27 September 2012

Contest! from A. S. King

As a follow-up to my last post about A. S. King's Everybody Sees the Ants, check out the author's blog and submit comments for her awesome contest -- you might even win a copy of her upcoming Ask the Passengers!
Lauren Myracle says: "This book is made of stardust and guts..."

Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King

Disclaimer & Bottom Line: I am kind of partial to Please Ignore Vera Dietz, so I had really high hopes for this novel. While, not exactly what I expected, I was not disappointed either.

Lucky Linderman's name is pretty ironic, considering how likely he is to get beat up by the bully, ignored by his parents, and looked down upon by school administrators. He would really much rather just fly below the radar by everyone, but manages to get too much attention from all the wrong people who either (a) want to do him harm, or (b) "help" him. Actually, Lucky would rather be sleeping.

Lucky is a freshman in high school, so life sucks to begin with, but what makes it worse is that Nader constantly has it out for him -- like in the corner of the school's locker room and at the community pool -- and Lucky feels too weak to protect himself. He stopped telling teachers or his parents about the bullying back in elementary school once he realized that nothing would ever be done about it. His dad is too distracted by his grief for a Vietnam War POW/MIA father he never got to meet, and his mom is too busy swimming laps and running from her own problems. So Lucky finds solace in his dreams (where he finds himself to be bigger, stronger, and smarter than he ever feels in real life) and in his mission (to rescue his missing, presumed-dead grandfather). Ultimately, he's going to have to figure out a way to save himself.

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

25 September 2012

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

As is typical of author Ellen Hopkins, there are quite a few emotional punches packed into the poetic words of her latest novel in verse. For anyone who read her adult novel Triangles, you will recognize these teen characters; for the rest of you, prepare yourselves to meet some interconnected individuals with a lot on their plates. Though you do get a sense of their home lives from reading Tilt, those of you who read Triangles know that these kids belong to parents who - in the best cases - are very distracted from their children's lives.

Mikayla is completely in love with boyfriend Dylan, and he would do anything for her - except stick around to see her through her pregnancy. Shane is finally coming to terms with his homosexuality and has a wonderful new boyfriend, but his family is falling apart at the seams largely because of the inevitable death of his four-year-old sister. Harley has gotten well over her head in order to gain acceptance and to feel good about herself, and nobody but her best friend seems to notice - until pictures of her start to get spread around, anyway. We get to know these and other characters through their relationships with each other, and there really is no easy way out of many of the situations they create for themselves.

Ellen Hopkins is always a very powerful writer, choosing her words delicately and forcing the reader to feel the emotions of her characters. In addition to Tilt and others, I have loved Crank, Burned, and Identical. If you haven't yet, definitely give this author a try!

Reviewed by kate the librarian.