Sunday, October 11, 2009

The SATs!

I love the SATs! I know that any seventeen-year-old who is reading this has a strange urge to chase me with a torch and pitchfork after reading this, but they are my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning.

Did I mention that I don't actually take the test? Oh, that would be a blood bath! I can barely read the math problems, much less solve them. But the verbal parts are fun. (Put down those torches, children! Someone could get hurt!) I proctor. And as a proctor I get to wander around the room and keep an eye on people. I also get the chance to preview books. I bring a stack of 9 0r 10 books and peruse them as I watch the room and see if I have an interest in buying them for the library, reading them for myself and putting them on the preliminary summer reading list. I am surprised at how few I write off completely and how quickly I can tell if I like them.

So here is a quick rundown of yesterday's books.

THE HATE LIST - Jennifer Brown - This book is spectacular. The girlfriend of a school shooter deals with the guilt of knowing that her boyfriend used her "Hate List" to choose his victims. I hate putting it down. [93.2% likely to be on summer reading]

ANDROMEDA KLEIN - Frank Portman - This was such a disappointment. I found it to be virtually unreadable. I adored KING DORK, Portman's first book and was predisposed to like this. And I just couldn't stand it. Too much Juno-esque invented teen-speak, too much of Andromeda's thoughts and not enough of the world around her. I was 8 pages in and done, I flipped ahead and read pages at random to see if there was any kind of hook for me and there was nothing. [Sadly, I already bought it for the library on his reputation]

SOVAY - Celia Reese - This is a very readable Robin Hood type of story about a girl in pre-regency England who is forced to clear her father's name when he is accused of sedition. It was fast moving, but not grippy. [I'll probably buy it for the library]

MARCELO AND THE REAL WORLD - Francisco Stork - I only read a few pages, but I was intrigued and impressed. I will finish this eventually and enjoy it, I am sure. [I already bought it and it looks like a good shot for SR.]

INTERTWINED - Gina Showalter - I love BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and Zombies as much as the next middle aged librarian (okay, perhaps more) but I just couldn't get into this story about a teenager who is not only posessed by 4 souls, or beings or what have you, but can also unintentionally raise the dead and is then responsible for fighting them off. It was too much hacking for me, but I imagine that that will appeal to some as well as the drawn-to-each-other-like-moths-to-a-flame love story. [Look for it in the library, but not on the list.]

GOING BOVINE - Libba Bray - Holy smokes! I loved Libba Bray's GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY and the two follow-ups. I liked her style and her use of place and her fast paced story telling. I had NO IDEA that she is screamingly funny. This book had me snorting coffee out of my nose. And it is the story of a kid dying of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (mad cow disease). If you can make that funny, you are doing God's work. I love this book! [Here is the rub, I really want this on SR, but he smokes a lot of pot and so far, nothing bad has happened. Well, he is dying, but nothing that the put caused. I am only a third of the way through, so if he finds out that some bad weed caused his disease, that would be good. Or if he at some point blames the drugs for something bad, I can probably justify it. But I probably can't promote a book on SR that gives the impression that pot is fun (regardless of what some high schooler's opinion may be). But I am certainly buying it for the library!

SARAH'S KEY - Tatiana de Rosnay - There is a little boy locked in a cabinet in an apartment in Nazi-occupied Paris and his parents and sister were just taken away buy the police for deportation! I don't know what is going to happen to the little guy, and I am kind of afraid to find out! [This was recomended by a couple teachers and it is teriffic, practically a no-brainer for SR.]

GIRL OVERBOARD - Justina Chen Headley - I love a good poor-little-rich-girl story and this one, so far, is lovely. Syrah (named after a WINE, poor thing...) just wants to snow board, and her family wants her to be their perfect little princess. She is also obviously in love with her best friend, and she was in an accident that has made her knee a real problem. I can't wait to find out how this whole thing ends up! [Bought it, certainly putting it on the preliminary list.]

LET SLEEPING DOG'S LIE - Mirjam Pressler - I wanted to love this. It was originally published in Germany and is the story of a girl who finds out that her Grandpa was a Nazi and stole the family business from two Jewish families who were trying to escape. It isn't bad, but I thought it would be much better. The heroine is kind of wooden. It could be the translation, but I just didn't get sucked in. [I already bought it, and will promote it to FACING HISTORY kids when they come in for their book reports, but it won't be on SR.]

And that, as they say, is that! See you next week for the PSATs!

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