Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Series/Sequel?  No
Author: Sarah Ockler
Genre(s): Hard Topics, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 290
Perspective: First person female
Summary: According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.

Mini-Review: This book was perfect for summer: though it had enough of a plot, enough darkness and conflict to keep the reader interested, it was also a book perfect for reading on the beach or by the pool, while your dreaming of your own summer romance. Honest realistic fiction story on grief, friendship, and love.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book Review: The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell

Title: The Sharp Time
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Mary O'Connell
Genre(s): hard topics, realistic fiction
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 228
Perspective: First-person Female
Summary from Goodreads: Sandinista Jones is a high school senior with a punk rock name and a broken heart. The death of her single mother has left Sandinista alone in the world, subject to the random vulnerability of everyday life. When the school system lets her down, her grief and instability intensify, and she ponders a violent act of revenge.

Still, in the midst of her crisis, she gets a job at The Pale Circus, a funky vintage clothing shop, and finds friendship and camaraderie with her coworker, a boy struggling with his own secrets.

Even as Sandinista sees the failures of those with power and authority, she's offered the chance to survive through the redemptive power of friendship. Now she must choose between faith and forgiveness or violence and vengeance.

Review: I finished. Oh, thank God I'm finished.

This book took forever to read. It's short enough that I would normally have finished it in a few hours, but it took me a week to finish instead.

And the thing is, I'm not sure why. It wasn't an awful book. It just... wasn't very interesting. The characters were all very well developed, and I enjoyed reading about each of them. Sandinista was defiant, unique and spunky, and I liked her as a character. But the plot was greatly lacking. I felt like there wasn't anything going on in the book. Sandinista was caught up on the same thing throughout the entire book, and it got annoying. So, don't waste your time on this book. Find a better realistic fiction novel - cause there are better out there!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Book Review: Shine, by Lauren Myracle

Title: Shine
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Lauren Myracle
Genre(s): Hard topics, realistic fiction, mystery
Age Level: 13 and up
Page Count: 350 (paperback)
Perspective/POV: First person, female

Summary from Goodreads: When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.

Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.

Review: This book deals with a lot of things: drug use, sexual assault, and prejudice against gays. I normally don't read about many, if any, of those things. I don't enjoy reading about them. But this was for my book group, and so I didn't really have a choice in the matter.

Like I said, this book deals with a lot of hard topics. But how it deals with them is in a brutally honest way, not stepping around it carefully as so much of the world is apt to do. Though many of the characters in the book don't talk about it as honestly as the narrator thinks about it, it realistically shows peoples' attitudes and opinions about the topics.

This book was also a mystery - and a wonderfully planned one at that. Some twists and turns I spotted before they happened, but due to good clue placement by the author, not out of predictability. (Most of the time.) Some plots twists totally surprised me; I hadn't seen them coming in the slightest.

This book is a wonderful addition to the book world. For mystery fans and for those that want the things often pushed under the rug to be brought to the light, this is a story you'll will most certainly find appealing. Truthfully, I believe everyone should read this book. It has so many topics that we must deal with today, that we must be educated about in the changing world. So what are you waiting for? Go and read it!


Quotes: I know I normally don't do this, but there were a couple in here that I just loved, and had to share!

'It was also proof that knowledge was power, not being a bully or rich or thinking you were better than everyone... Knowledge was more powerful than fear. Love was stronger than hate.' -Page 264 of Shine

'I tossed Daddy's Spanish pistol on the Lawsons' coffee table, and it made a fairly satisfying thunk that I hoped woke up his mama. 
"You're not taking that?" Tommy said. 
"But... why?" Bailee-Ann said. 
"Because it's good for nothing," I said, keeping my eyes on Tommy. "Because one worthless piece of shit deserves another."' -Page 279 of Shine

 'I loved everyone who said yes to the world and trued to make it better instead of worse, because so much in the world was ugly - and just about all the ugly parts were due to humans.... I hurt everyone I came into contact with, because what I was sending out wasn't a yes to the world but a no
I was going to stop that' -Page 290-291 of Shine

Friday, June 22, 2012

I'm Still Alive!

I've been gone a while. I know. But life happens, and my life has been extremely crazy recently. Luckily, it is now summer, and I have a stack of books half as tall as I am sitting in my room, waiting to be read, which means that I most certainly will be blogging and reviewing again, at an insane pace. So, be ready to bear with me, as I will try to be reviewing a book every two days! Thanks, and I hope you're still reading my blog!

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