Sunday, September 30, 2012

The False Prince

So, there is a boy in one of my classes who reads all the time.  I desperately want to be able to recommend books to him when he asks.  Alas, he's read every boy friendly book I have.  But, I've got a new book to put in his hands now.  I think he'll love it, and I did too.

Jennifer A. Nielsen's (visit her site) False Prince (watch the trailer here) is awesome.  In the book, Conner, one of the twenty regents in King Eckbert's court, is plotting to take over the abandoned throne of Carthya.  He's not going to take it himself directly, he plans to train someone to pose as the long lost Prince Jaron. 

The search for Prince Jaron is sparked by the rumor that the entire royal family has been killed.  While all of Carthya suspects this rumor, Conner as a regent knows of this rumor's truth.  So, he formulates a plan.  He will comb the orphanages of Carthya in search of Jaron candidates, boys who are the right age and look like Jaron.  His search revealed four potential princes, three of  whom went to Connor's home and received training in the ways of royalty.  The three boys were distinctly different.  There was the brawny Roden, the brainy Tobias, and then there was Sage.  Sage had a way of upsetting just about anyone.  He was headstrong, argumentative, and mischievous.  Everything the young prince was known to have been. 

As you might imagine, Conner has lots of trouble keeping the boys in line.  For, they know one will be chosen and the other three will be killed.  This book certainly puts forth many unexpected twists and treacherous turns. 

This book is the first in The Ascendance Trilogy.  The second installment is entitled The Runaway King.  I for one am excited about it.  The end of The False Prince indicated that "war is coming."  I prefer to read that the way Ned Stark from The Game of Thrones might say "winter is coming".  Obviously, this will be awesome!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Viola in Reel Life

Once upon a time, I used to read books for adults.  It's true.  And, on the rare occasion, I still do.  Surprising, I know.  But, in those days I read the Big Stone Gap series by Adriana Trigiani, and I really loved them.  Now, the same friend who loaned me the Big Stone Gap books also let me know about Trigiani's young adult book, Viola in Reel Life.  In my opinion, it's clear that Trigiani knows how to reach an audience of any age!

In Viola in Reel Life, Viola Chesterton, who is fourteen, loves to be behind her camera.  As the daughter of documentary filmmakers, Viola intends to also make movies.  She keeps a video diary, loves using her computer to edit her footage, and has a BFFAA named Andrew, who also is into film making.

But, when Viola moves from the fast paced life of Brooklyn, New York to an all girls boarding school called Prefect Academy in South Bend, Indiana, she's not thrilled.  Viola is to spend one year at Prefect Academy while her parents are in Afghanistan filming an upcoming documentary.  Prefect is the chosen location since Viola's mother also attended this hallowed hall of learning.  Viola, well, she's pretty determined not to be happy.  She requested a single room, but that didn't work out either.  So, she's stuck in a quad.

As you may have guessed, the girls in the quad and Prefect begin to wear down Viola's tough Brooklyn ways.  Viola learns a lot her freshman year.  She makes her first film, has her first boyfriend, and experiences a different life than she's ever known.

This is a great feel-good read.  I really like how the girls leaned on each other to deal with obstacles, many of which were pretty unexpected.  Be sure to visit Harper Teen's Viola in Reel Life page for fun stuff like quizzes and deleted scenes from the books.  I am looking forward to reading Viola in the Spotlight as well. Plus, I too like to wear a pair of bright yellow flats.   

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Goddess Test

Talk about books with unexpected twists and turns, and you've got to mention The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter.  If you think you've heard every take on mythology out there, I think this one would still surprise you.

In The Goddess Test, Kate Winters has moved to Eden, her mother's small town childhood home, because this is her mother's dying wish.  Kate's mother, Diana, is suffering from cancer, and her time is growing short.  Diana and Kate have always been together, each relying on the other for everything.  Young Kate has given up nearly all normalcy of life to care for her ailing mother. 

However, when the two return to Eden, Diana insists Kate take part in normal life.  She should attend the local high school, and she should make some friends.  Kate does her best to do this.  She makes an impression on a few of the locals and catches the eye of jealous, teen queen, Ava.  When Kate heads out to a party with Ava one evening, everything changes.

Ava dies in an accident that night.  However, she is brought back by the mysterious Henry if Kate will agree to grant him the condition of his choice.  Of course she does.  However, the twist comes in when Henry actually turns out to be the Greek god, Hades.  Unexpected!  Just as in the myth of Hades and Persephone, Henry requests that Kate be willing to spend the six cool months of the year with him.  But, in order to keep this arrangement, Kate must pass a series of tests.  If Kate can do this, she will be granted immortality, be able to see her mother in her pre-illness condition, and spend half of the rest of her existence with Henry.

At first Kate is overwhelmed and feels trapped, but oh how things begin to change.  There are so many unexpected twists to the plot of this story.  I absolutely loved reading it.  I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy.  The next book Goddess Interrupted is available now.  There is novella called "The Goddess Hunt" which happens between the first two books and another called the "The Goddess Legacy" which is between the second and third, and is collection of short stories told from the point of view of a variety of characters in the series.  I am sure these will be great too.  This one is certainly worth your time.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shatter Me

Shatter Me (watch the trailer here)  by Tahereh Mafi had me reeling from the first chapter.  It simply took off and didn't slow down, even at the end.  I was completely sucked into the world where Juliette exists, even though it seems like a horrible place.  Oh, dystopia, you know how to pull me right in!

Shatter Me (read the first chapter here) tells the horrific story of seventeen year old Juliette Ferrars who had been incarcerated for murder.  This isn't your normal prison/prisoner situation.  This is a prison run by the Reestablishment- the cruel government attempting to regulate a world where food is hard to find, birds no longer fly, the weather is unpredictable, and diseases ravage the population.  But murder?  She seems so kind.  Her ability to harm others comes simply through contact with her skin.  Isn't that crazy?  Touching Juliette causes excruciating pain, and if done long enough, can cause death. 

As you can imagine, it was hard growing up this way.  Juliette's parents could not understand her and her powerful touch.  There lack of understanding really translated into a lack of love.  So, Juliette was taught she was unlovable and to avoid human contact at all cost.  That wouldn't cause any way.  So, finding herself in solitary confinement in a Reestablishment prison is just what Juliette thinks she deserves.  Her life continued upon this miserable existence until the day her solitude was shattered by the arrival of a cellmate, who is shockingly a boy.  Unexpected. 

Even more unexpectedly, Juliette knows him.  She recognizes him from elementary school years ago.  But, she can't find it within herself to reach out to him.  For friendship.  She would never reach out to him physically.  Juliette is absolutely terrified of touching a person for fear of hurting them. 

But, even this is not the biggest surprise.  It seems as though the Reestablishment, or at least the son of the Reestablishment's leader wants to harness Juliette's powers and exploit them.  Warner is obsessed, to say the very least with Juliette.  After having studied her endlessly, Warner finally lets Juliette in on his demented plan of making her an instrument of torture for the Reestablishment.  As you might have guessed, Juliette is mortified.  But, what can she do?  Is the boy from her past the key to a new future?  Is Warner completely insane?  Does Juliette have more to offer than her touch?  Oh my, my, my. 

I've got to tell you, I have so many questions after having finished this book.  I am thrilled that it will be a trilogy, and there will be an enovella from Warner's point of view called Destroy Me released in October 16.  By now, I think everyone knows how I feel about novellas!  I absolutely can't wait to get inside Warner's twisted head!  The second book, Unravel Me is due out in February of 2013 and the third, yet untitled book is due out in the fall of 2013. 

*I would reccomend this book to older teens.