Monday, November 22, 2010

YA Review: After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

The Summer of D Foster, and how it intertwined with the loss of Tupac Shakur, is the focus of this summer tale by Jaqueline Woodson.

While exploring the not so nearby neighborhood of her newest foster mother, D Foster claims Neeka and the unnamed narrator as her new friends.  A strange, but effective friendship ensues as the three 11 year-old girls live through the ups and downs of life in Queens, NY.  D is that friend we all have had.  The one who is unafraid and "cool".  The fearless one who brings adventure and wonder into our lives.

Along with the story of D, we are also introduced to the relationship between Neeka and the narrator as they learn more about themselves and where they stand on life's issues.  One such issue being Neeka's older brother Tash who is in jail for making a bad choice. Feelings on his homosexuality are also explored through the narrator's thoughts.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

YA Review: Life As We Knew It

Perhaps the most frightening thing about this story, as with M.T. Anderson's Feed, is that it could possibly be more accurate than even the author is aware. Chilling.

After the first twenty pages, you will never look at the moon the same again. Author Susan Beth Pfeffer, bravely takes on the topic of environmental apocalypse with a freshness and somehow comfortable humor that is all but infectious upon reading. Set in modern times, seventeen-year-old Miranda is more concerned with the amount of homework she has to complete, not being asked to the prom yet, and the news of her stepmother's pregnancy than the thought of the asteroid that is set to collide with the moon.

Not too long after it does make contact, Miranda, along with the rest of the world realizes all too soon that the crash is more of a tragedy than once believed, as it tilts the moon and leads to cataclysmic events happening worldwide.

Friday, September 24, 2010

YA Review: Feed by M.T. Anderson

Anderson, M. T. 2002. Feed.Candlewick, 234p. c2002. $16.99.  978-0-763-61726-4

In the futuristic world where Titus lives, normal adolescents willingly succumb to purchasing suggestions from their Feeds, ignore the lesions appearing on people everywhere, and are oblivious to the reputation their country has developed with the rest of the world for its hedonistic ways. While lunar-vacationing, Titus, his friends, and fellow club-goer Violet are traumatized when the feeds implanted into their brains are a hacked into. Titus and his friends seek to block the unpleasantness from memory, but Titus soon learns that for Violet, who has been home-schooled and sheltered from the life his friends all share, the act of forgetting is not easily accomplished.  As her life slowly unravels from the effects of her feed malfunctioning, Titus begins reexamining his feelings about his world, his friends, and his actions, while experiencing the trials of teenage love and loss.

In this gripping tongue-in-cheek depiction of where society could be headed, Anderson exposes consumerism and superficiality with humor and chilling realism. Anderson does an excellent job of creating believable teens and situations without the characters feeling forced or fake.  Interested teens will love the audiobook because of the dynamic feature of being able to hear the feeds performed by full cast.  The story is crafted perfectly to reach the intended audience, who will surely enjoy the glimpse into future fads and slang.  This book will appeal to teens who do not fit on either side of the fence, but are willing to explore both. A cautionary tale with a fresh voice.

Mrs.Tiye's Thoughts: Well-Written, Thoughtful, Engaging characters, AMAzING AUDIOBOOK, Great plot.

And check out this awesome FEED Display !

Friday, September 10, 2010

YA Review: the first part last

Never do we get a story about young, single teen fathers. Quite often the males are portrayed as deadbeats who are so childish and immature they don't even stay with the girl, and especially not the child itself. This book was a refreshing and emotionally sensitive contrast.

I appreciated the care with which the author made the decisions of Bobby, our 16 year-old protagonist stand out on the page. He was a well-rounded character with thoughts and feelings that appealed to both his maturity and also his youth.
The story here was not without depth and the pain felt by this boy and the two families he stood between in the choice to raise his daughter alone, was clearly felt. Excellent, excellent story and beautifully told.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Update Review: Those Sleeping Dogs Sucked

So, I told you I would come back and let you know what I thought of “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” by Mirjam Pressler.

Click here if you're okay with Spoilers!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

YA Graphic Review: Water Baby by Ross Campbell

I picked this one up yesterday and finished it in an hour.
It is in graphic format, which is why my first comment will be:
Ross Campbell’s drawings in this book made me want to go surfing, joy-riding across the country and take a bath.

No, seriously, the story of Brody was one I couldn’t put down right away.  She’s the rebel, tom-boy, outspoken friend that we all have.  Unfortunately for this friend, one of her surfing days ends up with her leg becoming shark food.

The story takes place a year after her accident with her best friend Louissa living with her to help out.  Everything seems to be going well until her ex-boyfriend Jake shows up unexpectedly and wants to stay with the girls for the summer. While dealing with getting used to being on an artificial leg, her feelings for Jake and her fears of the water, Brody is trying her best to put her life back together.

Overall, Brody was a really cool character to follow.  She was odd, but sweet and even in her most raunchy, booger-eating, moments, you couldn’t help but want to be her friend.  I especially liked that she had a good attitude about losing her leg to the shark.  She never played a pity game, or felt sorry for herself, but kept it moving.  Louissa was a really good friend too,who stuck by her through everything and tried her best to help her get used to her new leg and her fear.
When dealings with Jake finally get to a level that Brody won’t tolerate, the group embarks on a ridiculous road-trip, with Brody at the wheel, to get him out of Miami and back to his parents in New York.
Another cool feature is that when the book is held all the way open, you can see a full size pic of Brody.

Should you choose to pick this one up, be mindful of the fact that Brody does discuss her affections for boys, girls, and older men.  She also has an affinity for walking around in her underwear…a lot.  LOL  So, some parents may not dig this one.

I’m interested to see what else Ross Campbell has to offer.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Drama, Drama, Drama

The FightSo, I've read most of the Drama High books.  I don't know if I'm pleased or not. They were good, and had a lot of real things going on, but sometimes the author gets a bit out of order with adding things like magic and voodoo.  They come out of nowhere and throw me off while I'm reading. BUT, for all intents and purposes, the storylines are good and they keep me engaged. There is a lot of talking about who's dating who, trying to handle school, and falling out with friends, so I think it is very realistic of high school.  So if you're looking for something to read this summer, check out Drama High by L.Divine.  From the covers, they seem to be only for girls, but I think young men would like these stories too.
The first book in the series is The Fight.  It talks about Jayd, the main character and how she is being pressured into fighting her ex's new girlfriend.  There's some mild violence, drug and profanity.

These books also remind me of the book I LOVED in 9th grade, Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree.  I would DEFINITELY recommend that one too.
Flyy Girl by OmarTyreeThis one was one of my FAVORITES because it dealt with the pressure of being more comfortable being different than how you may have been raised.  Story of my life.  Tracey, the main character is the daughter of two successful parents, but is just more comfortable with the kids from the street and the fast-money people of the neighborhood.  While dealing with her parents' separation and her boy-crazy attitude, Tracey takes you along on a CRAZY ride.  There's also the talk of that FIRST TRUE love, (who you know is probably bad for you).  Anyway, there are some themes in this book that may be a bit racy for some, but like I said, I read it in high school myself, and the moral of the story is a good one.

Currently Reading: Sleeping Dogs Lie by Mirjam Pressler

Let Sleeping dogs Lie - Mirjam Pressler

Saw this at the Oak Park Public Library last week and picked it up. Ever since learning about Anne Frank, and watching a lot of stories about the Holocaust, I've always been interested in the stories. This one, is supposed to be about what happened to one family who made money off of the suffering.

It talks about a young girl who finds out her family became rich because they stole from one of the families who were victims of the Holocaust, and what she does about it.

I wonder if I'd be brave enough to confront my family about something like this.

Would you? If you knew that confronting your family about it could be the end of all your family's wealth?

I'll let you guys know how the book goes when I finish it!