Monday, July 23, 2012

“Now I know what a ghost is. Unfinished business, that's what.”

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade: Alona Dare is the Queen B at her high school but getting hit by a school bus and dying cuts her rule short. Waking up in the same exact spot of her death, Alona walks around the grounds of what used to be her kingdom and watches as everyone forgets her.

 Was it going to be like this forever? Alona thought there would be a white light to take her away.

She thinks she's invisible to everyone she used to know until she notices Will Killian, the resident goth and total zero, laughing at her. He can see her and isn't that interesting? But Alona has to figure out a way to keep Will alive from a dangerous black ghost cloud thing and out of an insane asylum if she wants help in figuring out her afterlife.

 Okay, so this is another guilty pleasure novel because I usually don't read series books and I'm trying to stay away from supernatural heavy novels. BUT and this is a giant and mclargehuge but, I really enjoyed it. I sped through this novel in about a day and a half and didn't mind the alternating chapters between Will and Alona. So let me drop on you what I liked and disliked about this first novel in the Ghost and Goth series. LET'S GET TO IT. 

First, it's a really funny book and you basically have me if you can make me laugh more than once while reading. I mean the back and forth between Will and Alona was pretty awesome. When a popular girl clashes with a regular unpopular guy, there's bound to be hilarity at some point if you can get it right. 

Second, even though this novel involves a lot of the supernatural, the characters are dealing with real life problems like friendships, death (in more ways than one), suicide, family and mental illness. I thought that was really interesting and unexpected too. 

Third, I liked the characters a lot. Will, especially, because he was so tragic but brave and lovable too. Alona grows quite a bit in this book, which I am thankful for, because she needed to or else we were going to have a problem. I enjoyed Will and Alona's partnership and how they grew to really care about each other instead of just tolerating one another. 

 There's only one tiny thing I did not like about this novel and that was sometimes the cliches were a little much. Like Alona for instance, the blonde cheerleader that is a bit dumb and completely focused on outward appearances? I didn't mind it at first because that is kind of who she is but I also did not want her to drown in it. It just got a bit annoying is all. 

Overall, a really fun book that was surprising in a good many ways.  I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. 

(title quote from Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen: Sage is a thief and a orphan and it so happens that on a day where he's running for his life with a stolen prize, he's bought by a man named Conner. Sage thought he'd been bought to work in a house but instead he is forcibly recruited for a plot that Conner believes will prevent civil war. Not everything is as it appears, Sage learns. With three other boys, Sage must compete to win Conner's favor if he hopes to survive.

 I have so missed books like this one. Books of pure fantasy that do not rely on supernatural happenings to drive their story. This is a book about human nature at its best and at its worst and I just love it. GIVE ME BOOK TWO NOW. I am in pain waiting for The Runaway King. I don't think I'll be able to make it to April 2013 alive. But let's get to the things I liked about the novel because there was nothing I disliked about it (except that it ended).

 First, I loved the main character. Sage from the moment he was named was interesting to me. He's brave, smart, stubborn, kind, deceitful but selfless too. There's so much to him and as you follow him along in the tangled web weaved by adults, he gets even better. He's also quite heartbreaking and tragic. His story is truly one that pulls at the heart and it made me root for him the entire time.

Second, the story is impressive and well put together. All the questions we start out with at the beginning of the book get answered and then some. It's an intriguing adventure that destroyed a lot of my ideas on what would happen next and which characters could be trusted. I mentioned earlier that it was a book about human nature and what people can do and I just wanted to remark on how refreshing it was to see that again. Mostly because I feel as of late that popular ideas are taking over books and it is not the characters themselves that take center stage 

Third, I liked that this first book had a satisfying ending to this portion of Sage's story but also left things open perfectly for the second novel to follow. I think that's quite important since I've had a lot of series books just end abruptly, leaving me wondering if there were a few pages missing. 

Overall, I expected to like the book but not to love it, which I do (A LOT). I have not read a fantasy series for teens that was this good since Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series. It's an extraordinary surprise and a welcome one. I look forward to finding out what happens next.

 Well that's my piece on this book and I am gonna jet. GOOD DAY.

 (title quote by George Bernard Shaw)

Monday, July 9, 2012

" I mean, suck it up, be a man and rub some dirt on it."

Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman: Natalie writes a relationship column for her school newspaper and thinks everything is going just fine. Great even, until she's told (quite vehemently) that she really doesn't know what she's talking about. In fact, her advice according to some (internet commentators) are hurting people.

Naturally, Natalie comes up with a plan to prove them (internet people) wrong. She cuts her hair, hides her boobs, glues on fake stubble and pretends to be a boy at Underwood Academy, an all-boys school. In her quest to figure out the male population of the world, she discovers a lot of hard truths not just about boys but about girls too. Things get even more complicated when Natalie starts to fall for her roommate. What is a girl pretending to be a boy to do?

Let's start out with my likes, shall we?. 

First, I enjoyed Natalie's growth throughout the book. She goes from thinking she's right about a lot of things to thinking that maybe she's wrong about a lot. Her ideas on popularity and appearance do change. I believe she realizes that being shallow on a number of things isn't right. It hurts people and it's unfair. 

Second, she reaches a number of really interesting conclusions like that maybe girls do have a lot of expectations when it comes to guys and that girls need to listen and observe instead of talking about what they want all the time. I also really liked the message that girls shouldn't be afraid to be who they are. A positive something that I think all ladies need to be reminded of from time to time. 

Third, the book was really funny. At times, I had tears in my eyes because a particular section was so hilarious. I love to laugh when I read so this was an awesome amount of fun. 

Overall, I really liked the book and loved a good many things about it. It is exactly the kind of lighthearted book you read when you need a bit of cheering up or when you want to laugh for a while. Even though I liked the book and recommend it there were a few things that irked me. 

A. The cover. Like I said before when I first saw this book, the cover image reminds me of a myspace and facebook lovechild profile picture. I dislike that. I dislike it so much. My dislike is super intense over this cover image. But I do love the font they used on the title. It's really pretty and it fits with the book's events. 

B. Being a boy for a week made her extra girly afterwards? It's just pants, girl, calm down. I found that to be a bit much. And by a bit much I mean a tad ridiculous. It makes all that character growth she gained sort of curl up into a ball and hide in a drawer. Also, NEWSFLASH, guys do wear pink.

That's my piece on this book and I am out. THE END.

 (title quote from the movie She's the Man)

Friday, July 6, 2012

"You don't give up. You never give up. Maybe that's what it takes to be a hero."

Title: Avengers: Children's Crusade
Writer: Allan Heinberg
Artist: Jim Cheung
Release Date: March 28, 2012


And thus ends 2 years of impatient waiting and anger in relation to delays. Avengers: Children's Crusade is finally done and in one big book. Missed an issue? No worries, they're all in there.

I liked Children's Crusade but it wasn't a perfect series. Something I realized that wasn't new reader friendly was the fact the events in this collection rely heavily on the foreknowledge of some major events in the Marvel Universe. It does get explained, but I don't think new readers will truly grasp the importance of those events and their effects on this story.  I think some readers will be left frustrated and confused at times by this. I suggest maybe reading Secret Invasion and House of M before or after Children's Crusade.

I also expected a lot more from this story. I don't know if Allan Heinberg felt rushed to just finish the series off or if he was apprehensive to take things further, but I think he had an opportunity to do something great here and he just didn't.

I will say this though, something I really loved about the ending was that it was hopeful, not just for the Young Avengers but for the Marvel Universe too.

The art, as usual, was flawless because Jim Cheung is that insanely good. I could not imagine anyone else drawing the Young Avengers. I really couldn't.

The hardcover collects:
UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) 526 (B STORY)

(quote from Children's Crusade issue 9)