Thursday, March 26, 2009

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

From her first moment at Merryweather High, Melinda Sordino knows she’s an outcast. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops—a major infraction in high school society—so her old friends won’t talk to her and people she doesn’t know glare at her. She retreats into her head, where the lies and hypocrisies of high school stand in stark relief to her own silence, making her all the more mute. But it’s not so comfortable in her head, either—there’s something banging around in there that she doesn’t want to think about. Try as she might to avoid it, it won’t go away, until there is a painful confrontation. Once that happens, she can’t be silent—she must speak the truth.
One word: GORGEOUS! I can’t believe I have never read this before! Of course I knew the story, who doesn’t? But I wasn’t expecting Speak to well speak to me as much as it did. The heroine Melinda Sordino is a believable, bitter, teenage outcast who represents a little piece of everyone. This novel illustrates the importance of speaking up without sounding preachy, but with Anderson’s flowing, yet gritty writing, the message is received with cheers and tears. It is no wonder that Speak has become an instant classic and been turned into an equally moving movie with a wonderful performance by Kristen Stewart as Melinda. My advice: Read it and then See it. You will not be disappointed.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

First off, I just want to say sorry not having updated sooner. Life has been so hectic lately! Now that Spring Break is just a week away, I should be able to get back on track.

Liga lives modestly in her own personal heaven, given to her by natural magic in exchange for her earthly life. Her two daughters, gentle Branza and curious Urdda, grow up in this sof world, protected from the violence, predation, and village prejudice that once harmed their mother. But the real world cannot be denied forever--magicked men and wild bears break down the borders of Liga's refuge. Now, having known heaven, how will these three women survive in a world where beauty and brutality lie side by side?

Lanagan's darkly enchanting first novel is a tale of "journeys and transformations. From girl to witch to woman. From boy to beast to man. From hell to heaven to...reality." I usually read through books farely quickly, but Tender Morsels took me over a week. A slow, steady pace is needed to truly absorb this hardy novel. The story has many plotlines and covers many years, but Lanagan's thick and descriptive prose leaves the reader plodding forward, seeping up the knowledge of the good and bad that is a part of our world. The original diction that is Lanagan's specialty radiates a fairytale-esque quality. With it's mature, and sometimes crude subject matter, Tender Morsels is a book that demands maturity and time enough to fully comprehend it's complexity.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

16-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science...and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.
There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship...and reality. Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?

I can tell that this is going to be a great summer read! And the cover is gorgeous. Is it just me, or does the dude look kind of like Robert Pattinson? Sea Change will be released on June 1, 2009.

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

I decided to read this book after hearing all the hooplah about the movie-which looked starred one of my favorite actresses Kate Winslet. I am so glad I did! The day after finishing my library copy, I went out and bought a copy of my own. The Reader easily wormed its way into my favorite books list. Since I'm having trouble finding the right words to express just how amazing this book is, I'm going to share R. Ellis's review from Amazon:
"Originally published in Switzerland, and gracefully translated into English by Carol Brown Janeway, The Reader is a brief tale about sex, love, reading, and shame in postwar Germany. Michael Berg is 15 when he begins a long, obsessive affair with Hanna, an enigmatic older woman. He never learns very much about her, and when she disappears one day, he expects never to see her again. But, to his horror, he does. Hanna is a defendant in a trial related to Germany's Nazi past, and it soon becomes clear that she is guilty of an unspeakable crime. As Michael follows the trial, he struggles with an overwhelming question: What should his generation do with its knowledge of the Holocaust? "We should not believe we can comprehend the incomprehensible, we may not compare the incomparable.... Should we only fall silent in revulsion, shame, and guilt? To what purpose?"
The Reader, which won the Boston Book Review's Fisk Fiction Prize, wrestles with many more demons in its few, remarkably lucid pages. What does it mean to love those people--parents, grandparents, even lovers--who committed the worst atrocities the world has ever known? And is any atonement possible through literature? Schlink's prose is clean and pared down, stripped of unnecessary imagery, dialogue, and excess in any form. What remains is an austerely beautiful narrative of the attempt to breach the gap between Germany's pre- and postwar generations, between the guilty and the innocent, and between words and silence."