Saturday, May 07, 2011

SAT Bonanza!

Yes, once again I amazed myself with the book love whilst proctoring.  I have three categories - LOVE, LIKE, and I TRIED, I REALLY DID.

First, the love -
TrashIt won battle of the books and with good reason. Great voice, fascinating setting. Three "dumpsite boys" fine something valuable and their bleak lives change. I don't yet know if it is for better or worse, but I can't wait to find out.

DroughtThe annoying cover notwithstanding, this creepy dystopian novel gripped me and was very unwilling to let me go. I can't wait to finish it! Ruby's blood heals, but if the overseers of her slave labor community find out, she is going to be drained like a radiator. Great mood in this one. I am hooked.

AccompliceIt is not just that I appreciate the brevity of one word titles, but I COULD NOT STOP READING THIS! Only the incessant blathering of my family drew me away. I read the first 235 pages in one sitting and will polish it off before bed. Damn, it's good. Two girls stage the abduction of one of them to become famous and therefore get accepted to a good college. Awesome!

Between Shades of GrayI read the reviews and they aren't kidding. This is one of those books that is going to take me forever to read because I am constantly pulling back from the story to imagine what I would do in Lina's place. She is a 15 year old girl in Lithuania who is deported with her family to Siberia. With lines like this, "I shut the bathroom door and caught sight of my face in the mirror. I had no idea how quickly it was to change, to fade. If I had, I would have stared at my reflection, memorizing it. It was the last time I would look into a real mirror for more than a decade." you can tell that Septys means business. Wow, she can write!

Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust Without ReasonAnne Roiphe can write like nobody's business, but her memoir sometime hurt to read. It is appealing to me now, at this stage of my life, but I don't think it would do much for teens. It was a fascinating look at the 50s and 60s and the brilliant beautiful woman who thought her life could have no greater purpose than to support a man who created ART. Roiphe doesn't cut herself any breaks and her tone is definitly of a more evolved woman looking back. But it kind of hurt to read.

I Am JThis is the story of J, who used to be Jeni, but knows that he may seem like a girl, and his parents treat him like a girl, but he is a boy. When he finally decides to take the leap to become the man he knows he was meant to be, a lot of stuff hits the fan. A very tender and thoughtful book that humanizes transgendered teens beautifully to people who may not be familiar with their issues.

Now the likes -
When I Was JoeThe story of an English boy in the witness protection program is interesting and well written, but it is far more a middle grade books. Interesting look at how changing your identity can have huge repurcussions.

The False PrincessI did like this and it was cleverly written, but as far as magic, princess stories go you really have to come out hitting hard to keep me reading. But kids who like this kind of thing (Princess Nalia learns when she is 16 that she is really just a place holder for the real princess who was prophesied likely die before her 16th birthday - but she didn't. Whoopsie!) are going to love this. So far a clever fish out of water tale - when Nalia goes to live with her aunt, a dyer, she realizes that princessess aren't really trained to do anything useful - but not my personal cup of tea.

You Killed Wesley PayneThis was so funny and cleverly written that I wanted to love it. the dialogue is snappier than snappy, the setting is funny and the narrator is hard boiled and awesome. But it was just too clever for me. There was too much Eggers-y flipping around to the cast of characters and it was a little too aware of its own hipness. If you loved BRICK you are going to love this. I liked BRICK, I like this. But probably won't finish it.

I TRIED, but life is too short...

Revolutionary VoicesThis anthology of art and essays by GLBTQ youth is earnest and often interesting. But it has all the publication quality of a high school literary magazine. Hurrah for Alyson Books for giving voice to these kids who have for so long been silenced, but please try harder not to make this book look like it wears Birkenstocks and eats tofu... It came out (hee!) in 2000 and the format works great, but it looks lame. An update would be welcome. I'll read that one.

Some Girls AreI was three pages in when I realized that I have started this book before. Didn't get far into it then, not loving it now. It looks so great in the reviews, but the characters all fall together in my mind. Teens might like the way the reader is tossed headfirst into the action, but sometimes I need to like a character before I can forgive their horrible actions. If you want a mean girl book where the protagonist is horrible but likable, try BEFORE I FALL... I have to give Summers credit, she paints an interesting picture, and if I gave it a chance I might really like it. Mean girl gets kicked down from popularity-Olympus and rallies sounds great to me. But there are too many things to read!

Summer reading is set to go - you can go look them here...