Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sea Change

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Publication Date: June 1, 2009
Publisher: Point
Pages: 292
Format read: ARC from author (thank you so much!)

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate. 
There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship, and reality. Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?

Sea Change started out as the typical summer novel with the headstrong girl and the mysterious boy falling in love. But through Friedman's descriptive and captivating style, she entwines the story into a deeper and darker tale than the jolly one it seems to be. I adored the development of each character individually, even though they were predictable. The mystery of the story was intriguing, and though I knew the ending, Friedman left it open. She never stated many things, allowing the reader to come to his own conclusion about different aspects of the novel (a wonderful thing, but seen so rarely). 
In addition, cheesy references to Shakespeare and Thoreau made it all the better (as well as some Einstein appearances). Myths were brought to life and I loved every bit of it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Twenty Boy Summer

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Publication Date: June 1, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 290
Keywords: romance, grief, summer
Format Read: library book

Summary: According to Anna's best friend, Frankie, twenty day sin Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie-- she's already had her romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

I had seen this being read all summer long, and finally, while skimming the shelves for Agatha Christie biographies and literary criticisms, decided to pick it up, assuming it would be a fun summer-fluff book. It was the farthest thing from unmeaningful fluff.

It was still a typical summer vacation novel, but reinvented. It demonstrated the hardships of losing a brother and a friend. The characters weren't original either, but their interactions made them original. Twenty Boy Summer pleasantly surprised me with a balance of lightheartedness and tragedy. Without even realizing it, I became strangely attached to the characters, and even now, I don't know why. The fact that there wasn't anything special about might be the reason it was special. The overwhelming cloud of grief that surrounded Anna for that year surrounded me, and I felt the pain Sarah Ockler was writing on the page. I did not expect that.

I am pleased and surprised to say I did love this book. It gave me a nice break from analyzing literary devices in British Literature, but at the same time, pulled me in to a familiar world that I haven't visited in a while.