Saturday, September 20, 2008

How to Be Bad ****

Lockhart, E., Sarah Mlynowski and Lauren Myracle. How to be Bad. 2008.

Three girls go on a road trip to see one of their boyfriends who has gone off to college. Jesse works at the Waffle House with the other two girls. Her mother has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is a very strict Christian and judges others around her for their choices. Vicks' boyfriend Brady just went off to college a few weeks earlier and the only time he has contacted her so far was with one text message in the middle of the night. Mel, a rich girl and hostess at the Waffle House, just moved to Florida from Canada and doesn't have any friends. She gets invited on the road trip because she offers to pay for it. All three go for different reasons and by the end they learn about themselves and each other. Along they way they have some adventures and break a few laws.

Recommended for fans of these three authors. The book is really about female friendship, so fans of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants should enjoy this one too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ivy ***

Hearn, Julie. Ivy. 2008.

This story takes place in London in the early 1800s. Ivy's family is poor and makes it's living in dishonest ways. When she is little, she is taken away from her family by Carroty Kate, a woman who comes from a gang of criminals worse than her own family. They use her to help them rob people, particularly other children. When Kate dies, Ivy ends up back with her family again. Ivy ends up as an artists model for a rich artist but his mother hates her immediately and does everything she can to be rid if her. Ivy has a problem with laudanum, which is a liquid that was put into water and would put a person to sleep. It's a drug that could easily kill a person if taken improperly.

There were aspects of the story that didn't make sense to me, which I won't write about here because I don't want to give away anything about the plot or characters. Certain things that were in the book didn't add to the story at all and left me wondering why they were in there at all. This book won't disappoint fans of historical fiction, but other readers might not find much to like about it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sunrise Over Fallujah ***

Myers, Walter Dean. Sunrise Over Fallujah. 2008.

I had high hopes for this book, but it did fall a little short. It had been called the Fallen Angels for this generation, but Fallen Angels was far superior in my opinion. For anyone not aware, Fallen Angels was written by Myers a long time ago about the Vietnam War.

This book is just like Fallen Angels but for some reason it just didn't have the same feeling. The novel centers around Birdy (his real name is Robin) and his fellow members of the Civilian Affairs Unit. The aren't infantry, their job is to try to be nice to the locals and help them out. Birdy is from Harlem and his family is really irritated with him for joining the Army after 9/11. His father wanted him to go to college and be an accountant. Birdy seems to send a lot of letters to his Uncle Richie who had served in the Vietnam War. Birdy gets close to Jonesy and Marla, two people in his unit. There are other people, but he seems to not really talk to many of them or have any sort or relationship with them.

It's probably common sense that at least one person is going to die, and I won't spoil that for you. I would recommend this book for anyone wondering what it is like to be over there fighting this war. It did have a lot of detail, some of it disturbing so anyone that reads it will learn a lot. It is worth reading for this reason alone since it is informative.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society *****

Shaffer, Mary Ann and Annie Barrows. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. 2007.

This is an adult book appropriate for YAs. At that present time, this novel has been on the NYT Bestseller list for several weeks.

This is one of the cutest books I have read in a great while. Juliet, an author is looking for the next thing to write about when she begins a correspondence with a Literary Society on the island of Guernsey, which is in the English Channel and had been occuppied by the Nazis during World War II. The novel, which takes place in the time just after the war, takes the form of letters to and from Juliet to her editor, her best friend, and to the members of this Literary Society. They write to her about how their Society was formed during the Nazi occupation and why. Eventually, Juliet decides to visit Guernsey and her pen pals.

The book is somewhat predictable at least as far as how it is going to end, but that's not really a problem. The real point of the book is to fun and entertaining, and it succeeds at that.

Geek Magnet ****

Scott, Kieran. Geek Magnet: A Novel in Five Acts. 2007

KJ is the stage manager of her school's Spring Musical and she has one big problem-- she is a geek magnet. She doesn't lack for male attention but she seems to get all the guys she DOESN'T want, while the one guy she wants doesn't seem to know she is alive. There is Fred, her neighbor who has been following her around for years. Then there is Andy, her Assistant Stage Manager. Then there is Glenn, the kid on the light crew who stares only at her boobs and touches her inappropriately.

Tama, one of the popular girls who happens to have a lead in the play is friends with Cameron, the love of KJ's life. Tama manages to get Cameron interested in KJ. She also offers to help KJ get rid of her guy problem by teaching her to be mean. She manages to get the geeks to back off, but she ends up hurting a lot of feelings along the way and also manages to alienate herself from her best friend and most of the cast in the process.

Meanwhile, KJs father is an alcoholic. He drinks every day and is often mean. The entire family is on eggshells trying to keep him from flying off the handle. Her younger brother Chris is a mess all the time and her mother seems to be oblivious. The alcoholism seems to take a backseat to the whole drama of the musical and doesn't get the treatment it might deserve. I guess the point of the novel was to be fun, so the focus was more on the musical drama and not on the social issues. It makes me wonder if it really needed to be in there to begin with, but that's just a small criticism and it doesn't take away from the novel at all.