Saturday, August 21, 2010

YA Fantasy Showdown

So I recently discovered this "showdown" going on between characters of different YA series! For each "battle", fights have been written out, and you can vote for who you think will win!

Which brings me to the reason for posting. Katniss Everdeen, of The Hunger Games, is up against Eugenidenes (anyone read Queen's Thief? I've never heard of him). She is losing by only 10 votes!!! So go vote for her here!

Other characters still in the race include Katsa from Graceling and Jace from The Mortal Instruments (swoon!)!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

Title: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

Author: Robin Benway

Pages: 281

Rating: ***1/2

Summary (from Goodreads): Three sisters, three extraordinary, life-changing powers!

I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself.

Three sisters share a magical, unshakable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood—powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?

April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other.

Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.

Review: If you have sisters, older or younger, you will totally be able to relate to this book. It was a cute, quick read about love, magic, and of course, sisterhood.
Since I myself am the oldest of three girls, I could relate the most to April, but I found that these three sisters mirrored my sisters and I quite well--maybe it's a birth order thing. April is protective, motherly, and yes, a bit bossy--key trademarks of the oldest child. May, being the middle child, just wants to disappear--and does. June, the youngest, wants people to like her and be popular--the fruity, shallow wishes of the baby. The powers they have also relate a bit to birth order--April is able to look out for her sisters' futures, May disappears, and June can read minds.
The plot of this book, thinking back on it, isn't that deep, and yet it sucked me in. The first half of the book is really the girls getting used to their powers, the second half is when the real "action" kicks in. Of course, the ending is quite predictable, but it's cute.
As in Audrey, Wait!, the writing is very real. Nothing wordy or fancy; I felt like this book was taking place in real life. The characters speak normally and as if they are simply talking to each other, not having a written out conversation. The only thing I worry about this is the possibility of it aging--in a few years, slang will be different. Will Robin's books not be as popular when the speech is no longer modern?
All in all a good light read. I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as Audrey, Wait!, but it is still worth checking out.

Recommended for: Sisters

I could have sworn I reviewed Audrey, Wait! on here, but apparently not. Check it out on Goodreads or Amazon!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

CUWAC: "A Streetcar Named Desire"

I realize I've slacked off on this meme for a while now, and I sincerely give my apologies. This book is technically a play, but I recently read it at my program at Carleton.

Title: "A Streetcar Named Desire"

Author: Tennessee Williams

Pages: 179

Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Blanche DuBois shows up on her sister's doorstep with a trunk of her belongings and bad news: the family home, Belle Reve, has been lost. Blanche spends the summer with Stella and her husband, the animalistic Stanley Kowalski. With her "nerves", Blanche is a bit unsteady--and not all she appears.

Review: This book--or play, rather--was very interesting. As stated, I read in for a writing program, not necessarily by choice. I can't say I particularly liked any of the characters, but it was very real. This play is a perfect example of gender and class roles in the mid-twentieth century--men are in charge, women just take care of them, and those of working class and just so "common" compared to the upperclass.
After reading the play, we went to see its performance, which was simply outstanding. Plays are always better on stage, where they are meant to be seen. Reading the text is one thing, but seeing it live really helped me grasp some of the deeper content of the play--such as the contrast between desire and death throughout the story. The story has also had a movie adaptation, which I have not seen, but have heard good reviews for.
All in all, a good look at an interesting time period in the United States

Recommended for: historical fiction fans, readers interested in gender roles

Monday, August 2, 2010


SO sorry for my inactivity recently. I was at a summer writing program at Carleton College, and I didn't have much free time! I highly recommend the program however!!

Here is a great summer read; hope you can get your hands on it before summer's over!

Title: It's Not Summer Without You

Author: Jenny Han

Pages: 288

Rating: ****

Summary (from Goodreads): Last year, all of Belly's dreams came true and the thought of missing a summer in Cousins Beach was inconceivable. But like the rise and fall of the ocean tide, things can change--just like that. Suddenly the time she's always looked forward to most is something she dreads. And when Jeremiah calls to say Conrad has disappeared, Belly must decide how she will spend this summer: chasing after the boy she loves, or finally letting him go.

Review: A good sequel to a great book. It's Not Summer Without You picks up the summer following The Summer I Turned Pretty. With flashbacks to tell us what happened over the past year, I felt like I'd never left Belly's world.
What I really liked in this book was how Jenny included chapters from Jeremiah's perspective. Of course, when they started I thought maybe we'd get some from Conrad's POV too, but to no avail. Jeremiah offers a peek into the other side of the story--the boys' lives.
This book keeps up the love triangle we thought was solved in the first book. Conrad is still infuriating, sexy, and irrestistable, and Jeremiah is still the perfect guy friend (who wants to be more).
All in all, a good summer read. Their problems get deeper, the relationships grow stronger, and it all comes back to Cousins Beach.

Recommended for: beach readers, romance lovers