The Book of Luke by Jenny O’Connell

Picture 4The Book of Luke by Jenny O’Connell

Emily Abbott has always been considered the Girl Most Likely to Be Nice — but lately being nice hasn’t done her any good. Her parents have decided to move the family from Chicago back to their hometown of Boston in the middle of Emily’s senior year. Only Emily’s first real boyfriend, Sean, is in Chicago, and so is her shot at class valedictorian and early admission to the Ivy League. What’s a nice girl to do?

Then Sean dumps Emily on moving day and her father announces he’s staying behind in Chicago “to tie up loose ends,” and Emily decides that what a nice girl needs to do is to stop being nice.

She reconnects with her best friends in Boston, Josie and Lucy, only to discover that they too have been on the receiving end of some glaring Guy Don’ts. So when the girls have to come up with something to put in the senior class time capsule, they know exactly what to do. They’ll create a not-so-nice reference guide for future generations of guys — an instruction book that teaches them the right way to treat girls.

But when her friends draft Emily to test out their tips on Luke Preston — the hottest, most popular guy in school, who just broke up with Josie by email — Emily soon finds that Luke is the trickiest of test subjects . . . and that even a nice girl like Emily has a few things to learn about love.

I had a really hard time getting into this book and almost gave up on it.  Emily was really whiny for the first 50 pages.  But I stuck with it and ended up liking it more than I expected.  I ended up liking Emily and Luke and their story.  The book wasn’t overly memorable or anything, but it was cute and an easy read.  I liked the “lessons” at the beginning of each chapter.  Some of them are so true!

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

parttimeindianThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

What a great book!  It was so well written and the comics were perfect.  I found myself laughing and crying along with Junior many times.  There were many aspects of this book that are “tough” to deal with – racism, rez life, Junior’s reality – but overall the book ended on such a positive note.  For all the tears and hilarity, in the end it was the story of Junior being accepted by the world around him (on and off the rez) and accepting himself and his potential.  I recommend this book to anyone.

One of my favorite quotes from the book: “If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.”

Waiting on Wednesday 8/19/09

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The book I am eagerly awaiting this week is As You Wish by Jackson Pearce. (Release date: 8/25/09)

Picture 1Ever since Viola’s boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing—to have someone love her again, and, more importantly, to belong again—until one day she inadvertently summons a genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes.

But Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she won’t wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, Jinn can’t deny that he’s slowly falling for Viola. But it’s only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she’s in love with Jinn as well…and that if she makes her final two wishes, he will disappear from her life—and her world—forever.

There are a few reasons why I want to read this book.  Jackson Pearce is one of the authors at the Teen Stage at the Decatur Book Festival while I am volunteering and I am trying to read something from each of the authors that will be there this month.  Also, from reading her blog, I think Jackson Pearce is hilarious.  But on to the book!  It just looks fun.  It’s fantasy, but very different anything I’ve read recently.  And according to Steph at Steph Su Reads, “Jackson’s first book, AS YOU WISH, is coming out on August 25, and it is fantastic. A great love story with a hint of magic (I mean, genies? Yeah!). This one is worth the list price, so I’d encourage you to preorder it if you can.”  Good enough for me!

For those of you that might be wondering, the authors at the stage during my volunteer shift are:

  • Eleanor Davis & Chris Schweizer
  • Ally Carter
  • Terra McVoy & Lauren Myracle
  • Aimee Friedman & Jackson Pearce

I’m getting close to having read something from each of them except the first two.

Teaser Tuesdays 8/18/09

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
  • Share the title and author, too, so others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they want

My teaser:

Well, that is a big difference between my sister and me.  I hide the magazines filled with photos of naked women; my sister hides her tender romance novels that tell stories about naked women (and men).

~The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

I closed the book before noting the page.  Oops.  It was pretty close to the beginning as I haven’t started the book yet and I didn’t want to spoil myself!

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

Picture 6 Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

Everyone thinks their parents are embarrassing, but Hannah knows she’s got them all beat. Her dad made a fortune showing pretty girls–and his “party” lifestyle–all over the Internet, and her mom, who was once one of her dad’s girlfriends, is now the star of her own website. After getting the wrong kind of attention for far too long, Hannah has learned how to stay out of sight…and that’s how she likes it.

Of course, being unknown isn’t helping her get noticed by gorgeous, confident Josh, who Hannah knows is her soul mate. Between trying to figure out a way to get him to notice her, dealing with her parents, and wondering why she can’t stop thinking about another guy, Finn, Hannah feels like she’s going crazy. She’s determined to make things work out the way she wants….only what she wants may not be what she needs.

This book is so great!  I really liked Hannah.  She seemed very real.  I enjoyed reading about her relationship struggles with her mother, father, friends, and boys.  There was just a sweetness about this book.  I really liked Teagan and Finn and how their relationships with Hannah help her grow.

This is the second Elizabeth Scott book I’ve read.  Perfect You was good, but I liked Hannah more than I liked Kate, which made this book more enjoyable.

Win The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Picture 5The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is by far my favorite book I’ve read this year.  I’m ridiculously excited about the next book in the trilogy, Catching Fire, coming out 9/1.  (I’m positive that will be in an upcoming Waiting on Wednesday post!)  I’ve read some comments on Paperbackswap and elsewhere that some people haven’t read it, so I thought I’d do a contest and give away a copy!  (Not my copy, of course, as it is a keeper.  It also had an unfortunate incident with an ice pop while I was reading it.  You’ll get a new copy from Amazon or Borders.)

The Rules:

Leave a comment with your e-mail address below.  You can earn extra entries by doing any of the following:

  • +1 for leaving a comment
  • +5 for promoting this contest in an entry on your blog
  • +1 for promoting this contest on your sidebar
  • +1 for referring a friend (the referee should put in their post who referred them and I’ll get you both an extra entry)
  • +2 for telling me the name of and a little bit about your favorite YA book in 2009

I’ll take entries through midnight eastern 8/25 and contact the winner on the 26th. Good luck!

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Picture 3Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls, Bk 2) by Ally Carter

After staking out, obtaining, and then being forced to give up her first boyfriend, Josh, all Cammie Morgan wants is a peaceful semester. But that’s easier said than done when you’re a CIA legacy and go to the premier school in the world…for spies.

Cammie may have a genius IQ , but there are still a lot of things she doesn’t know. Like, will her ex-boyfriend even remember she exists? And how much trouble is she really in after what happened last semester? And most of all, why is her mother acting so strangely?

Despite Cammie’s best intentions to be a normal student, danger seems to follow her. She and her best friends learn that their school is going to play host to some mysterious guests–code name: “Blackthorne. Then she’s blamed for a security breach that leaves the school’s top-secret status at risk. Soon Cammie and her friends are crawling through walls and surveilling the school to learn the truth about Blackthorne and clear Cammie’s name. Even though they have confidence in their spy skills, this time the targets are tougher (and hotter), and the stakes for Cammie’s heart–and her beloved school–are higher than ever.

I officially love this series now.  This is the second book and it was just as fun as the first one.  Even more fun, perhaps.  The first book did a lot of set up, but I felt this one allowed Cammie and her friends to grow.  And of course the new additions, the boys.  The affect they had on the girls and the school was pretty fun.  Zach was a fun character and I liked that Cammie never really knew what was going on with him.

I am still itching to do an Alias rewatch now.  I’ll admit that my dog and I were pavement artists on our walk this afternoon.  Marshall is definitely too nosy to be any good at it.  We’ll have to work on him.

Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

Picture 2Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

Growing up in a world of wealth and pastel-tinted entitlement, fifteen-year-old Carly has always relied on the constancy—and authenticity—of her sister, Anna. But when fourteen-year-old Anna turns plastic-perfect-pretty over the course of a single summer, everything starts to change. And there are boys involved, complicating things as boys always do. With warmth, insight, and an unparalleled gift for finding humor even in stormy situations, beloved author Lauren Myracle dives into the tumultuous waters of sisterhood and shows that even very different sisters can learn to help each other stay afloat.

I had really high hopes for this book.  I’d read an interview on another author’s blog with Lauren Myracle and she talked about setting her books in Atlanta because she grew up here.  I thought this would be a refreshing change from reading books set in NYC or LA.  Well, it wasn’t much of a change.  I guess it was just equal opportunity because all this book proved is that you don’t have to live in NYC or LA to be a rich, vapid mean-girl.  The book was set in Buckhead which should have been sign #1 that I wasn’t going to like it.  I don’t have anything against Buckhead itself.  I have family that lives there and I love them dearly.  I don’t have anything against the “elite” Atlanta private schools.  Again, I have family that went to one of them.  But I did have a problem with the description of the rest of Atlanta.  The one that got to me the most – people that live in Little Five Points are cocaine using lesbians.  Huh.  As it turns out, I live in L5P and have never used any illegal drugs and I’m not a lesbian.  Yes, it was a minor part of the book, but it was reiterated a few times towards the beginning and really turned me off.  I mean, seriously?  A fifth grader wanted to leave a friend’s birthday party because the mom had a ladybug tattoo on her wrist?  The part that amused me the most was that Carly probably actually would have liked and fit in in L5P if she wasn’t so busy being condescending.

There were redeeming moments when I did like Carly and felt she was making a breakthrough, but then she’d do something stupid and I’d lose respect for her again.  I felt the book tried to tackle subjects like religion and racism and kind of failed.  I struggled with Carly’s relationship with Anna.  There were parts of it that seemed absolutely authentic.  I have a sister that’s two years older than me, and we went through some of the issues Carly and Anna dealt with, so it was interesting to read the “big sister” POV, but usually it left me wanting the explain the “little sister” POV to Carly for Anna, or explain to Anna that she didn’t have to always be in need of rescue.

So in the end, I was left a little empty.  I kept waiting for Anna and Carly to grow up, and I guess they did a little in the end, but I spent most of the book a little annoyed with both of them.  I really liked Vonzelle and Roger and even Peyton when she wasn’t saying “JK. LOL. Enter.”  I’d like to read a book about Vonzelle.

Lauren Myracle is one of the authors I should get to meet at the Decatur Book Festival.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Picture 1 Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

The first thing I have to say about this book is that the writing is incredibly captivating.  I decided to start reading as I was going to bed a couple nights ago.  I was only going to read for 15 minutes or so, but I found that I couldn’t put the book down and ended up finishing 80 pages and staying up later than I had planned.

In the beginning, the chapters are short and alternate between Grace’s POV and Sam’s POV.  Later, the chapters get longer and several chapters will stay with one character for a while.  I really liked getting both characters’ perspective and thoughts.  It made both characters (and the book) seem more well rounded.   A few parts in the middle were a little slow, but overall I liked the book.

I have seen this book compared to New Moon by Stephenie Meyer and I really disagree with the association.  Yes, it’s about a girl and a werewolf, but Grace is much more likable than Bella.  The drama that Grace and Sam faced was much more interesting in my mind than what Bella and Jacob dealt with.

One last thing – it was really weird reading about (and worrying about) the cold while enduring August in Georgia.

Maggie Stiefvater is one of the authors I should get to meet at the Decatur Book Festival.