January 29, 2009

I really, really like you... but I don't love you...

“Hope Was Here”
By Joan Bauer


This is a book that I’ve seen pop up on many school reading lists and I became curious about. I also love the cover art, which never hurts. ; )
Hope is a sixteen-year-old girl who is being raised by her aunt Addie. Hope loves her life in New York City and is crushed when she learns that she is moving to Wisconsin to work at a new diner with her aunt. Hope longs to be back in New York City, but enjoys working at the Welcome Stairways diner. This is partially due to G.T. Stoop (the owner) whose positive attitude is contagious in spite of being diagnosed with leukemia recently. When G.T. decides to run for Mayor, Hope helps with the campaign and soon learns how ugly politics can be. G.T.’s campaign changes Hope’s life in more ways than she could possibly imagine.
I thought the book was really great, but I just didn’t quite love it. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed Sarah Dessen’s, “That Summer”. Like many of Sarah Dessen’s books, “Hope was Here” deals with alternative families, the realities of life, and discovering ones identity.

January 28, 2009

ALA Literary Award Winners are in!

Congrats to all the winners of the 2009 ALA literary award winners and honorees!

Winner of John Newbery Medal for the mo
st distinguished contribution to children's literature:
"The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean.

"The Underneath," by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by David Small
"The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom," by Margarita Engle
"Savvy," by Ingrid Law
"After Tupac & D Foster," by Jacqueline Woodson

Winner of Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for YAs:
"Jellicoe Road" by Melina Marchetta

"The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II, The Kingdom on the Waves," by M.T. Anderson
"The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks," by E. Lockhart
"Nation," by Terry Pratchett
"Tender Morsels," by Margo Lanagan
I haven't read most of the books on these lists, actually I've only read "The Disreputable History of Frankie Landeau-Banks"; however, I'm pretty disappointed that "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins was not even an honoree for the Printz Award. I really enjoyed Lockhart's "The Disreputable History of Frankie Landeau-Banks", but I didn't feel like it quite had the depth of "The Hunger Games". Lockhart's character Frankie had such a unique voice that sucked me into the book in the first chapter. I confess that I read the book in one sitting, but to me "The Hunger Games" quickly became one of my favorite books. Maybe this just has to do with personal preference, but I'm still disappointed.

With that said, I'm totally dying to read, "Catching Fire (The Hunger Games Series #2)." It doesn't come out until September of this year and it is going to be really hard to wait. Hopefully there will be a midnight release for the book. It would be even better if I could go to the BEA in New York and get one of the Advanced Reader Copies that Scholastic is supposedly giving out there, but that is probably just a pipe dream. Here's to dreaming : )

For information about more award winners just click here.

January 26, 2009

Rating System

It just occurs to me that I need to create a clear cut rating system for the books I am reviewing.

5- A Favorite
4- Loved it
3- Liked it
2- Take it or leave it
1- Leave it

I might add half points as I see fit… but in general this is how the ratings will work.

My Two Cents on "Eon"

I randomly picked up "Eon: Dragoneye Reborn" by Alison Goodman at work and decided to read it just because it was a book about dragons. There really wasn't must motivation behind the decision. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm very happy with this selection. I feel the need to warn readers that if you are expecting this book to be like "Eragon", you are going to be disappointed. I haven't read "Eragon" myself, but I've heard complaints about this book being nothing like it.

I was totally taken into Goodman's fantasy world that was a blend of Chinese and Japanese histories and cultures. The story is about Eon a boy who is learning Dragon Magic in order to become a Dragoneye. The reader quickly learns that young Eon is not a boy, but is a girl named Eona. Since it is punishable by death for girls to learn Dragon Magic, Eon’s quest to become a Dragoneye becomes increasingly dangerous the closer he gets to this goal.

This book is filled with rich characters that captured me from beginning to end. I was just as entranced by the supporting characters in this book as I was with Eon. Even though most of the action in the text was saved until the end, I was not disappointed because of the rich story being told. Some people may have felt the pace of the book was too slow; however, I didn’t get bored and thought the pace was well suited for its tone.

Rating: 5

Getting Started!

Hooray for my first post!
My goal for this blog is going to be to review the many wonderful books that I read. I work in a bookstore and I'm a grad student in Library Science so I try to read as much as possible. My main interests are in Tween and Teen literature; this blog will be reflecting these interests. I’ll try to update this as much as possible; however, I am a student who works full time… so it might take until the summer until I’m in full swing with this blog.