Wednesday, July 29, 2015

short and just okay


I think this book will fit nicely into my new survival genre section in the library. Even though it's dystopian, set the future where we have bombed ourselves to bits, most of the story is concerned with running from an unseen enemy, finding food, and shelter. It's not one of my favorites – I have a lot of unanswered questions but yet – if this is what the end of the world would be like – it makes sense. Lots of running and wondering who to trust.

At 30% I'm not sure I want to finish this book, definitely not the series, I'm not caring about the main character yet.

At 70% I found an error: Kennedy's assassination wasn't filmed in color by TV news stations, and I'm pretty sure the Soviets would not have had footage an hour after it happened.

Soviet psychics versus American psychics, genetic manipulation, sort of more of a breeding program.
The romance is downplayed enough that when Yulia is told that one boy loves her it was almost as much of a surprise to me as it was to her. I expected it, but the buildup was pretty tame. I had this most of the school year, with not one person checking it out. It's not Gateway material to me.

Slow. Ancient history for my students. This hasn't been checked out yet this year. Start of a series but can stand alone.

I thought of the House of the Scorpion and Never Let Me Go as I was reading this short book.  So much is unexplained and we only find out what is happening along with Shiloh, a young girl who lives her life in fear of the doors at the end of the cafeteria opening.  Why? Finding out takes at least the first half of the book, and that is not soon enough for most of my students.  I think they will bail out long before that.  This is an unusual miss for Ms. Williams.  We (my students and I) loved The Chosen One, and Glimpse.  I also liked Signed Skye Harper, much better.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johanson


This book is a mix of dystopian and fantasy, but I’d label it fantasy first.  Technology was lost in The Crossing, along with most doctors, nurses, and all the medical equipment. I'm not sure what has happened, to make everything go back to the dark ages, but things are bleak, now.  I listened to this on audio and can’t seem to find a map online, but I think this takes place in a ravaged European like country.

Kelsea has survived to her nineteenth birthday and will be Queen, if she can survive the journey to her throne. Magic jewels, adventure, loyalty, respect, and all the things that make a good fantasy are here. There is very little, to no romance; Kelsea is plain, not a beauty, but she’s strong-willed, educated, and willing to take responsibility for her actions and country.

I'm not really sure that this is a YA a novel. Teens who love fantasy will like it, but there are just enough adult comments and issues to make it more for the adult market, I think. I'll read the sequel, but I'm waiting for it to go on sale or borrow it from the library, the Kindle cost is pretty pricy at the moment.   

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles, or one of my most favorite summer reads this year


Not since Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, have I read a book that featured a special needs person as main characters. I think my students can identify with, empathize with, or at least learn from these two girls. Stuck in Neutral, comes to mind also, as it is a popular look at my high school.  But it may be as much based on the very skinny size, and language in it more than empathy. (Sorry, Terry.)

Biddy and Quincy have graduated from high school, and are living in a garage apartment, together,  helping an older woman with household chores. The book alternates points of view between the girls; we find out about their past histories and current feelings as they learn from each other, their new employer, and grow in their new life after high school. I loved this book, it's a definite Gateway for me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I thought of a bucket list without the death as I was reading this book.  Sloane has disappeared for
the summer, without telling Emily where she went or when she is coming back.  Emily is devastated, all their summer plans hinged on the two of them being together and Emily doesn't really know how to be by herself.  Sloane mails a list of things for Emily to accomplish over the summer.  Things that push her boundaries, things that make her look at herself and who she really is.  Things that make her question her willingness to stay in Sloane's shadow, envying Sloane's easy confidence, independence, and seeming effortlessness.  Of course, things aren't always the way they seem; and Emily makes new friends, learns to see outside of herself and Sloane's bubble, her world expands.  

I've had girls already reading and recommending this one to each other enough that the hold list will carry over to next school year.  I bought a kindle version for myself when it went on sale, so I wouldn't have to compete with the girls and could read along with one of them.  We had fun as we discussed it together.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

The second book picks right up where Fire & Flood left off, so no picking up in the middle of the series.  The pace is just as fast as the first one and the obstacles to overcome are even more harrowing than the first ones.  No sophomore slump here.  Tella gets a backbone finally, and doesn't need quite as much rescuing, but her inner monologue is frustrating, at times.  While the Brimstone Bleed race ends in the novel, the plan Guy shared with Tella hasn't yet had a chance to start or even begin to be implemented.  I can only hope there is a third book to continue the series.  I have unanswered questions about the animal helpers.