First up, we have 'The Horse Boy', by Rupert Isaacson. It was my grandmother who steered me towards this during an amble through the Waterstones in Harrods, claiming that it had been reviewed in the newspaper and so must be good. I was skeptical; boy is cured of autism by horses and shamans? Really?
But then I saw that it was set in Mongolia. I'm going to Mongolia this summer, so I thought, 'What the heck, in any case, it'll tell me about what it's like out there.'
And tell me it did. Aside from soaking in a surprisingly touching father/son story, I also learned a lot about Mongolian food. Namely...that I will be expected to eat lung.
I'm having second thoughts about the trip. Until I was packed off to boarding school aged nine (of my own volition, I might add), my diet consisted solely of spaghetti and loaves of bread. Despite the carbs, I was an extremely skinny child and for the four years that I was at prep school, I used to sit at the table for hours crying into my ham and chicken pie. Even though high school (where the food was high on salmon, low on pie) fattened me up a little and stopped me spitting out the gross bits, I am not an adventurous eater. I feel sick at the thought of eating lung.
I think I'm going to have to turn temporarily vegetarian.
Click here for the Adult section.
Secondly, 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins. A group of friends told me over and over again to read it. The first time they said so, I dutifully went to the bookstore, picked up a copy and read the back cover. 'Brutal killing of children? Not for me!' I thought, and I shrugged off the nagging of my friends for another six months.
Then Christmas came, and Lo and behold! A book voucher. I sprinted to the bookstore, and nearly cried at the options available. Vampires, vampires, zombies, angels, vampires, vampires... and 'The Hunger Games.'
The nature of gladiator-style games made me think that maybe some of the characters in the book were actually alive for at least a few pages, rather than dead from the word go. So I parted with my beloved voucher and trudged back to my room, planning to do some work before heading out again.
Instead, I picked up the book and read a few pages. And a few more. When I looked up again, it was past my bedtime and I had no more pages left to read.
You know what I said about Diana Peterfreund sticking her characters into bad situations in Rampant? Well, as much as I love Rampant (and I really do), the only death threats come from killer unicorns. In 'The Hunger Games', the problem is that the other children your age are out to get you any way they can- and if you can fight one of them off, there are twenty two more where that came from. One of the biggest strengths of the book is that it makes you think about what you'd do in that situation. Could you kill an ally? A friend? Someone who loves you?
So, there isn't a lot more that I can say... apart from tell you to put it on your 'to be read' list. But you got that from the above monologue, didn't you?
Click here for the Teen section.