Paper Towns

August 23, 2015 at 1:47 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

51hgkNew+XL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Genre: Young Adult/ Teen Fiction

I loved it.  It seems silly to enjoy teen fiction so much, right now, in my thirties.  It feels like I should be chalking it up to a pre-mid life crisis of sorts – but I have an old soul, I already had my mid-life crisis, I think.  If I didn’t, I’m screwed when the real one comes around.  I’m not sure my brain can handle all that drama.

But it’s not a mid-life crisis.  It’s just that despite the fact that people will roll their eyes at John Green because he seems like he’s probably that typical sappy teen coming of age crap that everyone is writing – there’s a reason he’s so popular and everyone else just isn’t.

John Green is an excellent writer.

He doesn’t just write snark – he embodies snark.  He has the snark on lock-down.  And though people think he only writes super confident teens that we all wish we had been, he doesn’t do that either.  The main character of Paper Towns is not confident.  He’s nerdy and very un-self assured.  He’s in love with the self assured one, and you discover that no one is as self assured as they’d like to pretend to be.

I loved how Green pulled in Walt Whitman’s themes from Leaves of Grass.  So much so, that I long to make a pile of Leaves of Grass paperbacks to display next to our piles of Paper Towns at the bookstore.  But I haven’t.  It’s not my job to do that anymore and I’m trying desperately to only do *my* job and not be the over achiever type A that I naturally am and work my ass off outside my pay grade.  I’m not used to be a “regular” employee anymore.  Between my previous management experience and writing a character who owns her own bookstore, my brain wants to run things and instead I’m just running the books.  Which is definitely relaxing, until I have to keep my perfectionism in check – and then it’s stressful.

Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar makes a sneak appearance as well.  I’m always down for a good book that recommends other good books.  Margo, though I disagree with half her sentiments, appeals to me.  I understand her.  I’ve been her.  I’m just not her anymore.  Though, often, I feel pieces of her tugging at my personality from time to time.  Ultimately, I chose to be more like Q.  People probably see me more like Q.  Although, at that age, I don’t think people really saw me at all.

So now I’m re-reading Leaves of Grass.  I couldn’t leave it lingering in my brain that way without tackling it again.  I haven’t perused it since high school and it’s long overdue.

Have you read John Green?  Do you find him oddly relatable?

And finally, do you plan to or have you seen the movie?  I have not, yet.

Unknown

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A Cranberry Cove Summer

July 13, 2015 at 12:10 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Title: Casey of Cranberry CoveAuthor: Susan KotchUnknown

Genre: Teen Fiction

Publisher: Hibernian Publishing

Length: 207 pages

Ice Cream Parlours, boogie boarding, kayaking, sail boat racing, pizza, high school parties, and hunky life guards… mix some teen angsty romance in and you’ve got a cute beach read that is perfect for summer.  Susan Kotch delivers the perfect one with surfer girl Casey Whitman playing the role of Gidget.

Casey of10473070_810968012059_3950441201297687075_n Cranberry Cove is a fun read and my only regret while reading is that I wasn’t doing it in the sand, baking on the beach.  I love reading on the beach and Casey is a girl after my own heart – a sun-baking reader and go-getter who isn’t afraid to get dirty.
I’m looking forward to future adventures of Casey’s, but I’m hoping she keeps her head on straight and doesn’t turn into a ninny.  I’m also hoping she doesn’t leave her beach life behind in all the excitement of growing up.  Casey reminds me a bit of the Robin Jones Gunn Christy Miller series my older sister had on her shelf growing up, I think girls that like one series would enjoy the other.

Peaceful at Manhattan Beach

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Book to Movie Confessions

July 7, 2014 at 6:24 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , )

As a book lover, it’s inevitable that two movies would have been on my viewing roster for 2013 – The Great Gatsby and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

As a literary snob, it’s inevitable that I’ll tell you The Great Gatsby is marvelous and rich and The Mortal Instruments are teen franchise fluff.  (Teen franchise fluff that I read and re-read.)

As someone who has worked on indie film crews with family in the not-so-indie industry, I’ll tell you that The Great Gatsby was the more phenomenal film.  Baz Luhrmann is incredible.

But here is my confession:

When the house is too quiet… when I need something on the television to pass the time between books… when I’m ruminating on the world at large – it’s not The Great Gatsby that I play on repeat.

I gave a review of the film when I first saw it. I was late to the party, I don’t rush to the theatres anymore. The crowds overwhelm me. I can muster up the energy to exist in a crowd, but I pick and choose those moments carefully. I need to be moving (like on a bike) or listening to an amazing band. Opening night at a theatre has to be for something really special and I’d prefer advance notice. I’ve aged into a curmudgeon, I suppose.

I’m not changing my initial review.  That would be unfair.  I don’t like editing much – I had those thoughts – they existed.  I still agree with them even.  But I’m not sure “fell flat” is how I would currently describe the movie.  Not after a month of having it be my go to television time.  I read 14 books in June, but when I wasn’t reading, I was watching a heck of a lot of The Mortal Instruments.

I clean my house to it.  I sort through closets with it on.  I have to take breaks from it to go teach ABCs and plan history lessons.  But still, it’s there when I come back and I find it comforting.

I think it’s because it is a story I can half be involved in while I’m doing something else… a story that is easy to relate to not because of the angels and demons and typical boy-girl romance, but because there are some things you never grow out of.  There are both beautiful and awkward memories that stay with you.  There are moments I can see so clearly in my head from my own life when I hear someone say a line a certain way.

Teen franchises are so popular because – well, we’ve all been teens before.

More than the romance, the camaraderie of a group of people so devoted to their cause is what draws me to adventure stories like this one.

And yes, I like to joke a bit and say that it’s because I can’t get enough of Jamie Campbell Bower’s face.  But obviously, when he’s there on screen, it’s Jace’s face.  And ultimately, it takes a lot more than a face to get me to watch a movie a dozen or so times – it takes talent and a true tribute to a work of art and I think they did their best.  Even if it didn’t quite live up to my lofty expectations, I think everyone involved honored Clare’s work better than anyone else could have.

I may just go to the theatre when City of Ashes comes out.

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The Booktacular Book Club – July 2013

July 19, 2013 at 2:15 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

A really awesome twelve year old and her mother came to me and asked if they could start a book club at Half Price Books Humble.  Of course! Customer led clubs are definitely welcome, especially from the next generation of readers.  Having a twelve year WANT to be in charge of a book club is, in my opinion, one of the coolest things ever.

So, with a little bit of guidance, the girls laid out a plan.  Each month they will select a series.  Book one of the series will definitely be discussed and each member can read the rest of the series if they are interested or choose to only read the one title.  This gives everyone a lot of leeway to discover new things.

Our roster so far:

July’s Discussion = The Cry of the Icemark/ The Icemark Chronicles by Stuart Hill

August’s Discussion = Over See, Under Stone/ The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper

September’s Discussion = The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe/ The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Of course, I’m reading as much as I can with these girls as though I were a full-fledged member of the club… and along with that, providing my reviews of both the book and our discussions.

The Cry of the IcemarkTitle: The Cry of the Icemark

Author: Stuart Hill

Publisher: The Chicken House

Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure

Length: 472 pages

For me, this book had a lot of promise, a great story, and not quite as much follow through in the delivery.  It’s good, I would recommend it to 12-15 year old girls who love fantasy, but I kept falling asleep.

I honestly believe it is something I would have devoured in the back seat of my parents’ van on vacation had I gotten a hold of it at age 12, I would have craved more and collected the series.  But my 29 year old mommy-self felt disconnected from the story and, frankly, was made tired by it.  Where Susanne Collins reminded me of my younger girlish desires and dreams, and plopped me right down in the middle of a fantasy I could get lost in, with The Hunger Games – Stuart Hill and I kept playing an awkward dance of “This is awesome and now I shall remind you that you aren’t Thirrin, you’re just reading…”  Mostly, I think in the internal dialogue.  The characters would start telling me what they were thinking too often and it threw me off.  A healthy reminder not to do that in my own writing, because I think it is something I might be guilty of.  I would rather decipher a character on my own, thanks.  Remembering my 12 year old brain, however, I wonder if this would have bothered me then… would I even have noticed it?

I hoped to include the girls’ reaction to this book before I posted it.  But alas, on the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm, I was sitting at the table all alone.  I wonder if they lost interest in the club they just started, or if some miscommunication in days occurred.  We shall see next month.  Either way, I AM glad I took time out of my life to read this, even if it wasn’t my favorite.

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Coming of Age…

April 22, 2013 at 11:56 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

Coming of Age always references that adolescent stage.  But, the real coming of age, I have found, is when you’re creeping toward 30.  It’s when things really start happening.  It’s, apparently, the new 20.

I’m getting published.

And so are all my writerly friends my age.

Here’s one of them:

Babes Chicken

I look forward to reading Missing Dad by Miranda Campbell.

So, maybe we’ve been grown up for awhile now, but now it finally feels that way.

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The Wild Girls – A Review

March 14, 2013 at 3:58 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

WildGirlsTitle: The Wild Girls

Author: Pat Murphy

Publisher: Speak (an imprint of Penguin Group)

Genre: Young Adult

Length: 288 pages

Dear Publishing Companies,

Allow me to tell you something you probably already know: Take a book, add a matte finish to it, trace some swirly-like-ivy lines about, and add a garden or forest scene – I will most likely take the book home on the spot.

At least that’s what happened with Pat Murphy’s The Wild Girls.  And despite having an equally girly and gardeny looking book on my night stand (The Distant Hours by Kate Morton), I started reading The Wild Girls that day.

Even if the cover had not been so fabulous, the first line is:

“I met the Queen of the Foxes in 1972, when my family moved from Connecticut to California.”

How do you pass up a first line like that?

It’s a story about twelve year old girls for twelve year old girls, but at twenty-nine I was still dying to know all about the Queen of the Foxes and how interesting a girl would have to be to have the honor of meeting her.

My own wild girl, running, after we read in the park and took a boat ride, but before we had our picnic in the grass.

My own wild girl, running, after we read in the park and took a boat ride, but before we had our picnic in the grass.

Joan meets Sarah in the woods behind an old orchard and immediately takes to her even though Sarah is malicious and contemplating throwing rocks at her.  She can hit a kid dead on from about thirty feet away, too.  Soon the girls are fast friends with woodsy aliases Newt and Fox, telling and writing stories together as they each escape their lives in the comfort and enchanting beauty of the woods and its wildlife.

In the spirit of Bridge to Terabithia (without the inevitable water works), The Secret Garden (without the invalid), and a dash of How to Buy a Love of Reading (or writing), The Wild Girls is a great coming of age story for girls harboring an inner Josephine March (Little Women).

I loved it.  I read a lot of it to kiddo outside and she loved it as it served for a great book to welcome spring.  I can’t wait to read it again when she is older and see what she thinks of it then.

In the mean time, I’m looking for more Pat Murphy titles, reading Kate Morton, and writing a novel.

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Metamorphosis

February 1, 2013 at 9:02 pm (Guest Blogger) (, , , , , , , , )

butterfly

A Short Story

by E.B. Jones

Mason Maxwell wasn’t like most of the other boys that he went to school with. Whenever he was twelve years old his mother bought him a box with a glass front and he decided that he was going to use it to start a butterfly collection. He liked the idea that butterflies weren’t always the way that butterflies seemed to be. For he himself, felt as though he was a caterpillar, simply waiting until he was able to wind himself up in a cocoon and then to emerge and fly away from everyone and everything.

Mason had never been a very popular boy, he was skinny, small and had to wear very large glasses in order to see. He spent most of his time alone in the library reading books and avoiding confrontations at all costs with the mean boys in gym class.
His only real friend at the school was the librarian. She had taken a special liking to Mason because of his love of reading. Many times he would excuse himself from the pep rallies and assemblies, saying that he needed to go to the bathroom, and he would sneak off to the library to read.

Mason wasn’t the only kid in school that didn’t get along with the mean boys in gym class but they weren’t the same as Mason was. They all wanted to be accepted by the popular kids. One of them, Lynn, had once been friends with Mason years ago. But whenever the boys would be mean to him he would run to the bathroom and cry.

There was another boy, Jeremiah, who would be made fun of as well. But instead of running off to the bathroom and crying, he showed up to school one day wearing all black and pretending like he had no emotions. The kids eventually stopped making fun of him but they never accepted him and Jeremiah would spend most of his off time standing behind the dumpster smoking sweet smelling cigarettes.

Mason was made fun of just as much as any of the other kids that were made fun of, but he didn’t mind it so much. He never wanted to follow the status quot, but preferred to focus his energy on things that interested him. With his affinity for insects he categorized all the students in the school into different groups. Most of the kids in school were ants, just following whatever was popular at the time and doing things that way because that was what you were supposed to do. Mason never got angry at them or wanted to cry whenever they made fun of him because he knew that was just how they were. He knew that none of the ants could understand him, being a caterpillar, and he never expected them too. “There’s always tomorrow.” He would tell himself and smile.

One day, one of the boys from gym pushed Mason up against a locker, “Hey nerd,” The boy said, “How come you like butterflies so much? You a fag or something?”

“No,” Mason said calmly, “I just think they’re pretty. I mean, they aren’t at first, whenever they’re still caterpillars. But eventually they grow up and are beautiful, then they fly around in big groups with their own and are never alone anymore. Not like ants, ants just stay on the ground and do whatever they’re told to do, never thinking for themselves.”

“Whatever faggot.” The boy said, pushing him down on the ground. “I bet you like other boys, that’s why you like butterflies.”

“I don’t see the correlation,” Mason said smiling, “Don’t worry, one day you might see.”

“Shut up faggot,” The kid said. Then he swung and knocked Mason’s glasses off. “That’s what you get for being a fag.”

That evening Mason’s mother picked him up and asked him what had happened. He explained and she just sighed. She didn’t understand him either, “Why don’t you try to play sports of something and make some friends?”

“It’s ok mom. I don’t want to be friends with people like that. They’re mean and one day things will change and I’m going to have a bunch of friends. People that aren’t just mean to each other because they are insecure in their own shortcomings,” he told her.

“Where do you get this stuff?” She asked. She didn’t understand her son, but she didn’t really care, she was proud that her son was more mature than even she was.

“I don’t know, I think it’s because I read a lot of books,” he told her.
A week later Mason decided that he wanted to explain to the other kids in school why he loved butterflies so much so he asked his science teacher if he could do a presentation on then for class. His teacher agreed and he set to work laying out all the details and making sure that he had everything in order for his presentation.

The presentation went well despite the spit wads and name calling. After he finished his teacher stood up and addressed the class.

“That was very informative Mason. Now, can anyone tell me what the process that a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly?”

Mason raised his hand but the teacher just looked at him and smiled. “Obviously you know Mason, does anyone else know?”

A girl at the back of the class raised her hand slowly, as if she thought she might know the answer.

“Yes, Sandy?” The teacher asked, “Do you know?”

Sandy hesitated for a moment and bit her lip, “Is it, metamorphosis?”

“Very good Sandy.” The teacher said.

Sandy wasn’t the most popular girl in school, but she was a cheerleader and her boyfriend was on the football team. Of all the members of the cheer squad she was the only one that actually seemed to care about any of her school work. Mason turned around and looked at her and smiled.

She looked at him and started to smile, then someone coughed out the word “nerd.” Then her smile went away and she rolled her eyes at Mason.

Mason didn’t mind Sandy rolling her eyes at him. He just turned back around and kept smiling.

Three weeks later Sandy missed several days of school and rumors started to circle around. Someone had said that her mother had been murdered by her father and that she had been kidnapped and was in Mexico. The only thing that anyone knew for sure was that the news was saying that her mother had been murdered and her father was on the lam.
Eventually Sandy did show up to school. Most of the time she kept silent and whenever someone tired to talk to her she told them to go away. Many of her friends ended up taking it very personally because none of them understood what she was going through.
The day before her mothers funeral, Sandy was standing at her locker whenever Mason walked past and noticed that she was crying so he decided to walk up to her.

“Sandy.” Mason said to her.

“Go away, I just want to be alone.” She told him.

“I’m sorry about your mother.” Mason said.

“Just go away! All right?” She yelled at him.

Mason continued on towards the library and went inside and sat down at his usual seat. The librarian came and sat down next to him.

“You like that girl Sandy huh?” She asked him.

“I like everyone. I just think she’s sad and I want to be nice to her because her mom died.” He told her.

“Well, I think you are being a very kind and proper gentleman.” The librarian told him.

“I don’t want her to be sad.” He said “I know why she’s sad, but everyone thinks she’s just being mean to them. They tried reaching out but I don’t think any of them really understand.”

“Well, she is going through a lot right now, and you have to understand that there are a lot of things going on in her mind. Just try and let her know that you’ll be there if she needs to talk to someone, but don’t be pushy about it.” The librarian said, “It’s kind of like whenever you get a little older, you’ll learn that you need to be available, but also respectful of boundaries. Lord knows I’ve been waiting for a boy that understands that.”

“You aren’t married?” Mason asked.

“No,” She laughed, “I was a caterpillar until about two years ago.”

“How old are you?”

“Here’s one more lesson. Never ask a girl her age.” She told him, “But between you and me, I’m 27.”

“Wow,” Mason said, “You were a caterpillar for a long time.”

The librarian laughed and then said, “Yeah, I was.”

“You made a pretty butterfly though.” He smiled.

“Thanks kid.” The librarian said.

Sandy opened the door with her head down and stood in the entryway for a bit, then walked to one of the aisles of books.

“Go get her kid.” The librarian said.

“Right, available, but respectful.” Mason said confidently.

“You’re gonna be something someday.” She smiled.

Mason walked slowly to where Sandy and gone. “I know you don’t want to talk to anyone right now, but if you ever do want to talk, I just wanted to let you know I’ll listen to you.”
Sandy looked up at him and had tears in her eyes. They stared at each other for a moment and then Mason smiled at her, turned around and walked away.

The next day Mason asked his mother if he could go to Sandy’s mother’s funeral and his mother agreed that it would be a nice thing to do.

Sandy arrived with her grandparents and Mason with his mother. “I don’t want to get too close, she’s going through a lot.” Mason told his mother.

After the funeral service ended Mason looked up in the sky and noticed a dark cloud moving swiftly towards the site. Mason’s mother put her hand on his shoulder, “We should get going.” She said.

“Not yet,” He told her.

The dark cloud got closer and closer until everyone that was left at the grave site could see that it was a swarm of butterflies. As the small group marveled at the site, Sandy looked down and noticed that there was one single butterfly resting on her mother’s coffin. She watched it as it slowly moved its wings and then took off and joined the other butterflies and flew north. She watched them until they disappeared into the sky. Whenever she looked back she noticed that Mason was watching the butterflies as well.

“I want to go talk to that boy.” She told her grandmother.

“That’s fine dear.” Her grandmother said.

Sandy walked towards Mason and tapped him on the shoulder. “What kind of butterflies are those?”

“Those are called Red Admiral butterflies. They migrate through here during the spring and fall.” He told her, “This is the first time I’ve seen that many of them though.”

“Do you think they took my mother to a better place?” She asked.

“Maybe,” Mason said, “Maybe in this life we’re all just caterpillars right now. Then one day, we go into a coffin for a little while, and then come out as something even more beautiful.”
Sandy’s throat closed up and tears started forming in her eyes. She tried to open her mouth to make words but nothing could come out so she just leaned in and kissed Mason. It was the first time a girl other than his mother had kissed him. They both stood for a moment looking at each other.

Then, Sandy turned around and walked away, and even though no one ever saw it, for the first time since her mother had died, Sandy smiled.

first-kiss

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Young Adult

January 10, 2013 at 10:06 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

Confession:

indiefilms

I have an illness.  I see an indie film and no matter how awful it looks, I feel the urge to give it a shot.  It’s an indie film, which to me means it’s an underdog, and who knows, what if it’s a hidden gem of awesomeness?

Take that and a love for authors, books, stories about authors of books, and Charlize Theron in all her hotness – how could I pass up Young Adult on Netflix?  I just couldn’t.

youngadultposterOh dear God, give me that hour and thirty-three minutes of my life back.

That’s not fair, the movie is good for what it is.  It is well done.  It has a bit of wit to it.  The director of photography did this brilliant thing with a cassette tape and player and the beginning that I totally loved.

But I really don’t think it is possible for a character to stress me out anymore than Mavis Gary just managed.  I mean seriously, what was wrong with that crazy lady?! Everything! That’s what!

She is an alcoholic who drinks way too much diet coke first thing in the morning – out of the bottle.  She is chronically unsatisfied, sleeps around, divorced, 37, at the tale end of writing glory (she was a ghost writer of a young adult series that is a few years past its prime selling years), and oh yeah the most important part: she’s chasing down her married ex-boyfriend who just had a baby with his wife.  It’s a pretty ballsy role for Theron, and she pulls it off brilliantly; I just want to strangle the whole demented story, if strangling a story could ever be possible.

Patton-Oswalt-young-adultThe best part, the part that does make the movie worth a damn, is Patton Oswalt.  I sort of love him.  A lot.  He is an awesome supporting actor that shows up in everything, but I know him best as Joel Mynor in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.  He is Mavis’ voice of reason in this little fiasco of a man hunt/coming of age story.  Can you call it a coming of age story if the protagonist is 37? I think not, but I promise you, it fits.  And in the end when the Patton Oswalt’s on-screen sister asks to go back to the Mini-Apple with Mavis, I desperately wanted her to say ‘Can’t I’m taking your super awesome brother.’  Of course, that didn’t happen because despite the Esmeralda/Quasimodo dynamic, Young Adult’s own Quasimodo character was way to good for the likes of the star beauty.

Oh dear God give me that hour and thirty three minutes of my life back – except don’t.  Even though it was kind of painful to watch, it resonates a bit.  Check it out.  Let me know what you make of it.

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A Review of Michael Grant’s Gone

December 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Gone_Michael_GrantTitle: GONE

Author: Michael Grant

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Young Adult/ Science Fiction

Length: 558 pages

Take the horror of Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the paranormal excitement of your favorite comic books, and put it smack in the middle of modern-day California stuck in a bubble, and that’s Gone.  It’s all sorts of dark, twisty, disturbing, and pretty awesome.

My niece handed me this book, she’s in the third volume of the series, and loving it.  She’s into the dark and twisty books these days, I remember being into them at that age too.   And though I’m hooked on these as an adult as well, I find these a little too dark and twisty from the perspective of a parent.

Kids killing kids, babies starving to death trapped in homes without care, fires, dark demon-like creatures on the hunt, it’s a little too much when I think of it with my own kiddo in mind.  It puts my obsessive crazy brain on a mission to ensure my child is a self-sufficient survivor with some mad Kung Fu skills under her belt as soon as possible.  It reminds me the value of teaching my kid about God, love, and the makings of good leaders; how to recognize right from wrong and good from bad without having an adult there to tell you.  In case of crisis, this is the plan…

When it comes down to it, Grant is a great writer for this genre.  He is dark and twisty, but he does limit his descriptions as to leave plenty of room for the imagination.  So although there is a dead baby that’s needs taken care of, a twelve-year-old is less likely to visualize the entire process of a baby being alone for eight days and then found dead.  Grant addresses the smell of the house, the fact that the main character has to clean it up and take care of the child, and the emotional trauma of the situation, but he doesn’t go into a gross CSI style detail that would move me to guide a twelve-year-old away from the series.  That’s what keeps the book so intriguing rather than nauseating.

Well, that and the fact that I’m a sucker for dystopian societies and coming of age stories.

My recommendation if your kid picks this up: Read it WITH them, and be ready to discuss.

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First Book of the Year

January 2, 2010 at 1:22 am (Reviews, The Whim) (, , , , , , )

Its 2010, I’m sure everyone is mentioning it, and I’m sure many have a hangover and a ton of resolutions.  I don’t, on either count.  I only had a bit to drink last night, not a lot, and I’ll carry on through 2010 pretty much as I did in 2009.  I have goals, but they are not set because its a new year, instead because that is how I function on a regular basis – lists and goals.

So carrying on in the good old Andi fashion, I read a book today.

I re-read an old favorite from my school days, A Separate Peace by John Knowles.  I remember everyone complaining about it in class and thinking that it was brilliant and amazing and wonderful.  I thought reading it again over a decade later might somehow alter my views, but my ideas on the book are unchanged.  I found the students at Devon just as fascinating and hurtful as before, I found Finny just as radiant, and Gene just as sad.  I love their coming of age experiences every time.

Except now, I have a sequel to look forward to – something I didn’t have when I read the book for the first time twelve years ago because I was unaware of its existence.   Now, I have a copy of “Peace Breaks Out” on my nightstand and cannot wait to see what life-changing stories Devon has in store for me!

What was your first book for 2010?

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