I'm preparing my book group questions and I'm working on Nov's book (Looking for Alaska--John Green). Naturally I've been searching the Internets for already made questions 'cuz I'm lazy like that. No such luck, but I came across John Green's blog. And then Andrew Auseon's (Funny Little Monkey) blog. I created a new section over there (to the right) for YA Author blogs because there are a gazillion of them. Remember when authors were so untouchable? Now they're blogging like the rest of us. I bet they even go to the grocery store. Anyway, my point... both of these guys (who you should totally read BTW, the books and the blogs) are my age, actually slightly younger, and they sound wicked cool and they have books and they write and one of them has a baby too and there's this group of YA authors and they all talk to each other and I wish I was a part of it.
Susan and Gary have always known their huge garden was a little odd--Gary has embraced it while Susan has feared it. Forced to take her invalid brother to the garden everyday, Susan resents the demand on her time, as well as being forced to go to the spooky garden she has never liked. But the more Gary goes in to the garden--particularly the Quantum maze--the stronger and better he feels and Susan is obligated to make her brother well. The Quantum maze sends the siblings to other universes--parallel universes--some of them better and some of them not.
This was a real freaky book. The ending completely threw me off. I liked it--I want to know more about Quantum and whether or not the science in this book is "real." Remember that show Quantum Leap? It all makes sense to me now.
************ Reading: Who On My Nightstand: Knows?
Fifteen year old Adrien is barely recovering from her brain aneurysm 2 years earlier when she is sent to work at her aunt's summer camp. Adrien is constantly waiting for another aneurysm to kill her and spends most of her time being bitter and grumpy and feeling trapped between the real world and a spirit world. She meets a boy--Paul--who also has a connection to the spirit world and eventually decides she wants to be part of the living world.
This book had a lot of potential--I really liked the idea of a girl trapped between two worlds. I liked Adrien's attraction to Paul. I liked Paul. But it seemed like it fizzled at the end. There was a great buildup that led to a disappointing finish. I was expecting more at the climax and the resolution afterwards. It seemed like Goobie gave up, like she didn't know where she wanted to go with the story.
************ Reading: Either Jailbait or Mister Monday. Not sure yet On My Nightstand: More, more, more
Georgia Tate cuts her vacation with her father short when he touches her innapropriately. She tells her grandmother who comes to get her right away. Foolishly thinking she's protecting Georgia from embarassment, she does not tell her husband what has happened. Georgia doesn't offer to tell him either. It doesn't matter much until her grandmother dies and Georgia's grandfather thinks she should live with her own dad instead of take care of an old man like him. Georgia is afraid to tell her grandfather the truth and reluctantly agrees to live with her father.
Georgia manages to avoid her father's advances until one night he gets drunk and rapes her. She knows he has crossed the line and she seeks refuge with the transvestite who lives in her apartment building. He convinces her to talk to her grandfather and eventually the police. Her grandfather sends money for her to take a bus home. Unfortunately, her grandfather gets into a car accident before she arrives and is in the hospital instead of picking her up at the bus station. The novel ends on a hopeful note with her and her grandfather reuniting and recognizing that they are a family.
This is a very disturbing, haunting novel. I've begun to read things differently--I used to always identify with the teen protagonist but lately I've started to identify with the parents too (*gasp*). I just can't fathom how a parent could ever hurt a child like that. I think this was even harder for me to read now that I've crossed that line (the parent line). This is not an easy read, but it's well worth it. I think high schools girls will eat it up, but middle school girls could benefit from this as well. If Georgia had been honest with her grandfather, this tragedy could have been prevented. Sadly there are lots of girls that are probably in the same situation and don't know how to get out.
************ Reading: Before Wings -- Beth Goobie On My Nightstand: a bunch
Doug and Andy are best friends. Doug is obsessed with trains, particularly his model trains and the community he creates with them in his basement. Andy is a football player and actor who still manages to be there when Doug needs him. Doug and Andy are inseparable, even though Doug's therapist would like to see Doug forget all about Andy.
Pete Hautman has written another great book (Godless). At the risk of giving anything away, let's just say that not everything is as it seems. Engrossing and well-written, recommend this book to boys. High school boys seem the likely target, although there's nothing preventing middle schoolers from reading as well. Girls who read anything and everything will enjoy it too.
Attempting to escape his own life for a while, Kit auditions for a play and is cast as the lead in a controversial story. Although he's never had any official acting experience, he blows away the other cast members and eventually the audience with his ability. He's been "acting" his entire life--hiding the fact that he's gay. The play gives him the confidence to kind of come out to his parents--the words are never spoken but there seems to be an understanding and acceptance between them.
The story is told from two points of view: Kit's and Lindsay, the female lead in the play. She's a regular in the school plays and believes everyone else is beneath her until she meets Kit. She is attracted to his talent and his UNinterest in her.
Scenes from the play are interspersed throughout the story and help frame the inner conflicts faced by both Kit and Lindsay. Well-written, good plot, good characters; junior and high school students are probably the best audience. A sub-plot of censorship surrounding the controversial play is particularly interesting in today's censorship-prone climate.
I did a bunch of reading over the last couple of weeks when I was on vacation...
The Destiny of Linus Hoppe has an intriguing premise-- there's a test that high schoolers must take to decide where they will live/work after graduation. The smartest students will stay in the clean, safe, richer realm one. Other students will go to the blue-collar worker-class realm and still others will go the third realm for "rejects" and rebels. Linus decides that he wants to change his destiny. He and his friend hack into the computer that makes the decisions in order to change the realm he is meant to be in.
The story is interesting and I'm vaguely curious as to what happens in the next books, but the text just wasn't written very well. The dialogue didn't feel realistic. The entire time I read it I felt like I was reading a bad translation, and sure enough it *is* a translation. I'd like to know what happens to Linus but not enough to read the next books. I'll take the summary instead.