aka YA Literature

Sunday, January 6, 2008

What I Read Over My Christmas Vacation

In addition some YA books I couldn't bring myself to finish and to some adult books I did finish , these are the books I managed to read over my vacation. Sorry for not doing justice to them here.

Beastly by Alex Flinn
A retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" in modern-day NYC with teen characters. I really liked it, finished it quickly, and will definitely be recommending it (Holly, be sure to check it out). I liked the modernization (including the very clever chat logs) and the little twist at the end. Since it was a very faithful retelling of the tale, however, there weren't many surprises and the problems I have with the original story (ex. lucky Beauty, she gets a prince anyway!) are still there. Plus, Beauty/Lindy in this story isn't very beautiful, so while Beast/Kyle learns that he can love someone who isn't beautiful, it seems that Beauty/Lindy doesn't really get to "learn" anything. Still fun, though.

Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner
This was a quick, light read, but do teenage boys really think about sex this much? Shakespeare Shapiro thinks about it pretty much all the time. On the rare moments he isn't thinking about it, he's thinking about college admissions and how to win the school's memoir contest.

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
Deanna Lambert is still trying to live down the story (both with her father and her peers) of when her father found her having sex with her brother's 17 year-old friend in a car two years ago when she was 13. Her brother now has a wife and a daughter, and Deanna dreams of being able to earn enough from her summer job so that she can move out of her parents' house along with her brother and his new family. Definitely a book I'm going to recommend, particularly as a Speak read-alike.

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann
Not a YA book but one that was mentioned with YA interest in a few reviews, this is a cute, unique "sheep dective story." The story opens with some sheep in Ireland whose shepherd has been found murdered. The sheep investigate to discover the murderer. Each sheep has his/her own personality and talents, and they have their own secrets and past to uncover. There are some clever and humorous parts, many based on the sheep's misunderstanding of humans and their language. For instance, they mistakenly believe that the town minister is named "God." When one sheep observes a funeral at a cemetary and reports back to the other sheep: "The sheep stared at one another in horror. Fancy planting dead people in your garden! They liked God less and less."

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
The true story of a couple who were the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo before WWII. During the war, they were active in the underground resistance, and the book describes how they hid Jews in the former zoo throughout the war to help them escape. The book was engrossing, and this is a popular topic among teens. I highly recommend this book.


texas said...

Ooh, fun! I read "The Road" and "13 Reasons Why" which you have alread reviewed. Then I read a new YA book that I was going to review, but I returned the book to my library and for the life of me, I cannot remember the title or author! It is an author who is known for her adult books and this was her first YA novel.

texas said...

Oh, this is me (Holly). I didn't realize I was logged in under a different account?