Saturday, February 27, 2010
“You need to try and make some friends.” Liam’s dad tells him. But Liam prefers his online friends in the game World of Warcraft:
The point about World of Warcraft is that the other players don’t know how tall or short or fat or thin you are, they just accept you for what you are – namely, in my case, a highly skilled Night Elf with healing powers. (28)
This means a lot to Liam, who has trouble fitting in with his classmates because at 12-years-old he already has facial hair and is really, really tall. Most people – car salesmen, the clerk at Newz and Booze, even his headmistress – mistake him for a grown-up. Instead of being bothered by this, Liam uses his height as an advantage for seeking out adventure, much as his online buddies seek out quests. Often this means pretending his classmate, Florida, is his daughter, and heading into town to, you know, test drive cars…
Luckily, Liam has a dad who cares. A dad with a phone that is linked to Liam’s so he can see Liam’s location whenever necessary.
But Liam is Gifted and Talented. He manages to pose as his own father and enter a contest to win a trip to Infinity Park in China, where founder Dr. Drax boasts the Biggest Thrill Ride in the History of the World – The Rocket. When he is chosen as a winner, Liam talks celebrity-crazed Florida into going with him as his daughter, and lies to his parents about taking a field trip instead. Thus the stage is set for the biggest adventure of Liam's life: riding The Rocket? No…being a dad.
Remember how you felt at the end of Field of Dreams, when Ray and his dad have a catch? This book captures that feeling and pairs it with a with a humorous space adventure. Add the well drawn characters and the references to World of Warcraft (which you don’t need to be familiar with to enjoy) and the result is a quirky yet unforgettable homage to dads everywhere.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
This series sat on my To Read list for three years. While I wish I had read these books ages ago, I did have the benefit of plowing through all 3 one after the other. AND book #4 is due in less than a month. Hardly any waiting! Hooray!
Fans of the series, did you know that you can read a few chapters on HarperCollins' site?
As an impatient reader, I really had to slow myself down to read these books. If you like puzzles and hidden clues and getting to a crucial point in the book and realizing "Oh snap. That was why we heard about that ... 2 books ago, 5 chapters ago" this is the series for you. Megan Whalen Turner rewards the careful reader. Looks, names, seemingly minor events all matter. Deliciously rich. Undoubtedly brilliant. And the romance. Yes, of course. It's not what the series is about, but I found it very Austen-like in the total sexiness of people who don't touch each other. Or look at each other. Or frankly much like each other.
Now shoo. Go put these books on hold. I envy your reading experience.
*also, here's the article Amy may mention in the comments.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Anyhoo onto the story - Will Halpin is deaf. He is also sick of all the drama at his deaf school (as in he’s sick of having to prove he’s deaf enough and picking sides) and starts the new school year at a mainstream school. He’s understandably a little worried about how he’ll do. There won’t be any interpreters or closed captioning system for him, which is probably ok due to his superior lip reading skills. But he’s also thinking that it might be hard for him to fit in with his fellow students, with the difficulty of communicating. Lucky for him there is someone who knows some rudimentary sign language.
I really liked this book. I enjoyed Will’s voice (even though I could have done without some of the self-depreciating fat comments). He was funny, he was insightful, his voice was really fresh. I especially enjoyed how the author included both a family mystery and a wider mystery (that was the 180 people – I had no idea there was a mystery in this book!). I think most readers will be relatively sure at who did the crime, but the author did an awesome job at throwing just enough doubt into the mix that other people look like potential suspects as well. I was impressed. I also enjoyed the insights into deaf culture.
I could have done without Will writing sometimes inane information about his schoolmates into his notebook. I liked his nicknames (Jimmy Porkrinds for his bus driver cracked me UP), but the little notes seemed over the top and unnecessary and the sort of thing one would save for a stay-at-home-in-the-hidey-hole type of journal instead of one you carry with you. Small complaints for a really fun first novel.
Book Source: Library Copy
Monday, February 22, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Delphine is sent along with her two younger sisters, Fern and Vonetta, to
The voice of the main character is very strong and clear. When she uses a metaphor, it is always something from her experience, making it more powerful and believable. For example: “like Big Ma throwing a pinch of salt into the cake batter.” (46) And “Cecile knew she had us baffled and took control of the talk like she had grabbed both the ball and the jacks.” (78)
Sometimes the writing is brutal and honest:
We made a picture. Us looking up at her and her looking down at us. In the animal kingdom the mother bird brings back all she’s gathered for the day and drops it into the open mouths of each bird squawking to be fed. Cecile looked at us like it didn’t occur to her that we would be hungry and that she’d have to do what mothers do: feed their young. (30)
And at other times beautiful, terse, and transparent:
Mother is a statement of fact. Cecile Johnson gave birth to us. We came out of Cecile Johnson. In the animal kingdom that makes her out mother. Every mammal on the planet has a mother, dead or alive. Ran off or stayed put. Cecile Johnson-mammal birth giver, alive, an abandoner-is our mother. A statement of fact. (14)
The theme of “we knew the same things” – whether it’s the outrageous things that happened to the people of color in Oakland, or just sharing the role of being a big sister – runs throughout the novel, linking the families together. (178; 139)
This is one to know about. We should have it in our (APL) collection soon.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I saw this one on the staff recommendations shelf at work and snatched it up like it was chocolate covered candy. Which it totally is. I am a little surprised that a) I picked up the first book in the series b) have read all three so far c) will totally read more in this ridiculous yet incredibly fun series.
I mean, it is about a detective who was tortured by a serial killer, but lived (she actually saved his life...twice) and he is way messed up because she totally gets him hot (and we're subjected to this information quite a bit. Luckily we are not subjected to too many euphemisms for his "love").
So in this installment we get a twist away from the Gretchen murders, Archie puts himself in danger to get tortured a little more (wee!) and then Gretchen escapes. Instead there are copycat murders. There are potential devotees to the cult of Gretchen. The plot thickens. Archie's "relationship" with Gretchen moves onto a new level where he might not get all worked up every time they are near each other.
I must say that I can only read these books because the violence is so over the top I simply can't believe it. I mean, this is a woman serial killer who likes to remove people's spleens with an exacto knife and then sew them back up. She also likes to make you drink draino. She does so much crazy stuff that it just gets to be comical, like she's already operated on this person, carved a heart, pulled their intenstines out their big toe with a crochet hook, what exactly is she going to do next? How exactly will she top that?
I love these books. They are fast reads, they are suspenseful, and they don't keep me up at night wondering if anyone is creeping around at my windows. I can't wait until the next one.
Book Source: Library Copy
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
GREEN WITCH by Alice Hoffman (Right now this is my #1 WANT)
SMILE by Raina Telgemeier
LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS by Francisco X. Stork
THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES by Carrie Ryan (kind of glad Mary ain't in this one. or so it seems.)
THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Don't have time to read it online for free. See Naomi's post.)
WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by Green & Levithan
THE CARDTURNER: A Novel About Imperfect Partners and Infinite Possibilities by Sachar
FAT VAMPIRE: A Never Coming of Age Story by Rex (I'm already laughing)
HUNGER GAMES 3 by Collins (DUH. Hoping for ARCs at TLA.)
FORGE by Anderson
THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE KKK by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
THE DREAMER by Pam Munoz Ryan
THE NIGHT FAIRY by Laura Amy Schlitz
ONE CRAZY SUMMER by Rita Williams-Garcia
SIR CHARLIE CHAPLIN by Sid Fleischman
I am finally starting to read THE THIEF by Megan Whelan Turner so I can get all hyped up about A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS. I feel that not having read this series a librarian flaw. So I'm on it.
What's on your list? What have I forgotten?
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
It isn’t a spoiler to say that Incarceron appears to have some sort of intelligence. At first, when the characters would describe the prison and how it is always watching, reacting, and changing I felt like they were anthropomorphizing it. The prison is awfully sinister, I could see how they would fear it and the ever present red eyes (aka cameras). However, that wasn’t the case. Incerceron is actually aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiive, y’all! And it seems to have gone rogue. At times I rolled my eyes (some of the things it said was a bit over the top), but all in all I think having the prison as a character worked. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in the sequel.
I found that I quite enjoyed the characters – although I wouldn’t say there was a ton of character development. Pretty early on we can guess Finn’s true identity and I think that was the author’s intention. I really enjoyed Claudia – a spirited young lady willing to take risks and stand up to the most powerful people, even if at times she stretched believability. Keiro is probably the most interesting character. He’s Finn’s oathbrother, he’s clearly Scum (which is the name of bad prison gang folk) and I think you could say he is probably little ‘s’ scum too. His motivations and true loyalties aren’t clear, I was simultaneously convinced that he was going to betray Finn at any moment and that he would never ever betray him (he just was tricky and complex, you know?).
There is a dual narrative. We switch back and forth from Finn and his quest to escape to Claudia who is stuck in a prison of her own sort in the Outside. In truth, neither of them are free. We’ve discussed the prison, but life Outside is just as, if not more interesting.
At some point in history after the Years of Rage, the king at the time decreed, “We will choose an Era from the past and recreate it. We will make a world free from the anxiety of change! It will be paradise.” And so they did. It is like they’re playing court constantly, everyone caught in the web of Protocol. This is a society that had incredibly advanced technology. Now that technology is non-Era and illegal. For me, this was some of the most interesting world building in the book. I loved thinking about how they are forced to act as though they are in Regency England or something, but have holograms and spying devices that look like butterflies. It was very fun.
I really thought I was going to go crazy in love over this one and I didn’t – starred reviews by all the major publications anyone?! I enjoyed it, but there were things that jarred me out of the storyline (which I’ll keep to myself unless you want spoilers – and if you do just ask!). I thought it was a good book, but I didn’t fall head over heels for it, if you know what I mean.
Book Source = Library Copy
Anyhow, it is a nice varied list. So take a look!