12/31/10

The 2011 Debut Author Challenge

Hey guys! I've decided to sign up for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge. The basis of this challenge is to help spread the word about new authors in the YA and middle grade levels, and I'm pretty excited :) Below you can find the link for the host's blog, where she describes the challenge and outlines the rules and such:

Click it! Go ahead! You know you wanna! --->  
more info here <--- It's pretty and underlined! CLICK IT!

Have a great week!

12/29/10

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser for this week:

"No use hiding!" he announced loudly. "I can see you there. Come on out."

- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, p. 133

This books is creepy, but I love it. Check it out! :)

12/27/10

Living Dead Girl

Summary (from the author's website):
The thing is, you can get used to anything. You think you can't, you want to die, but you don't. You won't. You just are.

This is Alice.

She was taken by Ray five years ago.

She thought she knew how her story would end.

She was wrong. 

This book is haunting, chilling, and heartbreaking. The writing is brilliant, pulling the reader in from the very first sentence. Many will doubt it's power because of it's length - around 120 pages - but please, trust me when I say that the author made those 120 pages feel like hundreds. Reading about 'Alice' and the things she goes through every day chilled me to the bone. I could not put this book down for a moment, and I didn't stop until I'd read it all in one sitting. It was as if there was no way I could stop without knowing how it ended and finding out what happened to Alice. Your heart will break every time you read about her struggles and what 'Ray' forces her to do. This was, without a doubt, the most haunting book I've ever read. Props to the author for the amazing job she did writing this novel - I have no idea how she managed to write such a raw, lost narrative, but she definitely pulled it off.

I give this book 5 / 5 stars (more if it was possible!). I would definitely recommend this to mature YA readers and people who tend to go for darker comtemporary literature and isn't afraid to venture out of their comfort zone.

12/26/10

Savannah Grey

Summary (from the author's website): A monster's out there... Only one girl can stop it. But will love get in the way?

It's a difficult time for fifteen-year-old Savannah Grey - she's settled into her latest foster placement, but her body is acting oddly. Then other strange things begin to happen. Birds behave erratically; gusts of wind blow leaves so fiercely they seem to lure people away. And Savannah discovers she has supernatural powers.

Only new boy Reece Gandolfo thinks Savannah's powers are a special gift. No wonder she's attracted to him. But there's another force that wants to lure Savannah from safety into danger...


Savannah Grey was quite the read. Fast-paced and action-packed, there was never a moment when I felt like I could stop reading. Cliff McNish's writing is flawless, and you can't help but get sucked into this amazing, amazing book. 

I've been a fan of Mr. McNish ever since reading The Doomspell Trilogy, and I had high expectations for Savannah Grey; I'm glad to say Mr. McNish didn't disappoint! Savannah's 'voice' is so genuine - it's hard to believe her narrative was written by a male! Also, there are so many dimensions to this story - a monster isn't just a heartless, evil creature, and the love interest isn't who they appear to be. The author did a great job with characterization and developing the relationships between the characters - you can really feel the bond developing between Savannah and Reese at a steady, realistic pace. I like the fact that although there was a romantic element in this novel, the entire story wasn't solely based upon the romance. The characters still had issues to deal with, and 'being together' wasn't the ultimate goal - survival was.

Another element of the story I really enjoyed were the passages detailing the evolution of the Ocrassa - it was a refreshing change from the stories where you are simply presented with an antagonist without knowing why they do the things they do.

Overall, I give this book 4.5 / 5 stars, and I definitely recommend you pick it up if (like myself) you've been in a little bit of a YA rut lately.

Looking forward to more from the author!

12/15/10

Speak

Summary (from the author's website): 
Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. 

I can honestly say that I've never read a book that affected me this much.

I knew I had to read this book when I heard about all the drama surrounding it's being banned ("soft core porn"? Really?) and I'm glad I did. The storyline may not appeal to everyone, but I can assure you that the message will resonate with anyone and everyone who reads it. It was definitely worth the couple of hours I spent reading it.

Melinda reminds me of myself in some ways: she's cynical - definitely not an optimist - and there were times when I would read a paragraph and think that somehow, the author had gotten inside my head and stolen my thoughts. Melinda's voice is that real to the reader, and it's hard not to get pulled in.

I'm not going to include any spoilers, but here's a short summary:

Melinda isn't your average freshman girl. She showed up to her first day of highschool without a single friend in the world, all because of an incident that occurred at a party during the summer. She is completely isolated. Alone. And now, Melinda has decided that she is going to remain silent about the events that led to her calling the cops the night of the party.

Again, no spoilers, but I will say this: no matter who the reader, they will be able to identify with Melinda in some way, because we've ALL been there; gotten ditched by someone who thought we weren't worth their time, gotten shunned by people we thought were there for us, lived with a family that was falling apart... we've all
been Melinda at one point in our lives, so it's not difficult to imagine yourself in her situation. 

I honestly adored this book. I know a lot of people have been saying that because it was banned and everything, but I think that even if I had randomly picked it up off the bookstore shelf, I would feel the same way. This book is one of the rare few that really makes you take a step back and ponder what you would've done, had you been in the main character's situation. It makes you self-reflect, which not a lot of books can do. For that reason, I gave it 5 / 5 stars.

Read this book. You won't regret it.


5 out of 5

The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Summary (from the publisher's website):

Standing on the fringes of life...

offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction:The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

This book is short but so, so powerful. I don't want to go into a lot of detail, but it is definitely one of those books that every should read; if for nothing but to gain some perspective.

The main character's voice is subtle, but Charlie's thoughts are so deep that they become more than words - you feel like he's writing these letters to you, and you start to wish with all your heart that you could write back. I felt his voice was genuine and easy to relate to; he is honest and blunt and confused about his place in life, and as everything changes around him, he tries to figure out who he is and who he should be. He misses his aunt and his brother and his old life, but as much as he wants to hold on to the past, he knows he must move forward, which is a quality about him I really liked.

Definitely worth the money and the time.