A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tis the Season. . .

This week's question comes from the giving spirit of the Christmas season. If you could give a Christmas gift to any literary character, what would you give and to whom?

Stefanie says: I would give Ron Weasley (from Harry Potter) a brand new pair of emerald green dress robes so he doesn't have to go to the Yule Ball looking like his Great Aunt Tessie. They'll compliment his ginger hair quite nicely.

Chris says:  I would give Joss (the vampire-slaying cousin from The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod) a map to Forks, Washington.  Then, he could return the favor by ending the Twilight series. . . if you know what I mean.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

Title: My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece
Author: Annabel Pitcher
Pages: 224
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780316176903
Publication Date: August 14, 2012 (originally published January 1, 2011 in the United Kingdom)
AR Levels: Interest Level: 4th-8th grades; Book Level: 5.2; Points: 9.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12860626-my-sister-lives-on-the-mantelpiece

In a nutshell: Ten-year-old Jamie has twin sisters. His sister Jasmine is 15 and going through a pink hair phase, and his sister Rose was killed by a terrorist bombing five years ago and lives in an urn on the mantelpiece. Every year his dad tries to sprinkle her ashes in the ocean, but he just can't manage to do it. It's one of the many things his mom and dad argue about with the biggest one being how his mom is leaving them for another man. Jamie's dad packs up Jamie and Jas and Rose and moves them out of London into the Lake District to start afresh, or so Jamie hopes. Now he's going to a new school he hates, trying not to provoke the classroom bully/teacher's pet, and getting frustrated with how much attention his dad pays to Rose when he barely notices Jamie and Jas. That's when Jamie meets Sunya, and it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship...but not an easy one. In fact, if his dad found out, he'd go berserk.

I'd recommend it for grades: 6th and up (for language and subject matter)

I'd recommend it to: anyone dealing with grief or tough family issues...but really just anyone (It's excellent.)

What I liked most about this book: Jamie's narration is blunt, honest, funny, and heartbreaking all at the same time. You like him by the end of the very first paragraph. While this book is mainly the story of a family and how they each individually deal with their grief, it's also about love, the intense desire to be visible, the heartache of broken promises, and friendships that look past differences. This is one of the most well-written books about grief written from the perspective of a ten-year-old that I've read in a long time, and it's also one of the best books I've read all year.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): For reasons that I won't go into (since that would be a spoiler), Jamie wears the same Spider-Man t-shirt for weeks on end, and soon it starts to smell a bit...adolescent boy-ish. In an act of sisterly love and acting as a substitute mom, Jas doesn't make him take it off but instead lovingly gives him a stick of deodorant and tells him he's starting to stink. It's a really sweet and funny moment. Their relationship is one of my other favorite parts of this book.

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

Friday, December 7, 2012

He Says/She Says: Son by Lois Lowry

Title: Son
Author: Lois Lowry
Pages: 393
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
ISBN: 9780547887203
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
AR Levels: Interest Level: 6th and up, Book Level: 5.0, Points: 11.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13324841-son

In a nutshell: In this final novel of The Giver quartet, we find ourselves back in Jonas' hometown and following the life of baby Gabe's Birthmother, Claire. When something goes wrong with Claire's first birthing, she is reassigned, but she can't stop thinking about her product. Before long Claire begins to learn just how strong motherly love is, and that love will send her on a quest that ties together beloved characters from the three previous novels. 

He Says:

I had mixed feelings about this book.  In some ways, I felt like Lois Lowry compromised what she created in The Giver, but Son also takes great strides to develop familiar characters even further and tie their stories together in a beautiful way.  The more I think about it after finishing it, the more I love it!

I'd recommend it for grades: 7th - 12th+.  It isn't a difficult read, but it does make more sense if you've already read the first three books.

I'd recommend it to:  Anyone who's grown up with The Giver and asked a million questions about what happened!  If you want closure for the series, you'll love this book.  

What I liked most about this book:  I really like how the story centers around the main character Claire and presents the story in three different stages of her life.  Along her journey, we learn what became of the characters from the previous books.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y):  I really like during Book One when Claire hears what occurred at the Ceremony of Twelve; this was the first time that the story from one of the other books (I won't say which one) intersects with the plot of Son.  This is also the moment that I became hooked.

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious):  4 stars.  The book obviously wasn't The Giver.  It wasn't perfect, but it came pretty close in my opinion.

She Says:

The Giver is one of my all time favorite books, but I was a bit disappointed with Gathering Blue and The Messenger. In fact, I don't hardly remember what happened in them, so I was apprehensive yet excited about reading this one. The first section was AWESOME! It's The Giver from another perspective, and a lot of characters return. Loved it. The second and third sections were pretty good too. Overall, this was my second favorite of the quartet as well.

I'd recommend it for grades: 7th grade and up (even adults will enjoy it if you grew up loving The Giver)

I'd recommend it to: fans of the series. I'm not sure if you'll enjoy it as much if you haven't read the other books...but maybe you will.

What I liked most about this book: You get to see a grown-up version of one of my favorite characters from this series. :)

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): In the second section of the book, you get to meet a whole new cast of characters, and I love most of the people in that village. There's some great characterization in that section, and your heartstrings get tugged a few times for those people.

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 4 stars