Carpe Diem

I bought this book months ago–right before I got my Kindle–and right AFTER I got my Kindle, reading books ‘the old fashioned way’ seemed so 20th century…so I didn’t even pick this book up again until last night.  And I’ve already finished it–so that says a lot!

This is the story of a girl named Vassar Spore–in case you didn’t know, Vassar is an extremely competitive college in New York (state, not city); the character was ‘named after’ this college.  Her mother is a life coach and her father is an efficiency expert, and she states her main life goals in the first chapter, which include but are not limited to graduating with a 5.3 GPA (this is actually possible–I looked it up) getting in to ACTUAL Vassar, and marrying a surgeon or lawyer.  She’s almost–ok totally–unbelievable as a character in the first third of the book.  But she’s forced to loosen up–and thus becomes more believable–when her grandmother blackmails her parents into letting Vassar (well, MAKING Vassar, really) accompany her on a summer-long trip through Southeast Asia.

I really liked this book–as I’ve said, I read it in less than one day–but am interested to hear if actual teenagers like it at all.  It seems like the kind of story you need a little life perspective to appreciate, but then again, a lot of young adults have much more life experience and perspective than I do, and I’m an ‘old lady’! To be fair, I cannot imagine anywhere I’d less like to visit than Southeast Asia, but halfway through this book I found myself google image searching the ruins of Angkor Wat (which is in Cambodia–I’d already checked out my globe to locate Cambodia!).  It looks like this…

Maybe this is a trip I will take some day.  And if a book can get me to want to visit Cambodia, well, that’s some book!


The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

I truly believe the title says it all. This is the story of a girl trying to find her place as a normal and imperfect human being in a world where perfection is overly important to others.  This book is very real but also very funny.  It is one of my all-time favorites.  Carolyn Mackler–the author–has several other good books, too.

The Wild Girls

The Wild Girls

This is one of the best YA books I’ve read in a while–and it didn’t even have any magical creatures or impossible romance.  A simple story of growing up in the early 1970’s, Wild Girls tells the story of ‘Fox’ and “Newt’–names they’ve made up for themselves–two girls who find a shared love and shared strength in story telling.  They eventually are able to come to terms with their lives and all of the crazy things going on around then through their writing.  This is an excellent story that highlights the somewhat magical power of writing to help one cope with the reality of day to day life.  I cried several times while reading this, not because it was sad, but because it was beautiful.

TIP–Do NOT type the title of this book into a google search of any kind–ESPECIALLY not an image search–without adding the author’s name (Pat Murphy)!!!! TRUST ME!!!!

Every Soul a Star

Every Soul a Star

I actually had to make myself put this book down so that I could make dinner.

Told from three different points of view, this is the story of, well, a bunch of people gathering at a campground in the middle of nowhere to wait for a total solar eclipse.  It does not sound exciting, but trust me, it is a great book.  Because of course, every time lots of people gather anywhere, many strange and amazing things happen.  This book is worth reading if only as a study in character and point of view–the three main characters get to tell their story from their first person point of view, and the stories overlap in a way that makes you aware of things to come as though you were reading a third person omniscient narrative.  In fact, this would not be a bad addition to the middle school curriculum.  Hmmm….

This is What I Did

This is What I Did

I read this book during 7th and 8th period–it was too good to put down until it was done.  While it does deal with some serious issues, this is a worthwhile read for almost everyone, because there’s always going to be that time in your life when you wish you could go back and do something differently.  The main character, Logan, is dealing with an event that happened in the past that he does not want to talk about–so much so that you, the reader, do not even find out what happened until very near the end of the novel.  Definitely a page turner.