Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Don't You Know There's a War On?

Don't You Know There's a War On?

Avi is a pretty renowned writer, ya know? So I had some pretty high expectations for this novel. It didn't really live up to them. Or maybe I'm too far removed at this point. I haven't read Avi in a long time; I'm much older and my reading skills are much higher. But I didn't really like it. 

Don't You Know There's A War On? is about a young boy whose father is at war, same as most of the other students in his class. This novel shows how the war changed the lives of everyone, including children. And I really think that was the purpose. So maybe I just need to read this book with the recommended demographic to understand it better.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

That Was Then, This Is Now

That Was Then, This Is Now

"Things used to be simple and now they weren't"

"I wish I was a kid again, when I had all the answers"

When I first picked up this book I had high hopes, but I also knew that they could be shattered quickly. Hinton did amazing with The Outsiders - it's one of my favorite books - but I was not as fond of Tex. So I just didn't know. (Also, I didn't realize how many books Hinton has written!)

That Was Then, This Is Now is a coming of age book that could be said to be a companion to The Outsiders.  It takes place in the same town. Ponyboy Curtis and some of the Shepherds make appearances, even playing a small role in the story line.  The story is about Bryon and  Mark, best friends who are closer to brothers. Mark has been living with Bryon and his mother for years.But of course, as they get older, things start to change and it starts to lead the boys in different ways. And this book tells their story.

I did rather enjoy this novel.  It is not The Outsiders. It did not make me cry. It did speak to me though. I did like it. And I do recommend it!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

After watching The Office the other night, where Michael came up with the "unique" idea of giving out golden tickets to customers, I was inspired to read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. 

And it was super great. I'd tell you the storyline, but you already know it, I'm sure. I love Charlie. It's cute and I really like the moral. The good kid wins, you know? But really. Love. Can't wait to read it to my kids! Poor kids. I'm going to read to them alllll the time :) 

Also, the songs from the second movie are totally found in the book. Mostly because that movie was much closer to the storyline of the book than the first one.

Saturday, August 20, 2011



Thirsty by MT Anderson

"And I realize that the decision to be human is not one single instant, but is a thousand choices made every day. It is choices we make every second and requires constant vigilance. We have to fight to remain human"

When I saw this book I thought it was made to make fun of Twilight, actually written in '97. Were any Twilight fans even *born* then?? 

Thirst is a satire, but not on the vampire pop culture cult. (is that redundant?)It's not even a vampire book. It's about being a teenager and being human. Sometimes it takes turning into a vampire to realize what it takes to be a human.

Reading it without the lens of knowledge of intent of Anderson, I don't think I would have enjoyed this book. It seems that many folks did not enjoy Thirsty because they thought it was a vampire book. Silly people. Don't you know who Anderson is and his writing style?

But I did enjoy this book. 
Did I love it? No. 
Was it worth reading? Yes.
Will I read it again? Maybe.
Do I recommend it for you? I don't know. 

Friday, August 19, 2011


Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

We have all heard of Nefertiti, Queen of Egypt.  Moran tells her story from the unique perspective of her younger half-sister, Mutny. Nefertiti married Pharaoh Akhenaten, and together they appeared to be quite heretic due to Akhenaten's choice to worship the sun, Aten, as the only Egyptian God. 
They story starts as Akhenaten is still Amenhotep, after the Sun God Amen and his father, and his older brother, and heir, is still alive. It is implied that Amenhotep/Akhenaten kills his sick brother to hasten his own path to the throne. 

Nefertiti and Mutny are still at their parents' home, and the story shows the path of Nefertiti to marry Akhenaten and for her to become Chief Wife and Queen over Akhenaten's first wife. This is important because Nefertiti's father and Akehnaten's mother want Nefertiti to reign in Akhenaten's heretic ways, which is imperative to the storyline, as well as the happiness and support of the Egyptians to Akhenaten. 

Mutny, our narrator, as the younger sister, is thrown into Nefertiti's life as a constant support. Nefertiti walks all over her and demands her presence, to the point where Mutny has no life of her own. 

I strongly recommend this book. I really enjoyed it. Moran explained the importance of the Gods in Egyptian life, as well as the relevance of the change from Amen to Aten. The relationship between the sisters is very real, and the writing is great. I feel like I really got to know Mutny while learning a little bit about Egyptian history. Moran's Nefertiti should definitely go on your list.

[Aside: Nefertiti reminds me a lot of Anne Boleyn. And now that I say that, Akhenaten and
Henry VIII do have quite a few similarities themselves!]

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Rest of Her Life

Rest of Her Life, The

This is my second Laura Moriarty book (turns out it's her second book as well) and I enjoyed it nearly as much as I did the first.  

The story is told form the point-of-view of Leigh, the mother of Kara. Kara was driving, on the phone, with a friend and a dog in the car. And she hit a fellow student, one who was in the crosswalk, headed home. And she died. 

The novel tells the story of this family as they cope, as they try to heal, individually and as a family. Leigh struggles in her relationship with Kara; they were never close and the gap becomes larger because of the accident. At first she doesn't know how to look at her daughter, she sees her as guilty and cannot seem to reconcile her feelings. This novel is all about their relationship, the mother-daughter dynamic and how it changes. 

I did enjoy this book and I would recommend it. I personally did not resonate with Leigh the way Moriarty intended, but I think that is because I am not a mother of a teenager. I am not the intended demographic, so I did not, could not, identify as well. Yet I did like the book. And I think you should read it. Especially you, Mom! :) 

Aside: There was one part, near the end, and I'm like, "Oh! This is it! This is the surprise! This is the twist!!" And then I remembered Jodi Picoult just reviewed the book, she didn't write it. So watch out for that part!