September 19th, 2009

e looking into distance

Book Reports (187-194)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact the I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool). 'R' means it's a re-read. Different colored font means it's an ARC (and I'll try to remember to put the month it's released, as well). For those available for pre-order or order, the titles link to Powell's (for more thorough summaries).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- definitely will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite!

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Swim the Fly, by Don Calame *** I think if I'd read this before Carter Finally Gets It, I would have found it much funnier. Still, it's a funny book (and a couple of the characters, like mom and grandpa, are pretty hysterical). I like the MC, though his friends are a little irritating, but I think it's an interesting read and probably fairly true-to-life for a teenage boy.

The Uninvited, by Tim Wynne-Jones ***+ This is pretty good -- I liked the creepy setting, and the feeling that someone was watching the whole time. The part I thought was a little weird was how the relationships were set up originally (through sexual tension and such) to be romantic, and then you find out how they can't be. So that was...well, weird. But for a suspenseful, creepy mystery, it's pretty good.

Dead Girls Don't Write Letters, by Gail Giles *** (R) I read this a few years ago, and didn't really remember it. But I'm looking for some strong YA mysteries, so I picked it up again -- and it was interesting. Sunny is definitely an unreliable narrator (and yeah, we all know I'm not really into those), but I found this portrayal intriguing, even though I wish a little more had been spelled out at the end. I really don't like to be left hanging, and this left me hanging. Still, I've been trying to figure it out since finishing, so that has to be a good sign, right?

Confetti Girl, by Diana Lopez *** This is a cute story with tons of interesting cultural aspects thrown in. I enjoyed it, though it skimmed much of it because it's upper MG, and it didn't hold my attention as well as an older protagonist might have.

The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner (R) ****+ Since I just ordered the final book in this trilogy (though I heard a rumor there was going to be a fourth?), I figured I should reacquaint myself with the first two, since it's been years. Although it starts slowly, by midway, I was completely engrossed and finished the rest in one sitting. I just love Gen! This is a great fantastical mystery, and the characters are rich and enjoyable.

As You Wish, by Jackson Pearce watchmebe ****+ I got to read this a few years ago, before Jackson even found her agent -- and although I enjoyed it then, I'm so impressed with how much stronger it is now. Jackson is a talented writer, and I like how she's able to express Viola's character is such a succinct and gentle way. I think Viola is extremely sympathetic, and her struggle to find happiness and to belong is one that pretty much everyone can relate to, imo. One of my favorite aspects of this book is how Viola doesn't want something which isn't real, even if it brings her temporary happiness -- I love that! (YA, released this month!)