Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: Eve

       This creepy, futuristic novel, Eve, by Anna Carey, comes out in October, and it is sure to captivate many people, especially those who enjoyed Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. Like that classic novel, Eve touches on the idea that women--or in this case teen girls--are being used as breeding machines in a world that is collapsing. As a young adult novel, I found this to be a heavy topic, but the idea was merely brushed upon and was not the central focus of the book. 
Instead, Eve’s story-line focuses on an intelligent young girl named Eve (surprise, surprise), who is in line to graduate from the secluded all-girls’ school at the head of her class, destined, or so she thinks, for great purpose and great service to the world, whose population has suffered due to plague and apocalyptic unrest. 
She finds, though, that horrors await, with young girls moving no further than to the next walled-in building to become brood mares to help repopulated the planet. Eve makes the bold move to escape beyond the perceived  safety of her confines to the great wild world, where she encounters what the girls have been told to fear above all else--a male, in this case a thoughtful and mysterious boy named Caleb.
Grand adventure begins, and Eve must learn to trust herself and those around her, in the hopes of escaping the ruling powers who are hunting for her. 
I found Eve to be fast-paced with characters that were richly imagined. If dystopia-themed novels are your thing, than look for this book in the fall.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review--The Carrier of the Mark

Ah! Scathing review time! What a magical time of the year! The Carrier of the Mark*, a YA book by Leigh Fallon, was one of the worst and most hilarious books I have read in a while. Poster child of the clichéd paranormal romance genre, The Carrier of the Mark stars rather bland heroine Megan, who has just moved to Ireland, and is suffering all the usual new girl problems. There she meets darkly handsome Adam DeRís,  for whom she feels an immediate and illogical attraction. And, of course, Adam and his family are anything but ordinary.  The characters are nothing special; Megan is nice... but that's it. She has no personality. Adam is gorgeous, perfect, and angsty, but boring. Also, this book had a lot of similarities to a certain popular paranormal romance I could mention. I would not recommend this book. I truly had trouble finishing it.


*Look (or don't) for this book in October, as it is not out yet.

Review--The Circuit

   The Circuit, Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child, by Francisco Jimenez, is a memoir collection of powerful short-stories, detailing the difficult life of a Mexican immigrant during the mid-20th century. Starkly-written and honest, this book educates and enlightens. Not since Grapes of Wrath have I read such a vivd account of the life of transient workers.
   At times amusing and charming, and often heart-breaking and shocking, Jiménez lays bare the ugly underbelly of the idealized American Dream, where bigotry and discrimination run rampant, and poverty and segregation are the norm. As rough as the lives of the migrants are, their sense of hope and their determination to make a better future for their children, is inspiring.
   This book was an eye-opening read for me, and frankly it should be required reading in schools. It's not to be overlooked.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


     Ok, this book really sent my emotions whirling, at times leaving me impressed with the unexpectedly good writing, and at other times disgusted with the subject matter, which happened to be grave-robbing, believe it or not. Rotters, by Daniel Kraus, is a grossly dark read, not only because a good deal of the story is spent six-feet under with too-accurately-described corpses, but even the peripheral events left me gagging and cringing.
     Filled to the brim with mature topics, I found myself marveling that Rotters passed as a young adult book. Though set in modern times, with all its usual problems of drugs, suicide, bullying, and promiscuity, the author threw in the disjointed and disturbing underworld of grave-robbing, which added a Gothic darkness to the already opaque setting.
     I found myself wondering what sort of person this Daniel Kraus is, who can write so vividly and at times eloquently about a world so disconnected from anything modern society would think is normal. That a modern teenager can so easily embrace the life of a grave-robber, with all the side-effects such a life-style entails--the smell of death that lingers, the caked dirt beneath the finger nails, the hooded eyes that have seen too much--well, I found it all just a bit too unbelievable, frankly.
     Unless you are a fan of gross descriptions just for the thrill of the impact it has on your psyche, I would leave this one buried, which saddens me, since the author is clearly a talented writer. Sigh, oh well, onward and UPWARD.

Monday, August 1, 2011


   "Double, double, toil, and trouble...." witches, witches everywhere... in this case, even at the mall. Revealers, Amanda Marrone's modern take on a timeless theme--conniving witches--is entertaining, but shallow. Don't expect too much more than stereotypical teenage angst, albeit with a supernatural twist.
   Definitely for a more mature audience, Revealers reveals to us a world of butt-kicking teen witches who, often against their better judgment, help rid the mortal world of vampires, werewolves, and other similar baddies. All this takes place is the midst of high school chemistry tests, flirtatious romances, and annoyingly controlling mothers.
   This book was a quick summer read at best, and not very memorable, but reading it was at least less painful than being blown to bits by a pissed off sophomore with a pointy hat and a broom.