anglophile

Wednesday Roundup…

Wow aren’t we special, two posts in one day!  Just don’t get used to it.  And I’ll make this super fast, gotta jet to class.

Reviews for the weeks YA Mats

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

So I’ve read this before and wasn’t overly impressed but since that was ages ago I felt I should give it another go.  Not so obnoxious this time around and also I was reading it from a different state of mind.  I can totally see why girls go nuts over this book.  Super funny, very sassy and its British.  I hate to say it but foreign stuff is instantly more awesome.  But more so I wasn’t annoyed with Georgia as I was the first time around.  Rennison makes these characters very human and very interesting, you just have to see past the melodramatic “Why me/I hate my parents/school/life” moans and groans that are part of going up.  Gets a Cool for sure.  Probably look at the rest of the series.

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

Um…so I think I like this.  At first I was resistant, but I can’t really put my finger on why.  It’s an interesting subject, girl’s uncle takes her on an adventure to Antartica.  Girl survives ordeal by taking to a dead Polar explorer named Titus.  For all of it’s odd and scifi like elements, it was still very much a realistic book.  Which might be the reason for the conflicting thoughts.  For not meant as fantasy it was very fantastic.  And not that books need to fall into one slot or genre but it makes it harder then to place the book in someone’s hand.  I can’t just say White Darkness is about this… The best parts are oddly when the main character is talking to her “imaginary friend.”  It seems more real than the real events that she goes through.  A very icey Cool.

A Step From Heavan by An Na

Well, this was the most boring of the 3. I mean that mostly in a good way.  There is really only two ways to do the “immigrant coping in a new culture with family issues” story.  Straight and poinant or funny and amusing.  This was the former.  A well done former for sure.  I like that the book encompassed her whole story 4-18 and didn’t focus too closely on one part.  And the 1st person voice changes as our girl Young Le develops and grows.  Sentences are longer and more complex, implying that her thinking and emotions are changing similarly.  So a Cool as well. 

Moody books

A review of How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

What I take away from reading most books is how they feel to me.  This is different then how I feel while reading them which can impact my reading.  But much like a particular day can be gloomy, sunny or ordinary, books can leave that same lasting impression.  We also like to call this mood or tone.  The best stories come together when the mood plays a role in the story, almost like another character, but it is almost unseen or subtle. 

I bring this up because How I Live Now totally has a feel.  It’s what brings the story it’s vividness.  The story is fairly simply, a messed up girl gets sent by her family to live with British relatives.  War breaks out leaving Daisy and her cousins to fend for themselves in a changed world.  That simple summary or any other would not give you what the novel is about.  It’s about living in England, its about living in a war, its about love, its about magic, its about survival.  The story doesn’t tell you that directly though. 

The book is written from Daisy’s perspective, almost like a diary and the writing reflects that.  The dialogue is without standard punctuation, which usually annoys me, but works in this case.  It gives the feeling of things being fluid.  Time is also handled in the same manner.  Some events are detailed and very vivid while the rest of time is blended and merged to feel like endless days simply passing like the ones before.  I also appreciate the lack of cookie cutter ending.  I feel one of the greatest disservices YA Lit does is tie up all lose ends or have no ending at all.  This ending is appropriate and fits the story. 

Rosoff also has a sweet looking website which is always awesome.  http://www.megrosoff.co.uk/

Since I’m increasingly using this blog to write reviews I think I should have a rating system right?  So this book gets an Awesome(4 stars) out of a Cool (3 stars) a Whatevs (2 stars) or a Lame (1 star).  If something is bad enough to rate no stars then I won’t waste my time posting about it.  Unless I have some vendetta or grudge against it and I feel like it is ruining Lit as we know it.  I also call this the “want to scratch my eyeballs out” effect.