Monday, August 27, 2007

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga Book Review

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
(Houghton Mifflin, Paperback)

When Josh was only twelve, his teacher sexually abused him. Now it's five years later and his teacher is getting out of jail. Plus, the girl that Josh thought he lost forever is talking to him again. And all he really wants to do is graduate and move to a town where no one knows about his past.
Lyga writes about a very controversial subject in an informative and sensitive way. I sympathized with Josh because he's under the impression that having sex with his teacher was his fault. It's easy to see how a sexual abuse victim feels responsible, which is probably one point that Lyga wants to make. Boy Toy has intermittent flashbacks to when Josh was twelve...some of them have very graphic content so I would only recommend this for mature audiences. That being said, this is a really good book because it takes a disturbing topic and shows how friends and family play a big part in helping an abused person to recover. I give this book four stars because I hardly ever read disturbing books because I don't care for the graphic content, but this book made a positive impression despite the heavy topic.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock Book Review

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
(Graphia, Paperback)


First off, let me say, I don't like football. Not at all. Not even a little bit. So I was very surprised that I liked this book. There is quite a lot of football talk in Dairy Queen. It's actually the only thing that DJ's family seems to talk about. No one talks about the important issues and lately DJ feels like a cow (not fat, just that she's always following the herd). So when DJ tries out for the boys football team, she's not only asserting herself as a strong female, she's also forcing her family, her friends, and the town to talk about important issues. I really liked the character of DJ's little brother - he's quiet and has a weird collection of animal skulls. Brian, the rival team's football star and DJ's new friend, seems like most of the jocks I've known, except with slightly more potential (only slightly though). All in all, this was an easy fun read and I'll definitely pick up the sequel, The Off Season.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An Eva Ibbotson Compendium

Awhile back, I got on an Eva Ibbotson kick and read several of her books. I thought I'd just do a quick little review of them all here. I enjoyed reading them around the same time because I was able to really get into her writing and also because in every book the main character is a different age so you can read about kid heroines all the way to teen heroines. Plus, all of her heroines are plucky. Don't you just love a plucky heroine?

Star of Kazan: This was a great rags-to-riches story. 12-yr-old Anika is an orphan until one day a suspicious rich lady claims to be her mom. Highly enjoyable, sort of like Harry Potter but with no magic.

A Countess Below Stairs: Russian history fascinates me so it's no wonder that I loved this book! I think it's definitely my favorite of Ibbotson's books. All the minor characters are well-written and Anna is wonderfully down-to-earth for an exiled countess who is now working as a maid. (not quite sure how old Anna is, maybe 17?)

A Company of Swans: This one was lots of fun to read because it takes the reader into the jungles of Africa. This is a classic romance, complete with a brooding hero with skeletons in his closet and a run-away heroine. (Harriet is 19 yrs old.)

The Morning Gift: Another enjoyable classic romance from Ibbotson. The Nazis are invading Vienna and Ruth is supposed to escape with her family but the plan goes wrong. In order to hide her Jewish heritage, she marries a young scientist. I especially enjoyed this novel because Ruth loves learning and is working towards her degree at the local university. This provides for an entertaining cast of minor characters. (Ruth is 20 yrs old.)

Ok, sheww, guess I said enough. But you should also check out Jennie's Ibbotson reviews - A Countess Below Stairs and A Company of Swans. Plus, I'm totally in love with her icons. :-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Undercover by Beth Kephart Book Review

Undercover by Beth Kephart
(Harper Teen, Hardcover)

You must rush out and get this book as soon as it's released (Sept. 18th, I think). Seriously, it's that wonderful! I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and I fell in love with it as soon as I read it and here's why...
Elisa ghostwrites love letters for boys at school, which sounds corny. But it works in this novel because it's so ironic - Elisa gets to talk to all the popular boys but, unless she's giving them a love letter for their current girlfriend, they don't notice her. So shy, clumsy, totally-un-girly Elisa surrounds herself with writing and learning to ice skate. This book was magical for me because I completely escaped into Elisa's story and her beautiful writing (if you only read a few pages, read her poems). Oh, and Elisa's English teacher recommends that she keep a "book of words" which is basically a journal of words and their definitions, some real and some made-up. I was so inspired that I started my own word journal. This isn't a love story, per say. It's a novel about finding yourself. As the front cover says, "Nature is not the number one mystery. It's the heart that takes top honors."

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Pretty Tough by Liz Tigelaar Book Review

Pretty Tough by Liz Tigelaar
(Razorbill, Paperback)


Sisters Charlie and Krista used to be best friends. But ever since Krista turned her back on Charlie in a crisis moment, things have changed. Now Krista is the pretty, popular, smart one and Charlie is more of a loner who'd rather go surfing than to the latest party. The two sisters pretty much ignore each other until Charlie tries out for Krista's soccer team. I actually didn't know that much about soccer before I read this book so if you're not a soccer fan, no worries. I got sucked into Charlie's story (the book is really more about her) because she wasn't afraid to go her own way. Of the two sisters, Charlie seemed more at peace with herself than Krista does. But in the end, both sisters teach the other about team-playing and about being friends. All in all, this was a great book and I've actually joined a soccer team since reading it!