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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Belle of the Brawl by Lisi Harrison

Title: Belle of the Brawl (Alphas #3)
Author: Lisi Harrison
ISBN: 9780316035811
Publisher: Poppy
Page #: 206
Source: From my public library

"Eccentric billionaire Shira Brazille founded the super-exclusive Alpha Academy to nurture the next generation of exceptional dancers, writers, musicians, and inventors. It's a dream come true for one hundred lucky girls, but those not measuring up will be sent home at any time, for any reason. The one left standing will win worldwide fame. Who will it be?

Skye Hamilton
For Skye, breaking boys' hears is easier than one-two-plie. But if she hurts emo-freak Sydney, Shira will send her packing. Skye's only choice? Make him dump her first! But how can she convince robo-Romeo she's not his Juliet?

Charlie Deery
Charlie's brilliant brain designed most everything on Alpha Island, but her broken heart could never get over Darwin Brazille. Now she has a chance to get him back. But to say hello to true love, she may have to say buh-bye to her friendship with Allie A. ...

Allie A. Abbott
After being exposed as an Allie J imposter, Allie A is as worthless as a five-time markdown on the clearance shoe rack. But the real stain on her suede bootie? She still hasn't found her talent. And with girls leaving faster than you can say 'beta,' will she be the next to go?

If at first you don't succeed, you're not an alpha."
First Lines:

As she sat in full lotus position on a silver blue yoga mat, Charlie Deery's Chap Sticked lips formed a perfect circle as she chanted the sacred sound of the universe. But while her mouth was saying om, her mind was screaming ommmhmuhgud."
Page 1

I've loved this series from page one. Here are my reviews of the first two books:
Alphas (#1)
Movers and Fakers (#2)
I would absolutely recommend this series to anyone who loves fun chick lit. Harrison is a wonderful author and I'm happy to report that this third book was another great part of the story.

I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but one of my favorite things about this series is the setting. How cool would it be to live in a place that caters to your every possible need. Of course, you have to be the best of the best at whatever it is you're good at. But it would be an amazing place to live.

This story was much more about the boys than any of the other stories. Each of our characters has some sort of boy drama going on that interferes with their studies. There's also an emphasis on Allie A and her finding her specialty. Turning to acting is just a natural fit for her character and it's a lot of fun to follow her on her new journey.

I think this series is awesome for all teen girls - especially if you're into romance stuff. There's a lot about friendship as well which gives this story even more depth. I loved getting to know these girls even more. There friendships formed, lost, and found again. It's a great story.

I'll absolutely continue recommending these books to girls who are looking for the next great chick lit. So fun! The author's website is a lot of fun to look at as well. I'd highly recommend you taking a look at that as well. Enjoy!
Other Blog Reviews:

Bulldog Bites
Shelfari Reviews
Story Snoops
(Seriously, more people should read this one. Super awesome fun sauce. Promise.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Z by Michael Thomas Ford

Title: Z
Author: Michael Thomas Ford
ISBN: 9780060737580
Publisher: Harper Teen
Page #: 276
Source: From my public library

"The First Rule of Torching:
Cleanse with fire.
Josh is by far the best zombie Torcher around - at least, he is in his virtual-reality zombie-hunting game. Josh has quickly risen through the player ranks, relying on the skill, cunning, and agility of a real Torcher.

The Second Rule of Torching:
Save all humans.
But luckily for Josh, zombies exist only in the virtual world. The real zombie war is now more than fifteen years in the past, and the battle to defeat the deadly epidemic that devastated his family - and millions of others - is the stuff of history lessons.

The Third Rule of Torching:
You can't bring them back.
Charlie is the top-ranked player in the game. Since all the players are shrouded in anonymity, Josh never expects Charlie to be a girl - and he never expects the offer she makes him: to join the underground gaming league that takes the virtual-reality game off the screen and into the streets. Josh is thrilled. But the more involved he gets, the more he realizes that not everything is what it seems. Real blood is spilling, members of the team are disappearing, and the zombies in the game are acting strange. And then there's the matter of a mysterious drug called Z..."
First Lines:

"The zombie was somewhere ahead of him. Its stench - a combination of blood, dirt, and rotting meat - filled the air. It was close. Josh flipped the safety on his flamethrower and held it out in front of him, his finger on the trigger."
Page 1

There are a few reasons why I picked up this book. One is that I'm always up for a good zombie story. Second was the whole gaming aspect. I'm about to marry a gamer, so I get how people get sucked into them. It's a whole other world from what I'm used to. But I thought this book might be something he could relate to (not that he'd read it).

This book is set pretty far into the future - after the zombie wars have happened. There's a very interesting explanation of zombie-ism in the first few chapters. Very scientific - which I thought was a cool idea. That all of it could be explained by a crazy strand of the flu virus. The story is about years later when there are no more zombies and teens across the world are obsessed with a new zombie fighting game that is holographic.

The main character finds out that there is a real player game just like it going on where he lives. There's a whole world of people who play this real life version and the people who watch their progress and gamble on the players. It's an amazing idea - that someone would have the tech and the ability to create a whole world of maps for fighting zombies.

I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did. I was very sucked in from the beginning. I think it had something to do with how well the characters interacted and the crazy stuff that happened. But also the writing is done really well. You're taken on a journey from boring high school student to zombie slayer. It's pretty fun.

This is a perfect book for boys looking for that bit of thriller and mystery and action and gaming. :) It combines all of those seamlessly and I will absolutely be recommending it. Girls will be able to get into this one too - especially gaming girls. But there's a hint of romance thrown in, but it really doesn't distract from the story. The main story is about our main character finding out what this real player game is all about - and how it is much more than he ever expected.

I'm wondering if there will be a second book to this one - it could easily have more story left to tell. It doesn't really leave you on a cliffhanger, but it also doesn't give you a final conclusion. It's pretty masterful, actually. I was really surprised in the last few chapters. I wasn't expecting quite what happened. Definitely recommended and I look forward to reading more reviews about this one.

Go check out the author's website. He's written other books as well that I might need to track down.
Other Blog Reviews:

There's a Book
Jawa's Read Too
Las Vegas Review Journal
The Lateiner Gang Book Review Spot
The Fringe

Friday Fill-In (26)

Friday Fill-Ins is a fun meme that's hosted by Janet at the Friday Fill-In blog. Just fill in your answers!

1. Three things I must have on my Thanksgiving table: Turkey (obvs), homemade rolls, and mashed potatoes.

2. I spent most of yesterday sacked out on the couch.

3. This is going to be a long day.

4. We have decided not to decorate for Christmas this year because we'll be spending it out of town.

5. Oh, man, thankfully it's almost December.

6. I haven't gotten down perfect the art of cooking in a tiny kitchen.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to making my husband-to-be happy by going to a wrestling event, tomorrow my plans include working and Sunday, I want to have a nice calm day, but I know I have chores to do!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Suspect by Kristin Wolden Nitz

Title: Suspect
Author: Kristin Wolden Nitz
ISBN: 9781561455430
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Page #: 199
Source: From my public library

"Seventeen-year-old Jen is resigned to a less-than-thrilling summer helping her grandmother run the Schoenhaus, a Victorian bed-and-breakfast in the vineyards of eastern Missouri. But Grandma Kay's plans include more than housekeeping. She intends to solve a mystery from the past involving a beautiful and accomplished young woman: Jen's own mother, Ellen.

Ellen disappeared without a trace when Jen was very young. For years, she sent Jen gifts and letters in the mail. But then the communication abruptly stopped. Now Grandma Kay is convinced that the letters were forged - and that Ellen was murdered.

The stage is set for an elaborate Mystery Weekend at the Schoenhaus. Family members and friends - including Jen's very recent ex-boyfriend, her handsome 'uncousin,' and his annoying girlfriend - assemble and are assigned roles to play. But as the drama unfolds, Jen makes a startling off-stage discovery that arouses her worst suspicions. Could the person responsible for her mother's disappearance be someone she has loved and trusted her entire life?"
First Lines:

"'Really, Jen, is it too much to ask?'
I pressed my lips together. I hated that question. Dad only used it when my answering 'yes' would make me look selfish, inconsiderate, and completely unreasonable."
Page 1

I've been known to say that there are not enough mysteries in YA lit. This is a book that is helping us get rid of this problem. It's a great mystery that has several levels - you have the Mystery Weekend that our main character plays a role in, and you have the real-life mystery of her missing mother. It's also the perfect size and topic for younger readers, but is good for older teens as well.

One thing I liked about this book was the setting - winery country has a lot of personality without much trying. I can imagine easily the Victorian bed and breakfast where people come for a mystery weekend. It sounds like a wonderful place. And it's better because you're seeing it through the eyes of a girl who has known the place her whole life.

You do have to watch out int he beginning because there are tons of names to learn really quickly. There are a lot of people called Aunt or Uncle, but are some other relation... it gets a little confusing. It also doesn't help that the names are all older (Dorothy, Beverly, etc). There are also lots of friends names and things that you only see for a second, but you're expected to remember who they are from an earlier mention. I had a little difficulty with all of that, apparently.

I did end up liking the main character. I love that she's super athletic and a bit more tomboyish. It's refreshing from all of the girly girls in many books. Now... there are a few things about her that kind of bothered me. Any time someone started discussing her missing mother, she has some sort of fainting spell or getting dizzy. No explanation. I do realize that it would be a big topic, but her mother disappeared when she was little - this story is years later. I would expect a different reaction instead of getting dizzy or fainting. That doesn't seem to be the reaction of a hard-core tomboy chick who can take anything. Just my opinion, of course.

Through all of those things, I still think this is a solid mystery that I never figured out the ending. I was surprised how it ended, but it made some sense. The ending did feel a little rushed, but for such a short book it felt fully finished. It's a good book for that middle grade reader looking for an almost chick lit mystery. Older mystery lovers will probably get a kick out of it. There's also a taste of romance as well to give you a little more depth. It's a good book.

I haven't read anything else by this author, but here is her website. It looks like she's written other books for children and has been really successful at it. :)
Other Blog Reviews:

Presenting Lenore
DJ's Life in Fiction
Sonder Books

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (35)

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

The Iron Queen
by Julie Kagawa
To be released: January 25, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"Meghan Chase, who is half faery, half human, knows that the struggle against the Iron Fey is not yet over and that they will tear her away from the banished prince she loves and force her into battles she may not survive."

I know this summary doesn't tell you a whole lot, but I really loved the first two books by this author. She is wonderful and I can't wait to get my hands on this one. I just know it will be awesome.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green

Title: The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball
Author: Risa Green
ISBN: 9781402241062
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page #: 315
Source: From my public library

"When Erin Channing's favorite aunt dies, Erin is bequeathed a pink crystal ball and a set of weird instructions. Granted, Aunt Kiki (aka Aunt Kooky) always lived 'outside the box.' But now Erin and her two best friends are convinced that the pink crystal ball holds the key to their future - or at least the key to getting dates.

Consider your fate to be sealed...
* Absolute knowledge is not unlimited; let the planets be your guide to the number.
* There are sixteen ways to die, but four of them you will never see.
* The future belongs to you alone. Other voices will be disappointed.
* One rotations is as far as you can see. Only uncertainty lies beyond."
First Lines:

"Things About Me That Might, in Some Alternate Universe, Be Interesting Enough for the Committee of Tenth Grade Teachers to Pick Me for the AP Art History Trip to Italy
* I have the highest GPA in the tenth grade.
* I can recite the periodic table in alphabetical order to the tune of the disco classic 'YMCA.'"
Page 1

This book was super cute, from start to finish. It was a little predictable, but what cutesy chick lit book isn't? It's all about three girls who find themselves in the middle of a lot of drama that they believe is the fault of a pink crystal ball that Erin was given from her Aunt. There's lots of relationship stuff - I mean, what girl wouldn't wish for something boy-related, right?

One of my favorite things about this book is the friendship of the three girls. I love how they all just assume they are going to someone's house after school because that's what they do. I used to have a group of friends like that. They are your besties and you do almost everything together. And it's not without its bumps in the road, but this book does a good job of showing friendship at its best.

I also enjoyed that the main character, Erin, is a smartypants. I mean, best grades, always looking at things scientifically, getting the best of the best in everything. And her whole world is flipped upside down because of something metaphysical. She isn't used to thinking about magic and breaking any rules, but the crystal ball has other plans for her.

As you can imagine, lots of shenanigans ensue. The girls ask for silly things, boyfriends, and bigger boobs. Several things backfire which causes much of the drama. But it's a really fun book and I loved getting to know the characters. The ending is left a little open ended, so I'm wondering if the author is going to do another book with these characters.

I would recommend this book to girls who are looking for a great chick lit read. It's a lot of fun and the main character's voice is very humorous. I'll definitely be handing this one to a few girls at work. I know they will love it. Not to mention the cuteness of the cover! Adorable!

Check out the author's website. She's had books turn into tv shows, so lets hope for more YA Fic from her!
Other Blog Reviews:

Book Whisperer
A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy
The Brain Lair
The Kari AnnAlysis
Smitten with Books
Mom Blog Network
Reading Nook

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (34)

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

Babe in Boyland
by Jody Gehrman
To be released: February 17, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"Natalie, a seventeen-year-old former drama club member who now writes a relationship column for her school newspaper, decides to go undercover as a student at an all-boys boarding school so that she can figure out what guys are really like."

I think this one looks like a lot of fun. What a cute idea and I hope it lives up to its summary. Not to mention the cute cover. I look forward to giving this one a try.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
ISBN: 9781416975861
Publisher: Margaret L. McElderry Books
Page #:479
Source: From my public library

"When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks, and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, who are members of a secret organization called the Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will user her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by - and torn between - two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit an volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length... everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world... and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all."
First Lines:

"The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.
William Herondale jerked back the dagger he was holding, but it was too late. The viscous acid of the demon's blood had already begun to eat away at the shining blade."
Page 1

Honestly, I loved the other books by Cassandra Clare - The Mortal Instruments series.
You can at least see my City of Glass review. The others I read before I started the blog here.

But I can easily say that I loved the book more than that series. I don't know if it's the whole historical thing... or the steampunk aspect... but there was something about this book that just pulled me in and wouldn't let go.

I love that the characters grow continuously throughout the book. They start out as one thing and you get to know them fully as you go along - even the more background characters. You get their story and what makes them who they are. It's just really nice to grow with your characters and really care about them in the ending. I was sad about a little bit of the ending because of that, but it all came together well.

I've read a few other steampunk books, but this one stands heads and shoulders about them. I don't know if it's because it was in the context of a world I understood, but either way I really liked it. There was something almost musical about the description of the clockwork creatures. They were freaky, really... kinda zombie like. Though it just works really well within the story, in my opinion.

This is one of those books that I'd love to see made into a movie. The descriptions were to vivid that I spent some time drinking in the surroundings painted by the author. Everything was just so well done that I felt like I was in Victorian Era London. On the flip side of this coin, there were times when I just wanted to rush through to figure out what was going on. I've been known to skim the next page to see if I was right about something - even if I go back and read the whole thing fully. I like knowing I was right :).

This book is absolutely fantastic. I was discussing it with coworkers earlier today and we decided that it's a great book for people who are into many genres - historical, mystery, fantasy, romance, etc. It's really a worthwhile read and it kept me up at night not wanting to put it down. That's the measure of a good book, isn't it?

I definitely recommend this one. To everyeone. Anywhere. :). Check out Cassandra Clare's Website in hopes of her next book coming out soon!
Other Blog Reviews:

Novel Novice - Stephanie
Laura's Review Bookshelf
I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read
Pure Imagination
Page Turners Blog

Thursday, November 11, 2010

iDrakula by Bekka Black

Title: iDrakula
Author: Bekka Black
ISBN: 9781402244650
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page #: 150
Source: From my public library

"What happened?
Not sure. I was fine when I went to bed.
I don't remember his face. He was tall, thin, pale... I was paralyzed. And then my neck hurt and my mouth was full of...
Of what?
Blood. My mouth was full of blood."
First Lines:

"Renfield had a psychotic break. Carted off to Bellevue. More l8r.
wth? Details?
Page 1 (written in texting window)

Typically I'm a huge fan of books written in fun formats - texting, emails, diary entries, tweets, etc. That's the number one reason why I brought this one home. I flipped through and it was mostly done in texts and emails. I was sold. Perhaps I should have read some reviews before I picked this one up, though.

I honestly didn't expect this book to take me less than an hour to read. I mean, it was almost faster than reading a manga! And that's pretty quick. I think because it was so fast, I didn't have any time to get anything from the characters.

This book gives you just enough text to make you wonder about the people you're reading about. The only time you get a full narrative is toward the ending - explaining something that happened to someone who was there to see it. Seemed a little like the author was searching for a way to explain what happened at the end of the book.

As you can probably tell from the title, this book is all Dracula all the time. Not that the name is used at all in the book itself. But it's all modern day people finding out about the Count and finding themselves in compromising positions. Now... for me, that's enough story for this short of a book. But there's a lot more drama that is relationship based that gives this book a very choppy feel to it. One page a couple is together, the next there's a break up email. And poof... that part of the story is over.

I guess my official stance on this book is that it is far too abrupt. I think there were a lot of interesting things going on that could have been fleshed out a lot more. Perhaps if there were another way to do more narrative or something, it would give more life to it.

I would say this book is for older teens who are reading anything and everything vampire. But they may also be sorely disappointed with how quick this one is over. The size indicates younger teen, but there are mentions of sexual things that make it a little less PG. Hopefully I can find some great reviews on this one to counteract mine here... but sorry. Not my favorite book by a long shot. :/
Other Blog Reviews:

/-la femme readers -/
The Readings of a Busy Mom
Bri Meets Books
Book Whisperer
Zoe's Book Reviews

Zombies vs. Unicorns by Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black

Title: Zombies vs. Unicorns
Author(s): Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black
ISBN: 9781416989530
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Page #: 415
Source: From my public library

"Which is better, the zombie or the unicorn?
Justine Larbalestier says that zombies are our own walking deaths. Funny, grim, and terrifying, they cannot be escaped. Unicorns are sparkly and pastel and fart rainbows.

Holly Black says that unicorns are healers, arbiters of justice, and, occasionally, majestic man-killers. Zombies drool and shed and probably carry diseases.

Some of today's finest writers have chosen their side, creating dazzling stories about both creatures. So read on, and decide for yourself:
Are you Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?
First Lines:

"Since the dawn of time one question has dominated all others: Zombies or Unicorns?
Well, okay, maybe not since the dawn of time, but definitely since February 2007. That was the day Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier began a heated exchange about the creatures' relative merits on Justine's blog."
From the Introduction

I'm just gonna say this... I dunno which team I'm on. I'm on team zombie for books and being freaked out by them. I'm on team unicorn for real life excursions. I'd much rather meet a unicorn than something that wants to eat my brains. blech.

This book took me ages. It's over 400 pages, but I think it was more because they were all separate stories. Makes it easy to put the book down and forget about it because your not mid-story. But I'm glad I read all of them because it was a lot of fun.

I think my favorite part about this book was the banter between Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. Before every story, they had a little back and forth talking about how much they hate/love the story coming up. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed reading this collection of stories.

Unfortunately, there are tons of stories so I can't really go through each story like I generally do with short story books. But I'll just tell you that I really liked all of them. There weren't any that stuck out as not up to par - that's for sure. I think one of my favorites was the story "Purity Test" by Naomi Novik. All about a girl who helps a unicorn rescue some baby unicorns that had been captured by a wizard by pretending to be a virgin. Gold. Really. Not to mention snarky and fun.

I also was a huge fan of Carrie Ryan's "Bougainvillea." I think the reason I really fell for this one was because it was based in the world that Ryan has created with The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I honestly love those books and to see a different part of that world was wonderful.

Another of the stories I loved was Meg Cabot's "Princess Prettypants." Another unicorn story - set in real life... just wonderful. A girl uses her new pet unicorn to get back at the people in school. A lot of fun, really. I was also a fan of "Cold Hands" by Cassandra Clare. It's a not-so-hopeless-zombie-love-story. :). It really wonder how life would be if zombies existed and were accepted into everyday life. Very cool.

I plan on definitely recommending this book to people looking for great short stories. All of these authors are complete rock stars and I always look for more from each of them. I hope you all give this one a shot - or just read the team you're interested in. They're all easily marked for convenience. Zombie or Unicorn. Team Unicorn, I think? :)
Other Blog Reviews:

The Book Smugglers
Stiletto Storytime
Dreaming in Books
Eve's Fan Garden
Reading Angel

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (33)

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

Close to Famous
by Joan Bauer
To be released: February 3, 2011

Summary from Penguin:
"Foster McFee dreams of having her own cooking show like her idol, celebrity chef Sonny Kroll. Macon Dillard's goal is to be a documentary filmmaker. Foster's mother Rayka longs to be a headliner instead of a back-up singer. And Miss Charleena plans a triumphant return to Hollywood. Everyone has a dream, but nobody is even close to famous in the little town of Culpepper. Until some unexpected events shake the town and its inhabitants and put their big ambitions to the test."

I have read a couple of Joan Bauer's books in the past and just loved them. She has a very solid writing style and I always look forward to her work. This one sounds like a lot of fun and the cover is super cute.

What are you waiting on this week?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Fill-In (25)

Friday Fill-Ins is a fun meme that's hosted by Janet at the Friday Fill-In blog. Just fill in your answers!

1. Sometimes, it's amazingly difficult to roll out of bed. Okay, maybe always.
2. I'm so irritated about the whole thing.

3. Small steps will get you there.

4. Cloud watching is very enlightening.

5. I keep meaning to do the dishes. But there's a lot I keep meaning to do...

6. I haven't admitted to doing NaNoWriMo ...yet. :)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching some of my saved DVR stuff, tomorrow my plans include resting and running errands and Sunday, I want to watch football!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (32)

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

Awakened (House of Night #8)
by PC and Kristen Cast
To Be Released: January 4, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"A latest entry in the award-winning series finds a returned Zoey resuming her place as High Priestess at the House of Night but struggling to maintain a relationship with Stark in spite of Heath's loss, while Stevie Rae's secret bond with Rephaim grows stronger and increasingly dangerous."

The last book was so different, I am wondering how this one is going to pan out. I'm still definitely interested and excited to read this one. Who else is pumped?! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Finding My Place by Traci L. Jones

Title: Finding My Place
Author: Traci L. Jones
ISBN: 9780374335731
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Page #: 181
Source: From my public library

"For most people, 1975 was the year that bell-bottoms were in, Happy Days was the very best show on TV, and shag carpeting was the ultimate interior decoration. For Tiphanie Jayne Baker, however, it's the year her parents decide to uproot her from her life in Denver and move to the ritzy suburb of Brent Hills, Colorado. The only Black girl at a high school full of Barbies, Tiphanie suddenly feels like she has to be better than her peers just to be equal. Ninth grade has never been so unbearable.

That is, until Tiphanie meets Jackie Sue Webster. Jackie Sue may be blond, but she's definitely not a Barbie. She spouts out crazy vocabulary words like anomaly and imbroglio, and announces that she's walking trailer trash as grandly as if she were declaring she was descended from Queen Elizabeth. So what if Jackie Sue has some secrets? Now that Tiphanie has finally found a real friend, life at Brent Hills High suddenly seems like it might be bearable - possibly even enjoyable. But as Tiphanie begins to feel more comfortable in her new home, her ties to her old community start to fray, and she can't help but wonder - does fitting in have to mean selling out?"
First Lines:

"Your mother and I know switching schools is hard, Tiphanie, but we're sure you'll excel like you always have. At your old school you did well, and we are proud of you, but you can't simply do well at your new school. You must do superbly."
Page 3

I don't think I've ever read a book set in the 1970s. It may just be because of a lack in that time period. It took me a little while to get the setting right in my head - There are parts of that era that are hard for me to imagine easily.

This is the story of a girl who has to switch schools because of her parents' jobs. The kicker is that she's a black girl who is moving into a predominately white neighborhood during a time when people were just starting to accept each other. This is a quick little book that just gives you a taste of what life might have been like.

Being the new girl in school is one thing, but realizing that everyone (even the teachers) may be against your from the get go? That's an insane thought, but it was a reality at one point. And it amazes me to think about the close-mindedness of that time. I get a little upset sometimes when I realize how people used to treat each other just because of their skin color. But then I have to remember how far this country has come - I live in the most diverse county in the country and I can't image my days without all the people working together.

This book is also a great story about friendship - and not caring what circumstances your friends come from. Jackie Sue is a great character who has a hard time with her home life. Things that we don't even realize until halfway through the book. It's great to watch Tiphanie stand by her throughout - even with her parents trying to push them apart.

I think many people will love this story - including adults. And I think it can reach as low as 6th grade, probably. There may need to be explanation about racism and such to younger readers, but otherwise is good for everyone. And I think it teaches great lessons about friendship and how people can help each other.

Definitely give this one a try. I'll be recommending it at work, for sure. Check out the author's website for more books and information about her.
Other Blog Reviews:

Bookish Blather
The Fourth Musketeer

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