Archive for November, 2011

Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen

Genre:  Historical Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  358

RAC Book:  Yes

This sequel to the Bright Young Things novel picks up with Letty, Astrid, and Cordelia.  Cordelia is settling into her new life with her newly discovered brother, but still feels very responsible for their father’s death and is dying for a way to make herself useful.  When her brother, Charlie, decides to open a speakeasy he chooses her to run it.  Letty is still trying to get her singing career off the ground and is hopeful there might be a place for her in Cordelia’s club, but things do not turn out exactly as she planned.  Astrid is still partying and hoping Charlie will get serious about his proposal to her, but she finds her mother’s lack of support for her engagement confusing.

The setting is fun and flirty and of course several men wander through that will inevitably become important to these young women.  The women do grow and change, but the beginning is a bit slow and some readers might not make it to the end to see how the characters evolve.  The eventual paths these three take will make readers want to know more about them and what will eventually become of them, especially as the 20s come to an end.  A fun story set in a fun time that will intrigue romance and historical fiction readers.

White Cat by Holly Black

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  310

RAC:  Yes

Cassel lives in a world where magic is possible, but illegal and not everyone is capable of doing it.  He is the only member of his family who cannot perform some type of magic.  He currently goes to a private boarding school to try and get away from his crazy family, but that is all jeopardized when he mysteriously sleepwalks onto the roof of the dorm and is mistakenly believed to be a suicide risk.  Years prior to this incident Cassel believes he killed his best friend although the memory is a bit hazy.  Now, he is having weird visions about a white cat and sleepwalking and he starts to wonder if his family is telling him the truth about what happened that fateful night years before.  Would his family use their powers on him?  Can he find out the truth before it is too late?

Fantasy lovers will enjoy this book partly because it is so unique.  It is not the same book we’ve all read a thousand times, but instead brings a new and modern twist to the magic and fantasy genre.  Cassel’s family all have real and understandable motivations, but that does not mean they all make the correct choices all the time.  Cassel is faced with some hard truths as he learns the facts and must decide how he will proceed.  The book is entertaining and engaging and will keep readers asking for more.

Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  326

RAC:  Yes

Michael Vey has known his entire life that he’s special.  He can somehow conduct electricity through his body and it sometimes shocks people that he touches.  Due to this abnormality, his mother has done many things to protect him including moving to another state and working a dead end job.  She pleads with him to never reveal this strange power for fear of persecution, even though he is constantly bullied at school.  One day as he is getting bullied his emotions take over and he zaps the bullies.  His actions are witnessed by a  cheerleader and  he is shocked by her reaction.  He is even more shocked when he finds out that there are others like him and there is a menacing force trying to gather them all together.  Can he keep himself and his mother safe?  Can he protect himself against the forces that want to find him and use him for their own gains?

This story was interesting and reminded me of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride and Witch and Wizard series based on content and writing style.  Michael has tried to hide his gift his entire life, even as his life continues to get worse.  When he finally embraces his power he finally realizes that he does not need to be the victim anymore.  Michael’s friend, Ostin, is an important member of the story as he helps Michael realize his true gifts.  The story is exciting, dramatic, and menacing.  Fans of fantasy or science fiction will not be able to wait for the next installment.

Gordon Ryder’s Blues by Jeff Dee

Genre:  Historical fiction

# of Pages:  165

RAC Book:  No

Gordon Ryder is navigating his junior year in high school during the year 1969.  His father has recently moved out and his mother has responded by being extremely overprotective.  When he meets a confident, attractive hippie he decides to get to know her better.  Myra invites him to a walkout and then a rally and he thinks it’s a good idea to show his disapproval of the war, especially since his best friend lost a brother to it.  The book reads as an adventure story that primarily happens in one day, so many things are not resolved at the end of the night.  Will his parents reconcile?  How will his best friend cope with the loss of his brother?  Will he ever get together with Myra?

The setting of this story is unique and many students will identify with the ideas and beliefs of the time depicted.  The characters are interesting, but it’s difficult to get to know them when the entire story takes place in one day.  The relationships between Gordon’s parents, Gordon and his mother, and Gordon and his friends are all relatable to teens of any age.  The setting of the story will be enough to entice many readers to pick this one up.

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  349

RAC Book:  Yes

Carmen, Tibby, Bridget, and Lena are back ten years after the last installment of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  Now they are all approaching the age of 30 and they have struggled to keep their friendship alive.  Tibby moved to Australia with Bryan, Bridget lives with Eric in San Francisco, Lena lives alone in New York and works as an art professor, and Carmen lives with her horrible fiance in New York where she works as an actress.  Tibby has especially fallen out of touch with her friends, which is why they are all so surprised when she invites them to Greece for a reunion.  When the three girls arrive, Tibby is not there to greet them.  By nightfall they know something is wrong and by morning their worst fears are confirmed.  The way each woman handles this tragedy is to run away from each other, which seems a bit surprising considering how long they have been friends.  Can they ever recover from their loss?  Can they ever find their way in this world without wandering aimlessly forever?

Most of this book centers on Bridget, Lena, and Carmen coping with Tibby’s apparent suicide.  During this time the three women rarely speak to each other and choose to throw themselves into various other activities.  It seems sad they have been a bit lost these last ten years and it took a tragedy to wake them up.  It’s difficult to take characters who became famous in young adult novels and make them realistic adults.  In many ways, these characters were still the same immature girls who traded pants.  The ending was satisfying, but the journey was a bit frustrating as the characters repeatedly made decisions that seemed unrealistic for thirty-year-olds who have been friends since birth.