You may have noticed that I am doing daily reviews this week, as opposed to my typical weekly post, and that is for several reasons. First of all, I have a lot of book reviews to catch up on! Secondly, school vacations are the perfect time for tweens and teens to read for fun, and I wanted to help out the people who might want/need extra suggestions. Last but not least, I realized that I was inadvertently on a roll with books that took place in summer… Since I still have a few more books that fit the bill, I decided it would make sense to keep with it and to help us all escape the winter blues, one book review at a time. :-)
Ever the sucker for a cool book cover, it only took one glance at this book for me to decide I *had* to read it. The fact that I loved Winger, also by Andrew Smith, certainly didn’t hurt. I have to admit, though, that I had a hard time getting into this story at first. Perhaps I was just too tired to “get it,” since I do most of my pleasure reading at bedtime, but I felt myself getting kinda lost in the beginning. It reminded me of how I felt when I read The Marbury Lens — which makes a lot of sense, considering the fact that Andrew Smith also wrote that book. In the beginning, there were a few moments where I thought to myself, “Wait! Was that supposed to be the ‘real’ Finn or the character [also named Finn] from his dad’s book?” In hindsight, I guess it may have been written like that on purpose, since Finn often felt trapped in his father’s story, but it made me feel a little crazy not to know what was going on! Fortunately, things got less confusing and everything fell (more or less) into place by the end of the story.
I read this book in early fall, but I felt like it would make a good January post. You know, with people making New Year’s resolutions about living their best lives and all? After almost losing my father in September, this book really resonated with me. I know it sounds super cliché, but both my real life experience and this book reminded me of just how short life can be — and how often we waste our time and energy on things that don’t even truly matter. Sometimes, you just have to say “F- IT!” Continue reading
I don’t know if this makes me crazy/strange, but I just HAD to hold off on reviewing this book so that it could be my 666th post! What better way to celebrate this milestone than with a book with a modern day grim reaper on the cover? ;-) (Sadly, it seems that my WP dashboard and the message I got after posting my last review disagree on how many posts I’ve previously posted… so this could potentially be my 667th post, but I’m just gonna pretend it’s my 666th post anyway!) Continue reading
As I was reading this book, I laughed out loud so often that my son — who normally “tunes out” the rest of the world when he reads — actually found it distracting to read in the same room as me. He kept asking me, “What’s so funny?” And, though I explained that I didn’t want to stop to share every joke that made me laugh, I offered to start over and read the whole book aloud. He declined the offer because he was determined to finish the book he was already reading, but I think he may go back and read it himself because he loved the passage I felt compelled to read aloud (about Henry’s wish list of weapons with which he could have protected himself). Continue reading
Leila was just a random girl in a red car who was driving across the country (from Louisiana to Alaska) to see the Northern Lights. But, to the people who she met along the way, Leila was also a huge help. Well… Her interaction with Hudson could actually be construed as less than helpful, but she definitely helped the rest of the people she met along the way! I like how the story was broken down into five distinct sections, like short stories, since the other characters that Leila interacted with didn’t cross over at all. These adventures were five different episodes in her life, if you will. I also appreciated the fact that, though the interactions were life-changing for the people she met, Leila often left feeling just as lost and confused as when she first arrived. I mean, it just felt so much more genuine to me that Leila *didn’t* have all the answers. Because, who does?
I find it rather amusing that my 9-year-old son can’t handle seeing tiny hairballs on the floor from his beloved pet cat but that he was completely enthralled by the FOUR POUND tiger hairball (picture on pg. 9) that was the size of a basketball! Looking through these books with my son, I always alternate between fascination and disgust. And even though my own disgust sometimes outweighs my fascination, there’s something magical about bringing home a book that makes your child jump up and down with excitement and beg for just a few more pages before he has to go to bed.
Some of the most fascinating items in this issue were:
- the skateboarding mice who can even jump through a ring of fire (pp. 14-15)
- a woman named Barbie Thomas who, despite losing both of her arms at 2 years of age, has gone on to compete in fitness contests (pg. 97)
- the man who took a picture of himself every single day for 12 years — a total of 4,514 photos! (pg. 152)
- the Canadian base jumper who, after becoming paralyzed in a 2004 BASE-jumping accident, now jumps in his wheelchair (pg. 175)
- the pumpkin artists (pp. 208-209) who are capable of turning pumpkins into sculptures of ghouls, goblins, and monsters
And some of the more disgusting items were:
- the bedside table made from an actual, stuffed sheep (pg. 29)
- the Sufi holy man who used a sharp stick to practically gouge out his own eye during the Urs religious festival in Ajmer, India (pg. 41)
- the short-horned lizards that quirt blood from their eyes as a defense mechanism to scare of predators (pg. 90)
- the “snot shots” (pg. 201) from artist Ulf Lundin’s Bless You project, in which people sneezed at a camera without covering their mouth/nose… ack!
If you’re looking for a conversation-starting/engrossing book to share with a tween, the Ripley’s books are a pretty sure bet.