Thursday, November 17, 2011

Read This: How to Save a Life

How to Save a Life
by Sara Zarr

The Short Story
Mandy is young, pregnant, trying to find someone to adopt her baby, and completely on her own. Jill is young, definitely not pregnant, recovering from her dad's recent passing, and wishes everyone would leave her alone. When Jill's mom decides to adopt Mandy's baby, things start to go a little crazy. Told from Mandy and Jill's point of views, it's a good, hard, emotional, but ultimately hopeful read.

Come for the....
emotion. It was hard for me to pin down what exactly I liked about this one (and I did like it). Jill and Mandy aren't particularly loveable as narrators. In fact, I really, really disliked Mandy in the beginning. I knew I should have felt sympathetic toward her, but I just didn't. And Jill makes herself super difficult to like. Ever since her dad died, Jill has tried her hardest to push everyone away. Sometimes it's with good reason (like the person who suggested to get a dog to fill the void), but often it's just the regular people in her life who want to help.

So the book was a little slow in the beginning, as I got used to the characters. But eventually I started to connect with Jill, and by the very end, Mandy. I liked that Sara Zarr has a way of making you see the good and the bad in people, and helping you learn to like all of them. The book actually has a really hopeful tone, although you should keep your tissues handy.

Stay for the
supporting characters, especially Dylan and Ravi, who were both amazingly good at treating people better than they had to; Sara Zarr's way with words. There's a few lines about grief that I thought were the best, most honest description I had ever read.

Don't Think About This Too Hard

  • If you've ever been pregnant, some of Mandy's pregnancy descriptions will probably stick out to you. Did she have gestational diabetes, or was she on bed rest or something? I couldn't figure out why she had to rest so much and wasn't supposed to have sugar. Also, uh... there's no way you can go without wearing a bra while you're pregnant. Just saying.

The Big Three:
Language: some occasional swearing, including a couple f-words
Sex and Stuff: Some implied but not described
Violence: Mentions of abuse, but not described

Just So You Know
I read an ARC of How to Save a Life as part of Around The World ARC Tours.
It's now available.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Have You Seen The Hunger Games Trailer?

Go and watch (again): if the movie isn't working for you.

Here's what I liked:
Effie looked perfect!
Gale doesn't sound Australian!
Peeta is short but not super awkward next to Katniss
Scary tributes being scary
Super intense entering the arena scene

But did they honestly show them waxing her legs? I was sure that would not make it into the movie. Because who wants to see that. (but did you also notice her legs were not hairy?)

Are you excited for March? Even my husband, who has been saying the movie will be stupid, said that trailer was not stupid.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Read This: Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up
by Daniel Handler

The Short Story
 Min and Ed had a short, sweet, bitter, and everything in between high school romance. Now that they've broken up, Min decides to send Ed a letter and a box containing every trinket she ever saved from their relationship. Each piece tells a different part of their story, and ultimately why it didn't work. A unique read that kept my interest, but did fall a little flat at the end.

Come for the....
most realistic YA female written by a man. You might recognize Daniel Handler more easily by his alias, Lemony Snicket. And, while I'm not interested his more well-known books, I have to say he does an amazing job with Min. She felt like such a realistic character to me; the way she kept little mementos of her relationship with Ed; her long, stream of consciousness descriptions of him and her and how she felt; the use of the word 'swoon.' I think the only way Min would be different if she were written by a women would be that she would have sworn less, and maybe would have been more concerned about whether or not she had shaved her legs. 

But for all Min's realistic-ness, if you don't believe in her relationship with Ed, the story won't work. Like 500 Days of Summer, you know this isn't going to end well. And as I read I could see how Ed and Min were not well-matched. There are parts where neither one is being honest, or both make incorrect assumptions. But part of the reason I enjoyed the story so much was that there are moments when you see the good in their relationship. Ed and Min have some incredibly adorable times together, and some awful ones. The complexity of their relationship was one of the best parts of the book. Unfortunately the story ends up going the very, very cliched route, but the rest of it is so good that I still recommend it.

Stay for the
illustrations, which weren't all finished in the ARC, but based on what I saw will be amazing; the postcards that come with the book; the fact that it's a stand alone.

Don't Think About This Too Hard
  • A simple google search would have solved one of the issues that comes up in the end. I can't decide if this is just sloppiness in the plotting, or if it's another example of not wanting to know, and the idea being better than knowing the reality.
  • Min gets a little wordy in her monologues. I'm hoping some of that will be trimmed in the finished copy of the book.

The Big Three:
Language: frequent profanity, including the f-word (somewhat regularly)
Sex and Stuff: There's a lot of this, and described more than I cared to read
Violence: not an issue

Just So You Know
I read an ARC of Why We Broke Up as part of Around The World ARC Tours.
Why We Broke Up will be released on December 27, 2011.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spooktacular Winner!

The winner of Marsipity is:

Lexie @ Book Bug

Congrats, Lexie. An email has been sent, and the winner has 48 hours to contact me. Thanks everyone for entering. Hope you had a happy Halloween!