September 13, 2015

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
I figured I had to pick this book up when I saw it because it is so well liked throughout the book community. I didn’t really know why, and I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even know what it was about.

Normally, I shy away from books about the holocaust, because I was forced to read so many during school and I just needed a break. But . . . I bought this book without reading the synopsis, so I didn’t really have a choice. I am glad that I broke my rule for this book.

It was gripping. It was sweet. It was heartbreaking. It had a little bit of everything including a really unique POV.

All of the characters in The Book Thief are great. They are all central to the story and really make it work.

This book made me cry harder than any book has in a really, really long time.
This is just a beautiful book that I would label as a must-read.

5/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: “When she came to write her story, she would wonder exactly when the books and the words started to mean not just something, but everything.”

“Even death has a heart.”

“He must have longed for it so much. He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them.”

“One was a book thief. The other stole the sky.”

“Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.”

“She was still clutching the book. She was holding desperately on to the words who saved her life.”

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September 12, 2015

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.
Sci-FI books are always interesting because each of them has their own different language that you have to decipher. It usually gets easier as the book and/or series goes along, but it still takes some getting used to. That was no different in this case. But, it was made even more difficult by the fact that the protagonist cannot read very well. So, a lot of words are misspelled, and they are spelled in the way they are pronounced. It took a lot of getting used to, and it made it sort of hard to read for a few chapters. Once you get the hang of it, it isn’t so bad though. You just have to hope you don’t actually start writing like that in your real life.

Usually, I cannot get into many sci-fi books. The stories are too out there for me, and I like more realistic story lines. But, there was something about this book that pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go. I never wanted to put it down, and it made me just keep reading to. I can’t even put my finger on exactly what it was. The story telling was unique to go along with a unique story line. I just enjoyed it thoroughly.

It was nice to read a young adult book that had a strong male and female character. They complemented each other well and with ease. It seems like the kind of book that should be required school reading. There are lessons about life, death, war and hope. It was a very complete book and could have worked easily as a stand-alone novel, but I am glad that there are two more that come after this one. I need more of Todd and Viola’s story.

Warning: (also a spoiler) The dog dies, and I was not prepared for that. I nearly cried. So, if you are someone that cannot handle that, don’t read this book.

4/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: “It’s not so uncommon. If yer whole world is one Noisy town with no future, sometimes you just gotta leave even if there ain’t nowhere else to go.”

“Being this close to her silence is like my heart breaking all over the place. I can feel it, like it’s pulling me down into a bottomless pit, like it’s calling for me to just fall and fall and fall.”

“But a knife aint just a thing, is it? It’s a choice, it’s some thing you do. A knife takes a decision out of your hand and puts it in the world and it never goes back again.”

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September 2, 2015

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – PART TWO

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
I wrote a part one to this review when I was almost half way through the book. That can be found here.

I think I stopped at the right part when I wrote the first review. That is because I actually enjoyed the second half of the book. I really didn’t like the first half, but it was driving me a bit crazy that I didn’t finish it since I have the 3rd book in the series. So, I decided to go back and give it another try and I am glad I did.

If I hadn’t, I would be under the impression forever that this is a horrible book, and it isn’t. It just takes a long time to get going. The characters take a lot of getting used to. But, once you reach the second half of the book, it turns into a pretty sweet teen romance book.

I would recommend finishing the book if you like cheesy teen romance books. That’s what you will get here.

Final half grade: 4/5 stars.
OVERALL grade: 2.5/5 stars.

Memorable Quote: “There’s something about blue eyes. The kind of blue that startles you every time they’re lifted in your direction. The kind of blue that makes you ache for them to look at you again. Not blue green or blue gray, the blue that’s just blue.”

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