Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss Review

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Pages: 372
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Realistic Fiction
Published Date: December 2010

Summary: (goodreads.com)“Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to a boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?”

My Reaction:

I know what you are thinking. You have zero interest in reading this book. I mean, Anna and the French Kiss? Look at the cover! Romantic-y boy and girl making goo goo eyes at each other right in front of the Eiffel Tower. And then there is the summary... You read it and roll your eyes, you know exactly what this book will be like: fluffy and absolutely, annoyingly dramatic.

I am hear to tell you that you are fantastically WRONG about Anna.

I honestly would never have read Anna if not for the amazing reviews from YA authors and important people in the publishing world that exploded online days after the book was released. After watching YA novelist and popular video blogger John Green’s video dedicated to Anna, I knew that it must be something special. After a few clicks on my Ebook reader, I was ready to see if this silly-looking book would live up to its high praise.

I really need to avoid diving into good books late at night. At 2 am I turned my reader off. I was groggy and couldn’t keep my eyes open, so I sleep-texted my best friend with a message along the line of the following: “I just finished the BEST NOVEL EVER!!! Anna and the French Kiss!!! Oooooh, Étienne!”

Yeah. It’s that good.

The plot could have rendered an absolutely terrible book if it had been done by anyone other than Stephanie Perkins. Really, it isn’t the plot that draws you in, but the I-could-be-your-best-friend characters and the startling similarities to your own life.

Let’s talk about the characters that you will soon be completely in love with: Étienne and Anna. When you finish this book, they are real people to you. You find yourself trying to email their fake addresses in order to chat with them and find out how they are doing. You consider putting a stripe in your hair like Anna or wearing knitted stocking caps like Étienne. You start to wonder why in the world you haven’t been signed up for boarding school in Paris yet.

Here’s the one little flaw concerning characterization in Anna. While the main characters are SUPER REAL, some of the other characters are just slightly missing something. There are a couple of times that I raise my eyebrow when a character seems to randomly pipe up and change everything. It is a feel of “Where did that come from?”

I guarantee that while reading Anna and the French Kiss, there will be a phrase or a special description that suddenly stands out to you. You will feel a “click” in your head as you realize that that is exactly how you are feeling, exactly what you are thinking! It floors me how Stephanie Perkins managed to write something that applies in some way to every member of her audience.

Overall, I give Anna and the French Kiss a full five lightning strikes, not because of the love story or the highly humorous bits, but because of the reality of it all. Despite the sugary summary, the cutesy title, and a cover that is lacking in awesome, this book absolutely shines. Warn your friends ahead of time about the late-night texts in all caps that they will be receiving the instant that you close this book.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Replacement Review

Title: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Pages: 343
Release Date: 9/21/10
Paranormal Young Adult
Publish Date:
September 21, 2010


Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels, black murky water, and living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world. Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs. (from Goodreads)

My Review:

The Replacement is a story that is different from any other book I have ever read. It’s an exciting story that is completely unpredictable. Just when you think you’ve started to understand what's happening, something new catches you by surprise. This book is super detailed. The protagonist, as well as every other character, is described so thoroughly that you can picture them perfectly in your mind. Brenna Yovanoff, I belive, is an amazing author; her words make you feel what the character is feeling. Her audience is definitely from teens to young adult because she captures the emotion of the age group. Once you pick up this book, you will not want to put it down. Even if you don't like creepy stories, or you don't understand teenagers, I highly recommend this book.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Keeping You a Secret Review

Title: Keeping You a Secret
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Pages: 250
Release Date: Hardback in 2003, Paperback in 2005
Genre: Realistic Fiction


As she begins a very tough last semester of high school, Holland finds herself puzzled about her future and intrigued by a transfer student who wants to start a lesbigay club at school. (from Goodreads)

My Review:
This book is a completely non-traditional love story, and that’s what I love about it. Keeping You a Secret speaks the truth about the difficulties in life that not very many people see; either because they’re not around it, or they choose to not see it. I love how the book is more of a mental aspect rather than physical and is about internal emotional battles. But the thing I love the very most about this book is the passion it portrays very well. I’m a sucker for love stories, and if you are too, you’ll love this book. The author has a good voice, and she’s not afraid to write a controversial book, even though she knows that there are many people in the world that will not be happy with the theme of it. If you are an open minded teenage/adult, I’d definitely recommend this book to you.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Go Ask Alice Review

Title: Go Ask Alice
Author: Anonymous
Pages: 159
Release Date: December 27, 2005
Genre: Autobiography

Summary from Goodreads: This groundbreaking classic is more compelling than ever for today's readers. A sensation when it was first published and a perennial bestseller ever since, this real-life diary charts an anonymous teenage girl's struggle with the seductive--and often fatal--world of drugs.

This is a very truthful and sad diary about a young teenage girl that gets caught in the world of drugs.Throughout the book, Alice writes down everything. Everything from the date and what time she woke up to and how she felt when she was on drugs. This allows you to see vividly how small things can lead to countless others. You see her transformation from a good student and daughter, to a slave to addiction. This book shows how drugs drastically changed her life.
This is an incredibly good book to read because, being a diary, it is very honest about the problems with drugs. While I was reading it and even after I had finished, it made me feel scared and sad for teenagers that abuse drugs. But most importantly, it made me open my eyes. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone that is interested in how drugs affect human lives.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Heartbeat Review

Title: Heartbeat
Author: Sharon Creech
Pages: 180
Release Date: March 16, 2004
Genre: Poetry

Summary: Twelve-year-old Annie ponders the many rhythms of life the year that her mother becomes pregnant, her grandfather begins faltering, and her best friend (and running partner) becomes distant. (from Goodreads)

My Review:

I really liked Heartbeat. It taught many life lessons throughout the story. Annie goes through changes in her life, whether it be through gaining a new family member to possibly losing one. It helps her realize meaning in her life and realize that life isn’t just going through the motions. This book helped me reflect on my own life and the situations I am going through, plus, I noticed how much I related to her.

Annie is given the assignment to draw an apple everyday for 100 days. At first, she did not know exactly what to do and didn’t want to draw the same apple over and over again. But after a few days and drawings, she realizes that there are so many different ways to draw a single apple. This showed her that there is different meanings in life and you just have to find a new way to look at things and the possibilities the world has in store.
At first when I was reading Heartbeat, I was wondering why it was written in poetry format when it didn’t even rhyme. It started to bug me. But after the first few chapters, I realized that it helped emphasize her emotion and show how she was feeling and I started to like it. It also showed how her mind worked.
Heartbeat is entertaining to read. Annie’s crazy grandpa makes it really funny and her use of footnotes gives a hint of sarcasm, which I really liked. It was a really good book and I would recommend it to everyone.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hunger Games Review

Title: Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
Release Date:
October 1st 2008
Science Fiction


In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel, and keeps the districts in line by forcing all 12 districts to send one boy and one girl, between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live Television for everyone to watch.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to death before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love. (Summery from Goodreads)

My Review:

Alright, for all of those who have not joined in on the “new” Twilight phenomenon, it’s time you jump on the bandwagon.

The good old U.S. of A. has gone down in flames, like we all knew it would. The Capitol has risen like a bloodthirsty lion. Way back when in the Dark Ages, the Districts rose up in rebellion. Now to keep the Districts in line, the Capitol hosts the annual “Hunger Games” where two teenage "tributes" are chosen from each District to battle to the death. Everything about this idea is brilliantly horrid. Constant camera coverage, and manipulation form the Capitol for maximum carnage. It has Survivor-style alliances, where choosing unwisely equals a knife in the back. I’m not convinced that the twitterpating between Katniss and Peeta are wholly unnecessary. I just wish the fake-being-in-love-to-gain-sympathy-of-the-viewers-but-maybe-we-have-real-feelings-for-each-other-but-also-our-lives-are-on-the-line-and-is-this-really-the-time-to-be-worrying-about-this-but-also-fake-being-in-love-will-earn-us-supplies-from-sponsors-so-maybe-let’s-just-make-out was so obvious on both sides, and that Katniss wasn’t so Bella Swan.

It’s funny how it can be my new favorite book. It just has everything it needs to make it what it is. It’s definitely a "Sadie" book. It has violence and just enough gore to keep it interesting, and not to mention the small twist in the end...