Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wings Review

Wings (Wings #1)
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Pages: 320
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: May 1, 2009

Summary from Goodreads:

Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

At first glance, Laurel is an ordinary girl, unexceptional in any visible way. But Laurel harbors a secret both wondrous and dangerous: She is a faery who has been called upon to guard the gateways of Avalon. Aprilynne Pike's first novel casts its own deep spell: Stephenie Meyer called it "a remarkable debut."

My Review:

I enjoyed Wings a lot. It wasn’t a hard read and only took me a couple of days to finish. It was an enjoyable story despite being kind of unoriginal. It tended to follow the pattern of any romantic novel, with the two cute boys and the heroine stuck in the middle of a desperate situation.

Overall I thought Pike did a good job at creating an interesting story that you wanted to keep reading. It wasn’t an “I can’t put this book down and I just bit off all of my fingernails” kind of read, but it was interesting and enjoyable and it could easily hold an audience.

It bothered me a little how many “Twilight-isms” were found in this book. It has a love triangle between Laurel, the beautiful faerie girl, David, her friend from school, and Tam the mysterious faerie sentry. (Though I have to say that I find Laurel to be a much more agreeable main character than Bella.) I also found the love of the two boys a lot less creepy then in Twilight. They weren’t creepily following her around and insisting that she could only be happy with them. They both just want her to be happy. (Cliché I know)

I really liked Pike’s characters. They had a lot of fun personalities and interesting interaction between them. They all reacted naturally to each other and didn’t act fake like some characters do. My favorite character, though, is Chelsea. Her sometimes brutally honest attitude is interesting and entertaining. She made the perfect complimenting friend for Laurel, who can be very guarded and almost shy.

This book was definitely a girly book. There are parts that I think guys would enjoy, like fighting with trolls and driving like maniacs, but I wouldn’t tell a guy he’d love it based only on that. I thought the book was very entertaining and a great debut story. I can’t wait to read the next one.

My Rating:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Wave Review

The Wave
AUTHOR: Todd Strasser
PAGES: 138
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
PUBLISH DATE: October 1, 1981


The Wave is based on a true incident that occured in a high school history class in Palo Alto, California, in 1969.

The powerful forces of group pressure that pervaded many historic movements such as Nazism are recreated in the classroom when history teacher Burt Ross introduces a "new" system to his students. And before long "The Wave," with its rules of "strength through discipline, community, and action, " sweeps from the classroom through the entire school. And as most of the students join the movement, Laurie Saunders and David Collins recognize the frightening momentum of "The Wave" and realize they must stop it before it's too late.


This book is based on a real event that happened. It was based off of the real events that happened in a California high school. It also reminded me a lot of the Nazi rule during the Holocaust. It was scary to think that after the awful events of World War Two we could have something so similar happen on a much smaller scale. It really was thought provoking. This is a great story with a quick paced plot. The book is short and it is a very quick read. Because it takes place in high school, I found the relationships and characters very real and easy to relate to.

The ending wasn’t my favorite. It just ended. The movement is stopped and then it is over. I would have liked to have maybe one more chapter explaining the aftermath and how it all got put back together. It could describe how the relationships were restored and how everybody copes and learns from this. I think it would help make the story seem more resolved.

Overall, this was a great book and I would definitely recommend it.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Girl Interrupted Review

Title: Girl Interrupted

Author: Susanna Kaysen

Pages: 192

Genre: Autobiography

Publish Date: April 19, 1994

Summary from Goodreads:

In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary.

Kaysen's memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a "parallel universe" set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.

My review:

I saw the movie that this book was adapted into before I read the book, both were great. She goes into detail about her thoughts as well as her experiences with the other patients at the institution that she stayed at. Even though it’s an autobiography it’s still pretty interesting because of how it’s written. The story is interesting enough that it could be fictional, but since it’s true, and it really is written from the perspective of someone who actually went through everything that she did, it’s pretty cool. I especially like when she talks about her views on the world and her part in it. Her opinions and outlooks on life really make you think from a different perspective.

I would definitely recommend this book.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Reading is Sweet

Although relaxing with a well-written book is a reward in itself, one of our classes had the opportunity to celebrate its accomplishments in the Big 20 Challenge with some generously donated cupcakes from Sugar Mama's. One of the students in Mr. Potter's A2 class contacted the bakery about our reading challenge and asked if they'd like to provide anything to our class celebration on May 31st, and they responded with a class set of scrumptious chocolate cupcakes! It was a perfect way to celebrate the students' hard work. Thanks again to the kind staff of Sugar Mama's for supporting our reading at Westlake High School!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ahh, Summer

Hey all, Ms. R here.

I'll be taking over the blog for summer, posting here and there, sprucing it up and trying to network more.

When I was a student I don't think I realized (or cared) about how eager teachers are for the end of the year too. I mean, sleeping in, no grading--can it get any better? Add in some good reading (yes, please!) and you have the recipe for an awesome summer.

One of my goals this summer is to read the majority of the novels in my classroom library. I love buying books, so having a classroom library helps me rationalize my addiction. However, at the end of each year when I take inventory and realize how many books are missing, I get a mix of emotions: sadness, rage, annoyance and a tiny bit of happiness. Sad that the books are missing, angry that someone would actually steal from me, annoyance that my students probably didn't steal, just forgot to bring my books back (laziness has no bounds) and a little bit happy because if books were taken then it means that they were well liked. Right?....right?

Here are the books that went missing from my library...see if you notice a trend...

I think I'm going to start keeping all the new books to myself....