Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Five Quick Book Reviews!

Hello, blogsphere! So, I know it's Tuesday, and I know you're expecting a teaser from me, but I finished the manuscript (wooooot!!!) on Sunday night, so I'm afraid that's it for the French Revolution, werewolfy teasers. At least for now. I might share some more bits once I'm working on edits.

For now, though, since I haven't started a new project yet, I've been reading a ridiculous amount. I read three books yesterday. It was fantastic.

Here are some quick little reviews of five of the books I've recently read.

BEAUTY QUEENS, Libba Bray - After having read much of Libba's livejournal and meeting her on Friday, I feel that I can safely say that BEAUTY QUEENS is rather like having her sit down and actually tell you a story. It is quirky, it is hilarious, it is occasionally just plain out there, it is fun, and it is also meaningful. I must admit that while Libba is one of my top-favorite authors, this isn't my favorite of her books - sometimes the ridiculousness felt like a bit much, simply because all of it was so fast-paced and hilarious and out there. But it would not have worked if it hadn't been on the same level of silliness (and the epilogue is forgiven because it reminded me of FAME in a way that was not, for once, unpleasant). I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I enjoyed much of her other work even more.

GRACELING, Kristin Cashore - I LOVED this. I've not read (or written) an epic fantasy in quite a while, and this was the perfect book to get me back into the genre that started it all for me. Tamora Pierce was one of the authors blurbing the book, and I can see why - both GRACELING and FIRE, the prequel, seem like the heirs to Tamora Pierce's "girls can save the day too" legacy. I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I loved the way the story unfolded. It made me want to whip out my many-times-trunked epic fantasy and see if I could whip it into shape. Both excellent, excellent books!

ABANDON, Meg Cabot - I got this, as well as BEAUTY QUEENS, at the This is Teen event on Friday. I was really looking forward to it, as AVALON HIGH is my favorite Meg Cabot book, and I know she can handle retellings well. But I must admit I was disappointed. To be fair, I wasn't aware that ABANDON was the first in a trilogy, but that is clearly all it is: the first in a trilogy. 300 pages of setup. The characters and the premise were enough to keep me reading through to the end, really interested to find out what happened - but I didn't. I would have to read the next two books to do that.

THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN, Sherman Alexie - I've been meaning to read this for a while, and I can see why it's so acclaimed - it's excellent. Junior (or Arnold) is such a great character, who portrays a really interesting view of his world through both the text and the cartoons he draws. The voice was spot on, as well - a smart, witty, but slightly lost and lonely fourteen year old boy. Definitely something worth reading!!

GOING BOVINE, Libba Bray - I was afraid to read this book. I was TERRIFIED to read this book. I've said that Libba Bray is one of my favorite authors, and she is, but THE SWEET FAR THING made me sob hysterically, and since this book features a main character with mad cow disease I figured it'd make me cry and I didn't want to do that. Well, I'll admit, I did get a little bit teary, but the thought at the forefront of my mind was "why did it take me so long to read this?!?!" I can see why this won the Printz award. I thought it was excellent. It featured my favorite thing in YA writing - saying big, meaningful things, exactly the way a teenager would say them. No one needs a fancy vocabulary or a fancy writing style - you don't need to be confusing to have real meaning. What Cameron has got to say, and the journey he goes on through the book - both literal and figurative - is definitely important. It definitely means a great deal. Definitely read this book!


  1. Awesome awesome reviews! I've got Beauty Queens on my TBR list, and Graceling (and Fire, but maybe not as much) are on my all-time favourites list, so you have great taste!

    After reading its reviews on Goodreads, I was put off Abandon. I'm an adamant worshipper of all things Meg Cabot, but yeah, that one didn't really sound like my cup of tea. I think she's trying out the new scene of YA, seeing as she's already so successful in that bracket. She should stick to contemp - that's all her best work :)

  2. Thanks! BEAUTY QUEENS is definitely great. So much fun!!

    ABANDON is well written - the characters are interesting, the setting is really intriguing and well-researched, the set up is great - so it really was maddening that that's all it was. If she wants to branch out a bit, then okay, cool, but... put some plot in book 1! :(

  3. love this post :) i haven't read a libba bray yet (i dont think she is a s big in Australia?)

    i LOVED graceling too (ahem, LOVED po ;)

    can't wait to read Bitterblue :)