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Monday, November 15, 2010

Ms. Barnes rates 1-5

Since we have a wide range of reviewers on this blog, we figured we'd give you (our reading audience) a sense of our taste by sharing books that fall into the different categories of the rating system. I'll share some of my favorites, least favorites, and those residing in that mixed feelings category, from among the 288 books I've read this year.

5 - Beatle Meets Destiny by Gabrielle Williams - This book was superb for me in every possible way. Williams has such a unique and playful writing style. When you add that to quirky, compelling, well-developed characters, a perfectly detailed Australian setting, and a sweet but realistic romance, you get a winner... in my opinion. Definitely one of my favorites from the year. As delicious and filling and satisfying as Boston creme pie.

4 - The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff - Yovanoff's debut has an utterly unique premise that I could really envision as a future Tim Burton film. This book is so atmospheric, so creepy (and I do mean the contents of the book though the cover is truly gorgeous), that it was able to overcome some weaknesses in the text later on. Great execution and an author I'll surely be following. Like a first try at vegetable pot pie, delicious, but still with room for improvement.

3 - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - This book fell into middle of the road territory for me, and in kind of a surprising way. The writing (an aspect of the book that matters greatly to me) is excellent throughout, but I felt underwhelmed by one of our two narrators. Dash felt like an old man in the body of a teenager. I struggled to believe his inner narration, as well as some of his actions. As much as I loved Lily, it wasn't enough to make up for how disappointed I was in Dash. This book reminds me of this risotto I tried last night. It would have been so good if not for the overpoweringly strong gorgonzola cheese. (Can you see that I am struggling with the food analogies!)

2 - Soames on the Range by Nancy Belgue - I would never have finished this book if I wasn't committed to writing a book review of it for a magazine. Oy. Where to start? It was completely lacking in plot while brimming with underdeveloped characters. Though it deals with timely issues that lend it a unique position in teen literature, it never rises to the occasion. This is like the cookies that I picked up from Whole Foods last week: how can you mess up chocolate chip cookies? Dry and unsatisfying.

1- I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore - This was hands-down the worst book I had to read this year, and the more I learn about its genesis, the more my disgust grows! Sure, this book will make a decent action movie, but did they really need to make a book version? Sloppily edited (major typo on the first page!), predictable, generic, and with some utterly dreadful writing, I still feel bad about how much time I spent reading aloud from this atrocious book. I'm not even sure there is a food to describe this one. Maybe cat food, but if a human tried to eat it.

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