Sunday, October 23, 2011


Lynnie attends Hillsboro School for girls, where everyone gets a car on their sixteenth birthday. So, when Lynnie's father gives her an old charm bracelet with birds on it for her birthday, she's disappointed and confused. Her father tells her that it belonged to her mother, who passed away when she was little. That consoles her somewhat.

Then her father gives her another present. A letter from her mom. Lynnie learns a lot about her mother's life growing up, as well as the story of how her mother and father met. But she also learns some scary secrets about her mother's family. She wonders if her image of her mother has been correct. She wonders how this will affect her relationship with her father. Finally, she wonders how this will affect her image of herself.

This was an intriguing story. Barbara Hall is an amazing storyteller. The story kept getting deeper and more interesting the more I read. The story ended up being pretty complex, yet the author pulls it off seamlessly. I really enjoyed the fully formed characters and the story!

This book came out several years back. I'm not really sure how I stumbled across it, but I'm glad I did. When I researched the author, I found out that she's written several books, but she also writes for TV. She wrote for several successful shows, including Joan of Arcadia, Judging Amy, Army Wives, and Northern Exposure. I'm not too surprised, since she has a gift for storytelling.

I'll have to keep an eye out for more books by Barbara Hall in the future!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Elizabeth Scott. AS I WAKE

I've read almost all of Elizabeth Scott's books, and lately I've noticed she's branching off into some unusual territory. (Check out my other reviews here.) This one reminds me of GRACE, because it's so inventive.

Ava wakes up with no memory of who she is, where she is, or anything about her past. Her "mom" tells her that she was in an accident and has lost her memory. But when Ava goes to sleep, she dreams of another place - a place that seems more real that where she is now. After she is re-acquainted with her "friends," she begins dreaming of them in this other world. She wakes up in one place, then wakes up in another. Which world is real? Who is the real Ava? And why does she have this heavy sense of fear while everyone else seems so carefree. The mystery really gets complicated when a boy called Morgan finds her one day and tells her that he knew they would find each other again.

This is one of those books that brings up way more questions than it answers. I'm not saying that the plot isn't resolved, because it is for the most part. But I'm saying that all these other questions come up while exploring this plot.
For example, what if there are multiple worlds and therefore multiple people exactly like us in these worlds. I begin to wonder things like...

  • Would you have different personalities in other worlds?
  • How would you survive in different worlds, within different societal challenges?
  • Would you be drawn to he same people? 
  • Would you love the same?
  • Would your ambitions and desires be the same?
  • and the mother of all questions - Would your fate be the same? Would you die in the same manner, at the same age?
Anyway, Elizabeth Scott continues to impress! The book is a combination thriller, science fiction, and love story all at once, believe it or not! Click below to read a little about the story behind the story and this idea of modal realism from her website:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Veronica Roth. DIVERGENT

Wow! I love being blown away by an intriguing, well-written book! At first, this will seems similar to HUNGER GAMES, but it turns our to be very much its own thrilling tale.

In a futuristic dystopian Chicago, the society is divided up into five factions. Each society is founded on a particular virtue - Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Candor (honesty), Amity (kindness), Erudite (knowledge). At sixteen, teens must choose which faction to align with. First, they take an aptitude test to see which faction they most belong in, then they can decide to follow those results or choose another faction. If they leave their home faction, they never see their family again.

Beatrice Prior gets some unusual results at her aptitude test. The test proctor tells her that her results are inconclusive - that she is part Abnegation, part Dauntless, but really neither. The proctor whispers that she is "Divergent," and she should not tell anyone. It's dangerous. So the proctor deletes the results and enters the results manually as "Abnegation." Beatrice tries to get more information, but she's shushed out of the room and told to be very careful.

After much thought and boredom with her home faction of Abnegation, Beatrice decides to leave Abnegation. She has never really felt like she belonged in her home faction. The strict selflessness, which includes bland food, bland clothing, and lack of excitement, has driven her to the wild looking Dauntless faction. She has watched the kids from Dauntless as they laughingly jump on and off moving trains. Even if their life seems foolish, constantly displaying wild acts of courage, it has an excitement that she craves.

The new recruits to Dauntless must undergo a stringent initiation process. It's brutal and forces Beatrice to face fears she didn't even know she had. Plus, the recruits are in competition with each other, which brings out the cruelty in people. Beatrice must fight others and compete with herself to get through initiation to become a full Dauntless faction member.

This is thrilling, suspenseful, gritty, and thoughtful. It's a roller coaster ride, and I was so sad for it to end! The writing is impeccable. The characters are amazing! You will NOT be able to put it down.

I'm thrilled to hear that it has a sequel. It's going to be a trilogy. In fact, the cover for the sequel was just revealed. Check it out:

And you probably don't need more convincing, but just in case, check out the trailer below: