I miss reading so much that I’ve been reading young adult ebooks on my computer (sshhh, don’t tell the boss!) my laptop, my Kindle, and even on my phone.
Thankfully, most of those I’ve read recently had made amends for the joke that was 50 Shades of Gray. Obviously, I am not a young adult anymore, but when I started reading a couple of the YA novels a few weeks ago, I actually found myself enjoying them and I craved for more. They reminded me of high school, my friends, the music and the books we liked back then, crushes… lots of crushes… Reading has been the cause of my recent headaches, tired eyes (sometimes from crying. Some of the stories moved me) and blurred vision, but I don’t care. For the few hours of “Me” time each day, I get to be somewhere else. Sometimes, I get to be someone else.
These were the books that kept me from blogging for a while.
First, here are the books that have, in some ways, struck a chord —
For some fun, travel, and adventure: The 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. Ginny received instructions from her aunt in the form of letters and she could only read them one at a time and in order once she has completed what her aunt wanted her to do or has arrived at a destination somewhere in Europe. Fun! Never mind the thought of how dangerous it was for a 17-year-old to travel alone, for the first time, all over Europe, with no cell phone or map or any travel aid except the instructions in the envelopes. I felt sad after reading it, though. I was reminded that backpacking in Europe with girlfriends was one of the items in my mental bucket list when I was younger but work, insufficient funds, and uber protective parents got in the way. At least I got a teeny taste of Europe for a few hours of reading the book.
For that coming of age story: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Thanks, Micanonymous, your great review was partly why I read it. For the most part, it was because of the book title. I was a wallflower in high school and I still am. That’s why I can relate to the main character, Charlie. I also like being one. Whether or not I am around, most people do not notice, I come and go, nobody cares sometimes, not even my baby, especially when the Backyardigans is on TV (nope, not a bit upset about it. He’ll treat me that way when he grows older anyway. Better get used to it now). The book brought back memories of high school – puberty (eww, thank God, never again!), the awkwardness, the social trips, slips and falls, the crushes, the friendships… Charlie is so genuine and sweet. I can’t remember ever being that way back in high school. In the end, we find out why Charlie was suffering. I was shocked… and sad. I just sat there, not sure if I had understood correctly. When I realized that I actually had understood correctly, I burst into tears. Thankfully, no one saw.
For some light teen rom-com: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. (The title makes a reference to Nick and Nora Charles. I watched “The Thin Man” a few years ago and I don’t remember the plot anymore but I enjoyed William Powell and Myrna Loy’s onscreen chemistry. So cute!) The story covers just one day (or night) and told in alternating points of view. The characters were witty and LOL funny, and their interest in music reminded me of my friends and our interest in music. “Straight-edgy” — sounds like me.
And then there were the books that I thought were enjoyable but weren’t really that Spectacular! Spectacular! —
For some sci-fi: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson. It wasn’t exactly difficult to piece the puzzles together and there wasn’t too much action here. From the start, I got that Jenna wasn’t who she was anymore. Well, she at least THINKS. The 10% that was left of her original brain was still so much more than that of Ms. Ana Steele’s (still can’t get over it). The endless philosophical questions about life and death plus all that science thingamajigs made my head swirl, but kept me turning the page.
For some emo, sad, dark thing going on: Love You, Hate You, Miss You by Elizabeth Scott. I understood Amy’s heartbreak because she lost her best friend. I understood how Amy thought she was the cause of her best friend Julia’s death… at first. Then she got bratty and sulky… and brattier and sulkier as the story went on. I refuse to sympathize with someone who hated herself because she had bright, beautiful red hair and supermodel long legs! There was just too much emphasis on poor self image… and drinking and Amy’s so-in-love parents. Maybe that’s why I like Amy and I hate her, too. She felt real to me. She was so effectively annoying and whiny… and I remember all too clearly how I was that way when I was her age.
However, I didn’t get how Julia could be the coolest friend in the world and how Amy seemed so needy. Julia was this, Julia was that. Julia was perfect. Amy can’t function without Julia. Amy loved Julia very much that at some point, I half expected a revelation that she was in love with Julia. Hullo, Julia encouraged her drinking! Duh. They shoplifted, they did sneaky things, they drank, they made out with lots of guys, and they were only fifteen! True friends shouldn’t encourage such behaviors. I know mine don’t. Maybe we really are just geeks.
For some creepy zombie action: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. Zombies! Yeah! I thought the post-apocalyptic society was stifling because of the weird Ya-Ya Sisterhood and that fence that surrounded the village to keep the zombies out. I also thought it was sad because the living had no choice but to accept a life with the zombies (people they used to know who were infected with the zombie virus) outside the fence. I thought the romance part fell flat. No chemistry there. The men in the story, they weren’t so hot. Why was Mary so attracted to lame Travis? Ah, maybe because the choices were limited. ..because all the cute guys were either zombies or zombie chow.
For some hot ghostly romance: A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb. Now, there’s the chemistry I’m talking about. I am no literary expert but I thought the writing style was, for lack of a more intelligent-sounding term, nice, I can’t say exactly why. I just like some of the lines. I like Helen’s “A Letter from a Muse to Her Poet.” – “Dear sir, I was called away and couldn’t bring you, but now I feel haunted. I know that sometimes you felt I was a part of you and that losing me would leave a hole in your heart, but that is not true. I like to pretend I was the core of your talent, but it wasn’t me. Everything you do, the ideas you weave, the lines you write, the words you choose, it was always only you. Please forgive me. I’m sorry that I didn’t say goodbye.”
—and her love letter to James — “Dear sir: twelve hours is as twelve years to me. I imagine you in your home, smiling, thinking of me. That I am your heart’s secret fills me with song. I wish I could sing of you here in my cage. You are my heart’s hidden poem. I reread you, memorize you, every moment we’re apart.”
For some cute immortals who aren’t vampires: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. Cute. Saw the movie version years ago. Cute.
Here’s something to pass the time —
I only read Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl because it was made into a movie with Jeremy Irons in it. I wanted to read the book before watching the movie. Sad to say, the book has discouraged me from asking hubby to shell out some cash so we could watch the movie version. There’s really nothing different about this book except for the not-so-fancy labels. When we all come right down to it, they’re all just witches. And when we talk about witches, Anne Rice’s Mayfair witches are still the best.
For some carnal, canine loving: Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. Werewolves. Howl. The main character Vivian is confident and she knows she’s hot — quite different from the nerds, wallflowers, outcasts, emos in the stories above. I keep picturing her as more feline than canine though. Her boy toy Aiden is lame. I thought the romance part of the story was rather pointless. They were obviously not meant to be together. Now that Gabriel… rowrrrr!
… And the ppfffft-I’m-blowing-a-raspberry-at-you-book:
Maximum Ride (The Angel Experiment) by James Patterson. A group of genetically engineered kids with wings. I don’t know why but I gave up after a few pages into the story. The supposedly electrifying and action-packed encounter between the human birdies and the human dogs/wolves during the first chapter just didn’t hold my interest.
16 Reasons Why My Life Sucks by Sara Walker. I thought the title hinted at something funny. Au contraire. The main character is whiny, pessimistic, glum, sulky, and sarcastic. Sarcastic in a not funny way. She was trying to hard to be “emo”, like some Emily the Strange wannabe. I don’t like her. How could you like someone who confesses to not liking puppies? Also, all that whining felt like I was reading my high school diary. So petty. So whiny. The story was predictable. I gave up after about 1/3 through the book. I don’t even know how I was able to go through with it.
I’ve got about a thousand more and about six thousand adult books in my computer. I am justifying this renewed voracity for reading with the thought that by the time I am through reading the ebooks, the Little Creature would be a YA and I will be able to filter recommend the books he could read. (The same justification applies to TV series. And movies).
Agree or Disagree?