Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Again, thanks to Rachel at The Book Wars for this Great Look Award. We are very honored and pass it on to...
Juju at Tales of Whimsy
Rachel at The Obsessive Reader
Aimee at My Fluttering Heart
Eleni at La Femme Readers
Tina at Fantastic Book Review
You all have great looking blogs! Keep it up!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
"Schuyler Van Alen has never fit in at Duchesne, her prestigious New York City private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes instead of the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates. When she turns fifteen, Schuyler’s life changes dramatically. The death of a popular schoolmate haunts her in unexpected ways. And the strangest of all, Jack Force, the most popular boy in school, is showing a sudden interest in her.
Once an outcast, Schuyler is thrust into Manhattan’s most exclusive social circle. Its members are the powerful, the wealthy, and –as Schuyler soon discovers –the unhuman.
They are Blue Bloods, an ancient group of vampires, and for centuries they’ve been invincible. Now something is preying on this elite group, and Schuyler wants to find out the truth. But is she the most vulnerable of them all?”
I did it again. Saw a book with the V word and tada, it magically appeared on my bookshelf. I am trying to break the habit.
While the actual plot is gripping and fascinatingly tied into American history, the story is bogged down by...well, I'll let you figure it out.
"What are you doing here?" Mimi spat. She had changed out of her Dior suit and was wearing a more "casual" outfit - a pair of tight four-thousand-dollar Apo jeans with the platinum rivets and a diamond button, a chunky Martine Sitbon sweater, and slim butter colored Jimmy Choo stilettos.
"Sitting down?" Schuyler replied, even though it was obvious Mimi had asked a rhetorical question.
Well if it's an obviously rhetorical question why do we have to state that the rhetorical question is obvious? Just saying...
I remember someone saying Blue Bloods was "Gossip Girl meets Buffy" or something like that. So I was hesitant to pick it up, but after being sung its praises by many, I did. My family laughed when I read excerpts because I couldn't pronounce the majority of fashion words like "stilettos" and "Versace" and many, many more. Clearly I am not a high fashion darling.
Throughout most of the book, we have to slog through detail waiting for a major conversation to reveal a secret you've been dying for. For instance, we have to wait for Schuyler's well dressed waiter to hand her a menu and wait for her to select her tea. Then, she's over eager for her tea and her grandmother slows her down, makes her wait for the waiter to pour her tea, put cream and sugar in it and FINALLY her grandmother begins her hugely revealing tale - which, by the way, was the only thing that kept me from chucking it back onto the "Back to Library" shelf. The grandmother's tales are that epic.
Another time, Schuyler's about to hear the secret to something she's been trying to discover, but she's distract by the "host of specialty boutiques on Madison" and she mentally goes over what the stores keeps in stock. Really? That's what's distracting you when there's some guy out there trying to kill you?
And since we are SOOO privlieged, we get to know what a minor character's home looks like, all a hundred and one rooms, right down to the sculptures. There's even a Cinderella room. And since we can't just let that one go to the imagination, we get yet another play-by-play of what the room looks like. I was sitting there thinking, "They're rich, I get it! Shouldn't we be more interested in the rising count of dead bodies?"
As far as characters go, I think they are a interesting group, but their interactions together are a rather boring. And the names are little much.
Bliss? Jack and Mimi Force?
When I first read "Mimi Force", I thought Schuyler was referring to Mimi and her clique - like the Duchesne's equivalent of "the Plastics" from Mean Girls. I was sadly mistaken.
I really enjoyed the plot and its originality. (Since the originality is a huge payoff, I don't want to spoil it for those who take the dive and get involved in the series.) Unfortunately, I was distracted by the details and trying to figure out what mentally stable person would actually buy a pair of four-thousand-dollar jeans and be proud of their purchase.
At the moment, I'm weighing the pros and cons of picking up the sequel. The excerpt from the second book I read looks promising...but I'm not sure I want to read another Introduction On the Rich: Fashionology 101 book.
If you like fashion - no, if you love fashion and vampires, this book is right at your alley.
If the concept of wearing diamond studded pants on a typical school day just rockets over your head, you will probably find your eyes crossing in between plot points. If you can manage to skim over the blah blah, fancy, blah blah, clothes, you will find yourself mesmerized by the intriguing world of vampires Melissa De La Cruz has created.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
"Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack - who has already killed Bod's family."
My mom found this in the library and wow, it opens with a bang. The first lines are:
"There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet."
How can you say no to a beginning like that? I snapped it up pronto.
After its epic fast-paced beginning, things slow as we watch baby Bod grow up. Fear not. The book keeps a steady pace as growing up and being rasied by things that go bump in the night is not without its challenges.
The chapters end up being short adventures Bod has over the years - perfectly summing up what abilities and knowledge he has gained. I was a little worried these little side adventures were going to be a waste of time but everything ties in at the end. I like how the things that seem meaningless to at the time help tremendously in the future (the building blocks of life sort of thing).
Wonderfully written, I'd recommend this book with the caveat that the ending is a tear-jerker... so arm yourself with tissues.
seemed to think that I was insulting any woman who liked and read this magazine. She wrote:
Yes, I absolutely read Cosmo. I personally like the sex articles. I know this comes as a shock, but women enjoy sex, it's something we do. Also shocking, it takes work to 'O' as a woman, and Cosmo is very helpful for those tricks.
I mean, look at Maxim it is just as bad, yet I don't see a rant post about that. Just because a woman is upfront about sex does not make her a skank. Absolutely not.
But then, Cosmo isn't for children, it's for ADULT women. And adult women care about make-up and sex.
I'm not trying to sound mean, but I'm a woman who reads and loves Cosmo and it has yet to turn me into a skank, but I do have nice hair and a good wardrobe (thankyoucosmo). Aside from articles about sex, there are articles about detecting skin cancer, as well as about outsmarting a rapist. I mean, you aren't cosmo's demographic so I can see how it wouldn't appeal to you at all.
I didn't think she sounded mean. She sounded passionate and honest. Who doesn't like that? I imagine April isn’t the only one with this opinion and she had some great points, so I’d like to clarify my position.
I know women have sex and I’m happy for them to find it a pleasurable experience. Anything that helps them accomplish that is fine by me.
I don't think a woman is a skank because she likes sex, has sex, is upfront about sex or reads Cosmo. That kind of thinking is ridiculous, narrow-minded and just plain stupid. I do not ascribe to that opinion and if that is what people took away from my post, I apologize.
My point was that the sex related articles I saw in this issue of Cosmo weren't about helping women enjoy themselves. These articles were all about telling women how to please men sexually, not how women could please themselves. Perhaps Cosmo does have many of these types of articles but not in this issue.
I expected more about fashion and make-up and things geared to help women. I didn’t see it here. Yes there was one article about how a woman got away from a rapist which is great. And there were several single or double pages with pictures of fashion items or make-up with info on where to get the stuff and how much it cost.
My point was that the vast percentage of real articles (several pages of sentences put together in a cohesive essay) were about how to please men in the sack. It all seemed geared toward getting and keeping a man through pleasing him sexually. It’s not what I expected from a women’s magazine. (A guy’s magazine, perhaps.)
And as a guy reading this, it came off that we are interested in sex and only sex from a woman. I find that offensive. Am I interested in sex? Sure. But is that all I’m interested in? No. I understand there are many other aspects to a real relationship and not all guys are so shallow (translation - piggish).
I was raised to respect women and not treat them like objects. I’ve got a sister who I love and I don’t want guys treating her this way. The majority of articles in this issue seemed to be telling women that they should treat themselves like objects if they wanted to snag and keep a man.
I wasn’t insulting women or their sexuality. Quite frankly, I thought that’s what these magazine articles were doing.
In regards to Maxim, I haven’t read it so can’t comment about that magazine. But if it’s geared toward guys, I’d expect it to be about how women can please men. This Cosmo thing just surprised the heck out of me because women are often complaining about how guys are only interested in sex and yet that seemed to be the same attitude that this women’s mag was promoting. And then it told women how to give men what they wanted. That didn’t make sense to me.
Also, it may be geared for adult women, but it was a young teenage girl who left it at our house. And I can assure you that a vast majority of young teenage girls are reading this. Make-up, fashion and sex are very important to them too and they want the more grown-up version vs. the teen one, appropriate or not.
Again, I only read this one issue. And April’s right in saying I’m not this magazine’s demographic. So if Cosmo does it for you, ladies, have at it! Enjoy! Get out of it what works for you. This is only one guy’s opinion. I respect yours. Just don’t sell yourselves short, and try to remember, not all men are pigs!
Thanks to April, and all the commenters for giving me feedback and inspiring this dialogue!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
So women give men a hard time about only wanting one thing...Men are Pigs! is the mantra...and yet, this top magazine for females is really nothing but soft porn.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
• Here is how it works.
• Grab the book you are currently reading (anything at all)
• Open the book to any random page.Share a couple of "teaser" sentences from anywhere on the page.
• Please Make Sure They Are Not Spoilers!(Don't Give Too Much Away) Just enough to pique our interest.
• List the book and author so other participants can get theirhand on it if they choose to read it as well.
Alyssa is reading...
Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
He shouted it over the wailing of the fire alarm. My entire arm cramped with the need to do something. I pulled the trigger.
Jake is reading...
White Knight - Dresden Files Book 9 by Jim Butcher
"Harry," she asked. "What was that?"
"The plot," I said, "thickening."
It had to been more incendiary than concussive, a big rolling ball of flame that would have shattered windows, and burned things and set things on fire, and pushed a whole lot of air out of the way along with one Harry Dresden, wizard, slightly used.
Lana placed her left hand on her broken leg. It wasn't quick. It took a long time and she was terribly weak from thrist and hunger. But she kept her hand there until, an hour later, she did what she had feared she would never go again: Lana Arwen Lazar stood up.
Two vultures sat perched atop the overturned pickup truck. Lana said, "Guess you waited for nothing."
Have a happy reading week!
Alyssa, Jake and Gregory
M and A at BookMac
Monday, September 21, 2009
The Sea of Monsters: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book 2
by Rick Riordan
pub: March 2007
Percy Jackson's seventh-grade year has been surprisingly quiet.Not a single monster has set foot on his New York prep-school campus. But when an innocent game of dodgeball among Percy and his classmates turns into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants thing get....well ugly. And the unexpected vi st from his friend Annabeth brings more bad news: the magical border that protect Camp Half-Blood have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and unless the cure is found, the only safe place for demigods will be destroyed.
This book was fun, exciting, and action packed but not as good as the first one. Still it's a worthy read, I just can't help comparing it to the first in the series, The Lightning Thief.
It started out with a bang which is a gift Riordan has with his writing, but slowed down through the middle before picking up at the end. I enjoy the characters and was happy to stick around for the ride.
The mythology is always fun and Riordan's ability to mix it into a fantastical tale is brilliant. If you are a fan of the series, like I am, definitely pick it up. You won't be sorry!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The award is designed with one purpose...Pass it on to other bloggers who have awarded you in the past. We are honored and grateful and pass it on to...
Jessica at A Book Lovers Diary
Rachel at The Books Wars
Jenn-ay at My Tea Time is Book Time
Lori at Psychotic State
Sarbear at My Life is an Effing Fairy Tale
RayRay at RayRay's Reads
Saturday, September 19, 2009
This "B-I-N-G-O" Beautiful Blog Award means that this blog is:
B: Beautiful: Kristen at Feed Your Imagination
N: Neighborly: Pirate Penguin at Pirate Penguin's Reads
G: Gorgeous: Rachel at The Obsessive Reader
Friday, September 18, 2009
by Carrie Ryan
pub: March 2009
"In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future 0 between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?"
I don't know what it is, but these days I seem to pick up books that are well written, but I just don't like them.
I can describe The Forest of Hands and Teeth in one word - DEPRESSING!
Glancing at my bookshelf, I say "Holy crap. I have to read all those in one week?" So I grab Carrie Ryan's story just to start making a dent. I began this at 10 pm telling myself I'll just read until there's a happy point, then end my night on a positive note.
At 2 AM (!) on page 258(!!!), I finally realize there is going to be no turning point from depressing. Nothing good is going to happen to this poor, selfish girl.
Finishing this book made me real appreciative of my life - all the freedoms I have, the invention of GPS, and my loved ones still alive...
Mary, at times, acts a tad crazy, like she should probably be institutionalized crazy, but given her extreme circumstances the bouts of insanity are realistic. I found it to be annoying as the book progressed, but it did make her character believable.
Mary is also very selfish. She'll get what she wanted and is still not satisfied. If you're like me, you'll be reading and say, "Oh come on! This is what you wanted! Put a smile on and be happy! I've waited hundreds of pages for something happy to happen and you are ruining it!"
This book is emotionally deep, VERY heavy and devoid of humor... with absolutely nothing, to lighten the mood. Be warned. This book is not for the faint of heart. Those looking for a Hollywood ending, those looking for an uplifting read, or just some sort of satisfaction, will be sorely disappointed.
Similar to Thirsty this book is well written so you go through the emotional draining Mary and her posse endure. She never gets a break and neither do you.
There is a sequel, but I won't be reading it. I've already had one book suck away my good humor like a Death Eater possessed. I'm going to do my best to refrain from voluntarily grabbing another one.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
This week we're catching up on giving our awards so here is another batch!
We received the Top Commenter award from Sarbear at My Life is an Effing Fairytale and we are passing it on. Here they are and thanks to you all!
Jessica at A BookLover's Diary
Sarbear at My Life is an Effing Fairy Tale (back at you)
Juju at Tales of Whimsy
Rachel at The Obsessive Reader
Lori at Psychotic State
Jenny at TakeMeAway
Krista at Life or something like it...
Lisa at Book Blab
Ryan G at Wordsmithonia
Nikola at Nikola's Book Blog
Danni at Opinionated, Me?
RayRay at RayRay Reads
Sophie at So Many Books So Little Time
You are all awesome and we love your blogs!
Alyssa, Jake and Gregory
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
by M.T. Anderson
pub: July 2008
"All Chris really wants is to be a normal kid, to hang yout with his friends, avoid his parents, and get a date with Rebecca Schwartz. Unfortunately, Chris appears to be turning into a vampire."
I guess it is true. Vampire fans really will take home a book as soon as they see the V-word. Or at least, it's true for me. I really need to work on that. My thought process when selecting this book was, "It has vampires in it! The cover is cool. It has vampires in it! The author is award winning. It has vampires in it! Vampires make everything better."
Well written it is, satisfying it is not. Here's the opening line of the book,
"It is English, and I am watching Rebecca Schwartz's head."
Not the greatest but it has vampires in it, so I keep going. It's present tense which I usually don't care for but it is so well written and engaging that I don't even notice that until well into the book. I usually like stories to be told, therefore think it should be in past tense, but I can get past it for a good read. And with good writer's, like this one, I don't even notice it.
Alas, when I finished the book, I felt I was back where I started - a hamster stuck on it's wheel. Oh sure, Chris endures trials and adventures, I mean this kid goes through a mental mind field and manages to step on every bomb, but he accomplishes nothing for himself.
The writing is so good that you go through it with him, but there's no payoff. At the end, he's back where he started. I stuck with it, but I wouldn't recommend it if you're looking for resolution and change in your story and character.
But, hey, it's got vampires in it!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
- Here is how it works.
- Grab the book you are currently reading (anything at all)
- Open the book to any random page.Share a couple of "teaser" sentences from anywhere on the page.
- Please Make Sure They Are Not Spoilers!(Don't Give Too Much Away) Just enough to pique our interest.
- List the book and author so other participants can get theirhand on it if they choose to read it as well.
We are all in the midst of reading some good books so here are our Tuesday Teaser picks.
Proven Guilty (The Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher.
Alyssa's reading...The After by Amy Huntley
I'm dead. Not my-parents-told-me-to-be-gome-by-twelve-and-it's-two-o'clock-now dead. Just dead. Literally. I think.
The Hollow by Jessica Verday
Rolling my eyes, I said, "Seriously. Come on guys. I need you to be straight with me. Who are you?"
"I'm the headless horseman."
So what do you have to share?
FYI, my dad knows someone who has been a guest star on the series and she says that the cast members are all as funny and nice in real life as they are on TV. I was sooooo glad to hear that. David Boreanaz and his wife just had a baby girl. They already have a 7 year old son. Just a bit of trivia.
The books based on this series are very good. Different from the TV but I like them.
I like it. It's fun, quirky and weird with the woman, FBI Agent Dunham investigating strange unexplainable events that are all somehow related to the fringe science done years ago by wacko genius Walter Bishop. Walter's son, Peter, helps keep his nutty dad on track so they can solve these riddles and, I'm sure, ultimately save mankind.
It has its ups and downs but is a really good series overall. Agent Dunham gets a bit annoying at times (very serious and dry, but that's her character), but Peter is hot and fun, and Walter is a screech!
The group plays off each other well. The season finale had Leonard Nimoy with agent Dunham in an alternate/parallel universe. I'm looking forward to this season. You should check it out if you haven't seen it. Let me know what you think!
What is everyone else looking forward to in the coming TV season?
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead...and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey has never felt so desperately alone. Then she meets Caspian, a gorgeous and mysterious stranger who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special. Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her - one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian as well as her own sanity.
Here's hoping they're good. They've got to be better than Ghost Huntress (see failing review below)! I'm ready for a worthy read!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Bianca wants to escape.
She's been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.
Then she meets Lucas. He's not the "Evernight type" either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful - even when it comes to caring about him. But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart...and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed."
Paranormal/urban fantasy is my favorite genre. I've been in love with vampires in particular for five or six years - before Twilight, thank you very much. So whenever I see something about vampires, I snap it up.
Now, the prologue reads very exciting, "The burning arrow thudded into the wall." We get this page of actiony (is that a word?) drama and it ends beautifully with "Outside the vampires waited." Boom. I bought it.
Now I haven't read the second book yet, (but I will soon, I'm on the library list - see, I practice what I preach) because of a petty grudge over the following incident.
The first half of the book there isn't an inkling of vampires. Sure there are plenty of people who are "weird" or "perfect" blahbity, blah, but there are no fangs, super strength, or any cool vampire things.
But once I uncurled my fists, stopped my ranting, and my face lost the beet red shade, the book picked up serious momentum - funny how the introduction of the paranormal world does that. Lucas and Bianca have a sexy, forbidden love relationship. Bianca's character is easy to empathize with and what girl doesn't love the dark, brooding bad boy?
All in all, a solid good read and I'm actually excited to get the sequel - Stargazer. The third book, Hourglass, is out in 2010.
Friday, September 4, 2009
The Earth is under attack. Alien “buggers” are poised for a final assault. The survival of the human species depends on a military genius who can defeat the buggers. But sho? Ender Wiggin. Brillian. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child. Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender’s childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battleschool. Among the elite recruits, Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. In simulated war games he excels. But is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing. How will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battleschool is just a game. Right?
Andrew Wiggin, or Ender, is given an option to go to space and fight the "buggers," an alien race that is trying to destroy the humans. Ender accepts and throughout the book Ender fights for his life, makes new friends and racks up some enemies. He quickly runs into obstacles that he didn't anticipate. The leaders of the battle school try their best to isolate Ender so that it is hard for him to make friends, and therefore, get used to being isolated and alone. The belief is that this will make Ender stronger and only rely on himself, not others.
The leaders also advance Ender's rank many times very quickly making the other kids jealous and dislike him. After Battleschool, Ender transfers to Command School. When Ender starts to lose his will to fight, the government worries because they think he is 'the one' to save humanity. They use his beloved sister to manipulate Ender into continuing to battle for the sake of the world.
While in the Command School, Ender learns many things about fleet control and how to command squads and ships by playing a simulated “game”, but the government has much more in mind with this “game” and you'll have to read the book to find out what, but I can tell you that you won't be disappointed.
Honestly, I'm not that big of a reader, but this is the best book that I have ever read! I started, and I couldn't put it down. I had to keep turning pages for more. The plot is fast, lots of excitement, you become invested in the fabulous characters (even the bad guys), and this is the first in the series so you can have many more adventures in this fun world. I HIGHLY recommend Ender's Game to everyone!
Hope you all enjoyed his thoughts and thanks Matt for spreading the word on a great book!
Alyssa, Jake and Gregory
Thursday, September 3, 2009
2. Share your ABCs
3. Tag three people at the end by linking to their blogs
Drink of choice? Rootbeer
Essential item for every day use? My laptop, I can't live without it. Sad really if you think about it...
Hometown? Beverly Hills, CA -Sounds hoity toity doesn't it? Hahaha.
Indulgences? Candy in general, Doritos, paranormal books, my IPOD
Kids and their names? Uhhhhhhh, I'm eighteen...so my pets will substitute for children in this case. Panda, Oof, Scooter (the dogs), Sligo, Godiva, Zucca (the horses), Xena (the cat), and Franky and Spike (the birds). We have ourselves a zoo, feel free to stop by and visit. Admission fees start at $50 for children. LOL
Life is incomplete without…? Family, books, and junk food
Marriage date? Um...pass?
Reason to smile? My brothers choreographing a dance number to accompany their duet on SingStar.
Tag 3 people and anyone else who would like to play.!
Jenny at Take Me Away
X-rays you’ve had? wrist
Your fave food? Tough one...here's a few, alfredo pasta, Big Mac, mac and cheese, tortellini. What can I say? I love food!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
As the cover implies this is an The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Arnold Spirit, Jr. or just Junior. He was born with water on the brain which is when you have an excess amount of spinal fluid in your skull. He also had 42 teeth (that's 10 more than normal).
These problems and the surgeries that followed gave him serious physical problems: an underdeveloped body (skinny), an over-sized head (to hold all the teeth), hands, and feet, as well as poor eyesight (one eye is farsighted and one is nearsighted), frequent seizures, and he not only stutters but also has a lisp. Piece of cake, right?
He lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation (or rez) in Wellpinit WA, where he is beaten - physically and mentally - and the only thing that keeps him alive is his best friend Rowdy, the toughest kid in school.
On his first day of high school in geometry class, Junior realizes that the book he is using was used by his mother - making the book over 30 years old.
Frustrated that the reservation can't afford up to date text books, and the fact that he feels all his hopes and dreams are being destroyed, he throws his text book and accidentally hits his teacher Mr. P.
During his suspension because of the incident, Junior is visited by Mr. P where he begs Junior to leave the rez before it's too late, before his spirit is broken and any chance of a better life is lost. Junior then starts to attend the all white school in Reardan 22 miles away.
This kid has to deal with so much crap that anytime that I hear another kid complain about how their life sucks, I shake my head and think "Oh, if you only knew."
Junior and his family, and the entire reservation for that matter are all dirt poor. They can barely afford to feed themselves and sometimes don't eat anything for days. His mother is an ex-alcoholic and his father is currently an alcoholic. His sister spends all her time in their basement. When they can't afford gas for their car (because of the poverty or the fact that his dad drank the money away) Junior walks the 22 miles to and from school or if he's lucky, he might hitch a ride.
His friend Rowdy used to spend most of his days at Junior's house because his own father is an abusive alcoholic but I forgot to mention that when Junior announces that he is moving to the white school, Rowdy hits him and won't talk to him again. Rowdy even joins in one of beatings Junior gets. Junior is now an outcast on the rez as well as the white school.
It isn't easy at the white school but Junior sticks with it and finds friends and mentors who help him through the good and bad times. One thing I liked about this book is that no one was all good or all bad. The characters are complex. Junior finds friends with not only the geeks but the jocks and popular kids and ends up shining on the basketball team.
Throughout the ups and downs (mostly downs), Junior keeps a positive attitude, only stumbling once or twice during really hard times. The fact that all of these things are going on and he is still able to get up every morning knowing that he probably won't eat breakfast, will probably walk to school, and will ,for the most part, be ignored by everyone at the white school is astonishing and inspirational.
It's a gritty look at real life on the rez. Poverty, alcoholism and death are everywhere. Junior has gone to 42 funerals by the time he's 13. (I've been to 3). And while this story could be depressing, it is anything but.
I think that everyone should read this book. It's a fast read (only took me about a day and a half to finish) but it sticks with you like few novels do. It has sad parts but also has laugh out loud funny stuff and the pages are peppered with great cartoon drawings. Junior calls life a "series of broken dams and floods" and his drawings are "tiny little life boats."
It's based on the true life experiences of Sherman Alexie. It's awesome and inspiring, and you will walk away with a belief that whatever problems you have can be overcome with courage and perseverance... and ultimately you can triumph over adversity. You will be okay.
Alyssa heard Alexie speak (and he still has the lisp, explaining that it's not because of a speech impediment, "I'm just brain damaged") and she was so impressed by his honesty and humor that she bought the book. I'm glad she did. So I found this kind of by accident because it isn't something I would have picked up on my own, but it will remain one of my all time favorites. I recommend this book as a must read!
So have you ever found a favorite book by accident?