Friday, 24 January 2014

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart (2008)

3.5 stars

This book was on the same list that recommended Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac so after being very underwhelmed by that book I wasn't expecting much from this one. However I was pleasantly surprised by this book.

Although this book seems like it's just a story about a girl pulling pranks at her boarding school, it is so much more. It is a powerful statement for feminists and it continually points out the double standard in her school and shows her feelings on it. It also shows how important independance and individuality can be to a person who is friends with a "lower class" of students and moves to a "popular class" of them when she starts dating one of them. The pranks and secret society storyline are also really interesting and really funny at times. My favourite character in this book was definitely Frankie, she was incredibly smart, she didn't want to be discriminated against, but she also just wanted her boyfriend to respect her, not only think she was adorable. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes good pranks or who likes coming of age stories.

Frankie Landau-Banks has a remarkable physical transformation in the summer between her freshman and sophmore year, she gets taller, she grows breasts, and she starts using some de-frizz conditioner in her hair. Back at school she is suddenly noticed by Matthew Livingston, one of the most popular senior boys at Alabaster and they soon start dating. After a few months of him often ditching their dates to hang out with Alpha, his best friend, or bringing his friends along with them when they're hanging out, Frankie follows him one night where he goes to a meeting of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, Alabaster's secrret society. Frankie then finds their history book and learns that Alpha is this year's head, so when he leaves for four days over halloween leaving their planned prank in the hands of the rest of the society, Frankie creates a fake email account in his name and masterminds the society to perform a much better prank. Alpha returns and takes the credit anyway so Frankie continues organising such pranks until one day when Alpha gets caught cleaning up some evidence and is going to be expelled so Frankie admits to Matthew that she was the mastermind, and instead of being impressed he calls her psychotic and childish and even when she points out that when he thought it was Alpha he though he was a genius, he still breaks up with her. Frankie continues to go to Alabaster and realizes that they never would have respected her and she's smarter than they'll ever be anyway.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac - Gabrielle Zevin (2007)

2.5 stars

I bought this book because I read an article about young adult novels that are just as touching as John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. The list had Eleanor & Park indcluded in it so I thought they must be pretty good suggestions, however I was very underwhelmed with this book.

The premise of this book, that a teenage girl loses her memory and must continue to live her life even though she doesn't know anyone in it, was such a good idea for a book and was really interesting to read. However after the first hundred or so pages she wasn't really discovering anything new and she was so fixated on James that it made me kind of lose interest. I enjoyed the story about her family, but I found the rest of the plot, "the love story" as she refers to it, a bit weird and definitely not as interesting as even her photography project. I don't know if I had a favourite character in this book, there wasn't one particularly interesting character or one who brought a certain quality to the novel. I would recommend this book to young teenagers because I think they would get more enjoyment out of it.

Naomi loses a coin toss and has to go back inside the school to get a camera, on the way back she slips in some coffee and falls down a flight of stairs landing on her head. She rides in an ambulance with the boy who was there when she fell who tells the paramedics he's her boyfriend, later she finds out his name is James and he isn't really her boyfriend, he just didn't want her to be alone. She also finds out that she can't remember anything from the past four years, including her mother cheating on her father then getting remarried and having another child, her father getting engaged, her actual boyfriend Ace, and her best friend Will who she co-runs the yearbook comittee with. She soon breaks up with Ace and starts dating James, who has severe depression (and I would also think he has bipolar disorder) but soon he voluntarily checks himself into rehab and tells Naomi to forget him. After a few months Naomi realizes she loves Will and after her father's wedding they end up together.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Attachments - Rainbow Rowell (2011)

4 stars

After reading Eleanor & Park I found out that Rainbow had two other books and when I finally bought this one the other day I couldn't wait to read it.

This book is told from Lincoln's perspective but is interspersed with chapters of emails between Beth and Jennifer which was really interesting to read. At first I found it very confusing to work out which woman was which and who was talking, but after a while I grew to know them and I could just tell who was talking without needing to look at the names, which is I guess what happened to Lincoln as well. I think the concept of this book is so clever and although I could pretty much work out what was going to happen, it was still really cool to get so invested in characters who the storyteller hasn't even met before. My favourite character was Jennifer, I don't understand why Lincoln didn't love her instead of Beth, but I loved how her opinion  on pregnancy changed through the novel and how she changed with it. I also love that once again, Rainbow gave me a hilarious wonderful character who was a realistic size and continued showing her insecurities about it through the novel. I would recommend this book to any romance fans or people who want a different kind of romance book.

Lincoln is the new IT guy at a newspaper office in 1999. His job is to read through employees emails that are flagged for inappropriate content or large attachments. Beth and Jennifer work at the newspaper and constantly have large conversations via email which start to become the highlight of Lincoln's job. He soon falls in love with one of the girls, Beth, who he realizes has a small crush on him and refers to him in her emails as "her cute guy" and although he often walks past her desk and goes to her boyfriend's concerts he never meets her until one day when he doesn't even realize it's her until she mentions it in an email the next day. Lincoln eventually decides to quit when he realizes how creepy and unhealthy this relationship, if that's what it could even be called, is and he leaves a note for Beth on her desk. Then a few weeks later she sees him in a movie theatre and when she asks him if he believes in love at first sight because she always knew there was something good about him he asks her if she believes in love before first sight because he was in love with her before he even knew what she looked like.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Saving Francesca - Melina Marchetta (2003)

4.5 stars

I've read most of Melina's other books and my cousin and I love her books. When she heard I hadn't read this she was shocked and immediately lent it to me, now I understand why.

This book seems like it is just about a girl going to a boys school with only a few other female comrades, but it also explores the fragile mental states of both Francesca and her mother and shows just how much the people in your life matter. I really didn't expect to get as addicted to this book as I did, reading it in just a few hours, but it was just so easy to slip into this world that not only had a relatable main character with a good plotline, but a character that had real problems and issues that I really wanted to be addressed or resolved. My favourite character in this book was Jimmy, I thought he was really loveable even though Francesca didn't really want him around at first I liked how he persisted and she got to know how funny he was, also he reminded me of a friend I had in high school who was also called Jimmy and was very similar to him. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes good fiction, it is a great book that doesn't necessarily take very long to read.

Francesca is starting college at a school that was up until this year all boys, she had to hang out with three girls from her old school that she never really talked to. She wakes up one morning and her mother won't get out of bed, she's had a mental breakdown and Francesca only wants to find out what caused it so she can help her get better but her father won't talk about it and her brother is only ten. She soon develops a crush on one of the school captains Will Trombal, and she learns that her new friends are better than her old friends ever were. She eventually tells her friends about her mum and they all support her and try to help her through it. She inadvertantly offends her friends when she mentions to her old friends that she did nothing for her birthday when they took her out. Then she has a fight with Will when he tells her he's going travelling next year, and on the way home she runs into one of her mum's friends who tells her that her mother had a miscarriage. She then gets home and screams at her father telling him it was all his fault because he never wants to talk about anything and maybe that's what her mother needed. She then jumps a train and sits at the last station for an indetermined amount of time until she decides to call her Dad, he comes and gets her and all her friends and Will are at her house when she gets back. The next day after school her mother comes to pick her and her brother up.

Shades of Earth - Beth Revis (2013)

4 stars

I bought this at the same time as buying A Million Suns because I thought it might have a cliffhanger ending and I would want the next one immediately, it turns out that was the case and it was clever thinking on my part.

This book is told from the same two perspectives as the other books, Amy and Elder, but due to them now being in the same circumstance of facing a new planet, I enjoy how similar their thoughts are now. I really enjoyed this book as it was all about discovering a new planet, even when it was about fighting and worrying about who was after them, there was still lots of moments of discovery and learning about all the different aspects of a new planet. Once again I worked out the plot twist before it happened and I don't know whether it was because I worked it out so early but I thought that there were so many hints at it, it was a bit ridiculous that no-one else in the book had worked it out. My favourite character in this book was Emma, she was the only sensible one and I thought that brought an air of reality to such an incredible story. I would recommend this trilogy to any sci fi fans who don't mind or like a romance story in it.

Amy and Elder land on the new planet and Amy's dad immediately takes charge and makes it clear that there is a divide between the shipborns and the earthborns that Amy shouldn't cross. They come across a bunch of abandoned houses and stay in them, however more and more people keep disappearing and being found dead. Amy and Elder unfreeze Orion to ask him what he knows, however he tells them they must have missed a clue and after Orion dies they work out that the clue is in the statue of plague Eldest back on Godspeed. Amy's dad makes contact with earth and they tell him that they have a weapon and that they will be there to help in a week but in the meantime they should send some of the people out of dangers way and to the space station which had been previously built to orbit the planet and from there they can send them back to earth. He puts 500 people on a jet that they had on the planet from the original colony however as soon as everyone's strapped in they are overdosed on Phydus and they die, including Amy's mum. Elder decides to go back to Godspeed  to find the last clue before they deploy any weapons and once there he learns that the alien force on the planet were caused by the FRX when they gave the first colony an injection to supposedly protect them from the new planet's disease but it changed their DNA to have superior senses and abilities while also infusing them with Phydus so they'll be a good slave labour force. Amy's dad doesn't care that they used to be human and goes to detonate the weapon which they learn is a biological bomb that will kill any hybrids, but Chris, who was a defect hybrid that has the abilities but not the Phydus control injects Amy so she becomes a hybrid like him so her Dad can't detonate the weapon. Chris then kills Amy's dad and Elder tells him that he is sending all the rest of the Godspeed residents back to the planet with the technology that can reverse the Phydus control. Chris insists that it isn't enough and that the station has to be destroyed so there is no biological bomb threat or any light speed travel from earth available. Elder then says goodbye to Amy and he guides Godspeed into the space station using his shuttle and Amy assumes he dies as there is a massive explosion. A few days later after a peace treaty is negotiated on the planet between the hybrids and humans, Amy finds Elder's shuttle in the forest and finds him alive.

A Million Suns - Beth Revis (2013)

3 stars

I bought this book a couple months after reading Across The Universe because I was interested to see what happened to the crew and if they ever got to the new planet.

This is definitely my least favourite book in the trilogy, it doesn't have the new environment or the mystery of the first book and it doesn't have the urgency of the third book. I liked all the clues that Orion left for Amy, but apart from that I found it very hard to get into until the last hundred or so pages. Also once again I was incredibly confused between this series and the Sky Chasers series, especially with all the leadership quarrels that occurred in this book, so I was very happy when that was resolved. I also thought the main secret that Amy was searching for from Orion was kind of obvious so I wasn't really surprised when they found it out. My favourite character in this book was probably Orion, even though he wasn't really in it and he was technically evil in the last book, I just found myself waiting for his new videos and clues and that was what was keeping me reading a lot of the time. I would recommend this series to any sci fi fans.

Elder is struggling with maintaining control over the ship without using phydus and after Doc develops a med patch that immediately calms people because of it's high concentration of phydus, people on board start being murdered with overdoses of the patches with "follow the leader" written on them. People assume Elder is either doing the killing or having people kill them for him and they start rebelling against him as they want to lead themselves. Amy gets Orions old wi com that can go around her wrist and she finds a clue on it, she starts following the clues and learns that Orion had learnt a secret about the ship and that only Amy could decide what to do with that secret. Eventually she learns that the ship is stopped right next to the planet they'd been sent to and they could dock at any time. When Elder goes to show everyone the planet there is an explosion that kills all the shippers who knew how to dock the ship, it also destroyed the bridge with the controls that could land the ship. Elder and Amy then learn that the reason they hadn't landed on the planet before is that there are monsters there and they decide to go anyway when they learn that the whole cryo level can break away from the rest of the ship and can land. Doc tries to stop them however as he wants everyone to stay on the ship with Orion as their leader, Amy wounds him and then Elder and Bartie come to an agreement that anyone who wants to go can go with Elder and anyone who wants to stay can stay on the ship with Bartie as their leader.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Breathe - Sarah Crossan (2012)

5 stars

I got this book as a christmas present after finding it on goodreads and putting it on my christmas list on a whim. As it turns out it was a really good choice.

I read a lot of dystopian novels and although the overall plot of an unlikely trio forming and starting a rebellion isn't new, I really enjoyed this book. The concept of having to pay for air was both really enjoyable and really freaky at the same time and I really liked that although the resistance base was separate from the main population, it was still accessible and easy to locate once they tried. This book is told from the three different perspectives of the main characters which is really good for parts of the book where they're separated and really interesting seeing how they react to the same people. My favourite character in this book is Maude, at first I thought she was a creepy old lady, then I pitied her, then I thought she became pretty badass and I'm looking forward to what she'll do in future books. I would recommend this book to any fans of dystopian novels.

Quinn, Bea and Alina live in the Breathe pod where everyone must pay for oxygen and any heavy breathing activities like exercise are illegal unless you've paid for the excess oxygen you need to do it. Quinn is a premium, someone whose family has enough status and money to afford all the oxygen they like, Bea is an auxilary, someone whose family has to scrape to pay for the oxygen in their apartment, and Alina is part of the resistance. When Alina has to escape the pod she runs into Quinn and Bea crossing the border at the same time and they help smuggle her across, she then tries to leave them behind but they save her life from Maude, an old drifter who wants a portable oxygen tank instead of the solar powered stationary oxygen tank she has and they make it to The Grove, the resistance's base, together. Bea and Quinn decide to help Alina and the resistance because they learn that Breathe gives them much more oxygen than they need so they're dependant on them and couldn't leave into the outside world which has 6% oxygen, which they keep at that level by killing any trees they see that are starting to regrow. In doing so they inadvertantly start a war with the Breathe officials and Quinn and Bea must go back and lie to the officials to give the resistance time to ready themselves for an attack. Breathe attacks the Grove and Alina, Maude and some others escape the attack and head to the next closest resistance base they've heard of. Quinn then tells the citizens inside the pod of what the officials are doing to them and he starts a civil war inside the pod. His dad kicks him out of the pod, but gives him some air tanks so he knows he'll survive and he and Bea meet up at the destroyed Grove to find Jazz, a survivor who knows where Alina and the others are heading, so they set off there together.