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Monday, July 13, 2015

Currently Reading 7/13/15

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READ:

The Dead I Know by Scot Gardner: Surprised this hasn't gotten more buzz, as I thought it was fabulous.  Something of a mystery, or at least very mysterious, but mostly a story of a young man coming-of-age, dealing with the past, with loss, relationships (familial and platonic but refreshingly never romantic) and independence, and learning how to accept friendship offered.  As anyone would expect in a book set in a mortuary, Death is a main theme, not just physical (although there are plenty of dead bodies), but emotional, societal, and intellectual too.  The vivid characters, all of them flawed but trying make the story.  It's helpful to know ahead of time that this novel is set in Australia (I kept thinking it was England for some reason which caused several moments of confusion early on!) ****1/2

**REREAD** Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: One of those books that starts out fine but typical, and then by the end managers to astound you with its brilliance.  Stargirl is probably one of the top 5 character creations in all of teen literature, a Manic Pixie Dream Girl that manages to subvert everything the MPDG stands for.  No easy answers here, and I admire Spinelli's restraint in keeping Stargirl from explaining herself and her ideology too much.  Poignant, thought-provoking, and piercing, a book that makes you cry for humanity, and then try to be a better person.  *****

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman: Not sure what to say about this other than, by being totally berserk and out-there it succeeds in being the most accurate and harrowing depiction of mental illness that I have ever read.  The world's longest metaphor, probably, but a brilliant one. *****

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver: The plot is so so painfully obvious from practically the first chapter, especially if you've read any YA mysteries at all from the last few years.  A predictable "twist" wouldn't be a fatal flaw in some books, but with shallow characters, ambiguous setting, and underdeveloped themes, plot is really all this book has going for it.

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer: My new favorite non-fiction book.  Genuine, appalling, exhilarating, inspiring, profound, and always, always entertaining; just like the author.

 
Ms. Marvel vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona: THIS is good storytelling.  The tone of the artwork and text play off and compliment one another perfectly, Kamala is, of course, a fabulous new character: equal parts spunky and unsure, even with her superpowers she never seems to be other than a teenager girl from Jersey.  Relationships and supporting characters are all spot on and service both the story and Kamala's development well.  Kamala's culture and religion are handled with due respect and candor.  Well done. *****

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool by Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli: Just really really fun, which can be in short supply in superhero comics these days.  The story and artwork are easy to follow and well-done, but it's all aobut seeing these two characters (plus Kate Bishop!) quip and play off one another.  A delight.  ****1/2

All-New Ultimates vol. 1: Power for Power by Michel Fiffe and Amilcar Pinna: Horrible.  Great group of heroes, but most are completely out of character.  The dialogue is ridiculous, the plot impossible to follow, and the artwork bizarre and ugly. *


CURRENTLY READING

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
The Tight-Rope Walkers by David Almond


More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera
The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks
Batgirl vol 1: The Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr and Brendan Fletcher

If You Find this Letter by Hannah Brencher
The Whisper by Aaron Starmer

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater




TO READ:

 
The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier
Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

 
How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

 
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
The Great Good Summer by Liz Garton Scanlon

8 comments:

  1. I've had Stargirl in my library for ages but haven't read it yet. I need to get to it now!
    Lisa
    LisaTeachR'sClassroom

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  2. Love Stargirl. Have never heard of The Dead I Know but it does sound interesting. Adding it to the TBR list now. Loved The 5th Wave (a little trouble with book 2 but I think partly because of the time lag between reading book 1 and 2). And Maggie Steifvater is just awesome no matter what. I have a friend who keeps gushing about The Boy in the Black Suit so I should try that one.

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  3. I can't believe I still haven't read Stargirl. The Dead I Know and the new Shusterman title both sound like books I want to read. I hope you enjoy the books in the Raven Boys cycle. I just finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue. The hardest part is wating for the next one.

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  4. When Stargirl came out, it was so, so popular. I used it as a read aloud, then in later years in book groups. He's a good solid writer. I will try to get to Challenger Deep sometime. It sounds good, and something that I would learn from, too. Thanks for the good books reviewed here, Hannahlily.

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  5. Oof, your review of Vanishing Girls makes me frightened to read it. I have the ARC but haven't gotten to it yet. I may give it a whirl, but thank you for the warning! Challenger Deep sounds excellent. I think I own that one, too, and I also haven't read it! There are so many good books and so little time!

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  6. So much to comment on Hannahlilly!!
    First, I completely love the way you described Stargirl. It is one of my old favorites; I need to reread!
    I want to read Challenger Deep soon. It is at school, so it'll have to wait until school starts.
    I do not know The Dead I Know--thank you for sharing it.
    You have so many great books that you are reading and going to read--happy reading!!! :)

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  7. Look at all of these awesome book titles! I am so happy to see the book love for Stargirl here. I just featured this title on a list I created of 25 amazing female characters in MG/YA books. I hope you enjoy the Jason Reynolds title. It is brilliant!

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  8. I really am looking forward to reading Ms. Marvel - I've heard so many great things about it from comic-aficionado friends of mine. Stargirl is beautiful, I agree. You've been reading so many books at the same time! How do you do it?! Wonderful!

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