Thursday, August 12, 2010

Looking for Alaska by John Green

I have been contemplating reading this book for quite some time now.  A few days ago I finally decided to read the book.  I have to admit the book had a bit of a slow start for me, although by the time I was finished, I found myself reading a profoundly important book.

The story begins with Miles "Pudge" Halter.  Pudge was always known as a social outcast.  He decides that he wants to transfer to Culver Creek boarding school.  One unique thing about Pudge is that he is fascinated by the last words of famous people.  He feels that a persons last words say a lot about who they were in life.

Upon his arrival at the school he meets his roommate, the colonel, as he insists on being called.  A few rooms down from him is the out going and eccentric Alaska Young, Pudge immediately develops a crush on her.

Culver Creek is basically divided by two social classes, the "weekend warrior" who are the wealthy students who attend the school and then everyone else.  Alaska Young has a profound impact on Pudge.  Her drinking and smoking constantly baffles Pudge.  After Pudge was duct taped and thrown in the lake by the weekend warriors Alaska decides that she along with several other students are going to pull a prank in return for what they did to Pudge. He continues to become more enamored with Alaska despite the fact that she has a college boyfriend.

Unfortunately, Alsaska has to live with her vary troubled past.  At the age of 8, her mother died of a brain aneurysm.  Alaska carries the guilt of her mothers death with her because as a child when her mother died she was to shocked to call for help, leaving her mother on the floor seizing.  This pain still haunts Alaska and often is the source of her unpredictable behavior.

As Pudge learns more about Alaska, he begins to learn more about himself as well.  The reason I enjoyed this book is because despite there being a lot of pain and loss there is a lesson to be learned about life and how we choose to live it.  John Green's novel is truly great piece of fiction!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Blogger Hop
Do you listen to music when you read? If so, what are your favorite reading tunes?

I don't generally listen to music when I am reading. Although if I do I like to listen satellite radio.  I can listen to country, modern rock or even pop.  Basically I can listen to just about anything.  Although when the music is playing and I am reading a book it makes the experience that much more relaxing.  Also, hearing music while I read can help me get lost in the book.  A good book, warm cup of coffee, and some mellow music make just the right setting for losing myself in a story.  I also think it's really cool that some authors create sound tracks to their books.  It really gives a little bit of perspective on the author.  Although, no matter what if I can curl up with a book I am generally pretty happy!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver has truly written a great piece of fiction.  This story is so honest and true it's amazing.  This is Lauren's first novel and I have to say that she definitely has a bright future in young adult fiction.

Before I Fall is centered around Samantha Kingston a young teenager who has worked her way up to the top of the social ladder. Sam and her friends know that the social climate at her school centers around her and her three other friends Lindsay, Ally, and Elody.  Being in the social elite brings a sense of entitlement.  Sam and her friends make many of their decisions without any consideration for their impact on others.  They verbally obliterate any one who steps in their path.  Sam and her friends decide to make an appearance at a local party thrown by someone at school.  Unfortunately Sam never makes it home from the party, she dies in a fatal accident.

Although for Sam this is where her story begins.  Sam relives her final day over and over.  Every time she relives this day she there is moment of self discovery for Sam.  She begins to truly value all the little things in life through all of her relationships with the people in her life.

Despite the sorrow and loss in this story, there are moments of discovery and renewal.  Sam's journey of self discovery is amazing.  There is so much to be learned from this story and the truthfulness about the social tragedies that happen during adolescence.  That's why this story is honest and amazing.  I highly suggest that you put Before I Fall on you must read list.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Wow, this book really took me by surprise.  After reading Shiver the first book in the "Wolves of Mercy Falls" series, you never know if the next book is going to live up to its predecessor.  In the first book there was a lot of character development between Sam and Grace.  I have to admit I really enjoyed reading about their relationship in the first book.  Then I wondered now that they are together where is the second book going to take me?

Well, I was not disappointed at all.  In fact I thought that Stiefvater created a more complex and thought provoking book than the first.  In this book we get to read the story through more perspectives than just Sam and Grace, which thickens the plot.  In the story, things become far more complicated for Sam and Grace and they must work harder to stay together.   In order to make sure that the wolf pack survives new wolves had been created.  Cole is one of those wolves, his lifestyle lead him to becoming a wolf and now he struggles with who he wants himself to be and who he should become.  He was probably the most dynamic character in this story.  I had many thoughts about this character, both good and bad, while reading the story.  Another fun character is Isabel, I feel like we really get to learn more about her and her struggles in life.  Ultimately the struggle for Grace and Sam to be together continues.  Grace is such a strong character, practically stubborn and Sam is an emotional person.  Their relationship with each is young yet enduring at the same time.

 Now that I have read Linger,  the sad part is waiting so long for the third book.  Forever is not scheduled to come out until next July.  Waiting a whole year to find out what happens is going to drive me crazy.  In the mean time I will continue to read more great titles.  Although, If you have not read Shiver or "Linger,  you need to do so!!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society was an absolutely adorable book.  I found myself becoming very connected to the books main character Katarina Bishop.  Kat, as most people call her, is not your average teen.  Kat along with her family have basically been world class thieves for most of their lives.  In an attempt to live as a normal teenager, Kat cons her way into boarding school.  Unfortunately, her family and friends pull her right back into the lifestyle she is trying to leave behind.  In a fight to save someone in her family, Kat must pull off one of the biggest heists of all time.

Kat Bishop is a very strong female character.  The interesting thing is that her strength as lead character seemed to hold her back when she was faced with an emotional moment.  Part of her journey as a character was to learn how to respond to emotion and express her emotions as well.  I really enjoyed reading this book and found it to be a really fun read.  Once the book gets going the plot moves very quickly while still making you wonder what will happen next.  Their even is a little bit I romance in the book, which is essential for most young adult novels.  Another great thing about this book is that Ally Carter is working on a sequel.  I can't wait to read about more exciting adventures in Kat's life.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

I have to admit I made my husband read this book before I did because it was out if my typical comfort zone. He actually really enjoys learning about large ships and he also has a lot knowledge about steel. Upon finishing the book he suggested that I would learn a lot from reading this book. When I finally come to pick up this book I found myself lacking in a little background knowledge about actual ship breaking. So I put the book down and watched some presentations on youtube. Wow, it was really enlightening to see how morose and unimaginable ship breaking can be. This book is an important work of fiction in that it brings to light an important environmental issue that occurs today. As far as the plot goes this was a very fast paced plot with several intense characters. Nailer the main character works on a light crew in which he recovers valuable steel from ships that have been left for scavenge. Nailer is a very dynamic character and as a reader, you will have a definite appreciation for his survival skills. Not only does Nailer have to deal with basically living in uninhabitable conditions, his father turns out to be the worst type of person imaginable. Paolo Bacigalupi story is both enlightening and entertaining at the same time. The characters are very strong and the story line will keep you going. In addition there is something to be learned about the world of ship breaking and its effect on the environment.

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