Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Boys Really Want by Pete Hautman

What Boys Really Want
Let me introduce you to our two main characters: Lita and Adam. Lita and Adam are best friends and have a rather violent relationship (when they first met she hit him with a lunchbox). Lita has always wanted to be a published author, like her mother. So when Adam decides to self-publish a book called “What Boys Want”, a self-help book that gives readers an insight to boys thinking, she can’t believe it. How could he be taking her dream away? Especially because she’s sure that he can’t write a book. She is also trying to help her friend, Emily, get with Adam’s friend, Dennis. But Dennis has his eyes on Blair, who is known for her “skankiness”. But Blair seems to have a thing for Adam, which is not OKAY with Lita. And Adam has his own problems, with figuring out how to publish his book and of course, what he wants.
What Boys Want was surprisingly good! Despite the awful cover (I will get to that later), I decided to read it because I had read another book by Pete Hautman. The plot of this story is quick paced, interesting, and humorous. There were so many times that I found myself LOLing at the hilarious events and things these characters said. The dialogue is very real, and I can imagine teenagers actually saying those things. This is very rare in a YA book because let’s face it. Adults, as close as you can get, you’re not our age and don’t know how we talk even though you think you do. All the characters were really funny and lovable. There’s Adam and his strange logic and Lita with her temperamental scheming. Even the minor characters like Blair are likable. The idea of this book is really cool too because I learned more about the book publishing process. It was interesting to see all the different relationships between people unfold. And I really appreciated how Adam and Lita never liked each other and that they were seriously just friends. Although the word “friends” is debatable because Lita seems pretty cold towards Adam the whole story if you ask me.
One thing I must says is how I think Pete needs to get a new publisher. I think this is a wonderful read, but the amazingness is taken away because of the presentation. First of all is the title. It is “What Boys Really Want” when the book that Adam is writing is called “What Boys Want”. This is very deceiving and I do not like the title lying to me, even though at the end of the book Adam’s book is renamed. Maybe they added the “really” to draw in readers. Still. Next is the cover. I do not like seeing people on the cover of my books. I do not like this cover. It’s relevant to the book, but could have been majorly improved. And the last thing is the inside flap. “And Adam would never end up in a fistfight with Lita’s boyfriend.” Okay, during the story, Lita does not even have a boyfriend. And the event they are talking about happens in the last 20 pages. So why would you even put that in your description if it’s basically a lie? Therefore, I think Pete needs to get a new publisher who will actually read the book before the jacket and cover are designed. If anyone read “The Big Crunch”, you may remember how the jacket flap said that there was a character named “Jen” when really they meant “June”. How can you put the wrong name in your description??? Case in point.
Anyway, despite my ranting I really did like this book. It was funny, realistic, and a great light read. I recommend it if you don’t want to read anything too serious. 5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)

In the sequel to the Hunger Games we find Katniss returning home from the Games with Peeta, a strange turn of events than what was expected. Things are supposed to be better now, but they're not. The Capital is furious at Katniss for holding out the berries in defiance. Now Katniss must do everything she can to keep herself and her loved ones alive. Not only that, but she's caught in a tricky situation with Gale and Peeta. Many of the Districts are on the verge of rebellion, which Katniss has only fueled.

Catching Fire was very imaginative and exciting, and though parts were a little predictable I found myself thoroughly absorbed in this dystopian world. Since I've read the Matched and the Uglies series, I have a pretty good idea about what's going on in the lost district. There was a lot of the same stuff as the first book, which is the reason I'm giving this 4.5 stars instead of 5. The characters, the action, the love... Anyway. I really liked this and would recommend it to anyone who read the first book. I haven't decided between Peeta or Gale yet, but I'm thinking Peeta. But then again, I don't think its fair to be judging because we really don't know that much about Gale right? I can't wait to read the last book and see what happens to Katniss & friends. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars

Hazel is a surviving cancer patient who is living her life to the best of her ability. In her cancer support group, she meets Augustus Walters. Augustus (or Gus, as he is sometimes called) is handsome, hilarious, has an interesting outlook on life, and is interested in Hazel. The two grow closer and end up going on a journey together that will change their lives and how they perceive and live it.

This book is so special that it makes me tear up just thinking about it. I loved Paper Towns and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (OMG David Levithan <3) so I wanted to read his latest book, even if it didn't sound THAT interesting to me. This was a truly amazing story. Let me first start with the cover and the title.

The cover itself is amazing, though you have to read the book first and then try to understand it. There are two clouds in a blue sky: one black and one white. A black cloud? What could it mean? I'll let you think about that. The title was taken from a line in Julius Caesar (it's explained in the book) when Brutus is talking to Cassius and they talk about how it's their fault their life is the way it is, not their fates'. And then Hazel and Gus disagree about it, because obviously it's not their fault they have cancer. Therefore, there are faults in their stars, not them. I also liked how Augustus' name is Augustus, another reference to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Though the plot was a little slow in the beginning, it quickly became very interesting. Hazel and Gus are so lovable and REAL. They are such admirable characters with big hearts. And the romance? It's sweet and sad and everything all at once. Its heartbreaking and wonderful to read about their life as they live between life and death.

John's writing is absolutely beautiful. It can have you laughing on one page and then crying the next. I literally marked every other page because there were so many quotes I liked. "Some infinities are larger than other infinities" was my favorite. Its the perfect paradox and I still ponder all of its different meanings.

I loved everything about this book and wouldn't change a thing. They're making it into a movie, and I'm really crossing my fingers that they'll make it right and they won't ruin it. I recommend this book, because I really enjoyed it. 5 out of 5 stars.

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony


Glory's mother died when she was young, and ever since then her father raised her as a piano prodigy. When she moves to a new house she falls in love with Frank, her neighbor. Now Glory is missing, and readers go back in time to discover what led to her disappearance.

This book is unlike anything I've ever read. Instead of reading white pages filled with black type, you are looking at colorful pictures that tell a story. There are various pictures of newspaper clippings and notes, but this book is 90% visual. I loved how the story came together even though it was a little confusing and I had to read it more than once. It was also really interesting how a story could be told through all just pictures. I would recommend "reading" this, just because it's so quick and fun. I liked how so much of the story was left up to the reader's imagination and interpretation. 5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

When I first heard about the Hunger Games it was about when the last book was published. I heard what it was about and had no real interest in reading it. Even when I knew there was going to be a movie, I didn't want to read it. Then I was like, "Well, since it's a dystopian book and every one's talking about it, I might as well read it..." And I'm glad that I did.

This was one of the most interesting dystopian books I've read in a while. What an interesting concept! Teenagers fighting to the death, what will they think of next?

The Hunger Games has a winning protagonist who is easily likable. Peeta (btw, awesome name. It's like Peter but with a British accent. Pee-tahhh! lol) is adorable in his soft-hearted way. And Gale, even though he's not really a part of the story, is present in spirit and lovable all the same. Even the strange characters, like Effie and Haymitch, who you can't really figure out if they're good or bad, have their own charm to them.

The plot was quickly paced and exciting. I liked how the romance was just an aspect, and not what drives the story. I liked the suspense, though it was very predictable at times. Another thing that I really liked was how this dystopian world wasn't hard to understand. The Uglies is my favorite dystopian series of all times, and even as I read it for the cajillionth time I still pick up on things that I didn't before. There wasn't too much strange lingo or slang that leaves the reader scratching their head. It's a pretty straight-forward, easy read.

And let me just add that I'm glad that there is a new book cult out there that is likable for girls AND guys. Yes, I'm talking about you, Twilight. And I can't wait for the movie. And I still have to read the other books. Anyways, read this if you haven't. You won't regret it, especially since everyone is going to be talking about it. 5 out of 5 stars.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants

Jacob Jankowski had a good life ahead. He was going to become a vet at Cornell University and live a happy life. Then, his parents die in a car crash and Jacob finds out that they had no money because they were paying for his schooling. Now Jacob is homeless and sees his future as bleak. He finds himself getting a job in the Benzini Brother's Circus where he begins to realize that like the circus, life is an illusion.

After seeing the movie twice, I decided to read the novel that inspired it. It was surprisingly similar to the movie and I did enjoy it overall.

I really liked Jacob's character, but I didn't care too much for Marlena. I also was a little confused about how Jacob turned from being such an innocent, optimistic guy into his older self. I think the rest of the characters were portrayed relatively well.

The plot was really interesting, and I liked how in the author's note at the end I realized that I'd gotten a glimpse of actual stories, such as the elephant stealing the lemonade and the jake leg. I like circus', or at least the idea of them and the setting was magical and wonderful.

I wanted to enjoy this book more, but with seeing the movie before-hand, I just don't think that they can be compared. In all honestly, I probably preferred the movie better. I also think that the book had some descriptive sexual scenes and thoughts that weren't necessary to the aspects of the story at all.

All in all, Water for Elephants was an enjoyable story that I would recommend if you're interested in circuses. 4 out of 5 stars.