Friday, February 21, 2014

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

"The story of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some clues about the book on the jacket, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about.

If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (Though this isn't a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.

Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to encounter such a fence."

Okay. Jeez. Wow. I'd been meaning to read this for a while, and it took a very short time to get through. That didn't make it any less powerful, though. From a reading viewpoint, it's very simple. It's from a child's point of view, though I don't want to say much more than that because if you know nothing about it in advance it makes the process of reading it even more impactful. Let's just say that the new outlook on the events of the book--that of a nine-year-old's--gives a hugely affecting process to the reader who can see what's actually happening. And warning, if you didn't guess: it's sad. Very sad. Prepare your emotions. I think this is a really incredible and awful book that everyone should read. Do it, and I'm sorry in advance. Get a copy at Kettleson, Sitka High, Blatchley, or Mt. Edgecumbe.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Okay. I'm sorry, I know I didn't get it in on time for the week deadline. I quite honestly have zero free time and am way too stressed for my own good, so I'm just going to give up on last week and focus on this week. Sorry and I promise there'll be one by the end of the week.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

"This ravishing winner of the ALA's William C. Morris YA Debut Award is a fairy tale, spun with a mystery, woven with a family story, and shot through with romance.

Charlotte Miller has always scoffed at talk of a curse on her family's woolen mill, which holds her beloved small town together. But after her father's death, the bad luck piles up: departing workers, impossible debts, an overbearing uncle. Then a stranger named Jack Spinner offers a tempting proposition: He can turn straw into gold thread, for the small price of her mother's ring. As Charlotte is drawn deeper into her bargains with Spinner-and a romance with the local banker-she must unravel the truth of the curse on the mill and save the community she's always called home."

I quite liked this one. It wasn't exactly light; it had a good deal of meat to it. Yet, it didn't ever drag. The imagery was basically stellar, and the characters were interesting and engaging. They managed to come across as very real while maintaining a smooth, almost idealistic scene. Like normal people, but with the interesting and fanciful bits brought out. And despite the whole old-countryside thing, it didn't read like one of those incredibly boring historical fictions. There were a million little facets to it that, while admittedly a bit predictable, made it nice to read no matter whether you could see it coming or not. It was a really enjoyable read, and I'd definitely recommend it. There's copies at Kettleson, Sitka High, and MEHS.

Monday, February 3, 2014

As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins

The train was moving. Ry could hardly tell at first, but now he knew. It was gaining speed, and he wasn't fast enough to catch it. He had only gotten off for a minute, just to make a phone call—and now it was gone. He was in the middle of nowhere, alone.
Maybe it was the middle of nowhere, but to Ry, it felt like the beginning of something. Something that would take him in cars, planes, boats . . . over an ocean and back. Something like an adventure."

Well... meh. The odyssey-adventure-type stories have their merits, but I honestly just couldn't get into this one. There's nothing really enjoyable about a story that consists of "everything that can possibly go wrong, will." And in the most rambling and irrelevant way. It's pretty frustrating, frankly. Also, speaking of frustrating and irrelevant (spoilers), what teenager in his right mind decides to get in a car with a complete stranger for a cross-country trip? That stranger isn't exactly the picture of sensibility, either. All in all, the author's knack for making sure that every single possible member of the family was out on some tailspin somewhere and unable to be contacted was very creative, but not really in a good way.
And another problem I had was the fact that Ry was basically a blank slate for the entire book, like some darkish boy-shaped blob, because he was never adequately described. I couldn't relate to him or picture him. And, I suppose the author was going for a profound/deep message with the story, but either it was too incredibly deep for me to grasp (it's an honest possibility), or it was just weak and under-developed. I'd lean toward the latter. For example, if you compared the impact, delivery, and coherence of this book's message to that of a John Green book, it would fail miserably and completely. In conclusion, I just don't think I can recommend this book, but if you'd like to decide for yourself there are copies at Kettleson, SHS, and MEHS.