What are you reading January 2012?
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Thought I'd get a new thread started.
Just finished The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and give it a three-and-a-half. A little too melodramatic, but still enjoyable, much more so than Nothing but the Truth, the only other Avi book I've read and which I rather disliked.
I have a few African-American historical fictions I want to get on to (Bud, Not Buddy, Ninth Ward, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, the last of which I've been meaning to get to for ages), but I thought I'd go back to a little fantasy for a while with The Emerald Atlas.
I'm reading A Princess of Roumania, which is apparently YA. I'm a bit on the fence about it, and now that I know it's part of a series, I'm even more ambivalent.
@2> I read A Princess of Roumania way back, and I felt the same way about it you do. I've never gone on to the rest of the series, but I've got them around the house and I may get back to it some day (though I'll probably have to re-read the first book because I've largely forgotten it). I don't really care for alternate history anyway.
3 CurrerBell - I like some alternate history, but this book just seems all over the place. There seem to be two main characters and the second one - antagonist or villain or something, I don't even know, it's unclear - is just obnoxious, she is so thoughtless and self-centered (oh, I always act without thinking and figure out the purpose later...so let's burn down this lady's house! how about killing people! with no reasons or apparent relevance to the plot!).
When the story follows Miranda, it's interesting and I want to know what happens next. When it follows this other lady, I get bored quickly. I'm not sure how much longer I'll keep reading it.
>3, 4 : I too was not impressed with A princess of Roumania. I actually read it twice, because I was so sure I would love it that I thought I must have missed something to have not enjoyed it the first time. Nope. I didn't find Miranda or her motives very clearly drawn and so couldn't care about her as a heroine, and I also disliked the antagonist. I think she was meant to be drawn in shades of grey but I couldn't sympathise with her at all. I thought I liked Miranda's friends, but then they transformed and bore no resemblance to the people they were before. I did read the second book which was no improvement, and realised that this was one series I had to give up on.
I finished Beautiful Chaos on New Year's Day, and really liked it, not quite as much as the first book, but it was a great improvement on the second.
I really enjoyed Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, hope you get around to it soon. I read it very soon after re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird and thought the two stories resonated beautifully.
I remember really loving The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (I have a definite weakness for nautical stories) and finding Nothing But the Truth intensely irritating. I had picked up the latter because I really enjoyed the documentary style in Gary Crew's Strange Objects and was hoping for something similar (and didn't get it).
Started reading The girl who circumnavigated Fairyland . . . which I've been looking forward to for ages. The first four chapters are as good as I'd hoped.
I just read The Giver by Lois Lowry and I was really impressed. I believe that the book is about 20 years old but well worth reading!
7: I loved that book; it's one of my favorites from last year. Clever and satisfying.
8: I have a love/hate relationship with The Giver: Everyone seems so defeated (I wanted to smack everyone over the head-- wake up!), it's rather depressing, it has an ambiguous and ambivalent ending... and yet I really enjoyed it and find myself recommending it to friends.
I'm almost finished with Matched. It's a good solid dystopian, a very enjoyable read, but there isn't much action. It's almost all character development. Apparently the action comes in the second book?
ETA: What I wrote above might seem pretty "meh" but I really do like this one! It's much more fun and also much more serious than I expected. Recommended. :)
8,9>> Regarding The Giver, my own favorite in the trilogy is the second book, Gathering Blue, for the character of Kira. And while I think The Giver's a great book, there's that one scene in it where Jonas takes off his shirt and is touched by The Giver (as I recall it, though it's been a little while and I don't immediately recall right now the precise degree of undress). In fact, I was just discussing this with a sixth grade teacher at church this morning, and she's using The Giver in her class. Both of us agreed that it's important that kids reading this one be carefully instructed that it's never alright for a teacher to be touching students in that manner. It's a sufficiently recent book, too, that it's not just a case of something written in a "more innocent age."
20 CurrerBell - Seriously? In a society where there is no sex, you're upset by a teacher putting his hand on a boy's back?
11> Yes, I am. Precisely because it seems "alright" to do it. He tells the boy to take his shirt off and then does it as a form of "communication." I know most people are going to think I'm over-reacting, and with most children that's probably true, but it's the minority who don't realize this that worry me. There's a very real danger that this could be validating "grooming" for a small number of children. I have no problem with the depiction of infanticide and euthanasia as part of a dystopian world, precisely because they are depicted as wrong. But teachers do not put their hands on undressed children for "educational" purposes under any circumstance (this obviously doesn't include school nurses or other emergency occasions, but that's not what happened in the novel), and The Giver's actions are portrayed as appropriate, unlike infanticide or euthanasia.
My worry isn't for the vast majority of children but for those who could find the novel's depiction validating of abuse that has already occurred or at least of grooming that has begun. Ask yourself, what would you say if you heard of a current-day U.S. teacher who's had a pre-teen boy take his shirt off so the teacher could extensively touch the boy's back? This book is often used in later elementary school years, and these kids need to be alerted that it's not something that should be done in the real world.
And it may be happening already to some child. A teacher needs to be aware of the questions that could be raised by this incident in The Giver and be ready to respond to those questions appropriately. Again, this won't be most kids, but it's those who are affected who concern me.
Finished The girl who circumnavigated Fairyland . . . and loved it. When I saw how many of you put it on your best of the year list I had to bump it up my tbr pile, and I am so glad I did. Just a gorgeous book. And now I want a Wyverary!
I am reading all of the books by an epic author named Andrew Klavan.
Yesterday I started The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson at the recommendation of a couple coworkers. I'm loving it so far, and am glad I picked it up. The only Johnson I've read before is 13 Little Blue Envelopes, which I remember liking but not loving. I think I will definitely prefer this book, and I'm really liking Johnson's humorous writing.
I am going to be starting a book soon called Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. It's an ARC, so I have to review it by Febuary :)
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I've started on Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda. So far so good; the mystery events are already happening just a few pages in. I hope the pace keeps up.
#12 - I was recommended this book from 2 different people. The first one was a K-1 teacher and the second was a 12 yr old boy who was reading that book as assigned reading. I'll have to ask him tonight what they discussed in class.
Just finished The hotel under the sand by Kage Baker. It's a charming story in the tradition of the Oz books about a clever, brave girl who is swept away from all she knows and falls into adventure. Unlike Dorothy though, the heroine knows she can't go home again, which adds some poignancy to the fun. Recommended if you like Oz, Alice in Wonderland, or The girl who circumnavigated Fairyland.
Yesterday I found an ARC of Cinder at the second-hand bookshop, which has me very excited. Either that or Texas gothic will be my next YA read.
Last night I devoured Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood. I got the ARC as part of LT's Early Reviewer program and didn't have high hopes for it, but I was pleasantly surprised. It can be read as a paranormal romance, but it's so much more. I've been reading a lot of YA dystopian novels this past year, and it had the same feel although it is an alternate history and futuristic. It takes place before the turn of the twentieth century in a New England that is ruled by the Brotherhood - a group of religious leaders who overthrew the witches over a hundred years ago and who now govern the people with an iron fist. Women are not allowed to be educated or have jobs - when they turn 17 they must either marry or join the Sisterhood, a group of women who carry out the Lord's good works. Cate and her sisters are witches who would be imprisoned or worse if their secret was revealed. Three years ago, Cate promised her dying mother to protect her sisters, but now Cate is almost 17 and fears that whatever choice she makes, she will be separated from her sisters.
The love triangle in this story reminds me of the one in Matched, but the romance isn't the main focus of the story. There's a forbidding prophesy, like in Harry Potter, but things aren't nearly as black and white in this world. The Victorian era setting and the themes are similar to A Great and Terrible Beauty, but this feels more real and less like fantasy. I really enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it.
I chose to read Texas gothic this weekend, and loved it. It was so refreshing to read a YA paranormal that is humourous rather than angsty and where although the heroine is instantly attracted to the guy, it takes a long while ( and a lot of bickering) before they actually get together. I also like that the heroine's sister and the group of university students play important roles in the book; it's not just a lone protagonist and her love against the forces of evil.
Cinder will be my next YA read, but I have a couple of other books to finish before I get to it. Also, I found Forever and Blood Red Road at the library so they will likely jump ahead of some other things on my tbr pile.
>28 I've got Cinder, too, and look forward to starting it soon. Hope it's as good as it sounds.
I just started The Scorpio Races which I've heard excellent things about. Interesting but not amazing so far, but I'm not that far into it yet.
I finished Cinder yesterday and I really enjoyed it. Obviously there's some predictability in the story, since it's a retelling of Cinderella, but the futuristic/science fiction aspects of the tale did much to keep it fresh. If anything else, I want a droid like Cinder's -- she was a riot.
I also finished Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, both of which I loved. The former I think would appeal to readers who enjoy reading books with multi-layered plots or those featuring underdog kind of characters, like those found in (surprise, surprise) Markus Zusak's Underdogs or pretty much anything by John Green. The latter made me jealous that my airplane experiences have only included puking children and crying babies and not witty conversations with adorable, quirky English boys.
I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns and Scorpio Races over the long weekend, after having them on my Kindle for a couple of weeks. Girl had a slow start but really turned out pretty good, though I think it owes a debt to The Hero and the Crown. I recommend it highly nevertheless. Scorpio was even better -- it really has the feel of something classic and if it doesn't win a prize of some kind it will be a major injustice.
The night circus was one of my favourite books from last year!
>33: I've heard good things about both those titles . . . more books to look for at the library.
#35- The Night Circus is a new favorite and definitely the best January read so far!
I'm reading City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare and Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula by Elise Stokes. Before these, I was reading Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson and a memior titled American Wop: Beaver Buffalo Buttons Brass Boxing and Beer: That's why you're here! by Jack Tar.
I am reading Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes. Its my reading assignment right now and im only halfway through it. It is good i like it . Its about this adult born with a mental problem and then he becomes so smart
Having finished Ninth Ward and definitely giving it five ***** (oh, maybe 4.99 stars, just to keep it slightly below One Crazy Summer), I've started Bud, Not Buddy.
While I personally much prefer "strong girl" books, I notice that a character from Bud, Not Buddy apparently returns as the title character in the new The Mighty Miss Malone, which I'm anxious to read, so I want to read Bud, Not Buddy first. It's pretty good so far.
Cailiosa & Sakerfalcon,
I've just picked up Texas Gothic off of my TBR pile at both of your recommendations and I'm really loving it already! The Texas Hill Country is one of my favorite areas, and I'm enjoying Amy's snark, Ben's Wranglers and Phin's eccentricity.
>40: Phin is awesome isn't she! I really liked that the author wrote such good supporting characters to back up the leads.
I read Cinder this weekend, and really enjoyed it, although maybe not quite as much as I thought I would. Cinder was a little bit flat as a heroine for me, and I guessed the big reveal quite early on. But I loved Iko, and hope we are able to see her again in the sequels, and I thought the world building was intriguing. The technicalities of Cinder's cyborg nature were well-handled, although I was confused about how her hair wouldn't interfere with opening the little door in the back of her head. At some point, I hope the action moves to the moon, so we can see first-hand what things are like there.
I also read Forever, to finish up the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. It was okay, I like that Stiefvater didn't tie everything up into a perfect happy ending, but I felt that the characters lacked urgency as regards the wolf hunt. They know they only have 14 days in which to act, but instead on working on their plan, they are busy doing other things. I know for dramatic reasons the plan had to intersect with the hunt, but I thought in real life, they wouldn't have risked cutting it so close. All in all, this trilogy was not as bad as the first book made me think, but it's still not one I will go back to.
I just started Dash & Lily's Book of Dares and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised by how much I am enjoying it! Some parts are LOL funny. I am only 40 pages into the book but high hopes that it continues!
I read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, and Chime by Franny Billingsley. All fine reads. Although I liked Dead End - funny, clever, and quirky - I loved A Monster Calls. So sad but so beautiful. I liked Chime and Divergent enough to anticipate the sequels. Next on the list are Swamplandia and The Night Circus! Thanks for all the great ideas!
TerriL: I too loved A Monster Calls and I was hoping it would get a nod at the youth media awards, but it didn't. It definitely deserved it, in my opinion. Both Chime and Divergent were some of the best books I read last year. I know the sequel to Divergent, Insurgent, is coming out this May, but I didn't know there was going to be a sequel to Chime (though I would love it if there were one in the works). It seemed pretty self-contained to me.
I finished up Long Lankin at about 2:00 this morning and it was well worth it. I don't normally like horror, but this one, which is based off of a particularly gruesome English folk ballad, scared the pants off me in a good way. I think at one point it had me crying and clutching my cat like a little girl (I don't know if that says more about how frightening the story was, or how much of a wimp I am).
I am almost finished with The Goddess Test! I tabled all my other reads since this booked completely sucked me in! Can't wait for the next one to come out March 2012! YAY!
>45 kwidhalm, so glad you liked The Goddess Test. It's in my huge TBR. My TBR is so scary big.
The kids are I are currently listening to Finally by Wendy Mass and we're all enjoying it. I've been able to put my concerned mom-me aside to laugh really hard at some of the injuries the poor main character has suffered. Don't know if this book counts as YA or still children's - the main character is 12.
I finished Texas Gothic and really enjoyed it. I'd like more college-age YA, please! Also, it was nice to not see insta-love and a pair of siblings that got along for all their squabbling. Very refreshing. Also - hooray for secondary romance with the yummy Latino boy. Is it too much to hope for a sequel for Phin?
I moved on to The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which I had heard great things about and found myself really enjoying a lot of the quirky wordplay (inpeas and gruntled and such) and the idea of the panopticon. But I didn't really like the romantic angle and the power-tripping wasn't really for me. Still well worth reading (and a refreshing change from what I had expected, which was another Prep).
I really liked The Name of the Star. Rory was quirky and funny and smart. I loved the fact that she was Southern and not a whiny 'Southern belle'. It was really amusing to see her take to England because of the fried foods and stuff.
I hope you enjoy it! Let us know what you think.
I enjoyed The Name of the Star as well. It was such a fun book! I'm assuming there's going to be a sequel to it -- has anyone heard anything about when it'll be out?
i was way late getting to the Book Thief..but it is one of the best books in any category that I've read in a long, long time. How the Mistakes were made was also very enjoyable - though it helps if you are familiar w/ a bit of recent pop history (the DC hardcore scene + NW post Nirvana grunge). From a woman musician's POV.
54> I've finished both. For someone who very definitely prefers strong girl characters, I nevertheless found Bud, Not Buddy the better book. Deza's an absolutely charming character, but I think a little too charming (aside from her occasional missteps like confusing "geological" with "geographical"), maybe even a bit Pollyanna-ish. I'd give The Mighty Miss Malone four stars (by no means a put-down) but I'd give Bud, Not Buddy four-and-a-half.
I'm passing both books on to a young woman at my church, in her first year as a teacher (sixth grade) at an inner-city school in Philadelphia. I'll be curious to hear her reaction and those of her students. I've already passed on books like One Crazy Summer (multiple copies, now that it's out in paperback) and Ninth Ward and she tells me the girls in particular have to have a "lottery" to see who gets to read some of these first!
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