Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

I wanted to love, love, love this book and I kinda really liked it but did not fall in love.  It got great reviews from all the biggies - Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly and I can't even articulate what about the story I didn't like, but somehow it left me feeling meh.  So I guess you need to read it to see what you think.

Book Description from Amazon.com

The Name of the Star (Shades of London)The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888.
Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police now believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Meh. I can't believe it was on a Best of 2011 list.  I read it in a couple of hours and it mostly kept my attention but I can't say I loved it.  Just meh.

Amazon.com Review
Anya's GhostAnya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part . . .

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.

Or so she thinks.

Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya’s Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

I first heard about this at the NJLA meeting last May and it has been on my TBR list since then.  The audio book passed my desk a couple of weeks ago and I decided to dive in - and what a treat.  First let me say that I love books that are told in alternating narratives - one chapter Will Grayson and the next chapter OWG (other Will Grayson).  And while the characters in the books were all WAY smarter and self aware than I ever was in high school (and if I am being honest college) it never made them unlikable or not believable.  Read this book, you won't be disappointed.

Will Grayson, Will GraysonAmazon Best Books of the Month, April 2010: What's in a name? A pretty fantastic book idea, for starters. At heart, Will Grayson, Will Grayson is about a couple of kids figuring out how to be themselves. Two of those kids happen to have the same name, and not much in common outside of that, but their serendipitous friendship sets the stage for a much larger, braver, and more candid story than the simplicity of the plot might suggest. The relevance for teens here is clear--high school is the only time in your life when you have the undivided opportunity to obsess over your every move, sentence, and outfit change--but the part about understanding who you are doesn't stop when you graduate. That's what makes Will Grayson, Will Grayson as interesting a pick for adults as it is for teens: the questions don't get simpler, but looking at them through the eyes of a 16-year-old brings a welcome sense of honesty and humor to this thing called life. No one's ever too old to enjoy that. --Anne Bartholomew