Monday, October 29, 2007

Gabrielle Zevin. MEMOIRS OF A TEENAGE AMNESIAC

I loved Gabrielle Zevin’s ELSEWHERE, so I was really looking forward to her second novel. One day Naomi Porter falls down the stairs, and then suddenly she can’t remember the last four years. Her best friend, Will, is there to help her. She also has a boyfriend who is ready to resume their life together. The trouble is, Naomi can’t see what she must have seen in this guy. And to make matters worse, she really likes the guy who helped her get an ambulance after her accident, James. How does he fit into her life? In addition to her own drama, Naomi learns that her parents have divorced, and her mom has a three year old daughter with her new husband. While reading, we go on a journey of self discovery with Naomi, which brings up interesting questions. Can everyone else’s memories of your life really fill in the gaps you need? What if you don’t like your life? Do you change it? This was a wonderful book that I found just a fresh and interesting as her first novel. If you haven't read it yet, you should. I have a review of it somewhere on this blog.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Adam Selzer. HOW TO GET SUSPENDED AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE

Wow! This was one of the most hilarious books I’ve read in a long time (well, since the last Gordon Korman book anyway). Eighth grader Leon is in the “gifted” kids group in school. This year they’ve been given the assignment to create health videos to show to the sixth & seventh grades. The topic Leon chose is sex-ed. His teacher warns him to keep it “appropriate.” Leon figures out a way to make it still quite good, even without real nudity. However, the principal and his teacher disagree. Will Leon get his video seen by the students? Well, as we all know, banning something generally means it will get seen by even more people than originally planned. The story is rounded out by a quirky cast of characters. Leon’s dad is a wannabe inventor who blows things up in the garage. His mom makes dinner disasters, on purpose. His friends include a pyromaniac and a communist. This is a fun, well-written, laugh-out-loud book that I thoroughly enjoyed. This is Selzer’s first book, and I look forward to his next one.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jerry Spinelli. LOVE, STARGIRL

If you loved STARGIRL, like me, you’ll definitely want to read this sequel/companion novel. Stargirl has moved from Mica, Arizona to Pennsylvania with her family. Since her real school experience wasn’t so successful, she is being homeschooled again. This time we learn more about Stargirl, since the novel is through her point of view in letters she writes to Leo. She misses Leo terribly. But, to help ease the pain, she meets a charming cast of characters in her new small town. One of my favorite quotes from the book is from a conversation between Stargirl and one of her new wise friends. Stargirl is worried about the possible future she has with her sort-of boyfriend. Here’s how her friend tells her not to worry about the future, “You’re cheating yourself out of today. Today is calling you, trying to get your attention, but you’re stuck on tomorrow, and today trickles away like water down a drain. You wake up the next morning and that today that you wasted is gone forever. It’s now yesterday.” I enjoyed the company of quirky Stargirl as much as in the original novel.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Melissa Kantor. IF I HAVE A WICKED STEPMOTHER, WHERE'S MY PRINCE?

Lucy Norton has several similarities to Cinderella. Her mother died and her father remarried to a woman with two daughters. To make matters worse, her father travels for work every week, so Lucy is left alone with the step mother & sisters, who are awful to her. Seriously, her stepmom makes her serve food and clean up after them. Her life takes a positive spin when she meets and starts dating the “prince” of the school. But, as Lucy to gets to know him, she begins to suspect if he is indeed the prince for her. I couldn’t put this one down. It was laugh out loud funny, romantic and sweet.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Brian Yansky. MY ROAD TRIP TO THE PRETTY GIRL CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

Simon was just kicked out of school, his family relations aren’t good, and to top it all off, his girlfriend just dumped him. So he takes off. He leaves Iowa and heads to Texas to look for his real parents. Along the way, he meets two bums, a girl, and an Elvis impersonator (or he could be the real thing? It’s 1979). They all travel down to Texas together. Each of them are focused on events in their past and wondering how to move on to make a future for themselves. This was a quirky, offbeat novel. And in case you’re wondering, the pretty girl capital happens to be Austin, Texas, according to Simon anyway.