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Monday, October 28, 2013

"The F-- It List" Literary Review

The F- It ListThe F- It List by Julie Halpern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every once in a while there will be a book that comes along that will become one of those stirring sticks of controversy... Boy oh boy I can't wait to see the reality television-esque turmoil that will erupt once this book gets released. First and foremost, look at that title!! "The F-It List" implies exactly what you think... it's a list with things that the protagonist Alex and her cancer-striken friend Becca want to say "F it!" and just do within their lifetimes. But along the way, both of the girls become stronger both within their friendship and their individual lives. Becca struggles with chemo and the fact that she may not survive to graduation, while Alex deals with more menial aspects of teenage life, such as saying "I love you" to a boy she truly loves, but she's still insecure.

This is a great book for teens to indulge with and connect to.... The only downside is the proverbial usage of vulgarity. Oh well, teenagers will be teenagers.

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"Hoot" Literary Review

HootHoot by Carl Hiaasen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a book that I had heard so much about and how the endeavors of the young protagonists was enlightening and adorable. However, I couldn't quite get my head around this tale.

Roy is a young boy who has just moved to Florida from Montana, only to be greeted with the challenge of Dana Matherson, the school bully. Right away, we can determine that this will be the problem that is most pronounced in Roy's mind, primarily because he being beaten up, harassed and made fun of on an almost daily basis. According to recent legislation regarding bullying (see for guidelines), Roy would not have had to be a victim of these incidents due to the fulfilled obligations of the school's staff, i.e. principal, teachers, etc. But then again, we wouldn't have had a problem story then would we?

Roy finds solace in the mysterious boy, Mullet Fingers, who looks more like a fugitive than a young boy, simply because he is avoiding his neglectful and emotionally abusive mother. This in itself is also a problem because how is a young child supposed to survive without a safe home? Mullet Fingers doesn't concern himself with his unfortunate circumstances, but would rather vandalize a construction site that would demolish an endangered breed of owls. THis plot line would entice readers who are subjected to emotional abuse, as well as neglectful parents, as well as any young reader who would be interested in wildlife, Florida, protests, and conservation.

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"Boy Toy" Literary Review

Boy ToyBoy Toy by Barry Lyga
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a disturbing read that provokes human thought and interaction... Josh is an eighteen year old baseball player who just wants to graduate from high school and go to college. The only problem is that he's being haunted by Eve, his seventh grade history teacher who molested him, and the scandal that has somehow turned him into a social pariah.
The message is that Josh wants to be normal, but furthermore, understood teenager. Baseball, girls and straight A's take up most of his time. However, when a controversy involves you and puts pressure on you, it's hard to deal with.

As a teacher reading this, it was more like a horror story considering the molestation factor, but Lyga presents the book in a way that makes it a disturbing, upsetting read in which the reader doesn't want to put it down. I even gave up sleep to finish this page-turner. However, I have concerns letting young adults (especially my own students)read this for the events and content involved, for the simple fear of possible controversy.

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"Carrie" Literary Review

CarrieCarrie by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have always avoided the horror genre, both books and films, and many other readers have recommended "Carrie" as a stepping stone. I also had never read Stephen King, so this was just a new experience overall that I was proud I was taking.

Unfortunately, I wasn't impressed. I was expecting a full fledged thrilling horror story, but I wasn't getting it. The style of the book has a variety of media; newspaper clippings, police reports, and even memoirs from the individuals that survived Carrie's wrath. However, it just was not my cup of tea. Maybe some more forward thinking or just psychological viewpoints? Oh well, no love lost.

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Artemis Fowl- Reading Suggestions!

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oh if only I had read this book at a different time in my life.... Perhaps when I was actually a teenager looking for a teenage book that I could connect with, instead of reading this as part of my grad school homework. I would have found it much more enjoyable. SO- instead of giving a literary criticism, I figured I'd provide you with a list of other novels that you may enjoy if you have read "Artemis Fowl" and vice versa...

1. "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card- The protagonists are both thrown into a situation and must deal with it. Furthermore, both protagonists are young teenage boys.

2. "The Odyssey" by Homer- Yep, I went old school with this one.... However, if you are into fantasy, there is a good chance you will also like mythology, especially the Greek gods and goddesses. Odysseus is also the epic hero, so you may enjoy seeing another protagonist change throughout a journey.

3. Harry Potter Series.... Need I say more? Read them. Live a little.

4. "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman.... Fantasy galore! Male protagonist as well...

Suggestions?? Post THEM!

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

"Entwined" Literary Review

EntwinedEntwined by Heather Dixon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I don't really know where to begin on this review, simply because this book didn't really affect me that much. Which is the most tragic thought concerning a book! I'd rather hate a book because it has evoked correlating emotions, instead of just having a blah or "okay" feeling.

Let's compile a list:

1) Azalea, our protagonist, is the eldest, aka the leader, of her twelve sisters... And they ALL happen to be too whiny for my taste.

2) Why do they all have awkward names? Azalea, Bramble, Clover, Delphinium, etc... WHY?!

3) There's a family drama issue that I won't reveal for fear of spoilers, but this issue is remnant throughout the book and never seems to be resolved until the actual resolution. I felt like that young adult readers would absorb this issue and could even entice rebellion within readers themselves. As a teacher, I want students to discover lessons from literature, and even though the primary idea would be to detect that there is an issue, some readers may not grasp this.

4) The plot is quite simple, but does introduce complicated twists that don't seem to be delivered fluidly... Keeper is our antagonist, and we don't fully realize that he's a bad guy until it's too late... (SURPRISINGLY, much like the princesses themselves).

5) The original fairytale is one to encourage love, yet the love story is dismal. I definitely wanted more!

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