Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best 11 of 2011


(Note: These aren't necessarily all books published in 2011, but more like my best 2011 finds)







Thoughts: O.M.G. this books was so mind-blowingly good! The concept was so original and interesting and the writing was absolutely beautiful! I eagerly await the sequel....



 

Thoughts: I honestly don't know anyone who doesn't love this series. Seriously. So freakin' awesome.... Oh and you just can't not love Cassandra Clare's humor!













Thoughts: I will forever remember 2011 as the year I discovered Melina Marchetta's books--this book is one of those few ones that once you read it, you just absolutely WILL NOT ever forget it.
































Thoughts: I liked Lola and the Boy Next Door, but in my opinion, it can't even hold a candle to Anna and the French Kiss. Really. Just thinking about this book makes me giddy and giggly...




















Thoughts: Actually, I really, really liked both the Hex Hall novels, but Demon Glass might have to be my favorite. And seriously, you will never find a heroine as sarcastic and witty as Sophie Mercer. I was laughing so hard while reading this!






















 
Thoughts: Pure Awesomeness. Really, that says it all. Each books just gets better and better! 


















Thoughts: Sigh... just such a great book about beauty and traveling and culture and (of course) romance! 


























Thoughts: Oh. My gosh. This book has everything I absolutely adore! Suspense, mystery, likeable characters, supernatural (done in a great new and original way!), and a childhood-friend-turned-couple-relationship! LOVE. 
PS: the sequel is also amazing!




















Thoughts: probably my favorite of the trilogy because there's lots more Cole and Isabel---the "side" couple, but my favorite! Plus the writing is just so beautiful and lyrical!
























Thoughts: heart-wrenching, but amazing to read about


























Thoughts: I just LOVED the concept of this story--I was practically addicted! Plus, the main character, Erin, wants to be a romance novelist--a girl after my own heart!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Faves of TwentyEleven: The Characters

Ooh! I just found out about this...literally, maybe 2 minutes ago and I was super psyched to do it immediately! If anyone else want to make a list before New Year's, this is hosted over at Ink Crush. Go and check it out!


1. Favorite female main character
  Hmm.... this is a toughie because there are just so many that I like... but I think I'm gonna have to go with Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door. I just love her spunky personality and awesome fashion sense! She got a lot of confidence and personality and I would definitely love to know her! 

         
 

2. Favorite male main character
Ooh, again, super hard choice, but I pick Dash from Dash & Lily's Book of Dares-- I am just absolutely in love with his snarkiness and wittiness! And come on, a guy that in love with books? How can anyone resist?


  3. Best couple
Oh. Wow. Seriously, strike where it hurts why don't you? For someone who reads as much romance as I do, this question is next to impossible! I love just about all the couples! But ok... a choice must be made... I choose.... Clara and Tucker from Unearthly... no scratch that, it's really more of a tie between them and Violet and Jay from the Body Finder

  

4. Who I so want to be best friends with

Umm... another tie. 
Jessica Darling from Sloppy Firsts. She's so witty and hilarious, but also nice, and I just know that I'd have tons of fun hanging out with her and quite possibly getting into scintillating debates about... everything!  
And Rebecca Bloomwood from the Shopoholic series. As a fellow 
 shopoholic, I know we'd have tons of fun bonding at a mall!





 
5. who i fell completely in love with (new literary crush)
Etienne St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss (no brainer!) Sigh.... words just can't describe how much I freakin' love Etienne! Where can I find an Etienne of my own?!
Archer Cross from the Hex Hall series. "Nuff said. If you've read the series, you know what I mean. 
...and Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road. Again, if you've read the series, you're probably a little bit in love with him too, I reckon. 




6. Worst (best & baddest) villian
Without a doubt, Terra's dad from North of Beautiful. Oh how I would love to smack him in the face! His evilness is magnified because he's Terra's dad!  
  
 7. Best character twist (who you loved then hated or vice versa)
Al from Divergent. Sigh... I just hate it when a character you like goes bad! I had such high hopes for him too!








8. Best kick-arse female
Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy series. Duh! You really can't get more kick-arse that her!
  

9. Best kick-arse male
Toughie (again!)... But I'm gonna go with Will Herondale from The Clockwork Angel. Yeah, that's right--you know he's the bad boy you all want.... O__o (and he's so darn sarcastically funny too!)


10. Broke your heart the most
Aaaah! This is the first choice that I didn't have to think about at all! Without a doubt, it's Simon from The Summer of Skinny Dipping ! Oh. My gosh.... just thinking about it makes me want to tear up! Why Simon, whyyyyyyyyyy?!


11. Favorite pet/animal character award
  Haha... I was actually thinking of this answer for forever before the obvious totally hit him upside the head--- of course it's Grimalkin from the Iron Fey series! He's by no means a "pet" but he is the coolest cat--or animal for that matter-- that I know of. Really. He makes me want to be a cat person.
12. Best YA parents award
Definitely Lola's parents, Andy and Nathan, from Lola and the Boy Next Door! They are just such great supportive, caring, and loving parents.... and just plain awesome!



13. Favorite sibling relationship
Narnie and Webb from Jellicoe Road. They both love each other so much and would do anything, sacrifice anything for each other. I was so moved by Narnie when she refused to be rescued from the wrecked car before Webb! 
 
14. Favorite best friends/friendship award 
The Gang from Saving Francesca (and subsequently The Piper's Son). Their friendship and love for one another is just something that can't even be described in words!  
























15. Best/worst character names
  Best: Finnick Odair. (from the Hunger Games series as I'm sure you all know). There's just something about his name that is just so.... awesome!
Etienne St. Clair (from Anna and the French Kiss). So maybe if I had that name, it might be a little annoying.... but since I don't, I think it's freakin' wonderful!
Adrian Ivashkov (from the Vampire Academy series). Man, it just rolls off your tongue--I could say it over and over and not get bored!
Worst: Rashmi (also from Anna and the French Kiss)---mainly because her nickname is "Rash." Yeah... not pleasant at all. 
Bonus: Best love triangle
Oooooh! I have lots for this one!
The Rose-Dimitri-Adrian triangle...because man, I wanted both guys to have a happy ending--SO badly!
The Dru-Graves-Christophe triangle from the Strange Angels series.... Oh My Gosh. I totally had no clue who Dru was going to end up with! The love triangle was crafted so well!
The Meghan-Ash-Puck triangle from the Iron Fey series..... I pretty much knew from book 1 who Meghan was going to end up with.... but I still rooted for both guys anyways because I really liked them both!
  
 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Quote

In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.

 

-Mortimer J. Adler

Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: Destined (House of Night #9)

Destined 
by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast 

Zoey is finally home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side, and preparing to face off against Neferet -- which would be a whole lot easier if the High Council saw the ex-High Priestess for what she really is. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx's gift of a human form, Rephaim and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together -- if he can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow.

But there are new forces at work at the House of Night. An influx of humans, including Lenobia's handsome horse whisperer, threatens their precarious stability. And then there's the mysterious Aurox, a jaw-droppingly gorgeous teen boy who is actually more -- or possibly less -- than human. Only Neferet knows he was created to be her greatest weapon. But Zoey can sense the part of his soul that remains human, the compassion that wars with his Dark calling. And there's something strangely familiar about him . . .

Will Neferet's true nature be revealed before she succeeds at extinguishing Light? And will Zoey be able to touch Aurox's humanity in time to protect them all? Find out what's destined in the next thrilling chapter of the House of Night series.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Review:  
Oh man, I said to myself that I was going to read a TON of books this winter break.... but then I discovered a new Taiwanese drama that had me thoroughly enthralled for an entire week.... BUT I (finally) managed to finish this book!


The House of Night series and I have had a somewhat complicated relationship throughout the years. I started off thinking the series was pretty darn cheesy--I don't know, I just found Zoey's character to be somewhat annoying and I've never really liked it when the main character just has all this awesome stuff handed to her (e.g. affinity with the 5 elements, getting the cute guy, being the new "it" girl in school...) But then, after the first couple of books, I started liking the series more. But note: I said "Like" not "Love."


At this point, I really think the Casts are dragging this series on for waaaaay too long. I mean really, enough is enough. This series could have ended already, but they have even more books coming out?! At this point, I'm only continuing to read these books because I have invested way too much time already, goshdarnit! 


I was actually pretty excited for Destined because I always rather liked the Zoey-Heath pairing (not to say that I don't like Stark... because honestly, he's pretty cool too) so I was super excited when the authors decided to bring Heath back into the mix, albeit with a little twist. The strange thing was, the more time passed before I read it, the more I actually didn't want to read it....totally weird I know, but I was actually kind of dreading reading this book.... But OK enough of my rambling--On to the actual review!!!


This book is told in multiple POVs, and I'm not just talking about Zoey, Stark, Stevie Rae, and Rephaim--there was Aurox (aka Heath), Kalona, Neferet, Dragon, Lenobia, and even Shaunee! I both liked and disliked this arrangement. 


Why I liked it: all the different POVs allowed you to see the story from multiple angles and you get to know much more of what was going on as opposed to just knowing what Zoey knows.
Why I disliked it: The whole story's so busy switching from one person to another, there wasn't any real action! Upon finishing the book, I looked back and realized nothing major actually happened until like the last couple pages of the book. 


So, if you like reading about all the interpersonal relationships and stuff in the books, you might like this a lot. 


As I said before, I am indeed a Heath fan so the fact that they brought him back as Aurox had be pretty stoked! However, it wasn't really what I expected--Aurox was pretty cool to read about and I liked his character quite a bit---but OH MY GOSH it literally took Zoey the entire book to figure out that Heath=Aurox! Honestly, I can't even begin to describe how irritating that was for me... and it wasn't even as if she couldn't find out before, she just chose not to! 


There was quite a bit of redemption going on in this book namely involving Dragon and Kalona--reading the other books, I never pegged Kalona to be a father who cared about his son as much as he did in this book, so that was pretty cool to find out. 


Also, Shaunee and Erin, aka the Twins, become not so twin-like in this book...which, I'm still deciding whether or not I like. I mean, it was good that they both realized their individuality...but seriously? Right now of all times? Just a little confused...


One thing that this book does really well is setting up for the next book. After looking back on Destined, I can't help but feel like nothing actually happened! But of course, the ending had me hooked and eager for the next release because I really want to know what happens next, what with all the changes and discoveries made..... darn you Kristin and P.C. Cast.... 


But bottom line: the book was good but not great or holy-crap-this-book-is-absolutely-freakin'-amazing! Overall, I think I've just grown a bit bored with the series, but hopefully, hopefully, the Casts can make the next books, the last ones, fantastic and end the series on a good note! :D

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas Eve!

Yaaay! So excited for Christmas! (although, I'd be more holiday-spirited if it was actually cold enough to SNOW here!)

Happy Holidays to everyone! Myrrh to you all   :)

~Joie

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Book Boyfriend: Jay Heaton

Yay! My Book Boyfriend Day! This is a super fun meme hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader--you can read all about it here!

My literary crush of this week is none other than Jay Heaton from The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting.
Oh Jay...(smiles dreamily) he is just such a sweet guy! He's one of the few literary males out there who is a great best friend and boyfriend! Goodness, I just love how well he and Violet fit each other like two pieces of a puzzle! He's sweet and pretty protective, but not in a macho/alpha-male way.

“I've been so worried about strange men following you around that I forgot how dangerous Homecoming Queens can be.”       

“He loved her.
Jay Heaton, her best friend since childhood was in love with her. He didn't say it but she knew that it was true.
And the part that really freaked her out, the part that caught her completely off guard, is that he wasn't alone. Because even though she'd been denying it for a long, long time, it had always been there... waiting beneath the surface of their friendship. And now that it was out there was no going back.
And it was so weird to even be thinking it but...... she was in love with him too.” 



Violet: "You don't get to tell me what to do! You're not my father, you know."
Jay: "Thanks for clarifying that, Violet," he said sardonically. "It would be creepy if you got your boyfriend and your father confused.


“I was just waiting for you to want me as much as I wanted you.” His words were quiet but carried one hell of an impact. “I knew we were going to be together; it was just a matter of time. I kept hoping that you would figure it out. But for a smart girl, you’re a little dense, Vi. I kept bringing up Lissie Adams, and showing you the notes she was leaving me, hoping that you’d get pissed enough to finally admit how you felt about me.”


 "I can't lose you," he explained, shrugging as if those weren't the most wonderful words she'd ever heard before. "not now that I finally have you."


Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: The Piper's Son

The Piper's Son
by Melina Marchetta
published March 8th, 2011by Candlewick Press
Melina Marchetta's brilliant, heart-wrenching new novel takes up the story of the group of friends from her best-selling, much-loved book Saving Francesca - only this time it's five years later and Thomas Mackee is the one who needs saving.

Thomas Mackee wants oblivion. Wants to forget parents who leave and friends he used to care about and a string of one-night stands, and favorite uncles being blown to smithereens on their way to work on the other side of the world.

But when his flatmates turn him out of the house, Tom moves in with his single, pregnant aunt, Georgie. And starts working at the Union pub with his former friends. And winds up living with his grieving father again. And remembers how he abandoned Tara Finke two years ago, after his uncle's death.

And in a year when everything's broken, Tom realizes that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.            --
goodreads


Rating: 5/5 


Review:  Oh gosh, I bet I know what you're thinking right now: "wait a minute, another Melina Marchetta book?!" 
YES. Another Melina Marchetta book. Honestly, if you've read my other reviews of Jellicoe Road and/or Saving Francesca, then you know that there are not enough good things I can say about Ms. Marchetta's books. They. Are. Effing. Amazing. 

So... naturally when I found out there was a "sequel" of sorts for to Saving Francesca, I HAD TO HAVE IT! (If you're a bibliophile and you're reading this, then you know what I'm talking about....hopefully...) While Jellicoe Road is still my absolute favorite (the absolute bastion of great writing--hee hee reference to Tara Finke), I still freakin' loved this book! 

This book was written about two characters: Tom (aka Thomas Mackee) and his aunt Georgie. This is the first of Marchetta's books that I've read where it was written in 3rd person---now I'm normally not a huge fan of 3rd person narratives because I have a hard time connecting with the characters, but believe me, that was not a problem here. Marchetta had me sympathizing, laughing, and crying with the characters in no time! Her book is just that powerful. It literally tugs at your heartstrings and you really can't help but be moved by the emotion and love in her books. But it's not even as though the emotional moments, the tearjerker ones, were blatantly obvious--not like a Love That Dog death scene or even The Notebook's kissing in the rain scene--Marchetta creates little moments, specific, undetectable lines throughout the book that really don't get to you at first, but boy, when it accumulates, it is a whopper of an emotional punch. 


Tom is a character you may have hated in Saving Francesca, but, trust me, you will surely love him by the end of this novel. He definitely has some butt-hole-ish moments which would make you want to smack some sense into him, but as the novel progresses, he really recovers from the nadir of life that he was in, from all the hurt he's been through, and you learn just how decent and disarmingly sweet he is. There were multiple moments when I just wanted to give him a big bear hug. 


I also really enjoyed reading about Georgie's life and her problems. Yes, she is in her 40s and is pregnant, and it's not really like I can relate to that, but the strange thing is, I kind of did relate. Not to the whole pregnant part obviously, but after learning about her past, her situation, and of course, Sam, you can understand why her decisions, her circumstances were so gray---Nothing was a clear cut black-or-white.

I absolutely adored the simple fact that Marchetta chose to continue the story of the gang from Saving Francesca--I loved seeing how Francesca and Will fared, five years later, loved learning the the story of Tom's life, and just plain melted at reading about the inner workings/feelings of their friendship as it grew over the years. 

This book was little confusing at first because you're introduced to so many family characters and literally, you are in medias res with little explanation of who anyone is, but then Marchetta works her magic and by the end, you will be able to know/keep straight every single character in this book.

The author really stretches the limits of YA fiction, considering the co-protagonist is a 40-ish year old pregnant woman--with lots of drama going on in her life. Marchetta has a schtick for tackling tough issue in her books---depression, death, abandonment, drugs, etc. In fact, if you think about it, the plot line of this book can actually be considered...soap-opera-ish. But it isn't actually.  She crafts a real story about loss, grief, redemption, forgiveness, and love.

Read this. 'Nuff said. Actually, I basically wrote paragraphs telling you why you should read this so "'nuff said" really isn't enough.... but now I'm done--OH! Except for now, I would really really really like another sequel--one about Jimmy! That would make me one VERY happy camper!


Some favorite quotes
“Maybe she'd always been there. Maybe strangers enter your heart first and then you spent the rest of your life searching for them. ” 

"They used to talk about you a lot," Ned says. "Frankie said you had all waited forever to meet each other and that it was the real thing as far as friendships went. 'He'll come back to us,' she'd say. I heard every story in the world about every moment you all had and I remember once you came in and they pointed you out. 'That's him. That's our Thomas.'"

“Don't let anyone take care of you. Can you maybe leave that for me to do? I mean, take care of you? Feel free to take care of me in return... because I think I'll need you to do that.” ---Tom to Tara

“Her voice whispering love soothes him. They'd never done that before. Weren't that type of family. Except now he doesn't know what kind of family they are. What word is it that can define them? What would they call his family in the textbooks? Broken? He comes from a broken home. The Mackees can't be put back together again. There are too many pieces of them missing.” 

"P.S. I don't recall the word dick or head being in Frankie's text that day you turned up at the Union. As you pointed out, I have a brilliant memory, and the exact words were, I think we're getting our Tom back."             --Siobhan's email


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ooooh Cover Love!

Classics Revisited.... 
*Sigh* If all old books could have such beautiful covers, maybe I would read them! Yes... it's true. I admit.
I (gasp!) judge books by their covers!
I'm a Judger....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Book Boyfriend: Roger Sullivan

Ah My Book Boyfriend Day.... Gosh, I swear this meme makes Wednesdays bearable! Anyways, if you don't know what this meme is, feel free to find out about it here at The Unread Reader's blog. :)

My swoon-worthy crush of the week?
Roger Sullivan from Amy and Roger's Epic Detour!

Y'know, when I was thinking of writing this up, I had a hard time pinpointing exactly why Roger was so freakin' swoon-worthy! And just, by the way, I still don't know... This is one of those cases where you don't actually realize just how much you love a character until the book's over and you don't have any more Roger to read about! His lovableness/swoon-worthy-ness amount like little snowflakes and you don't realize how much until you're standing in two inches of snow.

Somehow, I don't think I'll be able to do Roger justice in this post, but here goes nothing...

Roger Sullivan...
  • is19
  • goes to Colorado College
  • is the type to send girls roses over holiday breaks (awww)
  • has a penchant for history and explorers---gotta love nerdy quirks like that!
  • ...hence, nicknamed "Magellan" 
  • is friendly, a good listener, and doesn't lie
  • doesn't say goodbye 
  • makes good roadtrip playlists
  • ...oh, and he's pretty darn cute... just in case you were wondering--"The guy coming toward me was shockingly good-looking. He had broad shoulders, light brown hair, dark eyes, and he was already smiling at me."
(I picture him as Matt Lanter)


"Excellent," he said. "You'll be my Chekov."
I looked over at him. "Anton Chekhov?" I asked. "The playwright?"
"No, Chekov, the navigator of the Starship Enterprise," he said, looking back at me. "From Star Trek."
"I've never seen Star Trek," I said, breathing out a tiny sigh of relief. Maybe Roger wasn't quite as cool as he'd first seemed.
"Now that's a tragedy," he said. "Though I must admit, I've never read your Chekhov."

"Okay," I said, once we were back on the road, and I'd taken a sip of my soda. "Let me make sure I've gotten this. She's female, probably dead, famous, and kind of an explorer?"
"Correct," he said, putting down his visor against the sun, which had started to peek out of the clouds. "The answer is closer than you think. Sixteen."
......
"Amelia Earhart?" I asked, staring at Roger, once I'd finally given up. "Seriously?"
"What?" he asked. "We don't know that she's dead, after all. It's just presumed. I like to think that she landed on some fabulous South Sea island and has been having a great time for the last seventy years." He looked over at me an smiled. "I told you the answer was closer than you thought. Amelia."

"I mean, I should have known," he said, leaning back a little and smiling at me. "It always happens this way."
"What does?"
"The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren't looking for them. Columbus and Amerca. Pinzon, who stumbled on Brazil while looking for the West Indies. Stanley happened on Victoria Falls. And you. Amy Curry, when I was least expecting her."
I smiled back at him, while feeling sharply how much I was going to miss him. It was almost a physical pain. "I'm on that list?"
"You're at the top of that list."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Review: Eve

by Anna Carey  

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.
         -goodreads



Rating: 4/5


Review:
 

Hmmm, just exactly when did dystopian novels become so freaking popular??? It seems like every other book that comes out is dystopian! Truth be told, I'm starting to lose the love for the dystopians, but I'm really glad there are good ones like Eve to keep the flame going! 


I found the plot to be really interesting. Carey does a fantastic job at creating a world scarred by this disease--yet at the same time, she made the possibility of it all believable. There is a beautiful balance of destruction and hope in this book-- there are lots of instances where you see an awful side of human-nature in this book, but Carey adds some great scenes that shows that humanity is not completely lost. Some scenes were seriously touching--my favorite being when Silas and Benny yell out "I love you" after Eve and Arden! (but don't worry, I won't give away major spoilers!) 


The characters were also great--and I don't just mean the main characters, Eve and Caleb, but just about all the side characters too! Eve's evolution through this novel is astounding and I loved how strong she came out in the end. Caleb was great too! Bad boys are so popular in YA now and it nice and refreshing to have a guy who's kind, caring, and loyal as him--like Eve said: "a good man." The other characters like Arden, Marjorie, Otis, Silas, and Benny provided great support.

OH! And what about that cover? Can I just say that I am experiencing some serious cover love right now? :) But I must say that one of my favorite aspects of this book was the references. Throughout Eve, the characters make references to old classics like Anna Karenina, Romeo and Juliet, Art History for Dummies (HA!), and, my favorite, The Giving Tree. To them, these books were like relics of the past, something that most of the boys didn't know about, but whenever they mentioned a title I knew, I was having a little mental outburst that went a little something like this: Wait! Oh my gosh! I know that book! (which...looking back now, was a little crazy of me...)  


Eve is set up wonderfully for its sequel (which I am currently wishing would come out sooner!) but the only thing that I found lacking in the book was that... spark. You know, that certain je ne sais quoi spark that ups a book from "Like" to "Love." I can't really explain it or put my finger on why this book was a 4 and not a 5, but at the same time, I really did enjoy this book; it's one of my more-liked dystopians and I think you guys should check it out!

Quotes
“Love was death’s only adversary, the only thing powerful enough to combat its clawing, desperate grasp.” 

"What do you mean 'I'm not your type'?" I asked.
The plague had killed far more females than males. As one of the few women in The New America, especially an educated, civilized woman, I'd always supposed I was every man's type.
The boy glanced back at me once and shrugged. "Eh," he muttered. 
Eh? I was intelligent, I worked hard. I was told I was beautiful. I was Eve, the valedictorian of School. And all he could say was, Eh?


“I learned the strange art of loneliness, the weathered yearning that swells and passes, and swells and passes, when you walk a trail alone.” 

“I had once read, in one of those pre-plague books in the library, that love was bearing witness. That it was the act of watching someone's life, of simply being there to say: you're life is worth seeing.”

Review: Saving Francesca

Saving Francesca
by Melina Marchetta
published May 9, 2006 by Random House Children's Books

Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys' school that's pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom.  Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an an impossibly dorky accordion player.  The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.

Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, along, and without an inkling who she really is.  Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.              -goodreads




Rating: 4.5/5

Review: Arghh I just simply can't get enough of Melina Marchetta's books! Ever since Jellicoe Road, I have been having these random moments of (for lack of better words) craving for Marchetta's books the same way pregnant people have random food cravings! Now while Saving Francesca did not have the same absolute profound/mind-blowing effect that Jellicoe Road did, I really really enjoyed it. 


DON'T let the cover fool you! This book is not as lighthearted and silly and chick-lit-y as this cover portrays it to be. This book tackles some pretty tough issues like depression and its impact on others. Marchetta executes this perfectly. Honestly, there's just something about her writing--her style isn't particularly extravagant or Dickens-esque, it's authentic and real-- but it packs such an emotional punch! Her words have a way of worming its way to your heart and then BAM! Before you know it, you are emotionally invested in the novel! Seriously, her stories just have a way of tugging at your heartstrings and it'll have you laughing and crying before you know it. 

And that's the thing--you don't actually realize how emotionally invested you are until it's too late! Saving Francesca started off a little...not slow exactly, but just not very exciting and engaging. Don't get me wrong, it was good and everything, but not wow! material. 

Then, and I have no clue how this happened, but events started to unfold and it's like suddenly I was along on this emotional roller coaster with the characters! I was laughing at Francesca's humor, loving her group of friends as much as she does, and having some pretty emotional moments myself when it came to her family.

I think it's fair to say that Melina Marchetta is the Ninja of Emotional Writing...

Not only that, but she is the master of creating realistic and complex characters. Gosh, I could go on and on about how much I loved all the characters and relationships in this story because they were just crafted sooo darn well! I was seriously wishing that her characters could be real so I could meet and befriend them. 

But enough of my ranting--bottom line: read this book! It's fantastic. But here, I'll let the book speak for itself...

"Do you think I look like Sophia Loren?" I ask him as we get into the car.
"I used to tell your mother she looked like Sophia Loren." He looks at me, frowning, and then it registers. "Oh God, some guy's using that line on you, isn't he?"
"Not just 'some guy,'" I tell him. "The guy."

“People with lost personalities will suffer a great deal more than those with lost virginities.” 


“I miss the Stella girls telling me what I am. That I'm sweet and placid and accommodating and loyal and nonthreatening and good to have around. And Mia. I want her to say, "Frankie, you're silly, you're lazy, you're talented, you're passionate, you're restrained, you're blossoming, you're contrary."
I want to be an adjective again. But I'm a noun.
A nothing. A nobody. A no one.”





“It's a weird smile, but it reaches his eyes and I bottle it. And I put it in my ammo pack that's kept right next to my soul and Justine's spirit and Siobham's hope and Tara's passions. Because if I'm going to wake up one morning and not be able to get out of bed, I'm going to need everything I've got to fight this disease that could be sleeping inside of me.” 

“Do you think people have noticed that I'm around?"
"I notice when you're not. Does that count?”





 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Book Boyfriend: Adam Vader

For those who don't know about My Book Boyfriend, I highly recommend you go to the introduction post here---props to the Unread Reader for coming up with such a fun meme!

Surprisingly, I had a hard time this week deciding who to post about! (extremely surprising given the amount of romance/chicklit that I read...) Finally, I decided on Adam from my recent Jennifer Echols read, The Boys Next Door--the book itself only earned about a 3.5, maybe a 4 (don't get me wrong, I loved the plot and everything, but I couldn't help but fee like the book itself could have been written better). Adam on the other hand was a total 5! :) 
And now, without further adieu, I give you Adam Vader from The Boys Next Door

Adam...
  •  is the youngest Vader brother
  • has ADD
  • takes just about any crazy dare his brothers give him
  • has been in love with Lori forever! (But she's pretty clueless about that...)
  • and let's just say that he is ahem in very good shape--"He put both his hands into his hair. This showed me how strong and well-formed the biceps were on this tanned, beautiful boy"
 Adam: "That's my plot. You were right, I had a plot, and that's my whole plot. I'm in love with you. The last nine months with McGillicuddy away at college have been freaking torture for me, because I didn't have an excuse to come to your house." 

 

"One day on the boat when we were kids, did you tell me you wanted me to be your girlfriend when we were old enough?"
He slid his hand down a lock of my hair and twisted it around his fingers. "I don't remember saying that, but I wouldn't be surprised. I wasn't lying that day in the truck. I really have loved you forever. Why else would I wear a skull-amd-crossbones necklace you bought me from a bubblegum machine? It turned my skin green."
"It didn't." To make sure, I moved the pendant aside and peered at his chest, which looked the normal scrumptious tan to me. "It didn't," I repeated with more confidence.
"It did when you first gave it to me. Any metal coating that might have been clinging to it wore off on my chest years ago."

Come to think of it, the pendant
was a funny color not found in nature. I'd probably given him lead poisoning
 -Lori and Adam 

Lori: "You know, you could have told me you loved me a long time ago, before things got so crazy."
Adam: "No, I couldn't. I like to take chances. I'd blow a chance on anything but you. You didn't love me."

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