Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Reviews for November 2011

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

This astonishing book isn't conventional in any sense of the word, except for being printed on paper. Told in a series of images, with brief segments of text, it follows a young boy through the solving of a fascinating puzzle.

The official synopsis: Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

Beautiful and highly recommended, especially for those who love film as an art form.

Possession by Elana Johnson

I met Elana at the Teen Book Fest. She was nice. We talked about her book, she signed it for me. I am always interested in the publication story of authors, especially local authors. Hers was just as fascinating as others I've heard.

The book is dystopian. It deals with a controlling, brain-washing government and a girl, Vi, who decides to fight back.  I had a hard time figuring out what was happening.  I also felt disconnected from the main character. I liked her delivery-style in the narrative, but I didn't really like HER.  But I don't know, maybe the MC wasn't suppose to be likable.

Cyndal adored this book.  She read it in three days.  I asked her what she thought of the ending.  "I want to scratch the author's eyes out," she said.  I told her, "You know there's a sequel, right?"  She said, "Oh.  I'm okay then."

Warnings on: language, kissing (lots of kissing).

Crossed by Ally Condie

I really liked this book. While I didn't care for the love triangle in the first novel, once Cassia makes a choice and commits, I found the emotional parts of the story more compelling. I'll have to confess to Ally that her romance made me cry.

A good deal of Crossed takes place in the narrow canyons of Zion's National Park. Of course, the setting has a different name in the book, but it was nice to be able to perfectly visualize this environment. Crossed is fun, it's like a mash-up of A Brave New World, The X-Files, 1984, and some silly romance that I end up liking.

I find the possible future in this series creepy and telling. And I love the way Ally uses poetry and art in this tale. The importance of our creative heritage comes through very strongly in these books, and I commend Ally for that. Thank you for a compelling and meaningful story, Ally Condie. I can't wait for the finale!

Warnings on: Some violence (mild when compared with The Hunger Games).

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