Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Summary: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

Review: Marissa and Charlotte have been telling me to read this book for ages, but I never got around to it. It just didn't seem like my kind of book. But this month, my school chose it for the book club, so I figured I'd finally give it a shot, and I'm so glad I did!

Honestly, this book is amazing. While it is technically a romance novel, it didn't seem like one. The characters were interesting and flawed (in a good way), and the plot was riveting. I was mentally screaming at the two main characters the entire time, dying for one of them to finally make a move. Stephanie Perkins's writing is so fantastic, I was in awe.

This book is somewhat of a fantasy romance, but I think Anna's experiences are relevant/relatable to teens today. The characters and the story broke my heart and then put it back together again and tore it out of my chest again and again in a vicious cycle, but when I finished it I was smiling like an idiot. It's not a challenging book in that it makes you think or makes you cry (too much), but it's just so darn cute, and you can't help but love the characters.

The past few books I've read I've managed to find flaws in, and I was beginning to worry that I wasn't enjoying books as much as I used to. However, this novel restored my faith. It is literally flawless, and if you haven't read it yet, you're missing out! It doesn't matter if you're a sci-fi or nonfiction fan--go out and buy/borrow this book, and I can guarantee you'll find yourself sucked into the story in no time.

(When you finish this book, there's a companion to it titled Lola and the Boy Next Door, which I plan on reading soon. You can find Char's review of it here!)

(Also, I'm currently reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, which is about 1500 pages long, so if I don't post anything else for a while, I wish you all Happy Holidays! :D)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

SummaryGuy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

I know I've become somewhat ancient on here, but I finally decided to post a review on here again! - Marissa.

Review: Wow. I am speechless. This book has left me thinking about so many things in new ways. How often do you come across a book that literally changes your way of looking at life? A better question would be, how often do you read a book that changes your way of looking at life and makes you want to do better? This is one of those books. Just yesterday I was talking to my mom about this book and how similar the society is to to ours. I mean, how often can you find a book that is just so good that it sparks conversations so easily? This is a book that really makes you think. 

Now, through my experience, there has only been one other book that has had this effect on me. And that book is The Book Thief. Ever since the day I finished that book, I've held it on a pedestal. Any time i read another book, I would try to see if it would surpass it, but nothing ever did. After finishing this book, I can safely say that this comes in a close tie with The Book Thief. 

Needless to say, this book was wonderful. I can't use my words to express any more of my feelings towards this book. I recommend this book to everyone. I know that this is one of those books that will stick with me for a long time, maybe even forever. But let me warn you before you do start reading this book, keep this question lingering in your head "Are we moving in the same direction as them?".

**A little side note**(Also I might as well add this in because of my great English teacher this year. This is the second book we have read this year and during class he would really leave us thinking differently and every class when we discussed this book really left a big impact on me. For the first time in a long time, I am happy to say I have an English teacher who can finally bring books to life in great ways.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Summary: The tragic story of the complex bond between two migrant laborers in Central California. They are George Milton and Lennie Small, itinerant ranch hands who dream of one day owning a small farm. George acts as a father figure to Lennie, who is a very large, simple-minded man, calming him and helping to rein in his immense physical strength.

Kim again! Two reviews in one week? I'm on a roll! :)

Review: This was another one of those required readings for my English class. Despite the fact that my English teacher, while trying to teach us about foreshadowing, spoiled the ending for my class before we even opened the book, I still enjoyed it a lot.

As it is with many of the classics, there is a lot of symbolism in this book, and it also says a lot about society back in the 1930's. When you read this book, you can really see how much society has progressed (and is still progressing) since then. Lennie, one of the two main characters who seems to have a mental disability, is ignored or looked down on by many of the other men. The African American stable buck is an outcast, forced to live in the barn instead of sleeping in the warm ranch beds. There is only one female character, the boss's son's wife, and we never even learn her name. It sort of shocked me when I really thought about it, and it made me wonder what people a hundred years from now will think about today's society.

I also found the characters to be quite interesting. I was most intrigued by Lennie, George's friend who struggles with a mental disability. Maybe it's just because I love psychology, but I thought his character was so interesting. He causes trouble at the ranch, killing animals and getting into fights, when he only means well and does not know his own strength. Curley's wife, the one female character mentioned above, was another one of my favorites. She is neglected by her husband at home so she wanders around the ranch and tries to talk to the other men, who ignore her. At first glance, she seems a little whore-ish, but once we learn her backstory and begin to analyze her character a bit, you realize she is just a young woman who wants a friend.

Besides important messages and engaging characters, there are also a couple intriguing plot twists in this story that made me let out a gasp or made my heart stop for a second. This book is a little hard to get "in to," but after a few chapters the plot begins to pick up the pace. Even if classics aren't your thing, I suggest you give Of Mice and Men a chance. I can guarantee you'll be disappointed. I loved this book (although I'm dreading the inevitable essay I'll have to write on it).