Pretty Little Liars

I have to admit it–I really enjoyed this book.  So much, in fact, that last night, upon realizing I’d left it at work, I actually shook my fist in the air and cried ‘noooooo!’  I really did.  Ask my husband.  He saw it.

In summary, this is the story of what happens when friends share secrets that should never be shared.  It is at the same time both painfully realistic as well as totally unbelievable–and I love that combination.  It is definitely a girl book–if there could ever be something called ‘girl book’–this would be it.  This should be in the dictionary under the phrase ‘girl book’.  But it is more page turning than anything I’ve ever read.  And…drum roll please…there are six more!  Yay!

In addition to being extremely entertaining, this book taught me a lesson–you see, I’m always on the look-out for ‘the next big book’–the next Twilight or Harry Potter–so that I can say ‘I read it first’.  Well do you know what–I didn’t read this first.  I didn’t even read it until after SIX additional books were written (soon to be seven, to make a total of EIGHT BOOKS!) and I read it because lots of my students were reading it–and loved it.  And now I know why.  Reason number I-don’t-know-what why being a middle school teacher is, contrary to what some may thing, an awesome job.

Oh–and reason number I-don’t-know-what plus 1…a guaranteed snow day tomorrow to start reading the second book, and perhaps even more days off to read numbers three through seven!

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The Gardener–Post #2: The Verdict

Well, I just finished The Gardener, S.A. Bodeen’s new novel (see my review of The Compound), due out in June.  I really, really liked it–with only one small complaint.

In The Gardener, the main character–Mason–lives a suburb of Portland, Oregon, with his slightly dysfunctional mother; he has never known his father.  He visits his mother at work one day and discovers a beautiful girl–who has some serious issues; for one, she was in a waking coma until he accidentally woke her.  But as the story continues, you find out there’s WAY more going on both in Mason’s town and in the world of the nameless girl than anyone could ever imagine.

It almost hurts me to describe the one flaw, because I’m seriously hoping it changes when the book is officially released.  The subtitle, on the cover of the book, reads ‘This greenhouse…grows humans”; this kind of takes the mystery right out of the book.  That very mystery was part of what I so loved about The Compound, and I fear this one little line–combined with what is, right now, an overly descriptive back cover, takes some of the fun out of this story–but note, I say ‘some of the fun’–not all of it.  It still was a real page turner, and more than worth my time.  I’d definitely suggest it to others, especially those who liked The Compound.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The first words I spoke upon finishing this book–about fifteen minutes ago–were ‘I can’t believe I read that entire book for that ending’.  My husband asked ‘it was THAT bad?’–and no, it wasn’t ‘that bad’.  I guess not, anyway.  It was a good book.  It held my attention for the past two days, and I finished it quickly–that typically means that I liked it.  And I went online to find out when the companion book–not sequel, companion book (see below for an explanation of that)–comes out.  So I must have liked it.  Right?

Here’s the problem with ‘Teeth’.  It was utterly unbelievable at times.  And it was a story that takes place under unbelievable circumstances; a basic summary of the book would be…girl lives in post zombie apocalypse, and living in a post zombie apocalypse, well…it sucks.  If this sounds like it is a horror novel, well, you’re wrong.  The zombies don’t seem to bother anyone–so much so that even while being pulled at by said zombies (though they ARE behind a fence) and even after watching your own mother turn into one (don’t worry, this is not a spoiler, it happens in the first ten pages), the main character still has time to contemplate why the boy she likes does not like her back.  So NOW you’re thinking ‘oh–well it is a funny story, then’.  Wrong again.  This book really takes itself seriously, even when moaning zombies surround a house harboring a teenage girl who is excited about her first kiss.  I mean seriously?

Ok.  Maybe I didn’t like the book.  Except that I DID like the book.  I am so torn.  I don’t know.  Read it yourself and come to your own conclusion.  Clearly I don’t have one of my own.