le book review number eighty-seven~ fat angie

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Title: Fat Angie
Author: e.e. Charlton-Trujillo
Pages: 264
Year Published: 2013
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Personal Star Rating: 3.5 stars

Angie is the only one in her family - maybe the only one in the world - who believes her captured war-hero sister is still alive. Angie needs to believe it. It's better than thinking about last year, when she tried to kill herself in front of a packed gym. Better than trying to steer clear of Stacy Ann Sloan and her posse of ultra-mean girls. Better than dealing with her corporate lawyer mother, who wants to know only one thing: When is Angie going to lose exactly twenty-nine pounds?
Then a new girl, KC, arrives in Dryfalls, Ohio. She's beautiful, hip, and smart, and everyone wants to know her. From the minute they meet, KC sees the real Angie, not the fat girl hiding from her pain under a mountain of junk food. She sees Angie for who she really is: someone who just might shake things up - on the basketball court and in KC's life. Outrageous and touching, this darkly comic, anti-romantic romance brings us unforgettable characters on the edge.

Cover Comments:
Very bright blue it stands out. I think it was vibrant that's why i picked it up.

Title Thoughts:
Very unique title and deprecating. I think because of it's negative connotation I decided to see what exactly was being said.

I found this book to be alright. However, I don't feel like I completely know Angie after reading it. She seemed confused about her feelings and I think all teenagers can relate to that. I found the pop culture references might make the book a bit outdated in some ways within a few years. I liked that it was told in a perspective unlike any that I've read before and in some instances within the book I could understand Angie and KC and their friendship was a very integral part of the plot and she became a very important part of Angie's life. I think Angie always wanted to do better for KC and make her proud and this was very motivating for Angie to achieve her goals. I probably wouldn't read this book again but for what it was worth, it was overall pretty good.

le book review number eighty-six~ but i love him

Title: But i Love Him
Author: Amanda Grace
Pages: 245
Publisher: Flux
Year First Published: 2011
Personal Star Rating: 4/5 stars 

Sometimes at night, I wake up and stare at the heart for house. I think of how I collected each piece from the beach, how I glued it all together into one big sculpture. I wonder if Connor realizes what it means, that he'll always have a piece of me no matter what happens. Each piece of glass is another piece of myself that I gave to him.
It's too bad I didn't keep any pieces for myself.

Cover Comments:
I really like the cover. It is really reflective of the novel itself. The colours are very interesting, the jagged title font showcases the topic of the book. I was especially drawn to the interesting heart.

Title Thoughts:
Accurate to the book. It makes a lot of sense to have it as the title and was part of the reason I picked it up.

I found this book was really amazing. It was well written, well described, showed character growth and had such an interesting appeal in being told chronologically backwards with flashforwards to the present situation mixed in. A topic of relationship abuse, this book wasn't typical and I felt it showed the reality with characters that felt real. It showed how it changed Ann drastically over the course of the book without being "her life is ruined because of Connor and she should have known from the start to stay away from him because we don't know the start until the end". It seemed that the situation was very sad and even though at times I would be frustrated with Ann for being with Connor, I understood her reasoning and felt very sorry for her. The book showed how someone could easily get involved with that abusive life without realizing it. It showed the progression of the relationship and the abuse. Overall I was really impressed and would give it another read if I ever found the time.

le book review number eighty-five~ go ask alice

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Title:Go Ask Alice
Author: Anonymous
Year First Published: 1971
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 185
Personal Star Rating: 4/5 stars

The harrowing true story of a teenager's descent into the seductive world of drugs. A diary so honest you may think you know Alice - or someone like her. Read her diary. Enter her world. You'll never be able to forget Alice.

Title Thoughts:
The title of the book is taken from "White Rabbit". It's a very memorable title. It is also very unique and it was a big reason for me reading this book.

Cover Comments:
The cover is very shadowy. I love the font used and the layout. It's haunting and ghostly. A good reflection of the book itself.

This was a very different book from what I've ever read. I definitely found myself captivated by her story and her struggles. I find diary type books very insightful and very true to what a person is like. Journals are a place where people can write about who they really are, what they've really done, and what they really want to do without fearing judgement from others. The protagonist, Alice, was very interesting. There was one key drawback about this book - it was very dated. It didn't embrace modern society or reflect very accurately some of what the youth of today is exposed to. I found it annoying when the author repeated word's multiple times as this made it unbelievably laughable because it seems so time period of the seventies that after that decade, it seems irrelevant. Overall, it gave me something to think about and it actually made me think. It was worth 4 stars the first read, probably wouldn't read it again anytime soon and it would lose it's first time unique factor.

le book review number eighty-four~ almost home

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Title: Almost Home
Author: Jessica Blank
Hardcover edition
Pages: 245
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Year Published: 2007
Rating: 3/5 stars

From the back cover:
“The L.A. I live in is the same now as it will be afterward: alleys, underpasses, Dumpsters, trash. Smashed glass, crumbled concrete, holes in fences. It’s all about finding the cracks in things and shoving them open till they’re big enough for you to squeeze in. That’s were Critter and me crash most nights, in between buildings or up against cars, practicing, I guess, for when the whole world is roofless.”

From the inside cover:
For seven teens in Los Angeles, the street is their home.

There’s Eeyore, just twelve years old when she runs away from her privileged home, harboring a secret she’s to ashamed to tell anyone. Rusty winds up alone and broke when his older boyfriend ditches him in Hollywood. Squid has gone through too many foster homes to count – now he’s determined to create his own “sidewalk family” out on the streets. There’s Scabius, a rough, delusional punk from Utah; and Critter, a heroin dealer with movie-star looks and a vulnerable heart. Laura, smart and restless, has run to L.A. looking for something bigger than the tiny town she comes from.
And then there’s Tracy, the charismatic, damaged thread that ties them all together, irrevocably changing each person’s life she touches.
With rare candor and searing prose, author Jessica Blank, in her debut young adult novel, introduces us to seven unforgettable teens who form their own dysfunctional family, complete with love and belonging, abuse and betrayal.

First sentence:
Tracy hangs out up against the fence some days, blond hair dangling down in strings toward her tattoos, dirty hoodie sticking through the chain-link holes in little bunches, her weight curving the wire till it looks like it might stay that way.

Cover Comments:
I found the cover to be very accurate of the book as a whole. It definitely was a factor in why I decided to read this book.

Title Thoughts:
I think the title is memorable for the content inside. It is reflective of the story.

A friend of mine read this book and I saw a picture of it on her blog. It looked intriguing and I decided to check it out from the library at school. It was, in a few ways, very different from what I had expected it to be. It seemed to be somewhat realistic, but at the same time it seemed almost lacking in certain descriptive areas that I couldn't picture things the way I would have hoped. Initially I was impressed by the distinct characters, but in the middle it became a bit foggy when individuality became less apparent. The topic of runaways on the streets of Hollywood is what this story is about but we don't ever quite understand the motive for everything that happens. In a way I didn't mind that, but at the same time there seemed to be a lot of questions that were asked and it wasn't resolved in a satisfactory way. I was initially very impressed but it wasn't maintained throughout so it ends with only a rating of 3/5 stars. I almost gave it 4 stars, even 3.5 stars, but something gave me hesitation and I settled with only giving it an average rating. There were some really good moments in there, and it was a book on something I really haven't read, but there wasn't that stand-out-must-read-this-book-again-right-now moment that would get me to buy this book, or give it away to someone. I accept this book for what it is, but had hoped for something a little bit better. However, overall it was good and worth reading.

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Thank you for reading, it is always appreciated!

memorable moments thirteen~ almost home

almost home
jessica blank

memorable moments

page 2:
When Dad and Linda weren't there Brian was never nervous and he made my insides twist around like butterflies in my stomach, except their wings beat so hard I was always about to throw up.

page 3:
I thought the whole point of being a misfit was you're always looking for other people like you. Loneliness is like a vacuum: it's supposed to suck the other lonely people in like dust till finally it fills up and you're not lonely anymore.

page 6:
When we got to the top the city spread out below us big as a whole country, lavender smog cloaking the whole thing like a blanket you could see through.

page 9:
But then of course Linda comes home, thinking she can just breeze in after working til practically midnight and start rearranging everybody.

page 10:
There is nothing more annoying than the exact sound of Linda's voice when she is saying my name to try and wake me up.

page 11:
She is perfect: every part of her fits together just the way it is supposed to and ever though my chest feels weirdly tight I just want to watch her forever. 

page 12:
The next time I see Jenny Kirchner after that, in B hall before lab science, she makes this gross-out face, then leans in to the other Ashlees and starts whispering at exactly the amount of loudness that I can tell it's about me but the amount of quietness that I can't hear what it is.

page 14:
But then the fingernails pull out of my skin and the knuckles loosen around my wrists and the laughing gets quieter, like a car stereo driving away, and I crumple down to the ground and no one stops me.

page 17:
For practically thirty seconds she just watches me and I know I'm not supposed to look away so I don't.

She's beautiful. I can't really explain it... It's not anything about the pieces of her fitting together right like Jenny Kirchner or matching up with anything I've seen before. It's more about how Tracy's go all this metal in her eyes like she knows five million things I've never even heard of, but then she looks at me like I know all those things too.

page 19:
I feel like a grown-up next to Tracy waiting for our food. Or not like a grown-up really, but something different from a kid. I feel like it someone saw me they would think that I looked cool. I've only ever thought that about other people. But now I think that I could lean against the counter and look just like a picture.

page 23:
I never even heard of sleeping outdoors besides camp. And this is not camp, it's Hollywood.

page 24:
When Tracy's awake I can't watch her the way that I want to: I know she'd catch me. But now she's sleeping so hard it barely seems like she's breathing and I put my eyes on her and it feels like a kind of rest, like if I wanted to I could drink in some of her and make it part of me.

page 32:
I have never breathed a word of him to anyone and the words feel bizarre in my mouth: they've been coiled up somewhere so much farther down than that forever and now they're stretching out and up and I can feel them behind my teeth and it surprises me, like some weird food I've never tasted. I have no idea why I'm telling Tracy this or why I'd even think she'd understand. But for some reason I'm not scared. And after I get the first few sentences out from my mouth into the air she looks over at me with this kind of recognition I've never seen before in anyone, and she says "I know" and takes my hand. She holds it all the way to my house and she doesn't let me go, even when my palm starts sweating.

page 33:
When I get up close I can see her cheeks are wet and it's not from the shower because the rest of her is dry. ...and I say her name again, this time super soft like a whisper almost, and she snaps her head up and around to look at me and her whole face rearranges.

page 34:
...I realize the thing I was scared of didn't happen: I went back in the house without it changing me back to how I was... After that I decide I don't really want to go back. Or actually it's not a decision exactly, it's more of a realization. The whole last week I was procrastinating on going home like it was a math worksheet and every once in a while I'd hear Linda's annoying voice in my head yelling at me for putting things off and my heart would get all poundy knowing I'd have to do it eventually and the longer I waited the worse it would get. But now all of a sudden it's like my math teacher canceled the assignment and I just don't have to do it.

page 37:
That night and the next day and the next I keep trying to get Tracy to go to Del Taco instead of Benito's hoping we'll see those guys again across the street, but they don't show up and after a couple days I forget. Something in me is different, though, just knowing they exist. To me it means there's a whole bunch of people like her, which means the world is bigger than I knew. It means there's something out there that's not school or home or Brian but not Tracy either. It's like Tracy, but it's not exactly her. For some reason, that makes me feel a little more equal, like I could ask her questions without being scared that she'll get mad. I don't know why.

page 39:
...I look up at her and she's crying again, not like normal where you can hear it and the person moves their face, but in this weird way where her eyes are like a statue and she's hardly even breathing.

page 41:
After a minute I think we must look pretty weird, both sitting on the curb in front of Tang's picking at things and not talking, but then I realize nobody's looking at us.

page 42:
All morning I tried talking and it just made her weirder so now I've been trying to find her just by feeling it, like if I breathe the right way our breaths will touch and I can pull her close again.

page 43:
He's the only person who knows who I am in the places that you can't put into words, those places that are alive and raw and secret, and bigger than your regular life. We all have those places, I think, but we almost never see or touch them in each other because everyone is always scared.

page 49:
She elbows me at the end of her story like I'm supposed to say something. I don't know what to say, so I just go "Yup" and look up at the guy all dumb. Tracy laughs and says "He's really shy" and makes this face like they're on the same team and they're planning something about me. For a minute I get scared, and then Tracy leans back and pulls me toward her and I can tell it's really me and her on the team.

page 52:
When I open my eyes it's late and I'm confused like when you lie down for a nap during the day and by the time you wake up it's pitch black outside and the time in the middle just erased itself.

page 60:
That nervous feeling of not having something to do doesn't happen when there's another person there. Whenever the silence gets too long you can ask the other person questions and they'll fill it up for you.

page 62:
The girl says "Hey" to me, sort of too loud like she's trying to prove she's there.

page 63:
When she's not trying hard to stand up the tallest, you can see what she actually looks like: really young and like a baby bird, with all these soft spots that aren't covered up by anything. I know that feeling. I have them too. I want to tell her she doesn't have to put all that stupid hard stuff over them, that those spots are beautiful and the way to be safe is to find somebody who will touch them, not to cover them up. But she'd probably take it wrong.

page 68:
She has this way of saying the most ridiculous things like they are completely one hundred percent normal, so normal you feel stupid arguing with her or even asking questions.

page 69:
She's staring straight ahead with empty eyes; I'm afraid she's mad at me. But when I finally get beside her, panting, she snaps her eyes out of their stare and fills them up with herself again.

page 70:
If you look north you can see the curve of Malibu; the sunset silhouettes it, dark black mountains against the burning orange sky, and the pink ocean spread out in front of it forever, glistening and moving. If you look south it's all factories, some kind of chemical refinery: spidery towers stacked up all the way to the ocean, delicate and complicated as lace but ugly and stinky and made of hard metal... I feel like a different person depending which direction I'm pointed. 

page 71:
Jim made me promise not to tell and I haven't, not the whole two months I've been here waiting. That's what keeps me tied to him: the cords from me to Jim, from here to Bakersfield, are made up of a million little sparkling threads like spiderwebs; those threads are built from promises between us, the only thing that keeps me from floating away. If I tell our secret I know I'll cut those cords, and come untied, and I don't know where I'll go.

page 75:
She sits up and looks a way I've never seen her look: sad.

page 79:
I watch him... and I think: I know what your breath feels like. I wonder if he ever thinks that about me.

page 82:
But Critter's just too f-ing good-looking to be considered reliable, so things never really quieted down for real.

page 86:
That's what guys like him do, guys like dads on TV who feed everyone and give you drugs and never admit that they need anything. But they always seem like the strongest of all if you don't know better. And she doesn't.

page 97:
...it's a little...weird that Eeyore has a house, especially one she can go back to. It sort of makes her not exactly one of us. And we all know it. And it looks like Eeyore just figured it out too. And there's this long pause.

page 106:
It's like a door slides across Eeyore's face and slams shut hard enough to lock itself.

page 108:
And then I turn around to Eeyore and I say "Wanna go?" and she looks at me with the surest eyes in the world and says "Yeah."

page 114:
Pretty quick the days start blurring together. It's weird how that happens here and I think it's the weather, seventy-five degrees each day and sunny like someone set the thermostat for the city and it just runs, like a machine.

page 121:
Everything is gray and blue and flooded, like the sky is washing out the city, and we just stand there watching it.

page 125:
I watch her strut around, pretending brave and looking stupid, trying to protect herself from me but not knowing how to do it right, and all of a sudden I can see what she is. 
It's like when you wake up sudden from a dream, blink once and the whole world around you changes. Just like that, I can see her: the whole time she's been out her, she was only faking that she's one of us.

page 128:
Her eyes get all big; they fill up and spill over, but I don't care. I want to say something different to her, something like: You have something we all wish we did; stay away from us or we'll take it away; hard things are stronger than soft, and sooner or later your smooth skin will get cut through and you'll never not have scars again. But I don't know how to say that. So I just say "Go."
And she's gone.

page 138:
When you think someone's mind matches yours, when they tell you it does and you see that it's true, and then they go and do the opposite, there's gotta be a reason. Some force that pushes them to make them move the other way. 

page 147:
That one night was different though, I think because she didn't really know me and when things happen with strangers it's different than with people you know. Or people who know you, really is what it is: Tracy thinks she can keep anyone from getting to know her, and she gets pretty pissed when you prove her wrong.

page 150:
But I don't know: every time she smiles, even if it's just a closed-mouth halfway smirk, I feel like I earned something.

It's weird how fast you can spill everything to a person if you think they're listening.

page 151:
...but this night isn't normal and I wind up walking along the lit sidewalk, telling her every single thing that ever happened to me practically.

page 153:
After that I kiss her. It's like water, the feeling of it, and also like sleep, the kind that comes when you've been up three days and your head finally hits a pillow and you can practically hear every single cell sign relief.

page 157:
It's just that we both have these edges that've always scraped up against everyone around us, but somehow with each other they line up so they fit together perfect and no one gets cut.

page 165:
It's weird how things can seem just like life when they're happening but when you look back later you see it was all part of some inevitable plan that's a thousand times your size.

page 170:
It's weird, hearing what I need and knowing that it's just a lie, like wanting to be touched and having someone hit you. It stills feels good even though you bleed. It's the best you can do. And sometimes it's enough: sometimes you settle, and you start to look forward to getting hit because at least someone's hand is on your face, at least there's something else touching you besides cold naked air, at least something makes the blood rise, and the tingling in your skin keeps you warm for a while.

page 175:
It's weird, the way so many things happen but the ground stays the same, how we turn inside out, molt, grow new cells while words endure: Hair. Celebrity Auto Body. Mel's. You could call them institutions but really it's just that here in Los Angeles signs are built to withstand earthquakes, and we are not.

page 177:
It was flat and June already, and my arms smelled like sweat, the kind that's still faint enough to be sweet; no salt, just skin and heat.

page 184:
She's real, the first real thing I've ever met, and she scares me just a little. Nobody's ever scared me before.

page 187:
It makes that day a bubble, contained in itself and fragile. Sometimes I look at her and I can feel it: the Formica of the table, sick-sweet of coconut donuts, the bitter black of sludgy coffee and the glare of buzzing light, all tucked in a pocket inside me. In that bubble she's still saying things nobody knows and I'm still wordless, not knowing how to fill the spaces she opened up, but wanting to and watching her and staying with her after, following her so she'll know that I won't leave. The bubble edge around that day makes it not just a memory but a secret, and I hold on to it like I could keep it safe.

page 195:
The third morning she gets antsy, though, and calls it homesick. She starts smoking lots of cigarettes and says the city feels too big, like it could swallow her. 

Over the next few days the antsy gets worse. She's out of money, that's part of it; but there's something else too, and edge that keeps her broke because nobody will stop to give her anything.

page 198:
I could tell you that it all makes sense, but the trust is that it doesn't. It comes together, sure, in a way that makes the facts line up, provides an explanation. But it doesn't make sense at all.

page 200:
I don't think that places change you. They're too fixed, too solid to do much of anything. The things that really change you are the things that change themselves: ground opening up along a fault like and gulping down your house, people picking sides, their answers to your questions.

page 201:
It's easier to get a ride this time: I can tell which cars to hold my thumb out for and which ones will just keep driving. I know how to spot the blinders now, and I don't try to get the passersby to look my way. I just wait to see a set of eyes that's still open, unfixed, who'll stop and take me north, past home, and out of Hollywood, beyond what I can see or touch or travel, toward names I've always heard but never seen.

page 213:
I lie on the mattress a long time, eyes closed, heart pounding, before I finally drift off. Even then it's the kind of sleep that's only on the surface, skimming the tops of your thoughts while your mind's still working underneath.