Llew's Reviews

Archive for the 'YA Lit' Category

Eragon & Eldest by Christopher Paolini

Friday, February 22nd, 2008 by Miss Laura


Well, if I’m going to be hauling my aging lazy bum to the bookstore to host a midnight party for a book I SUPPOSE I should have read the two prior ones in the series. So, I did. And now I’m wishing I would have waited to do so because now I have until September before Brisingr is released. Oh snap!

I confess that I really thought reading these were going to be a chore. I mean it was written by a 15 year old homeschooled boy. I don’t like talking to teenage boys – why would I want to read anything written by one? Plus, I saw the movie. That horrible terrible no good wretched movie – ugh. To my surprise, I quite liked the books. I might have liked them more than I would have otherwise because I was expecting them to be SO bad. But Eragon especially was quite fun to read.  With Eldest, Paolini seemed to lost momentum but hopefully the series may still be redeemed.

I still wish I hadn’t had to break my self imposed rule about not starting a series unless all the books in it are already out, but sometimes work is work.

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 by Miss Laura

sweethearts.jpg This young adult title comes out on February 1st and is a keeper. It’s the story of two friends, Jennifer & Cameron, from childhood who are outcasts at their elementary school. They’re picked on, called names, teased mercilessly, and have fairly rough home lives. However, they have each other and they’re each other’s saviors – more than friends, more than siblings, more of a connection than most of us have experience with at that age. Which is why Jennifer is more than crushed when Cameron disappears one day and later is reported to have passed away.

Jennifer reinvents herself – losing weight, learning to do things for herself that her mother doesn’t have time to do (like wash her clothes), and building an emotional facade to protect herself form her peers. She’s in high school with a boyfriend and a group of friends – no one to pick on her in sight – when Cameron comes back.

It’s a fairly turbulent story line with an ending that is neither neat nor final. It’s a quick read and a good read – but far from a happy one.

Savvy by Ingrid Law

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 by Miss Laura

“A rollicking ride of a novel. Mississippi Beaumont (Mibs, for short) is about to turn 13. In her unusual family, that’s when a savvy arrives. One brother can produce electricity. Another causes hurricanes. Because Papa is ill, Mibs hopes her savvy will help him recover. The special talent that arrives, however, is not at all what she expected. This terrific story may remind you of Lightning Thief and certain American tall tales, but it has a charm and energy all its own.” — JoAnne Fritz IndieBound’s Indie Next List Summer 2008

This is another galley (it comes out in May) so there’s currently no cover art up for the book which is a shame because the ARC has a right cute cover to it. And the story, of a girl turning 13, is right cute as well. Almost too cute (think “Hope” by Joan Bauer) in the way it’s told and conveniently wrapped up – but still an intriguing delightfully told story for the middle school age set.

It’s the story of an incredibly likable family with special talents which they don’t come into until their thirteenth birthday and don’t learn to fully control until some time after that. They keep these skills to themselves and the story takes place in an otherwise normal modern day society. When the father is in a car accident right as the main character’s 13 birthday is about to happen, everything goes topsy turvy. As I said, it’s really a delightful middle school age book that I’m pretty excited to come out so I can recommend to others. It’s along the lines of “Fablehaven” but a little younger and not as friendly to boy readers.

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Zevin, Gabrielle

Saturday, January 5th, 2008 by Miss Laura

For Christmas, I received lots of fantastic presents. Among them was *not* this book. However, a dear friend did get a couple of bath bombs which are my favorite. Tonight, after a long dull day at work, I decided to tuck into a hot bath with this book and the chocolate flavored bath explosion of joy. Man, I love chocolate. And that bath bomb smelled and felt great.

But it looked. Well, sitting in a tub of hot brown water might be one of the most disturbing things I have ever willingly done. I decided I would just concentrate on my book but it’s hard not to notice that you’re neck high in BROWN water. I kept lifting the book higher and higher to read it, all the while negating any soothing effects the bath might have had on my neck.

Bathing in brown water = Ewwww.
Memoirs of a teenage amnesiac = Awww.

This is the right mix of cute, light, sad, and vulnerable. It’s full of overly self conscious mixes and Ingmar Bergman references. And it tries to hard, just like every teen does. I loved it.

The Midnighters Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 by Miss Laura

If you recall, this was the series where I was going to try to use Zen Buddhist techniques when it came to reading young adult novels because that’s just how much of a *forward thinker* I am. My theory was that by knowing ahead of time and accepting that the endings to Westerfeld’s series are going to be let downs – that they then cease to do so. I have to say, I think it worked.I love this world Westerfeld created where there are 25 hours in a day – with the 25th hour being a dark nefarious time only experienced in a certain spot by those born at the stroke of midnight. These Midnighters all have a individual unique skill to help them during this hour ranging from brilliance in math to mind-casting to the ability to defy gravity for that one hour. These skills come in handy for the darklings which lurk then. They also cause for really diverse and intriguing characters that made the story have so much more depth than some of the author’s other work.

I really did expect the ending to be disappointing but was pleasantly surprised that I liked the way it was all tied together. No, it wasn’t a happy fairy tale close but at least it wasn’t some half-assed environmental love letter to Al Gore like The Uglies. Speaking of, I hear another book is coming out in October (“The Extras”) and here I thought that series was over. Oops. Maybe it will redeem itself after all! Now, there’s fairy tale optimism at its best.

Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage

Monday, August 27th, 2007 by Miss Laura


I am so glad my last name isn’t Heap. However, I think I am going to start spelling my name Lauryk.

I have no idea why I didn’t post this back when I read it. Now, I can’t think of what to say – except that it’s a good un.

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007 by Miss Laura

eclipse1.jpg I like to threaten Mrs. Meyer that I will do certain bizarre things – and my latest such threat was that I was going to post a picture of myself licking her latest book. Licking/kissing – there were many boys I knew in middle school who thought they were the same thing so CLOSE ENOUGH.

So far, this is by far my favorite book in the series. To be honest, I was a bit meh about the first two books. I could see how they could appeal to others, and I heartily recommended them to that group. They just didn’t rank high as personal favorites. However, this redeemed the series completely and now I am so smitten with the characters (especially Jacob – purrrrrrr).

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Monday, July 30th, 2007 by Miss Laura

thislullaby.jpg Bitter chick lit for the hardcore potty-mouth young adult slut contingent.

Naturally, I couldn’t put it down.

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld

Sunday, July 29th, 2007 by Miss Laura

soyesterday.jpg “I do adore that Westerfeld, but he always kills me with his epilogues. Did you read Midnighters? I LOVED that series–it just built and built until book three was so amazing! Till you hit the epilogue. Why, Scott, why?? He creates such amazing and original worlds. Someday he’s going to accidentally write a happy ending.”

When I read the above in a letter from a friend, it made me think – of all things – Buddha. From Buddha’s teachings, the first of the “The Four Noble Truths” is that life IS suffering. However, once we see this truth we can transcend it. Thus, by truly knowing that life is difficult it ceases to be difficult. Because once you accept this truth, then the fact that life is suffering no longer matters.

I was trying to decide if the same thinking could be applied to reading Westerfeld’s works. That by knowing and accepting that the endings to his novels are going to suck it up big time – that they then cease to do so. I have no idea if applying Zen Buddhist teachings to young adult fiction will work, but I’m willing to give it a shot!

As for this stand alone novel, meh – it wasn’t even really worth a shot. I’ve already ordered Midnighters though and am willing to move on to bigger and better things than some overly wrought underwritten story about technology and the levels of innovation and trendsetting.

Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Friday, July 27th, 2007 by Miss Laura

goosegirl.jpgStephenie Meyer (of Twilight fame) is the one who recommended this to me. In fact, I have found that I quite enjoy her YA suggestions – almost more than I enjoy her actual novels. Don’t tell her that though – I’d hate to ruin my chances with Edward. I can’t take that Bella girl DOWN – I just know it.

Back to Goose Girl – a good read! A slow start but with a nice fairy tale pace which made it all worthwhile.

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