A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: Because It Is My Blood
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Pages: 350
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374380748
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
AR Levels: Interest Levels: 9th-12th grades; Book Level: 4.5; Points: 13.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13163011-because-it-is-my-blood

In a Nutshell: Anya Ballanchine, heiress to an illegal chocolate business, has just been released from a short stay in juvie, and her troubles are only beginning. Her ex-boyfriend and son of the district attorney, Win, is already dating another girl, her father's legacy as the chocolate mob boss is in danger as Ballanchine Chocolate is in disarray, and not one single school in the city will accept her for her senior year. Anya must decide if she will accept her fate as the future face of the Manhattan chocolate black market or try to run while she can. This is a tale of love, finding oneself, loyalty, and crime, and it will grip you every step of the way.

I'd recommend it for grades: 8 to 12. There's some bloodshed. Mob story, remember?

I'd recommend it to: guys who like mob stories (This is like The Godfather with a hot chick.), girls who like star-crossed love stories, teens who still want lots more dystopias, and anyone who likes chocolate or New York City

What I liked most about this book: I adored the first book, All These Things I've Done, and I couldn't wait to read this one. It didn't wow me like the first one, but all the characters I love are still loveable, and all the page-turning suspense is still there too...maybe even amped up a bit from book one. The dialogue is a bit cheesier than the first though, so that made me not like it quite as much. I still wait anxiously for book three though!

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): At the very end, the New York Public Library at Bryant Park (one of my favorite buildings in the world) plays an important role in the set-up for book 3. See if you recognize it. Anya and Win also attend a classic movie in the park in the summer, which was something I enjoyed the summer I spent in New York too. It's nice to see that even amid the chaos of future Manhattan, they still show classic movies in the park. :)

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 3 stars (Book 1: All These Things I've Done is easily 5 stars. Read it first. It will rock your world.)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Pages: 452
Publisher: Egmont Press
ISBN: 9781405258210
Publication Date: February 6, 2012
AR Levels: Interest Level: 9th-12th grades; Book Level: 6.5; Points: 15.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11925514-code-name-verity

In a nutshell: I almost can't write a summary without giving too much away, but I'll say this. This novel is about friendship - friendship so strong it will move you to your core. It's the story of two girls who answered the call to serve their country during WWII in Britain (one as a spy and one as a pilot), who stumbled into a life-changing friendship along the way, and who are torn apart by their commitment to their cause and each other. You should just take my word for it and read this one.

I'd recommend it for grades: 9 to 12+ for the torture scenes and for the language at times

I'd recommend it to: students who can't get enough of WWII books or who like suspenseful mysteries that are deeply character-driven

What I liked most about this book: The characters. The two female leads are phenomenal yet authentic. You laugh, cry, and cringe right along with these girls. Don't think this is just for girls either. Guys, you'll love this too. There's torture and fighter pilots and double agents and more! I wish I could tell you more, but I don't want to give anything away!

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): As with any good spy novel, there's hardly anything I can tell you that's not spoiler-y, but I can say that the format of this book adds so much to its success. Reading the notes of the captured female protagonist puts you right in the horror of being a prisoner of war while still leaving plenty up to the imagination.

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 5 brightly shining stars

Friday, October 19, 2012

Today is Your Birthday!

I want to wish Chris a very happy birthday today! Thanks for being such a great friend and a rockin' co-blogger!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn

Let me begin by saying that it's been a long time since I've disliked a book as much as I disliked this one.  It has less than 150 pages (thank goodness), and I almost stopped reading it around page 20.  Usually, I tend to find positive things in most books that I read, but after this one, I got nothin'.  It was WAY too predictable (My hunch from page 5 was extremely close.), I didn't connect with a single character, and there was a lot of product placement and name dropping throughout the book that I found distracting.  Additionally, the plot very closely resembled Hitch with Will Smith (rent that instead).  But. . . That's just my opinion--judge for yourselves.

Title:  What a Boy Wants
Author:  Nyrae Dawn
Pages:  140
Publisher:  Independent
ISBN:  9781475222449
Publication Date:  April 6, 2012
AR Levels:  TBA
Goodreads Link:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15707111-what-a-boy-wants

In a nutshell:  Sebastian Hawkins--the self proclaimed "Hook-up Doctor"--knows what it takes for girls to land the guy of their dreams, and he shares his expertise anonymously for a fee (so he can save up to buy a car).  Personally, he prefers short-term flings over actual relationships, so falling in love was never on his agenda, especially not with the person he finds himself pining over.  Now that he's head-over-heels in love with this girl, he can't seem to provide good advice for his customers.  Can he make it work without screwing it up? Is there hope for the Hook-up Doctor, or will his own relationship crash and burn?

I'd recommend it for grades:  I have a hard time recommending this book to anyone, but due to the more adult language and content, I would definitely say this book should be reserved for grades 9-12.

I'd recommend it to: Middle-aged adult women who enjoy reading teen fiction. This book was written for them in my opinion.

What I liked most about this book:  The character names; those were at least original or uncommon.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y):  At one point, the main character quotes Borat and then refers to it as a classic, even though it came out when he was in elementary school.  Yeah, it definitely came out in 2006.

Star rating (where 5 stars is amazing and 0 stars is atrocious):  I'll give it 2 stars.  I'm sure there are people out there who will like this book, but I'm not one of them.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Literary QOTW: A Pirate's Life for Me!

If you could add pirates to the plot of any YA novel, which one would you choose and how would you integrate the pirates into the plot?

Chris says: If I could add pirates to any young adult novel, I'd add them to Inkheart. Particularly, I think Captain James Hook and crew should at least make an appearance since Meggie reads Tinkerbell out of the book Peter Pan. I may be a little biased, though, since Peter Pan is one of my all-time favorite books. How would I work them in? When Meggie reads out Tinkerbell, she would also read out a band of pirates who are angered by leaving Neverland. Captain Hook is drawn in by Capricorn to aid in bringing out the Shadow; the other pirates, however, just want to be read back into their book, so they work with Elinor to help stop Capricorn.

Stefanie says: I would add pirates to Scott O'Dell's Newbery classic Island of the Blue Dolphins because as beautiful as the writing is, it gets pretty dull at points. Poor Karana doesn't deserve to spend her days sad and alone on a desert island. If pirates attacked her island, I'm sure she'd put up a fight at first, but the pirates would respect her impressive combat and survival skills and make her their exotic queen. Then she could live out the rest of her life sailing the seven seas and seeing the world instead of being stuck on a boring island.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Title: The Mark of Athena
Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 608
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
ISBN: 9781423140603
Publication date: October 2, 2012
AR levels: TBA
Goodreads link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12127750-the-mark-of-athena

In a nutshell: The Prophecy of the Seven is coming to pass, and it has united Greek demigods Percy, Annabeth, Leo, and Piper with Roman demigods Jason, Frank, and Hazel in a dangerous quest to the Ancient Lands to try to stop Gaea from taking over the world. The newly formed Greek and Roman friendships will be tested, and the seven will have to learn to work together and put aside their pride to save the world and save the gods. To make matters more complicated, a crazed Athena has tasked Annabeth with a age-old perilous solo mission to Rome to follow the Mark of Athena and find a way to avenge her and hopefully bring peace to the Greek and Roman demigods once and for all. Told from the perspectives of Annabeth, Leo, Piper, and Percy, the third novel in the Heroes of Olympus series shines as one of Riordan's best. It's a heart-pumping yet emotional tale that is sure to please fans and leave them wanting more...and soon!

I'd recommend it for grades: 4 and up (I know plenty of adults who love these too, and you could even read these aloud to kids as young as five I think.)

I'd recommend it to: Percy Jackson fans obviously, but also fans of Greek or Roman mythology or kids who enjoy a fast-paced page-turner with a side of romance and a healthy dose of humor

What I liked most about this book: I love that we finally got to hear the point of view of my favorite character, the stormy-eyed anything-but-dumb blonde Annabeth! She rocks it in this one. This is really her story, and boy does she have a tough road ahead of her. Annabeth is quickly becoming my second favorite female YA character of all time. No one will ever come before Hermione Granger, but Annabeth Chase sure does give her a run for her money!

The comic relief in the book comes mostly through Leo Valdez, who is also becoming one of my favorites. This new series has a serious lack of Grover, but Leo is filling that void nicely. He seems to be taking on more of a leadership role as well, and it will be interesting to see how he continues to grow in the last two books.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): There's a shout out to the Twilight series that involves a Team Leo t-shirt that made me laugh out loud so hard that I thought my downstairs neighbors might complain. :)

Star rating (where 5 stars is amazing and 0 stars is atrocious): I'd give this 15 stars if I could. This is my new favorite Riordan book. I liked it even more than any of the original Percy Jackson books, and that's saying something.

P.S.: I got to hear Rick Riordan speak in Winston-Salem last week as part of the book tour, and he was INCREDIBLE! He's truly an inspiration to teachers, librarians, kids, and budding authors. My copy of The Mark of Athena is signed, and this makes me very happy. You know what else makes me happy? The fact that his next series is going to be based on Norse mythology, be set in modern times, and will probably involve demigods. Get your giant hammers ready!