Monday, January 19, 2009

"Wide Awake" by David Levithan

See? I told you I'd make a post! This is an awesome (though admittedly quite short) book. Here we go...
It starts with a short chapter, not even half a page. Not even a respectable paragraph, but still – wonderful in its all its brevity. 
" 'I can't believe there's going to be a gay Jewish president.' As my mother said this, she looked at my father, who was still staring at the screen. They were shocked, barely comprehending. 
Me? I sat there and beamed."
Duncan is sixteen in the near future, after the Greater Depression and the War to End All Wars. And now, after all the fear and anger of the past, comes something wonderful. The Jesus Revolution, the Prada Riots, the rise of the green states. A president – Abraham Stein – who is going to bring everyone together in "the Great Community". Duncan, as a gay Jewish boy, is ecstatic. So is his boyfriend, Jimmy, and Janna and Mandy, their friends and self-proclaimed "Jesus Freaks", named after a song that the popular band Holy Ghostwriter had written. Things are finally going right!
But not everyone is happy. Mr. Davis, for one: the history teacher at their high school. Jesse Marin, a boy at school with a nasty following.
And then... the unthinkable happens. On the way to a party the day after the announcement of Stein's victory, the governor of Kansas decides that his state's votes need to be recounted. That Stein didn't really win by over a thousand votes. And that this election is definitely not over.
" 'Come to Kansas.' "  This is Stein's response. Come to Kansas. Let's make this state see the truth.
So they do – Jimmy, Duncan, Janna and Mandy, Keisha and Mira, Virgil and Sara, and more, plus the hitchhikers they pick up on the road. Kansas is going to be full this weekend...
A fantastic work, full of confusion, teenage angst, and love, plus a little politics and hope for the future. David Levithan is an artist!
– sometimes here, sometimes not, but definitely excited for tomorrow (!),

Friday, January 16, 2009

Coming soon to blogs near you...

Hey everyone! Or, everyone that's left, that is...
Sorry I've been so inconsistant. There is a new post coming up soon, probably Saturday or Sunday, in honor of the inauguration. Wide Awake, by David Levithan. He's also the person who wrote Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist along with Rachel... somebody. You know, the book that says fuck every other word?
ANYHOW. New post over the weekend!
–procrastinatingly yours (and not sure if that's a word)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd

Well! Long time no see, eh? Anyhow, I read this book a really long time ago and adored it, and now that the movie's out... well, why not?
Lily Owens has bees in her bedroom. Every night she hears them buzzing behind the walls, like a low murmur of comfort just beyond her sight. She lives with her cruel father, T. Ray, and Rosaleen, her black nanny and stand-in mother. Her real mother died when she was four in an accident with a gun. 
It's 1964 and the president has just signed the Civil Rights Act. So on Lily's fourteenth birthday, Rosaleen goes to town to register to vote and takes Lily with her. But when the town's three most racist men attack Rosaleen for trying to register, things start to take on a life of their own. Lily packs a bag, breaks Rosaleen out of jail and sets off to Tiburon, SC: a town scrawled in her mother's handwriting on the back of a strange picture.  When the two get there, the picture guides them to a flamingo-pink house where the calendar sisters live: May, June and August Boatwright. August is a beekeeper, and through a few lies and sweet smiles, Lily and Rosaleen are allowed to stay.
The house is like a safe haven, where Lily can relax and not be afraid. But secrets are meant to be told. May accidentally tells Lily that her mother had stayed there before she died. After a tragic death in the family, Lily confides to August: she had killed her mother.
Throughout the book, the Black Madonna is an ever-present force of comfort. This book isn't very religious; rather, it's a comforting presence that helps Lily come to terms with the truth and forgive her mother. A fabulous novel! Nine of ten ocean waves.
– licking honey off of her fingers, Cassandra

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Whoa! It's been exactly five months since my first post! They grow up so fast. *sniffles and dabs at tears daintily* 
Before I get kicked off the computer for the evening, I propose a toast: to Liesl, for forcing me to make this blog. To the library two blocks away, and the one at my school, and all the countless bookstores I've been to, for supplying me with my material. And of course, to you guys. If I hadn't seen the comments and known people were reading, I'd've quit months ago. Thanks. : )
– Cassandra

"Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac" by Gabrielle Zevin

Wow. Long time no post, eh? Anywho...
It all starts in late August of her junior year. They flip a coin to choose who goes back to get the yearbook camera, and Naomi chooses heads. The next thing she knows, she's lying in an ambulance with a boy who says she fell down the stairs. But she doesn't remember doing that. In the hospital, she slowly comes to realize that she can't remember anything from age twelve and onward – four years lost. She can't remember why she likes her hot jock boyfriend, Ace. She can't remember why her best friend, Will, calls her Chief. She can't remember her mother's affair, her father's fiancée, or even how to drive.
But in forgetting, Naomi becomes herself. In a small way, this is a story about rebelling against yourself, or who people thought you were. It's a love story; how she dumps Ace, falls in and out of love with the moody James, the boy from the ambulance, and how, near the end of the book, remembers a kiss from someone unexpected. It's a story of friends, how she re-befriends quirky Will, finds new friends in a school play, and finally befriends her half-sister, Chloe and forgives her mother.
An excellent book – different from Zevin's other book, Elsewhere (though you should totally read that one, too) it's deeper and darker in a shy way. The characters are flawed and touching, confused and thoughtful. I love how the whole book is interspersed with gifts from Will – CDs that he burns and gives to Naomi to try and help her remember her old self. A definite 8 out of 10 waves!
– Cassandra

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Unwind" by Neal Shusterman

Far in the future, we have finally settled the argument between the pro-life and the pro-choice, after a war that could've been the end of our country. The solution: Unwinding.
This is a process that our government came up with at the last minute. There are no more abortions. You must have the child, and either Stork it (placing it on a random stranger's doorstep, after which the child is legally theirs) or raise it until the child is thirteen, and then you have a choice until they're eighteen: keep the kid, or send it to an unwinding camp, where the boy or girl is unwound – surgically taken apart piece by piece, the body parts saved for spares. Someone breaks an arm? No big deal – just get another. Have cancer? Eh, whatever. You can replace that part of you with someone else's. Everyone's happy.
Not the teens who are being sacrificed.
Unwind follows three teens: Connor, 16, whose parents have finally decided to have him unwound because he's too much trouble. Risa, a ward of state, is being shipped off because she's too expensive. And Lev, who is a tithe: since birth, he's known this was to be his fate. His parents have given ten percent of everything they own to charity, and that includes their son.
Connor runs. Risa is on the bus when it crashes, and joins him, a total stranger, in her escape. And Lev is "abducted" by the two desperate teens who are sure they are saving him. But life on the run isn't easy. Not when there's juvie cops and starvation and spies tossed into the mix...
Definitely a great book – a bit creepy, but what can you expect from a plot like that? The characters are pretty believable. Connor has anger issues, Risa just hides all her emotion, and Lev is definitely in denial. But they develop, and the ending wraps up the story well. Eight of of ten waves!

– Cassandra