Archive for Young Adult fiction

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Lisa’s review)

Posted in Fiction, Lisa with tags on July 18, 2008 by Lisa


Review cross posted at Books. Lists. Life.

Speak was an excellent book and will definitely be at or near the top of my list for the year. Speak is the story of Melinda Sordino. Mel called the cops at a party last summer and is now a social outcast. Now she has to deal with the fallout of her actions as well as dealing with why she called the cops in the first place.

The plot line of this book is dark. Mel is tormented, her grades are slipping, her parents are unsupported and distant. The only class she enjoys is art where she spends the entire year trying to draw a tree. Her best friend abandons her for the popular crowd and the popular guy. Mel stops talking. Despite all this, there are moments of great humor as well. The high school environment is captured perfectly.

The writing is terrific. The book is written as a series of very short paragraphs, sometimes only a sentence long. Some of the turns of phrase are simply breathtaking. Here’s a few examples:

“Maybe I’ll be an artist if I grow up.” (p. 78)

“Of course I want to be a model. I want to paint my eyelids gold. I saw that on a magazine cover and it looked amazing- turned the model into sexy alien that everyone would look at but nobody dared touch.” (p.82)

It’s hard to say much about this book without giving it away, but if you have an interest in YA fiction you should read this. If you know a teenager or were a teenager, read this. It’s so very good.

Speak has also been reviewed by one of my co-bloggers here on We’d Rather Read. Be warned though, her review does contain a major spoiler. I’d recommend not reading it until after you read the book.

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Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Posted in Fiction with tags , , on January 13, 2008 by Lisa

You can’t be a reader of these literary blogs without hearing about Twilight. It seems that everyone read it last year, and everyone loved it. The same is true about it’s sequel (New Moon), but when it came to the third book (Eclipse) reviews were mixed. Twilight is the young adult version of Anita Blake or Sookie Stackhouse. Bella moves to gloomy Forks and discovers that vampires DO exist. She falls for one of them and (not surprisingly) dangerous things happen.

Unlike every other reader, I didn’t LOVE the book. It was good. I read it quickly, and my quibbles with it are minor. However, I don’t feel a burning need to read the follow up. The vampire world is believable, I like her twist on it a lot. I loved Edward and all of his family. I love the humanitarian aspect of Carlisle. I liked most of the other teenagers.

What didn’t I love? Bella was just ok. The clumsiness was unbelievable which meant that by the end, when her clumsiness is the Big Explanation, it was an obvious plot point. I was also annoyed by how conveniently her father (the sheriff) was always absent until the night he was suddenly home and didn’t trust her AT ALL. She had an awful lot of freedom for a 17 year old girl in a new town, living with a parent she’s never lived with before. The Epilogue comes out of nowhere with Jacob, clearly just there to set up the sequel. Overall, I thought I could see the plot mechanisms way to easily.

I read a good number of young adult fiction last year, and while this one was good, so much of what I read was better.

Cross posted to Books. Lists. Life.