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Sunday, January 23, 2011

What are you reading??

This week has seen a lot of ups and downs for me. I got really excited by the prospect of working on a new WIP (I chose Bettina for those who read my last post), and then I was in QLH for a while. Needless to say, that's been the down part of my week. Hopefully I'll escape with a few shreds of dignity. But, on to more interesting topics - books!!

First up, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I mentioned this book last week, so it's a bit of a repeat, but I finished it up and wanted to give my final opinion. And a little warning here, it's a bit spoilery. I really did love this book, the writing, the voice, the descriptions, and the alternating POV was done so well. I really liked the way that the issue of depression in the POV of the second Will was brought up because that can be such a huge issue with teens, although I wish they had delved into it a little deeper. The character of Tiny was hilarious. At first I thought that a gay football player named Tiny was cliche, but the character was so well developed in the end that it was easy to forgive. He was a hoot! Finally, the ending (and this is the spoilery part) resembled Looking For Alaska a bit too much. It was different, but still had the same general theme of teens pulling off some huge stunt. It didn't bother me in LFA, but when I saw it happening in WG,WG I was kind of thinking, okay is this like a thing with John Green? Anyway, I still really loved it and would place it right behind LFA in my ranking of JG titles.

Second read this week: The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. The story is about a boy named Jerry who is first a hero and then a victim when he refuses to sell chocolates at his private catholic school. At first glance, the premise might seem a little flimsy, but it's not at all. There are themes of gang violence, intimidation, misuse of power, standing up against the autocracy, and the existence of evil. It was riveting and even a little sickening at times. The book was published back in the 70's (and by the smell of my library copy you could tell), but that didn't detract from the themes at all. I didn't like the ending, but I do respect the author for having the courage to write an ending like that, especially in a YA novel. Moreover, it was appropriate for me to read it at this time because it gave me some great ideas for my new WIP.

Final read: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. This is a Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story type book with a more modern flavor. It's set in Chicago in a neighborhood where Latino gangs and the richer class live pretty much next door to each other. Perfect Chemistry has a lot of...chemistry. It was hot, and while the other themes in the book, standing up to misunderstanding parents and the difficulties of living in poorer neighborhoods surrounded by gang violence were there, it was really the hot romance between Alex and Brittany that kept me reading. I enjoyed it and I'd particularly recommend it to those who are looking for something multicultural.


Bee said...

I haven't read Looking For Alaska yet, so it didn't get spoilery.

The Chocolate Wars does have interesting premise. And there's been a lot of buzz about it, so I'm gonna have to look out for that one.

I agree about Perfect Chemistry. While the romance is all hot and heavy, I think I liked it even more cos of the multicultural atmosphere and the gang violence, mental disability etc themes is brought up.

Marian said...

I'm still deciding what to read next but I did finally get to read Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen. It's one of the few YA horror (creepy ghost) books out there.

Angie said...

Ooo that sounds good, Marian. I know someone who writes YA horror and I bet she'd love that.

Bee - I really loved LFA. Actually I like most all of JG's books, but most everyone else's favorite is Paper Towns whereas that was my least fave. *big shrug*



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