Monday, August 2, 2010

July Reads

I didn't quite match last month's blazing 13 book streak, but I managed to read a very respectable 9 books, thanks in part to both a compulsion to read through Naomi Novik's books again in celebration of the new one and to be sucked into the Uglies vortex.

Glass by Ellen Hopkins
Written in verse. I read the first book in this devastating trilogy last month. Christine became addicted to meth in Crank and slides further down a very scary and depressing slope in this follow up. The final book, Fallout, is due out next month. It is considered YA, but I would definitely only consider it feasible for mature readers.

Identical by Ellen Hopkins
Written in verse. Um, yeah. Another devastating YA tale...again, only for mature readers. (read: high school and up) Identical twin teens Kaeleigh and Raeanne share a very unique bond, outside of their appearance. The bond of dark and terrible family secrets. Their father is a judge and their mother is running for Congress and all is not as it appears on the glossy, sunny surface.

I am so obsessed with this man, and devastated that he is dead so I can't write him endless fan letters, tasteful not stalkerish of course. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors of all time!

God is in the Pancakes by Robin Epstein
You'll no doubt have noticed a lot of YA in my reading lately. I haven't done any serious reading in this area since my YA lit class in grad school and my suggestions to my teen patrons reflect that. ("Yes Holley, I read that AGES ago!") So, I'm attempting to beef up my repertoire. So far, so good. This was good, but stretched the limits of both belief and discomfort. Fifteen year-old Grace Manning is working her first job, a candy striper at the local nursing home. Her favorite patient (sneaking him out to the movies, he lets her give him a faux-hawk with hair gel, teaches her how to play poker) is Mr. Sands, an ALS sufferer. Mr. Sands has a request for Grace; he wants her to help him die. Sounds depressing, no? The author takes a decidedly lighthearted bent with this that I found somewhat discomforting, but the story was entertaining and the characters lovable.

Another YA tale of bad decisions and eventual redemption. Quiet, shy Ruby McQueen is having an unusually exciting junior year of high school. A broken tail bone, with the requisite donut cushion, made her junior high years nearly unbearable and miserable so now she does her best to go about invisible. When the rich boy down the block, Travis, notices her, and her hidden fearlessness, her boundaries get pushed to the limit. Bad boys are generally very bad for you. Her mother, the local librarian, makes her start attending the bookgroup (the Casserole Queens) to stay away from Travis and Ruby learns valuable lessons about youth, decisions, and life in general. Very enjoyable and I LOVED the Casserole Queens!

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
If you haven't tried the Temeraire series by Novik, you have done yourself a disservice. This is the Napoleonic Wars, reimagined with each country having an air force of dragons. I am re-reading the series before moving on to the newest volume, Tongues of Serpents, just published July 13th and awaiting me on my Nook! British Royal Navy Captain Will Laurence chases down a French ship on which the crew is obviously weak and starving, yet they fight far harder than they should. After his crew boards the ship, he finds out why. They are carrying a dragon egg, obviously bound for France though severely off course and undersupplied. The egg is near to hatching and they are weeks away from land so someone must be chosen to be put to the egg, for the dragonette will go feral if not harnessed immediately after hatching. Captain Laurence's officers draw lots and wait. However, upon hatching, the little dragon makes his own choice and changes Captain Laurence's life forever. SO GOOD, I can hardly begin to describe how much!

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
I can't believe how long it's taken me to start these books. This is the first in a trilogy +1, which is what happens when you tack a related book onto the end of a trilogy ;-) So, in this work, you are an Ugly until your 16th birthday, after which you get an operation to become a Pretty. All Pretties are made to look similar (height, weight, hair color, eye color, etc) since the long ago Rusties proved that difference led to war. All Talley Youngblood has every wanted was to turn Pretty and have fun all day and party all night...that is, until she meets a mysterious stranger outside the confines of the city who knows something about the operation, and what it does to the Uglies, that makes Talley rethink her decision. Exciting, interesting, and very, very thought-provoking!

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