Sunday, December 30, 2012

Looking for Alaska (John Green)

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Length: Audio book: 7hrs
Rating: 3.5/5

Miles Halter is mostly friendless and obsessed with famous last words. He’s more than ready to leave his safe life at home for boarding school at Culver Creek and experience what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” At Culver Creek he meets his roommate Chip “The Colonel” Martin, and sexy, unstable Alaska Young. These two, their friends, and the adventures they seek will change Miles’s life forever.

Maybe if I had gone to boarding school, my high school years wouldn’t have been so comparatively tame. This book includes drinking, alcohol, and sexually explicit situations. Naturally, it’s both a banned book and a cult favorite. It also contains a deep and reflective look at world religions and values. Not to mention an intense look at the value of life.

It’s safe to say that John Green is a king/giant/awesome dude in YA literature. This is his debut novel from 2005, and while I didn’t love it, I can completely understand why it was so well received. Maybe it’s just that I didn’t particularly like Alaska, while our main character Miles adored her. I did however enjoy its frank portrayal of the transition from youth to young adulthood, and importance of finding yourself within that transition. Plus, it’s quite hilarious at many moments and deeply thoughtful at others (which I suppose captures my teen years quite nicely). 

Oh Google, not that Alaska!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

100th Post GIVEAWAY!!!

Can you believe it? Not quite a year and half in, and (YA)Y! has reached its 100th post!! This of course doesn't include those sister posts over at J! books where I review lots of wonderful middle grade books. What's that? Haven't checked it out? Now sounds like a pretty great time.

Ohhh, you're here for the GIVEAWAY! Well, you've come to the right spot. To celebrate 100 posts of YA awesomeness, I'm giving away 3 books*! Here are the options:

In eighteenth century Vienna, Austria, fifteen-year-old Theresa seeks a way to help her mother and brother financially while investigating the murder of her father, a renowned violinist of Haydn's orchestra at the court of Prince Esterhazy, whose body was found near a gypsy camp.

Born into a family of witches, seventeen-year-old Tamsin was raised believing that she alone lacked a magical "Talent," but when her beautiful and powerful sister is taken by an age-old rival of the family in an attempt to change the balance of power, Tamsin discovers her true identity. 

Three girls, known as the Stones of Prophecy, are drawn to a land called Fairytale, where they and a man called the Chosen One seek Oonagh, a magical creature who explains their role in a battle between Good and Evil.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest runs until the end of the year, so follow the blog, tell your friends, and three lucky people will WIN A FREE BOOK!

*Normally, I would review these books for you, But sadly, I have not read these wonderfully-looking books yet. They were chosen by me and donated from the Linwood Community Library's collection, for a contest such as this!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Every Day (David Levithan)

Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Length: 322 pages
Rating: 4.5/5

Imagine waking up each day in a new body, getting to experience new things, but never having a chance at a future with the people you meet. This is A’s life, and to survive such a strange existence A has made certain guidelines: don’t get too attached, don’t interfere, and don’t get noticed. When A wakes up in Justin’s body and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon, everything changes. As A falls in love with Rhiannon and begins changing all the rules to spend more time with her, A comes dangerously close to exposing A’s secret existence.

This book’s premise is brilliant and completely unique. It will make you question what it means to be human, mind and body separate but all in one. What is the importance of the vessel that carries your personality? What if you could experience living in every type of body, if boy or girl, fat or skinny, that person for the day was you? I know I took a good look at my own automatic judgment of people based on their looks. This book challenged me to think about gender differently too. It was extremely difficult to write the book summary without using gendered pronoun (and I admit it’s still awkward!). But all of this led to the expanded importance of the first person narrator being and knowing exactly who they are, despite changing all the time..

This book also brings up the question of what it means to truly love someone every day. I felt for Rhiannon as much as I did for A, because they both have such tough decisions to make.

Every Day is YA fiction on the next level; and I love the way it challenges and stretches the norm.