Let me begin by saying that this book is technically a “follow-up” to Suck It Up, but it definitely works well as a standalone story. (I didn’t go back and read the first book and I still understood/enjoyed this book just fine.) The basic premise of the story is that 16-year-old Morning McCobb has “outed” himself as a vampire and is now the poster child of the International Vampire League (IVL). Opposite the IVL, of course, there are extremist, anti-vampire groups like MOP (Mortals Only Party) and IMPALE (International Mamas and Papas Against Leaguer Equality), who are doing everything in their power to stop the IVL from getting Congress to pass the Vampire Rights Act (VRA). Even though this story is all about vampire rights, it’s nearly impossible to miss the correlation between the IVL’s struggle — complete with a Vampire Pride Parade — and the struggle for LGBT rights in America today. Cheesy humor and puns abound, helping to keep the story light, but some pretty important messages still come through. And, since many of my library teens are active in their school’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), I’ve decided to feature this book and to give away my copy of the ARC at our Book Club program this afternoon as we prepare for Banned Books Week.
Olivia can’t remember life without pageants. After all, she has been competing in them since she was only 3 years old. Her mom is not as crazy as some of the pageant moms who’ve made the show Toddlers and Tiaras so infamous, but she is still pretty pushy. She allows Olivia to eat anything she wants and doesn’t worry about dieting, for example, but she also pressures Olivia to practice her walking, smiling, singing, and interview skills for hours a day.
One day, after church, Olivia had a chance encounter with a runaway boy named Danny. When she walked outside to get a little time alone, she heard someone calling out from the toolshed. Danny was hiding there while he waited for a connecting bus to Chicago, and he was really hungry. After Olivia snuck him some food, the two started talking. Danny, apparently, ran away because his mom was pressuring him to take shots of growth hormones [since he was extremely small for his age] even though he didn’t want the painful treatments. Olivia understood all too well how it felt to be judged by appearance alone, and she worried that Danny would not be safe traveling alone… So, to help her new friend, and to escape the pressures of her own life, Olivia went along with Danny to Chicago. I thought this was a great story about love — not only romantic love love, but also learning to love yourself and learning to love your family members despite their flaws.
Guster Johnsonville is impossible to please. His tastes are so refined that practically any food his mother cooks may as well be garbage. She gets so utterly frustrated with his refusal to eat that she packs all of her kids into the car and heads to New Orleans, sure that something will appeal to him there. Guster follows his nose to a dark building with the word “Patisserie” in the window and even the sign stating “Closed for Business by Order of the City of New Orleans” was not enough to keep him away. The Old Pastry Chef who worked there was so impressed by Guster’s particular palette that he told him about a secret recipe known as “The One Recipe” or the ”Gastronomy of Peace” and gave him a strange, old eggbeater. Almost immediately, a devil-like chef in red appeared and attacked the Old Pastry Chef. As he lay dying, the Old Pastry Chef said just one more thing to Guster: “Get it to Felicity!”
No one in his family has much of an idea what they need to do now, but Guster is sure of two things — (1) The Chef in Red will stop at nothing to retrieve the eggbeater, and (2) he just HAS to figure out how to make the Gastronomy of Peace. I would recommend this book to fans of series like Percy Jackson and the Olympians and 39 Clues.
BOOK OF A
OK. If you are still reading, I trust that you have read the first two books of the Maze Runner Trilogy (Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials)… That means you already know that Thomas and the Gladers have found their way out of the Maze and that they thought they had been rescued from WICKED (World in Catastrophe, Killzone Experiment Department) but were actually being collected to be sent into the Scorch Trials. While they didn’t know whether they could trust anything they were told by WICKED, they had no other choice than to believe that they had been infected with the Flare and would find the cure if they could survive the Trials. Despite the devious creatures and Cranks they had to fight off, many of them (including Thomas) survived until the end.
This book opens with Thomas in an isolation chamber at WICKED headquarters. He has been there for three weeks and has no idea where the other Gladers are or how they are doing. When the Rat Man comes and lets him out of the isolation chamber, Thomas is informed that he is actually a Munie (someone who is immune to the Flare) and that all of these trials have been an attempt to map his Killzone (brain) to develop a cure. Now, WICKED claims that they are very close to a cure — as long as the Gladers who have survived the trials cooperate. Thomas is unsure how he feels about all this. Is it really worth all the pain and sacrifices he and his friends have experienced if they can find a cure? Is a cure even possible? And why should he trust that “WICKED is good” after all the lies and horrors of the past?
Alex has a brain tumor and doctors don’t seem to think she has very much longer to live. With this in mind, she decides to take a hike into the mountains to say her final goodbyes to her parents (whose ashes she is bringing along). While she is out in the wilderness, though, something very strange happens. Birds fall from the sky, dogs begin to act strangely, and some people simply drop dead. Because all of her electronics mysteriously died at this very same instant, Alex presumes that there must have been some sort of a large EMP (electromagnetic pulse). Fortunately, she is not completely alone. She has the companionship and help of two people she met in the woods — Tom, a soldier who is home on leave, and Ellie, a girl who’d been on a trip with her grandfather when he died as a result of the EMP. Trying to find their way to a place with enough supplies to keep them alive would have been quite challenging enough, but they also discovered that they need to worry about “The Changed” — teens/young adults who act almost like zombies, attacking and eating other humans they come across.
This was another rather gruesome story to read, but I stuck it out because it was such a cool concept, so well written, and so suspenseful… I just HAD to know what would become of Alex, Tom, and Ellie. I should have read the fine print before I started this story, though, because it’s the first book in a trilogy, so I still don’t know how it ends! Oh well. I guess I would rather read a great book that leaves me desperately awaiting a sequel than read a bad story, right?
I love the title of this book — although what’s written above is not actually the COMPLETE title. Part of the reason why I love this book title is that it has so many humorous footnotes, including in the title:
*yes, boyfriends, plural. if my life weren’t complicated — I wouldn’t be Ruby Oliver.”
(And, yes, the lack of capital letters is intentional!)
E. Lockhart has a gift for writing tons of humor into what could very well be a horribly depressing book. Between Ruby’s panic attacks, her father’s debilitating depression, and Ruby’s boy troubles, this could have been a drag. Instead, readers find themselves laughing out loud as Ruby sings retro metal songs in her head to stave off panic attacks, recalls her father “drooling orange drool” (from his steady diet of Doritos, Cheetos, etc.) onto his sweatshirt as he camps out on the couch, and compiles lists of possibilities as to why her boyfriend is not answering her calls and e-mails.
While it probably helps to have read at least one of the other Ruby Oliver novels first (I have only read The Boyfriend List), this could certainly be a stand-alone title. Big thanks to my friend, Goddess Librarian, for letting me borrow her ARC! Be sure to subscribe to her blog, too, since she has lots of great reviews and occasional contests/give-aways.
I don’t normally review “middle grade” books on this blog, but I just HAD to make an exception. Not only is this book written by my friend Eric Luper, but it has a character named after me. Seriously! Ms. Morrison, the Children’s Librarian, is actually based on me! (Despite my lack of blue hair.) Thank you Eric for making me “the cool one,” and for immortalizing the night of the karaoke disaster. I’m so glad we can both look back on it and laugh!
Jeremy Bender and his best friend, Slater, seem like pretty average tween boys at the outset of this story. But then, something terrible happens… They knock over a soda, and it spills into the engine of Mr. Bender’s boat! When Jeremy asks Slater to throw him a can of degreaser, he ends up with a can of spray paint — and he doesn’t notice until AFTER he has sprayed it into the engine! Now, the boys have two options. They can tell the truth, or they can try to come up with enough money to replace the engine before boating season begins. Guess which option they decide to run with?
On a trip to their local public library, the boys see a flier for the model sailboat tournament called the Windjammer Whirl. As soon as Jeremy saw that there was a $500 cash prize, he became determined to enter. When Slater noticed that the race was sponsored by the Cupcake Cadets (think Girl Scouts), he began to question Jeremy’s sanity. Jeremy insisted, though, that this was the only way they would be able to get the money to replace that engine. And, so, the deception begins.
This book reminds me of an 80′s sitcom [starring Tom Hanks!] called Bosom Buddies — hence the image at the beginning of the post. You keep thinking that people MUST know these are not really girls… that they would surely recognize Jeremy and Slater if they looked them in the face. And yet, their comical misadventures are crazy enough that you’ll gladly suspend disbelief to find out what happens next. If you want to know whether Jeremy and Slater [or should I call them Jenna and Samantha?] get away with their ruse, you will have to read it for yourself. The book will be out in April of 2011, but people who know me can borrow my ARC if they ask nicely. (And maybe bring me cupcakes!)
Carter can’t wait for the school year to end so he can get started on summer vacation. Unfortunately, that summer gets started off on a sour note when his girlfriend, Abby, breaks up with him for being an insensitive jerk. With no girlfriend and no job prospects in sight, Carter starts to wonder whether his summer vacation will be any fun at all. Things start looking up pretty quickly, nevertheless, when Carter finds out that a local author will be making a film adaptation of his memoirs and wants Carter to try out for the lead. When Carter lands the lead role, opposite tween sensation Hilary Idaho, he becomes the envy of all the guys in town and starts to get a real taste of fame — paparazzi, tabloids, and all!
While there are some sad moments, the overall story is HILARIOUS! It’s not for the faint of heart, though. If you don’t think you’ll be able to handle Carter’s over-sexed mind and foul mouth, you should probably steer clear of this one.
I have been a fan of the Moon Crash Trilogy since before it was even called the Moon Crash Trilogy… Since before it was approved to become a trilogy, even! I have been following Susan Beth Pfeffer’s blog — http://susanbethpfeffer.blogspot.com — for a couple of years now, and I have been anxiously following the development of this world we live in since she first mentioned approaching her editor with the idea for a follow-up story. I have done my best to stay away from the spoilers on the blog, and I have waited as patiently as possible, but the wait is finally over! I received my ARC on Monday, and I finished it last night… Let me just say, “Whoa!” Even though the other two books have some freaky disasters and frightening situations, this book definitely takes the cake. I will do my best to give you a decent idea of the story without giving away too much of the plot… And, if you know me, I may even lend you the ARC so you can see for yourself before the March 31, 2010, release!
It’s been almost a year since the fateful day when the moon was hit by a meteor. Modern day conveniences, like electricity and running water, still haven’t been fully restored. No one knows if they ever will. Miranda, her mother, and her brothers (Jon and Matt) are doing the best they can to survive on the meager supplies of canned foods they get from Town Hall every week. They’re fortunate that they have a wood stove to keep them from freezing to death, since the shift in climate meant that winter started in about August and still hasn’t let up — even though it would normally be spring by now. They’re especially lucky to have each other, since so many people have died from cold, sickness, and starvation already. Jon and Matt do the majority of the wood chopping, and Miranda helps her mom with upkeep tasks like cooking and cleaning. With occasional trips to forage for supplies in abandoned houses, they are getting by… but barely.
Jon and Matt decide to go on a fishing trip to bolster their food supplies, and return with a bit more than just fish. Matt met a girl (Syl) during this 3 day trip, and the two have already “exchanged vows,” thus considering themselves married. Adding this extra person to the family creates a whole lot of tension, since food supplies are already scarce, but Matt insists that he loves Syl and she is not going anywhere. It seems, however, that adding Syl to the equation is practically nothing compared to when their father (Hal) returns with his new wife (Lisa), their baby (Gabriel), and three of their traveling companions (Charlie, Alex, and Julie). With six more mouths to feed, everyone starts to worry that the food will run out in no time. Will they be able to find enough food in abandoned houses? Or will they find a way to get more food from the town? Will they have to leave Howell in search of a better-functioning city after all?
People who read the first two books will be glad to learn a lot more about what happened to characters from both Life As We Knew It and the dead & the gone… And people who haven’t read the first two books should go back and start reading them NOW! Seriously… Don’t start this book until you’ve read the first two! You’ll thank me later.
When Seth went to Applebee’s to spend his lunch break with his girlfriend, he had no idea his whole life was about to fall apart. First, his girlfriend uses the lunch as a quick and easy chance to dump him, since they both have to get back to work in 30 minutes and he can’t make too big of a scene in public. Then, Seth sees his dad coming into Applebee’s with a woman who is NOT Seth’s mother. And, to top it all off, he gets back to work late and gets fired… for the 4th time that year. Not exactly the best day ever, by any means. But Seth is determined to take control of his life and figure things out. How does he plan on accomplishing such a feat? Via an anonymous podcast called “The Love Manifesto,” of course! Despite the depressing undertones of a break-up and parental infidelity, this book manages to be laugh-out-loud funny more often than not. Plus, residents of the Capital Region will probably get an extra thrill when they recognize the names of places in Seth’s travels!
Between the hilarious story and the fact that there are excerpts from Seth’s podcasts, this book just screams audiobook — so I really hope I will be able to add a book and audiobook to my collection when it is released on June 8, 2010!