Sunday, January 9, 2011

Read this week (8)

Though I try not to make a big fuss over the new year, I do like joining reading challenges and read the most for them during these first few months of the year. And so I bring back my abandoned Read this week feature. I only use it when I have a particularly heavy reading week, and I want to jot a few notes down about each book before they all start blending together. This was definitely the case this week, as I started intensely on the YA Reading Challenge.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
published August 2010 by Scholastic
YA Reading Challenge

What's to say that hasn't already been said? I'm so glad I re-read the first two. And someday I know I will want to re-read the trilogy. Yep, it's that good. Admittedly, this third book was my least favorite. But isn't that usually the case with series' ends? The trilogy itself reminds me of the Back to the Future trilogy - first two were fantastic, very similar to each other, and hard to pick a favorite. But the third was a little random - much different setting, different problems, but you can't help but like it because of familiar characters. Mockingjay's storyline was a bit too political for my taste (I don't generally read war novels, much too sensitive for that), and all the killing was hard to read, but the character depth achieved was well worth it. A satisfying end to the trilogy.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
published August 2010 by HarperTeen
YA Reading Challenge

Will I ever tire of YA paranormal fantasies? Not anytime soon, I suppose. Evie is a sixteen year-old girl working for the government, the International Paranormal Containment Agency, that is. She's gifted with the ability to see through glamours and into monsters, to see them for what they really are, and so she is a rare commodity that this agency has put to good use. Evie's daily life consists of apprehending and putting ankle bracelets on anything from vampires to hags, chatting with her best friend (a mermaid), and watching her favorite teen drama, Easton Heights. She doesn't live a normal teenage life - she doesn't go to high school or have human friends her age or even drive. But she has adventure and plenty of drama and perhaps a little love interest in a newly discovered paranormal who breaks into the agency. Reminded me of the Alexia Tarabotti books because of the action, adventure, and variety of paranormals. Fun, quick, and light.

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
published November 2010 by Little, Brown
YA Reading Challenge

This, for me, was The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks + Speak (both favorites of mine): major girl power surrounded by the very serious issue of date rape. What impressed and startled me most about this book was how calmly Alex reacted to her situation. The book begins with Alex naked in a boy's bed, obviously hungover with next to no memory of the evening before. As the story progresses, she slowly remembers more about that night, with emotional triggers from friends, songs, and smells. Her confidantes are the ones to suggest she has been date raped, and she has to mull over that idea and ultimately decide if it's true. The setting (boarding school) is crucial to this book, as Alex also needs to figure out what action she should take next. Should she call the police? Tell her parents? The school's administration? But there is a fourth option. The Mockingbirds. A secret justice agency created by the students for the students. The more I think about this book, the more I like it. It saddens me that the students are dismissive of the adults in their lives, that they feel like their problems wouldn't be taken seriously by their teachers or parents. But it makes me proud that they are capable and willing to sort them out themselves. Definitely glad I read this one.

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
published December 2009 by Egmont
YA Reading Challenge
Shifter Challenge

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about this book. I didn't know much about the story before I picked it up, so I was surprised that the main character was a preacher's daughter attending a Christian school. I'm usually very aware of faith-related books before I start reading them because it requires me to open my mind a little more and not be so judgmental. But I rebounded quickly and was able to suspend prejudices, if you will, enough to get into the story. Grace is a good girl. The only bad part of her life seems to be Daniel, her childhood friend who disappeared years ago but now is mysteriously back in town to finish high school. Grace is inexplicably drawn to Daniel, but whenever she's with him, strange and dangerous things happen. Secrets abound. Promises are made and broken. And Grace questions her world incessantly. The questioning was tiresome for me. The writing too literal. I wanted more magic and mystique. And the story? Not entirely original and not my cup of tea. But I know many people loved this book and are jumping all over the recently published sequel, The Lost Saint, so to each his or her own.

Phew, that was my reading week. I love it when I binge on books. :) Have you read any of these? What'd you think?



Mrs. DeRaps said...

Awesome! I've only read Mockingjay and The Mockingbirds (funny that they're similar in title) but plan to read the other two. I skimmed your reviews for these because I don't want to bias myself. But, that's a great reading week, if you ask me!

Peaceful Reader said...

I read Mockingjay and agree that it was my least favorite. The other three I'm not very familiar with but I'm glad you had a great reading week.

Cheree said...

I need to read The Mockingbirds, I've heard it's a good book.

I've also left something for you at my blog

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Hi there - just popped over from the comment challenge and enjoyed your reviews:) I've heard so much about Mockingbirds, I have to say I'm motivated to read it now:)

Madigan McGillicuddy said...

I read Mockingjay, and have these 3 others on my TBR pile, no kidding!
I'm snowed in this week, and enjoying the change to get caught up on lots of reading myself.
Yeah, I was a little disappointed in the ending of Mockingjay.

I'm even more excited to read Paranormalcy, after reading your review.

And The Dark Divine... I'm captivated by the cover. I think yours is the first critical review I've seen. I know what you mean though... I don't want to read something that sounds too much like Christian fiction.

Pen and Ink said...

I read Speak. Great books. Was your choice of color influenced by Linus and the Purple Crayon? I wonder if the author tried out other colors before deciding on purple.

Linus and the Wine Crimson Crayon
Linus and the Navy Gray Crayon
Linus and the Sunset Yellow Crayon
The Crayola Kid

NatalieSap said...

I don't know who Linus is, but my blog name does come from the book Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. I love Harold's imagination, and it doesn't hurt that I heart the color purple.

Katie said...

Hey there, I found your blog through the comment challenge. I loved Mockingjay, and I'm looking forward to reading The Mockingbirds, especially after seeing you compare it to Frankie Landau-Banks - that's a definite favorite of mine, and so is Speak. Congrats on a great reading week. :-)

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