Monday, August 14, 2006

Copper Sun *****

Draper, Sharon. Copper Sun. 2006.

I have enjoyed other works by this author such as Forged by Fire, Darkness Before Dawn, Romiette and Julio and so on. I don't think I have read anything by this author I have disliked. When I saw she had a new book out and that it had received a starred review in School Library Journal, I was excited to get my hands on a copy. I put it on reserve at my public library at the beginning of summer and it just now came in. So, either someone had it for a really long time, or it has been popular!

This book is about the slave experience in the late 1700s. Amari is 15 and is living a happy life in Africa until her entire village is destroyed by white men and the neighboring Ashanti. All of the older people are killed and the younger ones are marched to the coast where they are shipped off to the American colonies. She arrives in America and is sold to Derby Farms where she has a master that is worse than most. She is really the birthday present for the 16 year old son, and he uses her for sex. In between section about Amari are sections about Polly, a white girl that comes to the farm at the same time as an indentured servant. Her indenture is 14 years but she thinks at the end of it, she will become a lady. She hates slaves and thinks she is far better than them even though she works side by side with them and have to also live in slave quarters.

This was a great account of life as a slave and the desire to be free. Unlike many, Amari's spirit was never broken and she yearned to be free and fight for it. This account was interesting in that it not only looked at Amari's experience but it also looked at Polly's perspective too, in turn, so that readers could get a feeling for what white people thought of the slaves, not just what it was like to be a slave. This was a very well written novel and I recommend it for all readers. It is not only a moving book, but readers will also learn something, which is always nice bonus.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How I Live Now ****

Rosoff, Meg. How I Live Now. 2004.

This was a well written book about a girl, Daisy, that decides to get away from her father and evil step mother by going to stay with her aunt and her children in England. She is immediately accepted into the family. She begins to have a mental connection with Edmond, her cousin, and can read his mind and vice versa. They begin to have a physical relationship. Then Aunt Penn goes off to Oslo for a business trip and the war begins. Aunt Penn is stranded in Norway and the children are left alone. Eventually, their house is taken over by the army. Daisy is sent with Piper to live in the county while the others are sent to another farm, far away.

The story is about survival and love. While I enjoyed the book, there is a major ewww factor here because she not only falls in love with her cousin, but she has sex with him many times. I felt that was odd and sort of inappropriate, especially since no one else in the book seemed to have a problem with it either. But, other than that, it was a great novel and certainly well worth reading. It also won the Printz Award, so you know it has to be good!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

How I Paid for College *****

Acito, Marc. How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship, and Musical Theatre. 2004.

This is an adult book appropriate for YAs. It received a lot of acclaim, including being voted one of the Top 10 Novels for Teens by students for the American Library Association.

This novel takes place in the 1980s. Not only is it the 80s, but Edward and his friends are theatre kids, so they are somewhat, uhm, theatric. Anyway, Edward's dream is to attend Julliard and become an actor. After his father suddenly marries someone, he changes his mind and says he will only pay for college if Edward will major in business. Majoring in business is the worst thing Edward can think of. Luckily, he has a year to raise the $10,000 he needs to pay for freshman year. He resorts to working, stealing, and blackmail. Meanwhile, his group of friends are coming of age and experimenting with sex.

Highly recommended for anyone looking for a funny book, because this one is hilarious. The protagonist is hysterical and his outlook on things will leave you in stitches. One of the blurbs on the back of the book stated it would be a great graduation present, and I have to agree with that. It's a great book for any senior, really, as they go through the struggles of applying for, and figuring out how they are going to pay for, college.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Born to Rock ****

Korman, Gordon. Born to Rock 2006.

This is a great novel that will probably appeal most to boys.

Leo is a bit of a stuffed shirt and he is the President of the Young Republicans at school. He is headed to Harvard in the Fall on a scholarship, but due to a misundestanding, he is accused to cheating on a test. He is still able to go to school there but he has lost his scholarship. Without the scholarship, he simply can't afford to go.

Then Leo figures out a way to go to school. He has always known the name of his biological father, but he didn't realize that his father was a famous (and rich!) punk artist from the 80s. The inlikely happens and Marion X Murphy a.k.a. King Maggot invites Leo along on their summer tour as a roadie. Along the way there is some behind the scenes stuff including sex and drugs and backstabbing while Leo tries to get to know his father and then finagle $40,000 out of him.

Male readers will enjoy the story because of the whole subplot of following the band around all summer. Highly recommended.