Book 08 – Wintergirls Tuesday, Jan 25 2011 

Wintergirls

Laurie Halse Anderson
5 out of 5 stars

I can’t give a review that will do this book any justice at all. All
I can tell you is that it’s absolutely breathtaking, scary, and dead-on. I’m simply going
to give you a quote my favorite part of the book and you can decide from there whether or
not you want to pick it up.
(Hint: You do)

“Why? You want to know why? Step into a tanning booth and fry yourself for two or three days. After your skin bubbles and peels off, roll in coarse salt, then pull on long underwear woven from spun glass and razor wire. Over that goes your regular clothes, as long as they are tight. Smoke gunpowder and go to school to jump through the hoops, sit up and beg, and roll over on command. Listen to the whispers that curl into your head at night, calling you ugly and fat and stupid and bitch and whore and the worst of all: ‘a disappointment.’ Puke and starve and cut and drink because you need an anesthetic and it works. For a while. But then the anesthetic turns into poison and by then it’s too late because you are mainlining it now, straight into your soul. It is rotting you and you can’t stop. Look in a mirror and find a ghost. Hear every heartbeat, scream that everysinglething is wrong with you. ‘Why?’ is the wrong question. Ask ‘Why not?'”

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Book 07 – Speak Monday, Aug 2 2010 

Speak
Laurie Halse Anderson
4 out of 5 stars

There’s something about this book that is so painfully familiar, it almost hurts reading it. It might be because Anderson gets into the mind of a troubled teenager- or any teenager- so well that I can’t help but legitimately feel the character’s pain. The story circulates around Melinda, a newly deemed social leper who is trying to survive her freshman year while fighting flashbacks from a traumatic event that took place during the summer.

While reading this, it honestly felt like I was back in school. Everything from the teachers to the curriculum (for example, how social studies classes never seem to get past the Industrial Revolution) seems recognizable and right. Anderson captured the school experience perfectly.

The writing is beautiful and can be read with ease, as per usual for Laurie Halse Anderson (read Wintergirls!). Although Melinda doesn’t speak much during the novel, she narrates the book and has a definite voice that’s both tragic and humorously sarcastic. Because this is one of the best features of the novel, I’m a little hesitant to watch the movie but interested to see how they pull it off.

Catalyst is another novel by Anderson, set a few years after Speak in the same high school. I’ll be sure to pick it up once I have the chance.

Book 06 – Perfect Monday, Aug 2 2010 

Perfect
Natasha Friend
3.5 out of 5 stars

After longing for this book for months, I finally found it at Goodwill. I could hardly believe my luck: there was not only one copy, but three! I’ve been finding really great reads there lately. It’s safe to say this novel didn’t let me down. I started reading and immediately got hooked. I ended up finishing it in only a few hours.

Perfect is about Isabelle, a girl suffering from bulimia ever since her father passed away. She’s forced into Group Therapy by her mother when her sister finds Isabelle purging in the bathroom. During Group, she befriends “perfect”, popular Ashley Barnum, the queen bee of her eight grade class. As their friendship blossoms, their eating disorders worsen. The book gives a glimpse into the personal problems and issues of the two characters in a very honest yet not too heavy way.

I believe the book was written for middle-schoolers, but I also think that many high-schoolers, and even adults, could learn a thing or two from it. My own grandma saw me reading it and asked if she could borrow it once I was finished.

Although eating disorders are a pretty serious topic, Friend handles it amazingly. She writes about it in a way that people who perhaps couldn’t previously understand EDs can relate. The book is a breeze to read and even though it’s mainly about eating disorders, it’s pretty damn funny too. I think anyone who is a fan of Sarah Dessen might like Natasha Friend’s novels as well.

WANT TO READ THE BEST BOOK EVER? Tuesday, Jul 6 2010 

 The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. FAVORITE BOOK EVER(besides Harry Potter). I swear by this book. I read it at LEAST once a year. This book is so awesome that I won’t even write a review on it, you’ll just have to go out and get this book and experience its AWESOMENESS for yourself.

Also, if you’re looking for a kickass series, get the Gemma Doyle books. A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY (the first), REBEL ANGELS (sequel), and THE SWEET FAR THING. I also reread those multiple times a year.

All the books listed above are supposedly in the fantasy genre, but I find that people (like myself) who really aren’t that into fantasy really like them as well. Please please please pick these books up. If it turns out you hate them, then I’m terribly sorry for misleading you, but I promise you that these are a few of my favorites that I hold dear to my heart.

Update Monday, Jul 5 2010 

So my mother accidentally returned all my books to the library, meaning I never got to finish The Great Tree of Avalon, but that’s alright. I didn’t get too far into it anyway. Ironically, I’m now reading Meg Cabot’s Avalon High. I sense a theme here.

Meg Cabot has always been a favorite of mine, so I doubt I’ll be disappointed with this one. I got it from Goodwill for like a buck.

I really want to go back to the library badly, but they keep saying I didn’t return Rehab Diaries which I am absolutely positive I did. I returned all books at the same time. They keep sending letters saying I owe money. I’ve got to get in there and dispute it sometime soon.

EIGHT DAYS UNTIL FLORIDA!

A Very Happy Meghan Saturday, Jun 26 2010 

Harry Potter Theme Park

I’m going here in about two weeks and I am SO FREAKING EXCITED! I love Harry Potter more than life itself and to be able to go to the theme park and Infinitus is a dream come true. I’m so happy I want to cry.

In other news, I have finished a few books that I should be reviewing right about now- Wintergirls, for one. I practically ate that book up and I’m trying to think of how a review is going to do it justice. Also, I’m reading Goose Girl for the umpteenth time and I’ll probably end up writing a review for it, but maybe not.

I need more books for my TBR list. Any suggestions?

Book 05 – The Great Gatsby Thursday, Jun 17 2010 

The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
3 out of 5 stars

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, and I’ll probably mention time and time again, I hate mandatory reading for class. I thought I’d want to hang myself from the ceiling upon starting the novel, but surprisingly enough, I actually enjoyed it (as far as school reading goes). It’s a classic for a reason. What made it so different from all the others we’ve read throughout the year is that these characters are so fully developed. Every day in American Lit, we’d have a discussion about the chapter assigned and we really delved deep into the characters’ hidden motives and feelings. You won’t catch it if you skim the surface but I swear, for every action and every word, there’s significance behind it that adds to the story. (Anyone else reminded of the Harry Potter series?)

It takes place in the 1920’s, a time known for the corruptness of society and importance of social stature. Most of The Great Gatsby’s plot unfoils at many outlandish, lavish parties hosted by none other than the rich tycoon, Gatsby himself. The whole book is basically a love triangle that challenges the very idea of love: can it be bought, are there different kinds of love, does so-and-so really love him/her or do just the benefits of loving him/her? It’s almost a satire of society and wealth.

It craftily displays the difference between new money and old money, and how differently the rich were treated. Without wealth and a good reputation, you have nothing, a concept Gatsby grasped when he first fell in love with Daisy Buchanan so many years ago. It was she who inspired him to make something of himself in the hopes that he would be able to steal her away from her gruff, aggressive husband Tom.

Poor Nick Carraway, the main character, is caught up in all of this, seeming to serve no real purpose but to let the story of the others unfold from an outsider’s point of view. He does have a fleeting romance with golf pro, Jordan Baker, but the story is really propelled by Gatsby and the Bouchanans.

Before I give too much away, I’m going to end with saying (from Everbind), “The Great Gatsby is class, commerce, and the American Dream; romance and tragedy; mystery and violence; characters that live forever in the reader’s imagination; and an evocation of the 1920’s that has come to define the age.”

Book 04 – Purge: Rehab Diaries Saturday, Jun 12 2010 

Purge: Rehab Diaries
Nicole Johnson
3.5 out of 5 stars

“You never come all the way out of the mirror; you stand, for the rest of your life, with one foot in this world and one in another, where everything is upside down and backward and sad.”

This book is a reflection and memoir of the author’s stay at an inpatient treatment center for her eating disorder. It’s a diary of daily events and thoughts that were whirring around in her head at the time, excluding any BS whatsoever. That’s what I loved, in particular: it was so real. There was no glamorizing of eating disorders and everything was refreshingly honest. For those not accustomed to life with an eating disorder, or for those who are completely unfamiliar with them, this book is an eye-opener. It’s cringe-worthy at times, maybe a little brutal, but there’s no beating around the bush. It shows eating disorders for what they really are, no sugar coating.

Of course, I don’t want to give anything away, seeing as this type of book is really one you’ll have to experience for yourself. However, I will say that as deep as the novel is, it’s also light hearted at times. For such a heavy subject, the book, for me, was an easy read. It was smooth and even humorous. It’s not just a book about eating disorders, it’s a book about self-discovery.

I have to add that it takes place in Wisconsin, my home. Reading about the setting and places familiar to me that Johnson visited made it all the more intriguing and really hit close to home-literally. Moreover, I’d like to applaud this book for revealing EDNOS (eating disorders not otherwise specified) as an actual illness, as so many believe that the only eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. It shows that ED’s can take any shape or form, any weight or nationality. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

Forced Reading. Monday, May 10 2010 

For American Lit Honors, we’ve been given The Great Gatsby to read. I have no idea what this book is about and although I know it is a classic, I’m really not thrilled. I hate it when classes require certain books to be read because I’ve found that they usually turn out to be boring. Last semester we had to read The Scarlet Letter, and I’m hoping this will have some more dialogue and plot formation. I guess we’ll have to wait and find out.

Book 03 – Generation Dead Thursday, May 6 2010 

Generation Dead
Daniel Waters
2 out of 5 stars

Good news! I went to the library today and got a whole buttload of books, since I finished Generation Dead.

This reminded me a little of Twilight, just substituting vampires for zombies. The concept, I have to admit, was pretty creative- that all over the world, for some unknown reason, dead teenagers weren’t remaining, well, dead, and now had to mix in with the rest of the alive high school crowd.

Meet Phoebe, resident goth girl who spends her time listening to unusual music and writing poetry. Despite her very obvious differences from the other schoolgirls, other boys still manage to find her attractive and want to get in her pants. I found her to be just a tad too cliche- especially when I realized she was in love with a dead boy (sound familiar?). Her best friend is Adam, is a football player, believe it or not, who has a long-time crush on her and eventually lets the school know they’re friends. What a good guy. Tommy is the zombie. That’s, er, kind of it. He doesn’t have much of a personality but Phoebe seems to be pretty taken with him, wanting to start an outreach program for the dead kids.

Although the original idea was clever, the actual story was a flop for me. To be fair, the book sent a great message about prejudice and fairness, but would I recommend it as a good read? No, unfortunately not. I found the characters predictable and at times, the moral that Waters tried to make clear seemed too cheesy, like beating a dead horse. Discrimination is bad. We got it.

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