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Friday, January 11, 2013

Formerly Shark Girl

by Kelly Bingham

Formerly shark girl is a truly beautiful book written in verse. It is the story of a girl who lost her arm in a shark attack as she fights her way through her senior year. She is an amazingly determined character, who any teen can relate to, especially her struggles with her dreams and choosing a college. Unlike some books where things are a bit to cliche or overly dramatic, I think this really hit recovery from a major injury right on. She works long and hard to bring her painting skills back to what they were, since she lost her right hand, and struggles in science with tweezers during a dissection. The small things that don't seem that important and Jane's reaction to them is perfect. I especially loved her conviction that she is fine, that she has moved passed it and her determination to prove herself. When she faces water for the first time, a large swimming pool, and is too proud to admit how her whole world collapsed, I saw a lot of myself in her. I know some people will find it overly whatever, but to me it really is the perfect story. Jane isn't portrayed as some perfect person, and she struggles with the people who tell her the accident had some deeper meaning or something.

I would describe Formerly Shark Girl as a glass of ice tea on a warm day. Some people may find it to sweet, or not sweet enough, but if you have been outside, and are pretty thirsty, than nothing in the world is better.

If that isn't clear, here's the number: I give it a 4.5

Thursday, January 10, 2013


by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The premise of this book is an interesting one.  It starts with the idea that when humans interact, they exchange energy that leave impressions on other people.  However, there are some people who do not exchange energy properly.  Nobodies cannot affect other people and Nulls cannot be affected.  Nix is a Nobody.  He has been raised by a secret society and is sent to kill people because who can get away with it better than someone no one can notice, and if they do happen to see him, they will certainly not remember him.  In general, he is sent to kill Nulls, who, because they cannot be affected by other people, are heartless sociopaths.
Claire is a girl who has gone her whole life without being noticed and she does not understand it.  She seems pretty close to depression at the beginning when she allows herself her two minute annual wallowing session as she looks through her yearbook and the general, meaningless comments left to her.  She is used to no one caring about her.  Her parents have forgotten her so many times that they have note stuck to their car that says CLAIRE so they can check if they have her before they leave.  Eventually, someone finally notices her.  Unfortunately, that someone is pointing a gun at her because she is Nix's next assignment.
There is instant reaction between the two.  As two Nobodies (and I don't feel as though I'm giving anything away here because it was pretty obvious what was going on), they have the ability to notice each other.  Nix is unable to kill her and ends up feeling oddly protective.  He has never been noticed before, even by the Society.  He had been resigned to his fate, but Claire opens up an entirely new set of feelings for him.
As I said, the concept is interesting, but I found it a little inconsistent.  Even if they do not exchange energy with people, they should still be noticed, and they are noticed sometimes, usually when it helps the plot a bit.  People will not remember reading an article about a Nobody, but if it had been an article about someone with the same name as a Nobody, they would remember that.  Also, there is this cabin in the middle of the woods, and it never explains how it got there.  The plot was a bit dull, and Claire learned a new skill set way too fast, even given the excuses in the book.  The end was also a bit anticlimactic, and they did not really end up accomplishing anything.
Overall, the book was a 2.4.  It was like the unsalted Cape Cod potato chips.  They're alright and there is nothing particularly special about them, but there is something that makes you keep eating them.  There was something in the book, and I do not know what it was, that made it very compelling.  It was difficult to stop reading it.

Wherever you go

By Heather Davis

Rob is killed when he runs off the road with Holly, his girlfriend, in his car. Unfortunately for him, he is earthbound. He watches Holly from his ghostly state for six months even though Holly cannot see him. Holly, who nearly died during the crash is devastated by Rob's death. The only friend she seems to have in the book, Marisa, doesn't understand what she is going through. On top of all this Holly's grandfather is diagnosed with a late stage of Alzheimer's disease and has to live with Holly and her family. Holly has to take care of her grandfather, Aldo, and her sister, Lena, by herself because her Mom has to work almost constantly to make any money.
Aldo makes a list of all the things he wants to remember, memories of his diseased wife and things he did as a child in Italy. Jason, Rob's best friend, decides to help Holly help Aldo relive these experiences. Rob watches over this and sees as is girlfriend and best friend begin to fall in love and begin to get over him. To Rob's surprise Aldo can see him. Aldo talks to Rob which causes Holly to think that Aldo is having hallucinations, a sign that his Alzheimer's is progressing. Rob also watches over his own family and sees the pain he has caused them. While watching his parent's therapy session he begins to remember the uncomfortable truths about the day he died and the actual cause.
Throughout the book Rob tries to understand why he is stuck on Earth and how he can help all the people he loves. He tries to sort out how to help Holly, Jason, and Aldo without being able to talk to them. Aldo's time is limited and he isn't always willing to help.
It's like a badly made chocolate cookie. You decide to eat the cookie even though it is burnt on the bottom. You hope it tastes good but it actually tastes bad. The more you eat of the cookie the better it gets until you eat the edge, where it is burned black -- the end. I give this book a 1.5 because I thought it was written badly. The character's would almost be developed but then a twist in the plot would bring out a new view of the character that differed from before. Although I did like the way the book was split up. (This part earned the 1.5 points it got) It was from the point of view of Holly (in first person), Rob (in second person), and Jason (in third person).


By Rebecca Lim

A drink of cold water can be very refreshing.  The feeling of cold water on your tongue which then slips down through your throat can feeling amazing.  But now, make that water a little warm.  Not quite as refreshing but still pretty good.  Now, put some red, yellow, and blue food coloring into the warm water to make it brown. Then dump in something that makes the water a little chunky. The warm brown water  with chunks is not nearly as appetizing as the cold water.  If I was going to chose between warm brown water or almost anything else I probably would.

Exile is about an angel who has been banished and calls herself Mercy -- mmm, water.  Mercy wakes up in different people's bodies, in Exile she is in Lela's body.  This idea was pretty interesting and I couldn't wait to start reading.  But, unfortunately, that wasn't all.  She is in love with Luc, an angel who has not been banished and talks to Mercy in her sleep.  She is also in love with Ryan, a boy who she knew from an earlier life -- warm the water up a little.  She calls Ryan Luc's mortal counterpart.  For the first 18 chapters Mercy, astonishingly quickly, learns to live like Lela, including balancing taking care of her dying mother and her job.  She then mixes herself up with a boy named Ranald when she promises to go out with him if he finds Ryan on the internet for her -- oh, here's the food coloring.  But, she never plans to do this because Ryan is going to come for her! She is so excited about that.  In fact, it is all she can think about; it is all I read about -- was that a chunk in my water?

One of the better aspects of the book was Lela's friend Justine.  Mercy learns to feel compassion for her and eventually sees how hard Justine's life is and tries to help her.  In general Mercy's feelings and actions seemed unrealistic.  They seem the most realistic in regards to Justine.

I think the book could have been better if just a few things were added.  I think the book would have been a lot better if Mercy/Lela was more realistic.  Everything seemed a little removed and her priorities didn't to make sense. As Mercy waits for Ryan, Lela's mother is less and less important.  This seemed weird because Lela's mother was dying.  Even if it wasn't actually Mercy's mother I think she should have cared for her a little more. I also think it would have been better if there was more conflict in the book.  Not enough happens to challenge Mercy's will or give Mercy a chance to prove herself or anything really.  The book just seemed a little pointless.  Many of the ideas were good but weren't done as well as they should have been.

This book is a 1.

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