Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Misty Peppers


10 points to anyone who gets that.

Keeping with the theme of random, here are some books I haven't reviewed yet. That's today's theme. I really need to catch up. I didn't start keeping notes until January and I'm still facing a backlog since September, so these are kinda short, because my memory isn't that long. Still, you get the last impression of a book. OK-- I've started writing this post. The "theme" has been narrowed a wee bit. These are all YA books that I liked. Not shout-from-the-roof-tops-love, but really enjoyed and liked.

Doing It by Melvin Burgess

This is hilarious, but not nearly as frothy-fun as I was expecting it to be. The basic premise is a bunch of British boys trying to get laid. One of them ends up boinking his teacher. One is obsessed with finding some action for Mr. Knobby Knobster. Burgess injects a lot of humor into this, but it's not the male equivelent of Georgia Nicolson. There are real issues here that are seriously dealt with, but it's not angst-ridden.

Eva Underground by Dandi Daley Mackall

This is a really interesting book about a teenager whose father is an organizer for the Polish Underground, so they move to Poland so he can, um, organize. It's a great look at fitting in to a new culture as well as life behind the Iron Curtain. I think it will really spark some further research in some readers, as you're never sure quite *when* it takes place until JPII gets elected Pope and everyone in Poland is super-excited. There were a few minor details that got me though-- one is a type towards the end where the printer switched Krakow and Warsaw, so that page made NO sense. The other is that she misses hanging out at Abercrombie and Fitch, even though that really wasn't a mall store until the late 90s. Just saying. Still, an awesome book.

Yellow Line by Sylvia Olsen

This is the first book I've read put out by Orca Soundings. This is a hi/lo line of books (high content level, low reading level). I was really surprised by how good it was. Vince lives in Pacific Canada in a small town near a First Nations reservation. The two ethnic groups (White and First Nation) segregate themselves everywhere-- in living, on the school bus. One on each side of a yellow line. Because this is a short book, things happen fast. Vince's friend and cousin, Sherry, starts dating someone who's First Nation. Vince develops a crush on a girl who is. The parents and some of Vince's friends are literally violently opposed to this idea. The plot comes quickly and there isn't a lot of character development, but it still sheds enough light on a heady topic and situation.

Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings

This is really well written and is on several people's shout-off-the-roof list. The plot and characters just didn't grab me. I'm not sure why. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood the afternoon I read it. Anyway, Brady lives on the northern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. There are new people moving in, new development and McMansions going up. Fishing is threatened. Brady befriends the D'Angelo family, part of the new wave of people coming in. Brady's friends play an awful joke that ends in tragedy. Brady is then torn between doing the right thing and snitching on his friends. It's really well-done and not over-wrought, but still gives the situation the gravitas it needs.

Invisible by Pete Hautman

Dougie is a loner, an outcast, and really, a bit of a weirdo freak. His best friend Andy is athletic and popular. They don't hang out a lot at school but the next-door neighbors talk every night through their bedroom windows. It becomes apparent really quickly that Dougie is not the most reliable of narrators and there's something else going on. Or is it just that with YA fiction we now expect some sort of massive sixth-sense type twist? It was a good book, but I knew something was up way before it was revealed, so the last half of the book I was just thinking what's going on already?!

5 books in one post. And the grocery store now has cherries, so I know where I'm going after work.

Yes, my dinner tonight will be cheese and cherries and bread with olive oil. Yummy. I can't wait.

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