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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

Title: Wildthorn
Author: Jane Eagland
ISBN: 97780547370170
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Page #: 350
Source: From my public library

"Louisa Cosgrove is Louisa Cosgrove - not Lucy Childs. Or, is she?

A horse-drawn carriage takes her to the wrong place: Wildthorn Hall, an asylum for the insane.

This must be a great misunderstanding. They strip her naked, of everything - undo her whalebone corset hook by hook. They take her identity. But she is still seventeen - still Louisa Cosgrove - isn't she?

To untangle the mysterious, wretched present, she remembers the past.
I wished I were a boy.

Locked away in the dingy bowels of the hall, she feels a fire burn inside her. She remembers her cousin. She remembers Pap.
I want to be a doctor.

She is determined to escape - and only love will set her free."
First Lines:

"The carriage jolts and splashes along the rutted lanes flooded by the heavy November rains. Through its grimy window, all I can see of the unfamiliar Essex countryside are bare hedgerows, the skeletons of trees, looming out of the morning mist."
Page 3

I love me a good historical mystery. I honestly couldn't pass this one up when I found out it was about a girl who was tossed in an insane asylum and she's told she is someone else. What an amazingly creepy idea. Especially in a time when women aren't trusted with much to begin with. What would you do if no one believes you and you have no place to change anything?! I'd be freaked out.

One thing I really liked about the beginning of this book was the back and forth in time. You have her being checked into the asylum and her getting settled, then flashbacks to her childhood and what makes her who she is. It really helps to get that background to know the type of character you're dealing with. And it helped me decide that I love our main character, Louisa. She's a girl with ambition and goals beyond getting married and having children. Which is something unheard of during that time.

When you get deeper into the stories at the asylum, the book gets a lot more depressing and real. I almost forgot what time period we were talking about - the emotions and people were the main focus instead of life outside. That was an interesting switch for a historical fic, in my mind.

There was an interesting aspect to the book that I wasn't ready for. I'm not sure how much I want to say about it, but the ending is very focused on it. Perhaps I can just say it's about Louisa's relationships. It made sense within the story, but the ending was a bit more than I was expecting. I had a, "Wow. Okay then." moment while reading it.

This book is also a lot about family dynamic and their relationships. Because of her time in the asylum, you hear her thoughts about each of her family members - including her aunt, uncle, and cousin she is close with. I'd dare to say this book is more about family than anything else.

I absolutely recommend this one to people who are fans of historical fiction. The mystery part isn't hugely present, but you definitely spend a lot of time trying to figure out how she was put there and why. I think it will mostly be loved by girls - some guys, of course, but it's mainly about the plight of women during that time period. A great story that I will continue recommending.

Check out the author's website. I can't wait to see more from her! It looks like she's on a roll :).
Other Blog Reviews:

The Infinite Shelf
Teen Book Review Blog
Steph Su Reads
Pure Imagination
Candace's Book Blog
A Books Blog
One Librarian's Book Reviews

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Haunted by Jessica Verday

Title: The Haunted (The Hollow #2)
Author: Jessica Verday
ISBN: 9781416978954
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page #: 467
Source: From my public library

"After months spent reclaiming her sanity and trying to forget the boy she fell in love with - the boy who must not exist, cannot exist, because she knows that he is dead - Abbey returns to Sleepy Hollow, ready to leave the ghosts of her past behind. She throws herself into her schoolwork, her perfume making, and her friendship with Ben, her cute and funny lab partner, who just might be her ticket to getting over Caspian once and for all.

But Abbey can never get over Caspian, and Caspian has no choice but to return to her side, for Caspian is a Shade, and Abbey is his destiny. They are tied not only to each other, but also to the town of Sleepy Hollow and the famous legend that binds their fates - a legend whose dark truths they are only beginning to guess..."
First Lines:

"I was so lost when Kristen left. When she died. Then Caspian found me. I got to know him. Fell in love with him. He helped me deal with the fact that my best friend was never coming back. And when I found out that she'd been keeping so much hidden from me, he helped me try to understand.
But he had a secret too."
Page 1 (Preface)

I reviewed the first book of this trilogy here: The Hollow

One would think I picked up this story because Halloween is coming up - a romantic ghost story and all that. But it's honestly not the case. Luckily this second book in the series added just enough intrigue to the original story that I was really caught up in the book - excited to see what was going to happen next.

The story grows a lot in this book. There are new characters, new locations, new problems... just a lot more stuff going on. But I'm going to reiterate something I said in my review of the first book: I absolutely love Abbey's hobby of creating perfumes. There's just something so... tangible. Or maybe it's another sense that the readers ends up unconsciously using. Not to mention that you can buy them on the author's website! And... now I want one. Ahem.

After reading my review of the first book, I definitely enjoyed this second one a lot more. I remember spending a lot of time during the first book wondering where the story was going to go. Whether we would figure out any of the mysteries... and you didn't until the very end. The Haunted was much more complete feeling. Granted, there are some things unfinished in the end (but that's to be expected with a third book coming!), but you feel more satisfied at the end of the story.

The new characters in this book are deliciously evil and wonderful. Well, at least it seems that way - you're still not sure in the ending. But it's nice to throw some characters that you're not sure about in there. It gives the story a whole new level of creepy and excitement.

I would absolutely recommend this series to anyone looking for a great paranormal romance. It's got all of the elements you wish for in a romance as well as giving you some mystery and wonder about what's going to happen next. Kudos to the author - I'm impressed with this one. I will definitely be getting the third book as soon as it's available (not that we have a date yet or anything).

Check out Jessica Verday's website. I think it is really cool and has lots of stuff on there about the characters and the story.
Other Blog Reviews:

Waiting on Wednesday (31)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

The Lying Game
by Sara Shepard
To be released: December 7, 2010

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"Foster child Emma Paxton, who has only just discovered she has a wealthy twin sister Sutton Mercer, finds herself in the position of having to step into Sutton's glamorous life after Sutton disappears just days after asking Emma to cover for her in her life of high fashion, high drama and deep lies."

I have never read any of Sara Shepard's books (namely, Pretty Little Liars). I started watching the tv show and realized I couldn't just go back and pick up the first one. So, I decided that I'm gonna start reading her next series - The Lying Game. The first book comes out in December, so I'm all amped up and ready to go.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Kisses from Hell by Kristin Cast, et al

Title: Kisses from Hell
Author(s): Kristin Cast, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Richelle Mead, and Francesca Lia Block
ISBN: 9780061956966
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page #: 262
Source: From my public library

"This irresistible collection features stories of love amid vampires by five of today's hottest authors - Kristin Cast (Tempted), Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy), Alyson Noel (Evermore), Kelley Armstrong (The Summoning), and Francesca Lia Block (Pretty Dead).

From a fugitive vampire forced to trust a boy who might work for the group bent on destroying her to the legendary romance of two immortals whose love compels them to risk everything, this heart-pounding collection brings new meaning to the words 'love you forever.' Whether you're into romances that are dark and moody or light and fun, these stories will quench that insatiable thirst for enchanting tales of the beautiful undead."
First Lines:

"Emma wasn't Eric Dragomir's first girlfriend. Nor was she likely to be his last.
Of course, the latter statement was assuming Eric's father didn't interfere. As far as old Frederick Dragomir was concerned, Eric and Emma should have already been married."
Page 3 from Richelle Mead's Sunshine

Short story books are always so hard for me to review because I want to talk about each of the stories. I will try to do that without going too far overboard. Wish me luck!

The very first story in the book was my stand-out, absolute favorite. This could have something to do with my love of the Vampire Academy series. Richelle Mead set this story years before the first of the VA books. It's the story of how two people come together and the lengths they go to get there. It's a great story - enough that I wish for more pre-VA stories to come around. I know there's more to be had :). It's a wonderful romance and I really wished to have more of it. But that was the only problem - too darn short. Ah well.

The second story in the book is from Alyson Noel - Bring Me to Life. Don't ask me why, but there's something about this story that reminds me of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Wilde. It's about a girl who is accepted to an art school in England. It becomes quite the mystery because none of the other students show up and she's left in a gothic mansion with nothing but strange servants around. I'm not gonna give it away, but there was a bit of a twist at the end that I really didn't expect. It was a really good one-off story.

Okay. So, the next story was super confusing for me. It was the story by Kristin Cast called Above. It was.... strange. I mean, honestly I had no idea what was really going on. I mean, I got it and all... sorta... but it sure didn't make me wish for more. In fact, it made me wonder if I should just stop after the first chapter. I feel kinda bad about not liking this story because I'm such a fan of the House of Night series. But man, not good. At least, that's my take on it.

Another story based on a series she's already written is the one called Hunting Kat by Kelley Armstrong. She includes the same experimenting company and situations, but with new characters. It's an action-packed story with lots to offer. I could totally see a whole new branch of books off of this one story. I really liked it and I always look forward to more from her.

And last, but not least... the story from Francesca Lia Block called Lilith. I was surprised that this story was only about 20 pages long. I was expecting more, I suppose. The way that it was written was a bit different - not a whole lot of dialogue. There's lots of character development in very little space. But with the length, I didn't get involved enough to care in the end. But I think it's a good start. It's been a while since I've read any of her stuff.

As a whole, this book was really almost half and half. I loved half of it, the other half was kinda "meh." I suppose you could pick and choose which stories you want to read, but I've always just read the whole book. I'm sure we'll see more of these "From Hell" short stories books. There are a few of them already. I'd recommend it, I think. Just saying that they weren't all for me.
Other Blog Reviews:

The Norwegian Book Girl
Mina Burrows
Cem's Book Hideout

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (30)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

by Julia Karr
To be released: January 06, 2011

Summary from Barnes & Noble:
"Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world, even the most predatory of men, that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past, one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer."

Doesn't this book sound amazing?! I mean, you start with this whole sixteen issue - how it's branded into you... which is just a crazy concept. Then there's a whole murder mystery thrown in. I just can't wait to see how this story pans out. Not to mention that this is a debut YA author for 2011! YAY! *drums fingers*

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Linger
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
ISBN: 9780545123280
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Page #: 360
Source: From my public library

"the longing.
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.

the loss.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human.

the linger.
For Grace, Sam and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two forces - wolf and human - with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and trapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?"
First Lines:

"This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.
Just a few months ago, it was Sam who was the mythical creature. His was the disease we couldn't cure."
Page 1

I read the first book in this series here:
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

The first book leaves you on a complete cliffhanger, so if you haven't read that one yet, I would highly recommend you do before reading any more reviews. You will completely ruin the first story for yourself.

Because of that cliffhanger, I was really worried about how this book was going to turn out. I had read a few reviews that were a bit mixed - saying it wasn't as good as the first one and all that... But I don't think that's true. I honestly enjoyed this second book in the werewolf story of romance and choosing life. There were some marked differences in this book than the first, but none that made it less-than.

This is more about the story between Sam and Grace and how everything around them starts falling apart - including themselves. There are a couple of new characters introduced in this story, so you have a bit more background to catch up on. But I also think that those new characters help this story from feeling a bit stale and repeated from the last book. That's the way the author kept this book from seeming too much like the wronged lovers.

One thing that bothered me a little bit was all of the adult characters. They literally were the villains throughout the entire book. Each parent had something going on that was not helpful - or directly harmful to the teens in the story. I mean, I can see how that would resonate with teen readers, but it almost felt like too much. I was waiting for a let-up in that department, but it really didn't happen.

There is also a lot of bouncing around in terms of point of view. With the new characters, there are a lot more lives to follow. I didn't really mind it so much, but there were a few times that I forgot who was supposed to be speaking and had moments of confusion. I know some people aren't into changing point of view novels... so perhaps this one wouldn't be for you - unless you could get over that for an awesome story.

I know you're wondering if this book leaves you on a huge cliffhanger like the first book. The answer for me was... not really. I mean, it does leave you with a lot more story to be had. But it wasn't as much of a shocker to me as the first one was. Perhaps I was just waiting for it to happen. I spent the last part of the book wondering how it was going to leave us - so maybe it was just that which kept me from being shocked.

I'm sure anyone who loves paranormal romance will be totally into this series. Stiefvater is an amazing author and I honestly couldn't put this book down. I was just so eager to find out what happened that I really couldn't stop. So, purely from that stand point, I am highly recommending it. Give the first book a go and see how much you love it :).

Check out Maggie Stiefvater's website - I'm already excited for the next book to come out (Forever in summer of 2011). I know it's going to be equally amazing!
Other Blog Reviews:

The Reading Zone
Presenting Lenore
Alison's Book Marks
Kinnelon Library Teen Blog
Jen Robinson's Book Page
YA Highway
Bella's Bookshelves
The Compulsive Reader
This is only a small selection of reviews I was able to find. I'd suggest looking at a few more of them as well - lots of good opinions out there. Not to mention that it's just a good book.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wired by Robin Wasserman

Title: Wired (Skinned #3)
Author: Robin Wasserman
ISBN: 9781416974543
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page #: 383
Source: From my public library

"One year ago Lia Kahn died.
A few days later she woke up.

She had a new body: Mechanical, unfeeling, inhuman. She had a new family: Mechs like her, who didn't judge her for what she could no longer be. She had a new life, one that would last forever.

At least, it was supposed to.
But now everything Lia thought she knew has turned out to be a lie; everyone she thought she loved has been stolen away. And someone is trying to get rid of the mechs, once and for all.

Lia will risk everything to save herself and the people she can't live without. But not before facing one final truth: She can't save everyone."
First Lines:

"This is not real.
'This is real,' I said, because the voice in my head ordered me to say it.
Because machines follow orders, and I am a machine."
Page 3

I have reviewed the first books in this series here:
Skinned (#1)
Crashed (#2)

Okay, so if you've read my other two reviews, you know that I'm a fan of this series. And up until the ending of this story, I still was. There is a whole lot going on in this book. Lots of people coming back around, lots of memories being re-hashed, and not to mention all of the new developments.

The trilogy is a great science fiction installment for those who are fans of the Scott Westerfeld Uglies' books. I will definitely stand by that. But... this book really didn't give me the same feeling as the last two. I'm pretty sure it's all because of the ending.

/possible spoiler-age/
You spend the entire story building up the new drama - how they are going to save the mechs from the Brotherhood and the people who created them. But then... it just ends. Period. There doesn't to seem to be much of a conclusion. It is more like the story just stops. I don't know if I read it wrong or something, but it was completely unsatisfying. I was totally on board through the whole book until I realized nothing was going to happen. Just... super irritating.
/end spoiler-age/

With all that being said, there were a few things I really enjoyed about this book. A few things were tied up from the first two books - a truth revealed about Lia's download when she was killed in the car accident. It's a little shocking, but it makes this story stand out just a bit more. Very well played.

This book had a ton of potential, but it let me down in the ending. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend it to anyone looking for a solid science fiction. I've been handing out the first two books to anyone who would take them. So that will be the same for this one. I am hoping there will either be another book or a companion to tie up some loose ends. But we'll see.

Check out the author's website for more books and hopefully some news about the future of this trilogy!
Other Blog Reviews:

Eve's Fan Garden
Uhm, okay... well I couldn't find any other reviews. Perhaps more people should give this one a try. Let me know if you've reviewed it and I missed it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (29)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

Slice of Cherry
by Dia Reeves
To be released: January 4, 2011

Summary from Barnes & Noble:
"Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.

It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities…."

Doesn't this book sound FANTASTIC?!? Yes, it deserved caps. I read Bleeding Violet a while back and absolutely loved it. It's not very often that you've got non-paranomal romance horror in YA. Dia Reeves is becoming my go-to person for that. And I read the first chapter excerpt on her website and have decided it's going to be wonderful. Don't you think?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Title: The Twin's Daughter
Author: Lauren Baratz-Logsted
ISBN: 9781599905136
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Page #: 390
Source: From my public library

"Lucy Sexton is stunned when a disheveled woman appears at the door one day... a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to her own beautiful mother. The two women are identical twins, separated at birth and raised in dramatically different circumstances: one as a member of high society, the other in a workhouse. Lucy's mother quickly resolves to give her sister the kind of life she has never known, and the transformation in Aunt Helen is remarkable. As time goes by, Lucy herself transforms into a young woman, falling in love with a childhood friend she was once sure she hated. But in what should be a happy household, something is very, very wrong. And as Aunt Helen and Lucy's mother become ever more indistinguishable, Lucy begins to suspect that her aunt's now familiar face may mask a chilling agenda."
First Lines:

"I was thirteen the year everything change with a single knock at the door. It was a strong door, sturdy oak, the kind designed to keep the worst of the world's elements outside while keeping safe the occupants on the inside."
Page 3

A few weeks ago, I read The Education of Bet by this same author. While that one is a quick, easy read... this book was a bit more filled out. That seemed like a cute little story compared with this latest novel. There is very little that is light-hearted about this book.

I really thought the premise gave away the story before I got to the ending - Lucy has a long-lost aunt who is a twin to her mother... but there are things she questions about her new aunt. The story is split into four fairly distinct parts. The first two are about Aunt Helen and how things change when she shows up... and how things change when she finally fits in.

I won't mention the last two sections, but I will say that the third section annoyed me the most. In retrospect, I shouldn't have gotten irritated like I did... but things just seemed so predictable! When things are super predictable, it loses a lot of its fun for me. I was a little too quick to judge in this case. I guess, in the least, I was still surprised during the fourth section - the outcome. I was surprised and really pleased how the book turned out. Enough to where now I'm thinking I actually really loved the story.

One thing that sort of bothered me was the time passing through this book. I mean, I do realize that a transformation from workhouse girl to lady social figure doesn't happen over night. There was just a bit of the... "and the year passed by..." and "where did the year go?!" stuff. I guess I was just hoping for a bit more of a creative way to do that. Perhaps there wasn't one. Another thing was some of the historical stuff that I wasn't sure was completely accurate. There were a few moments where I stopped and thought, "Now, wait a minute." I had a little of that with her other book as well.

I think this author writes great historical novels for people who are not fans of the genre. I think they are written so that anyone can get into the story. It keeps people from feeling sort of overwhelmed with another time period - you get more involved in the people and the circumstances than you do with the difference of time. It's a great way to introduce historical fiction.

I think this book will appeal to many types of readers - it's historical fic, romance, mystery to the max... it just covers a lot of bases. I'm not sure boys will be into this one at all - there's a lot of girl-growning-up detail... I would be grossed out if I were a dude. But to the girls, I will absolutely be recommending this one along. I suggest you pick it up as well.
Other Blog Review:

/-La Femme Readers-/
A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy
Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm
A Books Blog
The Neverending Shelf
The Compulsive Reader
Reading Rocks
There are lots of other reviews out there - mostly great. So I suggest you have a look at them :).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (28)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

The Water Wars
by Cameron Stracher
To be released: January 1, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"Vera and her brother Will live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations. Timely and eerily familiar, acclaimed author Cameron Stracher makes a stunning YA debut that's impossible to forget."

I really love the cover of this book. It's very intriguing and makes you want to pick it up, for sure. It sounds like a great adventure/thriller for teens. I can't wait to see how this one pans out. Not to mention that it's from a debut author! Doesn't get better than that, does it? :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Whitney (Making a Splash #3) by Jade Parker

Title: Whitney (Making a Splash #3)
Author: Jade Parker

ISBN: 9780545045421

Publisher: Point
Page #: 248

Source: From my public library


"Whitney's Summer Goals:
1. Throw the best parties over at the water park - and avoid backstabbing nemesis Marci.

2. Stop eating so much ice cream from Jake's ice cream cart. Who cares that he's really cute and sweet?

3. Figure out Caitlin and Robyn... will they still be my friends if they find out my secret?

4. Quit looking at Jake!

5. Work on tan."
First Lines:

"Working. Not exactly my idea of the perfect summer vacation. Oh, wait. Work, by definition is not a vacation. What was my dad thinking when he came up with this plan?"
Page 1

I reviewed the first two books in this series earlier this year. Check those out:
Robyn #1
Caitlin #2

This is such a cute and girly and fun story. Each book is told in the different perspective of each girl in the set of friends. Mostly they're about boys and such, but there's a lot about friendship and how to deal with enemies in this one.

Throughout the first two books, you realize that the third friend, Whitney, has some huge secret that she won't let them in on. As I hoped, this third story fills you in on all that Whitney has going for her. It's nice to have her side of the story - even if she is sort of a spoiled, rich princess. :)

There were a few things that I wish had been more developed - the ending felt a little rushed. I did wish that there had been more about the conclusion... more about the end of the summer and how things turned out. I like the conclusion. I just wished for more.

I'd absolutely recommend these three books to anyone looking for a quick and easy romance for teen girls. It's light and really puts you in the summer love mood. I had to get the last book in before it gets too cold outside to imagine the summertime :). But these books are wonderful relaxation. I would read them in order, though... not that it would be life changing, but there are bits that are talked about in the later books.

I really hope to see more books with these characters. They're a lot of fun and I'm really curious what happens during the school year - there are so many possibilities! Keep your eyes peeled for more.
Other Blog Reviews:

The Story Siren
Okay, okay... just like the first two books, I do realize not many people have reviewed these. I think they're worth the time, so get out there and read them! And let me know if you review so I can link ya.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sellout by Ebony Joy Wilkins

Title: Sellout
Author: Ebony Joy Wilkins
ISBN: 9780545109284
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Page #: 267
Source: From my public library

"Being nearly the only African American in her suburban school doesn't bother NaTasha, but it troubles Tilly, her spitfire grandmother from Harlem. When Tilly decides that NaTasha needs to get back to her roots on her summer vacation instead of getting manicures and lattes at the mall, NaTasha is thrown into a world where everything is unfamiliar - and a little frightening.

During her stay, NaTasha volunteers at Amber's Place, a crisis center in the Bronx that helps troubled girls straighten out their lives. These girls aren't anything like NaTasha or the girls back home. They are tough, their lives laced with danger. Just when NaTasha is ready to call it quits, she makes a friend and realizes these girls who wield their secrets like knives aren't the only ones struggling to find the right path. For the first time in her life, NaTasha has questions, like why she's in the ballet troupe when she'd rather be playing volleyball and why in her all-white neighborhood back home she's never had a boyfriend. Then NaTasha meets two boys in Tilly's neighborhood who compete for her attention and maker her heart flutter. It's a summer that will change her life forever."
First Lines:

"I pulled up on the front of my pink leotard and turned to the mirror to look at my large backside. No change there. I stretch the fabric tightly across my chest and frowned. Almost a sophomore and still no need for a bra. So much for cutting all those carbs."
Page 1

I think living in NYC and working with teens who are... "underprivileged" for lack of a better word has made me jaded. I hate that word, actually, but I couldn't come up with anything better. There was a lot of this novel that I could easily compare with the teens I see every day. And there were a couple of times that I thought, "really? my teens don't talk like that." But that's probably because I work with them every day. And I could be completely wrong. Ahem... on to the review.

This is a story about a girl who lives in a white washed neighborhood and her grandmother worries about her knowing about where her family came from. So she spends a few weeks living and learning about Harlem and the Bronx. She's thrown into this crisis center where her grandmother works and finds herself flailing a bit.

It's mostly about self discovery and learning about difficult relationships. I think my favorite parts of this book are when NaTasha is hanging out with the boys in the neighborhood. Just because they felt to easy and normal. The parts of her in the girls crisis center made me really nervous - mostly because I know girls like that and they really worry me at times. So, because I could put a face and an attitude to these girls, it made reading this book very real to me.

I think those that enjoy Coe Booth's books would definitely love this one. It's told from an "outsider's" perspective, so it gives a whole other light to the issues the girls are facing. NaTasha isn't living with them, she doesn't see the things they go through... she hears about them in the group sharing time. It's a real awakening for her in realizing how life isn't all shopping and fun for some people.

It's a real picture of what life can be like in the inner city. Another word I hate. But that's what it is... and it's done well. I think it will also resonate for people who don't actively live in a place like this. It gives you a snapshot of a new lifestyle... a new perspective on the world.

I will be recommending this book, for sure. I think it's the authors first published book and I look forward to more from her. Check out her website for more updates and information about her.

Just as a bit of a side note... there are crisis centers throughout the country, but in NYC there is a place called the Covenant House that does really good work. I've sent a few kids over there when they didn't have a place to sleep at night. Check out their information and pass it along to people who may need it.
Other Blog Reviews:

Dreaming in Books
Bookish Blather
Kiss the Book
More people should read this book, so get out there and find it! I have it at my library :).

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