Thursday, April 14, 2016

April Book Club Report

Last Tuesday, 14 members of our 10-12 Book Club (out of 20) met to discuss Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, the award-winning coming-of-age novel by Benjamin Alire Saenz. There wasn't a huge amount of discussion, simply because, almost without exception, we loved the book! The most cited positive was the "voice" of the protagonists, which was so distinctive and quirky and real that several of us found ourselves highlighting or marking quotes, or even entering them into the quotes database on Goodreads. We admired that Saenz made the adult characters every bit as real and interesting as the teen protagonists, and concluded that some of the best interactions in the book were between the teens and the adults. We felt there was just enough action and drama but not too much, just enough romance but not too much, and the book was refreshingly not "angsty." The club gave the book a rating of 9 out of 10, the highest this year.

Next month we will be reading Jo Walton's philosophical exploration of the Platonic ideal, The Just City. (When we mentioned in the book-talk that there were robots, we knew we had them.) Next month is our last meeting for the year, and this will be a great book on which to end things. We will, of course, have Teen Summer Reading during June and July, with four sessions of Book Cafe, for those who are jonesing for more book club; and current members of the club will read Kill the Messenger, by Tami Hoag, over the summer.

This Tuesday, the 6+7 Club had a mixed reaction to The Eighth Day, by Dianne K. Salerni. While some liked the tie-in to Arthurian legend, others felt that the author waited far too late in the book to introduce the element of magic, and several had problems with the specific way some of the magic worked. Everyone was in agreement that Jax was an idiot for not sharing important information with his guardian, but of course, if protagonists didn't make mistakes, there would be no story! The 17 teens in attendance gave the book a rating of 7, and three people said they would go on to read the sequel. We suggested that if they enjoyed the idea of "time out of time" that was the theme of this book, they might also enjoy reading Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters series, which begins with The Secret Hour.

Next month's book will be I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, by Ally Carter.

We thought that we would pick a book to read over the summer, and so we opened up nominations and got quite a few good ones (some new and some repeats), but then we asked for a show of hands of who will be promoting into the 8+9 Club, and all but eight people raised their hands! Since only those eight will be in this club next year, we didn't see the point in having 19 people read a book they weren't going to be able to discuss with one another, so we decided to do what we did the past two years, which is meet in August to pick books with the clubs everyone will actually be in for the school year. But since the nominations were good, here's a list:

Don't Turn Around, by Michelle Gagnon
The Orphan Queen, by Jodi Meadows
Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
Doll Bones, by Holly Black
Counting by Sevens, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park
The Kingdom Keepers #1, by Ridley Pearson

This Wednesday, the 8+9 Club was sharply divided over The Fifth Wave, by Rick Yancey. Some really liked the story, the writing, and the characters, while others felt that it was confusing and slow. Some thought Ben Parish (Zombie) was the most interesting narrative line, while others wanted to hear more about Cassie and thought Zombie was a drag. Some were swoony over Evan Walker, while others couldn't stand him from the moment they "met" him. So when we rated the book, we had a high of eight and a low of two, with a resulting 6.75 score.

Next month's book is Etiquette & Espionage, by Gail Carriger, a steampunk boarding school mash-up weirdly reminiscent of I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You, only set in the 19th century on a dirigible. And there is no summer book, again because eight book club members are "moving up" and would end up reading the wrong book. But all of you can feel free to ask us for recommendations for your summer reading.

Speaking of which...we heard a lot of talk about books you've been reading lately--how about some reviews?

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