Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Question of Attraction, by David Nicholls

A Question of Attraction: A Novel
Fun and sweet coming of age  at college kind of thing, a younger writer's book than One Day, but still very charming and touching and kind of squirm-worthy, Hornby-ish bits.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, by Peggy Orenstein

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture Fun, thoughtful and well-wrtitten book on the familiar topic of raising daughters in a pink-obsessed world. Orenstein neatly balances research with her personal experiences raising her daughter Daisy, which added a level and warmth and urgency to what can be a dry topic. Not sure why this book has managed to ruffle so many feathers- she writes about the same issues as so many other writers have, but this is the title that has so many people up in arms. Great read, won't change the world, but if you've never paid attention to the issue, this would be a solid place to start.
Other good books, though, on the same topic:
Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes, by Sharon Lamb
So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids

Born to Buy, by Juliet Schor

The Lover's Dictionary, by David Levithan

The Lover's Dictionary: A Novel
Wonderful, poignant experimental fiction. Each word entry paints a vivid and fully realized scene from a relationship, the story of which gets told though the alphabetized entries- and the novel format only adds to the strength of what could have been a very familiar plot. Phenomenal, just so well done. I would show this along with Leanne Shapton's Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry to show anyone the strength of nontraditional narratives.

Trapped, by Michael Northrop

Very quick, well done YA about a blizzard that strands 7 students in a high school for days. While snow piles up around, and the school building gradually succumbs to the elements, the tension is nicely balanced by the realistic interplay between the students and really gave a great sense of claustrophobia.

Everything is Going to Be Great, by Rachel Shukert

Everything Is Going to Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour Very funny narrative of Rachel Shukert's "underfunded and overexposed European tour"- laugh out loud funny in parts. Her adventures when travelling through Europe and then settling in Amsterdam after the theater troupe she was with left are raunchy and hilarious.

Shutout, by Brendan Halpin

Really wonderful, well done YA  about girls's sports, friendship, sportsmanship, and so much more. Amanda and Lena have been inseparable friends for years, and partners on the soccer field, but when, as freshmen, Lena is chosen for the varsity team and Amanda feels sidelined onto the junior varsity, their friendship is challenged, and they grow apart. This was just so well written, the characters were real and believable, it was great YA without being manipulative or trauma drama.

Hothouse, by Chris Lynch

Hothouse: A Novel Pretty awful trauma drama YA. After their fathers, both firemen, die in a work incident, Russell and DJ are treated like heroes arouind town, until it is discovered that their fathers were under the influence at the time. The story could have been well done but the characters were so 2 dimensional, and supporting characters even weaker, with  plot that could have been seen from space...

Made in Detroit, by Paul Clemens

Made in Detroit Interesting memoir, but not as good as I hoped it would be.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dark Life, by Kat Falls

Dark Life Pretty ridiculous YA action adventure scifi. Ty has  spent his entire life as a pioneer- born in the new undersea colonies created after sea level rise rendered most of the US (the rest of the world is never mentioned, unfortunately- one of the major flaws of the book) uninhabitable. Life below the water is interestingly, if childishly and sketchily, depicted, but his collaboration with Gemma, a Topsider who comes to try to find her older brother leads to some absurd scenes, and an ending you could see from the start.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Book Stops Here, by Ian Sansom

The Book Stops Here: A Mobile Library Mystery Very funny Mobile Librarian mystery from Ian Sansom. Israel Armstrong and his librarian colleage Ted are sent to England to attend a conference, which goes unspeakably awry. I really like this series.

Side note: 1000th post! woot.

Love Letters, by Katie Fforde

Love Letters: A Novel This was awful beyond all reason, and such a dissapointment. I look forward to Katie Fforde's light romantic real-estate porn-y trash, but this was so bad I could barely finish it. Shy bookseller Laura is talked into helping to run a literary festival after the bookshop she works in closes, but in order ot make a success out of it, she must talk reclusive Irish genius Dermot into appearing at the festival. Revolting shenanigans ensue, and made me want to burn the book, which, I must say, is rare for me.

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go Haunting and beautifully done adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel of the same name. A love triangle between Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy is wildly complicated by their strange circumstances, and tragedy ensues.

Efrain's Secret, by Sofia Quintero

Efrain's Secret Pretty strained urban YA. Despite good writing and good characters, the plot of this one and the LACK of language made it feel unreal. Efrain wants to go to a Ivy League school, despite some discouragement from teachers, family and friends, who feel that he should be looking at a historically black university instead. To try to earn money for SAT tutoring and application fees, as well as tuition, he starts dealing drugs with an old friend, and everything falls apart.

Girls on the Edge, by Leonard Sax

Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls-Sexual Identity, the Cyberbubble, Obsessions, Environmental Toxins
Interesting look at girlhood now, with what the author sees as four factors causing a new crisis for American girls- early sexualization, the "cyber bubble", obsessions, and environmental toxins leading to early pubescence. Good read- if  a little repetitive, but maybe only because I've read it other places as well.

Rogue Island, by Bruce DeSilva

Rogue Island Excellent Providence-set mystery. Reporter Mulligan gets caught up in a wild and twisty investigation, tyring to solve what it behind a series of arson fires in the Mount Hope neighborhood, and his lifelong connections and loyalties are strained as secrets are revealed. This was pretty fantastic, local flavor aside, and well deserves the national recognition it is getting.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mockingbirds, by Daisy Whitney

The Mockingbirds I did not love this, although it was set in Providence, which is usually automatic win for me.
Plot didn't make a ton of sense, and the rape that was the central issue was so grey it left me very uncomfortable with how things played out.

Bloody Valentine, by Melissa De La Cruz

Bloody Valentine (A Blue Bloods Book) (Blue Bloods Novel)Hot, rich teenage vampires roaming the earth in search of love and blood. A short little Blue Bloods filler of a book, not a ton of plot, but very pretty.