Monday, October 10, 2011

I Really Will Be More Diligent

I just got a brand new laptop, so as long as I stay enamored of my shiny new toy, I should be more regular about posting here. Of course, it's been long enough that I need to do a handful of catch-up posts first. I'll start with the books for younger readers, since that's about half of the titles since my last post. Like the last time I did this, I probably won't share my thoughts about everything, but just those that I actually have some lingering impression of. Or whatever.

'Legend' by Marie Lu is another post-apocalyptic dystopian YA, this time told from alternating points of view. Half of the chapters are narrated by Day, the outsider emo-boy hero and the other half are narrated by June, the super-smart, super-establishment heroine. And one character's chapters are printed in gold ink. I think it's Day. The book isn't bad, and June is more together than a lot of the heroines in these things, but that gold ink was really hard on my eyes and if I'm having that much trouble making out the words on the page, I'm going to have a hard time really getting into the book. So, there's that. Had I not had to squint half the time, I may have found this book to be much better than I did.

'The Future of Us' by Jay Asher and Caroline Mackler is also told in the alternating voices of the hero and heroine. It's about two best friends who magically stumble onto Facebook in 1996 and start doing things to see if they can change how their futures turn out. It's smart and engaging and makes me really glad I didn't have Facebook in 1996. I would have surely thought my future self deceased for as rarely as I bother logging in. Also, no gold ink on the pages, so I enjoyed the reading experience much more than that of 'Legend'.

'Snow in Summer' is an Appalachian-set Snow White tale from Jane Yolen. It's Jane Yolen, so you should read it because she does amazing things with fairy tales.

'Darker Still' by Leanna Renee Hiebler is a turn-of-the-century paranormal romance inspired by Oscar Wilde's 'Dorian Grey'. I quite enjoyed it and am pleased that it both tied up the story and left plenty of room for sequels.

'My Very Un Fairy Tale Life' by Anna Staniszewski is cute middle reader fantasy with an evil clown. Since we all know that clowns are inherently evil, I am probably a bit prejudiced in this book's favor for blatantly naming one as the villain.

'The Space Between' by Breanna Yovanoff was, hands-down, my favorite book on this list. I cannot praise it high enough. It's out next month and I encourage everyone who has any tolerance at all for YA paranormal romance to give it a read. It's absolutely beautifully written and devastatingly heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful. I'm getting a little misty-eyed just remembering it. Seriously. Read this book.

'Liar's Moon' by Elizabeth C. Bunce is a sequel to 'Star Crossed', which I loved. I didn't love this one as much because it introduced sequel bait on the last page, and I hate that. Until then, though, it was damned good.

'Unleashed' by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie is about teen werewolves and is (oddly) based on 'King Lear'. Not sure where this series is going, and not sure I care about finding out.

'The Dead Gentleman' by Matthew Cody could have been awesome, but was just okay. There were some great Jules Verne moments, but the intersection of the Victorian and contemporary felt forced and awkward.

'Shatter Me' by Tahereh Mafi was an unexpected pleasure. There's not a lot unique about the story (post-apocalyptic dystopian YA again), but the writing was fantastic. The prose style changed from beginning to end  in a way that reflected the heroine's change from feral and possibly insane prisoner to almost superhero with hard-earned faith in herself. It was the writing, and the slow-dawning realization of what Ms. Mafi was doing with her prose that kept me absolutely riveted.

'Extraordinary' by Adam Selzer made me wish that authors would stop feeling the need to do "send-ups" of popular genres. They hardly ever work well.

'Illuminated' by Erica Orloff is the book I finished on the train ride home today. It had a great premise and I had high hopes for it. However, it really needs a good copy editor. Since the copy that I read was an "advance uncorrected proof for limited distribution", I'm hoping it gets one. About 100 of the ellipses need to be edited out and the grammar needs help. And, from a personal point of view, it needs about fifty more pages of story to develop the relationship between the hero and heroine and to actually do something with the villain who was introduced and then dropped like a hot potato.

I wish I could have ended this on a better note, so I'll take this opportunity to advise both of you to read 'The Space Between' by Brenna Yovanoff. I promise it will be worth your while.

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