Monday, April 9, 2012
I finished A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness about a week ago. This is one of those stories that really makes you think, and I wanted to mull over my reaction to it for a little while before I posted on about it. The story centers on a boy named Connor. Connor's mom is fighting cancer, and he has nightmares each night that terrify him. The reader doesn't learn what the nightmare is until near the end of the books, but we are given the idea that it is the most awful dream that anyone could ever have. The reader gets the sense of the horror of his nightmare, because when the yew tree in his backyard actually comes to life and threatens to eat him alive, Connor takes it all in stride. He tells the Yew tree monster that he's seen worse. At first, Connor believes it is just another dream, but he wakes up with reminders of the visit in his room. The tree tells him that he will tell Connor three stories on different nights. After he is done with the stories, Connor must tell him a story; however, Connor must tell his own story, and his story must be the complete truth. This terrifies him, because Connor has been hiding from the truth of his mother's illness for so long. Connor must learn to cope. The book has beautiful illustrations, which add to the story brilliantly.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
I must admit that I seem to have a love-hate relationship with Libba Bray's novels. I loved Going
Bovine. It was was original, unusual, and kept me guessing. I loved her characters and I wanted them to succeed. However I had, not exactly feelings of hate for A Terrible Beauty, but more of a feeling of indifference for it. I didnt like it enough to read the rest of the books in the series, which should tell you a lot, since I love books in a series. Beauty Queens, overall, is another miss for me. I thought it had a great premise, but it just went a little too far in its over the top presentation.
The story focuses on a group of teen beauty queens whose plane has crashed on a deserted (so they think) island. The girls have to learn how to survive on their own, but they also want to use the opportunity to continue practicing their pageant skills. The girls soon learn that they are not alone on the island. The story is told from the perspective of some of the survivors of the crash, and we get some insight into who these girls really are. Overall, it is a story about finding yourself and becoming more than what is expected of you. However, it is just a little too cheesy at times. It is a satire, but Bray uses every stereotypical character you've ever seen in a book or movie to beat her message into the reader over and over again. Occassionally there were moments when I saw a glimmer of what I expected from the book. It definitely has its moments, and it is laugh out loud funny at times, but it definitely falls short of the quality I saw in Going Bovine. Overall, I would probably describe the book as a cross between The Lord of the Flies, Lost, and Austin Powers. If you read the book, you'll see what I mean.