Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tyrant's Daughter by J. C. Carleson

What would your life be like if your family went from a place of power into exile? How much do you know? How much are you responsible for, when you are sheltered teen girl? Do you fit in in America, where things are so strange? Do you want to go back? Do you really want to know what life was like for the rest of the people in your country? Kind of person are you? Who do you want to become?  These are the kind of things that are main character has to decide for herself as she is learning about her life before and after the revolution, and who's in power now, if he's going to stay in power and what part she needs to play in the changes, if any.

This is an interesting novel. It's fiction, but the situations in the book mirror world happenings in an uncanny way. Reading the author’s note, I can see that she might have been more than a little dismayed as she was writing, things kept happening in real life that she was writing about in fiction. So sometimes she also inserted it into her novel.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Finn doesn't remember much of his early childhood. His mom was killed and his back was broken when they were hit by a falling horse. I know it sounds weird, but Finn explains it rather well. He looks at the world through miles rather than minutes and that detail colors this whole story. I enjoyed it and had some laugh out loud moments, (the convenience store…) but there were also times when I got bogged down by Finn's need to fill us in with what seem like extraneous history lessons or excessive trivia. These details fit in well with the story and others may like that, better than I did.  It's a good book in a sea of dystopians right now.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Read-alikes for TFIOS

Zac and Mia "meet" in a hospital.

Zac and Mia wants to be the next The Fault in Our Stars.  It doesn’t quite make it, but it’s a pretty good attempt.  Set in Australia, the main characters “meet” in the hospital, but don’t see each other until much later, due to the cancer treatments they undergo.  It’s a tenuous friendship, at best, and Zac is the better person of the two of them.  I’m still not sure if Mia will change much, due to Zac’s influence.  

Ever wonder what Crohn's disease is?

Helpful reading directions are included in the front of this book. There is a line down the middle of the page to represent the curtain in the hospital room, and the poem is to be read across when the text is there.  

Two girls are in the hospital being treated for Crohn’s disease.  Part of the story is told in flashbacks, and you can sense the humiliation, and terror that comes with feeling betrayed by your own body.  

Coming soon as a movie!

 It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he's figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl. This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg's mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg's entire life.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer romance

This is a predictable romance, but my girls are going to love it so much, that I'm going to look at the back list for Ms. Barnholdt.  I'm always looking for new authors for my girls who like their romance with more substance than fluff.  Harper is a good girl, and Penn is a player.  They strike up a romance, taking a chance on one another; but someone is bound to get hurt. Penn has issues and Harper isn't willing to let him walk all over her, eventually. She finally finds her backbone, learning about herself and Penn in the process. This was a fast read for me. 

Regan, BFF to a rising country music star, narrates this summer road trip/concert tour. Lilah,  or Dee, to her friends is dealt a blow when an innocent picture is cropped to look salacious, and posted online with the intent to damage her reputation. Management brings in a former child star to be an opening act/pretend boyfriend.  Of course, sparks fly between Reagan and the pretend boyfriend.

This book was much better than I thought it would be. Earlier this year I read a book that felt like a Disney movie special. (shudder) Open Road Summer was more realistic and felt like a semi-accurate portrayal of life on tour for an underage entertainer who wants to keep her values.

Reagan and Dee's friendship was strong and felt very real. Some of the reviewers have commented on Reagan's slut shaming of other girls, which she did do often, but I felt like it was a proactive reaction to being a slut shamed herself.  It didn't bother me, as a reader.