Monday, May 28, 2012

X-men Style Dystopia

Juliette, the main character in Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, reminded me a lot of Rogue from X-men.  She can't touch anyone because she drains the life out of them.  The local leader of the new dictatorship wants to use her abilities to dominate the world.  Juliette just craves normalcy and human contact, which she thinks she may never have.  Enter Adam, Juliette's new cellmate.  He doesn't despise her and says he wants to help her, but can she trust him? 

The writing style is unique and takes a little getting used to.  It's a little like a journal with crossed out and changed words.  Juliette is very descriptive and some of the language she uses to describe things is almost poetic, which makes for an interesting read.  And near the end of the story there are more moments that will remind you of X-men. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Just Us Kids

If you've had to read "The Lottery" for school, you're already familiar with Shirley Jackson's creepy, surreal style. One of my favorites of hers is We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I have a thing for books about youth left to their own devices by adults who are neglectful, absent, or, in this case, suspiciously murdered. Read on for more about this book, and some other titles in the same disturbing vein!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Let's Pretend

One of my favorite games to play when I was a kid was "let's pretend."  Whether it was imagining that the playhouse in the backyard was a homestead on the windswept prairies of my native Nebraska or pretending that the slide was a aircraft dropping my friends and me behind enemy lines, we created our own worlds.  Sometimes the lines between the world of make-believe and the real world were blurred, so that we almost, at times, forgot which one was really real.

No One is Here Except All of Us may be described as a very, very high-stakes game of make believe.  When faced with the horrible reality of the Second World War, the Jewish citizens of a remote Romanian village decide to cope by recreating their own world.  They imagine that nothing exists beyond the confines of their own village, that they are the whole of creation.  The villagers decide by vote what aspects of the former world will be allowed to continue (such as language and most possessions), and which may be re-negotiated (marriage and family relationships), and which are done away with altogether (clocks, type-writers). 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Feeling Sorry for the Mean Girl

"I'm Gigi Lane, and you wish you were me."

Sounds like a humble and modest young lady, doesn't she? That's Gigi Lane, the star and title character of Adrienne Maria Vrettos's The Exile of Gigi Lane. She's poised to become the social queen of Swan's Lake Country Day School. But then her nastiness gets her knocked off the top of the pyramid. She has to find a new clique to join, or spend the rest of high school floating around the edges with nobody to belong to.

Unfortunately, every clique she tries contains people that remember her nasty treatment, and it's starting to look like she's doomed to the shadows forever. To save herself from a fate worse than death, Gigi has to remake herself: not as a Glossy, a Cheerleader, a Do-Good or an Art Star . . . but as a completely new Gigi Lane. And she has to do it fast, because the girls that took her place at the top of the heap are victimizing underclassmen and making a mockery of cherished school traditions.

Ruin her school? Nuh-uh, not if Gigi Lane has anything to say about it.

Hilarious, sweet, just a little over the top . . . that describes both Gigi Lane and this book to a T.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Of Shakespeare and Phantoms

 "Wherefore art thou Romeo?"  As Esti auditions for the part of Juliet in the historic theater at the Manchicay school, she hears a deep, soft voice answering the part of Romeo, but sees no one.  She feels compelled to return to the theater to practice in the dark and speak to this mysterious voice who calls himself Alan.  Is he a real person or is he a jumbee, a malevolent spirit of the dead?  Cariba Island is far from Ashland, Oregon, where Esti has grown up, but she and her mother have relocated there  following the death of her father, a famous Shakespearean actor. Will it be a place to heal from the loss of  his powerful presence? Enter Rafe, a handsome islander who helps Esti feel alive and happy.  Yet, the caressing voice of Alan brings her back to the theater at night.You'll smell the fragrance of frangipani flowers in the exotic Caribbean setting of The Jumbee by Pamela Keyes, as you are drawn into a drama of love, family and the supernatural.