Saturday, January 31, 2009

Final 2008 push!

Ellen Wittlinger's Blind Faith has been on my to read list for a while and while it was good I think I expected more of it because so many people said they loved it.

Robin McKinley's Chalice, I'm sorry to say, didn't have much of a chance from me even thought I wanted to love it. See, I love The Hero And The Crown and The Blue Sword like whoa, but I don't think she's written anything else as good as those. And when you add in the whole land sense aspect of it that in my mind forever belongs to Patricia McKillip (in an untouchable trilogy I love even more), well, like I said, it didn't really have a chance. That's not to say it wasn't good - it was. Just not as good. Which I'm sure only makes sense in my head.

The Disreputable History Of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart was like a YA version of Prep with a dash of The Skulls. I had a lot of fun reading it.

I did a lot of eye-rolling during Gail Carson Levine's Fairest, a retelling of Snow White. It was okay I suppose, but was no Ella Enchanted. Aza was annoying and because all her focus was on wanting to be pretty I disliked her for pretty much the entire book. Why get so hung up on something you can't change? Move on!

Graceling by Kristin Cashore has gotten a lot of well-deserved attention and I enjoyed it a lot. I liked the whole concept of the graces and the characters were cool and thankfully not stupid - they came to realizations not too long after I did, which I appreciated.

But I loved Susan Juby's Getting The Girl: A Guide To Private Investigation, Surveillance, And Cookery. Total love. I laughed at something on nearly every page. If Brick had been a teen comedy it might have gone something like this. But at the same time I appreciated the genuine sense of menace about what was happening to these girls when they got shunned. It was surprisingly effective and worked to give the book depth. Seriously, LOVE.

Dooley Takes The Fall by Norah McClintock is another teen mystery, but without the laughs. Dooley is a complicated character and I liked how we got to know him with his back story being released gradually. The mystery was nice and twisty and I liked the tone of the book.

While I was visiting my parents over Christmas I dug into my mom's Elizabeth Peters books and read Borrower Of The Night, Street Of The Five Moons, Silhouette In Scarlet, and Night Train To Memphis in preparation for the new Vicky Bliss that came out last year. (We couldn't find her copy of Trojan Gold though or I would have read that one too.) I also read Die For Love which is one of my favorites of hers. You know, reading these again after so many years was funny - I no longer have to wonder where my feminist inclinations come from. I started reading Elizabeth Peters when I was eight or nine and she was pretty much my favorite author after that and her books are full of strong, intelligent women who are very staunchly and outspokenly feminist. Mystery solved!

I read Sean McMullen's Souls In The Great Machine quickly, gulping down the excellent science fiction of a future Australia where a computer made up of human components is constructed to deal with the complex politics and war on the continent. It had really cool world-building and while the characters tended toward the cartoonish at times, it was a fun read.

Last book! The Subject Steve by Sam Lipsyte was a little disappointing. It wasn't nearly as funny as Home Land and the plot and overall message reminded me of American Desert by Percival Everett. It did have its moments though and I liked it well enough.

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