Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Recent Reading

It's been so long since I wrote a post about what I've read—good thing no one cares, eh? But since I've been trying to keep track of what I read this year, I have to try to keep up. So this is what I can remember having read in the last 6 weeks or so, with super brief summaries (for some reason, I decided to put ***'s around ones that I especially like):

***Marcelo in the Real World, Francisco X. Stork***
I'm getting a little tired of hearing this compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time just because they both happen to be about autistic-ish guys who really really don't want to go outside their comfort zones, but do and end up accomplishing things they never thought they could and also solving mysteries (of sorts). I love both books actually, but they have very different tones. Marcelo is just quiet and beautiful, even though his "real world" gets pretty ugly.

***The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan***
An amazing post-apocalyptic zombie book—my two favorite sub-genres in one! It's sort of like The Road, except here you know what destroyed the world, and it's still there—endlessly clawing at the fences and moaning.

***Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld***
I'm so excited about this one! I hate to use sci-fi/fantasy lingo, but nice "world-building," Scott Westerfeld! Very nice indeed. It's an alternate history of the build-up to WWI, where Franz Ferdinand's son pilots a giant walking war machine, and the British have created living airships that are entire ecosystems of genetically-tweaked creatures. Someone really needs to arrange a showdown between the fabricated beasties of this book and the half-men of Melvin Burgess's Bloodtide and Bloodsong.

***Love and Lies, Ellen Wittlinger***
This is the sequel to Hard Love, where Gio goes to college and Marisol takes a year off to hang out in coffee shops and write a novel, a ridiculously earnest idea. And of course they somehow end up in the same adult-ed writing course and try to be friends again and also meet new people to have complicated relationships with.

***Suite Scarlett, Maureen Johnson***
Scarlett's family owns and lives in a once-fancy hotel in Manhattan. An eccentric guest moves in for the summer and stealth theater productions and complicated-but-heartwarming sibling relationships ensue.

Zoe's Tale, John Scalzi
Don't do what I did and try to read this as a freestanding novel just because it's up for a YA sci-fi award, and Scalzi's other books are not. You must read the Last Colony first or, like me, you will have no idea what's happening. This is my own fault, but still: The cover has pictures of some rad-looking space battles, right? This is misleading! It takes about three quarters of the book to get to the action, and then it happens approximately like this: Zoe sees an awesome explosion in the sky and asks her giraffe/spider-like alien bodyguard what just happened, and it's like (I'm paraphrasing), "oh man, we were going to tell you about the plan to destroy the whole fleet, but there wasn't time," and Zoe's all: "well tell me now." And so they spend about two paragraphs summarizing some pretty exciting sounding events from the previous book for idiots like me. The rest of it is mostly teenagers being sarcastic on a planet they're colonizing with their families.

The Sandman, vol. 1, Neil Gaiman (not YA, but whatev)
The Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman
Makes no sense to lump these two together, but they're both part of my effort to finally get up to speed on this guy that everyone seems to know way more about than me. The first part of The Anansi Boys was so effortlessly well-written I was sort of in awe. It kept feeling like it was going off track and then would tie back into itself in without missing a beat. And I'm reserving judgement on The Sandman until I read the later stuff.

The Waters & The Wild, Francesca Lia Block
Three high school misfits—a changeling, a reincarnated slave from 1800 and a stuttering boy whose father may be an extraterrestrial—find each other in L.A.

Hush, Jacqueline Woodson
A girl's family struggles with their new identities and lost roots when they enter the witness protection program after her father testifies against white police officers who shot an unarmed black boy.

Huge, Sasha Paley
Two roommates at fat camp are there for very different reasons and at first can't stand each other. Eventually they come together to get revenge on the jock who scorned them both.

Friction, E. R. Frank
A new girl at an alternative middle school with a possibly too-sophisticated knowledge of sex makes the other students question the teacher's behavior.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Age 13 3/4, Sue Townsend
Adrian Mole: The Lost Years, Sue Townsend
I found The Lost Years on my bookshelves the other day; I think I had once bought it in a thrift store and forgotten about it. So then I had to go back and read the original Adrian Mole. Ridiculous and amusing.

In the beginning of the year I was counting up the books I read. So:
Since April 19th: 14
YTD total: 42

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