Saturday, December 6, 2014

What we're reading: Jandy Nelson!

I love this author. She has written two books, and I want her to have written a dozen or 30, just so I can keep reading her.

The emotions are profound without being trite. The story is fresh even though you think you've heard it all before. The relationships are incandescent. The language is poetic, but not high-flown--it's visceral, colorful, precise. The humor is infectious, the love is first-time, the heartbreak is, well, heartbreaking.

To try to describe the books is to take all the color and life out of them, so it's hard to write something that will make people want to read them, but here goes:

The Sky Is Everywhere is about a 17-year-old girl named Lennie, who has spent her life mostly contentedly in the shadow of her beloved older sister, Bailey. But then Bailey unexpectedly dies, and Lennie is left grieving, along with her grandmother and uncle, and Bailey's boyfriend Toby. She meets Joe, the new guy at school, who catapults her into Wuthering Heights-style love...but she's also having a confusing new interaction with Toby, who seems to be the only one with her in her grief about Bailey.

Yes, it's a love triangle. Yes, I agree, I hate those. But I didn't hate this one. Yes, it's a book about losing someone to death. Yes, those can be overdramatic and schmaltzy, I know. But not this one.

Book blurbs on the cover say "for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block." While I am a big fan of all of those writers, and while I can see why someone might make that leap, I feel like Jandy Nelson is out there by herself. You could equally as well say, If you liked The Fault In Our Stars, because of the tragic death/love story, you'd like this; or, If you liked the French boyfriend in Anna and the French Kiss, then read The Sky Is Everywhere. While I think both of those statements are probably true, I feel like it takes away from this book to try to pigeonhole it.

So let me just say, Read this book!

(And then read her other book, I'll Give You the Sun. See review below.)


Thursday, December 4, 2014

What we're reading: Supernatural comedy/drama

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, as well as some of our book club members, will remember how much I adored Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, by Lish McBride, and its sequel, Necromancing the Stone, because I touted them here and on the main library blog.

This weekend, with great anticipation, I picked up her new book, Firebug. I wasn't disappointed...but I do have to say that this one was a little slow getting off the ground. I don't know what it was--her Necromancer books are equally complex, and also present a multitude of characters, but that story seemed to jump off the page from the first chapter, while in this one the first quarter of the book seemed like a lot of character description and scene-setting--in short, an info-dump. Which might be offputting for someone who wasn't already a fan and determined to hang in there...

It did, eventually, pick up, and turned into a good story. I was relieved to see (on the Fierce Reads website) that it's "the first book of a new series," not only because I liked the characters, but also because I feel like now that I have invested all the time to find out who they are, it would be a pity if there wasn't more payoff!

This is in some aspects a reprise of the Necromancer world-building--there are supernatural beings hiding in plain sight among all the regular folk, there are "councils" set up to rule them, there is a power-mad vampire refusing to get with the program and instead running her region like a Hollywood mobster...but I liked Ava the firebug and her gang, especially Ezra the foxy fox and Lock the intense half-dryad, and there's nothing wrong with going further into that world when it's such a varied and enjoyable one.

There were some great twists and turns, McBride's still clever with the puns and smart remarks, and I think others will join me in looking forward to what she comes up with in the next book in the series.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Teen review: Romance

The Darlings in Love
by Melissa Kantor
311 pages
Teen romance
The first book is The Darlings Are Forever,
but I don't think it has to be read first.
Reading level: Grades 6-12

Reviewed by Kayla, grade 10

Three best friends are happy and in love. Victoria, Natalya, and Jane, better known as "The Darlings," as they were nicknamed by Jane's Nana, have known each other for a long time. They all have men they are pursuing. Victoria has long-time boyfriend, Jack, who seems very in love with her--keyword being "seems."  Natalya has Colin, the boy she blew off a year ago in order to be friends with his super-popular sister, but she's falling for him yet again, which could be a problem. Jane, who seems to be unlucky in love, has found Simon, the most perfect boyfriend ever, but he seems to be sending mixed signals. Things seem too good to be true...are they?

This book started out pretty slow, to be honest, but then it picked up speed. I really liked the characters and felt like I was a part of their group, having all of these problems along with them. I liked how they stuck with each other through thick and thin. Even though Jane's grandmother isn't really present during this story, she also made the story come together, and I wished that she was a real person so that I could meet her.

I would give this book a rating of 4.

Monday, December 1, 2014

BOOK LOVE 2014!

TEENS!
We'd love to post an end-of-year LIST of your FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2014!

Email title and author to melliott@burbankca.gov.

If you'd like, you can write a couple of words saying WHY. Not a full-on review, more of a three- to five-word commentary, like this:
                  "It was funny!"
          "I love the love!"
                             "Action-packed!"
     "Cool characters and plot!"

Nothing too strenuous (although if you WANT to write a review, you know we'd love to have that too). Give us your book love!