Monday, February 28, 2011

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

The Adoration of Jenna Fox
By Mary E. Pearson
September 1, 2009 (I think I have my covers/editions mixed up, but just go with it.)
Square Fish; Reprint edition, 288 pages

Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox has just awoken from a year-long coma—so she’s been told—and she is still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. But what happened before that? She’s been given home movies chronicling her entire life, which spark memories to surface. But are the memories really hers? And why won’t anyone in her family talk about the accident? Jenna is becoming more curious. But she is also afraid of what she might find out if she ever gets up the courage to ask her questions. What happened to Jenna Fox? And who is she really?

— description

This is the type of book that makes me feel very, very shallow. Oh, I don't mean it in the awful way that sounds. But a lot of the book is asking the BIG questions. What makes us human? Where is the line drawn when it comes to what is or isn't humane? Or ethical? And so on.

Bah! I never sit around thinking of these things, which makes me believe Mary Pearson is a very smart person. Perhaps she should have taken that philosophy class for me that I so dreaded in college. Sigh.

Okay, but the point is this: I'm glad Mary Pearson is thinking these BIG thoughts. It makes for a very interesting, surprising read. This book is very sci-fi—which is not what I expected going into it.

But it was, like I said, quite thoughtful. Not a reread, not a total wow, but quite enjoyable.

You might also like: Inside Out and Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Saturday, February 26, 2011

In My Mailbox 7

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly post hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren about what new books we got in the mail (or library or whatever) this week.

You all heard about the massive closing of Borders stores nationwide, right? Well, I went to visit my parents on Day 2 of their 20-40% off clearance sale. My dad and I got to the store right when the doors opened...and this was the sight waiting for us.

Cleaned out! Man, people weren't messing around, biding their time, before hitting up their local Borders. I snagged two books that I'd already read (and loooooved) but didn't own.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver and Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols.

Definitely in the mood for a good reread! Hope you got some great books this week...

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dear Diary Day #4

This is the last week of my monthlong look into MY teenage mind, in an attempt to better understand the teenagers I read about and write about on this blog. It's been so fun, and I'm thrilled so many of you responded!

Without further ado, these are my notes to myself, age 17, on a class trip to Germany:

Summer 2001

Things I would read about:
Casey recovers from a long coma
Denise gets taken by German mafia members, but Frau doesn't believe us and it's up to us to save her
On a waterskiing trip, our boat gets taken hostage by pirates
I get invited to join the next Real World cast, and for once none of the HOT boys are gay

Summer 2001

Things I miss about America:
Tap water
No Mad Cow Disease
My car
My blowdryer
No-smoking areas
The WB

Thing I've Learned:
Now, don't try to steal my story ideas, people. Clearly everyone would want to read about me on Real World, trapped in a house full of hot boy strangers.

I just see this list as confirmation of something we all know: Teenagers daydream. A lot. About really superficial things maybe, but the point is that there's a universal teenage experience of feeling trapped and being overly eager to fantasize about what could be.

Sure, I wrote this while exploring Germany, but I was definitely trapped on a big ole tour bus with 30 of my high school classmates at the time, so you can understand my wandering mind.

The last list is just hilarity to me. The WB? This is what I missed during my month abroad? I was SO 17...Lord have mercy on me if I ever have daughters.

Here are a few similar posts that came up along my Dear Diary journey that you should check out:
Tara at Fiction Folio (Check out her blog's main page today for another Dear Diary entry!)
Capillya aka Shabby Geek aka That Cover Girl

Anyone else want to play along? Leave a link in the comments!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Forgive My Fins
By Tera Lynn Childs
June 1, 2010
Katherine Tegen Book, 304 pages

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it's not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you're a normal teenage girl, but when you're half human, half mermaid, like Lily, there's no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily's mermaid identity is a secret that can't get out, since she's not just any mermaid—she's a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn't feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she's been living on land and going to Seaview High School ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems—like her obnoxious biker-boy neighbor, Quince Fletcher—but it has that one major perk: Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren't really the casual dating type—the instant they "bond," it's for life.

When Lily's attempt to win Brody's love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily ever after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

— description

As a little girl, I used to spend hours at my piano learning to play the songs from The Little Mermaid. I had an movie-themed sweater, a charm bracelet with Sebastian on it and was Ariel for Halloween at age 7 (my mom sewed the purple shells onto a nude-colored turtleneck). I love me some mermaids.

And, as you know, I love me some young adult love stories.

SO I BOW DOWN TO YOU, TERA LYNN CHILDS. The woman combined two of my favorite things! Why didn't I think of that?

Thank goodness she did. This was so freaking entertaining. I love how her brain works. If I ever wrote a book, THIS is the book I would want to write. But, you know, she beat me to it.

I'm not going to give it a deep analysis. Just know that the hours I spent reading this were so enjoyable, I was smiling and chuckling to myself while I read. How she wove little fishy puns into every page? Loved it.

Remember last year when I said to watch out for mermaid books? Oh, it was already ON with the mermaids and I didn't know it. Book two (Fins Are Forever) is out next year, and I'll be first in line to buy it.

You might also like: Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday 20

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Returning
By Christine Hinwood
320 pages
Dial, to be released April 14, 2011

An engrossing epic tale with a cast of characters that will hijack your heart.

Cam Attling, having lost an arm, is the only one from his town of Kayforl to return after twelve years of war. All his fellow soldiers were slain, and suspicion surrounds him. When his betrothal to Graceful Fenister is called off and his role in the community questioned, Cam leaves to find the lord who maimed him but spared his life, seeking answers and a new place in the world.

But this is not just Cam's story, it's about all those whose fates entwine with his. Set in a medieval world that is entirely the author's creation, this is an ingenious, exquisite story about what happens after the battle. When sisters, sons, friends, parents, and lovers are left to deal with the subtle aftermaths and unimagined repercussions of war.

— description

Do you think publishers know just how much weight a great cover quote can have? They must, right? Because as soon as I saw Megan Whalen Turner (author of The Thief) on this cover, they had my interest.

Here's what she said: "A beautiful representation of love and loyalty and the aftermath of war."

And doesn't this book just seem The Thief-ish from its description? Epic! I'll read it for sure.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Daily Double

from: my sister
to: me
date: Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 9:47 PM
subject: Daily Double

There was just a category on Jeopardy Teen Week called "Vampire Diaries" and one of the clues was about your books and the 3 TEENAGERS didn't know the answer. They also didn't know the answer about the Mr. Darcy book where he's a vampire.

Just thought you should know you would have kicked teenager ass on Jeopardy today.


Top 10 Book-to-Movie Adaptations

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is Top 10 Book-to-Movie Adaptations. Okay, so some really didn't work for me: Percy Jackson, Chronicles of Narnia, Golden Compass... But these not-quite-10 did. This is such a random list off the top of my head:

Harry Potter based on the books of J.K. Rowling
Does anyone dislike these? I mean, anyone who was first a fan of the books? I seriously doubt it. It was like someone had jumped into my imagination and recreated the books EXACTLY as I envisioned them. From casting to the special effects, these movies were perfectly done.

Pride & Prejudice based on the book by Jane Austen
I know what you're thinking, "But which version, Anna?" Gahhhh how to pick. Listen, I know the Keira Knightley one butchered it a bit, but Matthew Macfayden was a lovely Darcy. In the end, though, the best is the BBC miniseries version staring Colin Firth.

Emma based on the book by Jane Austen
No! Not the Gwyneth Paltor one! Calm down! I'm talking about the recent Masterpiece Classics version starring Romala Garai and Jonny Lee Miller. Swoon.

Eclipse based on the book by Stephenie Meyer
Say what you will about these books, I think Eclipse was clearly the best of the adaptations onto film. I know they're flawed, but I love 'em anyway! Besides, Robert Pattinson. 'Nuff said.

Lord of the Ring trilogy based on the books by JRR Tolkien
Merry and Pippin are my favorite part. But it was all done so sweepingly. Epic!

And, last but not least, Tom and Huck based on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Brad Renfro! JTT! This gets the stamp of approval just in honor of my 11-year-old self.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

By Lauren DeStefano
March 22, 2011
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 368 pages

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape before her time runs out?

— description

Oh, this book! This book! My heart was beating every time I turned the page. I felt like disaster was around every page corner. And I mean REAL disaster. I was petrified that Rhine was going to be raped, murdered, succumb to Stockholm Syndrome, you name it at all points in this story.

I hope that's not a spoiler. But you really should know that going in: This book is about human trafficking. And you should also know that I loved it.

I'm surprised, actually. If you just told me that was what it's about, I'd say no way could I enjoy that. But Lauren DeStefano did a beautiful job. In between the most frightening parts were small moments where humanity shined through. The "sister wives" and their friendship was multi-layered and wonderful to observe.

A beautiful, though shocking and unexpected, read.

You might also like: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Saturday, February 19, 2011

In My Mailbox 8

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly post hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren about what new books we got in the mail (or library or whatever) this week. I'm so excited about what the books that were added to my shelves the past few weeks that I just had to jump in and share...

First things first, this was the highlight of my mailbox in the past few weeks: The entire Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (to date anyway). Now, what nice person would send this to me OUT OF THE KINDNESS OF HER HEART? Ginger at GReads!, that's who. G, I adore you. Thank you so much for this giant package full of Jace. I read and lurved these long ago, but never owned a copy and am due for a reread in time for book #4!

Then I picked up this goodness at the library: Clare's Clockwork Angel and Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution. I've had these on hold for AGES, so I'm thrilled they finally came in.

This one came to me from NetGally: Lost Voices by Sarah Porter. I'm on a mermaid kick, so this is pretty exciting!

And, if all went according to plan, my husband nabbed me Stay by Deb Caletti, We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han and Evercrossed by Elizabeth Chandler to read on his iPad, thanks to Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab.

Last but not least, my secret book fairy godmother sent me Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg, which I already read and devoured and loved. Fairy godmother, you know who you are. Many thanks!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dear Diary Day #3

It's week three of my monthlong look into MY teenage mind. I'm going to let this entry stand alone. Because it is THAT bad.

From my diary, age 14, freshman year:


This morning, Mom put hot rollers in my hair and I wore these new thick and clunky shoes and new jeans. Everyone said I looked like Drew Barrymore! You-know-who even said, "Your hair looks great. I mean. Well. It looks better than when it was straight. There. Are you happy?" I didn't quite understand that.

We bombed Iraq today. It might start another war. Oh well, they can't bomb us!

-- Anna

Thing I've Learned:
Holy crap. There are no words. Let's get the obvious out of the way: War? Bombings? Total afterthought to how totally cute I looked. Could I have been more self-centered? I guess that IS part of being a teenager. And you know what, Little Anna? Yeah, they COULD have bombed us.

And did you see what you-know-who said? Boys are clueless. He was probably trying to compliment me, but ended up messing it up bigtime.

Finally: I love the '90s. Clunky shoes? Drew Barrymore hair? Classic.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Forget You
By Jennifer Echols
July 20, 2010
MTV, 304 pages

WHY CAN’T YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU FORGET . . . AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER? There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year-old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school.

Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon. But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them?

Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.

— description

How do I love thee, Jennifer Echols? Let me count the ways.

It's sort of a travesty to me that she doesn't have 5 million books out there in the marketplace. You know, like Meg Cabot or Sarah Dessen? I'd liken her to them, for those unfamiliar with her work. But, you know, not to pressure Jennifer to, like, start churning out books left and right if she happens to be reading this. You keep doing what you're doing, girlfriend!

Anyway, her book Going Too Far rocked my socks off. And so did Forget You!

So you know when main characters make stupid decisions and you just want to shake them, so instead you just sort of shake the book a little? Yeah, I totally wanted to do that with this book. Like, a lot.

But while that usually makes me want to scream, I came out of this book thinking, "Hey, it's pretty cool that Jennifer Echols can let her character be a teenager and make some pretty stupid decisions." I KNOW. I never think that way.

I don't know what it was about this book, but it really succeeded in getting me to put aside my grown-up hat and live in the moment of Zoey's story for a while. Plus, the steamy scenes didn't hurt. Nope, didn't hurt at all.

Okay, thus ends my Jennifer Echols gush post. Next up? Her latest book, Love Story, comes out in July. WANT!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday 19

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Gathering
By Kelley Armstrong
368 pages
HarperCollins, to be released April 12, 2011

Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.

It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.

— description

Why haven't I read anything by Kelley Armstrong yet? I see these books everywhere, and thought her newest release might be a good place to start. Can't wait to give it a go with The Gathering. Goodness, Rafe seems like such a bad boy name, doesn't it? I smell a love triangle!

Anna Reads young adult book blog
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