30 Day Reading Challenge: Week 3

I wasn’t able to make up the books from last week (yet), but I was at least on track this week! Here’s what I read

 


30 Day Reading Challenge: Week 3Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Release Date: October 6th 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 192
Source: Library

When Jack meets his new foster brother, he already knows three things about him:
Joseph almost killed a teacher.
He was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain.
He has a daughter. Her name is Jupiter. And he has never seen her.

What Jack doesn’t know, at first, is how desperate Joseph is to find his baby girl.

Or how urgently he, Jack, will want to help.
But the past can’t be shaken off. Even as new bonds form, old wounds reopen. The search for Jupiter demands more from Jack than he can imagine.


I don’t want to say a lot about this one here. I’m doing a reader vs. reader feature over at TSU. It’ll be posting the first couple of weeks of Decembers, so I’ll be sure to link back then.

 


This was a rather sweet story for the most part. It does feel a bit weird saying that since it was between a 15 year-old and a 19 year-old, but nothing actually happened and it was portrayed in a kind of innocent/sweet way. It was more about Maggie coming to terms with who she was and how she felt. The art work just didn’t work for me. It’s not horrible, but not a style I really like.

 


This book is…intense. In a very, very good way. It’s timely topic that hits right where it hurts. The amount of passages I have marked is unreal. This is the book for my book club on Tuesday, so, I plan to come back and talk more about my and their thoughts.

 


I guess I decided that this week I didn’t want to hold back any punches. I’m trying to read more non-fiction. Shyima’s story is heart-wrenching, but it wasn’t that engaging. I felt for Shyima, but wasn’t emotionally attached to her or her story. Nonetheless, it was great read to see inside of child slavery and what Shyima had to overcome both in slavery and once she was freed.

 


I know, I know, my manga/anime cred is much lower admitting I haven’t read this series yet. However, I am not and I can see why it’s so popular. I love the cat and mouse game that has started and how smart it is. I’m sure the next couple of volumes will make their way into next week’s read pile.

 


I still have no idea what is happening in this series. I don’t know why, but I’m having a lot of trouble keeping the characters and storyline straight. It’s like there’s just too much going on for me to fully enjoy it. However, I can see the teens liking it, but I don’t think I’ll be continuing on with the series beyond this volume.

 


This manga wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t awesome either. There’s not really any storyline going one, which may be why I’m not completely on board yet. The set-up is intriguing though, so I’ll give it another volume or two before I fully set my opinion in stone.

Book Review: Another Faust


Book Review: Another FaustAnother Faust by Daniel Nayeri, Dina Nayeri
Release Date: August 2009
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 400

In this Gossip-Girl-meets-the-paranormal, nothing is ever as it seems. The Faust siblings are new to Marlow, a prestigious high school in New York, but they won't be unknown for long. With a little help from their "gifts", the teens dazzle and dominate any room they are in. After all, with powers like beauty, mind reading, stopping time, erasing events, and stealing powers they are notches above the rest.  However, a bargain with the devil is never easy or without complications. As the teens struggle to be the best, secrets threatened to be revealed...lies that could tear the Faust siblings apart. Who will rise above the rest, and who will be left to waste away?

Another Faust ended up being one of those books I liked, but just didn’t love. I had a hard time really connecting or liking any of the characters. I just felt like I never truly got to know them enough to fully understand the way they thought or what made them tick. There were some characters like Victoria or Valentin that I really wanted to like and kept looking for some vulnerability, but the more I learned the more I despised them. Their constant need for power and superiority left a foul taste in my mouth, especially after we learn the dirty tricks they’ve pulled on the others. The other three, by the end, I did have a twinge of sympathy for. They got caught up in a situation that they couldn’t fully understand/know about. I mean, they were only 10 when they sold their souls! A mere child cannot comprehend what they are doing. Although, I suppose the point was that the governess was preying on their weakness and desires. What better age to start than childhood.

Now, all that being said, I think the story premise was interesting enough. At times the plot was a little strange or hard to follow, especially the tales from another time, but I’ve always been interested in the selling your soul to the devil type stories. And I have to say this was a much different spin than I had heard before. The last 100 pages or so really picked up and I truly began to enjoy the story. I’m not sure I was totally happy with the ending though. I really wanted to know what would become of them. I’m secretly hoping there will be a sequel that will follow the kids in the aftermath. I would love to see how they’re faring and if anything changed. I know I’ve heard the next book will be at Marlowe again, so maybe we’ll catch glimpses (*crosses fingers*).

On a side note, I can really see teens who like Gossip Girls/Paranormal really liking this book. The teens that I work with seem to really be drawn to that rich and famous lifestyle…not to mention all the Twilight fans that are out there. (In fact, I’m not even sure the my copies have hit our shelves yet! It was one of those that went immediately to someone who had a hold on it.) I can certainly see this being one of those slow-creeping hits. The teens may not realize it’s around, but once they do they’ll eat it up!

Ok, now that you know what I think, let me hear from you! Have you read Another Faust? If so, what did you think?

Book Review: Jumping Off Swings


Book Review: Jumping Off SwingsJumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
Release Date: Aug. 2009
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 240

Ellie loves the words the boys whisper in her ear. They tell her how beautiful she is and how much they want her. They make her feel loved, if just for a moment. And no matter how many times they leave her alone, she always thinks the next one will truly love her. However, Josh is not that guy. He's out to lose his virginity and knows Ellie is a sure thing. His guilt at leaving her alone in the backseat of his van is nothing compared to what he feels when he finds out Ellie is pregnant. With the support of their best friends, Caleb and Corinne, the two struggle with the consequences of their one-night stand. And no matter what the end results are, all four teens will realize that the innocent-like days of childhood must be left behind.

I have to admit that this book caught me off guard. Never before have I read a book with four different narrators where I felt a connection with each one. Knowles does a wonderful job at bringing her characters to life as they deal with a delicate situation. It was very easy to sympathize with each character, but I have to say I felt for Josh the most. He was kept at arm’s length the whole time with no say in anything that was happening. By the end, he resorted to following Ellie around school just to make sure she was okay. It was the only glimpse into a world he no longer had rights in. His perspective  brought him into a different light. He wasn’t some dead-beat with no worries as he moved onto the next girl. In fact, I would say he was as haunted/torn-up about the pregnancy as Ellie was. This was a boy who would carry this around for the rest of his life. I truly appreciate the new perspective Knowles gave me into a situation I have seen way too many times. Jumping Off Swings may have been my first book by Knowles, but it certainly won’t be my last. I look forward to checking out Lessons From a Dead Girl and her future books.