Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

"From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.
Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.
Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one."

So, as a rule I generally don't review sequels. I figure, if you liked the first book you'd find the next ones on their own. I'm gonna break from protocol here a little though, because this isn't really a sequel and I don't know how many people actually know about this book. It's not so much a sequel as an epilogue of sorts. And it was really good. It's definitely more of an older novel (which I guess is why it's in the adult fiction section of the library) and does a good job of having the characters grow up without really losing their personalities. It's less happy, more into the real world, and deeper. Also, it's really sad. I'm just gonna warn you right now. I'd say it's anywhere from high school to adult age level, and you should really read it if you've ever read the original series. Except, it kinda gives the series a horrifying reality check. Don't read it unless you're prepared to let go of the happy-go-lucky teenagers. Still insanely good, though. Try it, it'll be worth it. It's at Kettleson (in the fiction section, like I said). Prepare your tear ducts!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls by Julie Schumacher

"My name is Adrienne Haus, and I’m a survivor of a mother-daughter book club.  For three of the four of us daughters, membership wasn’t voluntary.  My mother signed me up because I was stuck in West New Hope all summer with my knee in a brace. CeeCee  Christiansen’s parents forced her to join, canceling her trip to Paris when they found out she’d bashed up their car.  Jill was pressured by her mother, who thought she needed to socialize more.  Wallis was the only one who actually wanted to be in the book club.  No one knew why.
We were all going to be in AP English in eleventh grade.  But we weren’t friends.  We were not a sisterhood, and we didn’t share any traveling pants.  We were literary prisoners, sweating and reading classics and hanging out by the pool.  But of course that’s not the whole story.
If you want to find out how book clubs can kill people, you can try searching the Web for mother-daughter literary catastrophe.  Or you can read what I wrote for my summer AP English assignment.
Go ahead.  Here it is."

So, a break from John Green was in order. Don't worry, he'll be back soon. Anyway, this was a nicely contrasting book from the circumstances, though not too much. Instead of being a lazy Christmas, it was about a lazy summer.I liked that it wasn't too hugely pretentious or philosophical or anything like that; it was just an interesting, slightly out-of-the-box novel. It was plainly unapologetic without getting too r-rated or anything like that, and I liked it that way. It didn't adhere very much to boundaries, but it pushed them gently. I liked the characters--I didn't quite fall in love with them or anything, but they pulled me in. I'd recommend this to any girl who's open to a little rebellion. It's at Kettleson, you should really try it!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Paper Towns by John Green

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues - and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer Q gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew."

I'm completely on a John Green streak. I'll admit it, I'm addicted. And such a lovely addiction it is. This book was in true John Green fashion, with some poetry here and there and some laugh-out-loud-until-people-give-you-strange-looks moments. I lovedlovedloved it, and especially liked that throughout the whole thing I had honestly no idea where it would go. The characters were stereotypical at first glance, but started to contradict the stereotypes right after you formed them. And as always with his books, the visuals were amazing, dead-on, and perfect for the story. It was amazingly out-there, but injected with just enough reality to make it even more powerful. He's amazing, as are each of his books. So, while YOU go out to Kettleson or MEHS and get this one, I'll be starting Looking for Alaska. See ya!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

"Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind."

Oh My God. If I could give this six stars, I would. I'm not usually into reading "cancer books," the kinds of books that are sad for the sake of being sad, but this was so much more than that. The characters were really intelligent and interesting, and it made me laugh almost as much as it made me cry. It has some of the best quotes ever in it, ones that'll start to make you re-evaluate what the heck you're doing in the universe.Um, just be warned--don't read the last third of the book: a) before bed or b) without a huge box of tissues nearby. I think I said in an earlier review that I have tear ducts of steel--um, I don't think I can claim that anymore. This literally made me bawl like a baby. Sad, I know, but you try reading it without getting emotional. I think it's pretty much impossible. Anyway, this is definitely getting introduced into my personal collection for good. If I could reach through this computer screen and hand you the book and force you to read it, I would, but I guess I'll have to settle for shameless bribery and threats: any reader will get virtual hugs from me, and anyone who ignores this will have to be blackmailed. Go forth and read, my child. You won't regret it. It's at Kettleson, MEHS, or SHS. Ta-ta! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Girl Behind the Glass by Jane Kelley

"The house on Hemlock Road used to be someone's home. Until something happened. Something that even after 80 years, can never be forgotten or forgiven . . . .

Eleven-year-old twins Hannah and Anna agree about everything—especially that they don't want to move to the creepy old house on Hemlock Road. But as soon as they move into the house, the twins start disagreeing for the first time in their lives. In fact, it's almost as though something or someone is trying to drive them apart. While Anna settles in, Hannah can't ignore the strange things that keep happening on Hemlock Road. Why does she sense things that no one else in the family does?  Like when the hemlock branch outside waves shush, shush. Or at night, if she listens hard enough, it's almost as though someone is trying to talk to her. Someone no one else can hear. Someone angry enough to want revenge. Hannah, are you listening? Is the house haunted? Is Hannah crazy? Or does something in the house want her as a best friend—forever?"

Okay, sorry to say, in my opinion this book kinda sucked. I think it's meant to be this super-creepy story about a haunted house, but it's not in any way terrifying or emotional. The author tried to make it scary by writing from the point of view of the "spirits" inhabiting the house, but it came across weakly. I didn't feel a single thing while reading it except boredom. Part of the problem is that it doesn't give the characters any depth or explain them at all. It's like their main purpose is to be "the family that moves into a haunted house." The plotlines--even the ones that didn't have to do with the haunting--were recognizably cliché. Not that that's always a terrible thing; I've read plenty of books with clichés in them that managed to make them new and interesting. This one was just subpar. And I don't know, maybe it's just meant for a younger audience with less discriminating taste; I can tell you it's definitely not meant for anyone above middle school. *Sigh*. Anyway, if you...want to get it... it's at Kettleson.