145. Something Wicked
by Alan M. Gratz
Just like Gratz's previous novel, Something Wicked
is loosely based on one of Shakespeare's plays. As the title implies, that play is MacBeth
. Gratz has a few cliches, but when you're adapting Shakespeare, it's impossible not to. The story is not as odd as Something Rotten
, though that could be because I'm not as familiar with MacBeth
as I am with Hamlet
. Regardless, the book is a fun read. It's the story of Horatio Wilkes, the star of Gratz's previous novel, who is on a trip to Mount Birnam for the annual Highland Festival. As per usual, he stumbles into a murder scene and uses his highly astute observational and detective skills to find out who the real killer is. Gratz kept the readers on their toes and the second murder, though necessary for the plot, totally shocked me. I think that this book was actually better than Something Rotten
and I am quite excited about what Shakespearean play Gratz will adapt next.
146. Boy Meets Boy
by David Levithan
It's hard to explain exactly how much I liked this book -- and why. It's a combination of a strong story and plot (Paul meets Noah, Paul thinks he could fall in love with Noah, Paul screws everything up -- it sounds lame, but it's the exact opposite) plus interesting characters with a dose of truly fantastic writing. Boy Meets Boy
is, among many things, fun. But it's also slightly heart breaking, more than a little hilarious and serious in all the right places. I really enjoyed reading it and it affirmed what I already knew, that Levithan is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. The story is from Paul's point of view and is told in much the same tense and style as the two other Levithan novels I've read (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
and Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List
). I like this style -- if I was a YA author, this is how I wish I could write.
Paul is a strong character, he has flaws and like so many of us, he just doesn't realize they're flaws. There are some extraordinary scenes (conversations with an exboyfriend of Paul's and one of his best friends) that help bring both the reader and Paul into some sort of perspective. There's also all the teen drama that YA readers are used to, but Levithan spices it up a bit -- in all the good ways. He also doesn't completely resolve one of the plot twists, and I applaud him for this. It's not every author who can leave something undone and yet still have a fully complete book that leaves the reader satisfied.
I loved Boy Meets Boy
and plan to read as many of Levithan's book as possible.
147. Generation Dead
by Daniel Waters
I was surprised by how good this novel was, especially based on the cover. Waters' book is an insightful look into, as cliche as this is, the teenage psyche. But instead of focusing on the 'traditional' topics of race or homosexuality, he goes down a totally different path -- zombies. The undead, differently biotic, or living impaired. While that idea seems a little, well, far fetched, Waters' novel is nothing of the sort. While there's primarily one main character, Phoebe (a smart goth girl), we're also let into the world of two other characters -- Phoebe's all but best friend, Adam (popular kid and somewhat start football player) and Pete (definitely star footballer player, popular and happens to hate 'the dead kids'). I found this style of writing a little confusing at first, but got over easily once I realized how necessarily it was to the way the book's written. Generation Dead
deals with more social issues than many books could ever dream of touching. Obviously, the difference is that it's about zombies instead of something more grounded in reality. But instead of turning the story into some sort of sci-fi farce, Waters grounds his characters and story in plot that's closer to our world than anything else. There's talk of forcing the zombie kids to go to war, there's hatred (protesters at a football game, fruit being throw, even murder -- or being killed a second time), love and everything in between.
The story revolves around Phoebe and her interest in Tommy Williams, a new kid in town who also happens to be dead. Eventually, this leads predictably to trouble, but that's the only thing predictable about the book. How the characters behave, the revelations about how some of the zombie kids died, and then at the end, there's a surprising twist that I definitely didn't see coming. The one disappointing thing about the book is that, as other reviewers have pointed out, there are too many loose ends. Luckily, Waters has written a sequel (Kiss of Life) that's set to come out in May of 2009. Which, really, is far too far in the future, but I can wait.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It played on a lot of emotions and left me feeling a bit sad at the end. I am eager to find out where Waters is going with the storyline as well as what happens to the characters. Even if you don't like zombie stories, I recommend this book. It's much more than just a traditional zombie tale. More humor than horror, and that's only part of what makes it so good.
by Alex Flinn
The signs were obvious that this book was a reworking of the traditional Beauty and the Beast story and of course I managed to miss them all. Not that the title or the rose on the cover were subtle, but somehow I just didn't get it until halfway through the book. Which actually wasn't a bad thing. I enjoyed the book and found the premise (our hero, Kyle, has the traditional curse of being a beast put on him because, well, he's kind of a jerk) well done. The plot, of course, was strong, but it would be hard to screw this story up.
What I found fascinating was how Alex Flinn was able to make the beast a sympathetic character so early on in the story. Even though we knew -- could see it from Kyle's point of view -- that he was not a nice boy, you can't help feel sorry for him. But the transformation that Kyle undergoes is so through and well written, that you have no problems believing in this world that Flinn has created. She also does something that I really find smart, between section of the book are letting chat logs from IM conversations that Kyle is having with people similar to himself -- these are people from story tellers, a frog looking for a prince, a bear who is really a man, and a mermaid who wants to give up her voice to get feet. These tie-ins, while obvious, are quite clever and amusing.
Overall, this was a fun book and I'd like to read more of Flinn's work.
by Melissa De La Cruz
My rating is low, not because I didn't like the book -- I did. But instead, it's low because this isn't the best book out there about vampires. But, in the end, that's not important. Melissa De La Cruz doesn't need to write the next Twilight
(though, personally, I think that this series is much better than Meyer's) nor does she need the high quality found in Westerfeld's Peeps
or McKinley's Sunshine
. It's much more of a teen book in the same way as Gossip Girl
and similar titles. And, to be honest, there's nothing wrong with it and it's really quite fun.
The writing is decent, not great, but not bad either. The plot tends to be a bit odd, weighing heavily on what happens in the previous titles. De La Cruz does something I really enjoy, though, and that's her avoidance of repeating what happened previously in the first books of the series. She reminds you in subtle ways as the story progresses. She also switches points of view a few times and in Revelations
she includes little transcripts of interviews and the like to give the reader some more insight into certain plot points.
The end of the book has a twist, of course, that I didn't see coming. There are a few things that are pretty shocking, all of them directly impacting our true main character, Schuyler. As this is the third book in the series, De La Cruz sets up the mood for the next in the series. I eagerly look forward to finding out what happens. Not just in the context of the events happening at the end of the book, but also to Schuyler and her friends (and enemies).
149 / 150 new reads. 99% read!