22 November 2010

Fat Vampire by Adam Rex

If you are looking for another typical novel about the same old vampires and werewolves, don't read this "never coming of age story" by Adam Rex.  

Doug was minding his own business as a high school student -- trying to be the funny kid to take the attention away from being the weird kid or the fat kid -- when he was attacked by a vampire (or a vampire wolf?).  Now, with the help of his best friend (and primary secret-keeper) Jay, he's on the hunt for blood anywhere he can get it . . . except he hasn't mastered the whole attacking humans thing and he's pretty sure he doesn't want to, unless he can find a willing participant in the right kind of girl.  

Adam Rex writes a satirical, humorous, quirky novel about a vampire who certainly does not represent the sparkling, fit, gorgeous vampire image to which many contemporary readers have become accustomed.  Doug isn't even that funny.  Or that nice most of the time.  He's pretty much just a typical high school kid, never quite having a firm grip on what he wants or what's expected of him.  At times, the author's attempts at humor are tiring, but for the most part this novel is a laugh-out-loud account of the bizarre, unrealistic world of vampires living among us.  Recommended to anyone -- especially boys -- looking for something out of the ordinary, or something that doesn't ask the reader to take anything too seriously.
Call number: YA REX (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

02 November 2010

Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett

Plum has a lot on her mind: she's trying to lose weight, impress her friends, and plan for her fourteenth birthday.  She's trying to shed the skin of her childhood, but doesn't quite know how to obtain the perceived confidence of an adult.  Through her friendship with thirty-something neighbor Maureen and the power that lays among a few precious objects that Plum keeps hidden away in a briefcase underneath her bed, she believes that she can find the strength that will lead her into adulthood.  But no one in her life is exactly who Plum imagines them to be -- not either of her brothers, not any of her friends, not Maureen, and not even herself.  There are a lot of gray areas in the world and this novel blurs most of the lines drawn between good and bad, causing Plum to grow in ways she wasn't anticipating and for which she wasn't prepared.

Butterfly is slow-moving and convoluted, but at the same time it holds a mystery, an adventure, and a tremendous development of character.  This novel will likely appeal to teens and adults who are not put off by literary writings and musings.  Recommended to (those admittedly few) high school and adult readers with a bit of a nostalgic side for the unhappiness of the teenage years.
Call number: YA HARTNETT (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian