Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Winter Break Mash-Up

Ahhhhh. Winter Break. For some (like me), this means Christmas. For others in that category (also like me), this means.......BOOOOOOOOKKKKKKSSSSSSS!!!!! Yes, I did receive many books for Christmas. I have also read most of them in the week that followed, earning me the title of "book freak" from many in my family. I'm going to do a quick review of all of the ones that I have read so far.

Paper Towns by John Green
Once, as we were leaving a stage combat class, my friend said, " Oh my god, that was so much fun. Like, I was about to die from all the fun." This was the sensation I experienced reading this book. The story is that Q (short for Quentin), has been in love with his neighbor, Margo, since he was a kid. One night, she climbs into his room and employs him as an assistant in her various acts of vengeance and kindness around town. Some include: leaving a rotten fish and vandalizing her former boyfriend's house and the house of her best friend, whom he was cheating on her with, going into a closed skyscraper in the middle of town to see the city, and breaking into Sea World, as it is the only theme park in her area that she hasn't broken into. The next day, Margo disappears, leaving small clues for Q on how to find her. You get caught up in the mystery and find yourself trying to decode Margo's messages before Q does. The book has a powerful ending while still being fun and exciting. I really loved the way that Green incorporated the normalcy of "teenager-dom" into a VERY un-normal (for lack of a better term) situation. Although someone like Margo is one in a thousand, you feel like she could be anywhere. 

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
This book is more along the lines of a YA fantasy. However, while still very easily sliding under that label, I don't think that it has completely succumbed to the stereotypes of its genre. The book has a very imaginative storyline. It takes place around 1850 in England. Seventeen-year-old Katherine is send to her uncle, where she is supposed to send him to a lunatic asylum. She then discovers that he is a wonderful old man and has many beautiful inventions. She also befriends a young mute boy named Davy and her uncle's apprentice, Lane, whom she soon begins to develop feelings for. As you can see, the book sounds pretty generic. I think that the writing is what stood out to me. Cameron artfully creates a world that you can imagine yourself in, and she has very good character development. You can really feel what Katharine is feeling. 

The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats
I don't know how I can not have heard of this author before. She is an amazing writer. This story is about a (very bratty) girl named Cecily is more or less kicked out of her estate and forced to live in "occupied Wales". Her father becomes one of the English "occupiers" and she ascends the social ladder. Her servant, Gwenhwyfar, a Welsh girl, has a deep hatred for the English, with good reason. The Welsh soon start to overtake the English, and "the brat", as Gwen calls her, gets a look at her life from the opposite side. Coats has amazing characters. The way that she writes correctly portrays every feeling that her two main characters go through with such detail that you can feel what they feel surprisingly accurately. The plot is also good--the whole book is very well written historical fiction overall. I love reading historical fiction that isn't just fact after fact after fact after fact after fact. Its a hard task, and I think that J. Anderson Coats does it extremely well. 

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
The tagline on the cover of this book: "If you're lost, you might need to swim against the tide." Ugh. Before reading this, I thought this would be a corny feel-good book. So it was a pleasant surprise when I discovered characters that I related to, an unconventional plot, and overall, the opposite of what I was expecting. The story is about a 12-year-old girl named Willow Chance, adopted at birth and evolved into nothing less than a prodigy. In her twelfth year, both of her parents are killed in a car accident. She is taken in by new friends and a school counselor who hates his job. I know that the plot sounds pretty simple, but all the little details that Sloan slips in are what makes it special. The book is written in broken sentence/list format sometimes, which I liked. It conveyed the rushing-ness of the human thought.

That's it, everybody. I hoped that you enjoyed and HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY YAY THIS IS MY LAST POST EVER OF 2013 AUSPICIOUS MOMENTS.


  1. That's a lot of reading! It seems that the historical genre in particular is one that might be good to explore - lot of potential there. Happy reading in 2014!