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Friday, January 14, 2011

LIttle update and what are you reading??

First a short update. Yes, I feel like this weekend is going to be it. I have a list of about 4 little things that I want to fix up in Nikki's Wish and then I'll be done!! I kind of feel like I want to re-read the whole thing one last time, but I think I'll refrain from doing that, give it some time to sit while I clean up the query and synopsis. Then maybe I'll read it through one last time before sending anything out. Yeah, I know I'm kind of anal retentive that way, but I can't help it.

Now on to something a bit more fun! This week I read two and a half books. I'm still finishing up the last one, but I'm going to blurb about it anyway.

First, MT Anderson's Feed. Okay, I admit that I was a little slow on the uptake with this one. All I knew about the book going in was that it was a futuristic story where the internet is wired into people's brains. Cool background for a story, no? So I started reading. Fifty pages in, I was rather annoyed with the main character and his friends, searching for some sort of plot and thinking to myself that although the world building was spectacular, the story itself was sort of... dumb. I read some more. Still little plot, even more ridiculous scenes with characters who I want to thrash by now, and even more spectacular world building. I get to the middle of the book and one scene in particular. Main character and his girlf (yes, it's spelled that way) go out to the country to visit a farm. Woohoo, something is going to happen, I shout to myself. And then I see what kind of farm it is... a tissue farm. For growing tissue. Cow tissue. Big blocks of marbleized steak. Row after row of Fillet Mignon. I kid you not. After resisting the urge to hurl, I almost put the book down. Almost. And then, I got it. Feed is a satire.

Like I said, I was a little slow on the uptake, even afterwards I was thinking to myself that the author could have done so much more with the characters. They were dumb, shallow, and materialistic, even the main character. But now I see the brilliance in it. Really, there was no other way for Anderson to create his futuristic world and make the statement he was making without creating the characters that he did. It just wouldn't have been the same. Obviously I enjoyed the book in the end because it really made me think (and shudder a bit), but I would have liked it much more if I had known what I was getting into. So if you decide to read it, consider yourself warned.

Next I read The DUFF by Kody Keplinger. I've heard about The Duff for over a year now, and I even got to read the first chapter on the SYW boards at AW. This was a few weeks before Kody was agented, and I thought then that the story sounded fantastic. I'd been looking forward to seeing what Kody had done with her characters. And I was impressed.
Goodreads summary: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

I would have been all over this book in high school. A strong, gutsy girl who tells it like it is, plus some hot HOT scenes between Bianca and Wesley, and finally a message that it's okay to be a DUFF because really everyone is a DUFF at some point. Yeah, I would have loved this book as a teen and I think that's where it's really going to resonate. BUT, I have to say that reading this as a married 36-year old with three kids, it didn't quite hit the mark. I was very puzzled as to why a girl as smart as Bianca would sleep with a man-whore like Wesley. Even though she was using it as an escape, and even though they used protection every time, I was still... ew. I shiver just thinking about it. So I guess in some ways you could say that I had trouble accepting the premise, but then again I'm not a teen and I've never been in a situation like Bianca was so maybe I'm just too distanced from it to judge properly. The ending was a bit predictable, and the writing has room to grow. But again, a great debut from such a young author. I'd recommend it, especially to teens.

ETA- Geesh, what am I saying? It was written for teens of course I would recommend it to teens. There are so many middle age people reading YA now that sometimes I forget who the original audience is. BAAAADDD Angie, BAD!

Last up; Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I'm only halfway through this book, but I got it yesterday so having read half of it one day, you can guess that I'm pretty much enthralled.

The Goodreads summary: One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

The book is written by two authors alternating each chapter and this method works very well. I could tell right off which was written by JG, and I have to say that I liked his chapters better, but now at about the middle of the book, as the two Will Grayson's are coming together, I'm noticing how much more sympathy I have for DL's Will. It's got me addicted, so much so that I'd like to bail out of work right now to finish it. So, yeah, go get Will Grayson, Will Grayson. You won't be disappointed.

As a little side note - WG, WG is the first e-book that I got from my library. I'm just mentioning this because I had looked around online and realized that even though I don't live in Hennepin County (Mpls), I could still get access to the Hennepin County Library because I have a card from another MN public library. This shouldn't be too surprising given inter-library loans and all, but I just wanted to point out to everyone that maybe you have the same set up in your area. You might want to particularly check it out if you live in a small community - maybe your state's capitol or a bigger city in your state has e-loaning that you could get access to. 

As always I'm interested in what you've been reading too! Leave a note. And next week I promise to be a better blogger, visit more sites and actually post some more! I should be done editing so I'll have more time (of course there's all that agent research to do). Blah! :)


Anonymous said...

I've wanted to read The Duff for a while but my reading list is so long right now.

The first time I picked up WG,WG it seemed like it would be boring, but then again, I've never read John Green before. I may have to try it, or try Looking for Alaska or something like that first.

Nomes said...

i liked this post :)
i don't think The DUFF is for me :) I'm not a huge fan of contemp YA that's edgy (I don't mind occasional swearing in books, but I'm not fond of it).

WG WG looks good. I'm hoping my library gets it in.

Good to hear you're going well.

Angie said...

Thanks Nomes. I don't really think it was the swearing in it that bothered me, again it was just sort of the whole premise, not really knowing why a girl who was so smart would do something like that. And I did like it, I'm just not one of those people who are saying OMG this is sooooo good, you know?

Bee said...

All three are book I've been hearing lots of things about, especially The Duff and Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

I don't know why I haven't yet gotten around to reading The Duff yet, maybe cos I can already guess what's gonna happen in the end. But I will get to it eventually.

As for Will Grayson, it's on my list.

And Feed sounds different, but I'm not sure it'd be my kinda book.

I like this post, too. And I like the new header photo as well.

Melanie said...

I'm sure i'll read it at some point.

Nomes, how on Earth did you make it through my novel??? KK must have drove you nuts with his potty mouth :D sorry :-( and FWIW, I cut out about half of the F-bombs :D

Just finished reading Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers. Can't say enough about this book. The story was AMAZING!!! I just downloaded Across the Universe onto my iPad. I've been super excited about this book since reading Nomes review about it.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Got caught up on some of the Bloody Jack books and love them--except Mississippi Jack. My that river voyage does go on (and on and on), but the rest are great reads.

And I would absolutely recommend them to teens (but then I recommend Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series to my teen nieces, and those aren't YA)!

Angie said...

Bee - it's not a new header. Maybe you just didn't notice it before? *shrug*

Mel - I want to read Fall for Anything, but I'm putting off buying books for a while. I spent way too much money last year. Agreed, Across the Universe sounds good.

Angelica - I haven't heard of the Bloody Jack books - are they strictly YA or possibly MG. I'm always looking for books that my 9 yr old could get into.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

It's funny, the School Library Journal quote on Amazon lists the first Bloody Jack book as grades 6-8, but I would consider it in the upper end of that. She ages in each book, though, so they are a bit like Harry Potter in that the reader ages along with her.

As the books go on, there is more violence, some sex, and some language that parents might object to. I love that she always claims that her transgressions made perfect sense at the time, and she does try to be good, but they always turn out wrong.

You can read samples of most of them on Amazon

Angie said...

doesn't really sound good for my son, but I'll look into it for myself!! Thanks. :)

Karla Calalang said...

Great reviews, Angie! I read Feed in HS for class and thought it was great. It really made me think. The ending was too sad for me though... still, I quite liked it.

The DUFF I liked, too. I was kinda wondering the same thing about what a smart girl would be doing with a man-whore, but I guess the premise was interesting enough.

I still have yet to read WG, WG. Must do that as soon as I can.

Great post! :)



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