Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wonder Show

Wonder Show

By. Hannah Barnaby

About: “…Except, that’s a lie. I lie all the time. When mother asks me if I’ve been near the elephants again, I lie. When Mosco accused me of being the one who switched Marie’s knives around, I lied then, too. (I didn’t really mean to switch the knives, though. I was just looking at them and then I guess I put them back wrong. It wasn’t really my fault—they all look the same.)” –page 236

Portia is a 13-year-old girl growing up in the Midwest during the depression. Her family of assumed gypsies has left her in the care of her Aunt Sophia who encourages her wild imagination and lets her stay up late reading pulp novels. When Aunt Sophia can no longer care for Portia she is sent to a home for wayward girls that is run by an evil man that goes by the name of “Mister”. After a tragic accident that kills Portia’s best friend, Portia runs off to join a touring vaudeville show. She travels with them in order to escape Mister, the guilt she holds for the death of her best friend, and to hopefully find her father who never misses a show.

Why I picked it up: I loved the cover’s illustrative qualities and I usually enjoy books that explore vaudeville culture.

Why I finished it: This book is well written, descriptive, and wildly creative. I found Portia to be a great role model for girls and I think this book would be of interest to a lot of different audiences. Also, the vaudeville characters of the novel are based on real people and their personal history is told in the back of the book. You will read this book, love it, and spend countless hours looking up the people that inspired the characters in the novel.

I’d give it to: Everyone, but especially girls that have a wild imagination and people that are interested in esoteric historical fiction

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands & Teeth

By. Carrie Ryan

About: A zombie plague has wiped out the majority of mankind. Therefore, the survivors must live in a gated community that lacks all conventions of modern society. The only thing separating the village from the undead or, “unconsecrated” zombies is a wire fence. Mary is a 15-year-old girl who lives in the village. She dreams of a life outside of its confines and longs to find the ocean and evidence of high rise building, which seem like nothing more than folklore her mother passed down to her before she joined the rankings of the unconsecrated. The village is shrouded in secrecy, it sticks to traditional values and lifestyles, is governed by an organization of women known as the Sisterhood and, is protected by a group of men called the Guardians. When a zombie girl that is stealthier and more blood thirsty than any other infiltrates the community only a handful of survivors are left alive. Mary and her pack of survivors must set out on their own in search of refuge, another village or, as Mary dreams, the ocean.

Why I picked it up: I was reading a lot of zombie lit in preparation for the upcoming ZombiePalooza at Harrington and it looked good.

Why I finished it: I could not put this book down! Or, when I did have to put it down to sleep I would have terrifying nightmares of zombies clawing at the fence. The main character Mary is selfish, complicate, and hangs on the hinges of being either highly relatable or insufferable. So, a real live girl! This is a must read

I’d give it to: I would give it to you or, any girl that loves a good horror read.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No One Belongs Here More Than You

By: Miranda July

In this collection of short stories it is hard to tell what is fact, fiction, or memoir. I am under the impression that it is a bit of all of the above, with an extreme emphasis on the banal human condition, a whimsical approach to loneliness and wanting to belong, and sometimes the perverse-but with a child like twist. This book is creative, poignant, insightful, and chocked full of "a-ha!" and laugh out loud moments.

Why I picked it up: I was never much of a fan of Miranda July's film or performance art work. So, I read this book hoping to shut the door on her as a cliche fraud but was so wrong. 

Why I finished it: I was mesmerized by Miranda July's ability to combine the typical with the absurd, and make it uncomfortably humanistic yet relatable. I left this book searching out any and all creative writing exercises she ever pursued. Check this out as a teaser: Hands Off: My First Feminist Action

I’d give it to: Girls, ranging from teenage to mid thirties. Any girl that has at some time felt misunderstood or like an outsider must read this book.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blink & Caution

By: Tim Wynne Jones

Blink is a 16-year-old boy that has left his home and is living on the streets. One morning when he is grabbing someone’s leftovers at a hotel he witnesses the kidnapping of a high profile CEO. The kidnappy shows no signs of struggle and leaves a wad of cash, his cell phone, and a photo of his daughter behind.
Caution is a 16 year old girl that is living with her boyfriend, a drug dealer named Merlin. Merlin is a “magician”, as well as the definition of a scumbag. Why does she put up with this treatment? Because she did something terrible, she killed her own brother and, for that, she takes on this horrible life as her penance.
After the witnessed kidnap Blink pockets the cash and cell phone and gives the kidnappy’s daughter a call to let her know her father is okay. That opens a whole new can of worms that gets Blink personally involved. Caution and Blink cross paths once she tries to leave her boyfriend and the two become a team of misfits on the run.

Why I picked it up: It was recommended to me. Also, I wanted to flex my palette and read something out of the ordinary. I realized I was getting in to a bit of a dystopian and horror rut so, I wanted to shift gears.

Why I finished it: I was so captivated by Caution’s side of the story and wanted to know how she was going to get out of her situation. I needed to know the gory details of the murder she committed which she talks about. This book will keep you in the edge of your seat! Also, I loved how the first part of the book tells Blink’s story, the second tells Caution’s, and then their chance meeting catches you up to the present scenario.

I’d give it to: This book is smart, well written, and can be enjoyed by a variety of audiences. It is also a great book for both male and female audiences. So, I would give it to older young adults that enjoy suspenseful thrillers.