Monday, February 22, 2010

New Books! Wake, Such a Pretty Girl and How I Live Now

Wow, that's a teen overload, isn't it? :)

How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff, was the current book club selection. The librarian put it in my hands with the words, 'Don't worry, this is suitable for the younger girls in the club.' It wasn't until I got to my room that I saw the 'WARNING: This book contains some sexual content...' label, and by the time I got to chapter 9 (read it and see what I mean) I was both a) Thoroughly hooked and b) Unsure of how the younger ones were going to react.

They loved it. Even though it dealt with touchy subjects- the romantic leads are cousins, and the protagonist has an eating disorder- Rosoff did it so beautifully that your perception of what is 'right' is completely suspended for the whole of the 211 pages. The odd, speech mark-less style of narration may at first be off-putting, but stick with it.

Rating: 4/5

Wake, by Lisa McMann, is another book with an odd style of writing. McMann uses present tense and mentions times (e.g. August 2, 2005, 11.11pm. Janie leaves Heather Home...) in a way that almost reminds me of the military, but ended up telling Janie's story effectively. She's a teen with psychic powers  in a world that seems utterly normal (no vampires and werewolves popping up here, folks). McMann sidesteps the 'cool superpower' trap with skill, as Janie's dream-catching abilities frequently interfere with her sleep and on several occasions nearly get her killed. Her relationship with Caleb is sweet and realistically flawed, which just adds to the book's ability to suck you in. I loved it so much that I'm performing an extract for my Lamda Silver Medal verse and prose exam-- I'm pretty sure the examiner will never have seen it before! ;)

Rating: 4.5/5

Such a Pretty Girl, by Laura Wiess, was draining to read. I turned the last page of this quick read feeling heavy-hearted and pensive, but thoroughly appreciative of the time I'd invested in reading it. It will make you sick and angry and triumphant, which I think demonstrates Wiess' pure skill in manipulating her readers' emotions and in dealing with a touchy subject in a manner that is neither painfully cringe-inspiring, overly dramatic or overly insensitive.

Rating: 4.5/5

Check out Books! By A-K for the blurbs, short reviews and Amazon links!


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