Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Found in Translation by Roger Bruner

I don't mean any disrespect to the author, but I'm not sure that this guy (on the right) should be writing a novel from the perspective of a teenage girl. For me it didn't really work. I could have finished the book, I'm sure, but I ran out of desire, so I didn't. It was not a realistic perspective of a teenage girl. I felt like a lot of the ways that the author tried to incorporate people of non-white races was sometimes awkward and uncomfortable. There were things that were super exaggerated that in real life would not have been a big deal, and other things that should have been given more attention that were barely mentioned. I only read the first half, hopefully the last half was better.

Score: I didn't like it

Books I've Read - January 2011

1. Delirium by Lauren Oliver (I liked it a lot)
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn't understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

2. Stolen by Lucy Christopher (I liked it, was pretty good)
Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.

3. My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent (I really liked this one)
Trying to work things out with Nash—her maybe boyfriend—is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can't just pretend nothing happened. But "complicated" doesn't even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back. See, Sabine isn't just an ordinary girl. She's a mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people's fears—and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives. And Sabine isn't above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever—and whoever—she wants.

4. Birthmarked by Caragh M O'Brein (I liked it a lot)
After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested. Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned. Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, Birthmarked explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.

5. The Spell Book of Listen Taylor (I like everything by this author)
The Zing family lives in a world of misguided spell books, singular poetry, and state-of-the-art surveillance equipment. They use these things to protect the Zing Family Secret one so huge it draws the family to the garden shed for meetings every Friday night. Into their world comes socially isolated middle grader Listen Taylor, whose father is dating a Zing. Enter Cath Murphy, a young teacher at the elementary school that Cassie Zing attends, suffering from a broken heart. How will the worlds of these two young woman connect? Only the reader can know!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J Omololu

I really enjoyed this book. I think it is fascinating and crazy to enter the mind of a hoarder. I am not the tidiest person myself, but I can not understand the desire to hold on to garbage, especially where mold and growth and disgusting smells are involved. Anyway, this book looks into the home of a hoarder from the perspective of her teenage daughter, Lucy, who is forced to live in an environment she can not escape or control. She lives her life with the shame and embarrassment of her mother's disorder and all she can do is try to make sure that none of her friends find out what the inside of her house looks like. It's sad because she really feels like this is something that defines her and that if other's knew, they would see that she is unlikable or unlovable. The only thing that keeps her going is that she is able to count down the time she has left in high school before she will be able to leave and live on her own. She, like her older siblings, will have "served her time" living with her mother and be free to move out once she turns 18, and never look back. The problem is, there are parts of her life she wants to start living NOW and not after she is finished with high school. Her crush has started paying attention to her and she can no longer bear to tip-toe around her mother's mental condition much longer. One day Lucy comes home and discovers that her mother has died in her crowded home, buried under piles of magazines. Lucy needs to deal with all of this without letting anyone see the state of her home, her dirty secret.
This book does a good job of showing the sad way that Lucy internalized her mother's disorder as something wrong with her and how much of her life and self-worth revolved around keeping this a secret from the rest of the world. It is sad that before she even has time to process the loss of her mother, she is overwhelmed with fear about calling for help. Once public officials see the state of her home, she is sure it will be broadcast on the news, and she can kiss all of her friendships goodbye. I like the way the book ended. It was shocking in some ways, but it also helped to lighten the load that I felt along with Lucy as I read her story.

Score: I really liked it