Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Review: I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Friday, June 24, 2011
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Websitehttp://www.randomhouse.com/features/markuszusak/
Source: Library
Rating: 5 stars



Ed Kennedy is just a nineteen year old taxi driver without any real drive. (No pun intended.) His alcoholic father has died, his brother is his mother's favorite, and all he really has is a smelly old dog. However, the day he stops a bank robbery, his whole life changes. Playing cards start arriving in the mail with assignments scrawled on them and Ed is forced off the sidelines and into his life. His tasks range from disturbing and terrifying, to heartwarming and moving and through all this, Ed can't help but wonder: Who is sending the cards?

The story is fantastic- witty, poignant, and a great read. The true testament to how good a book is is if you come away slightly dazed, still wrapping your mind around the words you just read. And if there ever was a book that achieved that, Zusak's novel would be it. His message extends far beyond the pages of this remarkable book, using spades, clubs, and diamonds, to touch hearts. Please, just read this book. It's impossible not to reach the back cover changed.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Book Review: Audrey, Wait! By Robin Benway

Saturday, June 18, 2011
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Razor Bill (Penguin)
Websitehttp://www.audreywait.com/http://www.robinbenway.com/
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 stars



Have you ever wondered who the real Delilah is from "Hey There, Delilah" by the Plain White T's? Or what about Stephen from "Hey Stephen" by Taylor Swift? Or Stacy from "Stacy's Mom" by Fountains of Wayne? Maybe you haven't, but Robin Benway must have.

Her novel starts off with Audrey's biggest problems being that she a.) works at an ice cream shoppe called The Scooper Dooper and b.) wants to break up with her longtime boy friend, Evan. While there isn't much she can do about a.), she ends things with Evan- right before the biggest gig of his band's (nonexistent) career. He, in turn, writes an angsty song entitled (you guessed it), Audrey, Wait! which blows up, reaching number one on the charts. And thus, Audrey's life is changed forever.

Not to mention, she still has to work at a place called The Scooper Dooper.

While still juggling homework, cute boys, and mean girls, Audrey also has to handle her sudden rise to fame. Thankfully, she has her spunky, slightly abrasive best friend Victoria by her side. By the end of the book, you'll want Victoria as your best friend, too. That's what makes Benway's debut novel so fantastic- the characters are real and fresh, as are the situations they deal with. The plot doesn't just consist of 300 pages of frivolous drama, but rather, has a heart.

This novel is perfect for anyone who has gone to way too many concerts, had a song written about them, or is just looking for a read that is laugh-out-loud funny.

Other Books By This Author: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Infamous Wall Street Journal Article

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Before I start, I want to make this clear that this blog wasn't made to ridicule. I made it to talk about books that I loved and occasionally talk about books that I hated. However, I just read this article (If you haven't, you should- the link is down below) and it really irked me. And considering that it does have something to do with literature, I felt that it would be a suitable subject to start off this blog.


So, here goes nothing.


If you still haven't read the article, the author, Meghan Cox Gurdon, says how teen literature has become too dark. As she writes, "If books show us the world, teen fiction can be like a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is." In all due respect, I have to ask, what world is Ms. Gurdon living in? 


The cold, hard truth is that teens are exposed to profanities, sex, violence, drugs, etc. Teens know that the world is far from perfect. Therefore, if books are supposed to be an accurate reflection, they need to include both the joyful subjects and the more macabre ones. 


Ms. Gurdon continues in her article to speak about the horrendous gore depicted in teen novels. While yes, some of it is truly R-rated, this doesn't seem to be a huge dilemma. If young adults are not able to handle what they're reading, they always have the option to put the book down. No one is forcing them to read this material. And if a 13-year-old is not mature enough to read some of the YA books, then it is the parents' job to say no, not the publishing companies or the bookstores. Furthermore, teenagers are not "careless young readers". They, too, have minds and opinions that are cultivated by looking at all aspects of life. I respect Ms. Gurdon's point of view, but, at the end of the day, I feel YA literature is just fine as it is.

The Article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303657404576357622592697038.html?KEYWORDS=MEGHAN+COX+GURDON