Monday, September 30, 2013

Maggot Moon

Maggot Moon
by Sally Gardner

Standish Treadwell
Can't read, can't write,
Standish Treadwell isn't bright.
Standish is "impure".  He isn't physically perfect.  He's got one blue eye and one brown one.  He can't read or write well despite being 15 years old with parents who both used to work at his school.
But Standish isn't dumb.
Standish knows the Motherland is evil.
Standish knows the Motherland is fake.
Standish knows that anyone who says the Motherland is evil and fake will disappear into the maggot fields and never be seen again.
Standish knows the Motherland is lying to everyone and he knows he's the only one who can prove it.
Final thoughts:  Weird vibe on this one.  It's an alternate reality historical fiction.  The Motherland is a Nazi-like country. The book is set in the 50's, with references to Cadillacs and Lucille Ball. The Motherland officials are trying to convince the world that they are going to send ships to the moon, set up weapons there, and then aim the weapons at any country that goes against them.  Everything in the book seems to fit, but it's all a little disconcerting, as well.  Hard to get a feel on this one.
Rating: 3/5

Thursday, September 26, 2013


by Sarah Skilton

Imogen has spent a large part of her life in martial arts.  She's the youngest person in her dojang to earn a first degree black belt and she's confident in her abilities.

Until that night.

Until the diner.

Until the moment when she couldn't save anyone.

Not even herself.

Now she needs to find a way to believe in herself again. 

She needs to find a way to forgive those who need it most, especially herself.

Final thoughts: A good story about a girl who thought she was strong, but suddenly felt weak.  Imogen struggles to relate to everyone around her, and the tale is compelling.  She makes every mistake a person can make in an attempt to figure out who she really is.  While the ending wraps up a little unrealistically, it's still a good read, esp. for teens who might be suffering PTSD.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
by Meg Medina

Piedad "Piddy" Sanchez was perfectly happy in her crappy apartment, living with her mother and aunt.  Things may have always been falling apart, but she knew her neighbors and she liked her school.

After the stairs crumble to pieces beneath her mother's feet, Piddy is forced to move a few blocks away to a better apartment, but now she must go to a horrible school.

Just weeks after starting at her new school, Piddy gets told that the school bully has set her sights on her and now Piddy's in danger.  It seems that Yaqui Delgado thinks Piddy's a stuck-up, wannabe white girl who shakes her assets at Yaqui's boyfriend.  It doesn't seem to matter that Piddy's never met Yaqui, never met Yaqui's boyfriend, and never tried to intentionally shake her assets at anyone.

So while Piddy's still trying to figure out her own identity, and that of her never-seen father, she must also dodge Yaqui and Yaqui's clique of very dangerous girls.

Can she find the strength to survive the school year when the meanest girl in school is after her?

Final thoughts: Interesting look into Latina school culture.  For years I've worked in schools with large Hispanic/Latino populations so this is actually familiar, though definitely more intimate viewing it from within the mind of the victim.  Having also been bullied in high school, this book brought back some very real emotions and memories that I really didn't need to remember.  Good book.  Good voice.  Maybe some translations for the occasional Spanish words that were in the story instead of just having the reader rely on context clues would have helped, but that's about it.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


by Nora Raleigh Baskin

When Maggie was just five years old, her nine year old sister drowned.  Ever since, Maggie has had an almost magical ability to get people to tell her their deepest secrets, whether they want to or not.  She has no control over this strange power, but everyone else has definitely noticed so Maggie has just one friend.

And though her sister drowned, Maggie is like a dolphin in the water.  She's fast.  She's good.  She's the swim team's only hope to get to the finals.

Then there's Matthew.  He's a senior and he's all Maggie thinks she wants.

Now Maggie has just a short period of time to get her life in order, even as it falls even further apart.

Final thoughts:  This one is thoughtful and deep, but also a little confusing.  While it starts off with one point of view, the author starts to switch it around and suddenly there are more narrators telling the story.  Maggie is not very relatable as a character.  She makes some very strange choices and it's hard to understand what she's thinking.  Maggie seems pretty emotionally distant from her own life, making it hard for the reader to feel anything at all for her.  The strange confessions that come from everyone just seem an excuse for her not having more than one close friend, though that ability is never explained and makes no sense in the story overall.

Rating: 2/5

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fashionably Dead

Fashionably Dead
by Robyn Peterman

Astrid just wanted to quit smoking.  That's it.  She just wanted to win a thousand dollar bet with her BFF that she could quit smoking.

Who knew that going to a hypnotist to cure her nicotine addiction would get her changed into a Vampyre?  

Who knew that she would then meet her guardian angel (who happens to look exactly like Oprah Winfrey) and a fairy boss (who happens to look exactly like Arnold Schwarzenegger)?

Who knew that she would meet the love of her existence and that he would be a complete a$$ at times?

And who knew that she would be "The Chosen One" who could defeat nasty demons and save all vampyres?

Not Astrid herself; that's for certain.

Final thoughts: A few repetitive issues throughout (like the constant "What the fu...") and some attempts at humor that weren't so humorous, were a little frustrating.  Most of the book is told from Astrid's PoV, but there were a few slips as the author seemed to realize that there were occasions when alternate PoV's were necessary, so the reader almost inexplicably has to be without Astrid's voice for a bit and it feels out of place when that happens. That and the fact that there are a few too many similarities to Chloe Neill's Chicagoland series (including the hot vampyre lover/boss named Ethan).  I kept getting pulled out of the narrative thinking about Merit and Ethan and comparing them to Astrid and Ethan.  A little annoying, but not nearly as annoying as the fact that it ends on a cliffhanger and the second book is nowhere in sight.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, September 5, 2013


by K.R. Conway

Eila Walker has never had good luck.  In fact, she's never even seen what good luck looks like from a distance.  Her parents died when she was just two years old.  She's the odd one out at school.  Her mother's best friend (and her current guardian) is practically killing herself with three jobs just to keep a crappy apartment roof over their heads.  So when a multi-million dollar estate is gifted to her because she was supposed to have inherited it, Eila can't believe it's real.

But it's not only real, it's all hers.  She gets to move to Cape Cod to finally have a home that isn't falling apart on her.

She also suddenly has friends who seem to really like her and a guy who seems to be really into her.

However, Eila's bad luck is never far and her ancestry is much more complex than she could ever have known.  Will she follow her many-times-great grandmother to an early end?

Final thoughts:  I could not put this one down!  Even when I needed to put it down, I had to almost immediately pick it back up.  It took mere hours for me to read this entire book and I am truly ticked that Eila's next story won't be published until July 2014.  I don't want to wait for this story to continue!  My only issues come from a need for a better proofreader (this NetGalley copy has a ton of typos) and these names that are so creative and nearly impossible to figure out how to pronounce.  Oh! And how is a person from 1851 using the term "DNA" when it wasn't even discovered until nearly two decades later?  Other than these things, this is an addictive read.

Rating: 5/5

Monday, September 2, 2013

Unmaking Hunter Kennedy

Unmaking Hunter Kennedy
by Anne Eliot

After one horrible night of car crashes and cut wrists, followed by weeks in therapy, Hunter Kennedy only wants to get back to work as one of the top teen pop stars in the world.

However, his fairly absent mother has finally decided that he needs a change and a little time to figure out who he is, so she sends him to a relative in Colorado to live in disguise as king of the dorks.

To help him on his quest to dorkdom, Hunter's aunt enlists the help of her neighbors and their teen children, Vere and Charlie.  Charlie's an uber-jock, whose job it is to ostracize Hunter in school.  Vere is the complete opposite: an overly shy, mega dork who can't seem to speak in coherent sentences around boys.  Her job is make Hunter as uncool as possible.

In return for helping Hunter with his disguise, Vere gets a boy to practice talking to and be friends with, while getting tips on how to talk to her crush.

Enter Dustin McHugh, Hunter's new dork identity, BGF (best guy friend) of Vere, and personal tutor and confidante about the boy universe.  

Unfortunately, in his quest to help Vere, he also falls head over heels in love, just as Vere's crush finally takes notice of her.

Final thoughts:  Where my usual complaint is that authors tell too much and don't show enough with just a synopsis of a conversation rather than the conversation itself, Eliot just goes on and on.  Professional actors would have a hard time memorizing the sheer number of monologues in this book.  They all talk WAY too much.  I fell asleep more than once reading this one.  The plot was decent and there were some good moments, but the conversations were just very poorly written and went on far too long.

Rating: 3/5


Related Posts with Thumbnails