June 26, 2012

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Title: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder
Author: Julie Halpern
Ships Launched: 746
Pages: 245
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Year Published: 2009
Genre: Comtemporary
Synopsis: It’s Jessie’s sophomore year of high school. A self-professed “mathelete,” she isn’t sure where she belongs. Her two best friends have transformed themselves into punks and one of them is going after her longtime crush. Her beloved older brother will soon leave for college (and in the meantime has shaved his mohawk and started dating . . . the prom princess!) . . . Things are changing fast. Jessie needs new friends. And her quest is a hilarious tour through high-school clique-dom, with a surprising stop along the way—the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, who out-nerd everyone. Will hanging out with them make her a nerd, too? And could she really be crushing on a guy with too-short pants and too-white gym shoes? If you go into the wild nerd yonder, can you ever come back?

I kind of have mixed feelings about this book. Most of those feelings are good, but there are some things I hated. I hated them because I identified with them. I know what it feels like to get ditched by your friends because you aren't as "cool" as them, then to have them pretending like nothing happened the next second. I know what it's like to have friends that will go to any extreme to fit in, no matter what. And I've never understood that.
I hated did not like Jessie's "friends" from Into the Wild Nerd Yonder. Bizza and Char treated her horribly. They were rude and desperate to be liked and just plain terrible. 
Her nerd buds, on the other hand...
I have never played Dungeons and Dragons and don't see myself playing it in the future, but I thought it was so great how her friends got together and played it every week. They didn't care about what anyone thought of them; they were themselves and they had fun.
Van is a jerkface. End of story.
Jessie, oh Jessie. She was a great character, of course: smart, above the influence, funny, nice. She was a math nerd, and she loved it. But with friends like Bizza and Char, she didn't exactly feel comfortable letting her nerd flag fly. It took her a while to come to terms with the fact that sometimes, you have to just do what you want; it doesn't matter what everyone else thinks. She really blossomed throughout the novel.
Sigh... I loved Barrett. He was such an amazing big brother to Jessie. He has a sense of humor (Ew, the doughnuts! I will NEVER be able to eat a glazed doughnut again!) and is so brotherly and kind to Jessie while being slightly annoying in the way that all big brothers are required to be. Jessie and Barrett had a really great relationship.
Henry. Was. Amazing. From his ugly white shoes to the top of his curly head, I loved him. Why can't there be more cute nerds out there for the rest of us? Hmmm???
Overall, I liked Into the Wild Nerd Yonder. It was cute and funny, but it wasn't amazing. A good read, but not one to foam at the mouth for. 

+40 – CUTE NERDS EXIST! THEY DO! – 'Nuff said.

June 19, 2012

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Title: Forgotten
Author: Cat Patrick
Ships Launched: 769
Pages: 304
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Year Published: 2011
Genre: Romance/Mystery
Synopsis: Each night at precisely 4:33 am, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come. When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Ahlorha: I really liked this book. It kept me guessing and surprised me, which is always nice. Predictable books are so annoying. It's like, "Oh, she's the long-lost Princess of Whatever-Country? No way!" Forgotten was many things, but predictable was not one of them. One of my favorite things about this book is the romance. London and Luke are just the most adorable couple; they remind me a bit of Xavier and Beth from Halo. London's condition scares me, though. Imagine waking up and only being able to remember your future! I just cannot even begin to picture that. Yes, the story was sometimes a bit doubtful, but it's a story. An adorable story with a little mystery thrown in. Overall, Forgotten was a cute and mysterious read that made me smile and gasp with surprise (cheesy as that sounds). SHIPS LAUNCHED: 779

 Gemma: Forgotten surprised me. When I first picked the book up I did not expect it to be a mind-boggling mystery with twists and turns. Most of all I did not expect an adorable romance that brought many smiles to my eyes. The idea of forgetting your past and only being able to remember the future is unthinkable, yet London manages to live life even though she knows how everything will end. Forgotten was a good read that was a great thrill. SHIPS LAUNCHED: 760

June 12, 2012

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

Title: Lone Wolf
Author: Jodi Picoult
Ships Launched: 571

Pages: 421
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre:Tragedy/Contemporary Fiction
Synopsis: Edward Warren, 23, has been living in Thailand for five years, a prodigal son who left his family after an irreparable fight with his father, Luke. But he gets a frantic phone call: His dad lies comatose in a NH hospital, gravely injured in the same accident that has also injured his younger sister Cara. Cara, 17, stll holds a grudge against her brother, since his departure led to her parents’ divorce. In the aftermath, she’s lived with her father – an animal conservationist who became famous after living with a wild wolf pack in the Canadian wild. It is impossible for her to reconcile the still, broken man in the hospital bed with her vibrant, dynamic father. With Luke’s chances for recovery dwindling, Cara wants to wait for a miracle. But Edward wants to terminate life support and donate his father’s organs. Is he motivated by altruism, or revenge? And to what lengths will his sister go to stop him from making an irrevocable decision?

Ahlorha: Honestly, I picked up this book because I had to. I was doing a speed book dating activity with my English teacher, where you read a book for five minutes, checked the "Yes, it was interesting" box or the "No, I hated it!" box, passed the book down, and read another. Honestly, I never would have read this book if it wasn't for that. Not that I have anything against Jodi Picoult, or anything; I just am more of a dystopian person than a sob story person. 
Like almost everyone else, I have heard of Jodi Picoult before. How could I not, what with My Sister's Keeper being so famous? But Lone Wolf was the first book I read of hers, and, well...
Let's just say I wasn't too excited about it.
I really liked the beginning of the book. I loved the descriptive and beautiful writing, and the plot seemed rather unique and interesting. The characters were somewhat likeable. Overall, the beginning was good.
See how I said the beginning
Then came the middle. And the end. And everything went wrong.
Cara turned out to be whiny and really reckless. She did not think about the consequences of her actions; she just went right out and did whatever she wanted to. Yes, she was determined, but she was also ignorant and selfish. I did not like her. 
Luke seemed like a really awesome dad and nice guy, but then you keep reading and you're like, "What?" The new, scandalous info that gets revealed seems like the it's about a completely different person than the Luke you get to know in his first person accounts throughout the book. 
And let's not forget Edward! I'm not going to give away any spoilers for those of you who have not read the book, but he was reckless too. And, well, no. Just no. I did not like him. 
The only character I can honestly say I liked was Helen Bedd. And she was in maybe ten pages. 
And when the end came, the end that was supposed to make you cry, I just went "Really?" I could not feel any empathy for any of the characters. Not even Luke. I don't know, I was just really disappointed with this book. SHIPS LAUNCHED: 541 

         Usually, I love Jodi Piccult and her heart-wrenching novels. However, this novel spurred intense emotions in me. Not the good kind. In the beginning I loved the book. The first person wolf accounts from Luke were inspiring and beautifully written. His relationship with wolves was unbelievable and he seemed like a wonderful person. 
     As the story progressed, Cara and Edward (Luke's children) were introduced and everything went downhill. Cara acted like a bratty child in a serious situation and I really wanted to shake her and tell her how stupid she was. I thought Edward would be better but sadly not by much. 
      Then it got even worse. Slowly information was revealed about Luke that proved he was not who everyone believed he was. 
      Although when I finished reading the book I wanted to scream, the novel was good in some ways. Even though the feelings I had of the story made me angry and frustrated, I imagine that when Jodi Piccult wrote this book, her goal was to make readers feel the anguish, the shame and the regret that the characters feel in the novel. In the end (after screaming for awhile) I came to the realization that even though the characters made dire mistakes, they were still a family and they had to stick together. SHIPS LAUNCHED: 600

June 5, 2012

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Title: Hourglass
Author: Myra McEntire
 Ships launched: 723
Pages: 400
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Year published: 2011
Genre: Pararomance
 Synopsis: For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

     Most paranormal teen novels have similar ideas. The plot for Hourglass, however, is not one I've seen before. The book opens with a seemingly average teenage girl who sees ghosts and has been institutionalized for her gift. The idea doesn't seem fresh but it turns out that the ghosts Emerson sees are actually ripples of the past. Living with her brother Thomas and his wife has not been easy for her since the couple restores old homes where ripples like to lurk. Then she meets Michael, who is hired to help her out with her "problems." As they get to know each other, Em and Michael struggle to fight the attraction between them. Later, Michael asks Em for help in preventing a murder by traveling to the past. 

         Though the book is paranormal, there is a lot of science fiction involved which spruces up the plot. Em is an extremely likable character who is sarcastic yet sweet. Michael seems like the perfect guy except for his tendency to push Em away. The chemistry between the two bounces off the page and only intensifies when a love triangle develops with Michael's friend Kaleb. Usually I hate love triangles, but I can't blame Em for being torn between two awesome guys. 

   One thing I didn't like is the unnecessary drama and how every girl in the book is characterized  by long legs and a pretty face. Overall the book was fresh and a page-turner.

+15- spunky main character
+9- intriguing plot
-1- unnecessary drama