Thursday, August 30, 2012

#6- Catcher In The Rye By J.D. Salinger

#6- Catcher In The Rye

Rating- 5/10

This book was entirely painful for me to read. I know that its considered a "classic" but I just couldnt connect with the main character AT ALL.

The story, well its hard to even say a storyline, its basically a high school aged boy writing in an almost diary format. He tells us about his days at school, then after he gets kicked out of school he tells us about wandering through New York while trying to stall time before he can go home so his parents wont know that he is kicked out.

I felt for this kid, I really did, he seemed so disillusioned with how his life was turning out. Every single thing that he did, after he did he found it to be not cool enough, or a bad idea. His attitude towards life was just a huge turn-off for me. 

When he went on a date with girls he was disrespectful and confusing, saying that he was in love with them one second and then claiming that he hadnt never hated anything more the next.

He also largely abused alcohol and cigarettes (which at the time the book was written I know wasnt as bad, but still gross since he is in high school and underaged).

I just didnt like it. I was disappointed that I didnt like it in fact, because I usually really like books written in this format and I had hoped to find a new favorite, as some people rave about how awesome they found this book to be.

Maybe if I was a bit more pessimistic towards the world and able to see where he was coming from better it may have worked out for me, but I just found him to be incredibly cliche and phony and didnt enjoy the reading at all.

The only part of the book that I liked was the last page, in which this quote was on, it made be somewhat understand how lonely he felt and possibly nostalgic for a time when things were better. It seems to me that this kid really needed some therapy and someone who cared about him.

“Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” 

Monday, August 27, 2012

#96- Gone By Michael Grant

#96- Gone


I discovered this series earlier this summer and got hooked instantly. The story follows a town called Perdido Beach, a fictional town in Southern California, 15 years ago the town had a radiation spill when a meteor hit the power plant in the town. Everyone claims that its completely taken care of... but this story says otherwise.

The main narrator is Sam Temple, he is sitting in school one day, after a lovely morning of surfing, when suddenly the teacher just disappears.

It seems quite strange, at first he isnt sure if he is losing his mind, everyone around him starts looking around and nervously giggling, at a certain point they realize that the teacher isnt anywhere to be found, they go into the hallway and a bunch more kids are also flabbergasted that their teachers have gone missing, along with all of their older classmates. After a while of searching they realize that everyone over the age of 15 has dissapeared. Not only that, but an area of Perdido Beach is completely blocked off by an impenetrable bubble.

The children are now in a place where they need to start to run a town, without any adult supervision. At first things are very hectic, children are upset without their parents around and not knowing what to do are eating junk food and soda every meal while playing video games and trashing the town.

After a few days of this people realize that the adults wont be coming back and they need to try to get things under control for when, or if, the adults come back.

Along the way, Sam starts to realize that people arent exactly as they used to be, the bubble isnt the only strange thing occurring in this town, people are starting to develop powers that no one can explain and its only getting worse from there. Food is starting to run out and without a stable government system, everyone is looking to Sam to be a leader. Throughout the months of the "FAYZ" (Fallout Alley Youth Zone, named by the children) people rise to the occasion and begin to make this place their home the best that they can.

I was hooked the very first moment that I read this book, after finishing the first I went ahead and bought all of the rest on my nook that very night. I loved the twists and turns and the storyline kept me intrigued the entire way through. Some of it also gave me nightmares (my fault for falling asleep reading) moral of this post, read the books. I read these throughout all of my vacations, unable to finish until it was completed. I CANT WAIT for the next and final book of the series to come out so I can finally find out what happens. My above post doesnt even half way explain how the books plot works, but in order to not ruin anything for the reader, its up to you to find out the rest.

“No. I believe in free will. I think we make our own decisions and carry out our own actions. And our actions have consequences. The world is what we make it. But I think sometime we can ask God to help us and He will. Sometime I think He looks down and say, 'Wow, look what those idiots are up to now. I guess I better help them along a little'.” 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

#19 Divergent By Veronica Roth

#19- Divergent

Rating- 8.5/10

In a society where instead of all types of personalities of people living together, they live in their own factions. There are 5 different factions

1. Candor- The Honest
2. Erudite- The Intelligent
3. Dauntless- The Daring
4. Abnegation- The Selfless 
5. Amity- The Peaceful 

At the age of 16 all teens take an aptitude test, going through several different simulated situations where each decision will help throw-out one of the options. At the end of the test they go back to their parents in their growing up faction and wait for the ceremony where they have the choice to either stay with their current faction, or go to a different one that was chosen for them during the aptitude test.

Each faction has different traits, different clothes, different living situations, and different jobs throughout the city.

Beatrice Prior has grown up in the Abnegation faction with her mother, father, and brother. At the age of 16 she has rarely seen her own reflection in the mirror, has gotten used to doing things for others instead of her self and has worn modest covering clothes for her entire life. When it comes time to get her aptitude test without even getting the results she knows that she is ready for a change. She just doesnt know how big of a change she is getting herself into.

During the test she is conflicted on answering things even in the heat of the moment, when the test is over her test administrator seems nervous and tells her to go home immediately without telling her any indication of her results. During the ceremony they announce out-loud that she has tested for the Dauntless faction and in that moment she makes the decision to leave everything that she has known and transfer to a faction where she must be brave and daring. Changing her name to Tris, she takes on a new identity and works on becoming a new person.

Once she gets there, adults are treating her differently, she is passing tests better than anywhere there and seems to be able to bend the experiences in the simulator. In a secret moment with one of the officials she finds out what everyone had been starting to realize but her, that she is Divergent, meaning that she can belong to more than one faction by nature. Being adept to more than one faction is a dangerous thing and its now her responsibility to keep this a secret.

Throughout twists and turns, and little bit of romance, Tris realizes that the city has bigger plans than factions and its up to her to find out just what that is.

I found this book to be quite exciting and interesting enough that I wanted to go out and pick up the sequel immediately. At the same time, having read it a few months ago a lot of the details were fuzzy and I found myself having to go back and re-read part of it in order to remember the outcome. When I have a book that really sticks with me that isnt an issue, for those reasons I gave it a 8.5. Very good, but not a book that holds on to your attention for the weeks following.

“People, I have discovered, are layers and layers of secrets. You believe you know them, that you understand them, but their motives are always hidden from you, buried in their own hearts. You will never know them, but sometimes you decide to trust them.” 

Friday, August 24, 2012

#1- The Harry Potter Series By J.K. Rowling

#1- The Harry Potter Series

Rating- 9.5/10

I've been somewhat dreading having to write this post. How is it possible to sum up Harry Potter into one blog post? It seems like something that needs an entire novel sized post.

I have never been a part of the Harry Potter band-wagon. I didnt read these books as a second grader and grow up loving them, I didnt wait at the theaters at midnight many years in a row waiting to see the movies... that is until this past year.

My friends had been getting on my case about not reading Harry Potter, my reasoning in the past was that I am not a huge fan of fantasy books, well they mentioned how much I enjoyed Hunger Games and other similar "fantasy" books and told me that I would enjoy Harry Potter and NOW was the time to read it, perfect timing so we could all go and see the final movie together at midnight. 

So I borrowed all seven books from my friends and went about the journey of reading Harry Potter. Now I promise you, I did have a job and went to school during this, but every single spare second of time I had in my day went to reading these books. I read through the entire series in three weeks. Do you know how many pages that is? I dont know either... but I assume a lot of them.

To this day, even after watching a movie marathon of all of the movies after reading all of the books in order, can't tell you which plotline belongs in which novel. It all blurred together into this awesome story that was never ending to me. Which honestly makes me really happy that I was able to read it all at once.

Basically, for those of you who havent heard of Harry Potter (lets be real, who hasnt heard of Harry Potter these days) its a story following Harry, Ron, and Hermione, through their magical adventures at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry. From the first book when Harry doesnt even know that he is a wizard, to the final book when he is the most powerful wizard of all battling "He Who Shall Not Be Named (shhh.... its Voldemort)" in the battle of his life Harry emits a realness that will stick with the reader from page one of book one to the final page of book seven.

To many people, including myself now, Harry Potter is more than just a book, its a magical adventure that we are able to get into by opening the pages of this book. It seems like a summarization of the books wouldnt even do half of the justice, so I'll just tell you this. Go out and read them, but make sure to give yourself plenty of time to do it! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

#78- Matched By Ally Condie


 #78- Matched

Rating- 8/10

Cassia lives in a society where everything is determined for you, the amount of food you eat, the type of job you work, and at age 17 you are paired with someone who is your perfect match.

Without having to make decisions, everyone lives in a world where there are rarely arguments, hardly ever illness or obesity, but also no choices.

Cassia has never found this to be a problem, living with her mother, father, and brother. She lives what considers to be a very normal and nice life. When the upcoming matching ceremony approaches she is more than excited to see who her match will be and is excited for the possibility of the rest of her life.

At the matching ceremony, she is paired with her best friend from childhood, Xander. It seems too good to be true, they already know each-other better than they know themselves, but regardless they still get the video of their match explaining their past and helping to get to know them in the future.

Cassia goes home to watch her video and is shocked when the boy on the screen isnt Xander, its Ky. After days of confusion and turmoil over the entire thing, an official comes and lets her know that it was a mistake, since Ky is an Abberation (someone on the outcast black list of their society) he cant be matched. 

She should feel relieved right? Well she doesnt. Once she realizes that someone else may be her perfect match she starts questioning not only her love life, but everything that she has come to know in society. A book that makes you question whether any society can really be "perfect" and the inner turmoil between doing whats right and doing whats in your heart. 

I personally enjoyed this book, I'm someone who would enjoy living in the society thats explained in the book. Having my entire life planned for me, considering that they know everything about you, picking your perfect match, picking your perfect job, etc. It takes all of the guess work out of life. Which may or may not sound like a good thing to you, but personally it seems that it would take a lot of the stress out of it. Who knows though, maybe, like Cassia, I would find that once my life was actually decided for me I didnt want it for myself anymore.

Overall the book was an enjoyable read, that didn't involve too much intense thinking or logical thoughts, an easy read that kept me turning the pages from beginning to end. 

“Our time together feels like a storm, like a wild wind and rain, like something too big to handle but too powerful to escape.” 

#71- Before I Fall By Lauren Oliver

#71- Before I Fall

Rating- 10/10

I have read this book before, but after skimming it I realized I didn't remember all of it so I decided to re-read it. I am infinitely glad that I did. 

Before I Fall follows the life of Samantha, a popular girl who climbed the social ladder and plans on staying there. She is in a circle with her three best friends, Lindsay, Elody, and Ally. Together they are invincible, or so they think.

On the Friday of "Cupids Day" February 12th, they all decide to go to a party. At this party they have their fun and when its time to leave, they let Lindsay drive home drunk. They drive recklessly and something runs in front of their car and they get into a car crash. If you learn no other lesson from this book let it be this, never drive home drunk. Not after one drink, not after two drinks, and certainly not after three. There is never a safe situation to drive home while drinking. 

Samantha thinks that its all over, she feels herself dying and falls into sleep.

So its quite a suprise to her when she wakes up again the next morning in her own bed. At first she freaks out, not sure how she got home the night before, not sure what happened to her friends, not sure what happened at all. That is until her little sister comes bolting into her room telling her that its Friday still. Friday? She decides that its Deja' Vu and if you convince yourself something enough you can convince yourself its true. That is until the entire day is EXACTLY THE SAME. That can't possibly be Deja Vu and she knows it. 

As the day ends and she falls asleep for the second time on February 12th and wakes up again on February 12th she starts to realize that there must be something that she needs to fix and set right about this day.

So she relives this day seven more times, and each time approaches it differently, until finally on the seventh day she realizes all of the mistakes she has made not only on that day, but also in her entire life.

I think my favorite part of this entire book was how much it showed that things can change from one single action, that one moment can change someones entire world. Even more importantly that the things you do affect others as well. There is a girl whom the entire school considers a big loser, Juliette, and throughout the week Sam see's how the things that they do that may seem harmless, and are actually much more than that. Bullying is a large issue in our society and I think its really sad how many people will throw around words like they arent as bad as throwing fists when in reality they can hurt just as much if not more. Sam realizes this and I think that the words and things that she does to try and fix them are eye-opening. I think that anyone who reads this book can learn the lessons that it tries to teach and I found myself very moved by the concepts.

I felt myself wishing that some of the days were real, and wishing that some of the things that happened on one February 12th had happened on a different version of it. I felt the emotions that these people felt and was just as confused as Sam when the entire day started over and she had to wipe her slate clean and start over again. 

“It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new. Just one false step, one pause, one detour, and you end up with new friends or a bad reputation or a boyfriend or a breakup. It's never occurred to me before; I've never been able to see it. And it makes me feel, weirdly, like maybe all of these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different.” 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

#53- Anna And The French Kiss- By Stephanie Perkins

#53- Anna And The French Kiss

Rating- 9/10

Every book that I read throughout this, I think to myself... "this is the best one yet!" and again, this book made me think that. I'm having a hard time not rating every single book a 10/10 so I'm trying to reserve those for books I consider life-changing... not to say this book was incredible and very very good, it just didn't change my life like the other "10" books have.

That being said, Anna And The French Kiss is a story about a girl named Anna (who would have guessed!) a girl from Atlanta Georgia, whose father writes cliche love novels (think Nicholas Sparks, but 10x as corny) and decides that Anna should go to a prestigious school... in Paris! 

Now for very American Anna this is a big shock, and although she is grateful for the opportunity, at first all she can think about is how much she misses home. Her first night at school she is crying into her pillow when the girl who lives in the dorm next to her, named Meredith, comes and knocks on the door and offers her hot chocolate. Anna happily accepts, and is glad to receive an invitation to eat breakfast with her the next day.

At breakfast, Anna meets Meredith's other friends, Rashmi, Josh, and Etienne St. Clair, she also has a wakeup call when the entire menu is in French, a language that she doesn't speak a single word of. To her relief St. Clair (a very adorable, English, Parisian, and very sexy boy) helps Anna order breakfast.

As expected the signs point to a romance blossoming for St. Clair and Anna, until she finds out that he has a girlfriend. So she decides that she will simply be friends with him... can I just say, YEAH RIGHT?! Everyone knows that simply being friends doesn't always work out like that, and Anna finds this out the hard way.

Throughout ups and downs of a friendship that is begging to be more Anna enjoys her year at boarding school, while finding out who she can be when she is given the chance to do things on her own.

I think that the biggest perk for me about this book was how realistic it felt. When Anna was expressing her emotions I honestly wondered whether this author had read my brain, taken my thoughts, and then written them into this book. I felt her love, her anger, her complete confusion over this boy who supposedly loved her but also loved someone else. I just wanted to rip this girl from the pages of the book and ask her some advice.

She said one thing that really made me connect to her as a character, she thinks that being with a guy is a special thing. She says that if the worst were to happen and she would to get knocked up by someone, would she be embarrassed to tell the child that he was their father? If the answer is anywhere close to a yes, then she wont have sex with him. This is something that I respect so much coming from a character in a book because it goes against the stereotypical generation that we live in thats so quick to give away every piece of themselves. 

Also as a side note, the complete descriptions of Paris made me want to visit it even more so than I would have before. The descriptions of the crepes, can I say yum? Also somewhat ironic/coincidental Anna writes her own blog on movies that she watches, somewhat like this project of mine writing a blog on books I read. Even more so why I felt she was so relatable to me.

“Why is it that the right people never wind up together? Why are people so afraid to leave a relationship, even if they know it's a bad one?” 

#9- Looking For Alaska By John Green

#9- Looking For Alaska

Rating- 10/10

Let me just say this right now, I am a huge John Green fan, I may have jumped on the band wagon a bit late on this one, but when I read this book about a year ago I knew that I had to read more of his literature. None of his books have disapointed. That being said, do yourself a favor and read all of his books (deservingly, they are all on this list! So I will be rating all of them)

In order, this is my second favorite John Green book (beat out by TFIOS)

The story follows a boy named Miles and his rather mundane life, until his parents decide to send him to boarding school. Miles is very into last words, knowing most of the last words of anyone you can think of. He regards going to boarding school as "Seeking His Great Perhaps" which are Francois Rabelia's last words. Once there, he meets his roommate, Chip (whom everyone calls "The Colonel") a girl named Alaska (whom Mile's immediately begins crushing on), and Alaska's friend named Takumi (who quite often feels left out from the group dynamic). They have all been going to school together for a while and have created a friend group that they welcome Miles into. Their main mission; complete as many pranks as possible without getting caught. 

The group, fueled by Alaska's rebellious attitude, break rules by drinking strawberry wine, smoking cigarettes on the swing sets, and doing anything and everything to prove themselves better than the "Weekday Warriors" (The rich kids who only attend the school during the week, to then return to their extravagant homes for the weekends)

When things get out of control, and Alaska makes a decision that no-one can undo. They are all faced to deal with the consequences and try to decipher where it all went wrong.

A coming-of age kind of book that explores romance, trying to fit in while also standing out, and the importance of good friends that get you through the rough times. Looking For Alaska is a gem of a book.

“So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”

(on a side note, that quote has become so popular that it now has its own tumblr page, can be found here; 

Monday, August 20, 2012

#58- Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children By Ransom Riggs

#58- Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

Rating- 9/10

Miss Peregrine's is a story about a boy named Jacob, who has grown up listening to his grandfathers "fairytales" about his childhood living at an orphanage on an island after escaping the Nazi's during the war. He shows him antique pictures of people who could be from the circus, a floating girl, a boy holding a large boulder above his head, a boy with bees engulfing the entire top half of his body, and many other peculiar children. 

Jacob believed these stories until he got into grade school, at which point he was taunted for believing the mystics that his grandfather told him. 

From that day on his grandfather never spoke of the stories again, until one day when many years later, after battling many years of dementia, his grandfather finally cracks and hits insanity and continues to think that these demons from his past are haunting him.

In order to understand his grandfather better, Jacob travels to this island to see what mystics await him. After several days he realizes that things arent always what they seem and that this island has a bit of magic left in it still.

My favorite part of this book was the pictures that were included in it. In the back of the book they tell us that they found all of the pictures from flea markets and they are all real. Each time that Jacob or his grandfather describes a photo, there is an image of it on the next page, which I found to make the entire story come to life even more so. The great story was brought even higher with the insertion of these pictures.

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.” 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

#72- Unwind By Neal Shusterman

#72- Unwind

Rating- 9/10

Unwind is set in the future, to a time where after the world had a big war, the Pro Life team versus the Pro Choice team, when both teams get together and try to make a compromise an interesting conclusion is made. It is decided that instead of having abortions before children are born, people are forced to have these children and if they decide by the age of 13 that they dont want them to be living anymore, they have until they turn 18 to make the decision to unwind them.

Unwinding is a process of taking every single organ and piece of matter in someone and giving it to others for a transplant. Shortly before the war someone came up with a new technique so that every single cell was used with no waste. They decide that since people are technically being killed, they are being spread throughout the world with different people in the shape of an arm or a leg or brain stems, that it isnt murder and its an acceptable new form of dealing with unwanted pregnancy.

Now of course there are exceptions, people who dont want their children at birth can have the choice to "stork" them which means dropping off the baby at a doorstep and if no one sees you do it, the baby is now the person who lives at that house. There is also the state system, that houses children that no one claims or wants.

The story follows several different characters, mainly Lev, Connor, and Risa. All three are being set to unwind, with different circumstances getting them to that point. Connor is a trouble maker and his parents sign the order. Risa grew up in the state system and when they no longer have room for her she is set to unwind. Lev is something called a "tithe" its a religious sacrifice that his parents have decided to make. They all have different stories, but one major thing in common... they will do whatever it takes to make sure that they wont be unwinded.

The story is both chilling (I was literally afraid to go to sleep one night) and eye-opening to a world that has let their children down and the lives that are harmed in the process.

“...One thing you learn when you've lived as long as I have-people aren't all good, and people aren't all bad. We move in and out of darkness and light all of our lives. Right now, I'm pleased to be in the light.” 

Friday, August 17, 2012

#43- My Sister's Keeper By Jodi Picoult

#43- My Sister's Keeper

Rating- 10/10

I read this book for the first time going into my freshman year of high school, it was one of the required summer reading books and so naturally I felt unsure about the interest level of the book. In general up to this point school assigned books hadn't impressed me. This book is where that all changed.

I remember vividly sitting outside in my backyard on one of my lounge chairs, crying silently as I finished the last chapter of this book. For the entire day the book lingered with me and I felt completely moved by the entire thing for weeks after while thinking about the paper I needed to write for class. I guess you could say that this was the book that really changed my love of reading, I was now more inclined to read things with more difficult story lines and characters.

My Sister's Keeper is a book following the different point of view of an entire family, who are all dealing with moral and ethical dilemmas when it comes to the life of those that they love.

Anna, who was born as a perfect donor for her sister and since the day of birth has spent her entire life being "her sister's keeper". She never found this to be a problem, until one day when her parents tell her that she must donate a kidney to Kate. While its a completely selfless and rewarding act, Anna doesn't want to do it. She wants to be able to play hockey and continue about being a normal 13 year old girl. Her parents may have forgotten this, but she hasn't been sick an entire day of her life yet she's spent most of it in the hospital for countless pin pricks and bone marrow retrievals and surgeries and shots.

Kate, who at a young age was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and from that day forward spent her entire growing up process in and out of hospitals. As the middle child of the family, she has never felt the middle child syndrome due to the fact that her mothers entire life revolves around keeping her happy and healthy. She feels some guilt that her younger sister is never able to live the life that she deserves due to the fact that Kate has cancer.

Sara, the mother of the girls, who spends her life dealing with the internal dilemma of keeping both of her daughters alive and happy. 

Brian, the father of the girls, works as a firefighter. He is somewhat conflicted throughout the novel feeling that he is being unfair to his youngest daughter by expecting her to always be around and healthy for Kate, but also not wanting to tell Anna that she doesn't have to do this because he wants Kate to live.

Then there's Jesse, he is the eldest brother of the three children and due to the fact that he has nothing to do with the illness has always kind of fell into the shadows of the other children. Throughout the book we are shown his internal distress over always been overlooked.

The book's main plot point is that Anna doesn't want to give Kate this kidney, she feels that since she is 13 and wants to live the rest of her life as she pleases the best way to do this would be to go to court to fight for medical emancipation. The book follows the court case and the emotional and physical turmoil that everyone in the family goes through during it. With emotions and words that will stick with you for a long time after reading the book, My Sister's Keeper is completely deserving of being on the top 100 list.

“I'm lonely. Why do you think I had to learn to act so independent? I also get mad too quickly, and I hog the covers, and my second toe is longer than my big one. My hair has it's own zip code. Plus, I get certifiably crazy when I've got PMS. You don't love someone because they're perfect. You love them in spite of the fact that they're not.” - My Sister's Keeper 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

#16- The Perks Of Being A Wallflower By Stephen Chbosky

#16- The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Rating- 10/10

This book has gotten a lot of attention lately due to the movie that is coming out this fall, keeping my fingers crossed that its good although I've never found movie adaptations to be even close to the magic found in books.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a coming of age kind of book, written in the first person point of view from a boy named Charlie. After the suicide of a good friend of his Charlie decides that he needs to start living his own life to its fullest potential. Although tragically shy and rather awkward he befriend a group of older kids and slowly gets introduced into their circle. They invite him to parties, football games, and wild adventures while also respecting the fact that he is a little put off and shy about the entire thing.

Throughout the book Charlie is writing letters to an anonymous source, all about his life and the struggles and triumphs that he experiences. He comes out of his shell and realizes that giving other people love and attention isnt enough, that he needs to find these things for himself as well.

I think that my favorite thing about this book is the real life feel that it has to it, being a somewhat awkward girl in high school (lets be real, who doesnt think of themselves as somewhat awkward looking back on those years) I appreciated the realness behind the characters and the way that they experienced things that I had also gone through.

I liked the variety of characters, whether it be Charlie's sister who is somewhat embarrassed by him and doesnt want to ruin her popularity. Or Patrick and Sam (step-brother and sister) who welcome Charlie the way that he is and helps him become more of himself. Bill, Charlie's teacher who pushes him to read new books and think more of them in a new and inspiring way. 

They all had a way of coming alive within the pages and making the story more dynamic all the same. Overall the entire book is an excellent teenage piece and it makes complete sense that they have finally sold the movie rights, I only hope that is doesnt take away from people reading the book, and instead inspires people to get the magic from the book as well.

“So, I guess we are who we are for alot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.” - The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

(I would just like to point out that choosing only one quote to put at the end of this was a difficult decision, because I think that the entire book has a way of taking words and turning them into statements that sum up the entire feelings that I often experience) 

#23- Flowers For Algernon By Daniel Keyes

#23- Flowers For Algernon

Rating- 7.5/10

I may have been one of the only Americans who wasn't assigned this book in school growing up, so although I had heard of the story and knew many people who read it, I had never opened the spine of the book until this week.

The story follows a man named Charlie, a mentally retarded man with an IQ of 68. It's written from the point of view of Charlie, in "Progress Report" formats.

The first few reports introduce Charlie as a character and explain that he is a 32 year old man who works at a bakery, has wonderful friends there, has a room of his own, and studies reading and writing at classes offered from Beekman college for adults like him.

The first thing that I really enjoyed about this book was the fact that because it was written from his point of view, the progress reports were written like those of a man with a low IQ, they had grammar and spelling mistakes and were written poorly, I felt like it made me understand the character better to see how he would really have been living life.

A few progress reports in we are explained that Charlie was suggested to be a part of a program, he goes to a science lab and meets a mouse named Algernon, who is smarter than your average mouse, he is able to solve complex problems in order to receive food. Charlie is then explain that Algernon was given a surgery in order to enhance his IQ and they are hoping to do the very same thing to Charlie with his mothers approval.

After the approval of family Charlie undergoes the surgery and everything goes exactly as planned, within weeks he is smarter. The progress reports get more advanced with new words and grammar structures, but then Algernon starts to regress. Will this happen to Charlie as well?

Overall I thought that the book was very well written with relatable characters and a story that was enticing. I rated it a 7.5 due to several parts that I found slow in the middle of the book, but still completely worth reading for the message that was learned behind it. Sometimes, its not intelligence that makes you a smart man... 

“I don’t know what’s worse: to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you’ve always wanted to be, and feel alone.” - Flowers For Algernon

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

#4- The Fault In Our Stars By John Green

#4- The Fault In Our Stars

Rating- 10/10

Let me just say this now, a rating of 10 out of 10 should clearly let everyone know how much this book moved me, and giving a perfect rating isn't something that happens often. This book deserved full points and even more in my eyes. I pre-ordered this book and received it at 1:30pm the day it came out, squealed a little bit (yeah I was that excited) and then sat down on the couch and didn't stop reading until I'd finished three hours later. 

The story is about a girl named Hazel, who has terminal cancer and although she has a drug therapy that is keeping her alive, she knows that her life has a terminal sentence. 

She goes to a cancer support group weekly and usually dreads it, until one day when Augustus Waters shows up. He has a sweet smile, a wicked sense of humor, and can't seem to take his eyes off of Hazel (to her dismay).

After group he comes up to her, shares a witty way of introducing himself and from there, the love story takes off. It has the feel of star-crossed lovers. Two teens who meet under unfortunate circumstances and bond over their shared knowledge that life can be taken away from them at any time.

TFIOS is heightened by use of wonderful comparisons, exciting adventures, helpful secondary characters, and a truly honest depiction of teenage love.

The book follows their beautiful love story, with all of the laughter and tears I joined right in with the characters emotions. 

Its not too often that a book stays with you long after reading it, and this book did much more than that. The instant I finished reading I felt an immediate desire to pick it right back up and re-read it from the beginning again, just so the story wouldnt have to end.

Of all the books (so far) on this list, I would suggest reading this one most of all. John Green is an incredible writer, with the ability to create a story that makes you bond with the characters in such a way that it feels like a loss when the last page is turned. Do yourself a favor and buy this book.

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” - John Green, The Fault In Our Stars 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#46- Forever... By Judy Blume

#46- Forever...

Rating- 6.5/10

This book was a difficult one for me to rate, because I was rather conflicted from beginning to ending of the book.

The story was written in 1975 and is about a girl named Katherine and a boy named Michael who meet in the suburbs of New Jersey and their story of meeting and falling in love.

Without giving too much away, they end up getting pretty serious, and Katherine considers having sex with him. Throughout this entire thing she is conflicted on what to do and eventually ends up going to planned parenthood to find out more information. As far as responsible sex goes, this girl clearly knows what she is doing.

The first half of the book was excellent; I enjoyed the characters and how it felt like a real teenage story of people falling in love and getting to know eachother. It was different from books that are written in this time period, where people cant just fall in love without confronting a problem first (think twilight, hunger games, harry potter, they have to fight wars and evil forces before they are able to be happy together) so I enjoyed the slow paced but very normal thought behind this book.

That being said, I was very disappointed in the ending, as I promised in the mission statement of this blog I wont give away anything so that you can all go out and choose to the read the book as well and make your own decisions without knowing too much, so I wont give away what upset me, but I felt that it was a lame way to end the book.

This may have to do with my preconceived notions on how a love story should go, but I don't think I would be the only one to feel that way.

So the only reason that this book was rated a 6.5 instead of something like an 8 was due to the ending. I really enjoyed reading it and felt myself blushing, smiling, laughing, and cringing right along with the characters in the book.

Overall very interesting to see how times have changed in almost 40 years and also how similar things have stayed. When it comes down to it, teenagers are teenagers, and falling in love is falling in love.

"Like my mother said, you can't go back to holding hands."

Monday, August 13, 2012

#99- Wintergirls By Laurie Halse Anderson

#99 Wintergirls

Rating- 8/10

As the first book of the project, I had somewhat high hopes. In order to not drive myself crazy and forcefully go in order from top to bottom or bottom to top I made a decision to choose a random book from the list that called out to me that day.

This book did not dissapoint. I had previously read books from Laurie Halse Anderson and I was aware that I liked her style of writing.

The main plot of the story is two girls, Cassie and Lia, who are best friends growing up, they both struggle with anorexia and bullimia, and in the first chapter of the book, Cassie dies (don't worry, this isnt a spoiler, it says it on the back cover) and Lia is forced to deal with both the death of her friend and her eating disorder problems.

My reasoning for liking this book as much as I did was the character development. I felt a very strong connection with the main character from the first page of the book and when she connected and spoke to other people I felt like I knew them as well, which is always a strong point in the voice of the narrator.

It also felt very real, instead of feeling somewhat cliche, which sometimes happens, I felt like the story could have been written by a girl who had struggled with these issues and really knew what they felt like. When Lia was struggling and upset I felt that emotion as well.

The book from beginning to end held my attention the entire way and I highly recommend reading it.

"There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh; a mirror that doesn't matter anymore. I am thawing." 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

NPR's Top 100 Books Of 2012

Finished Book Review Count- 44/100

3. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
7. The Lord of the Rings (series), by J.R.R. Tolkien
8. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
10. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
12. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (series), by Douglas Adams
13. The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
14. Anne of Green Gables (series), by Lucy Maud Montgomery
15. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
17. The Princess Bride, by William Golding
21. The Mortal Instruments (series), by Cassandra Clare
25. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
29. The Infernal Devices (series), by Cassandra Clare
30. Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
32. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (series), by Anne Brashares
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
34. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green, David Levithan
36. Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones
38. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
39. Vampire Academy (series), by Richelle Mead
40. Abhorsen Trilogy Old Kingdom Trilogy (series), by Garth Nix
41. Dune, by Frank Herbert
42. Discworld Tiffany Aching (series, by Terry Pratchett
44. The Dark is Rising (series), by Susan Cooper
45. Graceling (series), Kristin Cashore
47. Earthsea (series), by Ursula K. Le Guin
48. Inheritance Cycle (series), by Christopher Paolini
49. The Princess Diaries (series), by Meg Cabot
50. The Song of the Lioness (series), by Tamora Pierce
51. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
55. 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson
59. The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
60. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
63. A Ring of Endless Light, by Madeleine L'Engle
65. The Bartimaeus Trilogy (series), by Jonathan Stroud
66. Bloodlines (series), by Richelle Mead
67. Fallen (series), by Lauren Kate
68. House of Night (series), by P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast
69. I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
73. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
76. The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley
77. Crank (series), by Ellen Hopkins
79. Gallagher Girls (series), by Ally Carter
80. The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale
81. Daughter of the Lioness Tricksters (series), by Tamora Pierce
83. The Immortals (series), by Tamora Pierce
84. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (series), by Patricia C. Wrede
85. Chaos Walking (series), by Patrick Ness
86. Circle of Magic (series), by Tamora Pierce
89. Weetzie Bat (series), by Francesca Lia Block
91. Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (series), by Louise Rennison
92. Leviathan (series), by Scott Westerfeld
93. The House of the Scorpion, by Scott Westerfeld
94. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci (series), by Diana Wynne Jones
98. The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley
100. Betsy-Tacy Books (series), by Maud Hart Lovelace