October 25, 2012

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle

Mary O' Hara, a cheeky twelve-year-old, was facing many problems in her life: her best friend had moved away, her beloved grandmother was in the hospital, and she didn't really like school (hated it). But one day after school, Mary met a mysterious woman who claimed to be her granny's mother and seemed to be a ghost. The story is told in 4 perspectives of women in each generation, Mary, Scarlett, Emer, and Tansey and short segments of their pasts with their mother. In this story, the characters get to learn more about their relative they might have not really known about because the relative might have died before they could have met him/her. Readers get to learn about the importance of family and growing up without a mother.
In the beginning of the book, it starts off slow-paced and dull and didn't seem to have much an interesting plot. But as I read on, it became heartwarming with a somewhat happy but vague ending. A book mostly with dialogue, I thought that this book was a very sweet book that made me sad and happy at the same time. But I don't really recommend it to read.
Read Reads Score: 3

Deadly Pink by Vivian Vande Velde

Vivian Vande Velde, author of acclaimed novel, Heir Apparent, is back with a brand new novel, Deadly Pink. It centers around a futuristic world that is altogether possible, in which video games are immersible and can be played in. Grace Pizzelli is the boring daughter, not particularly beautiful, or popular, or smart, like her sister, Emily, but she is the only one who can save her from a virtual suicide. Emily works for Rasmussem, a company which makes virtual reality games, and designs a game made for young girls, a land of butterflies and sprites. One day, she decides to barricade herself into the game, knowing fully well that her brain will overheat from the technology. Grace must discover what could have caused her perfect sister to even consider this virtual suicide, and to try to get her out from the overly sparkly, pink happy land. Can  she save Emily before time runs out? Unless she does, Emily will die, not just in the game, but in real life.
Having read many other science fiction and virtual reality novels, I found this book to be interesting, in that it was much more realistic than the usual novels of the genre. This world is quite like ours, except with somewhat more advanced technology. The plot dragged halfway through the book, not enough to make me put it down, but enough to make me lose some interest. Emily's character comes off a bit snobby, and unlike one her character should be. The contrast between Emily and Grace was not nearly shown enough, though their sisterly relationship was well woven into the plot. The ending is left a bit unsettled and the problems are too easily solved afterward, but overall, this book and its twists and turns were quite interesting.
Reed Reads Score: 3.5

October 15, 2012

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Peffer

Every single day, we use hundreds of things that we don't even think about, things that are there to help with our everyday lives. But what if all those things disappear suddenly, if the world turned upside down? What if you weren't guaranteed food every day? What would you do in the middle of winter with no heat? What would you be willing to do to keep your family alive?
When a giant asteroid hit the moon, the moon was propelled towards the Earth. Most people figured that it was no big deal. Many didn't care. They only started to care when their TVs stopped working,  planes fell out of the sky and the subways flooded. Alex Morales is coming home from a perfectly normal day to his two sisters waiting at home. He notes the sirens of the ambulances and fire trucks as just part of the New York sound track. He doesn't notice his world is falling apart till the next day when his mother fails to return, his brother is sent out with the Marines, and his father is trapped across the continent. In this state of crisis, Alex does all that he can to save his family, making some of the hardest choices in his life.
The Dead the Gone is the sequel to Life as We Knew It, and both are stunning novels of survival. As I read this book, I could feel myself making choices right along with Alex. Throughout the book, you can feel yourself growing right along with him, and are sympathetic to his challenges that you hope that you never have to face. I loved the character development, not only of Alex, but of his sisters as well. This different perspective on the same disaster is far from boring, but refreshing. Although, if it's not your cup of tea, it could easily become depressing.
Reed Reads Score: 4.5

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

A wonderful story of deception, love, and magic.
The once alluring, powerful nation of Ravka has now been split by a dangerous lake, The Shadow Fold. The Shadow Fold lurks with carnivorous monsters, darkness beyond imagination, and fear. The kingdom is full of people who possess magical powers, who try to keep the path safe, but it's still considered suicide to pass through.
When Alina Starkov, a girl orphaned by the Border Wars, is discovered to possess magical powers that could close the Shadow Fold, a mysterious figure known as The Darkling takes her on as his student, ripping her from her only friend, Mal. Alina believes she's being trained to save her country, to close the Shadow Fold, but who is The Darkling? Can she trust him?
I found Shadow and Bone to be a good way to pass the time, but a bit too cliche. You could easily predict what would happen next and the writing didn't delve into the personality of Alina nearly enough for me. Still,  it did make me gasp, smile, and shiver with fright.
Reed Reads Score: 3.5

October 6, 2012

What Came From the Stars by Gary Schmidt

In a world light years away, the Velorim are about to be annihilated by evil Lord Mondus. Velorim power is in their art, and to keep it from Lord Mondus, it is forged in a chain, sent up to the heavens to a world galaxies away, eventually landing in Tommy Pepper's lunch box. Tommy puts the chain around his neck, not knowing of its powers and the evil sent from Velorim to retrieve it. The chain and its powers will change the life of Tommy, his family, and the community. An unexpected fantasy from Gary Schmidt, the writing is strong and emotional, but did not speak to me as did his other titles. The story is told in alternating chapters between Plymouth, MA and the world of the Velorim. The story of Velorim is told in a language created by Schmidt, and can be difficult to follow, but Tommy's story is poignant as he and his family grieve over the death of his mother. The love between Tommy, his sister, and father are what brings heart to the story.
Reed Reads Score: 3