Wednesday, January 30, 2013

#52- Delirium By Lauren Oliver

#52- Delirium 


I was looking for an easy read for the plane ride home from Florida (I went this week, check the last blog post for details if you have no idea what i'm talking about) and looking through the list realized that I had read this book the first time on my way to Vegas and it seemed only appropriate that the second time around would also be after a vacation! Also here's a fun fact... Lena, the main character, and myself share a birthday! (September 3rd)

Delirium is a book set in the future, where love has been labeled a disease, amor deliria nervosa, shortened to... you guessed it... delirium. It was decided that love was a sickness and the government took over and bombed areas of the city where it was extremely bad and then changed laws and made rules to make sure that the delirium never spread again. When someone turns 18 they have a surgery that affects their brain and takes away any feelings of love. There are still some people who resist this, people who lived in the bombed areas of the world past the fences, called the wilds. Love is a bad word and is never to be used or felt again. Our narrator, Lena, is a 17 year old girl who has always wanted the cure. After seeing how her mother and sister suffered from love she has been counting down the days until she is set to be safe.

That is, until the summer before she turns 18, when she meets Alex. A mysterious boy who makes her question everything that she knows about life, love, and herself. We follow Alex, Lena, and her best friend Hanna through the summer right before their entire lives are set to change. Will the disease end up ruining them? Or will they realize that it was the cure that was setting them up for failure all along.

I really enjoyed this book, both times around. I read so many books that sometimes its impossible to remember the plot twists and characters after a while and since it had been a year since i've read it I still found myself wondering what was happening next. I really enjoyed the idea of the novel and found extreme humor in how they explained why love was a disease. It was all true. Rapid heart rate, sweating, difficulty focusing, reduced mental awareness, extreme euphoria, the list goes on and on. I had to agree with all of the things that classified love as a disease. I also loved that once we knew the symptoms we were able to feel through them with Lena and realize that even though it was a disease, love is the best kind of disease to have.

I loved the characters and felt that Lena had a great voice to be the main narrator, but I also really really liked Alex. He is someone that I wish I could hang out with in real life and see what he had to say about the world we live in now. 

I have recently been really conflicted when it comes to my love life and for those reasons I really enjoyed the first stage of the disease and found myself laughing when I realized I could define all of these symptoms to my life. Especially the reduced mental awareness and difficulty focusing. I dont think I speak only for myself when I say that I seriously second guess and think about things over and over and over again when it comes to the person I like.

I am really excited to read the rest of these books, even more excited that the sequel is out and the final book of the trilogy is out in a month! I think I will be breaking my whole, reading nothing but the 100 books project because I need to finish this trilogy.

“Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That's what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

#20- Paper Towns By John Green

#20- Paper Towns


Let me start this off by saying that I am a really big fan of John Green. I love his quirky personality through gifs on tumblr, love his video blogs, and most of all I love his books!  

I have read this book before, in fact I have read it many times before, but since I am constantly reading and all stories are blended together in my head lately I decided to re-read this book before writing a proper review.

I am actually in Florida this week, my sister's and I are going to Disneyworld! We are huge Disney fans and since we live right by Disneyland and have annual passes we decided we wanted to see how Disneyworld compared. Southwest had a great deal on tickets and the rest is history! So I read this book on the flight here. Its a little over 300 pages and I was able to finish it by our first layover about two hours later.

Paper Towns is easy to get involved in, the narrator is a boy named Quentin Jacobsen, he lives in ORLANDO FLORIDA! (what are the odds? too funny, they even mention Disneyworld in the book). He has two best friends, Radar and Ben. He lives with both of his parents (who are therapists and I really enjoy their banter, too funny) in a housing development called Jefferson Park. Quentin lives next door to Margo Roth Spigelman, a very elusive and mysterious girl whom he never hung out with once they were the age that their parents didnt bring them to gatherings, but has one major childhood memory of. When they were 10 years old they went on a bike ride to the park, when they get to the entrance they notice that there is a man sitting at the stump of the tree. After closer investigation they realize that this man is in fact dead.

After that day Q never spent any time with Margo, that is until the one night at the end of senior year when she climbs into his window and tells him that she needs to borrow his car, and he is going to come with on an adventure that he will never forget. The rest of the book follows Q as he follows the mystery that is Margo Roth Spigelman and how he and his friends become closer and end their senior year with memories that they will never forget.

I know I already raved about John Green above, but let me just put it in big capital letters now (excuse my internet screaming) I LOVE JOHN GREEN AND EVERYTHING THAT HE WRITES IS LITERARY GOLD AND HE MAKES CHARACTERS COME TO LIFE AND EVERYTHING THAT COMES OUT OF HIS MIND IS GENIUS. 

Now then, since you all now know exactly how I feel, I really really like this book. On the scale of books that Green has wrote, this is my third favorite (Looking for Alaska and TFIOS are number one and two). It has quality characters, an interesting story line that gives just enough clues to not make you frustrated and just wishing you would find the answer to the mystery, and the perfect amount of nostalgic inducing quotes that stick with you for ages.

I found myself laughing outloud at some of the jokes and I am always a big fan of a narrator that I can connect with and I found myself wishing I was friends with this guy in real life. He just seemed to understand things and his incredibly romantic (if a bit misled) attempt to win over the girl was heartwarming and inspiring in many ways.

At the end of every post I usually include one quote, my favorite from the book, I'm making an exception. Below are some of my favorite quotes. I love this book. Go read it. Seriously. Now. Go. I'm waiting. Then comment below and tell me what you think about it!

  • “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” 
  • “That's always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they're pretty. It's like picking your breakfeast cereals based on color instead of taste.” 
  • “I'm starting to realize that people lack good mirrors. It's so hard for anyone to show us how we look, & so hard for us to show anyone how we feel.” 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

#57- The Gemma Doyle Trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty) By Libba Bray

#57- A Great and Terrible Beauty


I have heard many friends raving about this series and while I liked the characters I felt that the opening to the book was a really slow read. I didn't get really into it until over two hundred pages in and was forcing myself to read this at night. (versus when it's difficult to get me to put down a book and actually have a social life!) 

A Great and Terrible Beauty follows the story of young Gemma Doyle. She is living in India with her mother and father when on her 16th birthday tragedy strikes. Her mother is killed and she is sent to a proper boarding school to be bred into a respectable lady. 

While there she meets three girls; Felicity, Pippa and Ann. While they are not quick to all get along they eventually bond over a secret cave that their teacher takes them to one day. Gemma has been getting visions and can't figure out why she keeps seeing a man from india around every corner. Is she losing her mind? Or has a mysterious figure come to tell her that there was more to her mothers death than it appears.

One night when all four girls are in the caves Gemma comes across a diary, of a girl named Mary Dowd who speaks of her magical powers. The visions she describes are so much like what Gemma has experienced that she begins to frighten. The other girls all want to try their own magic and in a fit of whiskey and giggles they all join hands and try to bring about some magic of their own. That night Gemma realizes that she is no longer an ordinary 16 year old girl and opens a magical portal to a beautiful world for she and her friends.

In this world there is dreaming and laughter and also a hidden secret. Will the girls find the secret and save themselves before its too late?

I specified above that I really did like the characters that were written in. I could see myself being friends with these girls and giggling and sharing dreams together in a boarding school in another country. That being said I just really couldnt get into the magical story line. I felt like we werent shared enough information about it until the later chapters of the book and in order to keep me interested I need to feel like i'm in on the secret even if some of the characters arent aware of all of it.

I think that if I was to read the following two books (which maybe after these 100 books I will get around to) I could really find myself getting involved with these characters and wanting to know what happens. But as for now I didnt mind putting down the book and calling it quits after reading one installment of three and thats never a good sign for a series. 

So overall, go ahead and read it if you are into strong female characters and the idea of magic within our own reach. I think it was worth the time, it was just a long 400 pages.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

#26- Speak By Laurie Halse Anderson

#26- Speak


This was one of those books that going into the project I knew I had heard of and knew the story but couldnt remember whether this was from hearing from friends or seeing the movie. I guess in some ways it felt very anticlimactic because I knew the climax storyline (its on the description of the book, so everyone knows its) and so it wasn't a surprising read. That being said, doesnt mean the book wasnt good.

Speak follows the story of Melinda, a high school freshman who has a secret inside that is eating her alive. She was raped at the end of school party in 8th grade, she was 13 and drunk and called the cops after it happened, too traumatized to say anything they came and broke up the party. No one knows that Mel was raped and therefore she gets the reputation of being the class loser, who called the cops and busted every at the end of year party. 

The following year in school she has no friends and since that night continually says less and less until she isn't speaking at all. Through the guidance of her teachers, parents, and hesitant friends Melinda eventually finds the courage to move past this rough time in her life and speak out against what happened.

I think that this story doesnt resonate as deeply within me as it does with other people because I have been extremely lucky throughout life and was never pressured by boys to do things I didnt want to do. Hell, I didnt even kiss a boy until I was 16 years old. I was sheltered and respected and for those reasons while this book made me extremely sad for Melinda, it didnt make me realize anything about my own life. (which are generally my favorite sorts of books)

I have heard stories from friends and acquaintances who were really changed by this book, that they had been sexually abused or traumatized in a way and this made them tell someone or move past it. I think for that reason this book can't be rated in numbers or stars, because for some people it was everything.

Side note: I couldnt read the book without picturing Kristen Stewart (who plays Melinda in the movie) and I kept thinking to myself how perfectly she worked as that character, another movie before book adaptation that I wasnt upset reading. Hooray for that!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

#88- Feed By M.T. Anderson

#88- Feed


So I can see the redeeming value in this book, don't get me wrong with my rating, its not that it was completely terrible or a waste of time. I just couldn't connect with the main character and felt that everything he did was really selfish and I was resentful of the decisions that he made

Feed is a book thats set in the future, where people have 'feeds' that are implanted into their brains which essentially makes them a walking talking computer. They are able to talk to their friends, order clothing, watch television and listen to music all through their brains. Which is a really cool concept.

Each family lives in their own bubble where they control the sun and the moon and everything is grown artificially. People are able to take vacations to the moon and other planets and hair styles and fashion change by the hour. It's an advanced world that everyone is content on living in. Everyone except for Violet that is. We are told the story through the narrator named Titus. He is a boy who has a group of friends and is considered an average teenage boy. He goes to parties, school, has his own car, and considers his life to be very normal. All of this changes when he travels to the moon for spring break. This is where he meets Violet. There is a hacker that comes and affects the club that they go to and they are all sent to the hospital to get their feeds fixed.

Violet and Titus meet and bond there and once he gets to know her he realizes that she's very cool. She has all of these ideas about life without technology, because neither of her parents got the feed installed. She is more interested in rebelling against society and doing things that arent considered normal consumer behaviors. She would choose to spend a random Saturday at the mall trying on the weirdest clothes and checking out the weirdest products in order for her feed to be unable to give her a direct opinion on what she would like in life. She wants to fight the feed.

After a few months of getting to know each other, Violet and Titus are at a party and Violet starts to malfunction. Nobody knows what is happening and she is sent to the hospital. We later find out that the virus affected her more than anyone and they dont know if they will be able to fix her. A girl that Titus considered a casual fling is now becoming all the more serious and only time will tell what happens to the two of them.

I guess that part that frustrated me the most was how badly Titus ends up handling the fact that she is ill and even more so that she expects him to be the perfect boy while she is going through this even though they arent very serious. I felt like the entire situation was giving me anxiety because on one hand I really want them to work out because Violet needs someone to take care of her and on the other hand its not fair at all that Titus has to deal with this when he wasn't aware this was what he was signing up for. All the same it was a really exhausting read towards the end and I felt very emotionally affected in a bad way. I wasn't happy with the ending and was rather traumatized about the idea of life going differently and not happening the way you want it to. I am not sure if maybe I missed the complete concept of fighting against consumerism, but I guess the eventual drama of their relationship was too much for me to truly enjoy the book. There were some redeeming parts, but overall not a favorite of mine so far.

“I looked at her, and she was smiling like she was broken.” 

Friday, January 11, 2013

#74- The Maze Runner Series By James Dashner

#74- The Maze Runner


This book is incredibly hard to describe without giving away things that will ruin some of the book. Even more difficult is that I've read the entire series and so I know more than the first book tells. This was a book that I happened to read right before I found out about this list because people had suggested it, saying that people who liked the Hunger Games would like this book.

The Maze Runner is a book about a group of boys that are all trapped in... you guessed it... a maze called The Glade! The boys are put there once a month with their memories wiped out. We are told the story from the part of view of a boy named Thomas, he was the final boy put into the maze, other boys have been there as long as two years. 

In The Glade every week they are delivered food and supplies to last them through the week and the goal that everyone tries to figure out is getting out and ultimately surviving. All of the boys have responsibilities, the most important being "the runners" who run through the maze every day and try to find the way out for all of the boys.

They expected Thomas to arrive, but the day after a mysterious girl arrives, the first one ever in The Glade, and even more unsuspected than her arrival is the message that she brings with her. Thomas is the answer to figuring out their way out of the maze, but he doesnt remember anything from before he was put into the maze.

Throughout the novel things keep getting weirder and weirder, does this mean that the boys will be finding their way out of the maze? Or is this maze going to be their eternity? 

So as I said above it has been a while since I read this, because I read it in summer 2012, but before writing this I picked up the book and looked through it and ended up re-reading quite a bit of it. This book was interesting from beginning to end and made me want to pick up the next book immediately to find out the rest of the story. There is so much more to the book than I summarized above but I am trying to keep it as spoiler free as possible so you'll just have to read the book and find out!

Its not a book that is going to change your opinions on life but its really an entertaining read.

“If you're going to decipher a hidden code from a complex set of different mazes, I'm pretty sure you need a girl's brain running the show.” 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

#31- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian By Sherman Alexie

#31- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


A full ten out of ten! You all know what that means, this book was not only an excellent read but also changed the way that I view things in life. It takes quite a book to receive this rating, especially this late in the game when I was reading books that I considered out of my typical genre. 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is about a boy named Junior and his journey to leave the only life that he has ever known on an indian reservation. 

Junior lives with his grandma, sister, mother and father on an indian reservation in Texas. He has a best friend named Rowdy and all of his life that has primarily been his only friend. Junior was born with a brain problem that left him with seizures, difficulty speaking without a lisp or stutter, and a rather pronounced skull that has left him the receiver of many years of bullying and torment.

Since grade school Junior has be treated and cured of his seizures and has overcome most of his speaking issues, but has yet to be rid of his loser stigma. Junior thinks nothing of his life on the reservation its all that he has known and all that his family has known for years and years. That is, until one day his teacher has a heart to heart with him. His teacher is a white man and comes to him and tells him that one day he will change the world if only he is brave enough to make a change and be different and leave the reservation. 

Junior is very troubled by this conversation, but feels that he is destined for greater things and asks his parents to transfer to a school in Reardan, 20 miles from his reservation. His parents worry that its a bad idea, but ultimately agree.

Getting his parents to agree with only the start of his problems though, throughout the book Junior faces many difficulties, without giving away too many spoilers, three people that are very close to him pass away, he is often stranded and struggling to find rides to and from school, sometimes forced to walk. He never lets this stop him though. He says one quote that really got to me though. "My sister is running away to get lost, but I am running away because I want to find something."

I think that this quote is so profound and relatable to my life right now. I am currently applying for colleges and its been a struggle to decide whether to leave my nest in sunny Southern California and fly away to a college across the country. I still have a few months to decide, but this quote rang true to me. I am running away to find something, not to get lost, and that makes all the difference when it comes to decision making.

I loved the style of this book, loved the way it was written, loved the characters, loved the comics dispersed throughout the book (Junior draws them) and loved learning life lessons from a relatable character through Junior. If you haven't read this book, I would suggest it highly. Although there are many sad moments, the happy moments of overcoming any and all obstacles in the way is the shining point of this book.

“If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.” 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

#56- It's Kind of a Funny Story By Ned Vizzini

#56- It's Kind of a Funny Story

Rating- 9/10

I generally don't run to read books after i've already seen the movie. I also generally don't see movies before i've read the books. This is the exception to that statement. I saw this movie however many years ago that it first came out, unknowing that it was also a book. I really enjoyed the movie (I'm a fan of Emma Roberts, in most things she does) and when I found out it was a book I was dissapointed that I had watched the movie first because it would be impossible to not see the actors when reading the pages and I HATE THAT! I like to create what I imagine them like better.

So when I saw that this book was on the list I didn't jump to read it first, even though its generally a book that would fit under the genre of things I enjoy reading. Teenage angst is my specialty! Since it has been so long since I saw the movie I found that I was able to make up my own ideas for every character except for Noelle, the girl that Emma Roberts plays, I just couldn't get away from the idea of her being Noelle. That being said, I still throughly enjoyed the book and finished it in a solid two nights of reading.

It's Kind of a Funny Story is about a boy named Craig and his trials and tribulations throughout getting in the most prestigious school in Manhattan. As we get to know Craig we are also introduced to his best friend Aaron and the first time that Aaron succeeds in peer pressuring Craig into smoking marijuana. (As an 8th grader I might add, which seemed shocking and way too young in my opinion) Both Aaron and Craig get into the school passing their test with flying colors. After being accepted, Aaron starts dating a girl named Nia, who Craig is hopelessly unrequitedly in love (lust?) with. It is only after getting in that Craig starts to question everything and feel very depressed. He has been working towards the goal of actually getting into the school for so long that when it comes to actually going he feels a conflicting sensation of let down.

After attending school, the pressure of classes and his feeling for Nia become too much, Craig starts to feel depressed; he is unable to eat food, unable to sleep, and has suicidal thoughts. He goes to therapy and starts taking medication to get it all under control. A few months later, after he starts to feel better, he stops taking the medication with the thought that he doesnt need it. He soon realizes that he is wrong and one night starts having suicidal tendencies worse than ever. He calls up the suicide hotline and is directed to go to the hospital and get help.

After arriving at the hospital Craig makes the decision to get checked into their psychiatric hospital, as he first walks in he is taken on a tour of the place by another patient named Bobby. After talking with him he starts to feel like he isnt so abnormal for the problems he is having. The first meal in the dining hall he spots a girl from across the room, she writes a note on a piece of paper asking him to meet her in the hallway later in the night. After he arrives we meet Noelle, a fellow high schooler who is also dealing with her own issues. Craig is instantly intrigued by her, wondering what it was that happened to make her come to the hospital as well. Throughout his stay at the hospital Craig meets new people, finds new talents, and most importantly realizes that the root of a person is not found in success, but in the moment after failure when they make the decision to stand back up.

I liked the idea of someone being at their best when they are at their worst. That it takes feeling really badly in order to take a chance and make a change on your life and thats exactly what Craig does in this book. It's also an interesting read for someone who thinks that their entire life should revolve around what they have known and the idea of the friends that they already have. Being in a situation where I am transferring to a new college next year and potentially starting all over with friendships and education, I like the idea that finding anchors to weigh me down that arent people. A very interesting read that I would suggest to any struggling teenager.

“People are screwed up in this world. I'd rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode.” 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

#61- The Chocolate War By Robert Cormier

#61- The Chocolate War


Let me start off by saying how much I completely despise when authors end books with a vague answer. I hate having to come up with the ending for myself. If I wanted to create my own story I would have written my own book... and I didnt! 

For those reasons I marked this down additional points that it was getting when earlier in the book.

The Chocolate War is about a boy named Jerry Renault who goes to a religious all boys school. The school has a gang called The Vigils that everyone knows about but dont speak about openly (first rule of the fight club, you do not talk about the fight club). We enter the story right before the annual chocolate sales at school, this year the stakes are higher than ever. The headmaster is out on sick leave and Brother Leon is now in charge. He has doubled the amount of chocolate and the prices and each boy is expected to sell 50 boxes of chocolate. (which is completely crazy). At the first day of role call, when each boy is asked how many boxes they have sold, Jerry says no. That he will not sell this chocolate (its technically voluntary although everyone knows they have no choice). This starts an extreme shift of thought and Jerry is forced to make the decision, "Do I dare disturb the universe?"

The book started off somewhat slow, telling me, in my opinion, too much about secondary characters that dont matter that much. I felt like I knew each boys back story when I really didnt need to know them in order to solve the present issue about the chocolate. I loved the quote that they bring up though. Do I dare disturb the univserse. I took that quote and started to think about how I would apply it to my own life. I wonder if we all are disturbing the universe enough, most of the time I think that I am not. 

So if nothing else, this book kind of made me think more about standing up for certain things I believe in and making a more conscious effort to disturb my own universe. 

“Cities fell. Earth opened. Planets tilted. Stars plummeted. And the awful silence.” 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

#27 Twilight By Stephenie Meyer

#27- Twilight 

Rating- 8/10

Let me just start this off by saying how large of a fan of twilight that I was in early high school. I read twilight the first year that it came out and waited for the following books in the subsequent years. Obsessed would be putting it lightly, I loved this book. I had this book sitting on my nightstand for years and would read the pages over and over again to fall asleep. For those reasons, it still gets a high review.

Since I have now graduated high school and was welcomed into a larger amount of literature and some more mature books, this book has fallen through the cracks in my brain and i've realized that while it was a high school love affair, its not a very well written book and has many characters whom I am forced to grimace through reading. 

Twilight (for those of you who have liven under a rock for the past few years and somehow dont know the actual plot line from screaming twihard fans) is about a girl named Bella Swan and the year that she moves to Forks Washington to live with her father instead of her mother. In the first few chapters we are introduced to her father, and friends of the family. They bring along Jacob Black (remember this name, he becomes important in books to follow, more so than this one) who used to be childhood friends with Bella and now has a massive crush on her. Who can blame him? A relatively clumsy girl who doesnt realize that behind her awkward smile is a beauty in the making. Of course. After this we go meet her friends at school, characters who aren't a massive plot point and therefore I wont take the time meeting them. One day at lunch, in walks the Cullen clan. The whispers about them include that they are all orphans, adopted by the doctor in town and each and every one of them is more beautiful than the last. They are all paired off into couples, that is, everyone except for Edward Cullen. The mysterious pale faced beautiful boy who most every girl in school is interested in dating, even though his cold demeanor has kept girls away for his entire stay at Forks. If it wasnt obvious enough by now, Bella and Edward meet, and although its strictly forbidden, Edward confides in Bella and tells her that... wait for it... he is a vampire! They continue on their whirlwind of a romance story, with a few dramatic vampire fight scenes in between the love.

Now, after reading that description, if you havent guessed at this point that I am Team Jacob, I guess I was writing a bit less harsh than I had intended. I have never been a fan of Edward Cullen, I think he is massively overrated and have always been more of a fan of Jacob. If you havent heard of the fandom and dont know, Jacob is also a mysterious creature, although he is not immortal and will grow up one day and could give Bella a family and children and they could die at the same age. Any how. Thats my review. Probably the strangest jumpiest of all of them, because its impossible to write a quick review on a book that has now become one of the most spoken about books of the past few years. 

If you havent read this, or havent seen the movies (I mean come on, seriously? do you live on antarctica?) I do suggest reading them. I was especially a fan of the second and third books, where we really get to understand just how difficult it is to date a vampire. Team Jacob. Sorry, 13 year old me just cant keep quiet about this one. 

“About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him-and I didn’t know how potent that part might be-that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.”