Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

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Genre: Realistic/historical fiction

A 2012 Michael Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature Honor Book

Jasper Jones was one of those books I wanted to start recommending before I had finished reading. This is what young adult fiction should be.

Jasper Jones is the store of Charlie, a teenage boy growing up in a small Australian mining town in the 1960s (of particular interest to me as my sister currently lives in a small, rural Australian mining town). When the town delinquent, Jasper Jones, shows up at his window one night, Charlie makes the pivotal choice to follow him, and as a result becomes caught up in…well, a lot. A town scandal/mystery. A personal and moral crisis. A search for justice on many levels. The solution to the book’s mystery won’t leave anyone reeling, but by the end, everything has come together so gracefully it feels satisfactory. The writing is beautiful, descriptive and readable. Continue reading »

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Fuse by Julianna Baggott

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image_126Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Dystopian

Sequel to Pure

Spoilers for Pure may be contained.

The story starts right where it left off, with Pressia, Bradwell and El Capitan working together at OSR and Partridge and Lyda with the Mothers. Before long, Partridge is headed back into the Dome, leaving the others behind to deal with the Dome’s newest threats and try frantically to decipher the information contained in the black box they acquired in the last book. Continue reading »

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August 5, 2013

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Marge: Am I cool, kids?
Bart and Lisa: No.
Marge: Good. I’m glad. And that’s what makes me cool—not caring, right?
Bart and Lisa: No.
Marge: Well, how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we’ve tried everything here.
Homer: Wait, Marge. Maybe if you’re truly cool, you don’t need to be told you’re cool.
Bart: Well, sure you do.
Lisa: How else would you know?

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This weekend, my brother got married. A lot, lot, lot of things happened that were so heartwarming and wonderful and full of love they would make you want to throw up a little bit. I’ll spare you most of the details.

One thing happened that has really kept me thinking and was so unexpected and awesome at the same time. I’ve really been in a funk lately, for a lot of reasons, and my self-esteem is in a really crappy place like it hasn’t been since high school/college (my first couple years of college were kind of a dark time). I had an amazing but extremely challenging first year as a mom and am finally getting back on my feet, but my new-mom lifestyle has left me careerless, frazzled, and with a completely changed body and a few extra pounds. In May, we were overjoyed to discover that my daughter was going to be a big sister, until our first ultrasound showed radio silence where we should have seen the frantic pattering of a 7-week old heart. I was realistic about the miscarriage, and rather than throwing me into a dark spiral, I simply felt rather deflated and worn out. To add insult to injury, my weight, which had already started plumping with happy baby bloat, kept right on climbing – apparently often your body takes awhile to get the memo that it doesn’t have an extra mouth to feed anymore, because hormones are awesome and why wouldn’t a sad, tired woman want to get fatter? Plus, finding a dress for your brother’s wedding that doesn’t make you look like a blimp in pictures is so boring when you’re thin. Continue reading »

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The Kill Order by James Dashner

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The following review contains spoilers for the Maze Runner series.

Genre: Sci-Fi/Dystopian

The Kill Order is the fourth book in the Maze Runner series and a prequel to The Maze Runner itself. It could be read without reading the other books but I think there are slights spoilers just in the prologue.

The Kill Order takes place 13 years before The Maze Runner began. It tells the story of Mark, a teenage boy living through the aftermath of the sun flares (a phenomenon we found out about in The Scorch Trials, the second books in the series) which ravaged the earth.  When Mark and his friends are attacked by people wielding the darts laced with The Flare (a virus we also learned about in The Scorch Trials), they begin a quest to confront those who are behind the attacks. The story also tells in flashback about Mark’s experience surviving the flares. Continue reading »

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Graceling by Kristin Cashore

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Genre: Fantasy

I recently reread Graceling in preparation for reading its sequel, Bitterblue. It’s still one of my favorite young adult books.

Graceling takes place in a fictional kingdom in which certain individuals have “graces” – a grace being a special ability of some sort. Heroine Katsa has such a grace – she is graced with a talent for killing. Forced to act as a tool for her uncle, the king, Katsa acts out behind his back as part of a council she has formed to bring justice to the kingdom – and those kingdoms around her – with the help of friends and allies. Continue reading »

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