Sunday, June 10, 2012

John Green's Competition

I said a little while ago I thought John Green's newest was the strongest book that I had read so far in 2012. I think he's got some competition.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Holy moly, this one is good. No. This is a great one. A solid historical fiction that kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire book. It is set in WWII England, the war effort is revving up and two women become fast friends. One is a pilot, the other a spy. The spy gets caught and we get her version of events first, then her friends version. I was captivated the entire time. The characters are extremely well developed, especially since we are getting a very one-sided tale that we can't quite trust. The action and the drama are front and center and I believed every word. I loved how the second version of events explains what really happened in the first - because it is obvious something is going on beyond what is being told to us (I mean things are underlined for goodness sake. And we aren't told why!!!).  Brilliant. I think this has a good chance to win the Printz. I would have read this one cover to cover if life hadn't of gotten in the way.
[publisher copy]

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
I love her books. I loved her Printz speech when she won her honor for Please Ignore Vera Dietz. My love for this book is no different (I actually think this one might be more of an honor book, but I think it is one that the committee will be discussing and taking second looks at). I knew nothing about this book going in, but I can tell that A.S. King has some overarching themes. Poor parenting being one. Once again, we've got some clueless parents and their cluelessness is having a serious impact on their teenage child. Simply put, Astrid is a lovely character to spend some time with. She's aware of her environment, self-effacing, but not to the point where she hates herself (just to the point where she is a hyper-aware of her environment and how it impacts her). Anyhow, she has decided to send her love off because she doesn't need it. She sends it to the passengers on the plane, she gives it to the people she meets, and it has some interesting repercussions. Normally, this type of thing can bug me. I don't always get along with magical realism. But just like Everyone Sees the Ants it worked for me. I thought it was well integrated into the story, I liked the breaks where we visit the passengers on the planes that Astrid sends her love to. And I really, really liked Astrid. I read this in less than a day.
[publisher copy- ARC]

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