Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Books I've Been Reading

It's been a while since I've done a little book report and it's also been a few days since I posted, so since I don't know what else to write about, I'll tell you about some of the books I've been reading.

Beauty Shop For Rent, by Laura Bowers - I really enjoyed this YA novel about a teen named Abby who is trying to not repeat history. For several generations, women in her family have had babies at 15 or 16 and she wants to be independently wealthy before she decides to have a relationship and start a family. There are great characters in this book, but especially the great-grandma, Granny Po and her group of friends who are a wonderful family to Abby.

Evil Genius, by Catherine Jinks - I loved the premise of this book, but would have liked to have seen it end differently. Still, the ending is ok and paves the way for the sequel Genius Squad. The story follows Cadel Piggot, a child prodigy and skilled computer hacker at age 7. When he's older, Cadel enrolls in the Axis Institue, a school that teaches courses in forgery, disguise, infiltration, embezzelment, and misinformation. His on-line friendship with a kindred spirit causes him to second guess his involvement in Axis as well as his relationships with many of the people in his life.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie - I read this in the car on the way to Disneyland. At first I started reading aloud so the kids could hear, but after having to censor swear words a few times, and after the content became clearly more Young Adult than Juvenile/pre-school (not that I thought this was a juvenile or pre-school book at all...), I decided to read on my own. Hilarious yet heart-breaking story of a native American boy on the "rez" who decides to change the direction of his life.

Lottery, by Patricia Wood - This is another book that I read in the car while Driving to/from Disneyland. A great story about a guy who wins the Washington State Lottery and the people in his life who try to help him and those who try and take advantage of him. Did I mention the main character is mentally "slow?" (Not retarded...he scored 76 on the IQ test and that means he is just slow.)

Just Listen, The Truth about Forever, Dreamland, This Lullaby, by Sarah Dessen - Young adult fiction, each about a female with issues. She tries to handle her problems by herself so that she doesn't burden her seemingly weak family who already has enough stress to deal with, but eventually things come to a head and all is revealed and her family gathers around her to help her solve her problems, proving they were stronger than she thought they were. I liked Just Listen the best probably because it was the first I read. I liked Dreamland the least because it was about a girl in a physically abusive relationship and it was sad, shocking and a little disturbing...but with a happy ending, of course.

Project Mulberry, When My Name Was Keoko, A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park - Each of these juvenile fiction books is simply, but beautifully written. Each story has a Korean main character, but Project Mulberry takes place in upstate New York in present day, while When My Name Was Keoko and A Single Shard take place in Korea; the first during World War II and the second in 14th century Korea. A Single Shard won the Newbery Medal. A recent interview with Linda Sue Park on Shannon Hale's website prompted me to read these books. Click here and read it for yourself.

Half Broken Things, by Morag Joss - Well, this book was interesting. Kind of hard to get into because the voice kept shifting from first person to third person, AND the narrative kept jumping between three or four characters for a while until they actually all get together. My mom loved this book and I just thought it was ok. The premise of the story is a woman who is a professional house sitter and has no home of her own finds out that the agency that employs her is forcing her to retire. This sets off a chain of events in which the woman becomes slightly delusional and invites a theif and a young pregnant woman to live with her in the massive, old, English home she is house sitting for 9 months.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

I've been trying to read Half Broken Things for two months now. I feel horrible because mom likes it so much. I really like it when I'm reading it but then I don't feel overly motivated to pick it up again. I think I'm just in a fiction rut.

I read A Single Shard several years ago. I thought it was good, but very leisurely in the pacing. I can't imagine an actual teenager picking it up and devouring it. Sometimes I wonder about those Newberry people.