Posts tagged ‘YA’

Book Review: The Hunger Games

Cover of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Cover of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

By Mandy Webster

The Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins. Scholastic Press, 2008.

District 12, located in what was once known as the Appalachian Mountains in what was once known as North America, is one of the poorest of the 12 remaining districts of Panem. On a warm summer day, Katniss Everdeen makes her way to the reaping with the rest of the citizens of her district to find out whose names will be drawn for the Hunger Games.

Katniss, only 16 herself, volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in the games, a vicious death match designed by The Capitol to remind the 12 districts of Panem who’s really in charge. Every year, two tributes between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen from each district and dropped, Survivor style into unknown territory. Only, in this case, there’s no voting the competition off the island.

After a week of training, the tributes find themselves battling it out, fighting the Gamemakers, as well as each other as all of Panem watches on television. The tributes must kill or be killed. If they don’t kill each other fast enough, the Gamemakers manufacture their own surprising twists to keep the audience entertained. Read more…

Book Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Cover of "The Disreputable History of Fra...

Cover via Amazon

By Mandy Webster

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. E. Lockhart. New York, NY: Hyperion, 2008.

E. Lockhart’s novel, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is the story of a voiceless Bunny Rabbit of a girl who quickly learns to speak for herself.

What really stands out for me in this book, from the very beginning, is the tone. In the earlier chapters especially, the novel takes on the tone of an official spy dossier read by the head of some top secret government agency. It’s this purposeful use of tone that really makes this novel the award winner it has become.

While I heard a very distinctive narrative voice from the very first pages of this novel, this strong narrative voice does not remain consistent throughout the entire work. At first, Frankie’s voice slips in only once or twice in each chapter, but becomes more prevalent as the story progresses. In the beginning of the book, Frankie is the voiceless Bunny Rabbit. This is why we do not hear her voice, but that of the narrator. However, Frankie’s own voice is heard more and more as her character gains the ability to speak for herself. Read more…

Book Review: When She Hollers by Cynthia Voigt

Cover of "When She Hollers"

Cover of When She Hollers

By Mandy Webster

When She Hollers. Cynthia Voigt. Scholastic Inc. New York. 1994

When She Hollers, a YA novel by Cynthia Voigt, is the story of the day Tish decides to tell the truth about the abuse she has suffered at the hands of her step-father. Spurred by her teacher’s chalk message in the classroom, “The truth will set you free,” Tish is determined to let the truth be known.

The entire novel takes place in the space of one day, a day which begins at the breakfast table where Tish informs her step-father, Tonnie that the knife she holds in her hand will be with her now at all times… when she is in the bathroom and when she is in her bed at night.

Tish tries to explain to her mother that Tonnie comes into her room and even stalks her in the bathroom, but her mother refuses to hear her. She goes to school and tries to be her normal self, whoever that is.

The events of the day unfold, as conversations about a classmate who recently committed suicide Read more…

Book Review: “Stitches” by David Small

Cover of "Stitches: A Memoir"

Cover of Stitches: A Memoir

By Mandy Webster

Stitches: A Memoir. David Small. W.W. Norton & Company, 2009, 2010.

In this graphic novel, Stitches: A Memoir, David Small tells the story of his dysfunctional formative years when art first became his escape from real life.

“I was six.”

“Detroit”

This simple beginning, coupled with Small’s stark black and white illustrations of his own childhood neighborhood quickly sets the reader in time and place. Small’s images expertly describe the dysfunction of a family headed by a detached doctor with a God complex and an angry closet lesbian.

As a child, the main character, David is a sickly boy whose father treats his asthma and constant (yet minor) sinus issues with large doses of radiation. As David grows up, he develops a growth on his neck which his parents seem to ignore for years before finally having it thoroughly checked out. Read more…

Book Review: Tantalize

A Nine-banded Armadillo in the Green Swamp, ce...

Image via Wikipedia

By Mandy Webster

Tantalize. Cynthia Leitich Smith. Candlewick, 2007, 2008

Cynthia Leitich Smith obviously read too many Twilight books (and possibly Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West) before writing her YA gothic fantasy novel, Tantalize. The parallels between these stories are too apparent for this to be a fluke. If I hadn’t already suffered through two and a half of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire/werewolf tomes, I might have been able to take Smith seriously. But, by the time she began introducing were-armadillos into the story, I was through. Were-armadillos? Seriously? That’s when I gave up and returned Tantalize to the library. Read more…

Graphic Novels

Cover of "Stitches: A Memoir"

Cover of Stitches: A Memoir

By Mandy Webster

I’m about to read my first graphic novel. *gasp*

I’ve never been a fan of comic books, so I’ve never had any interest in reading a graphic novel. But, my son is crazy for comics and has read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series cover to cover, over and over. I’ve been on the lookout for something a bit more advanced for him, but knowing nothing about the genre, I’ve been at a loss as to what to get.

So, when someone recommended David Small‘s “Stitches,” I thought I’d give it a try. The only thing is, I’m not completely sure it’s age appropriate, so I’m going to have to read it myself first to make sure there’s not anything ‘too’ mature for him.

I’m a writer, so naturally, I am against censorship. I believe it’s best to let your kids read controversial subjects and then talk about them. Read more…

Angel and Macken to hold book signing at Mount Mary College

Janis Joplin photo taken from her Passport -- ...

Image via Wikipedia

Authors, Ann Angel (“Janis Joplin: Rise up Singing,” “Such a Pretty Face: Short Stories About Beauty“) and JoAnn Early Macken (“Waiting out the Storm,” “Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move“) are scheduled for a book signing at the Mount Mary College bookstore Dec. 6 at 1:00 p.m.

Angel and Macken both teach in the graduate professional writing program at Mount Mary College.

The Mount Mary bookstore is located at 2929 N. 92nd St. Milwaukee, WI 53222

For more information, contact Timothy S. Sternke, Textbook Manager at the Mount Mary College Bookstore  414-258-4810 x272