Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Just before school was out for the year, my class and I were watching book trailers and this one came up. Immediately many of my students wanted to read it. After finishing a bunch of adult novels I finally got back to reading some Young Adult ones. This is a tough book to review because I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but I'll give it a try!
Jenna Fox has just woken up from a coma that she has been in for a year and a half. To say she is confused is a total understatement. Jenna has very few memories of her life. She has to take her mother, father and grandmother's word for the type of person she was before the coma. Then, Jenna's memories start coming back in bits and pieces. This leads to a lot of confusion for her as what she remembers doesn't match what her family is telling her. The memories of the accident also cause her a great deal of confusion. Jenna's fight to regain her life is an interesting one to watch. The story is set in a time when health care is a mixture of science and technology and when the ethics of saving people is a debate that has people on opposite sides of this issue.

To be honest, I found this book a bit hard to get into. I felt sorry for Jenna, but the mystery of the way she was being treated by her parents and especially her grandmother were very confusing. Once I read about a hundred pages though it got very interesting and the pace picked up considerably. The concept of the book is quite interesting. I think this book would be a great read for an adult book club. I'd love to chat with students about it as well. This book deals with the big question of what would a parent do to keep their child alive?
Here is the book trailer that grabbed my students.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

To be honest, I'm not sure if this fits under the YA section or adult section of books. The characters are in their 30's, and that usually doesn't appeal to teens. I know my students who loved the Sisterhood books would love this one- there is nothing that is inappropriate for young adults to read.

I don't want to say too much or give too much away. I didn't even know this one was in the works. I saw it featured in the Globe and Mail a week ago and I was so excited. I started it Saturday night around 9:30 (which is usually about 30 minutes before I am fast asleep) and I read until 12:30. I got up early Sunday morning and finished it because I COULD NOT STOP READING IT!

Ann Brashares books about friendship are so beautifully and powerfully written. I'm immediately drawn into the world she creates. I was a bit worried that I should have reread the Sisterhood books to remind myself what had happened at the end of the fourth one. But, like so many great authors, this was unnecessary. Brashares quickly reminded me what I loved about each of these girls and caught me up in their lives for the last 10 years.

I'm not going to write much more except to say that when you read this one, keep a box of tissues handy- I cried many times while reading this book. Not always from sadness, but just because I care so much about the fate of these girls. It was a lovely read and a great way to kick off my summer holiday!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Kissed By an Angel, The Power of Love and Soulmates by Elizabeth Chandler

About 3 weeks before school ended a student in grade 6 came to tell me that I JUST HAD TO READ THIS BOOK. That's a pretty big statement to make and I was excited for many reasons. 1. Jessica is going to be in my class in September 2. I love it when kids know how much I like reading their books 3. I was ready for a new book.

It took me a bit to get into the series but because Jessica thought it was the best book ever, I kept going. Kissed by an Angel is a romance novel that has a bit of a twist. Ivy is in high school and has just met and fallen in love with Tristan- the athletic, kind, funny boy who every girl wants to be with. Tristan has only had eyes for Ivy since she transferred to his school. He is the only person that Ivy trusts to share her deep faith in angels. When Tristan dies in a car accident, Ivy soon realizes that he is her guardian angel. Ivy doesn't realize it at first, but she needs someone to look out for her because the accident that killed Tristan was really meant to kill her.

The next 2 books follow the same theme, Tristan trying to save Ivy from someone who wants her dead. The other characters- boys from school, girlfriends and a new step-brother are all introduced and try to help Ivy. Yet Ivy doesn't know who to trust. Just when she thinks someone is the real deal, they do something to make her wonder who she can trust and who is trying to kill her.

I found the story to be a little over the top. I can see why girls would like the story- lots of 'true love' and romance even when he is dead. Ivy's obsession with angels was a bit hard to believe- but again, I can see how girls would love this. All in all, I was glad to have read these books. I can see many girls enjoying these stories, romance, guardian angels, suspense at all.

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Bumped reminded me a great deal of the Margaret Atwood story Handmade Tale
Set in the future, Bumped tells the story of what happens when the only people who can conceive children are young adults between the ages of 13 to 18. In this civilization, being pregnant in high school is the most desirable accomplishment. Girls who are obviously pregnant are revered by their peers and the rest of society. They also have the ability to make a great deal of money when it comes time to sell their baby to older couples who cannot have their own.

The two main characters in Bumped are Harmony and Melody- twin girls who were separated at birth and lived very different lives. Melody was forced to work hard, but given many opportunities. She has signed a contract that will make her rich- just as soon as she can become pregnant by someone worthy. Harmony led a much simpler life being raised in a religious community. Harmony has come to save Melody and to help her see the power in religion. When Melody and Harmony are mistaken for each other, their lives take a drastic turn for each of them.

I liked the idea of this story. It is fascinating how McCafferty created these characters that are so much like teenage girls today- yet they want something that girls today try to avoid. As with most alternative reality books, I found it hard to understand at the beginning of the book. There is lots of slang and phrases that you really have to think about to understand. I think kids without much understanding of the whole process of pregnancy might find the book hard to follow. Having said that, it is an exciting book and I really wanted to know what would happen to both Harmony and Melody.