Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fallen by Lauren Kate

In continuing my theme of romance novels...I read Fallen this weekend. Fallen is much like Twilight, The Dark Divine and Hush, Hush. The main character is female and she falls in love with a dangerous boy who at first doesn't seem to like her.

In Fallen, the main character is Luce- a young girl who is haunted by these shadows that seem to follow her where ever she goes. The last time she was with a boy she really liked, the shadows came and then Luce blacked out. The result of this was that she ended up in reform school for other students with baggage.

At Swords and Cross boarding school, Luce finds herself attracted to two boys- Daniel and Cam. Daniel is mysterious and dangerous. He doesn't seem to want anything to do with her. Cam is sweet and attentive and wants nothing more than to spend time with her. He is able to take her away from Swords and Cross and make her forget the shadows. Yet, as so often is the case, it is really Daniel that she wants.

Luce starts to believe that she knew Daniel before they met at school-he denies it of course, but Luce keeps having dreams and memories that seem so real. The shadows keep creeping closer, although Luce realizes that she does have some control over them.

I liked reading this book. Luce and Daniel were very believable and Cam also played a great role. I'm looking forward to reading the next book- Torment on my kindle tonight.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bar Code Rebellion by Suzanne Weyn

Last year, I read The Bar Code Tattoo after one of my students gave it to me.
In the first book, Kayla decides to not get the bar code tattooed onto her arm. Making this decision means that her life is much more difficult as she needs to live on the outskirts of society.

In this sequel, Kayla's story continues. She and her friends must find a way to not only survive without money, or the right to health care- but to avoid the government that wants to force them to get the tattoo. As Kayla and her friends in the resistance work to destroy the government, Kayla learns about her past and the reason why the government wants her so badly.

It has been almost a year since I read The Bar Code Tattoo, but I quickly remembered the story and was caught up in Kayla's life once more. I liked the first book better because the whole concept of a tattoo that could store all of your information on it seems like it could really happen. This book takes it to the next level- with the resistance and learning how evil the government and people in power are. In the sequel, Suzanne Weyn also brings back many characters from the first one, but I found that a little forced- some of the characters didn't really seem to have any purpose in coming back. This book had many exciting parts and characters that were interesting. There is a bit in here for everyone, technology, romance, adventure and friendship.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

I don't normally have much time to read during the week, but I gave up TV on Monday night and read a ton to start and finish this book.

If you haven't read Hush, Hush you may want to stop reading here. Crescendo is the sequel to Hush, Hush and Nora, Patch and Vee are back. It has been two months since Patch and Nora have been an item and things are going well. However, Patch seems to be spending a lot of time with Marcie, whose main goal in life is to make Nora's life miserable. When Nora confronts Patch, he cannot explain his reasons. There is a lot that Nora has to put up with since Patch is a fallen angle turned guardian- but this seems too much. Nora tries to cut Patch out of her life, but it is very difficult since she is so drawn to him.

Like Hush, Hush- there is a lot of tension between Patch and Nora- which is a big draw. There are places in the story that I found a bit over the top and unrealistic, however, the relationship between Patch and Nora kept me interested in seeing where it was all heading. The ending, like all the Twilight books has Nora in a situation where her life is at risk- which made it very compelling to read. I find all of the discussion about Nephilim, Black Hand and the different bloodlines to be quite confusing. However, I just skip over that part and try to figure out who the good guys are and who the bad guys are- it doesn't really matter to me why they are good and bad- I'm just along for the ride!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

One of my students (thank Natalie!) suggested I try this book after she read it. I have seen it several times, but have always blown by it because it seemed like a Twilight knockoff. I'm really glad Natalie suggested I read it-I now have to wait until tomorrow to get to the book store to get the sequel.

Hush, Hush is a romance novel- there is no doubt about it. However, it doesn't seem like that at first. When Nora first meets Patch, she finds him annoying, frustrating and aloof. He seems to like tormenting her. However, Nora is drawn to him- against her better judgement.

When strange things start happening around her and to her, Nora begins to fear for her life. She keeps meeting new people who are not what they seem and appear to have hidden agendas and many many secrets. Patch is no different. He tells half truths and does nothing to instill any confidence. Yet Nora is convinced he is safe.

There is a lot of tension in this story between Patch and Nora, and yet it is pretty innocent as well. I can totally see why girls would love this one. While Patch certainly isn't Edward, he has that bad boy appeal that many girls find hard to resist.

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Some of my favourite adult books to read are by Kathy Reichs. She writes about forensic anthropology and the TV show Bones is based on her main character. I was very excited when I heard she was now going to be writing for Young Adults.

Virals is the story of a group of kids who live on the secluded island in South Carolina. The main character is Tory Brennan (niece to Temperance Brennan from the TV show) and she likes adventure and is very passionate about science and animals. When she moves to Morris Island, she meets up with other kids her age who are also passionate about the same things. One of the things the kids like to do is to explore a nearby island called Loggerhead Island- where all of their parents are involved in scientific research. But the research going on there is rather dangerous. When Tory and her friends rescue a pup from animal testing, they are exposed to a dangerous virus. A virus that changes their DNA and leads to some very interesting mutations. Tory and her friends must deal with their new talents and try to solve a mystery as well.

Readers who like the Maximum Ride series will like this one as well.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth

Set in Indian, Boys Without Names tells the tragic story of eleven year old Gopal and his family. The story deals with a family who are fighting to survive when their livelihood is taken away from them as a result of weather and a series of bad debts. When they flee their village in the middle of the night, they head for Mumbai hoping for a better life.
Along the way, they are faced with unknown places and strangers, but they know that in Mumbai, there is family waiting for them.
Gopal wants nothing more than to stay in his village, and yet he is intrigued by what he might find in Mumbai. He is the one who is able to read street signs and deal with merchants on their travels. He is also the one who is asked to amuse his twin brother and sister along the way.
Once in Mumbai, Gopal wants to earn money for his family. He wants to go to school, but knows that can't happen for a few months. When he is offered the chance of a job, he jumps on it, but soon makes the biggest mistake of his life. He wakes to find himself a captive of a man who forces children to work for no wages, little food and no warmth or compassion.
What follows is the story of how one boy learns the sad truth of child labour.

This book was incredibly moving. To read of Gopal's life in rural India and how his family is forced to make the painful decision to leave. Then, his life in captivity seems very real and honest. Throughout this story, Gopal tells traditional stories to his younger brother and sister and to the children he is kept captive with. The tradition of telling stories is very important to Gopal and he is able to take a lot of strength from the stories. Gopal as a character is likable and believable, his strength and resilience is very motivating.
I think this is an important book for children to read. There are so many issues that kids aren't aware of and it is great to have a story that could open up their eyes to things that are happening around the world.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Witch and Wizard by James Patterson

Witch and Wizard is another 'alternative reality' story, although at first, the setting seems quite realistic.
Wisty is a 15 year old girl who is a smart, funny and sarcastic. She loves her family, but at the same time wants to prove she is grown up. Her older brother Whit is a popular football player who had the perfect girlfriend- until she disappeared a few months ago.
Then in the middle of the night, government police break into their house terrorizing the children and separating Whit and Wisty from their parents. They don't really understand what is happening. Whit and Wisty are thrown into an old hospital that has been converted to a jail and accused of being witches. The government has started cracking down on people who are different or have special talents. Now Whit and Wisty have no idea that they were witches. Wisty realized that she could make strange things happen, but has no idea how to control it and slowly Whit is beginning to learn what he can do as well. As the two slowly figure out what they can do, they grow closer together and start fighting back.
The two siblings must figure out a way to get out of jail, rescue their parents and escape from the government.
Here is the Patterson website for more information: