Friday, February 13, 2009

I loved Audrey, Wait! by Robin Bremer so much that I made a playlist of all the songs from the chapter headings to listen to while I read it. The plot is fairly basic - Audrey breaks up with her boyfriend Evan, who then writes a song about her that becomes huge, forcing her into the media spotlight. What makes the book special are the well-drawn characters, including Audrey's parents, and the hilarious dialogue, especially between Audrey and her friends. I loved this book.

I finally got to Paper Towns by John Green which, let's be honest, isn't all that different from his previous books. It almost feels like a second go at Looking For Alaska and it works better in many ways than Alaska did by making the object of wonder more of a real person. If it weren't for Hassan in Katherines I'd say this was my favorite book of his.

Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle is three interconnected stories revolving around a small town, a snowstorm, and various teenagers in love. It wasn't fantastic but it was cute enough to keep me reading.

Steve Klugar's My Most Excellent Year: A novel of love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park wasn't life-changing or anything, but I had a smile on my face through pretty much the whole thing.

I re-read my favorite Sarah Dessen, Just Listen, which was perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon.

I've been wary of reading Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley because it disappointed a lot of people, but I ended up liking more than I expected to. Yeah, the voice was a little annoying but I read it while I had some excellent music on repeat which probably helped to take my mind off it. So maybe the key is to read it while half-distracted by something else?

Drew Ferguson's Screwed Up Life of Charlie The Second has more sex in it than your average YA novel, gay sex to be specific, just to get that out of the way right up front. That aside, the book is told through Charlie's journal entries covering his senior year when he faces life as an out, sort-of social outcast in high school. He falls in love for the first time, has to face the prospect of his parents divorcing, and has a best friend who has started paying more attention to his girlfriend than to Charlie. While the plot twists are predictable, Charlie is an appealing, funny character and I enjoyed reading it.

I picked up Everyone's A Critic by Paul Ruditis despite not being terribly excited about the first book in the series. This one lacked even the slight mystery angle from that one and instead focused on the drama department and their auditions for a prominent stage director. It wasn't especially funny and the characters weren't given much to do. The plot was okay but covered very familiar ground which I think was handled better in Dramarama and Camp.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

2009 books (I'm already really far behind. Sigh.)

I finished the Sean McMullen trilogy with The Miocene Arrow which moves the action to the North American continent and Eyes Of The Calculor which, while still interesting, felt less urgent and less complex than the previous two. Plus it had an almost literal deus ex machina character who I liked but the concept and execution of it didn't work that well for me.

Then there was What The Lady Wants by Jennifer Crusie which I already mentioned.

After that I finished Kelly Link's book of short stories Pretty Monsters. These were unsettling, sometimes ambiguous stories with supernatural elements. I didn't love all of them but there weren't any I disliked either. I did love "Magic For Beginners" and "The Faery Handbag" and "Wizards Of Perfil" especially though. This was my first exposure to Kelly Link's writing (and I'll definitely read more) even though I've been a fan of Small Beer Press for a while because they too appreciate Sean Stewart's genius.

I'm not sure how long I've had Wonder When You'll Miss Me on my shelves, but I finally got around to pulling it out. It was great, of course. I loved the circus setting and the characters who were all damaged in their own ways. Plus it had an ending joke so subtle yet perfect that I didn't even spot it coming until it happened. Bravo.


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