Monthly Archives: November 2014

Girl Power! A Brief Review of Three New Reads

As much as I hate to admit it, I am not the type of person who is always reading a new book. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read and go through what I call “reading binges,” but the fact is, I am not always lost in the pages of a novel. I am trying to do better this year, and I have even created a display in the media center illustrating what Mrs. Lukkarinen and I are currently reading to provide suggestions and encourage students to talk to us about great books. So far, so good! As this has made me grab a new book as soon as I finish one, I am not getting anything done around the house! Those that know me know that once a book has got me, it’s got me, and all else is forgotten – including food and sleep.

Last week I read three books that have me really excited. When I sat down to decide which to review on the blog this month, I realized that while the three had different plots, settings, and genres, all three had a memorable and strong, female main character. Instead of reviewing each book, I thought I might instead talk about these leading ladies.

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In Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige, Amy Gunn is transported to Oz when a tornado hits her trailer, but this isn’t the Oz we all expect. This is a much darker version, ruled by a corrupt Dorothy and her familiar companions. Amy learns that she must kill Dorothy, whose rule is terrorizing and destroying all of Oz. Female characters dominate in this familiar, yet new story and make you both fear and admire their strength until the dramatic end. This is the first in a series (which I didn’t discover until the last page).

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Mary Shelley Black is the main character of In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. Set during World War I and the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918, this historical, supernatural thriller really surprised me. Not only did I have a hard time putting it down, but I was also blindsided by the twist at the end of the book. What I will remember most about this story, though, was the way Mary Shelley defied cultural norms and societal expectations placed upon her because she was a female. Her mother was a physician who died during childbirth, but Mary Shelley grew up to have just as much conviction, courage, and intelligence as she did. I want to say so much more about this character, but I don’t want to give away too much of the story!

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The book that I just finished about an hour ago was Dear Killer, by Katherine Ewell. Wow! I couldn’t get through this one fast enough. Almost immediately, I had a love/hate relationship with Kit, the female lead in this contemporary thriller. She is a high school student who is the most prolific serial killer in London since Jack the Ripper. Dubbed the Perfect Killer by police, she is methodical and calculated in her craft, eventually befriending the lead investigator charged with catching her. She was trained from a very young age to murder by her mother, who was also once a serial killer. The story is told from Kit’s perspective and really made me cringe in some parts. In addition to the action and progression of the plot, we get to witness the struggle in Kit as she walks the line between right and wrong.

I know this was a long post, but make sure you check out one or all three of these books today in BI’s media center!

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Like No Other

Like No Other

 

This book has been advertised as the next Eleanor and Park, which has taken the YA world by storm. And while I agree to an extent that there are some parallels, there are also some huge differences that make this novel stand on its own two feet.

I really enjoyed the story line in this book. The emotions that I felt as I read this book were very strong, and that is a testament to the author’s ability to write. The two main characters were fantastically written! They were realistic. They were honest. They were authentic. I have to admit that I knew absolutely nothing about the Jewish faith and their customs before reading this book, and I am not anywhere near an expert now that I have read it. However, I feel like I have been enlightened to the trials and tribulations that Devorah suffered because of the rules of her faith. I also felt the frustration and angst that Jaxon felt after falling in love with someone who is required to follow rules that are so foreign to him.

I was literally on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book waiting to see if their love would conquer their differences. Couple that with several external characters who are actively working to keep these two apart, and you have the recipe for a fantastic read about two teenagers who experience first love. I highly recommend this book for those who are looking for a love story – it was a fantastic book!

 

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