Sunday, August 23, 2009

Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer

The more that I reread Breaking Dawn (sidebar: I love that that is becoming just a casually habitual statement for me, cause that's so normal, I'm sure) the more I get resigned and accepting of all the weirdo things that happen in this book. And I'm more able to focus on the good parts- and there really are some satisfying parts to the book. But.... nothing will ever make it alright in my mind that one member of a formerly breathless-let's-just-kill-each-other love triangle is able (in the very same book mind you!) to go from offering to let his rival impregnate his wife in his stead to keep her alive and then to later cheerily accepting him as a son-in-law wed to his supernatural mutant baby girl!! NOT OK AND NEVER WILL BE! Look at me yelling on the internet- that's how strongly I feel about this. I can be brought around to everything else but not this. And what about all those Team Jacob girls out there- what are they supposed to think about this- it has to be creepily confusing for them. "Bella choose Jacob... no wait give your daughter to Jacob and then you guys can all co-parent the future Mrs. Black together...ewwww!"

What I Saw and How I Lied, Judy Blundell

Like my students, I am always drawn to books with shiny stickers on them and this one fit the bill. I didn't know anything about the story when I started reading it and I was so pleasantly surprised and pleased with it. I loved the atmosphere of post World War II Palm Beach and kept imagining I was watching an old movie. I've never read any true noir before and after seeing this described as noir for teens I want to try some grown up noir out. I love mysteries like this- it had just the right amount of foreshadowing and suspense to make me want to keep reading it all in one go but not so much to make my stomach hurt. I honestly can't think of a single thing I didn't like about this book. Now I need Judy Blundell to write something else for me to read. And as usual I have found someone else to be more articulate than I can be. Here's what bookslut says about it:

"Judy Blundell’s What I Saw and How I Lied is a stylish, noir-like thriller that carries its 1940s setting into a spectacular plot built on meaningful looks, suspicious associations and unspoken feverish longings. From start to finish Blundell places this story of lies and possible murder deeply in Perry Mason territory (and I mean that as the highest compliment). For fifteen-year-old Evie the events in the book are life changing as she watches her perfect family (beautiful mother and loving step-father) slowly crumble. What do you do when you realize your parents are not who you thought they were and how far would you go to protect that family image that has always meant so much?

There are questions about crimes and criminals that remain unresolved at the book’s end, but that does nothing to diminish the power of the story or its very satisfying ending. This is a book that sings of Bogart and Bacall, Raymond Chandler and Robert Mitchum and utterly and completely of Gene Tierney. You do not have to be a noir fan to enjoy it however, and it is assuredly a teen drama with wide appeal. I found a great deal to admire in Blundell’s writing here, and in her willingness to take a chance on a setting and style rarely visited for teens. There is a reason why this book is an award winner; it is completely cool."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan

This is really hard to write. I have realized that I have a hard time separating my dislike of a storyline or a specific character with dislike for a book's writing. Because they are two different things.

This book is beautifully written. I couldn't put it down and I read the entire thing in one sitting. I was emotionally invested and freaked out which I think are good indicators of the high quality of the writing.

My problem is that I was really mad about several major plot points (not to mention mad at a certain main character). Now if this book had been total trash I'd just say "who cares it's a lame book" but it's not trash or lame so I'm left feeling unsettled. Which maybe is the author's intent. And I'm not so pathetic in my desire for happy endings to prevail that I can't realize that a happy ending in a dystopian zombie world might just ring the teensiest bit hollow.

So now I have to deal with waiting until next year to find out what happens next. I am hopeful that Carrie Ryan will find a way to bring some small measure of happiness to temper the depression in her story.

I think the Story Siren sums this one up better than I can.

(And I'm excited to hear there could be a movie maybe even starring Bella Swan herself. It would be nice to see Bella being the one decapitatating mythical creatures for once)

Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer

My blog reader recently informed me that it seems like I stopped reading lately which is slightly true. I've been spending the last days of summer immersed in shallowness. I have been reading but only things like magazines & fashion blogs in between important online shopping ventures.

But I did get around to finishing Eclipse. Rereading Twilight made me all reminiscent and nostalgic and reminded me of how much I love it. Rereading New Moon reminded me that I kind of like Jacob (at times) but that I don't like the book as much as Twilight. And it took me forever to finish rereading Eclipse because I kind of stop caring. I find that I like each book in this series less than its predecessor. Which is why I continue to wonder if it all would have been better to just tack an epilogue onto Twilight and call it good.

So I kept putting Eclipse down and not picking it up again for days and days. There are some good bits but too much controlling Edward followed by pushover Edward without enough romantic Edward in the mix and altogether too much manipulative Bella.

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