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Stephanie S. (skywriter319) - , - Reviews

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All About Vee
All About Vee
Author: C. Leigh Purtill
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 4/9/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Veronica May, nicknamed Vee, is the best plus-size actress that the small town of Chester, Arizona has ever seen. Actually, she's the best actress out of Chester, ever. The sense of uprootedness she feels from her father's upcoming remarriage drives Veronica to follow in the footsteps of her dead mother, Diana, and, more recently, her good friend Vivian Reed out to L.A. to make it big-time!

Vee isn't prepared for the cutthroat atmosphere of Hollywood, however. Nobody wants to cast a "fat" girl, and people can say one thing and mean another, as she begins to realize, even Vivian--who goes by Reed now. At least her job at a local cool coffeeshop is going well. She's making friends with her coworkers, and there might even be a developing romantic interest with her manager, Philip. But in a city that's famous for its backstabbing and disappointments, can Veronica do what her mother couldn't: overcome all obstacles and stay true to herself?

ALL ABOUT VEE is the quintessential feel-good read, with a great message and the perfect blend of romance and fun! Its greatest strength, of course, lies in its protagonist. Veronica keeps it real; her reactions, emotions, and actions are the genuine ones of that girl behind the counter who you just know will make a great friend. I was also appreciative of the fact that this book wasn't completely about Vee trying to overcome her body image issues. Yes, it's mentioned, as it rightfully should be--prejudiced judgments, unfortunately, still exists everywhere in all forms--but through it all Veronica remains true to herself. She is not easily broken by harsh words, and insteads picks herself up and looks forward to the future, where she'll kick everyone else's undeserving butts in auditions and make a name for herself out of her real talent. You'll want to cheer for Veronica as she develops through this lovely little book!


All-American Girl
All-American Girl
Author: Meg Cabot
Book Type: School Library Binding
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 4/8/2009


Sophomore Samantha Madison is redheaded, a middle child, left-handed, and, in her opinion, one of the only teenage girls left who have not succumbed to the soul-sucking fashion trends of modern-day society. She's a wannabe radical: she dyed her wardrobe black, and she's in love with her popular older sister Lucy's boyfriend Jack, who's as "radical" as they get.

Sam thinks it's the end of her already lousy world when, as a punishment for bad grades, her parents send her to art lessons at Susan Boone's. Sam's a good artist, but she doesn't take well to criticism, and so when on the first day Susan Boone accuses her of not drawing what she knows, Sam decides not to come back. Ever.

Which turns out to be a good thing, because while she's hiding from Susan Boone at the following lesson, she manages to stop an assassination attempt on the president.

All of a sudden Sam is the "it" girl at her school, the US, and the whole world. The president awards her the position of teen ambassador to the UN, and his cute son David (who is also in Susan Boone's art class) thinks there's something special about Sam. Only Sam knows there's nothing very heroic about what she did. And she doesn't understand why David's being so nice to her, or why her heart skitters when he smiles at her, or why she feels so bad after David finds out she had used him to make Jack jealous at a party. Because she's totally in love with Jack.

Right?

What fun ALL-AMERICAN GIRL is! People of all ages will enjoy this book. Samantha is an amazing protagonist, and her narration will pull you along like nothing ever had. Highly recommended!


All American Girl
All American Girl
Author: Meg Cabot
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 4/8/2009


Sophomore Samantha Madison is redheaded, a middle child, left-handed, and, in her opinion, one of the only teenage girls left who have not succumbed to the soul-sucking fashion trends of modern-day society. She's a wannabe radical: she dyed her wardrobe black, and she's in love with her popular older sister Lucy's boyfriend Jack, who's as "radical" as they get.

Sam thinks it's the end of her already lousy world when, as a punishment for bad grades, her parents send her to art lessons at Susan Boone's. Sam's a good artist, but she doesn't take well to criticism, and so when on the first day Susan Boone accuses her of not drawing what she knows, Sam decides not to come back. Ever.

Which turns out to be a good thing, because while she's hiding from Susan Boone at the following lesson, she manages to stop an assassination attempt on the president.

All of a sudden Sam is the "it" girl at her school, the US, and the whole world. The president awards her the position of teen ambassador to the UN, and his cute son David (who is also in Susan Boone's art class) thinks there's something special about Sam. Only Sam knows there's nothing very heroic about what she did. And she doesn't understand why David's being so nice to her, or why her heart skitters when he smiles at her, or why she feels so bad after David finds out she had used him to make Jack jealous at a party. Because she's totally in love with Jack.

Right?

What fun ALL-AMERICAN GIRL is! People of all ages will enjoy this book. Samantha is an amazing protagonist, and her narration will pull you along like nothing ever had. Highly recommended!


All-American Girl
All-American Girl
Author: Meg Cabot
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 86
Review Date: 4/8/2009


Sophomore Samantha Madison is redheaded, a middle child, left-handed, and, in her opinion, one of the only teenage girls left who have not succumbed to the soul-sucking fashion trends of modern-day society. She's a wannabe radical: she dyed her wardrobe black, and she's in love with her popular older sister Lucy's boyfriend Jack, who's as "radical" as they get.

Sam thinks it's the end of her already lousy world when, as a punishment for bad grades, her parents send her to art lessons at Susan Boone's. Sam's a good artist, but she doesn't take well to criticism, and so when on the first day Susan Boone accuses her of not drawing what she knows, Sam decides not to come back. Ever.

Which turns out to be a good thing, because while she's hiding from Susan Boone at the following lesson, she manages to stop an assassination attempt on the president.

All of a sudden Sam is the "it" girl at her school, the US, and the whole world. The president awards her the position of teen ambassador to the UN, and his cute son David (who is also in Susan Boone's art class) thinks there's something special about Sam. Only Sam knows there's nothing very heroic about what she did. And she doesn't understand why David's being so nice to her, or why her heart skitters when he smiles at her, or why she feels so bad after David finds out she had used him to make Jack jealous at a party. Because she's totally in love with Jack.

Right?

What fun ALL-AMERICAN GIRL is! People of all ages will enjoy this book. Samantha is an amazing protagonist, and her narration will pull you along like nothing ever had. Highly recommended!


All-American Girl
All-American Girl
Author: Meg Cabot
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 4/8/2009


Sophomore Samantha Madison is redheaded, a middle child, left-handed, and, in her opinion, one of the only teenage girls left who have not succumbed to the soul-sucking fashion trends of modern-day society. She's a wannabe radical: she dyed her wardrobe black, and she's in love with her popular older sister Lucy's boyfriend Jack, who's as "radical" as they get.

Sam thinks it's the end of her already lousy world when, as a punishment for bad grades, her parents send her to art lessons at Susan Boone's. Sam's a good artist, but she doesn't take well to criticism, and so when on the first day Susan Boone accuses her of not drawing what she knows, Sam decides not to come back. Ever.

Which turns out to be a good thing, because while she's hiding from Susan Boone at the following lesson, she manages to stop an assassination attempt on the president.

All of a sudden Sam is the "it" girl at her school, the US, and the whole world. The president awards her the position of teen ambassador to the UN, and his cute son David (who is also in Susan Boone's art class) thinks there's something special about Sam. Only Sam knows there's nothing very heroic about what she did. And she doesn't understand why David's being so nice to her, or why her heart skitters when he smiles at her, or why she feels so bad after David finds out she had used him to make Jack jealous at a party. Because she's totally in love with Jack.

Right?

What fun ALL-AMERICAN GIRL is! People of all ages will enjoy this book. Samantha is an amazing protagonist, and her narration will pull you along like nothing ever had. Highly recommended!


All American Girl
All American Girl
Author: Meg Cabot
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 4/8/2009


Sophomore Samantha Madison is redheaded, a middle child, left-handed, and, in her opinion, one of the only teenage girls left who have not succumbed to the soul-sucking fashion trends of modern-day society. She's a wannabe radical: she dyed her wardrobe black, and she's in love with her popular older sister Lucy's boyfriend Jack, who's as "radical" as they get.

Sam thinks it's the end of her already lousy world when, as a punishment for bad grades, her parents send her to art lessons at Susan Boone's. Sam's a good artist, but she doesn't take well to criticism, and so when on the first day Susan Boone accuses her of not drawing what she knows, Sam decides not to come back. Ever.

Which turns out to be a good thing, because while she's hiding from Susan Boone at the following lesson, she manages to stop an assassination attempt on the president.

All of a sudden Sam is the "it" girl at her school, the US, and the whole world. The president awards her the position of teen ambassador to the UN, and his cute son David (who is also in Susan Boone's art class) thinks there's something special about Sam. Only Sam knows there's nothing very heroic about what she did. And she doesn't understand why David's being so nice to her, or why her heart skitters when he smiles at her, or why she feels so bad after David finds out she had used him to make Jack jealous at a party. Because she's totally in love with Jack.

Right?

What fun ALL-AMERICAN GIRL is! People of all ages will enjoy this book. Samantha is an amazing protagonist, and her narration will pull you along like nothing ever had. Highly recommended!


All-American Girl (All-American Girl, Bk 1)
All-American Girl (All-American Girl, Bk 1)
Author: Meg Cabot
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 254
Review Date: 12/26/2006


What a fun book! Though the plot is slightly outrageous, the characters are down to earth and easy to relate to. Perhaps Meg Cabot's best book ever.


All-American Girl (Thorndike Press Large Print Young Adult Series)
All-American Girl (Thorndike Press Large Print Young Adult Series)
Author: Meg Cabot
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 4/8/2009


Sophomore Samantha Madison is redheaded, a middle child, left-handed, and, in her opinion, one of the only teenage girls left who have not succumbed to the soul-sucking fashion trends of modern-day society. She's a wannabe radical: she dyed her wardrobe black, and she's in love with her popular older sister Lucy's boyfriend Jack, who's as "radical" as they get.

Sam thinks it's the end of her already lousy world when, as a punishment for bad grades, her parents send her to art lessons at Susan Boone's. Sam's a good artist, but she doesn't take well to criticism, and so when on the first day Susan Boone accuses her of not drawing what she knows, Sam decides not to come back. Ever.

Which turns out to be a good thing, because while she's hiding from Susan Boone at the following lesson, she manages to stop an assassination attempt on the president.

All of a sudden Sam is the "it" girl at her school, the US, and the whole world. The president awards her the position of teen ambassador to the UN, and his cute son David (who is also in Susan Boone's art class) thinks there's something special about Sam. Only Sam knows there's nothing very heroic about what she did. And she doesn't understand why David's being so nice to her, or why her heart skitters when he smiles at her, or why she feels so bad after David finds out she had used him to make Jack jealous at a party. Because she's totally in love with Jack.

Right?

What fun ALL-AMERICAN GIRL is! People of all ages will enjoy this book. Samantha is an amazing protagonist, and her narration will pull you along like nothing ever had. Highly recommended!


All I Ever Wanted
All I Ever Wanted
Author: Kristan Higgins
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 185
Review Date: 10/17/2011
Helpful Score: 4


The problem with reading my first two Kristan Higgins novels back to back is that, the second time around, the formula becomes glaringly, embarrassingly obvious. In one breath, here are the characteristics that, after reading just two of her books, I suspect hold throughout all her novels: a theoretically smart female MC (often a middle child with an unusual interest or hobby) with a bad history in men and who turns into idiots around men, a quirky family, a cantankerous grandparent, an over-hyper and disobedient canine pet who gets talked to in frighteningly embarrassing babytalk, eCommitment and horrible blind online dates, a gay best friend I guess Ill stop here for now (although Ill just say: seriously, a requisite gay best friend? Isnt that so 1990s?).

Furthermore, the plot progresses at pretty much the same ratio: for example, the requisite lovers misunderstanding occurs at around 85% of the way through the novel. GAH. I dont know whether I should laugh at the unapologetic adherence to a formula, or cry a little.

Now, I understand that this is romance and that bestselling romance often follows a formula that everyone knows yet still loves. And yep, thats pretty much the case here. This is classic Higgins (if one who has only read two of her books is allowed to reach such a conclusion after having just dissected her formula in a disconcertingly easy way). Callie is likable (and has the requisite quirky hobby!), and her awkwardness/stupidity around men is still infuriating yet relatable. Zany humor abounds in conversations. The dog is still annoying.

But Ian. Oh, Ian. He totally makes this book. Think a blond, Slavic version of Mr. Darcy, with a reticence slightly reminiscent of Aspergers but with puppy-like loyalty that is hard to earn but oh so worth it. Shy guys! Stories these days are overflowing with guys who know theyre good-looking and know how to say just the right thing to get what they want. Ian, however, has NO CLUE what hes doing most of the time, as far as relationships go, which makes his rare right actions all the more genuine and truly endearing. We need more Ians in stories, thats for sure.

Its probably going to be hard for me to pick a favorite Higgins romance, because they all follow pretty much the same formula, and yet are all so much fun to read. Hopefully this review will push you in the right direction and encourage you to pick up a book by Kristin Higgins! And if you already have, well, lets just giggle and gaggle and gossip together over which Higgins man wed like to have for ourselves


All These Things I've Done
All These Things I've Done
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 7/19/2011


Anya Balanchine, daughter of one of New Yorks most famous crime bosses, lives in a world where everything is rationed, coffee and chocolate are illegal, and crime families run a very well-organized black market. Since her fathers murder, Anya wants nothing to do with the family business, wanting only to take care of her mentally damaged older brother and younger sister.

But when Anyas ex-boyfriend is poisoned by her familys chocolate, Anya must unwillingly come to terms with her birthrightboth the good and bad points.

With a cover like that, a premise like that, and the name of one of YAs most highly awarded authors attached to it, how could one not pick this book up? With her trademark intelligent writing and world-building, Gabrielle Zevins dystopian ALL THESE THINGS IVE DONE should be a hit for those who like their YA dystopias a touch on the literary side. It doesnt quite hit the mark in terms of characterization, but I still very much enjoyed this novel, and look forward to its sequels.

Anyas New York is like the present day gone to seed and corruption. Famous landmarks have been transformed into slumming hangouts and holding areas, and prepubescent kids rob people off the street with stolen handguns. The setting is fraught with tensions of all sorts, and Zevin makes great use of it. We keenly feel Anyas struggle to juggle taking care of her family, standing her ground against her corrupt extended family, developing platonic and romantic relationships, and staying on the right side of the law. It is a testimony to the worlds potential that I couldnt put this book down, even when the plot trudged along like it had all the time in the world to tell its story.

I had the same problem with ALL THESE THINGS IVE DONE that I had with Gabrielle Zevins other books: that is, I know that Zevins writing is wonderful and mature and intelligent, but for some reason, I dont find myself connecting to the characters as much as feel like I should. For example, while Anya and Wins relationship is pleasant, it didnt, I dunno, sweep me off my feet or anything. Anyas enemies are supposed to be sinister and scary, but I didnt really find myself that indignant or protective on Anyas behalf.

But I feel like thats just a me thing, because most others I know really like Zevins writing. Either way, I enjoyed ALL THESE THINGS IVE DONE. At times it can feel like a really long setup to the second book, but if youre anything like me, youll be able to enjoy the stellar world-building along the way.


All Unquiet Things
All Unquiet Things
Author: Anna Jarzab
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 2/6/2010
Helpful Score: 1


I have to admit, I did not take to this book. Excellent writing clashes with unsympathetic characters and a snail-like plot to make ALL UNQUIET THINGS a difficult read for me.

There is no question that Jarzab's writing is great. Like Curtis Sittenfeld, Jarzab meticulously analyzes nearly every facet of Neily, Audrey, and Carly, making them feel as if they could be your flawed classmates. However, also like Sittenfeld's characters in Prep, Neily, Audrey, and Carly simply aren't very likable, sympathetic, or appealing. We know their history and their thought processes as if they were our therapy patientsâan overly intimate and annoying form of relationship that I, as a reader, found disturbing and unenjoyable.

I don't really mind psychoanalysisâat least not when the person has some ultimately redeemable qualities. However, the three main characters in ALL UNQUIET THINGS are just so unlikable. Neily spends most of his time sulking and remembering the past, his relationship with Carly, while Audrey bullies Neily into helping her uncover the mystery behind the identity of Carly's murderer.

I also found an unsettling disjuncture between how Audrey and Neily are in the present time, and who they were in their flashbacks. I think this is a result of all the telling-not-showing that went on in the narration. I don't want Neily to tell us that he hates Carly's new friends, then be shown a passing moment in which they snap off, like, two biting remarks to one another; I'd rather see the tension between the characters, the strain of the past versus the present, of what they think of one another versus who they truly are. As a result, I couldn't connect to the main characters as real people, so much like untouchable character sketches they were.

I mentioned earlier that Anna Jarzab is a great writer, and I'm not contradicting myself by saying so: if you enjoy ultra-complete character analyses, you'll find this a great book, a wonderful achievement by a debut author. However, I felt that her writing skills were unfortunately used in the wrong wayâtoo much in the telling and flashbacks, and not enough in the playing out of a genuinely interesting story arcâwhich led to my lack of connection with the book.


Almost Home
Almost Home
Author: Jessica Blank
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 12/2/2010


ALMOST HOME is the kind of dark, gritty, and painfully real contemporary YA novel that I dont find myself reading often. Yet if thats what youre looking for, then you should read this book. If were lucky, most of us will never find ourselves in these teenagers situations, but the way Jessica Blank writes about them and their conflicted emotions and desires is mesmerizing. The words on the page are brutally honest, yet lyrical, kind of like seeing a devastating scene in the glow of dazzling dawn light. And what the characters all want are things we can relate to: belonging, love, understanding. ALMOST HOME is compelling, and while you may not even like it while youre reading it, afterwards you will feel glad that you did.


Almost Home
Almost Home
Author: Jessica Blank
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 12/2/2010


ALMOST HOME is the kind of dark, gritty, and painfully real contemporary YA novel that I dont find myself reading often. Yet if thats what youre looking for, then you should read this book. If were lucky, most of us will never find ourselves in these teenagers situations, but the way Jessica Blank writes about them and their conflicted emotions and desires is mesmerizing. The words on the page are brutally honest, yet lyrical, kind of like seeing a devastating scene in the glow of dazzling dawn light. And what the characters all want are things we can relate to: belonging, love, understanding. ALMOST HOME is compelling, and while you may not even like it while youre reading it, afterwards you will feel glad that you did.


Along for the Ride
Along for the Ride
Author: Sarah Dessen
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 76
Review Date: 6/30/2009


Ever since her parents' divorce, Auden, mentally old for her age, has been unable to sleep. In an uncharacteristic move, she decides to spend her summer before college away from her demanding mother and at the home of her selfish father, her girly stepmother, and her new baby half-sister.

What happens to Auden at the sleepy beach town of Colby is not what she expects. For once in her life, she just might be making friends, and there's this guy, Eli, who has a troubled past and is unable to sleep too. Together they make it a quest to rediscover Auden's unclaimed childhood, so that maybe, after knowing how it is to be a child, Auden can ready herself to take on the world and the future.

Once again, Sarah Dessen doesn't disappoint. ALONG FOR THE RIDE is another nearly perfect example of Sarah's unique ability to perfectly blend backstory, stellar characterization, and lessons in family, romance, and self-esteem to create the quintessential coming-of-age story.

Sarah's greatest strength is probably in characterization. Every single character in this book is genuine, unique, and sympathetic. Auden's parents are despicable to the point where you want to scream at them whenever they appear in the book, and yet at the same time you're able to totally understand why they act the way they do. Auden's maturation from too-serious young adult to someone who is able to say her mind and let herself feel what she wants to feel is the kind of change that makes for a great feel-good story.

ALONG FOR THE RIDE will please Dessen fans and newcomers to her books alike. It has everything we have come to expect from this amazing author. You won't be able to put it down, preferring instead to, like Auden, lose sleep in order to find out how Auden and her friends and family change for the better.


Also Known As Harper
Also Known As Harper
Author: Ann Haywood Leal
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 12/14/2009


ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER is an easy and gentle read that introduces young readers to the delicate issue of homelessness through the eyes of a thoroughly appealing protagonist.

The occasionally whimsical and melodramatic plot is anchored by Harper Lee, whose passions, vulnerabilities, and narration contain ageless appeal. She is a very well realized character, and approaches the events in her life with objectivity and fluidity: she is healthily skeptical of some scenarios, but is willing to admit that she was wrong and has a lot to learn.

Some of the supporting characters, however, are not believable as Harper Lee, and their characterization can seem repetitive and excessive. The resolution is hasty and therefore not as satisfying as it could be, and as I noted earlier, there is a strain of fantastical unbelievability that runs throughout the story. A lot of the situations that Harper, her brother, and her friends stumble upon feel contrived, which is unfortunate, as it detracts from the poignancy of Harper and her family's predicament.

ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER has its amateuristic flaws, but its intentions are clear and good: it illustrates the power of essential relationships to sustain one through the worst situations. As a result, it may be a good book for adults and children to read separately and discuss together.


The Amaranth Enchantment
The Amaranth Enchantment
Author: Julie Berry
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 21
Review Date: 7/9/2009
Helpful Score: 1


15-year-old Lucinda Chapdelaine used to be the daughter of well-to-do merchants, intimate with the royal family themselves. Then, her parents die in an accident, the family's wealth mysteriously disappears, and Lucinda is forced to live with her uncle and her horrible aunt. Lucinda lives and works like a servant, never even daring to dwell on the past or dream of a better life.

Then, a beautiful stone sets off a chain of events that changes Lucinda's life. She befriends Beryl, a mysterious lady with witch-like powers, who gives Lucinda a difficult task. If she succeeds, she may end up with all her former glory restored, and perhaps even more in the way of friendships and love. If she fails, however, it may cost Lucinda and her friends their lives.

Julie Berry does an admirable job of modernizing the feel of a classic fairy tale. The tone of the story is lilting and reminiscent of old stories, full of peril and triumph, and then more peril and more triumph. I really enjoyed all the fantastical elements of THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT: this is a mixture of beloved fairy tales like Cinderella and more.

The characters, however, were not very easy to connect with. Berry's storyteller writing contributes to the fairy tale feel of the novel, but also distances us from the characters at the same time. It took most of the book to convince me to care for Lucinda, her ragamuffin friend Peter, and Prince Gregor--although the hint of a love triangle between the three really helped keep my feelings of apathy at a minimum.

Overall, THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT will satisfy readers looking for a tale full of magic, heroic actions, wonder, and victory.


Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
Author: Kat Rosenfield
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/24/2012
Helpful Score: 1


Becca is on the brink of leaving her suffocatingly small townjust one summer to go before collegewhen the appearance of a dead girls body shocks everyone. As the claustrophobic community of Bridgeton attempts to figure out the meaning of this death and its impact on them, Becca finds herself clinging to her old lifeher old job, her high school boyfriendscared to see herself in Amelia Annes fate.

AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE is not really a book that wants you to like it. From the uncomfortable opening sex scene to the way Beccas plotline ends up intersecting with that of Amelia Annes death, its like youre forcibly pressed close to the story and its ugliness, so that every blemish is magnified. If youre the kind of reader who likes this no-gloss dissection of flawed characters and setting, then great! It wasnt my type of read, but I can see why other will find this winning.

Say goodbye to your romantic conception of the American small town. Bridgeton is vicious and claustrophobic, its bright spotssuch as stars at night and a swimming holemarred by the harsh reality of tensions between locals and summer residents, peoples desperate desire to escape its black hole gravity. As someone who definitely has a romantic conception of the American small town, AMELIA ANNEs depiction nearly made me cry, it was so unforgiving. Its the same with the characters. They gossip and slander and take sides and make poor decisions and say terrible things to one another. But Kat Rosenfield does not apologize for realityand nor should she. Even I have to respect her for that.

That being said, if youre the kind of reader who likes a certain amount of happiness in your books, AMELIA ANNE might not deliver. Becca, the protagonist, is not particularly likable: she denies the harshness of reality by retreating within herself, and forgives her boyfriend for his really very heartless act. While in theory I can understand her reactionsshes on the brink of leaving Bridgeton, exciting but also terrified, when Amelia Annes shocking death sends her reeling and petrifies herI dont think they were explained as well as they could have been in the book.

In addition, I found the prose too pretty in an unoriginal sort of way. Unfortunately I dont have the book on hand to find examples, but passages that I could tell were supposed to be insightful or beautiful instead left me unmoved. I like turns of phrase that surprise me, a la Beth Kephart or Cath Crowley, but if youve read your fair share of lit-er-uh-chur, youre going to realize that youve seen all the similes and metaphors here before.

I wanted AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE to be emotionally and literarily earth-shattering, but it wasnt for me. However, I can bet theres an avid audience for this book. For those who prefer their YA lit darker and without supernatural delusions of luv, check this out.


American Born Chinese
American Born Chinese
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 27
Review Date: 4/8/2009
Helpful Score: 1


This book became a groundbreaker for graphic novels by winning the 2007 Printz Award, the highest award given to young adult literature. What do a mythical monkey king, a Chinese boy, and a white boy have in common? More than you think!

Jin Wang moves from his almost completely Asian neighborhood to a white suburb. The monkey king (a famous Chinese legend) deals with his arrogance and feelings of superiority, only to be taught humility. Danny, a white boy, must deal with annual visits from his super-Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, who always manages to ruin Danny's life just enough that he is forced to transfer schools at the end of every year.

Each of their tales is touchingly real and raw with truth, and come together in a somewhat confusing ending. Asians and non-Asians alike will appreciate the myth, mystery, and reality that appear in AMERICAN BORN CHINESE. I highly recommend this novel.


American Born Chinese
American Born Chinese
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 62
Review Date: 12/9/2008


This book became a groundbreaker for graphic novels by winning the 2007 Printz Award, the highest award given to young adult literature. What do a mythical monkey king, a Chinese boy, and a white boy have in common? More than you think!

Jin Wang moves from his almost completely Asian neighborhood to a white suburb. The monkey king (a famous Chinese legend) deals with his arrogance and feelings of superiority, only to be taught humility. Danny, a white boy, must deal with annual visits from his super-Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, who always manages to ruin Danny's life just enough that he is forced to transfer schools at the end of every year.

Each of their tales is touchingly real and raw with truth, and come together in a somewhat confusing ending. Asians and non-Asians alike will appreciate the myth, mystery, and reality that appear in AMERICAN BORN CHINESE. I highly recommend this novel.


American Born Chinese, Collector's Edition
American Born Chinese, Collector's Edition
Author: Gene Luen Yang, Gene Yang
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 4/8/2009


This book became a groundbreaker for graphic novels by winning the 2007 Printz Award, the highest award given to young adult literature. What do a mythical monkey king, a Chinese boy, and a white boy have in common? More than you think!

Jin Wang moves from his almost completely Asian neighborhood to a white suburb. The monkey king (a famous Chinese legend) deals with his arrogance and feelings of superiority, only to be taught humility. Danny, a white boy, must deal with annual visits from his super-Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, who always manages to ruin Danny's life just enough that he is forced to transfer schools at the end of every year.

Each of their tales is touchingly real and raw with truth, and come together in a somewhat confusing ending. Asians and non-Asians alike will appreciate the myth, mystery, and reality that appear in AMERICAN BORN CHINESE. I highly recommend this novel.


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