Hooked #48HBC

Well, I am not entirely sure what to make of this one, and since I have to officially review (meaning this is an ARC) it I am going to have to think about it long and hard.  My initial reaction is that there is a lot going on here that remains relatively unexamined.

First the basic plot – Thea meets Will and falls in love, maybe too deeply or obsessively.  She gets pregnant, cannot go through with the abortion, has a baby, tries to make it work with Will, and fails – maybe.  It sounds a little like an episode of 16 and pregnant and its basic trajectory follows the common trajectory in that tv show and its follow up, Teen Mom (yes, I have watched both). But because it is a book Thea’s inner life is explored in greater detail.  But the thing is and maybe this is something Catherine Greenman gets right, that examination seems surface to me in many places.  In how Thea thinks of Will, and why the little things that bother her go unexamined, particularly in relationship to her father.  And her relationship with her father.  There are these moments before the pregnancy where I can’t tell if she is more embarrassed by Will or her dad.  I don’t know, something just didn’t “settle” for me.  Thea never really comes into focus.

One other note – the books title a play on her love for Will, and her crocheting (and this is where it might get just a little too cutesy Hollywood in the end) she talks about believe Will will return, being hooked into him – a metaphor throughout the book but really it is Ian, her son that she is “hooked” on, and in a good way I don’t mean that bad – but that little piece at the end undermines this.

I am just not sure….Pages – 276

hours 3.5

What Happened to Goodbye #48HBC

Ahhh….Sarah Dessen.  It is predictable – WHAT is up with her mothers? but it is comfy too.  It is like hearing your best friend tell you a story, the details may be different but you know how it is going to  go.

Usually I have lit crushes on her boys who are damaged perfection (cuz THAT exists in real life but whatever) but in this it is the girl who I really liked.  McLean (or Liz, or Beth, or ELiza)  – well you don’t really meet all of those girls but that is a large point of the book.  Can you lie to yourself, be someone different, run away from yourself?  Well probably not really.  Also if only Coach K turned out to have such poor personal judgment and had a scandal- don’t tel me Defriense isn’t Duke! –  actually it was pretty much  totally fictional and if I wasn’t aware of Sarah Dessen’s rabid UNC fandom (stalking Tyler Hansbrough in the deli dept – its ok if it was a diff. team I might too) I might of not spent half the book thinking Duke/UNC.  And not that Peter the coach who the mom takes up with and has twins (again what is it with her Moms?) was an ass.  It just seemed the adults were a little clueless that is was McLean’s story/life too.  I think it is probably comforting to divorcing people to think that a marriage is between two people and not about the kids but come on!  Then again what do I know?

I do love how SD always peoples her books with people from other stories – Heidi from ALong for the Ride showed up, as did the Last Chance, I caught a glimpse of Annabel and Owen (I think) and Jason from The Truth About Forever seems to have had a life bump and is now a prep cook.  Nice touch.   Probably missed a few here and there.

Pages – 402

Time 5 hours.

Check this out

….. not to let Glee take over this blog but here is some news.

Haven’t read any blow me away books lately – but Joshilyn Jackson’s new book is coming out so I think I will reread Gods in Alabama and then her latest, which focuses on a Gods character.

C’mon Baby, Light My Fire

So, I know I’m supposed to be reading the book about wolves, Shiver.  And, I will finish it.  It just has not grabbed me yet.  Lots of smoldering thus far.  My Kindle assures me that I am 21% through the story.  Plus, at the insistence of one of the 8th Grade Chicas, I began The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Of course, I couldn’t help but cheer for Katniss — a teen in post-apocalyptic former North America, now known as Panem.  She is “reaped” and has to participate with other young people in a competition reminiscent of the Running Man’s game show.  Katniss’ contest is broadcast to other folk in this dystopian nightmare in which people are controlled by hunger, violence and censorship.  But, rebellion against the Capitol is brewing and the “districts” might be going the way of  Twisted Sister.  That’s right, “we’re not gonna take it!”  

I can always tell when I’m reading a really, really good story because I don’t move from the couch, and my husband does my bidding by delivering Kleenex, snacks and drinks.  (Thanks, Honey!)  What is so great about The Hunger Games and the sequel, Catching Fire?  In the words of the Chica: “I don’t know.”  Incidentally, my boys love the books too.  There is nothing new about a plot that revolves around a rebel who inspires the downtrodden to rise against a tyrannical, blood-thirsty government.  But Katniss is an exceptionally tough cookie who has to balance family obligations, survival, love and killing with, well, growing up, not breaking hearts and being kind to her mom.  

In the words of selfsame 8th Grade Chica: “She won’t play the game. Katniss doesn’t want to conform.”  Did I have you at “won’t play the game”?  It reminds me of what 
a jaded, bitter person once told me: “high school is all about learning how to play the game.”  Is it all an elaborate game for our students?  For ourselves?  Perhaps.  Maybe that’s why we love The Hunger Games (third and final book, Mockingjay, out on 8/24).  We love the story of a person who fights to live an authentic life because we know that the struggle is heroic.  And since the beginning of story telling, human beings have loved heroes.

The Unwritten Rule

Boy was I grumpy last night and this book is to blame….. I will explain but let me give you the set up first.

You know what the unwritten rule between girls is right?  You do not, I mean do not, steal your best friend’s boyfriend (yes connections to recent read – 6 Rules of Maybe).  You don’t crush on him, and you most certainly do not KISS him when he is still with your best friend, and maybe not even after.  Now we can debate this rule – and I suppose it has been, but it is the unwritten rule, at least of this title.

Sarah has a crush on Ryan, she has since the 8th grade, but no one really knows that, not even her best friend, Brianna.  Which might be why when Ryan turns up totally hot at the end of the summer Brianna turns her full wattage on him and now they are dating.  And since a) Sarah never said anything its not like Brianna broke that unwritten rule and b) since Sarah assumes no boy would like her over Brianna she just accepts this fact.  But it isn’t that easy, because there is something there – between Sarah and Ryan, and Ryan and Brianna may not be working out.

So grumpitude….. here is the thing about the story.  Brianna is both casually mean and totally fragile.  She has pretty much destroyed Sarah’s self esteem over the years, although Sarah’s personality allowed that to happen.  And it wasn’t on purpose.  The situation with Brianna’s parents (bitter divorce, working all the time, and casually and not so casually mean themselves) has left her self esteem pretty f’ed up too.  Sarah has the loving family that Brianna has slowly become a part of, but Brianna has all the attention.  The constant “brush your hair” or “we can find you a freshman to date” are what I mean by ‘casually mean’.  So you hate Brianna just a bit, but you also feel sorry for her.  And while the inevitablity of the ending is obvious to the reader, it is going to hit Brianna like a freight train, and because ultimately she is fragile you feel a little sorry for her.

I had this friend.  She could make you feel like the coolest, most important person in the world one minute, and like nothing the next.  She had unwritten rules she wasn’t afraid to break, but Lord, you didn’t want to be the one to break them.  And the thing is for a vast lot of people I don’t have an identity separate from that relationship, and frankly we haven’t talked in 20 years but I am still guilty/angry/sad/insecure about all of that.  So reading this book just dredged a whole lot of crap up – hence, grumpitude.

I am not sure what this book is – romance? well sort of.  friendship? yes that too.  Finding yourself? yep.  Families in all their glory and horror?  Oh yeah.  I’ve been reading mean girls lately (here for example) so it was interesting to read a mean girl who wasn’t intentional, at least at first.

I really like Elizabeth Scott, and in some way this reminded me of The Boyfriend List in similar theme.  The casual meanness, the girl relationship, etc. but boy was I grumpy.

Others thoughts:

The Bookologist liked it.

So did Insanity of Writerhood

An interview:

Letting Go of the Knife

So despite some loud epithets and book throwing (spoiler at link)I finished The Knife of Never Letting Go.  What is 120 pages right?

It wasn’t really my cup of tea – set in some unnamed future on some unnamed planet.  Men, boys, and animals thoughts are broadcast, but interestingly enough not women’s or girl’s.  They call it noise, and while some secrets can’t be hidden, some can. In  Prentisstown only men exist, and on your 13th birthday you become a man – in some mysterious way.

Todd is forced to flee shortly before he becomes a man, running though a forest away from an army  and a mad man with a strange girl.  Viola is not the only surprising thing Todd discovers, as he had thought New Prentisstown was all there was on the new world, and that girls had long ago died off.  Along the way he learns the horrible secrets of the men he had always been surround by, including the fate of Prentisstown women.  It is fast paced, adventurous, overloaded with ‘stuff to talk about’, included the nature of good and evil, information overload, colonization.  But despite all of  that I had to force myself to finish and found myself getting bored.  This is because it isn’t my reading preference, not because it wasn’t plotted well with enough character development.  I would book talk it, recommend it particularly to middle school kids, but I won’t read Book 2 or 3.

The Knife of Never Letting Go – SPOILERS

He killed the dog!!!!!! I freakin’ hate it when they kill the dog. I am on page 353 of 479 and now I don’t know if I want to finish because HE KILLED MANCHEE!