Saturday, December 24, 2011

Beauty Queens

Aww, you guys get a Christmas update. I must be feeling extra generous, or maybe I'm just bored. Maybe a bit of both. This week's book was... interesting, to put it one way. I'm not really sure what possessed me to read it, as the cover doesn't seem like something I would normally pick up. Still, it proved to be funny, thought-provoking, and suspenseful at times. Also, before I get into this review: you should know that there are some mature themes in the book, and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone under high school age. That said, on to the review of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.
Beauty Queens is pretty much set in modern or near future times, with one difference: a corporation known as, well, The Corporation, is in high influence. The majority of the population is essentially brainwashed into watching Corporation shows (Things like What Would You Do to Be Famous? and My Drama So Tops Your Drama!) and buying heaps of beauty products as if their only purpose is to get guys to notice them. In the middle of this are the beauty pageants. 
Currently, the contestants of the Miss Teen Dream pageant are on a plane to a photo shoot in the Caribbean. Things start to unravel when the plane crashes on a deserted island. All the girls have are the wreckage of the plane, seat cushions, jars of Lady 'Stache Off (see what I mean about the Corporation?), and any makeup they can salvage. After a girl named Taylor (Miss Texas) is voted to become leader, she proposes that the remaining contestants (there are ten or fifteen of them) continue to practice for the pageant instead of trying to be rescued. Thankfully, some of the girls actually have some sense, like Adina (Miss New Hampshire) who got into the pageant as a joke. She does her own thing, and soon gets to know other girls who are also more clearheaded. As the girls continue to wait for rescue and work out shelter and food, you get to see a little more of each girl's personality. You start to realize that there isn't a single person there who's actually a brainless beauty queen, and that many of the pretty faces hide secrets- good and bad.
So, this book definitely makes fun of anti-feminism taken to the extreme, and as it progresses the characters get more and more defined. I really loved it. Sometimes it gets kinda weird, but I would say a good weird. Though, I guess I shouldn't be talking about weird myself; as you've probably gathered, I'm not the most normal person in the world. *Random evil laughter*. That is all. Kay, if you were absolutely smitten with the review (which I kinda doubt, cuz I'm just a random high schooler who does reviews as a side activity and therefore isn't all that brilliant at them) then you can go down to Mt. Edgecumbe or Kettleson today (Kettleson closes at five today, though, so hurry). Even if you weren't particularly impressed with my schizophrenic reviewing skills, you really should give this a chance. I bet you that if you read twenty pages into it, you'll be hooked. Trust me. And with that, I leave you with the mental image of a fat guy riding on a sleigh into the night, shouting "Merry Christmas!"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Into the Wild and Five Flavors of Dumb

*Trumpet fanfare* And I'm back and better than ever! No more comatoseness, no more sleepiness! Just pure, unadulterated (whatever that means) reviews and peppiness! Yep, I've had caffiene. How'd you guess? So, to live up to last week's promise, I have TWO, count 'em, TWO reviews for y'all. Happy holidays!  So, the first review is on a really phenomenal book called Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter.
Into the Wild takes place in modern day, more or less. In a forest and other habitats near a town, a group of wild cats live (and yes, they talk. It's not as dorky as it sounds). They are split up into four clans: Thunderclan, Riverclan, Windclan, and Shadowclan. Thunderclan cats live in the forest and tend to be friendly and diplomatic. Riverclan cats live on an island in the middle of a river (I know, you're shocked) and are proud but reasonable. Windclan cats live in the bare hills and are very fast (also, Windclan is kinda like the Hufflepuff of the clans; they're likable but still get picked on by the meaner cats). Shadowclan resembles Slytherin a lot; they're haughty, sly, and nobody really likes them. Shadowclan lives among the pine trees. Come to think of it, my not-so-inner Harry Potter geek can make a lot of connections with Thunderclan and Gryffindor, and Riverclan and Ravenclaw. Anyway, I digress. 
The story follows Firepaw's (who used to be known as Rusty because he had been a human's pet) struggle to get accepted in Thunderclan, and prove that he's not just a soft kittypet (the clans' mocking name of any cat who lived with humans). In his new clan, he makes a few definite friends, learns some valuable lessons, and even makes an enemy or two. Nobody ever said clan life was going to be easy!
Okay, I can't impress upon you enough how good this book is. I'm not really a world-class reviewer, so you might not have really been impressed by my attempted description of it, but I ORDER YOU TO TRY IT. Seriously. It's part of a series, and is so good I can't even begin to say. There are a billion copies at Blatchley and a copy at Kettleson, so there should be nothing stopping you from getting it. Imperio! (Yeah, Harry Potter nerd over here. Deal with it). 

Sooo, in a completely different 'genre' but just as good, here's the second book! This is Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John.
The book takes place in Seattle, following eighteen-year-old Piper. Piper has never quite fit in with the kids at her school, but she sees her chance to change that when Dumb arrives. Easily living up to their name, the sorry band is composed of an egotistical lead singer, a lead guitarist with green hair and anger issues, and the lead singer's anything-but-identical twin brother, who attempts to hide behind his hair on a regular basis. Somehow, she finds herself roped into a manager job for them, trying to get them a paying gig AND make them sound good (neither is an easy feat, trust me). Things look up a bit with the discovery that Ed Chen, Piper's Harvard-bound friend, can play the drums like nobody's business. While the band's prospects start to look up a little, however, Piper's parents are less than supportive. They devote all their energy into Piper's eleven-month-old sister, the "more perfect" daughter. Piper's workload is starting to pile up; she has to keep the band together, deal with her parents, not fail senior year, and make sure Dumb actually sounds good. That last part's giving her a little trouble because, well, she's deaf.
Another awesome book! This one kinda reminds me of Audrey, Wait, because it's funny and has that similar music theme. The deaf element gives it a lot of character and things to think about. So, add this to your list of things to get along with Into the Wild. I promise, you won't regret it! Get Five Flavors of Dumb at Kettleson or Mt. Edgecumbe.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Hi, everyone. I'm just about comatose right now. I really tried to read a book (which isn't the one in the picture) this week, but I couldn't get through it (sometimes I have a not-so-good taste in books. Seriously, the one I chose was really weird and depressing and historical-fiction-y. Weird combination). Add that to the fact that my teachers don't seem to be getting into the holiday spirit and decided that four projects would be good for us, and hey presto! I haven't been doing anything lately but working. So, I hope you accept these video reviews and this imaginary box of chocolates (think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- the candy is still traveling through the airwaves) as an apology. *Ducks as readers start throwing shoes and tomatoes at her* Seriously, please don't. Anyway, I have actually read this particular book, but it was about a year ago and I can't remember the intricacies of the plot enough to give a full review. I do remember that it was a really good book, though, so you should definitely try it out: Matched by Allie Condie. Here are the links to user-made trailers:
There is a sequel out now that I have yet to read, too. It's called Crossed. Also, to make up for this week, I will post two reviews next week if I can. So, get Matched at Kettleson and Edgecumbe (though the library website says that the copy at Edgecumbe is missing, so I guess just Kettleson). So, go get Matched at Kettleson, and I hope you're having a quieter week than me!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Okay, wow. This week has been so hectic, I can't begin to tell you. I doubt I've had a minute of downtime between school, Nutcracker, and sleeping, and I was definitely light on the sleep part. So, don't expect everything I write tonight to make complete sense! I'm kind of in a daze of exhaustion/relief/astonishment now that the Nutcracker is totally over. Don't worry, the reason that you're reading this is because I was able to read a quick book backstage, in between rounding up fifth graders to put costumes on them because I was apparently the designated "responsible one," (I dunno who made that decision, they must not know me very well). Okay, sorry, I'm rambling. Anyway, the review is for Abandon by Meg Cabot. Drumroll...
Pierce Oliviera is an NDE, someone who's had a near death experience. In her case, she was "dead" for over an hour and in that time, she managed to do a lot. Finding herself right after her death on the shore of a lake, waiting in line for some kind of boat was just the first of weird things to happen to her. She soon met a strangely familiar man named John who knew her from her past, and seemed to want her to stay there with him forever. So what did she do? She threw a cup of hot tea (which had been offered by him) in his face and ran, and somehow found herself fully alive, staring at all the doctors around her hospital bed. Since then, she's been different. For some reason, she's become somewhat of a "problem child" and seems to attract accidents and misfortune. Another factor not really helping the situation is that John is now popping up in real life, and seems to cause more problems than he tries to fix. Her last shot at anything normal is moving to Isla Huesos, a Caribbean-type island, to be with her divorced mom. Her attempt at normalcy fails miserably because John refuses to stop bugging her and other scary things start to happen. She died once, now does Death want her back?
Okay, in my adrenaline-crashed state this probably isn't a brilliant review, but I'll do better next week. I think this book was a little outside my normal interest range, or maybe I just am kind of weird this week, but I didn't hugely love this book. I usually really like Meg Cabot books, but this one kind of jumps around a lot. I think it's just my taste in books; some of you readers out there might really like it. So, don't knock it till you've tried it, and pick it up at Kettleson.