Friday, December 18, 2009

A Book-filled Vacation

Hello, friends! I apologize for my long absence--I took a much needed vacation. And then I had to catch up from my vacation, which took longer than expected. And since I have no guest blogger articles yet **ahem** you know you who are *ahem* I had nothing to put up for your enjoyment!

But, while I was away, I did read four books. Yes, that's right, FOUR. And I thought I would share them with you:

Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher -- This one was
my December book club book and I read it on the plane down to Miami. I have mixed feelings about this one, I must say. While the subject matter of this adult commercial novel was interesting (drug rehab, kind of a "28 Days" type deal), I struggled with some of the writing. Each part of the book is written in a different style: journal entries, one-sided therapy sessions, dialogue with no action, then just like a regular novel. While the styles were interesting and each gave the reader a different kind of interaction with the characters, I felt stressed out the entire time I was reading. The last third of the book was probably my favorite as the story chilled a little and the writing became more coherent. I do, however, applaud Fisher's ability to express the characters' emotions stylistically the way she does. It's definitely an intriguing read and creative study of style. I still am not sure how much I actually liked it though.

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott -- This YA novel is probably one of the most intense books I've ever read. At just 176 pages, it's short but terrifying and powerful. Told from the perspective of an young girl who was abducted five years prior, the reader is deep inside her head as she is physically, sexually, and emotionally abused. And as her expected escape--getting too old for her captor so he'd murder her--slips away suddenly, she goes through even greater torment trying to find a way out. This book is disturbing to say the least, not only because it shows all the pain and torture she is put through but because it shows what kind of evil people are capable of, what apathy and inaction others can have when they can sense something isn't right, and how fear can cripple you and stop you from breaking free. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Just don't expect it to be a fun read. It's a fantastic read, but it sure as hell isn't fun.

Wake by Lisa McMann -- Another YA novel, this first novel in
a trilogy (at least that's what's planned for the series so far!) is also a great read. Janie is a 17-year-old who has the supernatural ability of being sucked into other people's dreams. It's not a power she enjoys, as sometimes she falls asleep at the wheel because her proximity to a sleeping person is too close and sometimes gets trapped in the worst nightmares. But as she learns to harness her power--and as she explores her first love, the only boy who seems to be able to interact with her in the dreams...and in the nightmares--she starts to realize just what good this "curse" can do. Clever and unique, this novel is skillfully crafted. Janie is relatable and likable, and McMann's writing is smooth, fast-paced, and sincere.

Whip It by Shauna Cross -- Yes, I know--another YA novel. What can I say? I love YA novels! Anyway, I saw the film adaptation of this book (starring Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, and Drew Barrymore) before I read it and I absolutely adored it. It was such a feel-good flick, I wanted to watch it over again as soon as it ended. So, naturally, I needed to devour the book, which was originally titled Derby Girl. Unfortunately, I was not as impressed by it as I was by the film--shocking, I know. While Cross's voice is unique, hip, and unabashed, a coming-of-age novel revolving around roller derby is a difficult undertaking. It's not exactly the easiest thing to describe or to get your reader really involved in. I read most of the book feeling like I was held at a distance. Also, the ending was entirely different. I would have liked to pick and choose which parts to keep and which to change, as I wasn't satisfied with the ending to the book, though I would definitely take elements of it to add to the movie if I could. Overall, I did enjoy it though. It's creative and fun and just a light, relaxing read.

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