Friday, July 18, 2008

Vacation Thoughts and a Photo Shout Out to Beth

I'm on vacation. I sat on a porch swing last night and listened to frogs croaking and cicadas chirping. I watched bats dip in and out of the skyline, searching for their dinner. And I soaked up the humid air. (I'm crazy, I love humidity.) This morning I had blueberry pancakes for breakfast and the blueberries were picked from a bush that grows just a few feet from the backdoor. And this little fairy greeted me near that same backdoor.In a few days, I leave this country oasis for the beach. A nice, uncrowded beach where wild horses roam free and you can still find seashells on the sand. Aren't vacations wonderful?

This next picture is for Beth. (She's always posting pictures for other people on her blog so I though it was high time to give her a picture). This lotus was tucked away in the garden near the book fairy, just ready and waiting for me to take a picture. Beth, thanks for all the wonderful, thought-provoking posts and beautiful pictures on your blog (and for the signed copy of House of Dance!). I always know it's going to be a good day when there's a new post waiting for me at your blog. Beth's latest postings, on her site and on HarperTeen Myspace, bring up questions about name brands and book banning in teen literature. I would love to hear what everyone thinks about this.

I probably won't be posting many reviews in the next couple of weeks, but I have been reading a lot. Some books that I've read and enjoyed recently are In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg, Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman, and Audrey Wait! by Robin Benway. I'll be posting reviews of those in early August when I get back from vacation.

These pictures were taken from my new phone. Pretty good quality for a cell phone! :-)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Market by J.M. Steele Book Review

The Market by J.M. Steele
(Hyperion, Hardcover)


Someone at Millbank High has created a Social Stock Market where girls are ranked according to looks, fashion, and other criteria. Kate's always been happy with her life until she finds out that she is ranked 71 (out of 140 girls). Kate and her best friend decide to play the market and try to increase her rating. She cuts her hair, buys some new clothes, and all of a sudden her ranking starts to rise. But will Kate's "blue chip" status ruin her life?

I was completely intrigued by this book's concept. I don't know if there is such a thing as a "social stock market" but it's easy to see how one could become popular. I wasn't crazy about the ending, but this book gets an A+ for originality.

Also, I'm wondering about the authors. J.M. Steele is the pseudonym for two writers. Boys? Girls? For some reason, I feel like it's 2 boys, but maybe that is because of the androgynous name JM. Has anyone else read this book and want to throw in their thoughts?

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson Book Review

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
(HarperTeen, Paperback)

Ginny's aunt dies and leaves behind 13 little blue envelopes. Ginny opens the first and finds $1000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London. The other envelopes start an adventure that will be full of laughter and tears and will bring Ginny closer to her aunt.

There were so many things that I liked about this book. Johnson's writing made even the most unbelievable schemes seem possible. Ginny is headstrong heroine who isn't afraid of being alone in foreign countries. That alone made me like her. Personally, I think I'd freak out if someone just plopped me down in Europe with no money and no friends. The ending also has a great twist that I totally wasn't expecting.

After a few weeks contemplating this book, I decided that I couldn't really get past the unbelievable plot. Whose parents would just let them buy a ticket to Europe with no destination in mind? I also wasn't a big fan of Keith, Ginny's romantic interest. He did have some good points, but I felt like overall he didn't treat her well enough.

I'm definitely going to pick up Maureen Johnson's other books because I really like her writing style. This one just wasn't for me.