Thursday, July 21, 2011

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Divergent was such a fantastic story. I have been reading a ton of dystopian novels lately but this one was different. I liked that the story took place in Chicago. I really love the city of Chicago and I loved reading about what it could possibly look like in a not so distant future. For me, Roth’s descriptions of what Chicago could become were fantastic.

I also liked the idea of society being divided into different factions. I was reading this book about a week or two before Harry Potter’s movie finale came out. I kept thinking about Sorting Hats and different houses as I read Divergent. I liked the take on society that Roth had – dividing everyone into different fractions based on who they were as a person. The point behind this in this particular society, was to be able to use everyone’s strengths to better society in general. Each fraction had a different role in society but as always, humans seem to always be drawn to power in one way or another. One fraction, Abnegation, was the fraction in charge of the government. This fraction was considered to be the selfless fraction so they seemed to be the ones to best fit being the law makers and leaders. However, leaders in other fractions felt the need to have more power in the society and what once seemed to be a perfect balance of power, quickly tipped and the society felt the impact.

I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.

This quote really stood out to me. I have a feeling that the ordinary acts of bravery of our two main characters, Tris and Four, will be seen throughout this entire trilogy. I am so very much looking forward to it. I loved watching Tris go through her transformation. She went from a very selfless fraction to a very wild and dangerous fraction and she dug deep to find the courage and strength to become the brave woman that reader’s met at the end of the book. And the romance between the two of them is absolutely precious. Just love it.
Fantstic debut novel from Veronica Roth!
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Post In Which I Share My Favorite Beauty Queens Quotes...

Beauty QueensBeauty Queens by Libba Bray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is how much I enjoyed the book: I wrote down the quotes.

“Hi. I’m from Arkansas, the cantaloupe state. And tonight, I hope you will hold my melons close to your heart and vote me your Miss Teen Dream.”

“Oh Hi, y’all! I’m Tiara Destiny Swan from Jackson, Mississippi, which is spelled M-I-double-S-I…um…shoot.”

Question to Miss Mississippi, Tiara: “What’s your favorite color?”
          Tiara’s eyes darted left and right in fear and her smile was strained. “Um. Thanks you, Fabio. I personally believe that we have a duty such as…as Americans… to help other people who are not Americans such as the peoples of the China and the Alaska and the freedoms we enjoying our great nation and such and that is my opinion which I personally believe will make us a stronger nation. Thank you.”

“Miss Michigan, can you tell us about your platform?”
     “Oh. Sure. My platform’s called Don’t Even Think About It. I go into schools and I say, ‘Whatever bad thing it is you’re thinking of doing, don’t even think about it. ‘Cause I can see into your soul, and I will hide in your closet and come for you in the night, and the last sound you ever hear will be my sharp teeth popping through the flesh of my gums, ready to eat you.’ Their eyes get all big. It’s awesome. I love little kids, man. They’re the cutest.”

MoMo B. ChaCha – Republic of ChaCha leader who wears oversized sunglasses and Elvis-with-sideburns wig/ Ladybird Hope (think Sarah Palin only from Texas):
      MoMo to Ladybird “Ladybird, why do we not have the sex? A little less conversation and a little more action, please.” 
    “You are so fresh, Peacock!”  MoMo answered himself in a high, Ladybird Hope Voice.  “Let us to watch episodes of Captain Bodacious now, and in the morning, we kill defenseless animals with our big guns.”
       “As you wish, Ladybird. Dreams come true in Blue Hawaii.”

Nicole “You guys don’t know about hair trauma. I am a black woman without her grease, My weave is all kinds of messed up right now.”

“Why do girls always feel like they have to apologize for giving an opinion or taking up space in the world? Have you ever noticed that?” Nicole asked. "You go on websites and some girl leaves a post and if it’s longer than three sentences or she’s expressing her thoughts about some topic, she usually ends with, ‘Sorry for the rant’ or ‘That may be dumb, but that’s what I think.’”

Breast in Show (The Corporations revolutionary new Fill ‘Er Up implants and injectables). “You’re perfect just the way you are” is what your guidance counselor says. And she’s an alcoholic.

(Addressing Mary Lou, not believing she had met a guy on the island.) Petra put a hand on her (Mary Lou) shoulder.
  “Sweetie, sometimes I like to think that Heathcliff is waiting for me at Thrushcross Grange in tight breeches and leather boots. Doesn’t make it true.”
“Weren’t you wearing a purity ring when we got here? Aren’t you supposed to be saving yourself?” Shanti asked.
“Yeah,” Mary Lou answered. “And then I thought, for what? You save leftovers. My sex is not a leftover, and it is not a Christmas present.”
“See, now I don’t know whether to be all ‘Yay!’ because you’re empowered or sad because you’re having delusional almost-sex with an imaginary boyfriend,” Adina said.

 “Ordinarily, double-dipping on a razor would skeeve me out completely,” Miss Ohio explained. “But I am not hanging out with a boatload of fine pirates looking like a yeti.”

“Isn’t it exciting?” Tiara said, grinning. “TV Pirates!”
Brittani pouted. “I was still hoping for a vampire rescue.”

Captain Sinjin put a hand to his chest. “We’ve been through a shipwreck, luv. We’re exhausted and need to lie about.”
“Oh, I know how you feel,” Tiara said. “When our plane crashed here, and w had to bury the dead and deal with really bad wounds and Miss New Mexico got that tray stuck in here head ---“ “Hi!” Miss New Mexico waved. “----and the chaperones were all charred in the wreckage and it was really gross and scary and there was nothing to eat and no shelter and we had to build all that stuff and deal with giant snakes and bug bites and we barely survived a giant wave and mudslides and hallucinogenic plant and stuff, we were so, so tired.”

Harris – “Well, you are going to be surprised. I can handle myself just fine. I already did handle myself. Wait, that came out wrong.”

“It had the word bitches in it, which is perfectly fine to use if you’re a raper or a director making a movie about career women, but not if you’re a teen girl talking about her homies.”
“Good point, Petra. We know that young ladies of the teen persuasion use these indelicate words. Nor do they have thoughts about sex, masturbation, violence, being competitive, or farting.”
“Exactly, Teen girls are made of moonbeams and princess sweat. Which would, of course, not be called sweat but glow, and would be taken care of with an aggressive antiperspirant like The Corporation’s new That’s the Pits! with aloe microbeads. Because when it comes to keeping you smelling lady-fresh, aggressive is A-okay.” Petra waved to the crowd and exited stage left.

 “Tiara, what have you learned here on this island?”
“I’ve learned that it takes a village to build a catapult, which is not a city in Mexico, and that uterus is not a dirty word or the name of a planet. I’ve learned that if a guy pretending to be a pirate tells you he’s nothing but trouble, he’s probably right.”

A bonfire billowed up. Some in the crowd tossed copies of Ladybird’s book into the fire while a librarian pleaded with them not to do that and grabbed a fire extinguisher (Really, being a librarian is a much more dangerous job than you realize.)

You totally want to read this book now, don't you?

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

This Girl Is DifferentThis Girl Is Different by JJ Johnson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This Girl is Different by J.J. Johnson was indeed a different young adult book compared to others that I have been reading. The main character, Evie, has been raised by her single mom in the woods of northern New York, where her mom has been homeschooling her all of her life. For her senior year, Evie convinces her mom to let her go to high school. She petitions her mom to let her do this on the basis that it will be a social experiment. Evie who has grown accustomed to being outspoken and for standing up for what she believes in finds adjusting to the rules of high school much harder than she anticipated. She also forms relationships with others that are challenged throughout the book as well.

The premise for Evie going to high school reminded me of the movie Never Been Kissed, although this story was more about social action and less about a romance with Michael Vartan. Evie has grown up with her hippie mom who is very anti-establishment. They also live in a dome home in the woods that is completely green, along with having a few farm animals to provide food for them. While I thought the story was clever, I also felt that the ideas behind Evie and her mom’s lifestyle were kinda being pushed a little too much. Not that I don’t respect people living a green lifestyle but it still felt a wee bit over the top.

Evie experiences many social injustices in her high school. She was taught to always stand up to injustice and that is exactly what she did. She definitely rocked the boat at her high school from the start. While I felt in some instances that there was a good chance those situations probably would not happen, I liked that Evie was proactive. However, Evie did quickly learn about the hierarchy of high school and how you do have to learn how to go about speaking up for injustice in a respectful way. I think she learned a lot about how to challenge authority without being an anarchist. Which for teens, I find to be a very important lesson to learn.
This Girl is Different was a great break from my world of dystopian fiction I have found myself in. Evie was a great voice for a realistic fiction and a great summer read.

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