Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounding by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to death before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
“Acclaimed writer Suzanne Collins delivers equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present.” WOW!!! From this moment on, The Hunger Games will be on my list of favorite books. I can honestly say that I have only good things to write about in this review, (which I’m sure you readers know, does not happen often). Katniss Everdeen is by far, one of the best fictional heroines out there. Her spunk and determination keep her going in the fight to save what is most important to her: her family. These qualities are ones that, after reading this, ever girl will strive for. Every single character was well-developed and you couldn’t help but get attached to them all. For example, even though the characters of Katniss’ mother, sister Prim, and best friend Gale, are only present at the beginning of the book, the reader learns so much about them in the following pages, that it is as if they right there next to Katniss. The story itself is a frightening one, with a horrifying premise. I couldn’t help comparing The Hunger Games to The Olympics; how they conduct opening ceremonies, trying to outdo each other’s costumes, and interviews, helping the viewers get to know the contestants. It’s a terrifying though that this is what our country could turn into. When thinking about how much money is spent on the entertainment of movies such as Saw or The Hills Have Eyes, it’s possible to imagine that we could stoop so low as to find watching the live sacrifices of human beings entertaining. The book had just the right amount of gore and violence, with a touch of romance to even things out. When I reached the last page, and saw the words “End of Book One” I felt both elated and frustrated. I am so glad that the world of The Hunger Games will continue, but I don’t think I will be able to wait until the next chapter! I would pay a million dollars to have the next book in my hands right now! But, I guess I’ll have to wait like everyone else…*sigh*

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Banned Books Week

To celebrate Banned Books Week, I've found this list of the top banned books of 2000-2007. I gotta say I was pretty surprised at some of the books on here. I highlighted the ones I've read-feel free to highlight/bold the titles you’ve read and post it on your blog!
1. Harry Potter J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War Robert Cormier
4. Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck
5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou
6. Scary Stories Alvin Schwartz
7. Fallen Angels Walter Dean Myers
8. It’s Perfectly Normal Robie Harris
9. And Tango Makes Three Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
10. Captain Underpants Dav Pilkey (my brother loved them...)
11. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
12. The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison
13. Forever Judy Blume
14. The Color Purple Alice Walker
15. The Perks of Being A Wallflower Stephen Chbosky
16. Killing Mr. Griffin Lois Duncan
17. Go Ask Alice Anonymous
18. King and King Linda de Haan
19. Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
20. Bridge to Terabithia Katherine Paterson
21. The Giver Lois Lowry
22. We All Fall Down Robert Cormier
23. To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee`
24. Beloved Toni Morrison
25. The Face on the Milk Carton Caroline Cooney
26. Snow Falling on Cedars David Guterson
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead James Lincoln Collier
28. In the Night Kitchen Maurice Sendak
29. His Dark Materials series Philip Pullman
30. Gossip Girl series Cecily von Ziegesar
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know Sonya Sones
32. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging Louise Rennison
33. It’s So Amazing Robie Harris
34. Arming America Michael Bellasiles
35. Kaffir Boy Mark Mathabane
36. Blubber Judy Blume
37. Brave New World Aldous Huxley
38. Athletic Shorts Chris Crutcher
39. Bless Me, Ultima Rudolfo Anaya
40. Life is Funny E.R. Frank
41. Daughters of Eve Lois Duncan
42. Crazy Lady Jane Leslie Conly
43. The Great Gilly Hopkins Katherine Paterson
44. You Hear Me Betsy Franco
45. Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut
46. Whale Talk Chris Crutcher
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby Dav Pilkey
48. The Facts Speak for Themselves Brock Cole
49. The Terrorist Caroline Cooney
50. Mick Harte Was Here Barbara Park
51. Summer of My German Soldier Bette Green
52. The Upstairs Room Johanna Reiss
53. When Dad Killed Mom Julius Lester
54. Blood and Chocolate Annette Curtis Klause
55. The Fighting Ground Avi
56. The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien
57. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Mildred Taylor
58. Fat Kid Rules the World K.L. Going
59. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things Carolyn Mackler
60. A Time To Kill John Grisham
61. Rainbow Boys Alex Sanchez
62. Olive’s Ocean Kevin Henkes
63. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Ken Kesey
64. A Day No Pigs Would Die Robert Newton Peck
65. Speak Laurie Halse Anderson
66. Always Running Luis Rodriguez
67. Black Boy Richard Wright
68. Julie of the Wolves Jean Craighead George
69. Deal With It! Esther Drill
70. Detour for Emmy Marilyn Reynolds
71. Draw Me A Star Eric Carle
72. Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
73. Harris and Me Gary Paulsen
74. Junie B. Jones series Barbara Park
75. So Far From the Bamboo Grove Yoko Watkins
76. Song of Solomon Toni Morrison
77. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes Chris Crutcher
78. What’s Happening to My Body Book Lynda Madaras
79. The Boy Who Lost His Face Louis Sachar
80. The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
81. Anastasia Again! Lois Lowry
82. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Judy Blume
83. Bumps In the Night Harry Allard
84. Goosebumps series R.L. Stine
85. Shade’s Children Garth Nix
86. Cut Patricia McCormick
87. Grendel John Gardner
88. The House of Spirits Isabel Allende
89. I Saw Esau Iona Opte
90. Ironman Chris Crutcher
91. The Stupids series Harry Allard
92. Taming the Star Runner S.E. Hinton
93. Then Again, Maybe I Won’t Judy Blume
94. Tiger Eyes Judy Blume
95. Like Water for Chocolate Laura Esquivel
96. Nathan’s Run John Gilstrap
97. Pinkerton, Behave! Steven Kellog
98. Freaky Friday Mary Rodgers
99. Halloween ABC Eve Merriam
100. Heather Has Two Mommies Leslea Newman

Monday, October 6, 2008

How to Ditch Your Fairy-Justine Larbalestier

Welcome to New Avalon, where everyone has a personal fairy. Though invisible to the naked eye, a personal fairy, like a specialized good luck charm, is vital to success. And in the case of the students at New Avalon Sports High, it might just determine whether you make the team, pass a class, or find that perfect outfit. But for 14-year-old Charlie, having a Parking Fairy is worse than having nothing at all—especially when the school bully carts her around like his own personal parking pass. Enter: The Plan. At first, teaming up with arch-enemy Fiorenza (who has an All-The-Boys-Like-You Fairy) seems like a great idea. But when Charlie unexpectedly gets her heart’s desire, it isn’t at all what she thought it would be like, and she’ll have resort to extraordinary measures to ditch her fairy.
How to Ditch Your Fairy is “delightful story of fairies, friendships, and figuring out how to make your own magic.” The world the author has created is so interesting! In New Avalon, kids are educated according to their talents; there is Sports School, Arts School, etc. I wish it was like that in the U.S.-Reading School here I come! Justine Larbalestier even created her own vocabulary for the book, which I normally don’t find appealing, but these words were just so funny, I’m sure I’ll find myself using them at school soon. I loved the character of Charlie-she was so sarcastic and always up to something. The Chapter headings also made me chuckle, with tallies of Charlie's demerits, conversations with her crush Steffi, and number of public service hours. The only problem I found was that Charlie was able to do whatever she pleased, without any concern from her parents. More than once in the book, Charlie left from school and then spent the whole night out without stopping at home. Ever heard of curfew? How to Ditch Your Fairy is a funny and charming read, and not to mention completely doos!