Friday, April 23, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Dude!   This book was crazy!  I'd read a few others blogs about it and checked it out.

So Violet Ambrose is a teenager like any other.  She's been best friends with Jay forever.  He's always been there, but it's different this year.  He's "grown up" and basically gotten hotter over this last summer.  While it was usually just the two of them, but now all the girls who never noticed Jay before are following him around like little puppies.  Violet is a bit bothered by this but unsure of why.

Violet is different, though, in that she can find dead bodies.  She feels or senses tastes, smells, sounds that lead her to dead bodies.  It's only really happened with a body once, but she does find animals that have been killed.  As a kid she had a little graveyard where she put the animals to rest.

As the year progresses, she's dealing with normal stuff like school, friends, classes, and her feelings about Jay.  But then a string of murders in the area stirs up and scares everyone.  A serial killer is killing young girls.  Violet discovers one of them and becomes more involved than she knows in the serial killers plans.

This book is mainly about Violet, but every few chapters you get a glimpse into a short chapter from the point of view of the killer.  These chapters are freakin creepy, my friends.

I just had to keep reading this book.  Each chapter I wanted to know if the killer had gotten someone else, if Violet had found a body or discovered the killer, and then of course, were Violet and Jay ever going to hook up and get together??  It was obvious she liked I just had to see how they would end up.  So all in all, this book is crazy suspenseful but also has a really great and sweet love story, too.  I just loved Jay - he was like the sweetest guy ever.  You should definitely check this one out for a strangely sweet and suspenseful read.  Cool book.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cherub Mission 1: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

The Cherub series was published in England and is now being released with new covers in the U.S.  We have some of these books (the paperbacks released before these new ones) in our school library.

I picked up the new hardcover of Mission 1:  The Recruit the other day because I had heard lots of kids (especially boys) had really liked the series.

James Choke is living in London with his Mom, half-sister, and step dad.  His step dad is a complete idiot, and while he loves his mom, she's not up to the most good herself.  Enormously fat, she stays in their apartment organizing her "people" who work for her stealing electronic goods and such.  She changes her cell phone every few days so as not to get caught.  She resells the stuff to others.  She drinks too much, and James and Lauren often have to take care of themselves.

One day, though, she doesn't wake up from drinking too much, and James' life changes forever.  He's separated from Lauren and thrown into a group home.  He hangs out with the bad kids and doesn't want to be there forever.   Then mysteriously he wakes up in a clean room one morning and has no idea how he got there.

He finds out he is at the Cherub campus.  Cherub agents for all practical purposes don't even really exist.  They are kids that work with British MI5 agents to help bring down terrorists and criminals.  The kids are used in cases where the adult agents would be obvious.  No one suspects kids of being spies, so that's when the Cherub agents take over and help out.  Before you can become a Cherub agent, however, you must go through a insanely-hard-makes-you-want-to-die-and-cry-for-you-mommy kind of basic training.  So, can James make it through training?  How hard will  these hundred days be?  Will he ever see his sister Lauren again?  Will he get his first Cherub mission?  Read on to find out what the training is like and to follow James on his first Cherub adventure.

I think lots of kids will like this book.  I have never read any of the Alex Rider books, but I assume it's a similar feel.  Although in these, the agents don't rely on crazy gadgets like in Alex Rider...but it's still adventurous all the same.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

I've been waiting for this book for so long, so I was totally thrilled when I picked up my signed copy at Malaprop's Tuesday.  I love the cover; I love John Green; and I love David Levithan.  I'd read great reviews and been terribly jealous of all the book bloggers and tweeple who got to read this one in advance.

I just finished and IT WAS FABULOUS!!  I absolutely loved it!

So it's two narrators...the Will Graysons alternate chapters throughout the entire book.  Will Grayson one is a sort of normal high school kid who had a sort of Group of Friends but doesn't really anymore since he stood up to everyone and wrote a letter to the school paper about how it was ok that his friend Tiny Cooper (who is anything but tiny, by the way) was gay and the best thing that happened to their school's crappy football team.  Oh yeah, and he signed his name to that letter.  So the Group of Friends kind of stopped being the Group of Friends after that.  Will has been friends with Tiny forever, which is hard sometimes because Tiny is a bit loud and dramatic...ok, well, extremely loud and dramatic and fabulous and he falls in love really get the picture. 

While Tiny is always in love with someone, Will isn't.  He just avoids relationships and really tries not to even say that much at all....that way he'll be good and won't have to deal with any drama.

Tiny's trying to get his original musical Tiny Dancer staged at school.  Tiny is huge and fabulous and on a mission when it comes to this play.

A few towns over, Will Grayson two wants to murder himself and everyone around him...well not really, but that's how he feels.  He's not so happy, this Will Grayson #2, that is unless he's online talking to Isaac, his new friend.  He makes it through school, allowing himself a little happiness toward the end of each day when he looks forward to the final bell. 

These two Will Graysons continue on their ways until one night (at a porn shop of all places) they run into each other...from that point - their worlds are connected.

As you read this book you'll see how the world's intertwine and you'll have just craploads of fun along the way.

Tiny Cooper is, as many other bloggers and reviewers have pointed out, the absolute most fabulous thing about this book.  I have no idea how Green and Levithan did the writing on this book...but Tiny is the beautiful, giant thread that holds it all together...and he's perfect in all the chapters.  As his BFF Will Grayson #1 says:

Tiny Cooper is not the world's gayest person, and he is not the world's largest person, but I believe he may be the world's largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large.  Tiny has been my best friend since fifth grade...


Tiny waltzes in wearing his jersey tucked into his chinos, even though football season is long over.  Every day, Tiny miraculously manages to wedge himself into the chair-desk beside mine in precalc, and every day, I am amazed he can do it...So Tiny squeezes into his chair, I am duly amazed, and then he turns to me and he whispers really loudly because he secretly wants other people to hear, "I'm in love." 

I've loved all of John Green's books (Alaska's my favorite).  I also really liked Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan, and I plan to read Boy Meets Boy soon.  These guys have really done something special here, and you absolutely must check out this book.  One, it's good, and Two, it's all about the love, and who doesn't love that!?!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rosie and Skate by Beth Ann Bauman

Love, love, loved this book!!  I saw a review of it on Reading Rants which made me want to read it.  It totally lived up to my expectations.

Rosie and Skate are two sisters who live on the Jersey Shore.  They're locals and work at the shore during the summer while it's full of tourists.  Their dad is an alcoholic - a nice drunk - but still a drunk.  He can't stop drinking.  He doesn't hurt the girls or cause many problems, but he gets out of control one night driving and crashes and lands himself three months in jail.  Rosie and Skate are on their own because their mom is dead.

Their cousin, Angie, comes to live with them and help out, but once their father goes to jail, things are harder between the sisters.  Rosie is hopeful and visits her father and still somehow believes he will get better, while Skate refuses  to go at all.  Skate doesn't attend the support group meetings.  Instead, she spends time at work with her boss Nick, and also pining away after her boyfriend Perry who is gone to college at Rutgers.  She wants to see Perry so badly.  The two of them are great together, but the distance is a problem.

The book alternates between the narration of each sister.  It's cool to hear the story from two points of view.  The writing was real and easy to read.  I liked the characters and the story of each sister.  This was a fun read with some serious stuff mixed in.  I totally loved it!

Here's a link to the New York Times review of Rosie and Skate.

Slam by Nick Hornby

Sam Jones is a normal kid who loves to skate (board that is...not on ice).  He does ok in school and hangs with his friends.  One thing that's a little different about him is that his mom is really fact she had him when she was she's way younger than most of his friends' moms, but it's cool - she's a good mom, and they do alright.

Sam "talks" to Tony Hawk a lot and has read Hawk's biography maybe a thousand times.  Tony always gives good advice.

Sam's normal life of school and skating change a bit, though, when he meets a gorgeous girl named Alicia.  They end up going out, hanging out, and having a great time.  In about two seconds, though, their lives change...they make a baby.

This book takes you on the journey with Sam as he works through his relationships with friends, with Alicia, with his own parents, with Alicia's snobby parents, and with his baby on the way.  It's a very honest look at teen pregnancy.  I enjoyed the read.  I liked Sam as a narrator.  He was honest and always told it like it was.  The other characters were great, too.  Overall, a good book.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

I was really pumped to read this book, and while I enjoyed much of the story, I was a little bit underwhelmed.  However, this was a good fantasy read and I do recommend it if you like fantasy.

So there are two stories in this book:  the story of Finn and the story of Claudia.  And both stories involve the prison - Incarceron.

Finn woke up in the prison and had no idea about how he got there or even who he was.  He saw the name on his clothes; he ran into some people; and he began a strange, violent life in the prison.  There's fighting, lying, and violence in the prison.  Finn always had the weird feeling, though, that he was from Outside and that he hadn't always been in Incarceron.  He has a tattoo on his arm, and when he finds a woman who knows something about it, he works to find out who he is and how he can get out of the prison.

Finn's path eventually crosses with the path of Claudia's.  Claudia is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron.  She's grown up privileged, yet she's unhappy now because a marriage is being arranged for her that she does not want a part of.  She's from the Outside, supposedly, but ends up wondering much when she encounters Finn somehow.

In this book you are reading about each character and wondering how Finn can ever get out or if that's even possible.  It was a good read and did have some surprises, but it didn't leave me feeling like I felt after reading The Hunger Games  or The Knife of Never Letting Go.