Friday, January 28, 2011

The Gemma Doyle 2011 Reread Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

*WARNING: SPOILERS. DO NOT READ DESCRIPTION IF YOU HAVEN'T READ A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY*

Dust Jacket Description
:

"Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. . . .

The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.

But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task...

Rebel Angels teems with Victorian thrills and chills that play out against the backdrop of 1895 London, a place of shadows and light...where inside great beauty can lie a rebel angel."

Characters: A Great and Terrible Beauty is the intro to a very elaborate world. The Sweet Far Thing adds a whole new dimension to complexity to Gemma's wants while tying up just enough loose ends. But Rebel Angels is the most plot dense book in the series. Everything becomes a hell of a lot darker, including the four girls. Victorian culture is a big focus of the book, since the girls are all in London from Christmas. TSFT may be my favourite, but RA is always the book that surprises me with each rereading.

Gemma's struggle between English society and the free will the realms' allow is the most evident in Rebel Angels. She's dealing with her family drama, teen hormones, boys, gossip and rocky friendships. That isn't including dealing with finding Circe, the woman who is trying to control the realms. It would be an understatement to say she's overwhelmed. That's what so great about the crazed, dark thread through the entire novel: you feel it as Gemma goes through it.

Family issues, primarily with Gemma and Felicity, are also a big focus. Ann begins to come into her own and Felicity's character is given a new layer of depth. The girls' start sharing even more secrets and Ann and Fee's loyalty to Gemma, not just her power, is tested.

Kartik starts to not only be an attractive nuisance from the Rakshana but turns into a friend of Gemma's. It's fascinating seeing their relationship grow from purely political to blunt and tender. Libba knows how to develop a romance and she builds this one up with skill.

There are plenty of new characters, mainly Simon Middleton, Gemma's other love interest, who adds lots of fun to the book and Nell Hawkins', the mentally ill girl from Bedlam Gemma is relying on to help her decode the mystery of the realms. Nell's addition gives the book a starker feel that I ate up. 5 flowers.

Writing:
Libba has this odd way of giving gravity to absolutely every description she writes. Everything comes across as important. It's one of the things I love about her books. There's still the same lyricism. The dialogue sometimes ends on the info dump side but it's funny and organic the majority of the time. Every word is gorgeous. 5 flowers.

Plot:
As I said before, this is the most plot dense book in the series. The girls' are on the mad dash to figure out where the source of power is in the realms. There are a lot of things interwoven into AGATB that lead to answers in RA. I think a lot of people saw the plot twist at the end, however I did not. In fact I remember having to reread the passage to make sure what I thought I was reading was true when I first read RA. The entire structure certainly satisfied me. 5 flowers.

End:
The interesting thing about Rebel Angels is that it's the only book in the series where the climax is half in the real world and half in the realms. You can argue with me about AGATB, and I'll still say Rebel Angels is different that way. I love how Gemma's resolves the situation. The monologue near the end when Gemma is talking about Simon is probably the most undervalued quote in the entire series. Even Mrs. Nightwing has a superb story in the end of this book. 5 flowers.

Dust Jacket Description:
There's no mention of the Temple, the source of magic in London. Nor of Nell Hawkins. Also it's Simon Middleton, not Lord Denby. I do however like how the end of the description ties in with AGATB. 4 flowers.

Cover:
Least favourite in the series. This is not how Gemma looks to me at all. Also, what's up with the random necklace? That isn't the crescent eye. 3 and a half flowers.

Overall:
Libba demonstrates how to approach the middle of a trilogy very well. The stakes grow higher in RA as everything intensifies and that's what I love about it. 5 flowers.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bloggiesta Post #2


My goals:

1. Finish a review list. This is going to be a long and onerous task, but it must be done. I think it will be pretty to look at.
2. Organize my tags. Another long task but I need to be able to utilize them efficiently.
3. Complete all the mini challenges for Bloggiesta. They all look great this year.
4. Finally figure out which memes I want to participate regularly in.
5 Edit my review policy.
6. Finish my Rebel Angels review.
7. Get an idea for a feature I'd like to do regularly on my blog.
8. Give a productive comment to every single blog post I read this weekend.

Finally finished my review list! It's been a chore I've been wanting to do for a few months now. I'm pretty pleased with myself. I also think I'm just going to do IMM from now on. I'm making my way to completing number eight too. Also my review policy has been edited as I see fit. I believe this is a good beginning to the weekend!

Review List

Albums (Alphabetized by Title)

Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin

Books
(Alphabetized by Author)



A:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Help Me, Jacques Cousteau by Gil Adamson
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Spell Hunter: Faery Rebel by RJ Anderson
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Emma by Jane Austen

B:

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
QUEER: The Ultimate LGBT Guide by Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Ask Elizabeth by Elizabeth Berkley
Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DeTerrilizzi
Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Valiant by Holly Black
Ironside by Holly Black
The Waters and the Wild by Francesca Lia Block
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
Morning Rising by Samantha Boyette
Crash Into Me by Albert Borris
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
Hate List by Jennifer Brown

C:

Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot

How To Be Popular by Meg Cabot
The Fortunes of the Indigo Skye by Deb Caletti
Gallagher Girl Series by Ally Carter
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn
Take Me There by Susane Colasanti
Juggler in the Wind by Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
earthgirl by Jennifer Cowan
Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe
Normal Gets You Nowhere by Kelly Cutrone

D:

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

E:

After by Amy Efaw
Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland
Everything Is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis
Quaking by Kathryn Erskine

F:

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Everything Sucks by Hannah Friedman
Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner
Supergirls Speak Out by Liz Funk
If I Stay by Gayle Forman

G:

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Difference Between You and Me by Madeline George
Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Gilman
Pieces of Me by Charlotte Gingras
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen

H:

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
The Vanishing Point by Louise Hawkes
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
Incantation by Alice Hoffman
Crank by Ellen Hopkins

I:

A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson


J:

97 Things To Do Before You Finish High School by Steve Jenkins and Erika Stalder
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
This Book Is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson
After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel
Firelight by Sophie Jordan

K:

The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor
The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S King
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert


L:

Liar by Justine Larabalestier
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Wide Awake by David Levithan
The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby
The Apprentice's Masterpiece by Melanie Little
Fly On the Wall by E Lockhart
The Boyfriend List by E Lockhart
The Boy Book by E Lockhart
Dramarama by E Lockhart
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Hero Type by Barry Lyga
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga

M:

The Season by Sarah MacLean
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Welcome to Camden Falls by Ann M. Martin
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Sold by Patricia McCormick
A Rose for Melinda by Lurlene McDaniel
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Bras and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski
Frogs and French Kisses by Sarah Mlynowski
Spells and Sleeping Bags by Sarah Mlynowski
TTYL by Lauren Myracle
TTFN by Lauren Myracle

N:

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Visibility by Sarah Neufeld
The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark
Gentlemen by Michael Northrop

O:

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

P:

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo
Luna by Julie Anne Peters
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Q:


R:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

S:

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott
Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott
I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader by Kieran Scott
Women in Aikido by Amie Segel
Everything Is Going To Be Great by Rachel Shukert
Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Go Ask Alice edited by Beatrice Sparks
The Espressologist by Kristina Springer
How To Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford
Stupid Cupid by Rhonda Stapleton
Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers

T:

The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmesb and Darcy Vance
And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky
Gemma by Meg Tilly


U:


V:

Vacations from Hell
The Steampunk Bible by Jeff Vandermeer with SJ Chambers
The Hollow by Jessica Verday
The Hand You're Dealt by Paul Volponi

W:

Skinned by Robin Wassermen
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
Such A Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

X:


Z:

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
Donut Days by Lara Zielin
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak

Movies (Alphabetized by Title)

Almost Famous
Bridesmaids
Chicago
Heartbreaker (L'arnacoeur)

This Means War

Plays (Alphabetized by Title)

Oleanna
The Great Gatsby
The Last 15 Seconds

TV Seasons (Alphabetized by Title)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 4
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 5
Sherlock, Season 2


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bloggiesta 2011 Intro Post

Have you heard of Bloggiesta? If not, you need to click on that link and check it out! Basically, it's a universal blog challenge where you can finally get around to getting your blog goals done. I've done it twice before and I hope to be more successful than ever.

My goals:

1. Finish a review list. This is going to be a long and onerous task, but it must be done. I think it will be pretty to look at.
2. Organize my tags. Another long task but I need to be able to utilize them efficiently.
3. Complete all the mini challenges for Bloggiesta. They all look great this year.
4. Finally figure out which memes I want to participate regularly in.
5 Edit my review policy.
6. Finish my Rebel Angels review.
7. Get an idea for a feature I'd like to do regularly on my blog.
8. Give a productive comment to every single blog post I read this weekend.

What about you?

Writing Habits

Hello Followers,

Here I am at the beginning of the year, revealing all of my hidden passions to you! So first we started with TGDT, which isn't exactly a secret to anyone who has ever met me or encountered my twitter account, but it hasn't been outright discussed either. Now we're talking about my obsession with writing and how I really need a new laptop messenger bag because of it.

I'm kind of a writer. When I say kind of I mean that I am a n00b who's writing sucks. That's okay though. I will get there. Right now I'm writing this book about ambiguity, coming of age, how morality does not exist and quantum physics. Now you understand why I am so incoherent all of the freaking time.

And as for the messenger bag, I need to write more often so I want to be able to lug my near death computer to the library and my sacred Starbucks. What do you guys think of this one?

The point of this post is that I have not written for approximately two months. I need to start writing again. What I propose is that I do a feature every week where I talk about my opinions on writing and my own writing. What do you THINK? Do you guys have absolutely no interest in a feature like that or would you be into it? Let me know!

Emma

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Gemma Doyle 2011 Reread A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Followers, we have never truly discussed my insane love of all things Libba Bray.

See, ever since I came across The Gemma Doyle Trilogy in 2008 I have been a big fan of Libba Bray. TGDT is the one series that spoke to me completely. It was exceptionally good timing on my part and mesmerizing writing on Libba's. I've been in love with Gemma and her world ever since. From then on, at the beginning of every year I start rereading the series. This takes me about a month but it is always worth it.

I realize I've never done reviews of TGDT for you guys. I'm changing that this year!

Dust Jacket Description:

"Gemma Doyle isn't like other girls. Girls with impeccable manners, who speak when spoken to, who remember their station, and who will lie back and think of England when it's required of them.

No, sixteen year old Gemma is an island unto herself, sent to the Spence Academy in London after tragedy strikes her family in India. Lonely, guilt ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma finds a chilly reception. But she's not completely alone...she's been followed by a mysterious young man, who warns her to close her mind against the visions.

For it's at Spence that Gemma's power to attract the supernatural unfolds; there she becomes entangled with the school's most powerful girls and discovers her mother's connection to a shadowy group called the Order. It's there that her destiny waits...if only she can believe in it.

A Great and Terrible Beauty is a curl up under the covers kind of book... a vast canvas of rustling skirts and dancing shadows and things that go bump in the night. It's a vividly drawn portrait of the Victorian age, when girls were groomed for lives as rich men's wives...and the story of a girl who saw another way."

Characters: I can very easily say that Gemma is my favourite protagonist of all time. She's my platonic book soul mate if there ever was one. Her complexity and character arch astounds me with each and every reread. There are more than a few times where I find myself nodding along with her thoughts, stumbling over her emotions. I smile when she is happy and cry when she is in despair. I have a huge connection with Gemma as a character. She's changed my life and paradigm. It's an undeniable fact. Oh and don't think I'm done, for I have so much to say about the other characters.

The funny thing about AGATB or A Great and Terrible Beauty, is that you get the first impression glance at each of these four girls that the series focuses on and then it modifies through out the series. Gemma comes across as an ungrateful, dramatic brat at the beginning, Felicity is the controlling bitch, the ruler of Spence and the social order in it. Pippa is deluded and naive. Ann is impossible and meek. But what I love so much about these girls is how very much they contradict themselves, just as real people do. I love noticing the new complexities with every reread as I pay less attention to the plot and more the characters.

These girls are abandoned creatures with very few real mentors to help them with their trek through girlhood. The teachers at Spence are a great example of this, as are the parents through out this series. If you're a teen who can't empathize with Gemma's frustration with adults, I don't know what kind of magnificent world you're in, but I'd like to be there.

Kartik, the mysterious young man mentioned in the description, is also fairly two dimensional at the beginning of these books. He's clearly the obvious love interest to Gemma. But their evolving relationship is by far my all time favourite in all of my reading career. Seeing Gemma struggle with her sexual desires in a time where girls are only supposed to lie back and think of England, is also another interesting aspect to AGATB.

These characters are as real to me as the people I see in my real life. No one can tell me otherwise. 5 flowers.

Writing:
You can hate TGDT all you want, but no one in their right mind can say that Libba cannot write. Her prose is the most delicious I've encountered. She always as something to say about feminism, grief, life as a teenager and society as a whole. Her descriptions make me salivate and her dialogue makes me laugh and cry. The lyricism of Libba's writing style made me fall wholeheartedly in love with her books. 5 flowers.

Plot: The first thirty pages of this book is extremely confusing for a first time reader. Please, do not drop it in your disappointment. It picks up by the time she reaches Spence, I promise you. Libba focuses much more heavily on the boarding school dynamics here than she does in any of the other books. The plot and pacing is significantly simpler. It's perfect for the first book, but it's also why AGATB will never be my favourite TGDT book.

Beyond that, I love all the struggles and joys the girls have to go through. Some people will find Libba's plot twists obvious. She's always had the uncanny ability to make me think one thing, negate that idea and then gasp when I realize I was right all along. 5 flowers.

End:
It's heartbreaking but real. Oh so very real. It introduces you to the melancholy taste in your mouth you'll get with every book's ending. 5 flowers.

Dust Jacket Description:
I have a lot to thank to the person who wrote this description. In conjunction with the cover, it's exactly why I picked up this book. Yes, it has way too many ellipses and it's a bit too dramatic, but it sucked me in. That's the point. 5 flowers.

Cover:
It's daring and seductive. It fits the book to a T. 5 flowers.

Overall:
Yes, Gemma can be overly dramatic. Yes Libba's copy editor should work on her ability to address continuity over several books. Yes you might not like these books. But I did. I love them. For me, these fit perfectly. I'm more than head over heels in love with Gemma's world. You cannot convince me otherwise. 5 flowers.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Shelf Reorganization Project

Guys.

Guys I think I have a problem.

I spent half an hour on the phone with a friend last night and during this duration of time I decided I would organize my book shelf. I'd organized by genre and it bothered me. So I organized by read, author's last name and to read, author's last name, because I subscribe to the library way of thinking with my own twist. I have two big main shelves, one big wall one and then two tiny wall ones. I was under the illusion that it would take me about an hour.

Three hours later, after listening to WAY too many Tyler Oakley videos I had finally finished. Do not judge me, okay?

Here is what I found out. After putting ten huge piles all around my office, including my two desks and floor and dividing into read and to be read, here are the books I've read:

The unorganized shelf upstairs. I've read all but nine books on the two bottom shelves and the top shelf is all unread:

The top two shelves are books I've read and the bottom is my favourites shelf:

So in total I've read about 131 books that I own. But wait for it. JUST WAIT. Here is my to be read shelf:

This, including my other shelf of books I need to read and a few non fiction books, I have about 115 TBR books.

I am so dead.

What I want to know is, what does your book collection look like? I have approximately 246 books in my collection. Are you a library person or a serious owner? Do you want to collapse from TBR books like I do? We need some kind of support group.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Book 74 of '10 Gemma by Meg Tilly

Dust Jacket Description:

"After Hazen Wood kidnaps twelve-year-old Gemma Sullivan, the two embark upon a cross-country journey that tests the limits of Gemma's endurance. In scenes of physical and sexual violence, Hazen tries to destroy the young girl's will. When she does manage to escape he drags her back and threatens to have her arrested for the violent acts he performs. It is only Gemma's resilience and fertile imagination that protects her from the worst of the trauma she suffers. And, in the end, it is the healing power of unconditional love that gives Gemma the courage to speak out against her abuser at last and claim the life she deserves.

Alternating between the voices of Gemma and Hazen Wood, Meg Tilly has brilliantly brought to life powerful and unforgettable characters that will leave you thinking about them long after you turn the last page."

Characters: Gemma's voice lacked the realism I was looking for. In parts she seemed to emotionally mature and is others she seemed a lot younger than twelve. It was still really interesting reading about her experiences with sexual abuse as she went through them. I wish Hazen had been more fleshed out like Ray in Living Dead Girl. His POV detracted from the novel. Gemma is a fabulous kid and it's heartbreaking to see not only that she is going through this horrific event, but that she treats it like it's normal. I did like how the relationship between Gemma's mother and herself was illustrated. There are a few side characters who are better fleshed out than the two narrators. 3 and a half flowers.

Writing: Tilly just doesn't seem to get it. I know she has had her own experiences with sexual abuse but there is no depth that I have found in books like Living Dead Girl about pedophilia. There are graphic rape scenes, but the voice seems hollow more than raw. 3 flowers.

Plot: The beginning arch confused me slightly but after that the plot was a succession of punch after punch. It's an emotionally difficult book, to be sure. Even now I can't decide if I'm content or dissatisfied with the last hundred pages. 4 flowers.

End: I was waiting for the kind of hard hitting but emotionally uplifting ending I've gotten with several YA "issue books". The ending just reminds me of bad children books. I honestly can't imagine it ending any other way, but the writing left me shaking my head. It's validating as a reader yet upsetting as a reviewer. It's highly possible I'm the only reader of Gemma who thinks the ending needed a bigger point of validation and emotional loss. 3 flowers.

Dust Jacket Description: A little cliche but gets the point across. 3 flowers.

Cover: Usually I'd hate a cover like this. Instead, I enjoy the accurate vulnerability displayed within it. 5 flowers.

Overall: It was difficult to read, to be sure. For me, it lacked the truth I was craving. 3 and a half flowers.

Top Ten Favourites of '10 Part 2

4. Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden

This is by far the all time best YA romance novel I have ever read. I just completely adore the relationship between Liza and Annie. Garden's writing style is gorgeous. Anyone who likes LGBTQ fiction will love this book. It made me cry it was so good.












3. The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

David Levithan has been one of my favourite authors since two years ago. This is by far my all time favourite of his. I love the verse aspect of this novel. The narrators were confusing at first, but it got better quite quickly. I was near tears only about fifty pages in. That is how strong this book hit me. Levithan is the king at creating an instantly fleshed out relationship within only a few pages. This book really spoke to me. For those of you who like LGBTQ books and verse, this will appeal to you.











2. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

This was my first time reading Cory Doctorow and god I should have done it a long time ago. Doctorow certainly knows how to write. This was one of the most satisfying reads I read through the entire summer. Please go read it if you like tech related YA books. It's complete genius.











1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The writing is gorgeous, the character development is fascinating and I seriously had to put the book down every half an hour just to think about what was being discussed. It is by far the best classic I've read so far. I am very excited to read some of Oscar Wilde's plays and learn more about him. This book is just kind of amazing. You should probably read it.













So that's my reflection on 2010! What about you?

Top Ten Favourites of '10 Part 1

Hey Guys,

I had a really freaking amazing year and decided to tell you about all the best books I read in 2010!

10. The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

This was the third book I read in '10, so I don't remember it very well. I remember the strong voice and delicious writing style the most. It was the first book I read by Angela Johnson and I didn't get the chance to read anything more by her in '10. I plan on it in '11.













9. Everything is Going to Be Great by Rachel Shukert

If you read my review, you know that while I loved Shukert's writing style, her morals were questionable. Admittedly, that was a big part of what made this book so much fun. The writing style is gorgeous and hilarious. It's in fact the first publisher book I got that me squee from the cover alone. I will always recommend this book to anyone who wants a travel memoir. It's like Maureen Johnson's travel journal except with more sexual escapades and Jewish jokes.










This is my favourite Jane Austen novel. Primarily because I'm narcissistic. Actually, the pacing is rather slow but the character development is absolutely superb. Mr. Knightley is just the sort of gentlemen I would like to emerge into real life. I developed a new found appreciation for anti hero types after reading this novel.








7. Visibility by Sarah Neufeld

This is definitely my favourite indie book I've read this entire year. I love the approach on invisibility, the graphics and character development. I am looking forward to whatever Neufeld writes about next. Her style is fast paced and brilliant. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes superhero novels with the twist.










I love my librarians to a kind of obscenely nerdy degree. This book was fascinating and exceptionally well written. It gave me a new found understanding of the profession I want to be in someday. By far my favourite non fiction book of the year.










5. Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak

I am a little bit in love with Zusak. His writing style makes me want to reread his books for ages. I was concerned that since Ruben was one of his earlier books it wouldn't have the same amazing factor I am used to with his books. I was completely wrong. Ruben had the same brilliant style as his other books. I loved how the boxing is shown as well. I highly recommend this to other Zusak lovers.










Book 72 of '10 Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Dust Jacket Description:

"Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers."





Characters: This entire novel felt off to me. Hannah tries to be an enigma but she ends up being a literary lost cause. She seems fairly able to understand boundaries and emotions. I could see her breaking down from the bullying that occurred to her, but there's nothing here that makes me think she's truly upset. In fact, at the part where Hannah says she finally began to start contemplating suicide, I was floored. Asher's approach to suicide left me confused and itching to discuss.

Hannah is the kind of teen girl only former teenage boys can imagine. While this works for books by Sherman Alexie, Barry Lyga and John Green, by Asher using Hannah's POV, her voice lost any kind of realism for me.

As for Clay, the entire novel I kept on wishing Asher had written from the POV of another person who got the audio tapes. Clay is a nice guy with absolutely no substance. If Asher had focused on someone who had have more involvement in Hannah's decision to end her life, I would've enjoyed this book a lot more.

The side characters were interesting. Just not enough to save this book. 3 flowers.

Writing:
There is a lot of juxtaposition between Hannah's story telling and Clay's reaction to it. It grated on my nerves more than once. Clay's reaction often took me completely out of the story and made me want to hurl the book across the room. Some of the writing was quite pretty, but seeing as the two POVs canceled each other out, it wasn't enough to keep me enthralled. 3 flowers.

Plot:
Sometimes I honestly thought that people on the tapes didn't deserve to be there. The flow of the tapes did work well, however. Asher does paint an excellent picture with puzzles pieces. A few of them just happen to have the edges shaved off. I couldn't get over how wrong Clay was as the narrator to let myself go through the story with satisfaction. 3 and half flowers.

End:
I'd be lying if it didn't inspire WTF from my lips. 3 flowers.

Dust Jacket Description:
Suspenseful and surprisingly excellent. 4 and a half flowers.

Cover:
The girl is generic but the setting makes it instantly desolate. 4 flowers.

Overall:
A huge disappointment. I understand why this book was such a big deal. I just think Asher still needs to evolve as an author. I'll be waiting for his next book to see if he does. 3 flowers.