10 October, 2010

Ten for 10-10-10

Hi! Been busy with school etc. lately. Here's ten books I've read recently.

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
Age group: Intermediate Readers (8-12)
4 out of 5 stars 

Sweet and a bit sad. An issues book for elementary-age kids: Lucky spends her free time eavesdropping on  AA meetings in her tiny little town, and tries to discover her own "Higher Power". Bullying, broken families, and running away from home figure centrally in this quirky, award-winning little story.

Obedience by Will Lavender
Age group: Adults
4 out of 5 stars

This mystery once scared me enough to shut it until my husband came back to the apartment because I was too scared to go on reading without anyone else in the room. Very creepy, though a gamble--you'll either love it or hate it. I loved it.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
Age group: 12 and up
4 out of 5 stars
I listened to this on audiobook, and it was a great read, but quite heavy for the age group, I would think. Isabel yearns for freedom, but America is just on the brink of what we know now as The Revolutionary War. Politics, violence and bigotry color her world; Halse's rendition of the life of a slave girl vibrates with a sense of reality and hope.

Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
Age group: 12 and up
2 out of 5 stars
I know that quite a few people really love this book, and I can't quite pinpoint why this one didn't grab me. It's a good ghost story, just not my cup of tea. It might be yours, though. A good choice to set you in a ghostly mood for Halloween.  More groovy ghouls: Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender (YA), The Last Days of Little Texas by R. A. Nelson (YA), The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Adults), and The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
Age group: Adults
4 out of 5 stars

I don't read very many adult contemporary literary novels--I'm very picky with what I'll bother to pick up. This made the cut. It's an emotional coming-of-age post-9/11 story of a young woman in the Midwest who encounters grief, uncertainty, and love when she takes a job as a nanny for an adoptive couple.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Age group: 10 and up
5 out of 5 stars
Adorable and intelligent (kind of like me! :D), Callie Vee develops a close relationship with her grandfather when she realizes that she, though the only girl in a family with 6 sons, LOVES science. In Texas in 1899 it's just about unheard of--but that doesn't stop her from exploring and experimenting whatever she can. If you have an equal respect for Little House on the Prairie and Charles Darwin, you'll love this book.

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
Age group: 14 and up
4 out of 5 stars
Loved this one. Mysterious and dark, this tale of Jessamine and the strange boy called Weed slowly smolders and drifts into a strange and dreamy fairy tale state. Fans of fast-paced action and plot--skip this one--it's all description, feeling, and hazy soporific gloom. I can't wait for the next installment (it's the first in a trilogy).

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
Age group: 15 and up
2 out of 5 stars
I really wanted to like this one. Fans of Twilight and other paranormal romances will still find something to enjoy in this slightly twisty and mysterious story of a girl whose seizures are actually uncontrollably vivid recollections of a past life. I prefer something with a little more humor (like Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey) or a little more action (like Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder).

Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci
Age group: 14 and up
3 out of 5 stars
I think this would make a great gift for a girl who loves a) ballet b) the 80's, and c) New York City. It took me a little while to figure out why Russians were being referred to as "Soviets"--it's a historical! Though not from 300 years ago, more like 30. It was well written, and entertaining, though a bit far-fetched.

How to (un)cage a Girl by Francesca Lia Block
Age group: 16 and up
1 out of 5 stars
I like a bit of poetry now and then, but I really felt like reading this was like trudging through mud while looking for something shiny to fish out of the muck. "a myth of love for girls" and "lost in los angeles" come close to being a little memorable, but ultimately this reeks of In-crowd, privileged angst. But hey, if you're a fairly wealthy and popular girl with various psychological hang-ups and emotional baggage, this one's for you!

Happy reading! I'll be reporting back shortly on Cassandra Clare's The Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1), Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis, and the Beautiful Darkness Midnight Release Party.

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