Thursday, January 5, 2017

Wow! 2 Years!

I can't believe that it has been 2 years since I last posted to this blog! I have read quite a few books since then!

I actually participated in a "40 Book Challenge" with some of my friends and have read (or listened to) over 150 books since we started!

I am going into my 4th year as a high school librarian and my 3rd year as a member of the a YART committee- Spirit of Texas High School. It has been a great way to discover some amazing Texas authors.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Noggin by John Corey Whaley


Sixteen year old Travis Ray Coates dies. Before he dies, he agrees to have his head frozen using cyrogenics. His head was the only part of his body that was cancer free. Five years later, Travis wakes up with his head attached to someone else's (more muscular) body. Life has gone on for 5 years for everyone but Travis, and when he reanimates, he is expecting to pick life up from where he remembers with his girlfriend, best friend and parents. Of course, things have changed.

The divide between the past (which Travis thinks should be the present) and the present is a struggle throughout the book. For example, he still is 16, and since he was so sick and missed a lot of school, he heads back to high school as a sophomore; yet his birth certificate says he is 21. The reanimation procedure has only worked for one other person, and they help each other through things that no one else would understand.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were well written and well developed. It was fascinating to see Travis interact with his best friend from 5 years ago and a new high school friend. The writing was fantastic and what I thought impressive was how the last words in every chapter flowed into the next chapter and became the title of that chapter!

I never thought that I would put a book about a boy whose head was put on another body in any genre but science fiction, however, this book didn't really deal with the science of it, but rather how to live life when everything around you changes.

I highly recommend this book for all lovers of Young Adult literature.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth (NO SPOILERS!)

I finished this book the day after it was released. I had been anxiously awaiting its arrival; annoying everyone in my family by counting the days. Its taken me a week to formulate and digest my thoughts enough to be able to write this review.

Let me start by saying I LOVED Divergent! I thought the characters were well developed. For a middle book in a trilogy, Insurgent was better than most.

I did not like Allegiant.

My dislike is not based at on the twist ending. I enjoy stories that surprise me. An ending that is not your typical happy ending or even an ending that I disagree with makes me think and analyze and question. My dislike is solely based on the writing. 

The choice to write from alternate points of view is tricky and Roth did not do it well. The voice of each character did not shine through. I very often found myself having to re-check the beginning of  each chapter to see whose POV it was. There was no distinguishing voice between Tris and Tobias. 

I also felt the writing was boring. The short sentences that flowed so well and were so engaging in the previous two books, fell short in this one. There was not flow to the story and it seemed very repetitive and dull. The word choice was basic and boring. 

The story itself was repetitive, uprise-share the truth-overthrow, and the plot twist at the beginning involving the United Comonwealth was very contrived. I found myself muttering, "Are you kidding me?!?" many times.

I am disappointed  that such an anticipated novel was such a spectacular disaster. My disappointment had me asking many questions. Were the first two books flukes? Did the popularity of the first two go to her head? Was she too focused on the making of the movie? Did she want to distance herself from the wildly popular series? Did Roth actually write this book???

Whatever the answers, I know that I cannot recommend this book to anyone. With that being said, when I am advising on what great books to read, I will still recommend Divergent and Insurgent. I will tell readers that making up what happens next is all the fun of reading.

As of now, I am referring to Allegiant as The Book That Must Not Be Named.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

If you are a fan of Hunger Games and Divergent, this book needs to be moved to the top of your "To Read" list!

The world has gone through wars, earthquakes, bio-terrorist attacks and other disasters. The nations have fallen apart and the United Commonwealth is in charge.

The story starts with Cia getting ready for her graduation day. She is nervous because she wants to be chosen for the Testing. Only a fewTesting candidates are chosen from each colony  to compete to be able to go to University. Cia's colony, Five Lakes, has not had any candidates chosen for a long time. Cia's own super intelligent brothers were not chosen.

At the graduation, there is no official, so no one thinks that anyone made it to the testing. However, the next day, an official shows up, after having mechanical trouble, to tell 4 students, Cia included, that they have been chosen as Testing candidates. They are required to leave the next day.

Before she leaves, Cia's dad, who has gone through the Testing, pulls her aside and tells her his thoughts about the Testing and that she should trust no one! People who have gone through the testing don't remember it, but suffer through nightmares and flashes of memory. His information turns her thoughts about the Testing to a new level!

From the moment the candidates are picked up, the Testing begins. Cia picks up on this. No one realized that the testing just wasn't on paper, but the Testing is about being what the United Commonwealth considers a good leader.

I reccommend this book for ages 10 and up. There is some violence but it does not detract from the story.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

No easy way out

No Easy Way Out

Dayna Lorentz' second installment in this series is just as engaging as the first. No Safety in Numbers introduced to a group of people who get caught in a disasterous situation. They all thought they were going to have a wonderful Saturday at the mall, but ended up being quarantined in the mall after being exposed to a biological bomb.

In No Easy Way Out everyone seems to have accepted the fact that they may be there awhile. The riots are over, and the Senator is trying to create order out of the chaos. There are assigned jobs, homes and duties. Of course, there are some rebels. The senator wants to keep the teen rebels in order so enlists the aid of one of them to help her keep tabs. But things against the new order are still happening? Is it just the teenagers? Or are there other factions out there?

Who can be trusted?

I recommend, of course, reading the first book. This book reminded me of a modern day Lord of the Flies. Fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer will enjoy this book. There is some violence and sex, but it does not detract or over power the story.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

So many books...

Since I have become a high school librarian I have read so many books! It is wonderful to be able to read wonderful young adult literature.
 
Of the ones I have read, I am going to write about the ones I can remember right now.

Please Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

In this book, a boy decides that he is going to kill his ex-best friend and then kill himself. He goes to school with his grandfather's Nazi pistol. The thing that struck me the most with this book was how all the warning signs were there. He gave presents to people who meant a lot to him, he drastically changed his appearance, he kept telling people "Good-bye". This book was really touching and I highly recommend it to all teachers! 

Wither

A great dystopian novel about what happens when we genetically alter our genes. First generations live to be a ripe old age, but their children and children's children die early. Girls die when they reach the age of 20 and boys die when they reach the age of 25.
Rhine is stolen to be the bride of a man whose father is a first generation. She befriends the first wife and the "sister wives". Then she falls in love with the servant Gabriel and they make a plan to run away.
I have just started the sequel.



Friday, August 16, 2013

Umremembered by Jessica Brody

Sometimes we want to forget our past. 16 year old Sera is trying to remember hers. She wakes up in the hospital and doesn't remember who she, where she is or how she ended up floating among the wreckage of Freedom Airlines flight 121.

Her story intrigues the nation and brings her lots of attention. She is placed with a foster family who care for her until her "real" family claims her.

The story is very intriguing and fast paced. I would recommend this book for readers 12 and up.