Yesterday, in case you missed it, I wrote my extremely nerdy, gushing review of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. But believe it or not, I have been reading other things, although, I will admit, it's been hard to move on from those books. Other books just don't live up to it. BUT, let's not wallow. I have found a few other interesting things to read, all YA of course, and I will tell you about them now:
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
This book is about Rory, an American girl (from Louisiana, in fact, so you know, super American) who goes off to school in the London (naturally). As soon as she arrives, though, strange things start happening (naturally). Someone, it seems, is re-enacting the Jack the Ripper murders. Rory's friends are intrigued by the murders, which are happening near their school, and they end up getting sort of involved. Then Rory discovers that she has a power, a power which could help stop the murders, and then she gets REALLY involved.
So...my thoughts. Well, Rory's power was cool, and I enjoyed that aspect of the novel. It was something sort of new and different in YA paranormal-ness, not your typical vampire/zombie kind of thing. Also, the characters were really funny, especially the side characters. Like, Rory has all these wacky relatives, who don't even appear "on-screen" and yet still manage to be very entertaining. Also, there is a bit of a love interest, of course, although I felt more could've been done with that. But then again, it was a nice change to see that the love story wasn't the center of the book. The relationship unfolded in a way that was very natural, mostly drama-free, very true-to-life. But then again, for those reasons, it was kind of un-exciting at times. So maybe there's a reason why the love story is always the center of the book. Anyway, overall I liked it. I got a little confused by the ending, but it was unexpected, which I liked. It's the first in a series (naturally) and I liked it enough that I want to read the next one. I'm curious to see what will happen next. Also, I kind of already said this, but the characters are really, really fun. Oh, and London is a great setting. Love it.
Oh, so I said before that from now on I would try to pick a song or two to go with each book. So, which one goes with this book? Hmm...Well, one obvious choice is "London Calling" by the Clash. Also, I would say...maybe..."Ghost of a Good Thing" by Dashboard Confessional. You'll see why *hint hint*.
You can buy it here
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
Whew, so, I have to say - this was a difficult book. But, like most difficult things, it was very worthwhile. It was not, by any means, a super fun happy book to read. Kind of the opposite of the Mortal Instruments, which I just got done with, and which is all action and funny one-liners and butt-kicking (although it isn't happy all the time either). This is a very contemplative novel. The characters aren't running all over the place, but as our friend Hemingway once said, you should never mistake movement for action. Things are happening in this book, big things. A family is torn apart and brought back together. A girl loses her dignity and then slowly regains it. I really enjoyed it, but it was painful at times. Like, me cringing while reading painful. But also, it wasn't like, overly melodramatic, and the teenagers sounded like real teenagers and the thoughts and feelings and dialogue were all very genuine. So yeah...it was good.
As for the playlist for this one, I already came up with one for it on my Top Ten Tuesday list, but I've thought of a few more. For example, I think the song "Sister" by Mumford and Sons would be perfect for it. The lines "There's a chip on your shoulder girl..." and "Sister, don't test the ones you love...don't lose your roots" really fit the main character, who does have a chip on her shoulder and who is testing the ones she loves, although she's right to do so, I think. I also think John Mayer's "Daughters" would be good, since the father-daughter relationship in this novel is really strained. As you can see, this is a novel that deals with familial relationships, which is always interesting to me.
You can buy it here
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
This novel is set in a futuristic world where no one over the age of 18 can get pregnant, and so teenagers get paid to get pregnant. Crazy, right? It's a little more complicated than that - some people "pregg" professionally, with partners that are picked for them, and some as "amateurs," with their boyfriends or whatever. Anyway, so the novel centers around twin sisters Melody, who is trying to get in to the professional pregnancy biz, and Harmony, who has spent her whole life in a secluded, old-fashioned religious compound, where she is trained to be a mother and a wife. But then, under mysterious circumstances, Harmony tracks Melody down and visits her, right before Melody is due to "pregg" for the first time and...chaos ensues. Oh, also, Melody is maybe in love with her friend Zen, but she can't get involved with him basically because he doesn't have prime DNA. Craziness!
Anyway, so overall I liked the book. It's an interesting concept, and I really liked the characters of Melody and Harmony. Actually, it's funny, in the beginning I liked Melody more and Harmony annoyed me, but by the end I really liked Harmony, and Melody kind of annoyed me, but not that much. And then I liked her again in the end, too. But yeah...something really funny and interesting happens to Harmony. I don't want to give it away, but it was cool. And I really like the Melody/Zen story. The only bad thing I can say about the novel is that sometimes the futuristic slang kind of bothered me. It just seemed so literal. Like, it just seemed like everything was centered around the book's message and the whole pregnancy thing, and I was like, okay, enough. But then, once I understood what everything meant, it bugged me less, and I began to see how it would be possible that all these people would be so obsessed with pregnancy and related terms. But still, it bugged me a little bit. I think language things like that are always kind of hard to get used to. I also couldn't decide if there was too much "message" in the book or if it was just enough. I really liked the things that had to do with Harmony's religion, maybe because that's a topic that interests me. Anyway, for now, I'll reserve my judgement about the message. You can read it and see for yourself.
Oh, and one last thing that bothered me - I felt like the ending was kind of forced. That is, I didn't think it was logical and it seemed like things only happened the way they did so that they could set up for the sequel. But, nonetheless, I am excited to read the sequel, which is coming out this April.
Oh, and songs...? Hm...Oh, I know! The Discovery Channel Song by Bloodhound Gang would be perfect. Some of the people in the book give into their "animalistic urges, and some people must restrain themselves until they can "mate" with someone who has good DNA. Also, it's just a funny song, and I think it's fitting.
You can buy it here
If you like reading, you might be interested in reading MY book, Cardboard Characters, which just came out today. You can read more about that here.