Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Audiobook Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Narrators: Joel Johnstone & Debra Wiseman
Publish date: 2007
Source: Library
Length: 6 hours 25 minutes
"Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
" (Goodreads)

I honestly don't know what I can say about Thirteen Reasons Why that hasn't already been said. I like the premise of the story, although I don't know how believable cassette tapes are anymore. I don't think I have anything that would even play them at this point other than my old car! They do add a certain sense of nostalgia though; Hannah's thoughts on CD or something else would have had a different effect, I think.

I am definitely going to look for a paper copy of this for my classroom library. I think it will be popular and certainly relevant. Thirteen Reasons Why would actually make a great required book in a high school English or health classroom--newer YA and would provoke some great and necessary discussions.

Audiobook wise, this was one of the best I've listened to. 
Due to the format of the book, I would even suggest listening it over reading it. I loved that Clay and Hannah had their own narrators.  I especially like Debra Wiseman's voice for Hannah: she definitely had her snarky tone down.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Publish date: 2011
Source: Purchased from Barnes & Noble
Format: Hardcover
Length: 323 pages
"Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can't seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.

When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he'd be sifting through other people's inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can't quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can't help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories.

But by the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you." After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it's time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can't see exactly where it's leading him.

Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a strikingly clever and deeply romantic debut about falling in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Even if it's someone you've never met.
" (Goodreads)

So obviously at this point, most people have heard of Rainbow Rowell due to her YA debut, Eleanor & Park, which I haven't read yet but I am patiently waiting for my hold to come in at the library. Her first novel was Attachments, which I had on my TBR because Elizabeth loved it so much. I found it on sale at Barnes & Noble over the weekend and devoured it a few days ago. I loved it!

This book takes place in 1999-2000, which I wasn't expecting, but that didn't deter my love for it at all. I thought this was one of the most fun, charming, and real romances that I have read in a long time. I loved that Lincoln was a huge nerd (being one myself, of course) and loved his friends from D & D, especially Christine. She was that awesome hippie mom friend that everyone needs.

I also loved Beth and Jennifer's friendship, even though we only get to see it through their emails. Their struggles and worries are similar to what a lot of people in their 20's go through and I could relate to some of it. I thought they were both funny and seemed like fully developed characters despite the epistolary format. Being a person who has chatted online with people in the same room as myself, I can also completely understand their emails to each while both at work!

As someone who doesn't usually enjoy contemps this much, I was really surprised at how much I loved Attachments. Maybe I need to try more adult contemps? Any recommendations for other books like Attachments? I suppose that would be a good question to ask my librarian... :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landeau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Publish date: 2008
Source: Gifted from my Secret Santa!
Format: Paperback
Length: 345 pages
"Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:

Debate Club.
Her father's "bunny rabbit."
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Landau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take "no" for an answer.
Especially when "no" means she's excluded from her boyfriend's all-male secret society.
Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she's smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew's lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.
" (Goodreads)

During last year's readathon, I read book one of the Ruby Oliver series, The Boyfriend List. I absolutely loved it and decided I needed to read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landeau-Banks, also by E. Lockhart. My lovely Secret Santa got it for me and I just read it, which is sad because it was AWESOME and I wish I'd read it way sooner!

Reasons I loved this book:

Frankie herself: She was a great character and I just understood her on so many levels. Her wanting to hang out with Matthew and his friends because they were goofy and fun: that was like E. Lockhart took a trip to my past, met my high school self, and then put me into Frankie. I also loved that she was righteously upset at how certain things were okay if boys did them, but not her. I GET THAT and it infuriates me too.

The setting: Boarding school, secret societies, and pranks? All wins.

The writing style: I was surprised to see that this book, like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, was also written in third person (and has a similarly long-winded title). Unlike Statistical Probability, I thought the narration and point of view really worked well here. It didn't bother me, although it took a few chapters to get used to.

Basically, this book was amazing and I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. I knew I'd like it, since it's E. Lockhart, but I wasn't prepared for how much I would relate to Frankie. If you haven't read this one, do it! If you know me, a YA contemp recommendation is a big deal!

Monday, April 1, 2013

March 2013 in Review

March was a good reading month for me. I was pretty busy with work and life in general though...does it ever slow down? Somehow I doubt it. We are on spring break this week and I will be spending it doing homework, writing a paper, and hopefully getting a lot of reading in.

I ended up reviewing 5 books and 1 trilogy this month:
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson (audio)
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
Defiance by CJ Redwine
Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
The Birthmarked trilogy by Caragh M. O'Brien

I also read but didn't review (yet): 
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
Readicide by Kelly Gallagher (about how standardized tests are destroying reading--must read for teachers)
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (audio)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landeau-Banks by E. Lockhart

My favorite one was Disreputable History, but I also really enjoyed The Way We Fall.

I did 3 Top Ten Tuesdays:
To-Read Series
Spring TBR
Books I Recommend the Most

And last but not least, I got a little personal and explained how life stopped me from reading Scarlet by Marissa Meyer for quite a while.

What was your favorite book this month? Anything I need to read immediately?