Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl is one of my all time favourite books. It tells the story of the rise and fall of Queen Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn through the eyes of Anne’s younger sister and the King’s former mistress, Mary.

Unlike most historical fiction, the language in the Other Boleyn Girl is easy to read but not stupid. The setting, the court of King Henry VIII, is rich and detailed. It is all too easy to become absorbed into the world which Gregory describes.

My favourite part of this book was the characters themselves. Each character is so vivid. At times I did not know whether I wanted to slap Anne or give her a hug. The sexist attitude of the men at the court is infuriating for the modern teenage girl to read, the double standards sickening, but it adds to the realism and believability of the story.

I loved this book so much that I stayed up all night reading it, not stopping till I was finished. Not very many books have ever made me cry but The Other Boleyn Girl brought me to tears.

An Abundance of Katherines

Title: An Abundance of Katherines

Author: John Green

I.S.B.N.: 978-0525476887

I bought this book when I was on Florida earlier this year. I’d seen it on’s must read list and had heard it praised on the podcast Smart Mouths. Though I enjoyed this book, I wanted to like it much more than I actually did.

An Abundance of Katherine’s focus’s around the life of Colin Singleton a child prodigy who has dated, and been dumped by nineteen girls named Katherine. Depressed after Katherine XIX he and his best friend Hassan decide to go on a road trip together before Colin heads of to University in the autumn. The road trip quickly comes to a close when they stop in a little town called Gutshot, Tennessee.

The characters in this story, while not always likeable, are portrayed realistically. One of my favourite things about the book was Colin’s love of anagramming. Try it, it’s harder than you think, especially if like Colin you insist on them being grammatically correct. This is an intelligent novel written for intelligent teens. John Green did not underestimate the intelligence of his audience like many other YA authors.

Rating: 6/10

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Before I Die

Title: Before I Die
Author: Jenny Downham
I.S.B.N.: 978-1-862-30487-1

I bought this book while I was doing work experience earlier this year and once I started reading it, I was so absorbed in the story that I didn’t stop reading until it was done, (okay, that’s a lie, approximately one bathroom break and whatever amount of time it takes to eat a sandwich). Then when I was back at school Monday, I loaned it out to all of my friends and in the end twelve of us had all read it and we all had the same thing to say about it, Whoa! This is no book for the light at heart. It should really come with a free packet of Kleenex or at least a warning not to read it in a public place or people will become concerned over your mental well being.

The book tells the story of Tessa a seventeen year old with terminal leukaemia. But don’t feel too sorry for the ticking time bomb inside Tessa because with the help of her best friend Zoey have compiled a list of things she wants to do before she dies. The things on the list range from saying yes to everything for a day, to having sex for the first time to trying drugs. One thing that wasn’t on her list though was falling in love.

This book is genuine and Tessa is one of the most realistic fictional characters I have ever come across. The ending is perfect if heart breaking. It’s a story that will stick with you long after you finish it.

Rating: 8/10

Let's Get Lost

Title: Let’s Get Lost

Author: Sarah Manning

I.S.B.N.: 0-340-87701-4

I got this book out of my local library about a month ago, (it has yet to be returned, expecting an angry letter in the post any day now demanding it’s immediate return!) and ended up really liking it much to my surprise. You see, I started reading it about two weeks ago and after I read the first chapter I threw it down and forgot all about it. You know sometimes you’re not in the mood for a certain kind of book and feel you have to switch to another one? Well, I moved onto Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress… but that’s going to be a whole other review. Yesterday I picked Let’s Get Lost up again and started reading it and this time I was hooked.

The narrator of this novel is Isabel, an English teenager who has recently lost her mother due to reasons unknown to the reader, well unknown at the start anyway.
But don’t go feeling sorry for Isabel she knows how to take care of herself, she’s the most popular/evil girl in the school and she isn’t afraid to stomp on anyone to show them whose boss. Then she meets Smith, a guy three years older than her and drop dead gorgeous. Unfortunately he doesn’t know that she’s a sixteen year old school girl and would never even think about giving her the time of day if he did. On the outside Isabel seems fine but on the inside she’s seriously messed up, her Dad blames her for her mother’s death and she does too. All of Isabel’s lies soon begin to catch up with her and she has to suffer the consequences as her world caves in.

Thoroughly enjoyed it and I even cried towards the end.

Rating: 9/10

Friday, July 3, 2009

Perfect You

Title: Perfect You
Author: Elizabeth Scott
I.S.B.N.: 978-1-4169-5355-5

I’d had this book on my Amazon wish list forever and a day, but had just never bothered ordering it; there was always something else that I wanted more than it, so, when I was on holidays in Easter of this year, I came across it in Borders so I decided to buy it. I was really shocked when I read it by how much I liked it! It took me utterly by surprise, it was so different to those typical ‘oh woe is me; my parents are splitting up/best friend is ignoring me/guy I like hates/hearts me type novel even though it includes all these topics.. I’ve recommended it to all my friends and I’ve passed my copy to four different people, all of whom had the same opinion of it as me, a teen romance with a difference.

Kate Brown is your average teenager. She is a good student, good not great, she’s normal looking, i.e. not grossly disfigured, and is not a complete and utter loser, though has no best friend due to unfortunate circumstances involving a summer in Maine and a dramatic weight loss. I like Kate because she is not one of those typical Mary-Sue characters, you know the ones; drop dead gorgeous with a weird name (Raven, Ever etc.) but is sadly a misunderstood loner for some unknown reason. Kate reacts to situations the way I would often react to them myself which makes her so much more relatable.

This book has many laugh out loud bits, mostly involving Kate’s Dad and his seemingly endless supply of Perfect You vitamins, but it also has bits that will have you near tears (note I say near as opposed to in tears, this isn’t a sad book). The romance angle of this book is done very well though ever so slightly predictable though there are a few good twists thrown in. Through the course of the book we see Kate and Will, the guy who sits in front of her in biology, go from making out alongside the trashcans behind the mall to an actual relationship. Kate seems to be the only one who is oblivious to how he feels about her (aren’t they always?).
Overall a good girly summer read, though a tad predictable at parts.

Rating: 7/10

The Kiss of Life

Title: The Kiss of Life

Author: Daniel Waters

I.S.B.N.: 978-1-84738-397-6

The Kiss of Life is the sequel to Generation Dead by Daniel Waters. I read the first book back in November and totally loved it, so when I heard there was a sequel in the works needless to say I was ecstatic. Unfortunately for me I only got my hands on the book today (i.e. July 3rd) because I live in Ireland and had to wait for it to reach bookshops here, because being only sixteen, I have no credit card of my own to order it off the web. I was delighted to find all teen books at my local bookshop were 20% off so got the book for €6.39 when it was finally released here. I loved the cover of the book and thought that the black cover suited the theme (i.e. death and returning to life), plus the purple flower was really cool! (BTW, for American readers, this is the European cover!)

Chapter one opens inside Adam’s head. At first I found the format Adam’s chapters are written in hard to follow but it just makes you understand the character’s patterns of thought all the better. Adam has not come back as fully as Tommy or Karen and finds it difficult to function but, luckily for him, Phoebe sticks with him. I was pleasantly surprised by how the STD, a.k.a. Adam’s stepfather Joe, treated Adam. I thought for sure he would be given the boot, but everyone in his family is much more accepting of him now that he is DB (differently biotic!) with the exception of his step-brother Jimmy.

Phoebe has realised how deeply in love Adam is/was with her, he jumped in front of a bullet to save her, where as her zombie boyfriend Tommy Williams did not. Bad news for all the Phoebe and Tommy shippers out there, but that ship seems to have crashed and burnt, with Phoebe lashing out at everyone’s favourite undead blogger. I myself wasn’t left in a sobbing fit by this, but I know a lot people who will be! One thing that annoyed me about Phoebe with this book was the fact that she mothered Adam a bit too much, so much that he had to tell her to back off a bit.

Tommy is not around much for this book, (I’m not going to totally spoil the book for all those who haven’t read it!) but he still plays a large role. Some of the other smaller characters are embellished such as Collette and Tak. Karen also really comes into her own in this book, though Karen was one of the main zombies in the last book, this book she becomes one of the main characters. She appears to be a major role model for all the zombie kids out there, even getting a job at the local mall where her employers don’t even know that she is dead (undead?), the book ended on a bit of a cliff hanger in regards to her!

I was not disappointed in the Kiss of Life though it did have an awful lot to live up to! But I know some people may be disappointed with this book because it wasn’t as action packed as the first in my opinion. This suited me fine seeing as I’m a hopeless romantic and thoroughly enjoyed the more romantic angle, but I know it may not appeal to everyone. All in all one of the better books I’ve read this year.

Rating: 9/10