Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (33)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme event created by Breaking the Spine to help showcase upcoming releases. 


This week I'm waiting for You Against Me by Jenny Downham.




Here's the summary from Goodreads:

If someone hurts your sister and you’re any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother’s accused of a terrible crime but says he didn’t do it, you defend him, don’t you? 
When Mikey’s sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart. When Ellie’s brother is charged with the offence, her world begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide.This is a brave and unflinching novel from the bestselling author of Before I Die. It’s a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it’s a book about love.

I have been waiting for this book FOREVER. I had it on my to-read list way before it's first release in December 2010, and could not figure out why I couldn't get my hands on it. Turns out it was released in the UK then, and we won't get it until September 13th, 2011, from David Fickling Books. I suppose I could order a UK edition, but that seems like cheating to me. So I will wait patiently. Anyway, I loved Before I Die and think that I'll love this one, too!


What are you waiting for? 
Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
May 10, 2011, Penguin Young Readers


Summary from Goodreads:
In the past two years, Mclean Sweet has moved four times. At each stop, she assumes a new persona, but it never quite works. Whether she's an effervescent cheerleader or an intense drama queen, nothing can permanently dispel the turmoil and rage at her mother since her parents' divorce.


Sarah Dessen's novel about a teenager and her restaurant manager father captures the vulnerability that young people often experience after the dissolution of their family. A compelling story; strong characterization; and with a touch of romance.
Of course I was anxiously awaiting this novel--I love Sarah Dessen--and it was well worth the wait! For the past two years Mclean and her father have been traveling as Dad refurbishes, reinvents, or renovates restaurants. Mclean has started reinventing herself at each of their stops. Knowing she won't be staying long, Mclean has no fear in embracing a new persona, right down to inventing a new name for herself. Until they reach Lakeview. Suddenly Mclean is sub-consciously revealing real parts of herself--parts that haven't been revealed in years--to people who just might become her friends.


I loved the characters in this story. I love Mclean, who's strong without being stuckup. The group of teens she encounters in Lakeview are so eclectic! Riley, Hannah and Dave are happy to be on the outskirts of society, Deb is the loner who desperately wants to fit in, and even the restaurant's employees are a healthy mix of strange. They're all delightful and I loved getting to know them! 


Funny how in one week I read two books about daughters living with their dads because Mom was an epic fail--What Happened to Goodbye and 10 Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have). Both deal with similar issues but in vastly different ways, and both are wonderfully fun reads.


Borrowed book from library (but now own!).


Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
June 7, 2011, HarperTeen


Summary from Goodreads:
2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.
In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.
Such a fun book! I love that the basis of the story is based on reality, but I especially LOVE how Sarah Mlynowski has created this so-unbelievable-that-it-must-be-real scenario. I also love that the book is laid out according to the ten things. And the ten things are just awesome!


Really, what 16-year-old wouldn't want the chance to live at a friend's house with no parental supervision? Living like a grown-up--with the real grown-ups paying the bills? Yeah, I wouldn't mind that. Even now, when I AM a grown-up, I would LOVE that. 


Sarah Mlynowksi does an incredible job of creating realistic characters, all perfectly flawed. I love that new relationships are explored as a result of April's living arrangement, and that everyone (well, almost everyone) has changed by the end of the novel, again as a direct result of her living arrangement. The whole "will Dad find out the secret?" drives this novel, and readers will not be able to read fast enough. Can she pull this off? HOW can she pull this off? It's just absolute fun, and contemporary fans will devour this novel!


To read more about the Ten Things launch party, click here!


Own book.


Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In My Mailbox (40)

In My Mailbox is an Internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books received, purchased, or borrowed.


So here's what I got this week!
  • Won from a contest over at Alison's Book Marksa signed copy of Popular by Alissa Grosso and swag! Alison was also gracious enough to send me an ARC of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater! Now my teens at the library have TWO copies to pass around and read! Thank you!

  • Won in a contest over at Bibliopunkk: a copy of Passion by Lauren Kate


So what did you get?

Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop--Winner!


midwinters-eve-giveaway-hop.html.jpg

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!
The winner of my Midsummer's Eve Giveaway 
(as chosen by Random.org, of course) is...



JUDY COX!!!

Congratulations! I"ve sent you an email and will have your prize in the mail soon!
Thank you to all my followers--old and new--for entering!

Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Friday, June 24, 2011

In Trouble by Ellen Levine

Be sure to enter my 




In Trouble by Ellen Levine
Carolrhoda Book, September 28th 2011


Summary from Goodreads:
Jamie and Elaine have been best friends forever, and now they’re finally juniors in high school. Elaine has a steady boyfriend, and Jamie could have one—if she'd just open her eyes and see Paul. But Jamie has a bigger problem to worry about. 
Then Elaine gets "in trouble"—something they thought only happened to "other" girls. Are there any good choices for a girl in trouble? 
In Trouble is a novel born of author Ellen Levine’s interviews with women who came of age in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including those who knew what it was like to be a teen facing a horrible choice. 
In the decades before Roe v. Wade, a young woman "in trouble" had very few options—and all of them meant shame, isolation, and maybe much worse. 
Jamie and Elaine's stories are just two among the thousands of stories of teenagers facing unplanned pregnancies. 

There was something about this story that drew me in, so when I saw it on NetGalley I snapped it up. It sounds like a really interesting story. 


To be fair, I struggled to get through the book mostly because there were a lot of errors in my electronic copy. There was a lot of duplication of the text, which made it hard to focus on the story. What I could focus on, however, I liked. The tone was definitely one of desperation--you truly got a sense of how few choices there were during that time frame for women--and even less choices for teenage girls who find themselves "in trouble."


Jamie was a reliable narrator, and you definitely get the sense that there's more to the story than she's letting on. Oh, and did I mention that her father is just coming home from jail? Yeah, he was a political prisoner--this IS the era of McCarthyism, after all. 


This was a quick, interesting read. I didn't expect the ending at all, but I thought it fit the story. This book is definitely going on my re-read pile so I can revisit it in its final publication. 


eGalley received from NetGalley.


Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Midusmmer's Eve Giveaway: last day to enter!


Reminder: Today's the last day to enter the Midsummer's Eve Giveaway hop for your chance to win a copy of Elizabeth Scott's Between Here and Forever! Click here to go to the original post so you can enter, and hop over to some of the other blogs participating! Contest ends tonight at midnight.


Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Then I Met My Sister by Christine Hurley Deriso

Be sure to enter my 


Then I Met My Sister by Christine Hurley Deriso
Flux, April 8, 2011

Summary from Goodreads:
Shannon has been the backdrop of my life since the moment I was born.
Summer Stetson lives inside a shrine to her dead sister. Eclipsed by Shannon's greatness, Summer feels like she's a constant disappointment to her controlling, Type A momzilla and her all-too-quiet dad. Her best friend Gibson believes Summer's C average has more to do with rebelliousness than smarts, but she knows she can never measure up—academically or otherwise.
On her birthday, Summer receives a secret gift from her aunt: Shannon's diary. Suddenly, the one-dimensional vision of her sister becomes all too solid. Is this love-struck, mom-bashing badass the same Shannon everyone raves about? Determined to understand her troubled sister, Summer dives headfirst down a dark rabbit hole and unearths painful family secrets. Each revelation brings Summer closer to the mysterious and liberating truth about her family—and herself.
I have heard NOTHING about this book. I stumbled across it while I was processing new books at the library and thought it sounded interesting so I checked it out and read it. And seriously, tell me that the summary doesn't catch your eye, as well! Basically, if Shannon hadn't died, Summer wouldn't be here today. Summer was a happy accident that happened as her parents were grieving over the loss of 17-year-old Shannon.
 
And Shannon was perfect. There are awards and trophies and photographs everywhere to remind Summer of that fact. If Summer can never hope to live up to Shannon's level of perfection, why should she even bother trying? So she does the most sensible thing...she doesn't even bother. She is the direct opposite of the person her parents led her to believe that Shannon was.
 
Except that once Aunt Nic gives Summer the journal, she realizes that Shannon really wasn't that perfect. Summer's narration is mixed in with Shannon's journal entries, which allows us to see just how much the sisters have in common and, sadly, how they might have gotten along if the circumstances had been different. My heart was breaking for Summer, who was so desperate to be her own person. When she began taking an active interest in her sister, her parents clam up even more.
 
This was such a unique novel and written so well! I don't know why no one is talking about it, but it's definitely worth a read!
 
Borrowed book from library.
Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (32)

Be sure to enter my 


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme event created by Breaking the Spine to help showcase upcoming releases. 

This week I'm waiting for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.

Here's the summary from Goodreads:
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.


It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.
Another 2011 Debut Author, and another incredible cover! Early reviews have been positive, and I cannot wait to get into this story!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is scheduled to be released on September 27th, 2011, by Simon & Schuster.

What are you waiting for?
Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop!

I'm delighted to be participating in another blog hop 
hosted by Kathy over at I am a Reader, not a Writer.

Up for grabs this time around is a brand-spankin'-new copy of Elizabeth Scott's Between Here and Forever, released just last month. I have some random swag to share, too!



Here are the details:
Contest open to US residents ages 13 & up, and you must be a follower of this blog. Contest is open until 11:59pm on Friday, June 24.


Enjoy your reading and good luck!
Christi
Be sure to hop over to the other blogs participating!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Simon Pulse, June 28, 2011


Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.
I was really, really looking forward to this book. I know, I know, the topic--incest--is gross and revolting, but I was really hopeful that this would be one of those highly-uncomfortable-but-still-engrossing novels that I've started compiling on my MAHROAT list.


I'm sad to say that I felt this book wasn't nearly uncomfortable enough for me. Most other reviews I've read are very positive, say that this book will stick with you, the topic is uncomfortable but compassionate, etc. I just didn't feel that way at all. 


I couldn't relate to Maya at all and I thought Lochan was just creepy (I know he's described as handsome and girls fawn all over him, but something about that social anxiety problem just strikes me as odd. Can't really explain it.) And I was under the impression that the pair were really, actually responsible for the upbringing of their three siblings. Yes, while the mother is a shifty character and is gone more often than not, she's apparently around enough to drop off just enough money so Maya and Lochan can stay in school and not have to take on jobs. Granted, Mom wanted them to drop out and get jobs, but still. Maya and Lochan were in charge of the kids, running the household, etc., but something about it just didn't feel real to me. 


Not to sound like a degenerate or anything, but I thought the siblings would have developed a deeper relationship earlier in the book. Instead it was all,  "We can't! It's illegal!" "But I love you and that's more important!" So it was, like, a romance novel. I just thought it would be much more illicit. Instead it was tons of discussion about their feelings and how the general public would perceive them.


Sigh. Maybe I AM a degenerate, and that's why this book didn't disturb me as it did others. I hesitated even reviewing it, because everyone else on the planet seemed to love it. Perhaps I was just in a bad mood when I read Forbidden, and maybe I'll give it a second try once it's released. I think that my expectations were too high for this one--I really thought I'd be throwing my nook aside in disgust, and that just didn't happen for me.


In the meantime, I still think you should read it, if you like uncomfortable reads. Then come back here and tell me what I missed. I will say that the ending was indeed explosive and shocking, though.


eGalley received from Simon & Schuster Galley Grab.
Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In My Mailbox (39)

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!


In My Mailbox is an Internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books received, purchased, or borrowed.



So here's what I got this week!


Received from author:
  • The Last Martin by Jonathan Friesen
Received from publisher:
  • Everlasting by Alyson Noel (thank you, St. Martin's!)
  • unRequired Reading Kit from Disney Publishing (thank you!): ARCs of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab and Queen of the Dead: A Ghost and the Goth Novel by Stacey Kade, a water bottle, and two awesome packs of unRequired Reading playing cards--one for me and one for a giveaway, so stay tuned!


    eGalleys from Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab:
    • Clean by Amy Reed
    • Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry
    • The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
    • Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt
    Won in contests:

    Borrowed from the library:
    • Forgotten by Cat Patrick
    Sheesh! And here I am on a book ban! LOL At least I'm off this week, so I should be able to do some kind of catching up! Daughter & I are off on another road trip adventure, so please forgive me for not responding to comments for the next few days! 


    What did you get?
    Enjoy your reading!
    Christi

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

    The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
    Simon Pulse, June 28, 2011
    Read for YA Contemps Challenge


    Summary from Goodreads:

    Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.
    Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.
    The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.
    I wanted to read this book because it was on the YA Contemps Challenge, and the summary sounded interesting--plus I've heard some really good stuff about it! To be honest, though, I felt the summary was somewhat deceiving. This isn't some sweet story about a girl and a guy playing hooky from school, meeting, and falling in love. It is SO much more than that. I really don't want to give too much away here, but the circumstances that lead Amber to Cade are unbelievable but still completely realistic. The meaning behind the title was completely mind-blowing to me.


    Amber is a great character, caught up in something life-changing that's completely out of her control. She loves her family and even as she's struggling she has their feelings at the forefront of her thoughts. Cade is a little harder to read, but we know immediately that something serious is affecting him, as well. The instant connection the pair has rings true--in such desperate times, they have only each other to cling to.


    I haven't read anything else by Lisa yet, although Chasing Brooklyn has been on my to-read list forever. I have to get to it soon! In the meantime I highly recommend The Day Before--it's a wonderful contemporary read.


    eGalley received from publisher.


    Enjoy your reading!
    Christi

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith

    Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith
    Duttons Childrens Books, April 28, 2011
    Read for YA Contemps Challenge


    Summary from Goodreads:
    What's worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you've been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan—the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah—unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan's former-best-friend Noah.
    I thought this was such a sweet story, and although the premise isn't new--boy breaks girl's heart, girl tries to win by back, third boy enters picture--the details are certainly refreshing, and not quite like anything else I've read before. I've gotta be honest, from the summary I didn't realize that religious viewpoints would factor so heavily in this novel. Honestly, it was nice to read a novel about a girl who's so set in her convictions. Joy is a strong, if slightly misguided, character. We all know, of course, that by leaving the way he did, Zan wants nothing to do with her. She's so naive, though, that we can't help but feel for her, and hope that he's got a good explanation for leaving. Noah is such a sweet soul, and again, readers are led to wonder why Joy is so dense that she can't figure out that he likes her.

    Joy's environment is so radically different from any I've ever known, and I enjoyed the story all the more because of that. Back When You Were Easier to Love is a very sweet (but not sugary) story, and I think fans of contemporary fiction will enjoy it.

    Borrowed book from the library.


    Enjoy your reading!
    Christi

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian

    Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian
    Knopf Books for Young Readers, March 8, 2011
    Read for A-Z Reading Challenge

    Summary from Goodreads:
    This is a hilarious and heartbreaking story of two teen girls and the summer when everything changes for them. Both Henry and Eva are New Jersey natives and excellent athletes: Henry's a master on the tennis court and Eva is a graceful ballerina. When opportunity knocks for both of them the summer before their junior year in high school they throw open the door: Henry sees freedom from her overbearing father and a chance to build her talents on the court. Eva sees the chance to be the best as well as even more pressure to be graceful, lighter, more perfect on the dance floor.
    Soon, Eva's obsession with physical perfection leads her down the path to anorexia, and her health issues overwhelm everything else. But through it all these two best friends know that Jersey Tomatoes are the Best, and nothing will come between them no matter the distance.
    This was a very moving novel. Of course I picked it up because it's a NJ teens read, and it's one I definitely want to add to the booklist I created for my library. But, it's not a light, fluffy novel...this is powerful stuff. This is a novel about the tests and triumphs of friendship. Henry is in tennis camp in Florida for the summer and Eva is at a dance academy in New York. The pair realizes that the separation will strain their relationship, but are confident that their friendship will endure. When Eva's health starts to deteriorate as she strives to become the perfect ballerina, however, the girls' friendship begins to crack. Will they be able to repair it before it shatters completely?

    I felt this was a very touching novel dealing with family and boys, yes, but friendship above all else. You'll be rooting for Henry and Eva from the first chapter.

    Borrowed book from the library.

    Enjoy your reading!
    Christi

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Waiting on Wednesday (31)

    Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme event created by Breaking the Spine to help showcase upcoming releases. 


    This week I'm waiting for Hooked by Catherine Greenman.




    Summary from Goodreads:

    Thea Galehouse has always known how to take care of herself. With a flighty club-owner mom and a standoffish, recovering-alcoholic dad, Thea has made her own way in her hometown of New York, attending the prestigious and competitive Stuyvesant High School. But one chat with Will, a handsome and witty senior, and she's a goner—completely hooked on him and unable to concentrate on anything else. 
    Always worried that she loves Will more than he loves her, Thea is pleasantly surprised when their romance weathers his move to college and Will goes out of his way to involve her in his life. But then, Thea misses a period. And that starts Thea and Will on a wild ride that neither of them could have possibly prepared for. When they decide to keep the baby, their concerned parents chip in what they can to keep Will in school and give both teenagers a comfortable place to raise their child. But when a freak accident leaves Thea shaken and threatens to upend their little family altogether, Thea is forced to turn to the last place she would have chosen for comfort: her stiff, uncompromising father. 
    This smart, touching first novel brims with realistic, beautifully drawn characters, and reminds us that love is never as easy or predictable as we might like it to be. 


    Yay! Another 2011 Debut Author! I think this sounds like a great first novel and I can't wait to read it. I'm dying to know what the freak accident is! Hooked is scheduled to be released on August 9 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers.


    Oh, and a note on the cover: I never, for one second, looked that cute when I was pregnant. I went right from normal-size to "Holy crap look how fat she is!" in, like, four seconds. I didn't have a teenage pregnancy, so I'm sure that's the only reason. :)


    What are you waiting for?
    Enjoy your reading!
    Christi

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Hourglass by Myra McEntire

    Hourglass by Myra McEntire
    EgmontUSA, June 14, 2011
    Read for 2011 Debut Author Challenge

    Summary from Goodreads
    One hour to rewrite the past . . .
     
    For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

    So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
    Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

    Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.
    I haven't read one negative review of this book, and was really looking forward to reading it. The premise sounded really interesting, combined with a a story that's paranormal without being stereotypically so (I am so sick of stereotypical paranormal fiction) makes for a potentially awesome read.

    I have to be honest here, I really struggled to get through this book (*ducks and hides*). The romance was...well, just like every other paranormal romance out there--Emerson and Michael are instantly attracted to each other, but their love is forbidden. Sigh. I really didn't connect with any of the characters--except for Emerson's brother and sister-in-law (I thought they were awesome and such a positive influence in Emerson's life).

    I so wanted to love this book--ghosts! Time travel!--but Hourglass just didn't do it for me. I know that most other people will enjoy it and I would still recommend it to anyone who enjoys paranormal and/or romantic YA fiction. Indeed, I think many of my teens at the library will absolutely love it. So it wasn't for me, but I know it will be loved by many.
    Received ARC from publisher.


    Enjoy your reading!
    Christi

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Carmen by Walter Dean Myers

    Carmen by Walter Dean Myers
    EgmontUSA, April 26, 2011

    Summary from Goodreads:

    Into the summer heat of New York’s Spanish Harlem strides Carmen, a chica who is as hot as the sizzling city streets. When she first meets José, she falls for him hard. He’s not like the gansta types she knows—tipo duros who are tough, who think they are players. But José has a quick temper, and he likes to get his own way. And nobody gets in Carmen’s way. 
    When Escamillo rolls into town, everyone takes notice of the Latino Jay-Z—a quadruple-threat singer/rapper/producer/businessman. But he only notices one person—Carmen. And Carmen has given up on José—he’s not going to get her out of her tough neighborhood, el barrio, and into the action. Escamillo will.
    But José won’t let that happen.
    Passion, love, and betrayal explode into tragedy in this modern retelling of an enduring love story. 
    Disclosure: I've never, to my knowledge, read the original Carmen or any retellings. My primary reason for wanting to read this novel was because it was written by Walter Dean Myers, and I'm a big fan of his work. I even tried (although not very hard) to research Carmen to see what it was all about, but gave up fairly quickly.

    I have to say that I really, really enjoyed this retelling. It's written in play form, so there's a lot of white space on the page, and it's really quite short (great for reluctant readers). The choice of screenplay takes the emotion away from the narrator; we're given scenes and descriptions, but it's up to the characters to portray the emotions. There's an author note and a note on the music at the end, and the music is included as well, which makes the actual meat of the book that much shorter. I'm not kidding--there are two acts with two scenes each. Real quick reading here!

    Myers did a good job of describing the characters in such a short timeframe. Everyone loves Carmen--she's apparently extraordinarily good-looking and is realistic about her life without being hardened. It's funny, because although Carmen is described as being hot, I never really got any other information about her. However, I could gather from the narration and the dialogue that, yes, indeed, there is something special about Carmen. 

    I think that readers can easily relate to the characters created in this version of the opera, and it might convince them to pick up other retellings. Or perhaps to watch a version to compare. (Hmmm...did I just give myself an idea for a Read a Movie program? Although I would love to see this particular version performed live!) It's a strong story with a tragic ending, and it accomplishes a lot without potentially offensive language or even a ton of violence. I'm definitely going to talk this book up at my next juvenile detention visit--my Walter Dean Myers fans will love it!

    Borrowed book from the library.
    Enjoy your reading!
    Christi

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    In My Mailbox (38)

    In My Mailbox is an Internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books received, purchased, or borrowed.


    So here's what I got this week!
    • From Elizabeth Scott (squee!), who had a BEA-themed contest on her blog: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

  • Won in a contest over at The Book Butterfly: Mercy by Rebecca Lim


  • Purchased (and had personalized at the launch party--read all about it here!): 10 Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

    From Zondervan Publishing, as part of the Z Street program:
    • Ciao by Melody Carlson (the last book in the On the Runway series)
    Borrowed from the library:
    • Divergent by Veronica Roth
    • The Girl Who Was on Fire
    STILL working my way through last week's IMM (and IMMs from weeks before that, even)--I may have to put myself on a (gasp!) book ban until I can catch up.

    What did you get?
    Enjoy your reading!
    Christi