aka YA Literature

Friday, February 19, 2010

Will Grayson

So I already want to read Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Who doesn't? But after reading this article in Publisher's Weekly "("Double Identity"), I'm really dying here. I love how David Levithan wanted John Green to write this book even before Looking for Alaska was actually published. And a best friend named Tiny Cooper who is writing a musical about his life called "Tiny Dancer"? I'm laughing just at the description! I need this book.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford

Carter is a fourteen year-old freshman just entering high school. Carter's pretty popular, has lots of friends, and is fairly athletic (he plays football and swims with pretty good results for a freshman). Like most freshmen, however, he's primarily concerned with getting hot girls and not looking "gay" in front of his friends. Early on, he has some success with the ladies (thanks partly to the tutelage of his older sister), but due to his general ineptness because of being 14, a guy, and having ADD, he manages to screw things up with girls so that pretty much all of the cheer-leading squad and drill team hate him. The book follows him throughout his freshman year, through football season, swim season, and baseball season/the spring theatre musical. The title of the book should give you sense of where the book is going and how Carter is developing.

I loved this book. It was hilarious. Guys and girls check it out from the library, and it's appealing to both. I'm really happy to recommend it to guys because I think it pretty accurately (if somewhat politically incorrectly or insensitively at times) portrays how a freshman guy thinks, and there are lots of embarrassing moments, flatulence, and porn-watching to satisfy.

Furthermore, I listened to the audio version of the book. Nick Podehl does an AMAZING job as the narrator. This is by far one of my favorite audiobooks now. He sounds like a freshman guy, and he really brings the narration and dialogue to life. I was laughing out loud listening to it, especially when he was doing "Bitchy Nikki's" dialogue.

I'm excited to see that a sequel, Carter's Big Break, is due out soon. Brent Crawford's site says April, but Follett and Amazon say June 1. Now, how can I get my hands on an ARC?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

EDIT: Cody and I have not posted a review in FOREVER! What are the chances that we will both review the same book just days of each other. I typed this whole review and posted it before catching up on my ATR reading and realizing Cody had beat me to it.

Having recently given birth and returned to work full time, I don’t have much time for reading these days. However, when I walked into my school’s library and the librarian thrust The Maze Runner on me, declaring that it was “like The Hunger Games, only better,” I decided to make a little time for reading.

The main character, Thomas, wakes up in an elevator with no memory other than his names. When the doors open, he finds himself surrounded by other teenage boys in the same predicament. They are in an enclosed environment and forced to eek out their own survival. There is a maze in the enclosure that a few “Runners” try to navigate daily in the hopes of finding an escape. Unfortunately for them, the walls move around every day and they cannot go in the maze at night because of strange, dangerous beasts (aka “Grievers”).

The Maze Runner isn’t as deep or thought-provoking as The Hunger Games, but it is still a fast, compelling read. I liked the relationship dynamic between the boys…a little like The Lord of the Flies. Also, the main character is this great guy…a realistic hero, if you will. A few things I didn’t like: the one girl in the story is supposed to be this super smart girl who is key to solving the maze, her character just wasn’t consistent. Sometimes she would be all brave and tough, but other times, like when put in solitary, she gets all teary-eyed and timid. Also, the last part of the book kind of loses momentum. Overall, although I didn’t LOVE The Maze Runner, I still really enjoyed it and I am definitely looking forward to the sequel.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Maze Runner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Rating: C+

Ok, let me begin by explaining something to the YA authors that may stumble upon this; a good book requires a beginning, middle, and END! Just because you've been offered a multiple-book deal, doesn't mean you can just drop your story with the hopes of picking it up in the next volume! We, the readers, will not blindly follow you!!!

The Maze Runner begins in the mysterious world of the maze, where a group of teenage boys have had their memories erased and must attempt to solve the complex puzzle. Although there are many hazards in their new world, life is fairly structured - that is, until the new boy, Thomas, is thrown in the mix! Thomas proves to be the key needed to help solve the puzzle and escape back to their former lives; however, what are they escaping to??? (You'll apparently have to wait until the second book to discover this fact...though I suspect you won't care enough to continue reading by this point.)

The Good: The Maze Runner is a fairly typical work of dystopian literature and would serve as a good recommendations for fans of The City of Ember and/or The Hunger Game series (however, The Maze Runner is nowhere near as good as The Hunger Games!) The story also focuses primarily on male characters trying to survive - a characteristic that might also make it appeal to boys.

The Bad: Honestly, The Maze Runner isn't really that great of book. The story was slow-paced, and (as I mentioned above) the ending left something to be desired. Although I might recommend this book if I was desperate, I don't think I would make this my first suggestion.