This story had a little bit of everything. The whole enchilada, if you will. (Sorry, but I couldn’t resist using that pun!) But seriously. This story had drama, action, fantasy, humor, sports, and a love story all wrapped up in one. Fans of books like Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and Croak will definitely want to check this book out! Continue reading
As the outgoing President of the Youth Services Section of the NY Library Association, I had the honor of sitting at the head table for the 2014 YSS Empire State Award Luncheon. During the luncheon, the ESA winner, Jacqueline Woodson, was discussing some of the books she had read recently and could not stop gushing about Belzhar. (I didn’t realize at the time that she was also the featured blurb on the back of the book, but she had me sold.) I somehow managed to forget to add a request on the book when I returned to work, though. Fortunately, a colleague put Belzhar on the “Staff Picks” display last week and my friend [upon seeing it on display] asked whether I had read it yet. I said that I didn’t yet but certainly planned on it. She insisted that I take it home RIGHT THEN so that she would have someone with whom she could discuss the ending. Well, I picked it up for a “short” reading break yesterday afternoon, and I read more than half the book. I had to stop reading to eat dinner and to read bedtime stories with my kids, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Belzhar and had to finish reading it before I could go to sleep! 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 far back as she can remember, Maddie Fynn has always seen the numbers. When she was really little, she didn’t even realize that other people couldn’t see them. Then, one day, she drew an eerie picture of her family. While it was fairly similar to most kids’ pictures of their families — with Maddie and her parents scrawled in little kid style — it also included numbers above their heads. No one knew what those numbers meant, since even Maddie couldn’t explain what she was seeing, so they chalked it up to a quirky thing where she randomly assigned numbers to people around her… Until the day her father died. Only then did Maddie’s mom realize that the numbers above her husband’s head [in the drawing] were actually the numbers that corresponded to his death date.
So, I know I just posted a review of another book last night, but this book was so AH-MAZING that I just couldn’t stand to think of waiting to review it. Let’s just look at this as preparation for Thanksgiving, since you’re getting an “extra helping” of YA awesomeness this morning. I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge how insane I was for waiting so long to read this book. I was among the first people on the request list, but I ended up sending it back and re-adding my name to the list because it showed up when I was in the middle of another book and didn’t think I would have time to read it then. Well… Even though this book was rather large (599 pages), I ended up reading it in ONE WEEK! Considering the fact that I didn’t have any days off from work and/or caring for my kids, that’s crazy! But, this book is crazy good, so I went to extremes to stay up late reading. I’m talking, get up and walk around when I feel my eyelids start to droop or purposely playing Candy Crush before sitting down to read because I know the glow from electronics makes it harder for me to fall asleep. Yeah. I’m dedicated like that! 😉 Continue reading
Sam was always a bit of a loner. He found it difficult to connect with other people and had only a few friends. One night, while Sam was working at his fast-food job, he had an unusual encounter with a customer who took one look at him and started asking strange questions about where he came from and whether he was granted permission to move to Seattle. But, Sam had always lived in Seattle. And why would he have needed permission to move there anyway? So weird! Then, at the end of their shift, Sam and his friends got attacked by a huge man with superhuman strength. Things went from weird to scary pretty fast. It turned out that Sam never knew it but that he was a necromancer. Suddenly, many of the quirky things about himself and his family had supernatural explanations and started to make more sense. Sadly, “making more sense” and “making sense” aren’t exactly the same.
Lots of action, a bit of mystery, and sarcastic/twisted humor made this book hard to put down. Readers who enjoy books like Killer Pizza and I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It should definitely check this one out. I know I’m looking forward to reading the sequel (Necromancing the Stone) when my “to be read” pile gets a little shorter, though I’m a little afraid those chapter titles will also get a bunch of songs stuck in my head. 😉
From looking at the cover of this book, I assumed it would have been a historical romance novel. I honestly thought it would have read like The Luxe or Manor of Secrets, and I was hoping for a Downton Abbey fix. And though there was a touch of romance, my assumption was pretty far off. Gemma Doyle’s experiences in a London finishing school [in 1895] were historically accurate, and she did experience some romantic entanglements, but the plot was primarily focused on the supernatural forces at play in Gemma’s life. While part of me wishes I knew about this book when it first came out, part of me is happy that all three books were already published and available as audiobooks so I could listen to them in rapid succession!
Gemma had a fairly uncomplicated life until the day a strange creature attacked her mother in an Indian marketplace. Rather than be captured by the creature, her mother committed suicide. Gemma’s father insisted on telling everyone that his wife died of an illness, but Gemma knew the truth and was racked with guilt over the fact that her mother was only in that area of the marketplace because she (Gemma) had run off in a snit. After witnessing the attack/suicide, Gemma started having visions — and the visions only got worse after she was sent off to Spence Academy. Trying to make new friends and to succeed in finishing school while also figuring out what was behind the visions proved extremely challenging, but these challenges were no match for Gemma’s pluck and determination.