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Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Emma, a high school student in 1996, has just received a computer from her father. Her best friend Josh, who lives in the house next to hers, has an America Online CD-ROM that he offers her. When she finished downloading it, she discovers Facebook in her list of favorite sites. Clicking on it, she discovers her Facebook page 15 years in the future. To her dismay, she sees herself as being miserably unhappy. She messes around with her life, desperately doing anything to prevent her unfortunate future. She decides to apply to different colleges so that she won't meet her future husband, but everything she does just seems to make a different future in which she is still unhappy. Josh, on the other hand, is extremely happy with his future, and he's terrified that something Emma does will mess it up.
It's definitely a cool idea, but the book did not execute it well. It turned into one of those books that's about high school kids, who they want to go out with, and all the other tiny things they do in their life. The future Facebook added an interesting element, but Emma ended up rushing home every day to check it, and ended up acting like kids do now, so it didn't seem different than the other books about a random high school kid. The idea wasted away as the book progressed, so by the end, it had lost any novelty that it had at the beginning.
The book is a 1.9. It's better than some books I've read, but not nearly as good as many others. Like Splenda, it seemed sweet at first, but quickly lost its appeal, and there are alternatives that are better.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Controlling Governments in Literature

Hi guys!
On Monday for YA Galley Group we are going to be having a discussion on restricting governments in literature. (The Hunger Games, 1984, Anthem, etc.) Some questions to think about are:
1. What are some books that have restricting governments?
2. Do you think that in these societies, a harsh government is needed to maintain order? (We are going to vote on this question)
3. What are the main themes between a lot of these governments?
4. What are some tactics that the government's in these societies use to maintain control?

Also, here is a link to a wiki page that describes different ways that totalitarian governments maintain control over their societies (based on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins). If you could read the section under Governmental Control and Oppression for Monday, that would be great! (I know I posted this late so I am also going to bring in copies of the article on Monday.)

Governmental Control and Oppression

(wiki educator)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

Josh and Sophie Newman are twins currently living in San Francisco. Josh works at a bookshop and Sophie works at a coffee shop across the street. Some weird guys go into the bookshop, blow things up, and kind of scare Sophie and Josh. They kidnap the bookshop owner's wife Perry and run away with a book. The bookshop owner, Nick, takes Sophie and Josh and runs away to safety where he explains that he has been living for about 700 years and that the book that was just stolen, the Codex, can destroy the world. He is Nicholas Flamel, and his wife is Perenelle Flamel, and they would be immortal if that book hadn't been stolen. They can live one month without the book.
The Elders once ruled the world, and some of them, referred to as the Dark Elders, have decided that it is time to reclaim the world and reduce the human race to slaves, or, in some cases, food. Josh and Sophie are most likely the set of twins mentioned in the Codex. They have pure gold and silver auras, one can destroy the world, and one can save it.
It was a 3. Like a lemon tart, it was tangy, but not the best thing in the world. However, it was still enjoyable and fun.

Friday, October 7, 2011

When the Stars Go Blue

By Caridad Ferrer

     Once, Soledad thought that the best thing in the world was the percussion encouraging to move faster, jump higher, reach the skies. But things change. She gets into a relationship with Jonathan, a horn player from a corps, and he invites her to dance with the group.
     First impressions were good, a not so usual fairy dancer, Soledad, but one with actual substance. But then, it got really cliche. She falls for the guy, obsesses over him, then, is faced with a problem that might bring her apart from him. And it kept going. She falls for another guy, Taz, a spanish soccer player, then has to choose between Jonathan and the hot soccer player. It goes the whole jealous boyfriend cycle as well. Then a twist almost brought it back from the dead for me, but it somewhat disturbed me. It reminded me of Pink's music video for Don't Leave Me (which I don't recommend watching). Then, guess what! It got cliche a And she even ended up with Taz in the end.
     It's like a well known meal of macaroni and cheese that you've eaten so much that you're sick of it. You're handed a plate of it at your friend's house and have to eat it in order to be polite. You start eating it and it tastes the same, except that some spices add twists to the taste, but then it gets back to the same old and you're forcing it down again. It wasn't that good to me. I give it a 2.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hard vs. Soft Magic

We had a great discussion about the merits of hard magical systems compared to soft magical systems yesterday.

Sabriel and Mistborn were mentioned as great examples of hard magical systems. Advocates of this system pointed out that with fixed laws and rules, a hard magical system creates a more realistic world.

Soft magical systems made for great "human experiences" in books like Harry Potter and Graceling. Frustration was expressed by the hard advocates that in soft magical systems characters were often "special" by birth and not by skill.

In the end the score was 4 - hard, 3 - soft, with one undecided.

Jelle did a great job facilitating the discussion. It was great that we avoided fisticuffs over the algebraic implications.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


This book by Daniel H. Wilson is an apocalyptic story in which sometime in the future, the robots that humanity has created rise up against us. It all starts when a scientist, trying to create artificial intelligence, succeeds. However, the AI he created outsmarted its virtual prison, and like a virus, infected other machines, reprogramming them to be vicious killing machines. This book, much like World War Z (Max Brooks) is told from an after the fact viewpoint by survivors. Each chapter is a different event from the war, each narrated by the character who's memory it is. At first the different perspectives don't seem to relate, but as the story progresses, the different characters' journeys begin to intertwine as humanity fights back against the machine. Overall i enjoyed this book thoroughly

4/5 stars, in terms of food, i'd have to say this book is the literary equivalent of a Caramel Delite girl scout cookie

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