Thursday, 27 August 2009

Scribbler of Dreams by Mary E. Pearson



Title:
Scribbler of Dreams
Author:
Mary E. Pearson
Summary: Like the rest of her family, 17-year-old Kait Malone blames the Crutchfields for everything, particularly now that her father's in jail for killing Robert Crutchfield in what the Malones claim was an accident. Money is short, because the Malones refuse to sell any of their land, so Kait and her sister must transfer to the public high school under assumed names. And then the unthinkable happens: Kait falls head over heels in love with a beautiful boy named Bram--who turns out to be a Crutchfield. As their romance deepens, Kait's lies about her identity grow ever more complicated. She clings to her conviction that the Crutchfields are monsters--except for Bram--although this belief grows harder and harder to sustain as she meets his family.

I'm not really sure what to say about this book, it's not going to be a bad review but it's not particularly a good one either.

It wasn't awful, I just found it kind of a drag to get through... I didn't like the main character that much, there was actually only a few characters out of the whole book that I did like.

It was really, really dull and annoying being inside her head, her thoughts revolved almost entirely in some way around the ridiculous feud with the Crutchfields and I guess it really bothered me that her character was the kind of person to listen to other peoples judgements instead of making up her own mind about people (at least until later in the book, where she's forced to realise that things aren't always as black and white as they seem) and for a long time she was so judgemental of an entire family she didn't even know -- just add the last name Crutchfield and she'd instantly hate you.

It especially bothered me that her family was actually the least justified one in the whole feud, really, I think the Crutchfields have more reason to hate the Malones than the other way round (and even then, I think it's silly) and also, the way she was okay with the fact that the thing she was raised to believe had started the feud was really, really stupid -- back in the days when the feud started, sure, the reaction from people would be undestrandable but Kaitlin wasn't raised over a hundred years ago so it made me want to hit her any time she would mention the reason the feud started because she was so unbelievably judgemental about something that nowadays, she really shouldn't have been.

Now, she wasn't the only character in the book guilty of that and she did get it right eventually but it was still incredibly annoying to read about and she was really quite a dull character which disappointed me a little because she likes to write and usually that would interest me because I do too... we see little excerpts of what she writes, but I was even bored by that.

I like the character of Bram, but even he was quite dull at times and for a romance story, it seemed to miss out on the very best part of falling in love -- the falling part. It was all too fast, usually I could deal with that but there wasn't enough of them together and when they were together, the romantic moments were just always that really, romance... they weren't fun, the romance stuff is good in moderation but there wasn't really any of that fun young/new love side to their relationship or at least not that I picked up on.

I admit, the reason I picked this book up was because of the Romeo and Juliet comparison but aside from the feuding families, there wasn't really any of the things thrown in that make me adore Romeo and Juliet (suicide not included) type stories.

I know I said this wasn't a bad review and so far all I've done is list what I didn't like about it but that's because it's harder to explain the things I didn't hate about it, but I'll try.

When I don't like the main character it has a huge impact on how I will view the story, but even though I don't like Kaitlin, she was kind of realistic -- she made mistakes and she learned from them and although I don't particularly like her, I did like how realistic her character was. And the story did have it's sweet moments.

One of the other reviewers, Leah, has told me she has read this book and that she loved it so don't let what I've said about the book put you off reading it, you may agree with me or you may end up loving it. :]

I think you can read the first chapter of it on Amazon, you should check it out and see if it draws you in.

Later.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Old Skool Favourites (2): Junie B. Jones




Title: Junie B. Jones
Author: Barbara Park

(This is like a series review, btw.)

I really love this meme, mostly because we get to review the books that first got us into reading.

Do you guys remember (or have heard of) Junie B.? I've read almost every book.

When I first started reading, my mom introduced me to this series. At first I liked them because they were simple: short, easy to read, simple diction and easy vocabulary. But then I got into the story itself. I loved Junie B.'s (never forget that B.!) erratic and eccentric nature, hated May because she was portrayed as the annoying popular kid, even if the books were centered around a younger age group, and I hated Lucille(?)'s snobby tendencies. I laughed with the jokes and got sad when Junie B. had a fight with her friends.

Then, I really liked them because I could relate with Junie. I loved every book about her that I could get my hands on. Now, I can appreciate the cleverness of the writing. When I was little, I thought these books were hilarious. I used to sit and read them in school and at home and be giggling my little ass off.

The antics Junie B. got into were the fun things I wished I could do but was too scared too. I sort of lived through her adventures. I never thought like her, but the things she thought or said always amused me, and they still do.

Now that I'm older I've outgrown these books and moved on. But I still have a seperate box in the storage room for one of the stories that first got me into reading.

Sorry this is a bit short and sort of crappy, I can't remember much of Junie B. and I'm due to babysit.

Did you ever read Junie B.? What are some of the books that framed your childhood?

-Mari.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Old Skool Favourites (1): The Lifeguard

I was discussing possible memes we could do on the blog, with Mari, to get us posting more often, and this was one of the ones we thought would be fun.

I'm not sure if any other bloggers have started a meme like this or not, but the general idea is to review a books that you used to love when you were younger, you know the ones, the ones that made you fall in love with reading.

If you all like this, I'll do some more posts like this because there's quite a lot of books I could review for this -- let me know in the comments if you want me to continue with this meme and feel free to tell me in the comments or on your own blog what some of your old skool favourite books are. :]

Now, onto the review. The book I chose was:

Title: The Lifeguard
Author: Richie Tankerlsey Cusick
Summary: Kelsey's summer should have been paradise - a holiday on Beverly Island, complete with sun-drenched beaches and gorgeous lifeguards. But Kelsey's dream holiday quickly turns into a nightmare. It starts with the note from a girl who's missing. And there have been a number of suspicious drownings.
Released in 1991

When I was younger, I absolutely adored Point Horror books and I still have a cringe-worthy amount of them on my book shelves (well, it would be cringe-worthy if I was ashamed to admit my love for them, but, alas, I'm not) and The Lifeguard is definitely one of my favourites out of them all.

It's one of those books that I've reread multiple times, I'll reread my favourite Point Horror books every couple of years because I've forgotten a lot of what happens in them but I can still remember loving them. With this one, each time I reread it, I'm still surprised by some of the twists in the story.

The main character, Kelsey is really awesome, you feel fear when she does and you latch onto her and get dragged along on her emotional roller coaster with her throughout the story.

Something else I loved about this book was the ending, I obviously can't tell you what it is because that would spoil it, but it surprised me which doesn't happen really often with me, I have a habit of guessing how books like this are going to end, who the bad guy is going to be and all of that and usually I'm quite accurate but I wasn't even close with this (granted, I was a kid when I first read it, but still.)

I really like the way Richie writes, all of the characters, even the minor ones seem very real and although it's been a while since I've reread it (a fact I kind of want to change after writing this review), I remember that the way she described the story, it just made it so easy to picture everything -- the setting and characters were really clear in my mind and I love it when that happens.

I should wrap this up and stop gushing now, but I recommend to anyone that likes thriller type stories... because of the age range the book is for, there isn't any heavy romance or anything in the story, but there are hints of it in the story and it's just really sweet -- I first read this when I was about 12 and I still love it now, 8 years later. Books like this one are the ones that made me realise that reading was fun.

Later.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


A most untraditional love story, this is the celeberated tale of Henry
DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who involuntarily travels through
time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course.
Henry and Clare's passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures
them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in
the bonds of love.
-via back of the book

I love Rachel McAdams. And, I'm not gonna lie, the guy that plays Henry is pretty damned gorgeous. Knowing I wanted to see the movie but also having a rule that says if I know there's a book before watching the movie, I must read the book first. So a few weeks ago, I did.

Oh. My. God.

This story is unlike anything I've ever read, thought I'd write, even contemplated as a story. It's written in a journal-like format, going back and forth between Clare and Henry. I dislike journal formatting but I completely changed my mind reading this book. It was just SO amazing and I read it in two sittings.

And it's long, as in 536 pages long. Impressive, right? But it doesn't SEEM like 536 pages because of the formatting. I never, ever, ever wanted this story to end and would LOVE a sequel but don't see any reason why there would be one. It'd just be bleh, you know?

But I must be fair and warned you; I cried. A lot. Hysterically. Several times. I read the last
pages through tears and it was so touching and GUH.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It's tied for my favorite with Pride and Prejudice and surpasses every Jodi Picoult book I've read (why am I doing Young Adult Fiction Reviews...even if this isn't YA? Hmm).

This will probably be my last review for a while because I've got a bunch of classics lined up, partially for school and partially for myself and I'm sure nobody really wants to read reviews about classics right now. But I do need to take a moment to SQUEE. If any of you love Meg Cabot, she said today on her twitter that she's working on the FOURTH book in the size 12 Is Not Fat/Heather Wells series. Just so you know.

-Julie

P.S. I don't know what's up with the weird formatting of cramming all the paragraphs together. I can't fix it either.

In My Mailbox (1)

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren.

Alright, this is the first time I'm doing this...we'll try to do it every week.

Title: Rumors
Author: Anna Godbersen.

The second book in the Luxe series.

As rumors fly about the untimely demise of New York's brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, all eyes are on those closest to the dearly departed: her sister, Diana, the family's only hope for redemption; Henry Schoonmaker, the flame Elizabeth never extinguished; Penelope Hayes, poised to claim all that her best friend left behind; even Elizabeth's former maid, Lina Broud, who discovers that while money matters and breeding counts, gossip is the new currency. In this delicious sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Luxe, nothing is more dangerous than a scandal . . . or more precious than a secret.

I have to admit I kind of hated the Luxe but I'm giving the series another chance. I've heard it gets better in this one.






Title: Interview with the Vampire
Author: Anne Rice

Having suffered a tremendous personal loss, an 18th-century Louisiana plantation owner named Louis Pointe du Lac descends into an alcoholic stupor. At his emotional nadir, he is confronted by Lestat, a charismatic and powerful vampire who chooses Louis to be his fledgling. The two prey on innocents, give their "dark gift" to a young girl, and seek out others of their kind (notably the ancient vampire Armand) in Paris.

SO excited for this one - I've been wanting to read a bit of Anne Rice for a while now and this one was on sale. I just hope Ms. Rice's writing can live up to the reputation and good words I've heard so much about. Whenever that happens, the books tend to be a disappointment. :/




Title: Wicked
Author: Gregory Maguire

I had such trouble finding a summary for this, so this will have to do:

An astonishingly rich re-creation of the land of Oz, this book retells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, who wasn't so wicked after all. Taking readers past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world rich with imagination and allegory, Gregory Maguire just might change the reputation of one of the most sinister characters in literature.

Ever since I watched clips/songs from the play I decided I had to read the book behind it all. I am truly anxious to read the esteemed work of Maguire, and I hope it's even better than the play.




Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it's hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.
Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary's mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

After a lot of (ahem) persuasion (-cough-pressuring-cough-) from a few of my friends, I finally picked this up yesterday. It's the first in a series, and though the summary kind of sucks, I'm told it's actually quite good. I'll be reading this one next.





Title: Legacy
Author: Kate Brian

The price of power...

After Cheyenne Martin's death, everyone at Easton Academy is struggling to recover from yet another tragedy--especially the girls of Billings Hall. With Cheyenne gone, they need to elect a new leader. And who better than Reed Brennan, the ultimate Billings Girls?

As the new Billings president, Reed suddenly has access to power she never imagined. Gossip is reported to her immediately, she has first dibs on everything from dining tables to dorm rooms, and Billings's most powerful alumnae are at her beck and call. So when Easton's students discover they're the only prep school on the East Coast not invited to this year's all-inclusive Legacy party, everyone turns to Reed to get them back on the list. Reed is the most powerful girl at Easton. She revels in her newfound status, but knows better than anyone that the Bilings leaders have a tainted legacy: Ariana was institutionalized, Noelle was expelled, and Cheyenne just died. History has a way of repeating itself at Easton, and now that Reed has everything she's ever wanted, she has everything to lose.

This one has been on my list for quite some time - it's a Private novel. I still have so much more to read, but all of the books have been so amazing I'm sure this one will be just the same.





Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath

Plath was an excellent poet but is known to many for this largely autobiographical novel. The Bell Jar tells the story of a gifted young woman's mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in the early 1950s. The real Plath committed suicide in 1963 and left behind this scathingly sad, honest and perfectly-written book, which remains one of the best-told tales of a woman's descent into insanity.

I have heard so much about this book and I'm just itching to read it. Stunning reviews say it's well written and very touching.






Well, that's all.

-Mari.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (Series [so far] review)

I am going to try to keep this as spoiler free as possible. BUT! If I do include spoilers, they will be in white, and you can highlight to read them.

So - here we go - a book-by-book review of Pretty Little Liars.


This is the first book in the series, Pretty Little Liars, and it has Spencer Hastings on the cover.

The first book in a series is often the most important one - besides the last one. The first book has to grip the reader and pull them into the book's world - and make them want to read more.

This first book does that, and more. My friend recommended it and once I started it, I couldn't stop until I'd devoured every book that is out right now.

The book focuses on four girls: Spencer Hastings, an OCD, hard-working, top-of-the-class, competitive girl. She has a lot of family problems - her sister, Melissa, is their parents' favourite and Spencer often gets treated badly. Spencer and Melissa are always competing, from their grades, to sports, to boys. Spencer's memory is a bit blurry about the night her ex-best friend, Alison DiLaurentis, disappeared, but we see flashes of what happened eventually.

Aria Montgomery (forgive me if I misspell any character's name) she's an outgoing, unique, artsy girl. After Ali went missing, Aria's family packed up and moved to Iceland. Aria hates the Typical Rosewood kind of person. Her family is messed up too, after all, her father hooked up with one of his students, and eventually he leaves Ella, her mother, for Meredith, the student, and breaks the family apart. Worse - Ella can't even bring herself to look at Aria when she learns Aria knew about her father's affair.

Emily Fields - Emily is very sporty, insecure, and kind of a push-over. Her family is super strict, and when Emily suddenly doesn't know whether she likes guys or girls, everything falls apart. Her parents even try sending her to a "gay correction camp" and even go as far as to banish her to her cousins in Iowa to "fix" her. Overall, Emily sort of annoys me. She doesn't make up her mind, and she lets everyone walk all over her.

Hanna Marin - Hanna is constantly obsessed with popularity and her weight. She's a loser turned most-popular-girl at Rosewood, and would do anything to make sure she doesn't free-fall back to who she used to be. She's very insecure - especially since her dad moved away to find a brand new family, including a stick thin, beautiful, Ali-like new daughter.

The book mentions another girl - one that is presumed to have been murdered. Ali. Ali knew all their secrets, and she once was the most popular girl ever - everyone wanted to be or be with Ali. She kept quite a few secrets herself, and even though she's supposedly dead, she's definitely not forgotten.

Anyway, so Ali went missing. Then, three years later, Aria moves back to Rosewood, and suddenly all four girls are getting texts, emails, and notes from a mysterious anonymous person called "A." A knows all their secrets, and knows everything they do, spies/stalks them, and even uses them as pawns in her/his chess game to ruin all four of them for good.

At first, they think "A" is Alison, but then her body is found in the hole in her old backyard.

The main plots of the novel are figuring out who "A" is, and who killed Ali. However, the novel has romance, suspense, drama, mystery...It's like everything in one.

In the first book, we learn quite a few of these girls' secrets - and we see them go above and beyond to ensure their secrets stay hidden. They aren't good girls - they get up to some particularly nasty stuff.

At the end of each book, there is a letter from "A." These are super fun to read. "A" is clever, funny, and deliciously diabolical.



The second book, Flawless, has Hanna Marin on the cover.

The second book has all the mystery and drama of the first one. As we start it, Aria's mom hates her, Emily's parents shun her, Hanna is losing her place at the top, and Spencer is just plain confused.

In the second book we learn more about The Jenna Thing something that had happened before Ali went missing. We also get a closer look at Toby Cavanaugh, Jenna Cavanaugh's brother. Toby always knew what happened the night of The Jenna Thing, but Ali had scared him into secrecy by threatening to tell everyone his secret. And it's one Toby definitely didn't want to get out.

Slowly, Aria's life turns upside down. Mike hates her, soon, too, because he finds out what she knew. She ends up having to move in the next book out of her own home to please her mom - who still can't look at her.

Hanna is trying to secure her relationship with Sean by having sex with him - but Sean doesn't seem interested in her. In fact, he's more interested in Aria.Hanna basically throws herself at him, and then he dumps her. She proceeds to get wasted and crash his dad's car.Hanna already had trouble with the law - starting from when the footage of her stealing was turned into the police, and she doesn't know how her mom can get her out of this one...

Spencer is getting more and more confused. "A" is also hinting at who Ali's killer is.

Emily gets closer and closer to Toby - and Aria, Hanna, and Spencer are starting to get convinced that Toby was the one who killed Ali AND that he's "A." Emily ends up in a car alone with him, and she figures it out as well. Unfortunately, they were all wrong, and their mistake cost Toby his life...



The third book, Perfect, has Aria Montgomery on the cover.

At the beginning of each book - we get glimpses of what the girls' lives were like when Ali was still around. In this glimpse, we get the sense that Ali was hiding something.

Aria has to move out of her house, Hanna is losing Mona because her old friends keep showing up, Spencer realizes she has memories that she completely forgot out of trauma - and they come back, and "A" outs Emily's big secret.

Emily's parent's actually send her to Tree Tops - a camp where they "correct" people who are "like that." Once Emily realizes the program doesn't work, she goes after Maya, the girl she'd fallen for. Her mom finds her, and then Emily is going to get shipped off to Iowa.

Spencer is getting swamped with school, and A tempts her to steal one of Melissa's econ essays and turning it in as her own. Spencer figures it won't change anything - but that changes when her teacher nominates her for a Golden Orchid, an esteemed award. A then holds it over Spencer's head, threatening to tell if Spencer says anything.

Mona, Hanna's best friend, suddenly drops Hanna when she thinks that Hanna is dropping her. A then tricks Hanna into going to Mona's birthday party - the one she was uninvited to, and Mona humiliates her. On her way home, Hanna gets a text from A...except the number isn't blocked this time. And it's a number she knows.

The puzzle pieces start to fit together, and we learn that one of these girls might've been responsible for what happened to Ali.



The fourth book, Unbelievable, has Emily Fields on the cover.

Emily is shipped off to Iowa to her super-Puritan-strict cousins to get her "fixed." But Iowa isn't so innocent. And besides, look on the bright side! A couldn't possibly get to her here, right? Wrong.

Spencer's a fraud - but her parents don't seem to care, as long as she keeps pretending the essay is hers. Melissa starts acting strangely, especially where the night Ali was murdered is concerned...

In the last book, Hanna got hit by a car after she figured out who A was - completely losing her memory of that night. Awh, damn. Now how will we figure everything out?! But Mona starts getting notes, and getting closer to Spencer. She conveniently forgets to tell Hanna about what really happened at her party...But memories seem to always come back here in Rosewood, and you'll never believe what happens at the end of this book.

Aria lost her boyfriend, and the man of her dreams. She is forced to live with her dad and his mistress, Meredith. And we find something out about Jenna and Ali - they might have been friends?

This book's ending is so delicious and shocking - I almost want to tell you all about it. But I won't. ;P




Wicked has Spencer Hastings on the cover.

Mona is dead. A should be gone. Everything should be fine, right? Wrong!

Finally, someone is in jail for Ali's murder. But what if he didn't do it? What if he's innocent? In Rosewood, you just never know.

Emily's family has finally accepted her for who she is - but now she isn't so sure about Maya.

Since Spencer spilled the beans about the stolen essay her family hates her.

Hanna's suffering, obviously. And now she has to live with her dad AND his perfect new daughter Kate. Who can she trust?

So Aria's father is getting married to Meredith and her mom asks her to move back in. She meets Xavier - an artist that she immediately likes. It turns out Xavier is her mother's new boyfriend - and he's totally creepy.

Emily meets Isaac, and she is surprised to feel those fluttery I-like-you-a-lot feelings for him. But his mom is a nut and he won't believe her.

Hanna will do anything to stay at the top - even blurt out Kate's secret. But when she does, her dad just hates her more...

Spencer's grandmother dies, and she expects to get some sort of inheritance. But she isn't in the will. Slowly, she digs up her family secrets, and discovers she might not be a Hastings after all...

This is a bit of a spoiler, but I'm including it because well, if everything was happy and A was gone, would this series continue? Of course not! Even after the end of the last book, there's a new A, and up to her old tricks.



Killer has Hanna Marin on the cover.

Killer is the most recent addition to the series, and my favorite. We figure out more about Alison's old past, surprising friends, and why her brother, Jason, and Officer Wilden, are acting so strange lately.

One thing that bothers me in the book is that there's a text that completely gives away who the new A is, and yet no one notices.

Anyway, this one just makes me very anxious for the next book.

Oh, and in Killer...someone comes back. You'll never guess who.

The thing I love about the series is that it's written really well, and the characters are so...real. I mean, a few of them might annoy me, but I always sort of cringe when something terrible happens to them. It makes me feel, and it also makes me glad my life isn't that bad.

I think these books are fabulous. And I think you guys should give them a try.

-Mari.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides

Eugenides's tantalizing, macabre first novel begins with a suicide, the first of the five bizarre deaths of the teenage daughters in the Lisbon family; the rest of the work, set in the author's native Michigan in the early 1970s, is a backward-looking quest as the male narrator and his nosy, horny pals describe how they strove to understand the odd clan of this first chapter. The title derives from a song by the fictional rock band Cruel Crux, a favorite of the Lisbon daughter Lux--who, unlike her sisters Therese, Mary, Bonnie and Cecilia, is anything but a virgin by the tale's end. Her mother forces Lux to burn the album along with others she considers dangerously provocative. Mr. Lisbon, a mild-mannered high school math teacher, is driven to resign by parents who believe his control of their children may be as deficient as his control of his own brood.




I knew I had to read this book. I've seen a bit of the film, and I know it's a classic book for the broken. It's one of those books, like The Bell Jar and Prozac Nation, that lure me in.
I was sorely disappointed. There never was a real ending, only an assumption of why the remaining Lisbon girls killed themselves. I gained very little from the book, no understanding of the girls' pain, and while their lives were empty in a way that usually draws me to a character, the boys' lack of interaction with them left the girls as nothing but names on a page, they weren't fleshed out until I saw their various methods for suicide and by then it was - ironically - too late (in the book).
The plot itself had no series of unfortunate events, only a few main points, it was pretty much only hankering after the girls and watching their lives and home deteriorate. The only thing that interested me was Lux having sex on the roof, considering the book is named The Virgin Suicides, and the way Lux and the girls hoodwinked the boys so that they could kill themselves.
Is it clearly obvious that Lux was my favourite? Somehow she was the only one who I found to jump out at me from the page - the girl who rebelled against her parents, smoking and drinking and sex on the roof! She impressed me, especially with her collection of music being so bad it had to be burned.
But anyway, basically, apart from the main plot points, the book bored me. It was filled with loooong descriptive passages about the boys lusting and the neighbours being nosy and how derelict the house was getting. Not what I'd expected at all, in fact for something I'd gathered as a cult classic, it was an enormous let down.

The Battle of Jericho by Sharon M. Draper


Title: The Battle of Jericho
Author: Sharon M. Draper
Summary: When an elite club, The Warriors of Distinction, invites Jericho and his cousin Josh to pledge, the teens look forward to wearing the black silk jacket, going to great parties, and receiving the admiring glances of the other students at their Ohio high school. Even the girl Jericho has a crush on begins to show an interest in him. The initiation process begins rather tamely with the new pledges helping with the Christmas toy drive, but as it progresses, Jericho becomes increasingly uncomfortable with what they are asked to do and the way they treat Dana, the first-ever female pledge. Adopting the group's "All of us or none of us" creed, the 15 inductees decide to continue. In an intense climax, pledging goes tragically wrong and the repercussions are felt throughout the community.

I loved this book, and not just because Sharon Draper was the author. Her books just inspire her readers and take them on journeys that they've never been on before.

Jericho and the others are just normal high school teenagers. They want to be a part of something bigger and better. They certainly have more guts than anyone I know. It would take alot of will power for me not to march out of the group that first night of pledging.

They are fully dedicated to becoming a Warrior of Distinction, and they won't stop until the become one. They don't care what they have to go through. I mean, it will all be worth it in the end, right?

Maybe. But then again maybe not.

I love this book a lot, but I dunno how to put what I thought about it in words. It's just that epicly awesome.

You'll enjoy it if you read it. I'm not kidding. :)

Later xx

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Right, so I'm in a book-review mode and I've been reading like crazy - and very late into the night as well. So, I decided to review a couple books I really enjoyed.

Title: North of Beautiful
Author: Justina Chen Headley
Summary: Terra's body is very nearly perfect, except for the port-wine birthmark on her left cheek, which several surgeries have failed to remove. It is the teen's final semester of high school and she looks forward to college where she can study art and escape from her bullying, verbally abusive father. Over the Christmas holidays, Terra and her mother get into a car accident and meet Jacob, a Goth Chinese boy with a cleft lip, and his adoptive mother. The women immediately strike up a supportive friendship, while Terra and Jacob grow close. When Terra's brother, who lives in Shanghai, sends her and her mother tickets to visit, and Jacob's mother wants to try to track down Jacob's birth mother, they decide to travel together. But what about Erik, Terra's enamored but slightly clueless boyfriend?

Honestly, I'm not going to rely on Amazon summaries anymore. This one definitely doesn't do the book justice.

Okay, I loved the book. What made it great was that I felt numerous emotions through the entire thing. With some books, I'm happy one moment, then I feel nothing at all through the rest of the book. With this book, I felt pity, sadness, anger, excitement, and a few others.

Terra's boyfriend, Erik, is one that made me shake my head in disgust. He isn't the attentive, charming boyfriend. He hardly notices her half the time, and when they're alone, all he wants to do is have sexy time with her. I mean, I would hardly call that a relationship. Plus, he makes remarks about her birthmark. At one point in the book, he asks her why she doesn't just fix her face. My mouth dropped when I read that. It was one of those times I wanted to jump in the book and yell "shut the hell up!"

Her dad is no better. In fact, he's worse. He's an exercise guru, he complains all the time about his wife's weight, and he verbally assaults both his wife and daughter when he can. He comes off as one of those guys who would probably think that women belong in the kitchen. If it weren't for the fact that he wants his daughter to go to college, I'd have believed so.

Terra loves to make collages, and her dad insults them. He says they can hardly be called 'art'. Plus, she applied for early admission to a college in Massachusetts, but her father refuses to pay for it. He will only pay for a college in the state. (They life in Washington.)

Her dad's bitter over some stupid map fiasco that made him look incredibly stupid. I'm not going to bother explaining; it's not THAT big of an issue for the story.

Onto Jacob. He's the type of guy who is always honest, and isn't afraid to speak his mind. Plus, he's got a great sense of humour. I see why Terra would want to be with Jacob. Erik's just a stud who thinks he's all that and a bag of chips.

...I re-read that last line and actually laughed at my childish wording. :)

This feels more like a blog post than a book review, to be honest. But I had alot to say.

*Spoiler Alert. Highlight the following space for the spoiler. It's not a big spoiler, but it's something that made me hate Erik even more* On Christmas, Erik showed up at Terra's door and gave her a gift. He said to open it somewhere else and when he said that, he gave her a leering smile. Once in her room, she unwrapped the package, only to be greeted with a fuchsia slinky, thin, nightie. He had given her lingerie, and no doubt there was a suggestion in his present of the next time they were alone.

Well, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy the book. I loved it.

Later xx

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