A Little Bit of Fad Reading

March 5, 2014 at 5:12 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

divergentTitle: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (An Imprint of HarperCollins)

Length: 487 pages

So I finally took that leap onto the [fad] train.

When I worked full time in the bookstore, chatting with customers, recommending books in person, I would have read this as soon as it was a thing for the sole purpose of finding something on the shelves that was similar when we were out of stock.  It was published in 2011, the year I left.  That last year was also one spent handling more inventory and displays as the store’s SIM than handling people and their whims and desires in the book world.   So though I was vaguely familiar with the title I totally missed the need to devour this title in a day and come back with a list of titles to hold over disappointed customers until we could get this one in their hands.

Somewhere along the road in my stay-at-home-mom life I discovered Hunger Games, and fell in love.  Though part of a huge fad, Hunger Games was no Twilight Saga or Vampire Diaries series.  Hunger Games was epic and beautiful and insanely well written.

So when I saw the preview for the movie Divergent, I thought, ‘What the heck? Let’s see if it will surprise me too.’

Color me surprised – again!  I really liked this one.  I read it in one day – nearly one sitting.  It tends to be easy to do that with contemporary young adult novels, no matter how long they are.

I found Hunger Games more moving, but I was able to relate more to the main character of Divergent more.  I’m nervous to see how they portray her in the movie, the book version is a person I feel very in tune to.  Katniss Everdean is someone I admire and look up to as a literary character, but whom I share very few similarities.  Tris’s story feels as though Roth dropped my mind into her version of dystopia.  Tris feels how I feel and tends to react in ways I am known to react.  (So far anyway.) Many of her fears were my fears at 16, actually I can’t think of one that is different.

For that it was incredibly enjoyable and easy to get into, and despite this being completely entertaining fluff fiction, I consider the hours spent reading it time well spent.

I’m interested to see how the  rest of the books go (it’s a series), as well as the movie adaptation in theaters this month.  Although I’m a little nervous that it might be too easy to amp up the cheese factor for the big screen – but I guess I’ll have to take a flying leap onto that fad train as well or I’ll never find out.

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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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