Saturday, April 30, 2011

Suzanne Collins. MOCKINGJAY

I'm so sad it's over. Suzanne Collins is a brilliant writer. It's a large task on its own to create such a detailed fictional world, but to also create such a suspenseful, intelligent, action packed plot as well is genius. It's unforgettable, for sure.

Katniss and Peeta have survived through another game. But the ending was even more rebellious than the first and Katniss has a big surprise for her at the end. She's been rescued by the rebels to be their leader. Will she be the Mockinjay for real, as their symbol for the revolution? Does she really have much choice?

To make things more complicated, Peeta was rescued too, but by the other side. The Capitol has him. Katniss feels it's her fault because of how they were separated in the arena. She knows he's being tortured and it's all because of her. More blood on her hands.

She agrees to help the rebels, but with hope that she can save Peeta and the other remaining victors. Whether or not she can save herself is questionable. But she isn't sure she even cares anymore.

A perfect ending to an intriguing, horrifying, incredible trilogy! You must read it! I warn you that you'll want to have all three on hand. Once you begin, you won't want to stop until the end.

Of course, the trailer:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Suzanne Collins. CATCHING FIRE

After winning the Hunger Games in book one, Katniss and Peeta continue their facade of being in love. The realize that they're on thin ice because of the rebellious way they won. They continue to play the game as they travel among the districts in their victory tour. But they begin to notice little signss of unrest among the districts. And when a man gets killed because he displayed a small sign support for them, Katniss realizes that there is much more going on then she realizes.

Finally, she realizes the effect that their little stunt in the games had when the ultimate punishment is announced. The 75th anniversary of the games, called the Quarter Quell, is a special games. It calls for something unique to happen. Katniss and Peeta must compete again. The President declares that this is to symbolize that the Capitol has power over even the strongest in the districts.

This is just as suspenseful as the first book and leaves even more questions unanswered! You won't be disappointed! I don't think I can move onto another book until I've finished this trilogy!

This post wouldn't be complete without a trailer!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Suzanne Collins. THE HUNGER GAMES

I know, I know...I'm the last person on the planet to finally read THE HUNGER GAMES. Here's the deal. I ordered it for the middle school library I was at when it came out. I planned to read it, since I loved GREGOR and this new book by Collins was already receiving so much buzz in Libraryland. I even began reading it. But the whole idea of fighting to the death just turned me off. Frankly, it didn't appeal to me at all. And there are so many more books to read, that I just declined.

Since then, I've heard so many people rave about it and now it's even becoming a movie. Alas, I finally read it. And yes, it's as good as everyone says. I couldn't put it down. It kept me up at night.

For those few left who haven't read it. Here's the summary:
The setting is sometime in the future and all that's left of North America is a country called Panem. There are 12 Districts and a central district called the Capitol. Years before, the districts rebelled against the Capitol, so now to be continually punished, each district has to give up one boy and one girl to compete in the Hunger Games. The two children are chosen randomly through a drawing, called the reaping. The game itself is brutal. The contestants are put in this arena to fight to the death. The winner is then given a life of luxury and fame for the remainder of their life.

The characters and action are what made the book so appealing. Katniss is the female character. Her younger sister's name is pulled at the reaping, but she volunteers to go in her place. Peeta, the boy who is chosen, has an interesting connection to Katniss. Through the story, we learn more about Katniss's past with her hunting partner, how the death of her father transformed her life and how she may actually have the skills to win the game.

The action wasn't as gruesome as you might imagine. Although the fact the the entire world is watching the games is a little disconcerting, even more so since it's mandatory to watch. Sadly, there are elements of our current society that make the idea of watching this as entertainment not so far-fetched. What I really appreciated was the hunting and survival skills that Katniss needed to use. It reminds you of how important those skills really are when you're in life or death situations. But there were also a lot of mind games, so it was really fascinating.

Overall, it's though-provoking, moving, sad and action-packed!

If you haven't read it yet, it really is a book you won't soon forget. Now I'm really excited about the movie!

Here's a pretty cool fan-made trailer I found.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rachel Cohn & David Levithan. DASH & LILY'S BOOK OF DARES

It's Christmastime in New York City. Dash is left home alone, and he likes it that way. He fooled his divorced parents, because they never talk to each other. He told his mom he was staying with his dad and vice-versa.

Lily is also home alone, sort of. Her older brother is also home from college for the holidays. Their parents went to Fiji for the honeymoon they couldn't afford back when they got married.

They are complete strangers. Until...

Dash is perusing his favorite indie bookstore when he finds a red journal hiding among his favorite author's books. He grabs the journal and notices "do you dare" written in sharpie on the front of the notebook. The note on the first page describes clues for him. This sends him on a scavenger hunt around the store. Then the final directions have him depositing the notebook with the clerk at the front of the store.

Lily picks up the notebook and reads the message left for her, and this is how DASH AND LILY'S BOOK OF DARES begins. Dash and Lily get to know each other through a string of clues and dares. The dares are simply enough. Dash has to go into the biggest toy store in New York the day before Christmas. Lily has to listen to an obscure indie/punk band at a nearby club. But with each notebook entry the two become closer and yet are afraid that when they finally meet that perhaps they won't live up to each other's expectations.

This was inventive, witty and adventurous. I loved how the chapters were written in alternating points of view. The audio version seemed to being this alive a little more, since I literally go to listen to different voices.* The characters were original and intriguing! Lily's extended family is a hoot! Dash and his friend Boomer have a fun relationship. I can't say how much I love this book! Really, it's a must read.

*The audio version is spectacular! The actors (Ryan Gesell & Tara Sands) really brought these characters to life!

As a bonus, check out the video below of the authors reading from the book at the STRAND (the bookstore, which is featured in the book) on the day the book came out. Very Cool!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Deb Caletti. THE FORTUNES OF INDIGO SKYE

"Hope is not something that fate bestows, like Willy Wonka and the golden ticket, I think then. Hope is a decision."

Let me begin by saying, WOW Deb Caletti is a talented writer. Several times while reading, I lingered over sentences and re-read them several times to enjoy them. (Like the one above)

Here is another line I adore:

"I make a little vow then, to myself. To not let the backs and forths of forgiveness interrupt the steadiness of love."

ok, one more:

"What I am is happy. And maybe that’s the closest definition for the word we can get, a life equation: An absence of wanting equals happiness."

Okay, on to the summary. Indigo Skye is downright joyful about her life. She is a senior in high, who isn't so sure about college, but is OK with her waitressing job. She enjoys the regular customers who come in almost every day. Indigo calls them "irregulars" because they are each unique and quirky in their own ways. But she loves working there. She loves her family, her boyfriend.

One day a smartly dressed guy riding a Vespa shows up for coffee. He doesn't talk much. But after he continues to join them regularly, Indigo tries to get to know him. She even tells him he needs to quit smoking. He's shocked that she cares enough to tell him that. Every day he works with people who merely kiss up to him, never telling him the truth. So, when Indigo is honest with him, he's surprised. After a few weeks of this, he leaves her a surprising tip - 2.5 million dollars.

Indigo is shocked. Her family and friends are shocked. Her father gives her some important advice. He tells her to not let the money change her. It takes her a while to fully understand the meaning of that. And that is what the story is all about. We've all wondered what we'd do if we won the lottery, right? Well, imagine being only a young adult just beginning your life and coming into this amount of money. It's a great book!

As I mentioned, the writing is spectacular. I liked the characters. I enjoyed spending time with Indigo and her quirky friends and family. It was a wonderful experience.

Now, I'm off to add more of Deb Caletti's books to my "to read" pile!
Check out her website to learn more about her.