Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Inexcusable by Chris Lynch

This book is a haunting portrait of a high school senior, Keir, who feels that he is a good guy, that no one would think him capable of doing anything horrible. He contradicts himself by crippling another football player during a game, vandalizing a local statue, pulling embarrassing pranks on the soccer team, and date raping his friend Gigi. Although all of these events happen, he still feels that somehow he can never accept that he is a part of these; they all are “inexcusable” acts. He uses the word “inexcusable” multiple times during the book, describing things that shouldn’t be done, but in actuality he does do inexcusable things. His father allows him to drink alcohol with him and doesn’t seem to mind that he is out all night long. He gets along well with his father, but their relationship to me felt more like they were brothers. He never seemed to get any real discipline, and when it was attempted he would lash out.

Reading the story from Keir’s point-of-view was a bit disturbing, because you found yourself wanting to believe him, that he was “good” and that he really didn’t mean to do the things he did. He turned out to be the opposite of what he felt he was, and even came to the realization of that at the end of the book.

Overall it was a very powerful novel that really got into the mind of a teen that has a lot of issues with drugs, alcohol abuse, and family problems. I would highly recommend this book for high schoolers and maybe even mature 8th graders.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Inside Out: Portrait of an eating disorder written and illustrated by Nadia Shivack

This book offers a powerful and disturbing look into the mind and thoughts of Nadia Shivack and her struggles with Bulimia Nervosa. Shivack includes hand drawn images of how she feels with this disease. It is a very stark and blunt book that makes you truly feel for the author. It is a very short graphic read, but really touched me and made me really think of how this disease can affect people emotionally.

The book also has little facts printed on multiple pages about eating disorders and statistics in today’s society, as well as more printed information at the back of the book. I think teen girls will really get a very true in-sight into this woman’s life and how hard it was and still is for her. I hope it would give girls the strength to realize they wouldn’t want their life to be ruled and overpowered by this disease and learn to love themselves the way they are! At the end of the book in the afterword, the authors lets the reader know that she still has a problem with this disease and has been in the hospital because of this problem since the publication of the book.

This would be a great book not only for girls but boys as well, she points out in the facts in the books that one million men in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. Used in class, this book would educate students about eating disorders and maybe let them see from her experiences that this is something that can really consume an individual and can even cause death!

This book would be good for a lot of age groups, middle school and high school, even younger kids in 4th or 5th grades, especially if a teacher felt that a student may have a similar issue with their self-image. Shivack mentions on the very first page she remembers having a problem with food at the age of six!!! I think the younger they are when they are educated about this topic the better.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Feeling like she just can’t wake up from a dream, Liz, doesn’t want to accept the fact that she has died and has moved on to live in Elsewhere. Elsewhere is a place where the recently dead go once they have passed away. Elsewhere is like any other town in the world only you age backwards from the time you arrive, so instead of growing old you grow young. Non one dies on Elsewhere and no one is born on Elsewhere. Once people age back to 7 days old they are sent back to earth by floating down the river and are reborn to live another life on earth.

Liz is greeted by her Grandma Betty, whom died before she was ever born. Liz doesn’t want to focus on the now, she wants to find a way back to earth to finish out her life. She wants to finish school, go to college and get married. She doesn’t want to accept where she is and she spends all her time at the observation decks, where you put tokens in the binoculars to watch loved ones back on earth. Liz finally learns to love her Grandma and enjoys being on Elsewhere. She takes an avocation counseling pets that have recently passed and arrived in Elsewhere and helps find them new homes. She even meets someone and experiences love firsthand.

A great book that read and flowed with ease! I loved the concept of the story and think kids too will like the fantasy aspect of the book, and may even get them contemplating death and an afterlife! I could see middle school ages and high school aged kids really getting into the story and the frustrations Liz has with death and leaving her family. The book can be related to dealing with death of loved ones and pets and maybe even help kids cope with their own tragedies. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review of Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle

If anyone knows me they know that I love reading fantasy novels! So when my friend self-published her book, a re-telling of Cinderella…I was excited to get my hands on it. In many ways I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and to be honest it wasn’t what I thought it would be like at all. The novel itself has hints of mystery, murder,, romance, and magic all rolled into one. It is a powerful story; well written and with very detailed and intricate descriptions. The story takes quite a dark approach to the fairy tale of Cinderella…which is something that I was not expecting. This story was more of a mature and adult re-telling of the tale. I liked the different take on the fairy tale, and especially since the plot focuses on the storyline after Cinderella has married the prince. I was expecting a light, magical, and happy story written more for young adults. I do think a lot of mature high schoolers out there though would love this book.

The characters are well rounded and I felt connected to them and understood them by the end of the book. Not only was the story full of magic, but the writing was magical as well! The storyline hooked me in and held my interest until the end…I absolutely loved it. I would tell more about it, but I don’t want to give any of it away. I truly did feel that the story came full circle by the end and answered all my questions. The story portrays a more realistic view of life. I think we get caught up in having every book we read and movie we see end with everything solved. Life is never like that. I enjoyed Cinders because of its fresh new angle on an old fairy tale.

This isn’t your usual happy fairy tale; it is a dark, mysterious, and captivating read and I would highly recommend it. I am not just saying this either because I "know" the author! I am a huge fantasy fan and love different takes and re-telling of fairy tales! One of the main reasons I wanted to read the book was because I knew it was a genre I love.

If you are interested in getting a copy, link to Michelle’s website, she is even selling and shipping autographed copies as well. You can also read more about Michelle and read excerpts from Cinders as well as her other literary works.

Click here to check out her website: http://www.michelledavidsonargyle.com/
Click here to purchase Cinders

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blog Book Tour - Michelle Davidson Argyle

My friend Michelle just self-published a novella! I just received my copy and have just started to read it. She is offering some great prizes for individuals who help advertise her book blog tour (September 19-25). Anyone can advertise, as long as it is visible on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog, and leave a comment on her website (or email her) regarding where you posted. I am truly looking forward to finishing the book and when I do I will be reviewing the book here. Check out her site to see the prizes and all the information for the blogs hosting her during her blog tour. You can also link on her website to where you can purchase the novella. (link below)

Michelle Davidson Argyle "Cinders" Book Blog Tour