syvia is four and a half when her family is moved into the Ghetto and ten years old when she finally walks out to freedom. Throughout her time in the Ghetto, she witnesses horrors, loses friends, and must spend years hidden away from the Nazis.

This is a nominee for the 2011 Rebecca Caudill Award and a well deserving one in my mind. I didn’t previously know any stories about the Lodz Ghetto. It was nice to read a Holocaust novel that tackled a new topic for kids. Hopefully lots of young readers, like me, will be compelled to do some research after finishing this novel. The author actually starts the research off for the reader with an excellent author’s note. I always appreciate the chance to delve into a new realm of history, especially through fiction.

Syvia was a wonderful character. The short, verse style of the prose made her feel like a real child. Her thoughts were short, simple, and scattered, while still managing to connect into a coherent narrative. This is how I remember my brain working as a child, well frankly it’s how it still works. The authenticity of her voice made the story more poignant for me as a reader. I also loved her older sister, mother, and father. They were a wonderful family who got each other through some incredibly tough times.

The fact that this is based on a true story made it more interesting to me. It also made it easier to swallow. There are a lot of parts throughout the narrative that I was thinking, “Just how lucky can this family be?!” When all the other children in the Ghetto were being rounded up and deported or people were dying of hunger and sickness, or disappearing off the street, this family managed to stay safe. Maybe not happy or comfortable, but together and safe. This would have felt like a stretch if the novel was entirely fictitious, but since it was based in truth, I was more able to follow the story and not focus on the unbelievable luck Syvia’s family had.

Overall, this was a wonderful story that young readers will be interested in and a great opportunity for further research and discussion!

08 June 2010

Book Review: The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion, Nancy Farmer
(Gr 7-10)

Matteo Alacran  is a clone, but not just any clone. He’s the clone of El Patron, the richest, most powerful, and (possibly) the most evil man in the world. As a clone, Matt is no better than livestock to the other members of the Alacran family. They keep him around, teaching him, and taking care of him on the orders of El Patron. Matt lives in the country of Opium, sandwiched between the United States and Aztlan/Mexico, it is named for the drug that brings the ruling family their wealth. As Matt grows and learns what it means to be human, and whether or not he really is, he finds himself wondering why a man like El Patron would want a clone. What purpose does his life really serve, and what sort of future can he have in a world that views clones as less than human?

This was an amazing, incredible, gut wrenching, awesome book. Seriously, one of the best I’ve read in awhile. I was hooked from the first chapter and couldn’t stop listening (audiobooked this one) to Matt’s story. On an audiobook note, this is a great book to listen to. The reader uses great Spanish pronunciations of the names and places, it made an already vibrant story come alive even more for me.

Matt is a wonderful character. The reader is first introduced to him as just a little boy living in a little house with a woman who loves him, but is not his mother. She tells him to never leave the house, but, as all little boys do, he eventually disobeys her and sets the story in motion. I found myself wondering throughout the story, how much of Matt is really Matt, and how much is just a copy of El Patron. Matt idolizes his maker and tries to model his behavior after him, but ultimately he is a different person. This brings to mind the old dispute of nature vs. nurture. Yes, Matt is a clone, but as a person, he’s grown up much differently than El Patron, and ends up different from him. For instance, Matt has great natural musical skill while El Patron does not. The relationship between the two people who may or may not be the exact same person would be great for discussion with a junior high English class.

Nancy Farmer is the kind of author who writes science fiction that you can really sink your teeth into. She doesn’t baffle you by throwing a whole new world at you right away. She gives it to you in little pieces, like she’s passing out chocolates. Each bit of world building is folded neatly into the rest of the story so that it flows organically into your brain. This made all of the places seem so real and vibrant, I could see the whole story expanding in my imagination like a movie. At one point I turned on the air conditioning in the car (audiobook, remember, I don’t usually read while driving), not so much because it was actually hot, but because the descriptions of the desert were so incredibly real that I needed to cool off a little!

This book was originally recommended to me by a family friend who just happens to be an 8th grader, well I suppose a 9th grader now since school is out. He said that this is his absolute favorite book and was mildly shocked that I hadn’t read it. My favorite recommendations are the ones I get from kids and teens, especially when they turn out to be so good! If you don’t already, try asking the kids around you what they’re reading and what they think you should read. You will probably find something really great!

07 June 2010

48 Hour Book Challenge Finished

Okay, so I am really late getting my final 48 Hour Book Challenge Stats in. The technical difficulties of this morning got in my way!

All told I read for 16.5 hours
Blogged/Social Networked for 3 hours
Read 2.5 Books and part of an audiobook (yes, I was a slow reader this weekend, I’m usually not, hmmm. Maybe the fact that summer reading was starting up made my brain a little mooshy)


Here are the books I was enjoying this weekend!
       – A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
       – By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead, Julie Ann Peters
       – Half of The Red Pyramid, Rick Riordan
       – 5 discs of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, JK Rowling audio

I also found lots of great new blogs to read, interesting people, and books to add to my TBR list! I met my goal for hours and I’m pretty proud of myself since I was out a lot this weekend. Next year, I’ll make sure to have the weekend free and try to get into the 20 hour range!

Great job to everyone who participated! I had a lot of fun!

06 June 2010

Book Review: By The Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead

By The Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead, Julie Anne Peters
(Gr 9+)

Synopsis from Amazon:

“Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she’s determined to get her death right.  She starts visiting a website for “completers”— www.through-the-light .com. 

While she’s on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, uncovering a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten.  When she’s not on the Web, Daelyn’s at her private school, where she’s known as the freak who doesn’t talk.

Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she’s waiting to for her parents to pick her up.  Even though she’s made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won’t give up.  And it’s too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life…isn’t it?”

I’m never sure how to phrase my opinions when talking about books like this. I liked it, but somehow that seems like the wrong thing to say. Can you “like” a book like this? I read it in 2 hours, just dove right in and couldn’t stop. Usually that means that I like a book, but with this one it might have been more of a fascination. Seeing into the mind of a person like Daelyn is such a unique experience, not really about enjoyment, more about a need to understand something different from one’s own experiences, or a need to find something similar.

Bullycide is a new term for me, but it’s been cropping up a lot lately; in the news, in books, in library journals. Why does bullying seem to be on the rise? Was it such a big issue when I was younger? I don’t remember, which means I should probably count myself lucky. Thank goodness there are authors out there like Julie Anne Peters who can take something like bullycide and present it to teenagers. I hope that there are teens out there who find hope in Daelyn’s story, or who see the hurt bullying leads to and adjust their behavior, or reach out to someone they see being bullied. Books like this serve a real purpose and make the reader think.

This book reminded me of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. However, Daelyn’s story had more of a sense of hope to it. In Thirteen Reasons Why, you know from the very beginning that Hannah is dead, but in this book, you can hope that someone will be able to reach Daelyn before it’s too late. Both stories are rife with material for discussion and both serve a purpose. This is a powerful novel that I think many high schoolers should read.

Challenge Update Act 2: 48HBC

First off, congratulations to everyone who is already finished with the 48 Hour Book Challenge! Some of you read a ridiculous amount. I am super impressed. Frankly, I’ll be happy if I get to 15, but it is only my first time around. I didn’t get to read a whole lot yesterday, but so far I’m at exactly 8 hours. Only need 6 more to reach my goal!

The only book I’ve finished is A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle, but I’ve been listening to more of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, JK Rowling and last night I started By the Time You Read This I’ll be Dead, Julie Anne Peters. Yes, I’m still reading The Red Pyramid, Rick Riordan. I wasn’t kidding about being an ADD reader. I’ll seriously read a few chapters of one book, put it down, and immediately start reading another one for a few chapters. Not sure how I keep it all straight, that’s probably why I’m drawn to multiple books in multiple genres! If someone blew up the Rosetta Stone I know that, more than likely, didn’t happen in the realistic fiction title!

My challenge ends tonight at 6:31pm, so no more typing, it’s time for ooodles of reading!

GOOD LUCK to everyone else still going!

05 June 2010

Challenge Update: 48HBC

Okay, so far I’ve read for 3.5 hours total and read blogs for .5. I need to get my rear in gear a little more! Although, I am planning on doing the bulk of my hours on Sunday!

Based on the fact that I’m a little bit of an ADD reader, I might swap over to either Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce or By the Time You Read This I’ll be Dead by Julie Anne Peters. Does anyone else like to have several books going at once? I especially like it if they’re from different genres. It’s fun to read a few chapters of deep dark angst, swap over to some fantasy, and then back for some dark and twisty romance. You know, or something like that!

Okay, back to the books! A little more of The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (which I am liking a lot) and then into one of the two on deck choices!

Hope everyone is having fun and feeling like they’re reaching their goals! I should get to mine since the friend I’m hanging out with today is my BFF and she is just like me! She also loveslovesloves to read, seriously, here was her idea for today, “What I was going to say is that I totally won’t be mad at you if you bring along a book and we end up at Book Cellar drinking and reading and talking with Suzy (this is, after all, how John Green got his start and if it’s good enough for him…).” See? She is awesome!

Happy Reading!

04 June 2010

48 Hour Book Challenge

For the first time, I’ll be participating in Mother Reader’s 48 Hour Book Challenge! I’m a little nervous about this particular challenge, it feels like a big undertaking, but I’m ready to take it on!

My goals for this challenge, as it is my first time, will be modest. I’d like to:

1) read/blog/literary social network for 15-20 hours

2) read 2-3 books (this might go up, but I’m being a little conservative since I have plans with a friend tomorrow and won’t be able to read for a good chunk of the day)

3) find 3-4 new blogs to start reading!

Here are the books I’m starting with!

(I am currently on page 49, yes this book is LONG, 516 pages, but I’m hoping it will be a fast read)
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, JK Rowling – Read by Jim Dale
(since June is audio book month, I’m listening to this one!)
Okay, it’s 6:31 pm…here I go!

Book Review: This World We Live In

This World We Live In, Susan Beth Pfeffer
(Gr 7-10)

We first met Miranda in Life as We Knew It and Alex in The Dead and the Gone, now it’s time for them to meet each other. It’s been a year since an asteroid hit the moon knocking it closer to the Earth and Miranda and her family have been living, reasonably comfortably, in their Philadelphia home while Alex and his sister Julie have been refugees from New York City, searching for a new home. When Alex meets Miranda’s father, he and Julie seem to have found a new family. They move into Miranda’s home, but not everyone is ready to make room for them. With food running out and the world not getting any better Miranda and Alex find solace in each other and start to heal.

I loved the first book in this series, Life as We Knew it, but I wasn’t really a fan of The Dead and the Gone, sadly this one continued in the vein of the second installment in the series more than the first. We pick up pretty much where we left off with Miranda. Her family is still living in their own home and getting weekly food deliveries. I couldn’t help but think that the more interesting story would have been Alex and Julie’s. They’ve been traveling all over the country, living in refugee camps, and seeing genuine horrors. However, instead of an adventure novel, we get another angsty journal from a teenage girl who’s biggest problems are worrying about food, a lack of privacy, and a tense relationship with her mother. Other than the fear of running out of food, that sounds like tons of other teen novels.

There were several characters in this book who I just never connected with. I still don’t really like Alex. I don’t understand him most of the time. Miranda was more whiny this time around. Her diary was a great way to get inside her head in the first novel, but this time I felt too much in her head. Which was unfortunate because I LOVED her in Life as We Knew It. I did like Julie though. Her reactions to things and the way her mind works made sense to me. She was pretty much the only character I felt like that with though.

I had really high hopes for this book, but ultimately was pretty disappointed. Susan Beth Pfeffer is still a great writer, I just think she just chose the wrong story to tell. If this book had been more of a combination of Alex and Miranda’s perspectives it would have been a much more interesting story. I really wanted to know about Alex and Julie’s trip from New York to Texas. The refugee camps sounded interesting, but only hearing about them second hand was disappointing. Maybe my hopes were a little too high, but I was just not into the story.

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