Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Review: Ballads of Suburbia by: Stephanie Kuehnert

Where I got it: ARC from Stephanie Kuehnert
Rating: 5 stars (Buy a billion copies when it comes out because you'll just keep reading it.)
Cover Rating: 5 stars (Love it!)
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: Jul 21, 2009
Publisher: MTV Books

Kara comes back to her hometown in the suburbs of Chicago. She's come back to finally meet her best friend's kid. She's come back because she's been gone too long. This book isn't about her coming back though; it's about why she had to leave. This is the Ballad of Kara McNaughton and her friends. A song about sex, drugs, punk rock, loss, death, running away, and trying to figure out who the hell you are.

This book hit me in the first few pages. I was zipped right back to my high school years. I'm reading and thinking, ' hey this is my story, my life'. I can totally relate to Kara going back home after being away from all the people and all the things from when she was a different person. A little while later while reading it though I was losing touch and relate-ability. No one I hung around with did hard drugs; I never really went to parties. In a sense though Kara did the same run through of emotions and mistakes we all do, just with a different backdrop. By the end of the book I was back on track feeling as Kara felt, crying hard for her and for myself. I enjoyed this book so much, I loved the whole concept and how everyone wrote their Ballads. I appreciated how heartfelt they could be when they knew that the only other people reading their words are people who spilled their own on the pages. Kuehnert did an epic job writing Kara's and the others. Most authors are older people trying to write a voice of a teen and some of the time that voice isn't real it doesn't sound like a teen really does. Stephanie hits the nail on the head here, her voices are spot on capturing the true teen essence of dialogue and thoughts. I applaud this book, it will be read and reread in years to come as a true coming-of-age tale that teens will really relate to. If you weren't already psyched about this book; let me tell you, you should be.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review: A Proper Education for Girls: a novel by: Elaine di Rollo

Where I got it: the library
Rating: 3 stars (recommended but not a quick read)
Cover Rating: 3 stars (the photo and illustration effect is neat and relevant but it's not super eye catching although I do enjoy it.)
Genre: Adult Fiction
Publication Date: April 14, 2009
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Two girls left from a set of triplets in which one girl died young. They have become engaged in their father's collection which takes up every inch of the house. Their father does not let anyone leave this house without his permission. However, one sister, manages to escape after she disgraces herself and her father is forced to marry her off to a missionary who takes her to India. The other girl, Alice, however, is left behind. Her father sort of thinks of her as part of his collection after the nasty Dr. Cattermole points out that she is less than lady-like. Lillian (the girl in India) knows she needs to get Alice out of there, before something awful befalls her.

I enjoyed this book, even though it took me quite awhile to get through. The ideas seemed fresh and intriguing (twins, a bizarre collection, India, England, Sexism, new medical procedures, hermaphrodites, photography, uprisings). I really enjoyed that it switched back and forth between Alice and Lillian's point of views every few chapters. This definitely kept you reading because they would switch at the height of excitement. This book dealt largely with the sexism that was very present in England around the early days of petticoats and such. Elaine di Rollo did extensive reading and research when writing this book and it makes the book that much better as an insight into the (sometimes crazy) things that people believe and how they acted. I recommend this book to people who are looking for and interesting almost factual type of read. This book does contain exciting parts, action, adventures, little mysteries. I did not find it a fast read however, it was still quite enjoyable.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Review: Why I Let My Hair Grow out by: Maryrose Wood

Where I got it: the library
Rating: 5 stars (highly recommendable)
Cover Rating: 5 stars (the reason why I picked it up very pretty)
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: March 6, 2007
Publisher: Berkley Trade

Why I Let My Hair Grow Out is a great book. Morgan (a girl with a boy's name) has a controlling boyfriend before she chops her hair super short after they break-up. Her parents are worried about her and send her off on a bicycle tour of Ireland. There she meets Colin one of the tour guides. On one of the rides she decides to ditch her partner and falls off her bike and bumps her head. She ends up having a very vivid dream about another magical land. When she comes to Colin is there and tells her she landed on a Fairy bump. Another night she gets drunk and travels back into this other land. She finds out it is a place from long ago and that she is a fairy person and she is destined to help them restore order to their land. I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up because I loved the cover. I thought it was just coming to be your basic teen drama novel, but it was so much better. I really love how this book is a very realistic fantasy if that makes any sense. I like how the Fairy world is separated from Morgan's normal world. This also was a very quick read and the first in a series. I am very excited to read the second one; How I Found the Perfect Dress. This was a delectable out-of-the-ordinary read. I recommend it to anyone who reads for pleasure.


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