Saturday, July 28, 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I don't even know how to begin to write about this book.  I have been in a bit of a reading rut lately, picking up books only to abandom them after ten pages.  This is no reflection of the book, just my reading ADD.  I did this with this book...picked it up, read couple pages, then left it for a couple days.  Pick it up again, read a couple of pages, then left it for another couple get the idea. 

So I had a hard time getting into the flow of the book.  The first part of the book is a young women's account of how she got captured by the Gestapo and is now forced to reveal war secrets.  The narrative is somewhat disjointed, purposefully done by the author, and the reader is left questioning.  Who is this woman, what exactly does she do for the British government, how did she get captured???  The second part of the book is told by the young woman's best friend, Maggie;  this is where the story really picks up and is literally, unputdownable.  The holes and questions that were left in the first part are answered and the reader is feverishly turning pages to find out what really happened. 

I knew a book about WWII is not going to be a light, summer read, but man this leaves your heart in pieces, in the best possible way. 

Code Name VerityAmazon Best Teen Books of the Month, May 2012: Rich in historical detail and intrigue, Code Name Verity is a vivid reminder of what makes historical fiction so compelling. In exchange for a temporary stay of execution and lesser forms of torture, a young female spy captured in Nazi-occupied France writes a confession of her activities in the Resistance. Her story is that of two women who should never have crossed paths, yet were destined to become the best of friends and embark upon the covert mission that would determine which of them would live or die. Courage born of friendship, fierce hope, surprising twists, and ironies abound in this spell-binding novel that will appeal to teens and adult readers alike.--Seira Wilson

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

This is the third installment in the Mortal Instrument series...and I am still loving it.  While I agree with the review below - the story was somewhat predictable - I still was able to go along for the ride.  Jace and Clary are still one of my favorite pseudo-couples (the whole sibling thing did make me a tad gaggy) and then there is Simon - I Simon. 

From School Library Journal

City of Glass (Mortal Instruments)Grade 8 Up–In the two previous books, Clary learns that she is a member of a race of demon-hunters and that she has the special ability to create new versions of the runes that give these Shadowhunters their power. Her mother has been hiding the truth from her for years to protect her from her father, Valentine, a cult-leader-turned-villain who is seeking to gain control over the Shadowhunters by obtaining the three Mortal Instruments. Now, Valentine has only one Mortal Instrument left to find, and the Shadowhunters must ally with the despised Downworlders, including vampires, werewolves, and fairies, to prepare their final defense. The question of whether Clary will be able to harness her unique abilities in time to help–and whether they will let her–is sidelined by the question of whether her love interest, Jace, is really her brother. Though the story is hampered by predictability and overblown writing, Clare continues her talent for mixing hip, modern humor with traditional fantasy, and fans eagerly awaiting the series conclusion should come away more than satisfied.–Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

I had really, really high hopes for this book, and maybe that was the problem.  I love dystopian fiction, I really do,  and this had such a cool premise - the earth's rotation is slowing down.  Longer days and longer nights, how do we as a society function with our days and nights all mixed  up?  Julia is 10 when all this begins to happen - a tough age in the best of circumstances - and we see her trying to live a "normal" life in an abnormal world.  I found myself not caring very much about the characters and whether or not they would survive this slow apocalypse.

The Age of Miracles: A NovelAmazon Best Books of the Month, June 2012: In The Age of Miracles, the world is ending not with a bang so much as a long, drawn-out whimper. And it turns out the whimper can be a lot harder to cope with. The Earth's rotation slows, gradually stretching out days and nights and subtly affecting the planet's gravity. The looming apocalypse parallels the adolescent struggles of 10-year-old Julia, as her comfortable suburban life succumbs to a sort of domestic deterioration. Julia confronts her parents' faltering marriage, illness, the death of a loved one, her first love, and her first heartbreak. Karen Thompson Walker is a gifted storyteller. Her language is precise and poetic, but style never overpowers the realism she imbues to her characters and the slowing Earth they inhabit. Most impressively, Thompson Walker has written a coming-of-age tale that asks whether it's worth coming of age at all in a world that might end at any minute. Like the best stories about the end of the world, The Age of Miracles is about the existence of hope and whether it can prevail in the face of uncertainty. --Kevin Nguyen