Sunday, June 14, 2009

Read this week

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
A Printz Honor book this year and highly recommended by people who live and breathe YA lit - I have to tell you, it's not my favorite. Not even close. Not at all near it. I've never read anything like it, that's for sure, and at times, I really liked it. The main character (and I can't even remember her name now... Liga?) has a horrific childhood with an abusive father and wishes herself away into her dream world where she lives for many years. But in a book of over 400 pages, some more conflict must be introduced - though I wish it wasn't! I felt that this book could have ended 100 pages earlier, and I would have been happy with it. I do commend Lanagan for weaving a complex tale filled with traumatic events and hopeful continuings, but it was too much for me. Ah, and the language was unusual but beautiful - I wish I had written down lines while reading. I would read parts of it over just for the way she uses her words.

Natalie and Naughtily by Vincent X. Kirsch
These twin girls live at the top of their family-owned department store and like to wander around the store and help customers. This story takes us through each floor of the store where the girls encounter people seeking assistance - but not from them! It begins with two twin boys asking what's best on each floor and how to get to the top, so the sisters hastily write them notes as they do not have time to show them themselves. This is my favorite part of the book because on the endpages, these notes are illustrated, so I went back through the pages to find all of the items on Natalie's list of favorites on each floor. I love the I-Spy ending! As for the story itself, eh. The pictures are pretty, but I probably wouldn't read it again or recommend it to a child.

Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
I started reading the Stephanie Plum books when I took Adult Popular Literature last spring, and I've enjoyed them well enough. They're my escape-reading, my soap operas, my bedtime snack. It's why I read all the Sweet Valley books when I was a kid, so I'm glad to have that sort of consistency back in my life. And Stephanie Plum is a hoot! What a ridiculous character who gets into the most ridiculous situations, and I love her for it. I can't relate, but I certainly feel for the gal.

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
What I love about the amount of reading I do is the unexpected connections I make between the books I'm reading and have most recently read. I've been meaning to read this one for quite some time, but I finally got around to it just as I finished Tender Morsels, another book about an abusive father. Unlike the loving new mother in TM, the mom in Bones of Faerie is MIA, leaving her daughter with her abusive father. Liza has to live with the memory of her father leaving her baby sister out to die in the wild and constantly berating her for not doing just as he says. These are the days after the War between the real world and Faerie, where nature has turned on humans and magic is prevalent but stamped out of Liza's community. When her mother leaves, Liza is determined to find her, risking losing herself along the way. Overall, I thought the story was fine - but I felt a little misled. I thought I was going to read a faerie story, and instead it turned out to be an adventure/survival tale. The world could have been better described, but for the short length of the book (about 250 pages), the setting was conveyed fairly well. This book could have been 100 pages longer, as opposed to Tender Morsels. I would have loved to know more about the magic itself, the children who wielded it, and perhaps more glimpes backward to the war and to Before (even though that's essentially the present for us). Ah, the timing was also great for this book because I've just recently been to St. Louis (the setting of the book) for the first time, so I could picture some of the scenic details. Anyhow, not bad for a first book, but I think it could have been fleshed out so much more.

Coming up next week, I start my African American Youth Literature course, so I'll be doing some more focused reading. I should also get on top of my Golden Jaguar reading for student teaching, but I just have so many books on my to-read pile for myself!


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