Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ship Breaker

Title: Ship Breaker
Author Paolo Bacigalupi
Location: J Bacigalupi
Ages: Young Adult

In the future, when monstrous storms batter the Gulf Coast, teenager Nailer struggles to survive as a ship breaker, risking his life daily crawling through the ducts of grounded ships to salvage copper wiring. When he discovers a wrecked clipper ship with one survivor, the daughter of a wealthy shipping company owner, Nailer becomes involved in even greater dangers when he decides to rescue her.

Interesting post-apocalyptic story about a boy, Nailer, a "ship breaker", who dreams of something more - especially when he sees the "swank" clipper ships zoom by on the water. Soon Nailer becomes "Lucky Boy" and has a few opportunities throw at him, and it's his turn to decide what to do and who his "family" really is. This story is a bit rough, but I was intrigued enough to keep reading. This is the 1st in a trilogy.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Zita the Spacegirl

Title: Zita the Spacegirl
Author: Ben Hatke
Level: grades 2- 5
Location: Graphic Novel J Zita - Indian River is the only branch that currently owns this title

Zita finds something in a meteoriod and accidentally causes her friend to be kidnapped- to another planet. She bravely sends herself through space only to find the planet she arrives at is going to explode from an asteroid in three days! Can she make it through the rusted wastes alive and in time to save her friend from his captors? There are plenty of creatures who want to stop her from menacing robot spiders to screeds and Heavily Armored Mobile Battle Orbs. Will they make it back to Earth ok?

Bottom Line: A quick read with plenty of robots and odd creatures. The panels are easy to follow with the exception of one page. Good color and detailed backgrounds that create feeling. I took this book to my Goddaughter in first grade. She was able to read most of it on her own or use the pictures for help while I was there. She asked me to leave it so she could read it again and was excited when I said I would. She thought it was cool. Her sister in fourth grade also read the book and agreed that is was good and wanted to know if there would be another book about Zita. I agree with them. I hope to meet Zita again somewhere in space.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Title: Darkness Becomes Her
Author: Kelly Keaton
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Keaton (when it comes in)

With her striking features, particularly her unusual, silver hair, growing up in the foster system meant spats of emotional, physical and sexual abuse through her childhood but Ari emerged a strong, capable young woman despite it all. Now that she is nearing her eighteenth birthday and finally with a foster family that trained her to be both physically and mentally strong, Ari sets out on a personal search for the mother she never knew. What she finds at Rocquemore House, the mental asylum that was her mother's last known residence, reveals a note written by her now-deceased mother begging her daughter to run for her life and avoid New Orleans, now called New 2.

Since a devastating hurricane wreaked massive destruction on New Orleans, the government allowed nine wealthy, powerful investors to purchase the city and run it as they saw fit with no intervention. New 2 is now rumored to harbor all types of supernatural beings, although few know which stories are true and which are created for the more daring tourists.

Shortly after receiving her letter, a massive, hulking man with a huge sword attacks Ari and attempts to kill her. Ari is now convinced that if she is ever going to come to terms with her past, she must try to follow the trail of her mother's life, which begins in New 2. With the help of new friend, Sebastian, Ari discovers the curse that has haunted the women in her family for centuries. Its now up to Ari, to find a way to break the curse so she can be the first among them to survive.

I actually loved certain aspects of this book but I felt that it could have been executed a little better as a whole. The storyline was extremely inventive, very unique compared to many of the YA paranormal/paranormal romances that have been published lately. I enjoyed that the author set the book in a city familiar to her readers but entirely different than the city they know. One of my favorites parts of the book was the way the author unfolded New 2 through Ari's eyes.

Speaking of Ari, she is an amazing character. She's tough, she swears and she does not hesitate to stand up for herself and pursue her own interests. The only real complaint I had with this book was with the romance and the relationships Ari finds with characters in New 2. One second Ari is understandably wary of this (of course brooding, dark-haired) guy, and two chapters later, she is snuggling with him and making out. People automatically befriend her in New 2 and they are instantly willing to give their lives for her by the end. This inconsistency pulled me out of the story making it all seem ridiculous at times. I also felt that the ending, while satisfying, was rushed and somewhat anti-climactic. Despite these flaws, I enjoyed this book and I think many teens will look past some of my issues and really identify with Ari and her quest. Like I said, she is a great character and how often do we come across such an inspiring, strong abuse victim in paranormal YA fiction? Definitely give it a try, I think many will enjoy it.

The Bottom Line: Darkness Becomes Her was a good read, with an inventive storyline and a strong character I think teens will really appreciate. Despite some of its shortcomings, I enjoyed and would recommend it to fans of YA paranormal fiction and paranormal romance. It definitely looks like this is the first of a planned series so be on the lookout for the next, I know I will!

The publisher provided me with an advanced reader's copy of the book for this review. Darkness Becomes Her has an expected release date of February 22, 2011. Be sure to check it out when its released!

Gifted- Now You See me

Title: Now You See Me
Author: Marilyn Kaye
Level: teen/young adult
Location: YA Kaye

Now You See Me is book five in the Gifted series and it is also a stand alone title. This is the first book from the series that I read, but I was able to follow everything fine. There are a few mentions of events from previous books, but enough information is given that I could get the gist of what occurred. This series is based on a class of "gifted" students. These students are not necessarily intellectually gifted, but rather have something about them that makes each one unique and different in away that might make them stand out. In the class they are learning how to control their gifts and use them more at will. The gifts are things like mind reading, becoming invisible, taking over someone else's body. Someone is a trader and out to exploit them. They must find out who before all their lives are endangered. Jenna has already been sent to a juvie home where she is cut off from everyone. Who's the next one to disappear from class?

Bottom Line: A quick, entertaining , stand alone read from the Gifted series. After reading this title I wanted to find some of the previous books. We learn how some of the students acquired the gifts that make them different (like moving objects with the mind) and what each student's gift is, a little bit about the relationships among the gifted students, and why they might be the traitor. Tracey is the key person in this story as she plays a big part in finding out how information about them is getting out of the classroom and who is trying to use them. The book ends with a standoff so there is sure to be another title in the series.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Falling for Hamlet

Title: Falling for Hamlet
Author: Michelle Ray
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: July 2011

Falling for Hamlet is a modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet told by Ophelia, Hamlet’s on-again and off-again girlfriend. Hamlet is the Prince of modern day Denmark. Ophelia lives in the castle as the daughter of Polonius, advisor to the King. She and Hamlet have known each other since they were young and have been together, mostly, since she was 15. Now, three years later, tragedy befalls Hamlet and those surrounding him. Can their relationship survive being in the spotlight? Can any of them survive, period?

Hamlet is my favorite play, so I was a little apprehensive about a “modern retelling.” It turns out this book made me love it and the play even more. This is definitely not the book to read as a cliffs notes version of the real thing. The story is told after the fact by Ophelia, so there are obviously some major plot differences. You could also read this without having read the play and enjoy it. It is a quick, engrossing read. Each chapter is told in three different styles with the beginning being a talk show style interview, the middle being what really happened, and the ending being the police interview transcript. This is Michelle Ray’s first novel. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.

The Bottom Line:
I highly recommend this book to fans of Hamlet, those who like to read about the affects of fame on people, or anyone who likes a good tragedy.

The publisher provided me with an advanced reader's copy of the book for this review. Falling for Hamlet has an expected release date of July 2011.

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

Title: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
Author: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Cohn R.

On one of Dash's trips to the Strand, a huge book store in New York City, he finds a red moleskin notebook placed on the shelf between two books by his favorite author. When he opens them up, he finds the words:

"I've left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don't, put the book back on the shelf, please."

Unable to resist the temptation, he follows the clues, writes the answers in and leaves the notebook. What follows is a back and forth game between Dash and Lily, the owner of the red notebook, that leads them all over the city. What was looking like a boring Christmas break turns into a game that neither wants to end. Should they risk losing what they built together for the chance to meet and maybe have something more?

This book does a good job of capturing how it's sometimes easier to be closer to someone you've never met. The characters are quirky and flawed, which I always like. Maybe my favorite part of the book is the feeling you get of New York City at Christmas. I would love to go on some of the adventures that Dash and Lily "dare" each other to do. The book is about the romance, but it's also about knowing who you are, stretching yourself and just getting out there.

The two authors have a unique style of writing. David Levithan wrote a chapter from Dash's prespective, then he would email it on to Rachel Cohn to write a chapter for Lily. Neither knew what the other one would write before it happened which mirrored how it was for Lily and Dash. Levithan and Cohn are also the authors of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List.

The Bottom Line:
This is one of the best Christmas books I've read. It's a novel idea with believable characters and a great setting. I'm definitely going to check out their other books after reading this.