Monday, February 25, 2013

small town sinners

by melissa walker — published july 19, 2011 — bloomsbury
lacey anne byer is a perennial good girl. but with her driver’s license in hand, lacey’s ready for a “movie moment” this year — something that will make her stand out. as a junior, she’s finally eligible to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church’s annual haunted house of sin. but it turns out lacey doesn’t need to play a role to have her moment. what she needs is ty davis, the smart, cute, new guy in town. ty doesn’t know sweet, shy, good girl lacey anne. with ty, lacey could reinvent herself and maybe get her first boyfriend. as lacey’s feelings for ty grow and conflicts surrounding Hell House intensify, lacey finds a reason to test her own boundaries — to question the faith she’s always known to be absolute.

i’m not going to lie — it was rough going at first. i was so taken aback at so many things, i cannot even begin to describe them. first, i had no idea Hell Houses were a thing, and i was SHOCKED. these are horrible, unrealistic depictions of life as a giant bowl of sin and terribleness. i disagree with so much that was in it. in addition, i HATED lacey anne at the beginning. she was irritating, arrogant, snobby, and she hated everything and everyone and judged people way too quickly. i was just so angry that she didn’t have her own opinions, but spit out everyone else’s.

it’s a wonder i finished the book actually, but i’m VERY glad i did. lacey morphs starting about halfway through, and once she and her friends began to see more sides of things than just the black and white, it began to get real, and it began to get good.

lacey began to bring up very real questions in her faith. ty began to discuss real-life situations, and how he dealt with things he’d done. each of the characters had their own battles, and i really began to enjoy reading about how they dealt with their personal situations in this small religious town.

i had a hard time believing the characters were realistic, but now i think it’s because this sort of belief system is so far from what i believe that i never thought anyone could possibly think these things. and i’m religious. but i’m a jesus-loves-anyone-and-everyone-even-raccoons sort of religious person. not a Hell House person. and i loved tessa, lacey’s best friend’s sister. there is a major event that takes place in her life, and she starts to change her beliefs, too. she struggled with thoughts that i, myself, have had, and decided she became anti-abortion, but pro-choice. which i was so glad happened. because so many people think there are only two sides to that argument, and i — though my life is VASTLY different, and you’ll see why — identified very well with tessa.

by the end, i was so astounded by what melissa walker has done. she has taken very real, pertinent subjects to our time period, arguments of our generation, and has actually talked about them. she didn’t skirt around the ideas so they were vaguely there. she made them the focus of the novel, and i loved this book for that. it wasn’t a wondrous read, but it was definitely worth my time, just to have faith that the world is changing, and that people, one day, might be able to accept that everyone is human, and no matter what, we all deserve to be respected and treated equally.

i hated everything at the beginning, but it’s supposed to be that way. turns out, it worked extremely well. so thank you, madame walker, for bringing these subjects much more in the spotlight in the world of YA books.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Paper Towns

2914097Paper Towns by John Green
Publication Date: October 16, 2008
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 305
Keywords: adventure, road trip, graduation
Format Read: hardcover purchase

Summary: Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous margo roth spiegelman from afar. so when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life — dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge — he follows. after their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, q arrives at school to discover that margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. but q soon learns that there are clues — and they’re for him. urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less q sees the girl he thought he knew.

i love love LOVE john green. his books are so real. i love the language he uses, the characters he develops, and i love that his books are wonderful, but also best read in a certain order (looking for alaska, an abundance of katherines, paper towns, the fault in our stars) and with the release of the fault in our stars a while back, i wanted to revisit some past favorites.

i think i love quentin’s character so much because he is so ordinary. he’s a normal high school student, trying to get good grades in class and survive with the help of his friends. and one night his neighbor, margo roth speigelman, opens his window and invites him into her life again.

but it’s not so strange. even though she’s very bold in this move, i feel that she is extremely ordinary, too. which i love. the two go off on a night to get revenge on the people that have wronged her, and she helps pull quentin out of his shell a little bit, having him climb in windows and break and enter things (he was very careful not to do both at the same time. he either broke, or he entered).
but what i really loved was the description of life.
"'It's more impressive,' I said out loud. 'From a distance, I mean. You can't see the wear on things, you know? You can't see the rust or the weeds or the paint cracking. you see the place as someone once imagined it.'
"'Everything's uglier close up,' she said." 
I love that. I also love how it applies to right after margo and quentin’s night of adventure, she vanishes (beginning of the book, no big secret, promise), and he begins to struggle with his perception of her and whether or not he is building her up in his mind. because we all do that with everything. remember high school and college better than they were when they were really just full of shitty people and homework and dissertations.

and i don’t really have much more to say, other than that this book is so real and so phenomenal, and i’ll leave you with one last quote from it:
"But there is all this time between when the cracks start to open up and when we finally fall apart. And it's only in that time that we can see one another, because we see out of ourselves through our cracks and into others through theirs."
what is your favorite john green book and why? i love talking about favorites!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

in my mailbox (10)

this is in my mailbox, started by kristi at the story siren. as always, my links go to goodreads.

photoignore my copies of Room with a View and On Writing Well, I’ve had those forever. The ones on top are the ones i got this week.

1. the secret lives of dresses by erin mckean — published january 2011 — hodder & stoughton

2. possible side effects by augusten burroughs — published april 17, 2007 — picador

3. her fearful symmetry by audrey niffenegger — published september 29, 2009 — jonathan cape ltd.

4. hide by lisa gardner — published january 30, 2007 — bantam

5. the solitude of prime numbers by paolo giordano — published march 18, 2010 — pamela dorman books