Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mini Reviews

My loyal readers!
I have to apologize BIG TIME for not having written in so long. The end of the semester totally killed me and it’s taken me a week to rebuild my strength ... (Okay, so I MIGHT be exaggerating, but I WAS really busy Christmas shopping!) Anyway, I’m here today to make up for it!
I’ve read 28 TBF books so far (and I’ve got many more to go …) and while I’m hoping to be able to review all of them, I’ve created a list of mini reviews in case I run out of time. In honor of the holidays, I’ve structured these mini reviews as a gift list of sorts. So if you’re looking for any last minute gifts for the readers in your life, then use this as a guide! 
“Catalyst” by Laurie Halse Anderson is perfect for the science enthusiast who will appreciate how the scientific definitions that begin in chapter parallel the chapter’s events.
Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Speak” is the best choice for the reader who’s seeking to understand the emotional ramifications of sexual abuse. “Speak” is a great choice for any friend looking to major in psychology, social work, or any of the related fields. 
“Twisted” by Laurie Halse Anderson will quench the thirst of the reader looking for a better understanding of the enormity of the pressures facing teenage boys in today’s world. This book will affect a male or female audience.
Another heavy read, Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Wintergirls” will give a mature reader a glimpse into the mind of a young woman suffering from anorexia. “Wintergirls” accurately portrays anorexia as the complex mental disorder that it is.
“Evolution, Me, & Other Freaks of Nature” by Robin Brande is a great match for the reader curious about the reconciliation of religion and science. I actually bought this book for my 11th-grade chemistry teacher, a real-life Miss Shepherd. 
Robin Brande’s “Fat Cat” is perfect for a lover of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” “Food, Inc.,” “Supersize Me,” or the like. Foodies will also love Cat and her delectable creations. 
“How to Ruin a Summer Vacation” by Simone Elkeles is a great match for the religious studies major or the reader who dreams of finding love in a foreign country. 
“Leaving Paradise,” also by Simone Elkeles, is perfect for the reader looking for an unlikely love story with a shocking twist. 
Consider giving “Burned” by Ellen Hopkins to the horse lover in your life. Pattyn, the protagonist, is sent to live with her aunt on a horse farm. I, an appreciator of horses from afar, due to a severe allergy to fur in any form, loved these scenes. 
“Identical,” another novel in free verse by Ellen Hopkins, is about twins, so I’m inclined to suggest it FOR twins. However, I imagine that “Identical” would be even more emotionally charged and taxing for a twin, so with this suggestion comes the warning. 
“Tricks” is my favorite book by Ellen Hopkins. I suggest this for any mature reader looking for a book that will make them change every stereotype they have about prostitution and what drives it. 
Barry Lyga’s “Boy Toy” is an intense read for a mature reader. It deals with the sexual abuse of a young boy at the hands of his teacher. This is definitely an appropriate read for anyone looking to go into education, school psychology, or any related field.
“Hero-Type” by Barry Lyga is perfect for anyone interested in our constitutional rights, especially freedom of speech. This book is so jammed packed, there are three major storylines – it’s like getting three books in one! The perfect book for our current economy!
“Gamer Girl” by Mari Mancusi is a great match for that reader that’s not quite ready to jump head first into Manga, but is curious about the genre. (Ahem … me … ahem) As someone who has never had the desire to read Manga, I genuinely enjoyed this book.
Choose “Fade” and “Wake” by Lisa McMann for the reader who likes the fantasy aspects of “Twilight” but can’t stand Bella’s weak character. I’ve compared this series to Meg Cabot’s “Mediator” series, so lovers of Meg Cabot are bound to love Lisa McMann. 
Sarah Ockler’s “Twenty Boy Summer” is a book for the person who longs for summer days and vacation. A bittersweet, romantic story, “Twenty Boy Summer” will evoke memories of hot summer days and the trials and tribulations of friendship.
Amy Kathleen Ryan’s “Shadow Falls” will resonate with any rock climber or nature lover. Chock full of descriptions of the natural beauty of Wyoming, it’s not just the story, but also the setting, that’s irresistible. 
I feel the need to mention “Zen and Xander Undone” by Amy Kathleen Ryan, but all I’m telling you is that I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to read it early. Keep checking back for the full sneak peak in a few days …
Matt de la Pena’s “Mexican White Boy” is a book for the baseball lovers in your life. I’ll also admit that it’s more of a ‘boy book’ than most of the other books I’ve read to far. But both girls and guys will enjoy this story of feeling like you don’t belong.
“Far From You” by Lisa Schroeder is a book for the lovers of TBF alum Ellen Hopkins. Lisa, like Ellen, writes in free verse poetry, so readers who love Ellen’s books because of their format will love “Far From You.” Even those who aren’t fans of poetry will like this story of trying to adjust to a new blended family, though.
Jennifer E. Smith’s “The Comeback Season” is perfect for anyone who would appreciate a blending of the movies “Fever Pitch” and “A Walk to Remember.” I know, I know, those sound like two very opposite movies, but this sweet romance between baseball-crazy teenagers, one of whom is seriously ill, will rocket it’s way to the top of a reader’s “To Buy” list.
“You Are Here” by Jennifer E. Smith is one of those rare books that everyone will appreciate. The story of Emma, the lone “average” member of a brilliant family, and her neighbor’s cross-country road trip to visit the grave of Emma’s twin brother, whom she never knew existed, is a ride that every reader should take. 
Terry Trueman’s “Stuck in Neutral” and “Cruise Control” are books for the reader with a short attention span or the reader with a busy agenda. These companion novels are short, but fast-paced reads which will keep you on the end of seat and hungry for more. 
“Inside Out,” another Terry Trueman novel, is an excellent choice for anyone interested in reading something from the point of view of a young man with a mental illness. This, like Terry’s other books, will definitely grab even the most reluctant reader.
“Being Dead” by Vivan Vande Velde is the book to buy for the reader that loves Halloween, the supernatural, or ghost stories around the camp fire. A collection of short stories, all about ghosts, “Being Dead” will send shivers down your spine for the entirety of its 224 pages. 
“What They Always Tell Us” by Martin Wilson is perfect for readers who love David Levithan, Brent Hartinger, or Alex Sanchez. However, “What They Always Tell Us” is more than just a coming of age story about a young gay man; it is also a touching story of two brothers and the complexity of their relationship.
Well readers, I would say that the length of this entry should make up for my long absence. I will try my absolute hardest not to let such a long period of time pass before my next post.

1 comment:

  1. You are inspiring me. I totally have to read more of those TBF books.