Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Maze Runner

Dashner, J. (2009). The Maze Runner. NY: Delacorte Press.
YA Lit / Fantasy / Adventure / Thriller

This was a fast-paced page turner! I burned through this one overnight because I had to know the deal.  When I began realizing "the deal," it was reminiscent of Ender's Game to me, but different enough that I stayed interested.  The characters are pretty-well fleshed-out, and the convenient memory wipes of all the characters is acceptable to make the story work.  The violence was plentiful but the descriptions tame.  No profanity except the substitute words the Gladers have created; interestingly enough, by the end of the book, you feel like you're reading profanity! Might start using some of those words myself against slitheaded shucker. tee hee.

I may or may not read any of the sequels; I am pretty content with the ending of this first book and can guess that sequels will be a typical storyline of the young people trying to outsmart the adults, the evil adults.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Graveyard Book

Gaiman, N. (2008). The Graveyard Book. NY: Harper Collins Publishers.
YA Lit / Fantasy

What a great story! It is a wonderful peek into the life of the dead, so to speak, and how they rallied around a young child less than two years old, who they name Nobody Owens, to raise him and keep him safe from the man who killed the rest of his family.

The story has layers of stories within it, each fascinating enough to be the subject of its own book, I think!  Silas (is he a vampire??), the ghouls, Mrs. Lupescu, Liza the witch, or any of the lives of the graveyard inhabitants would be great subjects around whom (which??) to build stories.

I highly recommend this book to anyone from 5th grade on up.

Friday, December 23, 2011



For 17 days during the Christmas break, Karin & Julie, the bloggers at Edifying and Edgy will be posting a book related activity every day. You can choose to participate everyday or once or twice during the entire challenge.  It is totally up to you. The Holiday Break Reading Challenge is meant to be fun and low pressure.   There are prizes every day. 

Here's what I've submitted: Days 1 - 8

HIT: Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card.  I intentionally avoided this book for years because 1) it was Sci-Fi, and I hate Sci-Fi, yes I do, and 2) it had a dumb name and cover art.  All the males in my house (and there are a lot of them) raved about it and the sequels, but I couldn't afford to spend time on a book I knew I wouldn't like. (did I mention it's Sci-Fi??!! ICK.)  When the book came across the list of reads for my YA Lit class, I resigned myself to trudge through but found myself absolutely sucked-in to the story.  I was especially fascinated that Card was thinking so far ahead of his time with the concepts in the book (hello Drones), and the many parallels to the politics of today.  Beyond that, the characters were rich and believable, and the story had a great twist to it.  I just bought the set for my seventy-six-year-old father for Christmas; it's that good.

MISS: Jumped, by Rita Williams-Garcia.  This book was a National Award winner and a Coretta Scott King Honor Author winner, but as I blogged on this site after reading it, it was hard for me to think of an audience this book would benefit.  It may be that this "snapshot" of a day in an inner city high school was just too realistic for me, and I found it terribly depressing that none of the kids did the right thing. And to make matters worse, none seemed to care that the consequences were dire.  I suppose the author should be complimented for writing so well that the impression stays with the reader long after the reading is done, but I don't care for the content or the impression left.

Day 7: Your Favorite Book Character of 2011 in Pictures
This may be a little bit of a cheat since one of my favorite characters was from the graphic novel, The Savage. Blue is a little boy dealing with the death of his father, and he turns to writing to work through his feelings.  As time goes by his writing becomes reality. . . or does it?  It's up to the reader to decide.


Blue is the kinder, gentler version of the savage. (Butterfly is a nice touch, huh?) Unfortunately, I can't find any images from the book that show Blue; however, since the Savage is the alter-ego of Blue, (or is he????), then this works.

Day 6: Book Title Synonyms
This was fun.  Go to Edifying and Edgy to see the list and answers
Day 5: My Create-A-Cover (sounds real!)

Carter and Rachel are driving to a concert in a nearby town when they come upon something in the road that causes Carter to pull some drastic maneuvers to avoid hitting it.  The car ends up in a ditch, but that's not nearly the worst thing to happen to Carter and Rachel that night, as they discover what exactly they swerved to miss on the road.
Day 4: 
I have followed Naomi on Twitter, and now a new favorite blog is Naomi Bates's YA Books and More

Naomi is the Northwest High School librarian, and she has great YA Lit reviews but also makes fantastic book trailers, finds interesting and relevant articles about YA lit (and school library/librarians), and more.   (The type-o on Thursday's blog is an anomaly - Naomi is SHARP and insightful and REAL!)