Monday, September 4, 2017

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls was absolutely fantastic. It's so well written and so surprising that it's hard to think it's a true story. It goes through ups and downs that can make you laugh and cry and change your mood about the characters constantly.

In the story, the Walls family (consisting of Rex, Rose Mary, Brian, Rex, Lori, Jeannette, and Maureen) don't have a lot of money. They travel from place to place and their father tries to do odd jobs or make money off gambling most of the time. They do what they can to keep going. When the kids are younger, they think it's wonderful, always being on the move and going on adventures. However, when they get older they start realizing just how different their lives are from a lot of the other kids. They begin digging out of trashcans for food and collecting the little money they can. They move to Arizona at one point, and then Welch.

Rex is the father. He is a gambler, smoker, and drinker. He tries to be the head of the family, but a lot of times he just drags them down, spending all their newfound money on his cigarettes and beer.

Rose Mary is the mother. She is an aspiring artist who can't drive very well at all. She sometimes acts like one of the kids, and doesn't always like taking responsibility.

Lori is the oldest child. She is incredibly smart, responsible, and she is also an aspiring artist like her mother.

Then there's Jeannette. The book is from her point of view (obviously, since she wrote the book) and she's brave and she had been through a LOT. She's the only who who would believe in her father even when he was at his worst. As she grew older, her faith in him faded bit by bit, but I think she was always kind of her daddy's little girl.

Brian is the next oldest. He and Jeannette were probably the closest out of any of the siblings. They would always play together and such.

Maureen is the youngest. Jeannette didn't talk a whole lot about her, as when they moved to Welch, she always stayed over at friend's house.

They were always trying to build their Glass Castle, or their dream house basically. Their father had all the blueprints drawn out and everything. For the longest time, Jeannette had faith that he could do it. When they moved to Welch, Jeannette and Brian dug a whole behind their house for the foundation of the Glass Castle. When they couldn't afford for the garbage trucks to come pick up their trash, they were forced to fill the hole with garbage, and their hopes for the Glass Castle disappeared. Especially when their house continued to fall down around them.

When Jeannette was in junior high, she became very interested in journaling, and eventually that's what she did as a profession.

There are so many little details in this book that are hard to explain, and so many things happened to her. There's a lot going on in the story because it was her real life! So I'm not going to list all the events that happened. You just need to read it. :)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Carve the Mark

While I don't do this for every novel, I was looking at some others' peoples reviews of Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. I noticed that many, many people talked about this book being racist. Honestly, I kind of wish stereotypes didn't even exist in the world. As someone I know recently said, "I would rather let the characters I write be awful because they are human trash, rather than their race, class, religion..." and so on. I completely agree with them. If writers didn't have to worry about stereotypes, things would be so much easier. They could simply focus on writing a good story, and that's what Roth did, in my opinion.

I'm sorry if this makes me seem ignorant, but at first, I didn't even notice that Roth had been racist. When I'm reading, I don't really think about the race of a person. I can hardly even think about what their face looks like. Typically, if the author says they have a certain hair or skin color, I may try to imagine it, but I mostly focus on the events and the emotions when I'm reading. I think that's all a person really should be paying attention to. Apparently, she portrayed someone's race poorly because they were an aggressive character. I don't know the exact details, because I didn't really pay attention to that kind of thing. Anyways, I'll say that there were a lot of horrible characters in that novel. There were ones who were probably white, and all different kinds of races. I didn't go in depth and study all the characters, but according to one blog, two of the most violent characters were white. Nobody complains about them.

I think that a reader should only despise an author's work because they killed off a good character, or because they absolutely despise the antagonist, not because they think it is racist that someone who was dark-skinned happened to be evil. What should Roth do? Just completely make all of the evil characters white or any other race but that one specifically?

Overall, I think the story was actually really good. If you aren't going to read this story because you have heard it is racist. Please try to read it anyways and simply focus on the story, rather than the character descriptions. You might enjoy it a lot more. I personally actually loved this book. I'm sorry if I have offended anyone with this post, but this is just my opinion. I just want people to enjoy a good book for what it is, and not worry about the races off the characters. Just read!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fire Color One

Absolutely amazing. Fire Color One by Jenny Valentine is named after this painting:Image result for fire color one

This painting is by Yves Klein. You may not see it at first, but if you look closely, you can see the outlines of two human figures. A beautiful painting, and a beautiful book. Fire Color One is the story of Iris, a girl who has just had to move back to Europe with her mother (Hannah) and her mother's boyfriend (Lowell), due to money problems in the United States. They also moved after Iris committed arson by burning down her school. Fire is her escape. Iris is struggling with the fact that she has been separated by her friend, Thurston. Thurston was the only one who understood her and stories about how they met and what they did together are slowly revealed throughout the novel. Many years before, when Iris was two or three, Hannah left Ernest (Iris' biological father). He lived in Europe, so once they moved back there, she gave him a call.

It turns out that Ernest was actually dying of some disease. Hannah and Lowell are ecstatic, thinking that as soon as Ernest dies, they will collect his many extremely valuable paintings and become rich. Iris doesn't really care about him at first. She doesn't even remember him. She thinks she should feel sad, but can she really feel sad for someone she doesn't know? So they all go to visit Ernest. Almost immediately, Iris and Ernest have a connection and Ernest tells her many rather interesting and some unexpected stories of his life. The end of this is unexpected and wonderful. Fantastically made. I'm not sure if Valentine could have made this book much better.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


I was pretty excited when I picked up this book. Zeroes is by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti. I had read some of Westerfeld's books before, and I had liked them, so I was happy to find another book of his. I had actually picked this book randomly from my library. At my library, around February, in celebration of Valentine's day, they have a "blind date with a book" thing. This is where they wrap books in gift paper, and only write a few clues to the story's plot on the front (that way, if you hate horror books, you won't pick one up, ect. ) I loved doing that last year so I did it again this year with Zeroes. In Zeroes, it's your basic superhero book... except SO much better! The first thing I really like with this book was that all of the powers were so unique! Here is the list. (Also - WARNING! This isn't necessarily a spoiler, but if you would rather have the powers revealed to you throughout the book, then don't read the next section!)

  1. Scam - His was pretty interesting. Every since he was younger, "the voice" could talk. Even before he could. The voice is basically this other form of consciousness completely separate from Scam (Ethan). Scam just thinks of what he wants, and the voice will try to convince the people to do it. The voice also knows things it shouldn't. Plus, Ethan thinks the voice is helpful, because it makes him sound less like his stuttering self. It was kind of frustrating, but definitely interesting for the plot to see what Ethan's voice would say next.

2. Crash - Her real name is Chizara. She has hispanic heritage, and she can crash any technology she can sense. Chizara loves doing this (as long as she doesn't harm anyone in the process). All of the technology hurts her. She can feel it stinging and poking at her all day long. When she crashes things, she reaches into the interworking of the devices and she completely melds them or fries them. She's even crashed her own phone before many times. The change in her personality was very evident in the story.

3. Flicker - She prefers to be called Flicker, but her real name is Riley. Riley was born blind. She started to learn braille, until she learned she could see through her sister's eyes and read for herself. She can look through anyone's eyes, except for Anonymous. She uses this too see what is happening inside buildings during missions, and she can hop around the area to look for people. I thought her power was pretty creative.

4. Anonymous - Who? Oh, that's right, Thibault. They always forget about him. Thibault is the one who can go in, and no one would know he was there. Literally. They would forget about him. It does backfire for him, however (insert a sad, lovely back story that you'll have to read the book for!). Sometimes, even his own team forgets him. His power is kind of complicated, and it's kind of fun to figure out how it works as the story goes on.

5. Bellwether - He is also known as "Glorious Leader" or Nate. During meetings or missions he can direct the minds of people or of the team towards the same goal, and it helps keep the people encouraged and gets things done. The team doesn't always appreciate it when he does this, but at some points, it's a nice thing to have around. 

I would recommend the book. Now that I think back, I can clearly see how each of the Zeroes has changed in some way, and I love that I can see an individual difference in each of the characters. The ending is a nice finish as well. It's a good read and you should pick it up! :)

Paper Towns

Paper Towns by John Green. Believe it or not, this is the first John Green book I have read. *gasp!* Yes, I know, I'm not normal. I didn't fall for The Fault in Our Stars like everyone else did. I didn't even finish the Divergent series *another gasp!* See, sometimes, I feel like the way a book is portrayed in the media makes it seem to cheesy and overdone. However, I recommended a book to a friend, and in return, they recommended Paper Towns to me. So, I agreed to read it, and as soon as I started, I actually ended up liking it. Basically, it's about Quentin and Margo. They were friends when they were younger, and one day, they were walking around near the park, and they saw a dead man slumped against a tree. Margo was intrigued, but Quentin was repulsed. This is when their friendship started to drift away. Years later, in high school, Margo shows up at Quentin's window. Quentin has always liked Margo (maybe loved?) so he was welcoming. Margo convinces Quentin to go on this revenge trip with her, and they go around pranking everyone they dislike in the city, and so on... It was interesting to see how each prank came into play, and Quentin and his friends become pretty entertaining (especially in an event that comes across later in the book). John Green is not the ridiculously cheesy writer I thought he was, and in fact, I may consider reading more of his books. I did start reading the first chapter of The Fault in Our Stars and I actually liked it from the beginning. He is a very funny author, and I like books that can make me laugh. Perhaps I'll read it soon in the future. I also liked that the theme of the "paper town" was strong and noticeable throughout the story. It was a good message about growing up and moving on from your childhood. Good job to the author! :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

All These Things I've Done

WARNING: contains a few spoilers (but I tried not to give away that much).

"All These Things I've Done" by Gabrielle Zevin is brilliant. Here is one quote that stood out to me (maybe because it's on the last page). "For one moment, I was a person without a last name and so was he. We did not have fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, uncles, or cousins to remind of us what we owed or were owed..." I feel like it summarizes one of the main things Anya Balanchine had been searching for throughout the whole novel, and she finally found the pathway to reaching that. Anya Balanchine is a sixteen year old orphan in the year 2083. Her family is part of an illegal chocolate business. In the future, laws are made so quickly it's hard to keep track. Crime is very existent in the country. Chocolate and coffee are banned. Anya's father is in charge of the family business. Well, he was in charge. Until he was murdered. When Anya was still very young, her mother died in a car accident when someone shot her through the window. They had been going for her father but they missed. Her older brother, Leonyd, or Leo, the oldest child of the family, suffered an injury from the accident and has never been the same since. Even though he is eighteen now, he has the mind of an eight year old. Anya's sister, Natty, doesn't remember her parents much, because she was even younger than Anya at the time. Anya's grandmother lives with them now, but she is very old and must be on a life support machine at all times. This being said, Anya is basically in charge of their small family, and Imogen, the nurse who stays with their grandmother, helps out a bit. Others keep pressuring Anya to follow in her father's footsteps with the chocolate business. Anya is going through so many problems at home, and it doesn't help that she seems to always be getting in trouble at school and with the government. Her problems get worse and better when she meets a boy. She wants to enjoy her self and have a boyfriend. However, it doesn't help that she has a name like Balanchine and is associated with her unsafe, illegal, and criminal family. Anya just wants to enjoy her life, get through high school, pursue her future career, and have a boyfriend, like any teen girl might be going for. However, Anya goes from one awful event to the other. It's a fast paced novel and it's nice to see Anya improve her life and the lives of those around her as the story goes on. I would recommend it.

Now that I have the summary and such out of the way, I just want to say that I loved the characters in this book.

Imogen: She was helpful throughout everything.
Leo: He was just a really lovable character.
Natty: A fun, flirty girl who is positive most of the time, but shows her worries later on.
Scarlet: Such a kind, loyal friend.
Anya: A great, complex character.
Win: One of the best boyfriends in a book that I have read about (I would say it's up there with the husband of Eadlyn from the selection series - I didn't want to mention his name because it would spoil everything).
Gallina (the grandmother): Someone who wants to see the children have a good life but is wearing away mentally. Another kind of complex character.

There is so much packed into this novel and overall I just think it was great.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

I love this book and this title! I feel like this title relates to the book, but it is also creative to use as a title (also, it is derived from a stage direction in one of Shakespeare's books) and I haven't heard of another book similar to this name.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston was a great story. I went threw it in a couple of days. It starts off where this girl, Hermione Winters, is at a competing cheerleading camp. She is the co-captain of her cheerleading team along with her best friend Polly. She was enjoying herself and trying to savor her last year of camp (as she is a senior and would not be attending next year). And then she was raped. As the story goes on, I feel that E.K. Johnston did an excellent job of showing readers how the attacked person may feel. She shows us how our behavior to the attacked people may look to them, and what kinds of things a teenager who has been attacked may go through. As Hermione tries to find her way in this new situation, her relationships with others become weaker and stronger. Hermione represents a strong young woman who refuses to let this attack bring her down. I enjoyed reading this from start to finish and I would definitely recommend it.