Monday, September 17, 2012

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is by E. Lockhart and takes place in a co-ed boarding school on the East Coast. Frankie is about to start her sophomore year, so there's a little bit of background on what she and her freshmen year was like, but it mostly highlights a lot of the changes she has in look and attitude, particularly in trying to get into a secret boys club on campus.

I thought this was an entertaining book. Frankie was pretty analytical about some things, and very much a teenage girl in others. One thing I was disappointed in, though, was how the narrator (and the back of the book) really built Frankie up to be a genius. She was certainly smart and definitely had a lot of ideas that were unusual, but it wasn't brilliant when you consider what kinds of things she was studying.

The hardest part of the book to relate to was the boarding school aspect, just because it's something that not very many people have experience with. I would recommend this book particularly to freshmen and sophomores, but older grades would probably enjoy it, also.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Big Trouble

Big Trouble is by the comic Dave Barry. It states explicitly at the beginning of the book that it is not for children, mostly because of some bad language thrown in here and there, but I think it is just fine for upper high school students. One thing that might be a little confusing is that the perspective changes quite a bit, so the reader gets a glimpse into nearly every single characters head. It's not as complicated as it sounds, because each character is so distinctive, there's no way to mix them up.

First, this book is very, very funny. It's basically a series of mishaps and everyone being unwittingly connected to each other. In the beginning, a teenager named Matt has to squirt a girl named Jenny with a water gun because of a game at school called Killer. When he gets to her house to sneak attack her, a pair of assassins happen to choose the same night to actually kill a member of her household.

All of the chapters are fast-paced and witty, as you'd expect. Each character's observations and opinions of the other characters seem very real, and even though the scenarios are often implausible, unlike some (unnamed) books, this one can carry it off and convince the reader to suspend disbelief in an entirely convincing way.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Arena One

Arena One: Slaverunners is the first book in the Survival Trilogy by Morgan Rice. For those of you who think I only review books I recommend, here's the flip side. I didn't like this book at all. I love post-apocalyptic books, and the book jacket made this book sound like a combination of Hunger Games and Life As We Knew It, both of which I read without putting down.

This picture is false advertising.

This book, however, started off with so many ridiculous errors that I wanted to stop before reaching the end of chapter one (fact: you cannot drill into a maple tree with a small knife in below freezing weather and expect sugar sap to just flow out). I kept going, though, because I thought it would get better. It didn't. Ever. Even once. Okay, maybe a few times something reasonable happened, but a lot of the book was the main character, Brooke, doing things she shouldn't be able to do, such as surviving fights with people bigger then her when she was starving, having skills I don't think she could possibly do so well after years of disuse, surviving car wreck after car wreck with minimal injury...I could go on, but you get my point.

The premise of this book is life in 2120 after a major civil war which tore apart the United States. Brooke's sister is kidnapped by slave runners, who (she thinks) want to put her in an arena to fight to the death. Obviously, Brooke wants to save her. There are also a few romantic interests for her, because of course when the human population is down to practically zero, two cute and eligible boys will show up on your doorstep wanting to save you.

I do not recommend this book unless you don't mind stories with a lot of plot holes and a weak premise.
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