January 19th, 2010

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Book Reports (10-15)...

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 for 2010 (and I'll try to remember to put the month it's released, as well). I'm linking to the Powell's pages for the ARCs.

* 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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The Princess Plot, by Kirsten Boie ***+ This was certainly an interesting story, but it wasn't until I finished that I realized it was a translation, which explained the sometimes stiff prose. When Jenna is rushed off to a strange country for a 'movie', she has no idea that she's placing herself in the middle of a coup -- and that she'll be taken for the Princess of that country. (lower YA)

And Then Everything Unraveled, by Jennifer Sturman ****+ This would have been a five-star read -- except for the ending, which was far too abrupt for my taste. No way would a debut author get away with something like that! But the story and characters and intrigue are wonderful, and if you realize going in that you'll have to wait for the next book to actually learn anything about the mystery, then I think you'll be fine with it. Delia is certain her mom isn't dead, but when she disappears, Delia is sent across the country to live with her aunt, whom she's never met. As Delia tries to uncover the mystery of what's happened to her mom, everyone around her is trying to help her find 'closure' over her mom's death. (YA mystery)

Being, by Kevin Brooks ** Yeah, this was a little too quirky and depressing for my taste. Robert doesn't know what he is, but he's not completely human -- as he goes on the run to avoid those who want to study him, he falls in love. (not a happy ending, btw) (upper YA)

Viola in Reel Life, by Adriana Trigiani ***+ This was pretty good. I liked all the film stuff as Viola worked on a project for a competition while attending a new boarding school. The romance was okay, but the ending was a little too fuzzy for my personal taste. I think the film aspects added a lot to the story, however. (lower YA)

How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend, by Janette Rallison ****+ Another one where the ending kind of fizzled, for me. But I really enjoyed the book, as a whole. I think I wanted more from the resolution, though I can't quite put my finger on what...because Rallison certainly ties up all the loose ends, and she does it in a manner which is true to the story. The gist of it is that Giovanna's older brother decides to run against one of the 'in' kids for student council president -- and when Giovanna's boyfriend agrees to be the campaign manager for the other team, Giovanna breaks up with him. The parts I liked include Giovanna's strong feelings for her boyfriend, no matter what seems to be going on. I also liked the revelations at the end about why her boyfriend did what he did...the parts I wasn't as sold on were mostly about Dante (the brother) and how he seemed a little wishy-washy about his own convictions. It wasn't necessarily out of character, but something about it didn't gel for me. BUT, I still very much enjoyed the book. (YA)

Beautiful Americans, by Lucy Silag **** I read all of this (mostly), and it was definitely hard to put down in places. I'm not sure how I feel about it, because it's very much like a soap opera. One of the characters, especially, is such a mess and so incredibly self-centered that I had a hard time reading when she was a major part of the story (which was about half the book). However, I liked many of the other characters, and I will definitely try to find the next one in the series (which I think came out in December). The story is about American teens who are accepted into a French-speaking program in Paris and their many exploits there. (upper YA)