Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It's What We're Reading Wednesday!


I read Legend by Marie Lu, partly because Marie Lu penned the quote that left me so disappointed, and partly because Madeline at A Dash of Snark hated Legend but liked the sequel, Prodigy.  The Empire Strikes Back is the exception that proves Madeline's rule, "second novels in trilogies historically have been the weakest."  But Madeline sites Prodigy as another outlier.

Safe for teens.
Madeline does a great job summing up Legend.  Yes, about the kiss.  Yes, it does seem that if you are going to write a Young Adult novel about anything at all, there must be some kissing.  But that's all there is, just kissing.

Legend is also violent.  Deaths, stabbings, girl fights, executions, tortured interrogations, lots of violence.  Just like Hunger Games et al.

Day, the underdog boy hero, and June, the darling of the Republic and No. 1 Day-hater-future-Day-lover are great characters!  I love the flip-flop narration.  You really get a great look each character's point of view.

June.   She's a complex girl.  Orphaned and raised by her brother.  An intellectual genius with great physical skill as well.  She's a dyed in the wool Republic girl, but when Day tells her everything she believes in might be wrong, she accepts that she might actually be wrong!  And then when she finds irrefutable evidence that she IS wrong, rather than cover it up and switch to denial mode, she ADMITS that she was in fact wrong.  That is a feat that I am rarely able to do in real life.

As far as the writing goes, it has to be pretty awful for me to notice, and Legend didn't bother me one bit.  I also like fried bologna sandwiches and prefer my beer in cans.  I'm that kind of girl.

Regarding the other dystopian trilogies Madeline mentions, Hunger Games, Matched, and Divergent, Matched was probably my favorite of the three and also the least dark (at least the first book was).  I think that might be part of what I like about Legend.  Despite all the violence, the people are rebelling, the Patriots are sabotaging the Republic, and smart-but-poor kids like Day are just out there trying to help their neighbors.

I'm definitely getting Prodigy, and even though the third installment, Champion is coming out very soon, Pope Awesome will definitely take precedence.

All Y'all should read Legend so you can dish with me and Madeline.



There is so much to like about The Selection by Kiera Cass.  It's like a dystopian version of Shannon Hale's Princess Academy. There are great characters and real drama.

In this version of America's future, everyone one is divided into castes.  The castes are numeric.  Royalty are ones, celebs are twos, teachers are threes (I think), artists are fives, housekeepers and administrative assistants are sixes, homeless, indigent, or abandoned people are eights.

Thirty-five girls, one from each province without regard to caste, are selected to live at the palace in hopes of fostering a relationship with Prince Maxon that will end with a marriage and a crown.  Unfortunately, the palace is often under siege from various groups that appear to be searching the building and grounds for something.  But nobody, not the royal family, knows what they want.  Sometimes, the attackers even kill people to get in.  If you're sensing that this was an awkward and underdeveloped plot point, good.

 America Singer, a Five (and you guessed it, a singer/musician), is one of the selected, but her heart lies home with her forbidden love, Aspen, a Six.  Aspen dumps her shortly before the selection takes place.  He realizes that she tries to spend money on him out of pity and how much she will give up if she marries him.

After several weeks at the palace, America is just beginning to think that maybe she could have a thing for Prince Maxon after all, when BAM!  Aspen has been drafted to the army, and assigned to be a guard right at the royal palace.  Where else?  End scene.  End book.  The end.  Yes.  That's right.  If you want to know who America chooses, or who Prince Maxon chooses, you have to read The Elite and The One to find out.

There is so much to dislike about The Selection too.  Before the selection, Aspen and America have many secret trysts in the treehouse, treasonously breaking curfew, and fooling around.  A lot.  They are always coming very close but not quite fornicating, because that's against the law and can get you in jail, and only the upper class castes can get birth control.  Lower class castes have big families because they have to.

Thank goodness, America always kept her pants on, because you have to be a virgin to be one of the selected....unless she lied about that.   To America's credit, she confesses to Prince Maxon that she would like to have a lot of children and we hear that his own mother suffered from many miscarriages.

Anyway, I think The Selection is too steamy and has too many other issues to recommend it to anyone who is not an adult or at least a very well-grounded young adult.



You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle is a modern mash-up of The Breakfast Club and The Truman Show.  Five kids were stars of a documentary called "Five at Six."  These same five kids star in a documentary every five years, "Five at Eleven" aired five years ago, so now it's time to film "Five at Sixteen."

Our main character is Justine, who was the knockout hilarious and precocious star of the first two movies, but after having ruined a friendship, been dumped by her one and only boyfriend, and "chunking out" these last five years, she is not looking forward to this.  But she goes along with it anyway.

There is all kinds of weirdness.

Justine's parents split up shortly after "Five at Eleven." Dad is still welcome at the dining room table and in the mom's bed every Thursday as long as they aren't dating anyone else.  Justine's comment, "I chose not to be confused by this."

Another reality star, Kiera, was told that she was abandoned by her mother by her father on screen, for all the world to see.

Nate, who was bullied and called a "fag" for his deep tenderness for his pet rabbits in "Five at Eleven," has turned into a super-mega-hottie star of the swim team.

Felix, the funny, fame-obsessed, Puerto Rican kid is trying to keep himself in the closet.  His traditionalist parents will obviously never accept him, if he can accept himself.

Rory is the autistic spectrum former best friend of Justine.

Their mission, to break away from the film crew and find Kiera's mom.  Justine brings a video camera and ends up co-directing the final film.  Good thing she was there to catch Kiera and her mom reuniting, and Felix looking longingly at two guys dancing, and Rory finally dancing with a boy.

Frankly, the way the story unfolds with the backstory slowly trickling out, I couldn't keep them all straight.  I still don't know why Kiera hated Justine, or why Nate hated everyone except Kiera, or why any of them would do another film when it hurts so badly.  I didn't like any of the characters. They each had their one angst and it defined them.

Cue Simple Minds.





Currently, I have Anne's God's Hotel and Charlotte's Keeping the Castle in my library bag.



This is my favorite part.  The link up.  It's like a wish-list delivery every week!


9 comments:

  1. I love this link-up. I always come away with some titles I hadn't heard of yet to add to my ever-growing list of books I'd like to read. My biggest problem is finding time to get through the "to read" pile of books I already have, and then getting sidetracked by new ones!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gotta run right now, but I'll be back to read what you reviewed and then give that request button a workout on my library's website!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I decided to join the link-up this week! :)
    I haven't read any of the ones on your list, though they've been on my radar for a while. But I think I'll have to try Legend now!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You and your dystopian fiction! I just can't bring myself to read any. Maybe someday it will interest me. I did watch that show Terra Nova for a while and liked it, but a book is different. I have lower expectations for TV shows. Do you really like dystopian as a genre or is it something else?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I said in your combox, I don't love dystopian books, but my kids do, so I read to preview and selectively edit their choices. It's a labor of love. I'll have to check out Terra Nova...would it be appropriate for high school age teens?

      I actually have a note on my iPhone of all the titles I see on the Teen Reads table at Barnes and Noble and I am reading them all. I feel compelled to perform this public service of reviewing what the publishing world throws at teens. What they are throwing right now is lots and lots of dystopian fiction. Everyone wants to be the next Hunger Games.

      Delete
    2. It's true. Everyone wants to be the next Hunger Games. And I am chasing the just absolute fear, anxiety and relief I got from that series. Not only did it make me think it made me feel so the other series don't measure up.

      Delete
  5. I heard Pope Awesome is going to be a smash hit. It'll probably be picked up for a movie pretty soon. I bet they get Maggie Gyllenhal to play the lead.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Based on the cover of The Selection, I'm so disappointed it wasn't fantastic. The cover looks so cool. Keeping the Castle looks like it might be the kind of fluff I'm looking for these days - thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It's What We're Reading Wednesday!


I read Legend by Marie Lu, partly because Marie Lu penned the quote that left me so disappointed, and partly because Madeline at A Dash of Snark hated Legend but liked the sequel, Prodigy.  The Empire Strikes Back is the exception that proves Madeline's rule, "second novels in trilogies historically have been the weakest."  But Madeline sites Prodigy as another outlier.

Safe for teens.
Madeline does a great job summing up Legend.  Yes, about the kiss.  Yes, it does seem that if you are going to write a Young Adult novel about anything at all, there must be some kissing.  But that's all there is, just kissing.

Legend is also violent.  Deaths, stabbings, girl fights, executions, tortured interrogations, lots of violence.  Just like Hunger Games et al.

Day, the underdog boy hero, and June, the darling of the Republic and No. 1 Day-hater-future-Day-lover are great characters!  I love the flip-flop narration.  You really get a great look each character's point of view.

June.   She's a complex girl.  Orphaned and raised by her brother.  An intellectual genius with great physical skill as well.  She's a dyed in the wool Republic girl, but when Day tells her everything she believes in might be wrong, she accepts that she might actually be wrong!  And then when she finds irrefutable evidence that she IS wrong, rather than cover it up and switch to denial mode, she ADMITS that she was in fact wrong.  That is a feat that I am rarely able to do in real life.

As far as the writing goes, it has to be pretty awful for me to notice, and Legend didn't bother me one bit.  I also like fried bologna sandwiches and prefer my beer in cans.  I'm that kind of girl.

Regarding the other dystopian trilogies Madeline mentions, Hunger Games, Matched, and Divergent, Matched was probably my favorite of the three and also the least dark (at least the first book was).  I think that might be part of what I like about Legend.  Despite all the violence, the people are rebelling, the Patriots are sabotaging the Republic, and smart-but-poor kids like Day are just out there trying to help their neighbors.

I'm definitely getting Prodigy, and even though the third installment, Champion is coming out very soon, Pope Awesome will definitely take precedence.

All Y'all should read Legend so you can dish with me and Madeline.



There is so much to like about The Selection by Kiera Cass.  It's like a dystopian version of Shannon Hale's Princess Academy. There are great characters and real drama.

In this version of America's future, everyone one is divided into castes.  The castes are numeric.  Royalty are ones, celebs are twos, teachers are threes (I think), artists are fives, housekeepers and administrative assistants are sixes, homeless, indigent, or abandoned people are eights.

Thirty-five girls, one from each province without regard to caste, are selected to live at the palace in hopes of fostering a relationship with Prince Maxon that will end with a marriage and a crown.  Unfortunately, the palace is often under siege from various groups that appear to be searching the building and grounds for something.  But nobody, not the royal family, knows what they want.  Sometimes, the attackers even kill people to get in.  If you're sensing that this was an awkward and underdeveloped plot point, good.

 America Singer, a Five (and you guessed it, a singer/musician), is one of the selected, but her heart lies home with her forbidden love, Aspen, a Six.  Aspen dumps her shortly before the selection takes place.  He realizes that she tries to spend money on him out of pity and how much she will give up if she marries him.

After several weeks at the palace, America is just beginning to think that maybe she could have a thing for Prince Maxon after all, when BAM!  Aspen has been drafted to the army, and assigned to be a guard right at the royal palace.  Where else?  End scene.  End book.  The end.  Yes.  That's right.  If you want to know who America chooses, or who Prince Maxon chooses, you have to read The Elite and The One to find out.

There is so much to dislike about The Selection too.  Before the selection, Aspen and America have many secret trysts in the treehouse, treasonously breaking curfew, and fooling around.  A lot.  They are always coming very close but not quite fornicating, because that's against the law and can get you in jail, and only the upper class castes can get birth control.  Lower class castes have big families because they have to.

Thank goodness, America always kept her pants on, because you have to be a virgin to be one of the selected....unless she lied about that.   To America's credit, she confesses to Prince Maxon that she would like to have a lot of children and we hear that his own mother suffered from many miscarriages.

Anyway, I think The Selection is too steamy and has too many other issues to recommend it to anyone who is not an adult or at least a very well-grounded young adult.



You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle is a modern mash-up of The Breakfast Club and The Truman Show.  Five kids were stars of a documentary called "Five at Six."  These same five kids star in a documentary every five years, "Five at Eleven" aired five years ago, so now it's time to film "Five at Sixteen."

Our main character is Justine, who was the knockout hilarious and precocious star of the first two movies, but after having ruined a friendship, been dumped by her one and only boyfriend, and "chunking out" these last five years, she is not looking forward to this.  But she goes along with it anyway.

There is all kinds of weirdness.

Justine's parents split up shortly after "Five at Eleven." Dad is still welcome at the dining room table and in the mom's bed every Thursday as long as they aren't dating anyone else.  Justine's comment, "I chose not to be confused by this."

Another reality star, Kiera, was told that she was abandoned by her mother by her father on screen, for all the world to see.

Nate, who was bullied and called a "fag" for his deep tenderness for his pet rabbits in "Five at Eleven," has turned into a super-mega-hottie star of the swim team.

Felix, the funny, fame-obsessed, Puerto Rican kid is trying to keep himself in the closet.  His traditionalist parents will obviously never accept him, if he can accept himself.

Rory is the autistic spectrum former best friend of Justine.

Their mission, to break away from the film crew and find Kiera's mom.  Justine brings a video camera and ends up co-directing the final film.  Good thing she was there to catch Kiera and her mom reuniting, and Felix looking longingly at two guys dancing, and Rory finally dancing with a boy.

Frankly, the way the story unfolds with the backstory slowly trickling out, I couldn't keep them all straight.  I still don't know why Kiera hated Justine, or why Nate hated everyone except Kiera, or why any of them would do another film when it hurts so badly.  I didn't like any of the characters. They each had their one angst and it defined them.

Cue Simple Minds.





Currently, I have Anne's God's Hotel and Charlotte's Keeping the Castle in my library bag.



This is my favorite part.  The link up.  It's like a wish-list delivery every week!


9 comments:

  1. I love this link-up. I always come away with some titles I hadn't heard of yet to add to my ever-growing list of books I'd like to read. My biggest problem is finding time to get through the "to read" pile of books I already have, and then getting sidetracked by new ones!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gotta run right now, but I'll be back to read what you reviewed and then give that request button a workout on my library's website!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I decided to join the link-up this week! :)
    I haven't read any of the ones on your list, though they've been on my radar for a while. But I think I'll have to try Legend now!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You and your dystopian fiction! I just can't bring myself to read any. Maybe someday it will interest me. I did watch that show Terra Nova for a while and liked it, but a book is different. I have lower expectations for TV shows. Do you really like dystopian as a genre or is it something else?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I said in your combox, I don't love dystopian books, but my kids do, so I read to preview and selectively edit their choices. It's a labor of love. I'll have to check out Terra Nova...would it be appropriate for high school age teens?

      I actually have a note on my iPhone of all the titles I see on the Teen Reads table at Barnes and Noble and I am reading them all. I feel compelled to perform this public service of reviewing what the publishing world throws at teens. What they are throwing right now is lots and lots of dystopian fiction. Everyone wants to be the next Hunger Games.

      Delete
    2. It's true. Everyone wants to be the next Hunger Games. And I am chasing the just absolute fear, anxiety and relief I got from that series. Not only did it make me think it made me feel so the other series don't measure up.

      Delete
  5. I heard Pope Awesome is going to be a smash hit. It'll probably be picked up for a movie pretty soon. I bet they get Maggie Gyllenhal to play the lead.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Based on the cover of The Selection, I'm so disappointed it wasn't fantastic. The cover looks so cool. Keeping the Castle looks like it might be the kind of fluff I'm looking for these days - thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete