Thursday, June 30, 2011


Yet another book I have been reading about on the book blogs, TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY by Jay Asher was captivating.  A young woman in high schools commits suicide.  A few weeks later, a boy she knew receives a box of cassette tapes in the mail.  These tapes detail the thirteen reasons why she took her own life.  The boy listening to these tapes can't stop listening and I couldn't stop reading. 

This book is filled to the brim with teenage angst and if you are not careful, it can be easy to roll your eyes and chalk it all up to youth and inexperience.  But take a minute.  Try to remember how absolutely serious everything seemed in high school.  That girl who made fun of your clothes or the boy you started a rumor about you?  Those people are probably nothing in your life now, but back then it felt like nothing could be more important.  Reading this book makes me glad to be out of that time of my life.  It also make me worry about what it will someday be like for my children.  How do I explain that "This too shall pass" is not just a ridiculous brush off.  It really does all go away.  High school is four short years and then it's over and you never have to see those people again. 

This book shows exactly how our actions can affect the people around us.  A harmless prank may not actually be so harmless.  A little teasing sometimes isn't so funny.  Along with Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, I do think this should be required reading in high school.  Or maybe even middle school.  I would love to hear what you think.

Also, visit Thirteen Reasons Why Project to see the impact this book is having even beyond it's pages. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld is a book that had caught my eye several months ago.  It was all over the YA book blogs and I knew I would get to it eventually.  Well, I did and I loved it.  The setting is several hundred years in the future, but the exact time isn't specified.  The world is very different.  From birth to age 16, everyone is normal.  At age 16, each person undergoes an intense operation turning them into the extreme ideal of beauty.  As a result, everyone looks very similar, but very beautiful.  Those who have had the operation are called Pretties.  The ones still waiting- Uglies. 

One of my favorite things about this book is all the commentary about how we are destroying our planet.  This new world was developed to remedy all the problems people from our time caused for the environment.  There is no more war, no more fighting and now more destruction of the Earth.  This is the first in a trilogy and I'm looking forward to reading the next book. 

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

In addition to the wonderful used book store in our library, we also have Bookman's nearby.  Bookman's is a local used book store with a bit of a funky edge.  I love going in there.  A few months ago I picked up Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.  I had read about this book on a few book blogs and I thought it would be interesting.  It is another YA novel, slightly in the vein of Twilight, but a little darker.  I didn't like it as well as Twilight, but it was a quick read and I enjoyed the story.  It has a sequel, Crescendo, and a third in the series, Silence, will be released this fall.  I'm in no hurry to rush out to purchase either of these, but I have put my name on the reserve list at the library.  It will probably be a while before I get the next one.  I'm number 64 on the list waiting for 13 copies.  It's a good thing I have so many books waiting on my shelf to be read!

The Quilter's Legacy

Book Five in the Elm Creek Quilts series is The Quilter's Legacy by Jennifer Chiaverini.  This installment follows Sylvia as she attempts to track down five quilts made by her mother.  They have been scattered all over the country and she follows any lead she can to recover them.  More historical fiction and I couldn't put it down.

The Runaway Quilt

The fourth book in the Elm Creek Quilts series is The Runaway Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini.  I am really enjoying this series and this one contained a significant amount of historical fiction.  I LOVE historical fiction.  If you are reading these books, too, I would love to hear what you think of them.  I gave the first five to my mother for her birthday and she likes them.  My aunt also said she's been reading them for a while.  However, let me just say that one doesn't need to be in her 50s to like these books.  Try them- you really might like them.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Where She Went

Have you read If I Stay by Gayle Forman yet?  Oh you really should read that book!  It's considered Young Adult fiction, but I really enjoyed it.  Of course, you know I don't mind reading YA.  With this book I would give the warning that you might like to preview this before letting your young teenager read it.  I would say it probably falls somewhere between PG and PG-13, but that is only my assessment. 

Well, Where She Went is the sequel to If I Stay.  And it did not disappoint.  Weeks ago I put my name on the reserve list at the library and waited and waited for it to be my turn.  Finally I was able to pick it up yesterday.  I started reading yesterday afternoon and finished today.  It was that good.  I felt like I was tearing through it trying to find out where the heck she went. 

This was a rather angsty story and if you've read If I Stay you won't be surprised by that.  While If I Stay was written from Mia's perspective, Where She Went was written in Adam's voice.  I very much appreciated the added dimension.  I wish I could say more, but I'd rather you just read it and tell me what you think.  I loved it!

The Cross-Country Quilters

The third in the Elm Creek Quilts series, The Cross-Country Quilters did not disappoint.  Rather than staying with the same characters, this novel follows the stories of five women who meet at quilt camp.  The original characters still play a part, but I enjoyed the bit of a spin-off.  I know books about quilts don't seem very "cool", but I really am enjoying them.  There are 17 in the series so far with another scheduled for release this fall.  We will see if I read them all, but I'm not ready to stop yet.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

This month's book club selection was Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.  Beautifully written, it is a lovely story of a difficult time in American history.  The narrative alternates between a 12-year-old boy in 1942 Seattle and the same boy, now a grown man in 1984.  In 1942, he is a Chinese boy dealing with the difficulties of being Asian following the attack on Pearl Harbour.  In 1984, he is dealing with the resurrection of all those memories.  While everyone in our book club agreed it was a wonderful book, some felt it took a little while to get into the story.  Others, myself included, were taken from the very start.  I have already hardily recommended it to others and now I recommend it to you.