Friday, October 26, 2012

Unwholly by Neal Shusterman

Unwind is probably one of my favorite books in the Library. In my two years at Lincoln Park that book has gone missing several times. As a result I now have multiple copies of Unwind. A few weeks ago I saw something on about a sequel to unwind. I immediately ordered two copies of Unwholly. Oftentimes I find a sequel to be very disappointing. Neal Shusterman did not write Unwind with the intention of turning it into a trilogy. I felt satisfied with the original ending but was overjoyed that there would be more. Shusterman opened this sequel in a way I wish all authors would in the YA genre. He created a glossary reminding the reader of all the terms and definitions we were introduced to do in book one. I read Unwind over three years ago, there was no way I would remember every character and every new word created. I was so appreciative of the glossary. Bravo Mr. Shusterman. Unwholly was fast-paced, and quite a page turner. I was excited to learn about all the old characters and enjoyed learning about all the new characters as well. This is quite a challenge and I wish Mr. Dashner took some advice from Mr. Shusterman on how to write a series and make the reader care about all characters. I give this followup to Unwind 5 Stars


Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simltaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.      Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.      Rife with action and suspense, this riveting companion to the perennially popular Unwind challenges assumptions about where life begins and ends—and what it means to live.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kill Order by James Dashner

After finishing the Maze Runner Trilogy I was angry. I felt as if the author left so many loose ends on the series. I was thrilled when I found out a week later that he would be writing a prequel. Finally, I will get the answers to all of my questions that were never resolved in book one, two and three. Boy was I wrong. The Kill Order was a completely new story with new characters and did not touch on ANYTHING I was hoping to be resolved. This book was horribly written and created hundreds of new questions. We start off with a compound of people being attacked by a berg (a mix between an airplane and a space ship). Who were the people attacked, who were the people attacking, why were the people attacked, what is the gun loaded with. I do not want more questions. I was looking for why did the sun flares happen? How did the Earth get destroyed. Why were Thomas and Teresa recruited and finally is WICKED good or bad? I feel so disappointed after spending three years on this series.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.
I am a huge fan of this author. I read Tea Rose and Winter Rose over the summer and still need to read Wild Rose. While researching the author I discovered she had written a YA book and immediately purchased it for the library. I read this book over the summer but remember being so engrossed in the story and the two plot lines. I would recommend this book for students who have not tried historical fiction as a genre. I think this would be a neat book to read to get your feet wet in a new genre. Fingers crossed that Jennifer Donnelly has many more books coming as I adore her.

Swallow the Ocean by Laura Flynn


When Laura Flynn was a little girl, her beautiful, dynamic mother, Sally, was the center of her imagination. It wasn’t long, however, before Sally’s fun-loving side slowly and methodically became absorbed by madness. As Laura’s parents divorced and her father struggled to gain custody, Sally’s symptoms bloomed in earnest while Laura and her sisters united in flights of fancy of the sort their mother taught them so that they might deflect the danger threatening their fragile family.
Set in 1970s San Francisco, Swallow the Ocean is redolent with place. In luminous prose, this memoir paints a most intimate portrait of what might have been a catastrophic childhood had Laura and her sisters not been resilient and determined enough to survive their environment even as they yearned to escape it.

I am a huge fan of Memoirs lately and enjoyed this book. It certainly is not one of my favorites but I thought it was an interesting read. For family drama memoirs I would recommend The Glass Castle, House Rules or Three Little Words over Swallow the Ocean.

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht

This was on the best seller list this year so I bought it for the Library. I could not finish this book. It is not enough that I don't finish a book and give it time to get good. I read half of  this book and didn't care how it ended and decided to just stop. I spoke to a fellow teacher and they felt the same and also stopped reading mid-way through. I just found this book to be boring and blah. That is my opinion and you might find the book to be incredible.

Natalia Stefanovi, a doctor living (and, in between suspensions, practicing) in an unnamed country that's a ringer for Obreht's native Croatia, crosses the border in search of answers about the death of her beloved grandfather, who raised her on tales from the village he grew up in, and where, following German bombardment in 1941, a tiger escaped from the zoo in a nearby city and befriended a mysterious deaf-mute woman. The evolving story of the tiger's wife, as the deaf-mute becomes known, forms one of three strands that sustain the novel, the other two being Natalia's efforts to care for orphans and a wayward family who, to lift a curse, are searching for the bones of a long-dead relative; and several of her grandfather's stories about Gavran Gailé, the deathless man, whose appearances coincide with catastrophe and who may hold the key to all the stories that ensnare Natalia.

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Josh and Emma are about to discover themselves--fifteen years in the future

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long--at least, up until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD-ROM in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto Facebook . . . but Facebook hasn't been invented yet. Josh and Emma are looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

Their spouses, careers, homes, and status updates--it's all there. And every time they refresh their pages, their futures change. As they grapple with the ups and downs of what their lives hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right--and wrong--in the present.

My thoughts
 I was so excited to read this book after Jay Asher's debut novel Thirteen Reasons Why. I absolutely LOVED this book. It might have had to do with the throw back to the 90's and remembering my first experience with the AOL CD-Rom disk that arrived in the mail but I LOVED this book. I thought it was a cute idea taking facebook into the future and I loved the idea of trying to change your future of your destiny. I highly recommed this one as a light fun read.

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

I have been wanting to read this book for a long time. Some of the students were assigned this book for class and I thought I would assign it to myself as well. I found the book very interesting. I am not much of a non-fiction fan but felt as if this was a well written engaging read. I would highly recommend this book. Now I need to read the follow up Super Freakonomics.

Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand

I just finished reading Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand and all I can say is WOW. My sister finished this book last week and was raving how much she loved it. A year ago, someone told me it was the best book they had ever read. I had high expectations for this book and they were all met. Unbroken follows the true life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympian, WWII VET, POW and a survivor of a plane crash. Mr. Zamperini had such a full life it is hard to believe that everything in this book in true. Not only was I taken by Mr. Zamperini's story I learned so much about WWII and the situation with Japan. Often times in school we focus on the war in Europe. I felt as if I learned so much about the war in the Pacific. For history lovers I cannot recommend this book enough. For everyone else, I still recommend it as an American hero tale.