Real life caused me to get very far behind on my reviews last year. Here are the books I read in December 2009.
|Book #108||12/5/09||Waiting for You||Susane Colasanti||Grade: B|
|Marisa has had a huge crush on Derek for a while now, but she’s happy when her neighbor Nash becomes her lab partner, even though he is not boyfriend material. Nash is a great listener even if he dresses weird and has a messy room. When Nash tries to kiss Marisa, she tells him she just wants to be friends. After a brief awkward period, they repair their friendship, which is great for Marisa because her parents’ relationship is rapidly breaking up and her best friend is obsessed with her internet boyfriends. When Derek finally shows some interest in Marisa, she thinks they are perfect together, except he always seems to be talking to his exgirlfriend. This romantic novel doesn’t quite live up to the works of Sarah Dessen, but your teenage girls will enjoy it. The characters aren’t particularly unique but they are likable, and although there are a few too many character narrations in place of scenes and jumpy transitions, the romance is nice and very clean.
|Book #109||12/6/09||The Secret Life of Prince Charming||Deb Caletti||Grade: A-|
|The title and cover of this book are misleading. Although there is a romance in this book, it is brief and the story is primarily about a family and how love and relationships affect your life. Quinn spends her days with her mother, aunt, and grandmother who are all skeptical about love, given their past history. Quinn is happy that her father has reentered her life over the past three years, but she is shocked when she discovers he has kept items of sentimental value, stolen from each of the women who has been in his life on display in his house. She contacts her half-sister Francis Lee who she has only met once and they devise a plan to return these items to their mothers and the other women their father has had relationships with. Quinn lies to her mother about visiting Disneyland with her father, is forced to bring her eavesdropping sister along, and meets Jake, a musician who’s hitching a ride with them on their adventure. This excellent novel borrows some of its structure from Caletti’s National Book Award finalist Honey, Baby, Sweetheart and also recalls it’s warm, flawed characters, quirky humor, and subtle but lovely writing style. Joan Bauer and Sarah Dessen fans will like this one, although the romance is the only part of the book that’s a little rushed and not quite perfect.|
|Book #110||12/7/09||Diary of a Wimpy Kid||Jeff Kinney||Grade: A-|
|Adorable. I can see why kids eat this up. Not interesting enough for me as an adult to read the rest, but I’d hand it to every fourth grade boy I meet.|
|Book #111||12/15/09||Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice||Philip Hoose||Grade: A-|
|An important book that is lovely but I think the best parts are the direct quotes from Colvin. I agree her perspective could have been rounded out with a few more anecdotes from people who knew her.|
|Book #112||12/16/09||Break||Hannah Moskowitz||Grade: B+|
|Great characterization although the premise is weakened tremendously by the ending. Liked the portrayal of the brother who has all the allergies and the clueless, selfish mother.|
|Book #113||12/19/09||Carbon Diaries 2015||Saci Lloyd||Grade: C|
|Hated this book and only finished because a colleague insisted we add it to our Mock Printz list. Anyone who gave this a starred review hasn’t read Life as We Knew It. What’s the point of a diary that tells a story without any sort of emotion or personality from the main character? Crazy Dad and sister couldn’t save this.|
|Book #114||12/22/09||Lips Touch: Three Times||Laini Taylor||Grade: A|
|This collection of three novellas combines magical realism, fantasy, and lush writing to create three intense stories surrounding three significant kisses.
In this first story, a goblin takes the form of a teenage boy in order to woo an ordinary teeenage girl. In the second, the “old bitch” as she’s called, makes a deal to keep a bunch of kids out of hell by cursing a baby so that if she ever makes a noise, anyone who hears it will immediately die. Her silence is easy to maintain – until she falls in love. In the third, a mother tries to protect her daughter from the Druj’s, a group of mischievous creatures who manipulate and use humans for their own interests, until she discovers just how unsuccessful she has been. The third story is slightly less successful than the first two, but the whole story is a unique read with gorgeous, slightly horrifying pictures.
|Book #115||12/22/09||The Miles Between||Mary Pearson||Grade: B+|
|A nice friendship/road trip book that would be more popular with a better cover. Took me a while to figure out the secret.|
|Book #116||12/28/09||How to Say Goodbye in Robot||Natalie Standiford||Grade: B|
|Cute story. Wasn’t super convinced by the characters. Comparisons to Perks of Being a Wallflower are overblown. Liked the talk radio show and its quirky characters.|