Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Copyright: 2005

Pages: 160

Rating: 10 out of 10

Why I Picked This Up: There were rave reviews for this book in my Literature class, so when I saw this just sitting there on the library shelf, I did what I had to.

You probably don't know Millard Filmore's last words. Miles does. In fact, memorizing last words is not only a hobby for him, but a way of life. (In case you're wondering about those last words they were: "the nourishment is palatable".) Miles is pretty much invisible at his public high school. He lives a boring, friendless life and decides to follow his father's footsteps and go to Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama. Miles claims that the reason for this is that he goes "to seek a Great Perhaps", which were another set of last words, not surprisingly. There, he meets his roommate Chip, better known as the Colonel. The Colonel immediately accepts Miles into his social circle and introduces him to Takumi. Together, the three share hatred for the rich kids and and Miles even gets a knew nickname, Pudge (for irony). The Colonel and Takumi happened to be friends with Alaska. Drop-dead-gorgeous, smart, sassy, independent, fascinating, reckless, spontaneous Alaska. It didn't matter that she was everything Pudge wasn't, because he had completely fallen head-over-heels for her. Blindly, Alaska makes it her mission to get Pudge a girlfriend. He ends up finding a girlfriend, but he isn't over Alaska. Nevertheless, the five of them have great times together smoking, drinking and most importantly, pranking. But what happens when Alaska's drive to get out of the labryinth goes too far and ruins everything?
I have tried writing this paragraph many times. But every single time I try to think of words worthy enough to describe how amazing I thought this book was, my mind goes blank. Mere words can't describe the tangled mix of stirred feelings inside of me when I was forced to finish the book. Other reviewers (who have found the perfect words) have called Looking for Alaska "a masterpiece, powerful, brilliant and unforgettable." And I have to say, I won't ever forget this book. Looking for Alaska was unlike any book I have read, and it stands apart from many other books in the YA Fiction category. Looking for Alaska deserved The Printz Award one hundred percent and is a book that every single young adult should read. So, I am not just recommending that you read Looking for Alaska (if you haven't already), I am urging you to stop whatever you are doing this second and go read this book right now! Yes, it is that good. So go, and do yourself a favor by reading Looking for Alaska.

(*WARNING* some content in Looking for Alaska may be inappropriate for younger readers.)

Quote from the book:
"So this guy," I said, standing in the doorway of the living room. "Francois Rabelais. He was this poet. And his last words were 'I go to seek a Great Perhaps.' That's why I'm going. So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps."

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

Copyright: 2008

Number of Pages: 374

Rating:9 out of 10

Why I Picked This Up: Well, my literature teacher sang high praises for this one so I guess I just had to try it!

Imagine a world where every year, there is a televised event called the Hunger Games, where two kids from each district across the country fight to death. Imagine having to enter in the lottery that decides the contestants a dangerous amount of extra times just to get food for your family. Imagine being forced to participate when you are the poorest and most untrained kid in the entire games. This is the life of sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen. And it's not an easy one. After her sister, Primrose, was chosen to participate in the Games, Katniss boldly volunteers to take her place. Suddenly, Katniss is whisked away from her poor lifestyle to having personal coaches and stylists. At first Katniss is the underdog. But struggling to survive isn't a new way of life for Katniss and all of a sudden she becomes competition. The Games begin and Katniss has transformed from a predicted loser to a major threat. To see if Katniss survives or not, you have to read the book, but trust me it is definitely worth it.

The Hunger Games has something for everyone. There is the fast-paced action that comes with the intense competition. There are tales of cunning tricks, raw fear and friendship in the most unlikely places. Moral dilemmas come into play. Political analogies are made. And what book would be complete without a juicy love triangle? The Hunger Games truly has it all.Suzanne Collins has taken a most interesting concept and turned it in to a revolutionary story that I believe will prosper for years to come. At first, the plot is seemingly outrageous, but as the book continues the story and characters become more and more real. I must warn you, the ending is a real cliffhanger that will leave every fan of the story wanting more. Luckily for us, this book is a trilogy, and I have no doubt in my mind that the other two will be just as worthwhile and epic as the first.

Katniss's description of the District she lives in:

Our part of District 12, nicknamed the Seam, is usually crawling with coal miners heading out to the morning shift at this hour. Men and women with hunched shoulders, swollen knuckles, many who have long since stopped trying to scrub the coal dust out of their broken nails, the lines of their sunken faces. But today the black cinder streets are empty. Shutters on the squat grey houses are closed. The reaping isn't until two. May as well sleep in. If you can.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

When it Happens

Author: Susane Colasanti

Copyright: 2006

Number of Pages: 336

Rating: 8 out of 10

Why I Picked This Up: Point number one, awesome cover. Point number two, I'm a sucker for romances. Call me cheesy or corny but it doesn't matter. I'll willingly prentend a fictional dream guy is real any day.

When it came to Sara, it was love at first sight for Tobey. It didn’t matter that they were polar opposites (he’s a rocker and she’s a braniac), or that he had never talked to her before. Tobey walked into his senior year of high school with only one thing on his mind: to make sure Sara fell in love with him. However, there was just one catch; Sara was dating Dave, a popular jock. Nevertheless, the chemistry between Tobey and Sara was undeniable and their love might just be “the real thing”. In any case, this love story makes perfect harmony. One quirk that makes this book extra-special is the alternating narration. Not only do we get inside Tobey’s head, but we know what Sara is thinking, too. When It Happens is the perfect combination of blissful young romance and witty dialogue, and will definitely make the readers fall in love - with this book!

Quote from the book:
The prospect of starting senior year next week without a boyfriend is the worst. Not some math geek or physics dork I end up liking just because he's there. I mean a boyfriend who's everything I want. The whole package.
"Sara," Maggie says. "Do you realize what this means?"
I decide to ignore her. Maggie has this idealistic image of romance that I don't think exists in real life. I mean I've been trying to believe it does all summer. But Dave never called.