Friday, March 26, 2010

Weekly Recap (5)

My reading binge is seriously interfering with reviewing. If I read books too fast, I won't review them because for me to do a full review of a book, I have to think about it for a good 24 hours or so after I finish it so I can do a thoughtful review. But lately I'm reading so many books that if I waited a day to review, I'd be hopelessly behind. And so we have another week of mini-reviews.

Books read this week:

Milkweed- Jerry Spinelli
This book is about a boy who wants to be a Nazi, until he saw something that changed his mind. He is a boy who is, at first, nobody. A common thief. And then he becomes somebody and is put into the ghetto in Warsaw, where he learns that it would be safer if he could go back to being nobody. Immediately engrossing. From page one, Spinelli draws you into this boy's world.
The Sacrifice- Kathleen Duble
Abigail is a ten year old living in Andover, Massachusetts at the time of the Salem witch trials. At first, news of witches being found in Salem offers her a distraction from her hum-drum life of doing chores, but when the girls from Salem come to Andover to seek out witches there, things take a turn for the worse when Abigail and her sister are accused of witchcraft. They are put in jail and are faced with a terrible dilemma: they must either plead innocent and be hanged, accuse someone else of witchcraft and be freed, or refuse to plea at all, and be kept in jail. Based on actual events involving the author's ancestors, The Sacrifice is a realistic and compelling tale about a dark time in American history. I kept turning the pages to find out what would happen to Abigail and her family.
Fade to Black- Alex Flinn
Alex has HIV, and one day as he is sitting in his car at a stop sign, someone bashes in his windshield with a baseball bat. Delia, a mentally challenged girl, witnesses the crime. Another boy is suspected of it because he has made it plain that he hates Alex and is paranoid about catching HIV from him. This book was very compelling. I wanted to read it as fast as possible to find out who had harassed Alex. But at the same time, I was often frustrated with the boy who is suspected of the crime, frustrated enough to be tempted to throw the book across the room. This is not a flaw with Flinn's writing. In fact, it's one of the good things about it. This character is entirely believable and I feel the same distaste for him that I would if confronted with this person in reality.
Boy Meets Boy- David Levithan
Vivid, unique characters (Infinite Darlene? I love her.) make this book a joy to read. It's your basic boy meets boy, boy falls madly in love with boy, boy screws things up with boy and must redeem himself story, but the characters (and the wonderful concept of "painting music") all add to the sweetness of the tale.

Little Miss Red- Robin Palmer
Sophie is not a wild kind of girl, but on a vacation to visit her grandmother in Florida soon after breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, she meets a bad boy who makes her want to be wild. So she abandons her safe ways only to find out that charming, sexy bad boys aren't all they're cracked up to be. A charming, lighthearted fairy tale retelling that made me smile.
Story of a Girl- Sarah Zarr
Deanna Lambert has a reputation. She is known as the school slut, and has been ever since she was thirteen and her dad caught her in the back seat of seventeen-year-old Tommy's Buick. The reader feels for Deanna as she tries to regain her father's trust, deal with Tommy, and confront her loneliness when her two best friends start dating.
The Boy who Dared- Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Bartoletti tells the story of a Hitler Youth who committed treason. Very readable and heartbreaking.
Seeds of Hope (a Dear America book)- Kristiana Gregory
This book is set during the California gold rush. It wasn't much of a page-turner, and I wasn't completely engaged with the characters, but certain images from the novel are still stuck in my head a couple of days later.
Willa at Heart- Coleen Murtagh Paratore
The third novel in the Wedding Planner's Daughter series. Willa is enjoying dating JFK, but a new girl shows up who threatens their relationship and gets the role Willa wanted in the town's production of Our Town. I love this series. Willa is a bookworm, and her love of books immediately makes me bond with her. I have to admit, there are certain passages in teh book that made me teary-eyed.
Aquamarine- Alice Hoffman
At the end of the summer, following a big storm, two best friends find a mermaid in the pool of the resort where they're staying. The mermaid, Aquamarine, falls in love with a boy who works at the resort snack bar and won't go back to the ocean until she has a date with him. A cute, fun read.
Civil War Ghosts- David (?) Cohen
A nice mix of history and ghost lore.
Green Angel- Alice Hoffman
A compelling novel about grief, written in beautiful language that keeps the reader guessing about what happened to Green's family that fateful day.

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