Waves by Sharon Dogar.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

“What really happened last summer?”

Rating: 4/5
Summary: Last summer Hal’s older sister Charley was in an accident in the waves, leaving her comatose, not dead, not alive.
On returning to the beach, Hal finds it difficult to shake Charley’s dominant presence. Thoughts of her fill his mind, pictures and places, even strong emotions crowd his busy mind and soon enough Hal realises that they’re not entirely his.
Hal is determined to find out what happened to Charley last summer in the waves, and as the summer goes along he gets closer and closer to finding out about what Charley really did last summer.

Review: This was a really fascinating story and I really enjoyed it.
A highly original story that had an excellent supernatural undertone. Wonderful plot, wonderful mystery. Awesome characters and some that were kind of disturbing. Dogar wrote the disturbing parts of her characters an enourmous amount of class.
There are two perspectives given in this novel. The most used is Hal’s, the younger brother, with him we go through his wonderfully written pain and anger about what’s happened to Charley. We’re able to watch him search for answers and put some of the pieces together and even fall in love. Even experience some of the emotion he is experiencing.

Then we have comatose Charley. Her perspective is very interesting, we get her now – as in, the Charley that’s lost in a coma – it’s very creative and vague and I enjoyed reading her parts so very much. Then we get Charley then, and we live her memories of last summer and get quite a few clues from there.
I think that this story takes a bit of getting in to, but it’s very much worth it when you finally do. The ending is beautiful. When all the pieces are put together and you finally see what happened that night things seem to make a lot more sense and we see why some people are the way they are.
Dogar is a lovely writer, who writes with such imagination and creativity it’s inspiring.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a mystery and putting pieces together, or even if you’re a supernatural addict, this could be a fix.

Four stars, this book was really enjoyable and so original, the characters were fun and mysterious, the views creative, I think that this story was a breathe of fresh air.

The Luxe by Anna Godberson

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

“If Elizabeth had looked down from that lovely perch one particular October morning on the proceeding of her own funeral, she would have been honoured to see that all of New York's best families had turned out to say goodbye.”

Summary: (from amazon.com) Elizabeth Holland, a prim and proper lady of old-money society, is betrothed to one man, though furtively loves another; Henry Schoonmaker, a debauched playboy who must marry Elizabeth or be disinherited; Diana Holland, Elizabeth’s younger sister who is in love with her fiancé; and Penelope Hayes, a member of the nouveau riche who will stop at nothing to win Henry’s affections. As Elizabeth and Henry’s wedding approaches, the spectacle unfolds in a wondrously grandiose scene, making for a fun, though not entirely unexpected dénouement.

Review: First and foremost I want to compliment this book on its chapter size – yes, I do realise that is a weird thing to do, but the chapter sizes were perfect. Short and swift and straight to the point.
The Luxe is written in third person and with each chapter comes the perspective of one of the scandalised central characters. Making The Luxe is an addicting read that I had trouble putting down.
Character wise they were set up well and all had memorabile traits. One character I could not stand was Penelope. The thing that annoyed me the most about her was that she was constantly positioning herself so that the light was hitting her features in a perfect, alluring way. That said, I felt like Penelope was put in the novel to be disliked.
The romance was fantastic – especially Elizabeth and Will’s, probably my favourite in the novel as well. I love romances with higher and lower class people when reading novels set in a different time era like the 1800’s. Besides of course Will, Diana was my favourite character because she was mischievous and wasn’t bent on being perfect.

The beginning of this novel draws you in, giving a brief explanation of each pivotal character, naming situations that intrigue you and finally ending with a bang. Leaving me with so many questions that I had nothing left to do but turn the next page.
This is described as Gossip Girl set in the 1800’s, when I think of Gossip Girl I do think of confusing love triangles and society problems, but I do not think of The Luxe, even if the basics are the same. The difference between the Gossip Girl books and The Luxe – for me that is – is that I was able to finish The Luxe and the characters were so much better developed and realistic.
The cover is just beautiful as well. I would find it hard to walk past a novel with that pretty a cover, it's so intriguing.
The Luxe has me very much wanting to read the sequel Rumours and anything else that will come in the series.

I’m giving this novel five out of five. Godberson writes a scandalous 1800’s novel filled with corsets and drama, forbidden love and money. A novel that I recommend to anyone in need of a guilty pleasure or who likes a scandal.

Girl Week.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Steph over at Reviewer X is hosting Girl Week. Girl Week is Steph and numerous authors way of getting us to celebrating feminism, female characters we should look up to and of course YA lit. With a collection of interviews, guest blogs (both with amazing authors) and lots of wonderful competitions.

I'm having a great time over at Girl Week. If you haven't heard about it, I advise you go quickly and get involved as much as you can!

Expect a review for The Luxe and Blue is for Nightmares up soon.


Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

“I don’t believe in life after death or diuretics or happy endings. I don’t believe anything good can come from this.”

Riley Rose doesn’t want to be at Spirit Ranch Holiday Camp. Riley wants to be partying with her best friend Chloe at the beautiful Ben Sebatini’s house. She has a plan to get away from the jumpsuit-wearing counsellors, the feel-good mantras, do-gooder campers and the monotonous schedule of team-building exercises and outdoor activities.
But Spirit Ranch is not what it appears. Secrets abound — a missing shroud, an abandoned house, a boy called Bird, and why the hell doesn’t anyone want to talk about the accident that landed the mysterious Dylan in a wheelchair last year?

When I think of words to describe this novel, two leap out at me. The first is weird and the second is touching.
I hadn't heard of Simmone Howell before I got this novel, so I obviously hadn't read any of her books. But, I am very interested after reading Everything Beautiful in reading her first novel Notes from the Teenage Underground.
I think that Everything Beautiful takes a little getting into, but when you are sucked into the story you really feel like you need to get a blanket, curl up into a ball and read this novel. It’s a cute read, not too heavy but the story isn’t meaningless.
Riley Rose is the rebellious main character, a little bigger then the socially acceptable weight is thses days and full of personality. I found her a great MC and wonderful person to hear the story from. Even if she was a little odd.

"Mum used to say that anyone who used your appearence as ammo was the worst kind of bully -- weak and unimaginative."

I think that this story had a lot to say about looks being deceiving, especially in sex god Craig’s case. Who you think will be the love interest of the novel -- buff, perfect smile -- does he not suit the stereotype? But you find that the love interest is instead Dylan, the sad looking boy in the wheelchair. Dylan is beautifully wounded and he was the kind of hurt person this book needed to make it not only interesting and memorable.
Everything Beautiful is written very well and set up into intelligently planned sections. The novel revolves around Riley being sent to a Christian camp for seven days and is broken into seven day sections -- get it? I understand that the main character being sent to a Christian camp may turn someone who’s not into novels about religion off this book. However, Howell does a wonderful job of slipping religion into the novel, but not letting it take over the whole thing. The way other minor characters act and feel about religion at the camp is very well put into the novel as well as realistic.

"Sometimes -- usually first thing when I wake up -- I forget. I go to get out of bed and it's like a blind down or a slap around the head."

Riley is very influenced by her best friend Chloe, a total and utter party girl. Throughout the novel we hear Riley speak and think of her best friend in a realistic way that you would a person you admire. How Riley grows without her wildly confident and experienced best friend makes me smile and gives me this odd sense of closure. Riley grows a lot through this novel and I love that, because it was time for her to do so.
Riley and Dylan’s relationship is the kind of cute that makes you smile warmly. I love the way they acted around one another, how completely random and comfortable they were.
Howell does a great job of writing a story that makes you laugh and think, it’s a novel that I would recommend to any teenager looking for a novel that is thought provoking, but gives you room to laugh.

I’m giving this novel four out of five (I’ve given a lot of novels this score recently haven’t I?) it was a good and quick read that was fun and thoughtful.

*Don't forget to email me your thoughts on the novel Just Listen, ASAP.

Just Listen Segment.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I’m really excited about starting the Just Listen segment and really want to start it. I’ve decided that the book we’ll start off will be Just Listen.

Anyone who has read Just Listen and is reading this post I need you to email me and tell me why you loved or hated this novel, tell me about your favourite character and why they were your favourite. And anything else you can think to tell me about it that may make someone interested in reading this novel really want to read it. Please remember to be insightful.

Also, when you email me at justlistenbookreviews[at]gmail[dot]com and tell me all about why or why not Just Listen is a book worth reading tell me what book you think will be a good choice for next time. You have two weeks to get your opinion in, so be quick!

In Ecstasy by Kate McCaffrey.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ecstasy. I’d always thought I might try it one day. I’d heard kids at school talking about getting wasted on the weekends. They made it sound awesome. I pictured the roughly made tablets with their tiny butterflies. An amazing experience inside a tiny pill.”

Rating: 4/5.

Summary:Mia and Sophie have been best friends forever — but that’s all about to change. Experimenting with drinking, boys and drugs, their friendship is tested to its limits, and they soon find out just how very bad things can be.

Review: This novel was hard hitting, from the very first time Sophie and Mia took ecstasy you knew that things were going to get bad, though, I didn't think that they'd get that bad.

Something about the way Kate McCaffrey wrote this book kept me wanting to turn the next page. There was also something about the way she described things that made them so real, so real that I often felt like I was reading someones biography or their memoirs from their drug crazed days.

The novel is from two perspectives, I found Sophie's more enjoyable at the start, her problems more developed and the way that it was written was more intriguing. Mia's story, just beginning seemed to grab my attention but whenever I hit Sophie's perspective my first thought was: yay. At the end of the novel, I felt differently. Sophie's problems in some ways ending and other just beginning made her perspective less interesting and Mia's problems sky rocketing made her perspective even more interesting. McCaffrey did a very good job at keeping me hooked.

The novel, as you would have already assumed from the title revolves around drugs or more specifically ecstasy. It was very intense and frightening to watch what happened when the girls were under the influence. And I found the process of reading this novel, not only enjoyable, but educational. Reading a novel about this sort of stuff goes into much more depth and teaches you a little more then your health teachers and parents ever could.

That morning I figured life couldn’t get any better. How could something that made you feel like that be bad for you?”

I found Mia and Sophie very easy to relate to, as the novel progressed, I was in tune with how Sophie was feeling and found her easier to relate to, her reactions to Mia's problem made me think of myself and how I would probably handle the situation the same. The way they thought about themselves and one another was very real.

As terrible as it sounds I love stories about the rising and falling of people in the 'in' crowd. In Ecstasy did a wonderful job of showing how the person on the rise in the group feels and reacts, and how the people already in the group react. How the friendships sour and the opinion of the person on the rise goes from good to bad.

The ending, once again, I got a perfect one. It gave me a little hope for the girls and left a lot up to my own imagination, and actually made me laugh, which was great.

I'm going to give this novel four out of five. It was so real and Kate McCaffrey is a wonderful and inspirational writer and I will be looking out for her other novel Destroying Avalon. I would recommend this novel to anyone, it's one of those books that teenagers should read so that they can understand the dangers of drugs and how easily you can get caught up in them.


And The Winners Are....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Finally! I've been excited about today for a while now.

Mum and I sat down and got all the entries together and then put them in the most adorable Santa bowl and then she drew out the following people:

The first prize pack which contained:

ARC of Finnkin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.


Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta.

(Both signed)

To Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag!

And the second prize pack which contained:

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.


Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta.

(Both signed)

Went to Kelsey from Reading Keeps you Sane!

I've emailed both of you already and need you to reply in the next 72hours or else I will be forced to choose another winner(s).

Thank-you to all of you who entered!

Allie's Amazing Week in Mail!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So, this would have to be my biggest week in books ever, so I thought that I'd take this oppurtunity to do an In My Mailbox post.

Last Monday I received:

Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell.
The Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marrilier.
Surf Sisters by Laurine Croasdale.

And the following Monday I received:

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Rumours by Anna Godbersen
The Museum of Mary Child by Cassandra Golds.
Savvy by Ingrid Law.
Something In The World Called Love by Sue Saliba.
The Boat by Nam Le.
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen.
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen.
The Push by Julia Lawrinson

Lots of reviews to come and a competition some time in the next month or two. And on the subject of competitions, remember, the Melina Marchetta competition is closing tomorrow and the winners will also be announced. If you have haven’t entered click here and leave me a comment, if you’ve entered and are looking for extra entries sign up and introduce yourself on the Sane Reading Boards here.

Anyway, what did everyone else get this week/last week?

Sane Reading = Extra Entries.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A little while ago, a great friend of mine, Kelsey from Reading Keeps You Sane started the Sane Reading Boards. Sadly though, no one really goes on there anymore. It's a huge shame because the boards were going to be fun and there was going to be a book club on there. Yes, a book club.

The idea, the boards, they're too great to go waste, so, I'm asking you to go and join up. And, just to motivate some people a little more. If you sign up for the boards and introduce yourself in the introduction section, I'll give you five extra entries into my contest where you have the chance to win some of Melina Marchetta's books!

Link to the boards: Sane Reading Boards.

The contest ends in two days, so sign up ASAP. In order to get those five extra entries though, you must introduce yourself on the boards and then comment me here (click here).

Have fun, post like crazy on those boards and expect an In My Mailbox post and my review for In Ecstasy (I mean it this time).

An Idea.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Recently I have been trying to come up with the most amazingly brilliant idea that I possibly can to make my blog a little more fun. Sticking to the name of my blog I thought of a little idea that I’m not sure is amazingly brilliant, but it will be fun to see how it goes, and I’ll need your help to pull it off.

Every fortnight I’m going to name a YA book and then I’m going to ask people who have read the novel why others should read it or why they shouldn’t, I’m going to ask people who haven’t read the novel why they would pick this novel up. For this, I won’t need a huge review, I want short comments about what you thought of the book, but when I say short I don’t want: I thought this book was good. I want insight!

When that two week block is over I’ll post up as many of your comments about the chosen book as I can and we’ll see whether the book is wonderful or not. The name is still under consideration, so help in that department would be marvellous, though I want the name to stay in tune with Just Listen as that is the name of the blog.

The thing about this is that I really need your help and contributions to get this off the ground. If you want to help me in anyway email me at the address under authors and publishers or leave a comment. I would love to hear your own ideas about this. Also, I want you to nominate the books, so email/comment me with your choices of what books would be best!


I Love Your Blog Award

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Today at school was pretty funny, but at the same time, very embarrassing, I had a door crash on my arm (XD) carried a wood work table home with my friend and had to do this thing in front of the whole school...but, after all that, three very awesome bloggers have made my embarrassment (and pain) so much better!

Amanda from That Teen Can Blog.
Laina from Laina Has Too Much Time.
And Just Blinded Book Reviews.

Everyone, go and comment and tell each of these girls how awesome they are!

I'm very excited to get this award because I've only been blogging for a little over a month and it really makes me happy that there are people out there that love my blog.


After receiving the award you are supposed to pay it forward:

1) Add the logo of your award to your blog.

2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.

3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.

4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.

5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

Okay, well, time for me to nominate. Of course there's:

Kelsey from Reading Keeps You Sane.

Hope from Hope's Bookself.

Emily from That One Girl Emily.

Rachel from The Book Muncher.

Liv from Liv's Book Reviews.

Ashley from Ashley's Bookshelf.

Sarah from Sarah's Random Musings.

Have fun!!


Monday, December 1, 2008

It's been a long stressful wonderful month and I really want to know how everyone who participated went!

How did I go...?
I finished! Can you believe it? I couldn't. I've got 50,000 words of crap, but the thought that's comforting me now is that I can always edit and rewrite. I am very excited, I have my little certificate printed off and hanging on the wall.

I can not wait until next year and I can't wait until I have the time to get back into the story and edit, my inner editor is crying at the moment and there is so much to be fixed in the story it's quite mortifying.

So, participants who are reading this, comment! Tell me all about your Nano experience, what you could have done better, what you loved and hated about the month, why you love your story and anything else you want to share with us!

Remember to enter the contest I'm running, you have the wonderful chance to win signed copies of Melina's Marchetta's wonderfully amazing books. Oh and how's this, Nano participants, whether you won or lost, three extra entry's into my contest!! Isn't it wonderful that I'm feeling so generous?

Expect a review for In Ecstasy by Kate McCafferty in the next day or so.

Paper Towns by John Green

Friday, November 28, 2008

Here's what's not beautiful about it: from here, you can't see the rust or the cracked paint or whatever, but you can tell what the place really is. You can see how fake it all is.”

Rating: 4/5.

Summary: Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues - and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

Review: Ah, Paper Towns, how do I describe thee?

It was a long wait for this novel and even with my hopes high for this novel and expectations even higher I still managed to love this novel. Though, I found that I enjoyed Looking for Alaska more, Paper Towns still has heaps to offer.

I expected nothing but brilliance from John Green and I got what I wanted from this novel, sometimes as I read this novel I was astounded by how deep and wonderful the characters were. I loved what this book had to say about our perceptions of people, our imaginations and how they make us judge or assume what people are like.

The characters were amazing, Q was sweet, sometimes he irritated me, but throughout the novel I learnt to live with it. Radar well, everything about him made me laugh, Ben was probably my favourite character, he was hilarious and there was something about him that I loved. Margo though, she was an amazing character that I to an extent admired, she made me laugh and made me all teary and sad, she was delightfully complex.

John does an amazing job of writing for and about teenagers, I loved how the characters were angst ridden and I found them easy to relate to.

Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I've lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters."

This novel was hilarious all the way through, it had me laughing constantly.

The mystery was interesting, the clues I found hard to piece together and even though Margo was gone for the majority of the novel, I felt like the clues allowed me to get to know her. Even though the majority of the time I got to know her through Q's undying obsession that at points through the novel irked me, something about the way he went about looking for Margo at times annoyed me, but only for short bursts in time, then I was wrapped up in the awesomeness of the novel again.

Nerdfighters will adore all the talk of awesome in this novel, I sure did.

The ending, my oh my, does it have me wondering. It was shocking, and I must admit that I had a bit of a jaw dropping moment, I would not have picked what happened and the reactions and well, everything. I thought that the ending was great, I liked how ideal it was and then how it left you wanting to know more and more about the characters and what they actually did after you left them.

The town was paper, but the memories were not."

This wonderful novel gets four out of five from me, it was amazing and I had a lot of fun reading it. I would recommend it to anyone who reads YA because it's a great book and I would also recommend John's other books (though I have only read Looking for Alaska) because he is an author that you do not want to miss out on.

Author Interview: Melina Marchetta.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Melina Marchetta is an Australian author with four very popular books released: Looking For Alibrandi her first novel which she wrote when she was twenty one has won numerous awards and is one of Australia’s favourite YA novels, In 2000 Looking for Alibrandi hit the big screen, starring Pia Miranda and Anthony LaPaglia and Melina wrote the screenplay. Her other four acclaimed novels are: Saving Francesca, On the Jellicoe Road and Finnikin of the Rock (expect it out in the U.S in 2010), she’s currently working on her fifth novel The Piper’s Son.

Can you tell people who don't know much about your latest novel, Finnikin of the Rock all about it?

After the slaughter of its beloved royal family, the kingdom of Lumatere is cursed and half its people are trapped inside never to be heard from, and the other half are scattered in exile across the Land. Ten years later, Finnikin, once the best friend of the young prince and the son of the captain of the king’s guard, travels the land taking care of Lumateran refugees. Until he’s called to an abbey where a young woman, named Evanjalin, claims she can walk through the sleep of those trapped inside, as well as claiming that the prince is alive. Finnikin doesn’t believe her, but they’re stuck with each other and it all starts from there.

Who was the hardest character to write?

Definitely, Finnikin. He’s a bit pigheaded, at times, really. But I loved sitting back and watching Evanjalin slap him down. Although it’s not written in first person, most of the action is seen through his eyes, so I had to keep him more emotionally held back than the narrators of my other novels.

Who was your favourite character?

Perri the Savage. He’s the second in command of the Guard. A very dark character, who as a child and young man was a violent bully. But I wanted to show what happens when a character is trusted and the Captain of the Guard trusts him with his son, Finnikin and from that point on there’s no turning back with Perri. When I was a year coordinator at a boys’ school, sometimes you’d get the naughtiest, less trust worthy kid to run your errands and have the keys to your office. It was a gamble, but most times it worked because they took trust seriously.
Evanjalin is a favourite as well. As much as this is Finnikin’s journey, Evanjalin isn’t merely the love interest. She’s the one who challenges him and controls the narrative. But I had to be careful with her. I wanted her to be respected by the reader for all the right reasons. Sometimes, a female character is raved about because she knows how to fight and defend herself with the best of them and really, all that means is that we like her because she’s demonstrated traditional male hero traits. I didn’t want to do that with her. Apart from one or two fight scenes she’s forced to participate in, I wanted to show how she uses her brain and her faith to get them through situations and although you feel you can’t trust her, I’d like to think that the reader, like Finnikin, can’t help loving her and wanting to follow her.

What was your inspiration for Finnikin of the Rock?

Inspiration never really comes from one place. Sometimes a character hangs out with you, gives you a bit of information and you go with it. I’m the grand daughter of migrants. Displacement and loss of homeland are part of my story.

A lot of readers of Just Listen Book Reviews have yet to read Finnikin of the Rock because it's yet to be released in the U.S, but a lot of them have read On the Jellicoe Road, can you tell us about your inspiration for that?

A strange inspiration. I just wanted to write a boarding school story because I love them. On the surface it might look like a story about the territory war between three factions of this particular area, but for me, Jellicoe is about what happens when the lines between being enemies and friends are blurred. It’s about gathering community when community has been wiped out and it’s about the role fate plays in our lives and how we either become reactive to it, or proactive.

On The Jellicoe Road was a pretty intense novel, was it hard for you to write?

Oh very. I can’t even read the last fifty pages without crying and it’s my book and I know what happens! But I love the strong bonds in this novel, especially the relationship between Taylor and Jonah. It’s a tough book on the reader. I always say, ‘Be very patient. It’s not Alibrandi and Francesca. In Jellicoe, you find out things at the same time Taylor does and sometimes it’s a long time coming but I’d love to think that the patience pays off.

Of all your characters, do you think that you can choose a favourite?

Too hard. I think it’s Frankie Spinelli (SF) Her story is personal to me so I feel I know her well and I love her relationship with the very pragmatic Will (who at times reminds me of that stubborn Finnikin). And of course I love Tom Mackee from Saving Francesca because I’m writing his story in The Piper’s Son (see below)

When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

When I was writing Looking for Alibrandi at the age of 21 and knew I wanted that story to be published.

Do you have any advice for young aspiring writers?

My first novel was rejected about six times. It was re-written about ten times and took about six or seven years to be published. This writing business isn’t for those who have no passion for their work. You can’t give up.

Why do you write for young adults?

I tend to say that I write about this age group rather than for this age group. I think the age of seventeen is a powerful time in a person’s life because it could be the first time you make the really big decisions on your own rather than having to rely on your parents or teachers to make them for you. It’s a fascinating age and comes equipped with conflict. Perfect for a writer.

Can you tell us (in extreme detail) about the novel you're currently working on, The Piper's Son?

Hmmm. Haven’t learnt how to articulate this one yet so this is going to sound like a ramble. Sequel to Saving Francesca except it’s about Tom Mackee. The gang is 21. Tom’s estranged from the girls because of an awful family tragedy two years prior. He just couldn’t cope and gets lost for a while. At the start of the story he’s back in Frankie and Justine’s life, reluctantly. He’s a dish pig at the pub the girls work at that belongs to Justine’s uncle. They’re all still obsessed with music and used to be in a band together at university.
The rest of their people are overseas and their story is about how they cope with the distances between them. Frankie’s still with Will (I couldn’t have put two more different people together but somehow they work) and Tom has to make amends with Tara Finke because of something intense that happened to them in their second year of uni. That relationship is explored in a series of angry, funny, poignant emails and phone calls. It’s hard to conduct a love story when they are never in the same room but I’m hoping it works because I find it pretty romantic having to rely on words.
Mostly, it’s about not being able to bury your dead and the impact that has on Tom’s family. But for all the sadness, they are intensely dark- humoured people and I’ve had fun with them, despite the fact that I could easily cry every time I write a scene. Tom’s hard to write because he can’t articulate how he’s feeling.
The grown-ups get more of a story in this one, especially his pregnant Aunt Georgie and her estranged partner, Sam. (not quite the same themes as Mia and Robert in SF, but same dynamics) as well as Tom’s very fragile relationship with his father. It’s got a cast of thousands in the same way Saving Francesca has, but it’s still a small book with big themes. How to do all that without it being a sloppy cliché? I’m working very hard at it, I promise, but I think I’ve done it before and I can do it again. I never thought I’d say I’m crazy mad for Tom Mackee, but I am.

Favourite novel of all time?

My first was Anne of Green Gables. I’ll say over and over again that my life changed when Anne hit Gilbert Blythe over the head with the slate and that it influences my writing because I think I use that scene metaphorically over and over again in my novels – think Francesca Spinelli and Will Trombal in the Tolstoy/Trotsky face off (Saving Francesca)

Anything else you want to add?

Only that I suppose it’s difficult changing genres for both the writer and her readers. But I’m ecstatic about the reviews and letters for Finnikin. I either get them from people who are avid fantasy readers or those who have never read fantasy before. Once or twice I read a negative blog and I just have to just put it down to a reader not connecting with the world I’ve created or having their own expectations of what the novel should be before they start reading it. Someone commented on their disappointment that the action with the villain is off screen. But for me the villain isn’t the one-dimensional imposter king. It’s the hearts and mind of good people who turned their back on others who were suffering. It’s why I used the Primo Levi poem. Regardless of when it was written (Levi was an inmate at Auschwitz) he speaks about retribution - of what happens to people who look the other way when bad things are happening. Perhaps, deep down, that’s what I wanted to say.

Thank-you so much Melina!!

(Remember that if you post a comment on this interview you get another entry into my contest where you have the chance to win all of Melina's books.)

My First Competition!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Guess what came in the mail today? -- actually the most books I have ever received, but I'll tell you what you may be more interested in. Four signed novels by Melina Marchetta that I'm going to be giving away to two (2) lucky people!

What books have I got up for grabs?

*Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta.

*Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta.

*On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, (hardcover).

And for residents out of Australia this is a HUGE ARC.

*Finnkin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.

The lovely Melina Marchetta was very kind and sent me all of these books! So a HUGE yay for Melina Marchetta!!

So, how's this competition working? Well, two lucky people will get two books each. The first person I draw out will win:

*Finnkin of the Rock & Looking for Alibrandi.

The second person I pick out will win:

*On the Jellicoe Road & Saving Francesca.

How do you enter? Well, to enter all you have to do is comment on this post and leave your email address, extra entry's will be given if:

*You were a follower before this competition started that gets you three (3) extra entry's, (but you need to comment on this post so I know that you're interested).

*If you sign up to follow my blog then I will give you two (2) extra entry's.

*Another entry will be given if you comment on Melina Marchetta's interview that will posted in the next couple of days

*You will be given five (5) entry's if you advertise this competition on your blog (side bar is fine).

(Make sure you comment and tell me so that you don't miss out on your entry's).

This part is going to be tricky, as the competition is international YES INTERNATIONAL (seeing as if it wasn't I'd probably be sending the books to myself...) and all of our times are different. The competition will end roughly on Tuesday the 9th of December at midnight, so if you're north of the equator I'm guessing that it'll be Monday over there, so I'll post when the competition has officially ended to clear up confusion about the end of the competition.

Winners will be drawn and announced sometime Wednesday the 10th of December (my time) Tuesday your time. I'll post the winners on the blog and email them, they'll have two days to get in contact with me, if they don't, sadly enough, then I will draw out new winners.

I have read all of these books and can tell you that each and everyone of them is awesome. The review for Finnkin of the Rock can be found here and the review for Saving Francesca can be found here.

If this information has seriously confused you, email me at the address at the top of the page.

Well, good-luck!


Dear Everybody by Michael Kimball

Saturday, November 15, 2008

“Jonathan left all of these fragments behind and I have tried to put them back together in some kind of order. I hope that this hold him together”.

Rating: 5/5.

Summary:Jonathon Bender had something to say, but the world wouldn’t listen. That’s why he writes letters to everybody he has ever known—including his mother and father, his brother and other relatives, his childhood friends and neighbors, the Tooth Fairy, his classmates and teachers, his psychiatrists, his ex-girlfriends and his ex-wife, the state of Michigan, a television station, and a weather satellite. Taken together, these unsent letters tell the remarkable story of Jonathon’s life.

Review:My mum arrived home with a bag of books from her book club, out of curiosity I picked through the pile and that is where I found this wonderful novel. The first pages had me hooked and when I really got into this book there was no going back. It’s not like anything I’ve ever read before.
The book is written very differently, not using the traditional third or first person but letter form, with a collation of articles, excerpts from Jonathan’s eulogy and his mother’s diary and conversations between Robert and people who knew Jonathan.
This is a tragic story about abuse and suicide and how the victims deal with it. The letters are hard hitting, at some points throughout the novel I was gasping at what Jonathan had written.

“Dear Grandma and Grandpa Winters,
Thank-you for giving me the Etch-a-Sketch for my seventh birthday. I liked drawing with it better then drawing on the walls, but I always felt sick when I shook it and everything on it’s magic screen disappeared. It reminded me how my dad would grab me by both of my shoulders and shake me until everything went blank inside me too”.

Jonathan was very easy to love because he was so blunt and sweet, very sweet and that really just made you a little sadder. What I really liked about Jonathan was that when he wrote the letters to his abusive father you could tell by how he wrote them that he was like: stuff it. He never searched for approval from his father, he knew that he didn’t like him and he didn’t try and change that. His brother Robert on the other hand was a lot harder to like, he was in denial about everything and would make awful comments about his brother and didn’t seem to really care.

Jonathan’s mother Alice was tortured character who was frightened and it was hard not to feel the deepest sympathy for her. I hated his father, some conversations between Robert and Tom (the father) would make you feel sick, he treated Jonathan so badly.
The book leaves you with a lot of unanswered questions and depending on which characters you like and trust will leave you with your own opinion on whether what Jonathan was saying was true or false.
The story does a great job of showing Jonathan’s mental illness, Sara (his ex-wife) explains a lot of what happened to Jonathan in a very personal manner and really makes you seem like you were there.
The story was hauntingly real, the characters, the plot, the reactions, the circumstances.
It’s a quick and enjoyable read and it ends very abruptly.

I’m giving this novel five out of five, it was so dark (though not disturbing) yet touching, I loved reading this novel and would recommend it to anyone, especially fans of darker writers.


Also, stay tuned because in the next couple of days I will be posting my interview with Melina Marchetta (how exciting!) and giving out the information about my first contest!

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"I suppose a lot of teenage girls feel invisible sometimes, like they just disappear. Well that's me - Cammie the Chameleon. But I'm luckier then most because, at my school, that's considered cool."

Rating: 2/5

Summary:Gallagher Academy is not for normal girls, it's for the exceptional, the students are trained to kick box in PE, disarm bombs in science and could kill someone with an uncooked piece of spaghetti.

The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women may seem like your normal school for stuck up rich girls, but it's a school for spies.

Cammie Morgan is the headmistresses daughter, fluent in fourteen different languages and is nicknamed the chameleon because she's only seen when she wants to be.

But that all changes the day that Josh, a normal boy, sees her.

Review: I've been told so many great things about this novel. I've been trying to get my hands on it for ages and the day that I found this book in my local bookstore I thought that I'd struck gold, but sadly, this book disappointed me.

My first problem with this novel is how smart the girls are. They're geniuses, they're spies, but what escapes me is why they don't act like them, throughout the novel I was told how smart each girl was (over and over again) but I felt that I was never shown that they were smart.

My second problem is a fan girl one, the love

interest is one of the things about the book and really makes or breaks a novel for me, Josh...was sweet, a little weird and kind of funny, but...he wasn't... interesting enough. He was predictable, dull even. What I couldn't stand was that while they had their first kiss Cammie was babbling about how she wasn't going to describe what it was like because her mum was going to read this diary of hers.

Problem three:Cammie was a bit of a Mary Sue, all the characters forgave her actions after moments, she's with Josh and that is illegal in spy world and she doesn't get punished for her actions, and her mother is all: yes, yes, I knew, now, sleep well honey. Made me a little angry. She hurts Josh and he's beginning to forgive her. I didn't like that.

Problem four: the enormous title! At first it was cute and sweet, but after a while it got really annoying.

Problem five: the corniness. I can't stand corniness and I got a lot of it in this novel.

Problem six: I know that they're spies and that they save the world all the time, but they make Josh and people out of the school seem so useless and terrible and pathetic.

Problem seven: Repetitive.

I think that this novel had so much potential and it was wasted.

I think that I'll give this novel two stars. Maybe I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up so high, but this novel really disappointed me and I will not ever re-read it and I wouldn't recommend it.

I've noticed that a lot of the bloggers love this novel, and I totally respect that, I was wondering if you could comment and tell me why you enjoyed this book? I'm really interested in finding out why you loved it. :D

I thought that I'd share this cover with you seeing as it's different to the regular cover.


Amazing Because It Is.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I was tagged for the first time ever today! Whoo! And this was fun! Thank-you Kelsey!
Basically, with my iTunes, I have a lot of phases, so there's a lot of the same artists...don't tease my music taste. :D
1. Put Your iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Put the artist after a dash following the song name.
5. Put any comments in brackets.
6. Tag some lucky people to spread the disease.

How would you describe yourself?
Promises - Broken Toy Airplanes.

How do you feel today?

The Scientist - Coldplay.

What is your life’s purpose?

Dusk and Summer - Dashboard Confessional.

What is your motto?

Big Sur - The Thrills.

What do you think about very often?

Breathing - Yellowcard.

What is your life story?

Clumsy Card House - Blue October.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

We Walk - The Ting Tings.

What will you dance to at your wedding?

A Whisper - Coldplay.

What will they play at your funeral?

You're So Damn Hot - Ok Go. (Oh, gosh, that made me laugh. Ha.)

What is your hobby/interest?

Prayers of the Refugee - Rise Against.

If you could do anything right now, what would it be?

Grand Theft Autumn - Fall Out Boy.

What do you want most of all?

Forever Young - Youth Group.

What is your greatest fear?

Spray On Pants - Kisschasey.

What is your darkest secret?

Rooftops and Invitations - Dashboard Confessional.

What is your favorite thing in the world?

Carry This Picture For Luck - Dashboard Confessional. (Can you tell that I'm a DBC fan?)

If you could have one wish, what would you wish for?

Imperfection - Skillet. (I was hoping for Money, Money, Money XD XD)

What is your theme song?

Now or Never - Josh Groban.

The next time you hear this song (aside from now, that is), you must dance.

Everywhere - Yellowcard. (That'll be interesting)

What will you post this as?

Amazing Because It Is - The Almost.

That was fun. And now to tag some people... (this is hard, seeing as I don't really know anyone well yet.)
Amanda (That Teen Can Blog) and Megan (Simply Books). Have fun!

-- Allie.

The Push by Julia Lawrinson.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Love is just about the only hold anyone can have over another person; if you have that, then nothing else in necessary.”

Rating: 5/5

Summary: (from julialawrinson.com.au) Erica is restless for a life outside her office job, her boring boyfriend and her mother's tiny house in down-and-out Glebe.

In the 1950s, Sydney is quickly building a reputation for sinfulness, and some of the most attractively sinful people are to be found in a group known as the Push. They meet regularly to discuss their wicked ideas at the Royal George, and Erica is drawn into the captivating crowd.

Review:Doesn't the cover just sell this novel to you? I know the old saying: never judge a book by it's cover. But I don't agree with it in terms of reading, that's one of the first things I do. And this gorgeous cover is just the beginning of good things for this novel.

It's written in third person and in multiple perspectives to give you a good view of everyone and why they are the way they are, for example Trish, who is the best friend of the main character Erica, who introduces her to the notorious push, has a family that doesn't respect her and that causes her to rebel.

Erica is the main character and I think that as far as MC's go she was wonderful and easy to relate to. She's beautiful but shows that with beauty doesn't come everything, especially reassurance. We really watch her grow up throughout the story.

Johnno from the first time you see him is something special, his introduction is fantastic and you see that it suits his personality very well and it leaves a lasting impression on you. Some points through the novel I hated Johnno, but as it progressed that changed and I loved him more, he wasn't fickle, he was just passionate and wouldn't allow anything to sway his views.

I thought that Vanessa was a great character as well, very original. In the novel there was at least one character that you could relate to, Lawrinson's characters were realistic and interesting to read.

A major theme in this story is loss of innocence and it's carved marvelously throughout the story.

The emotion runs strong in The Push and something about the jealously Erica feels about Johnno and girls is very real.

Is she – was she with Johnno?” asked Erica.

It doesn't work like that,” Trish said. “It's more...fluid.”

I don't usually like books set in another time era, they tend to confuse me, but if you're one of those people like me then don't worry about it, the era doesn't make this novel hard to follow or annoying because of the way they speak or act. I actually really loved this novel because of it's era.

I may seem a little uninformed when I say that I had never heard of the the push (it was an actual real group of people) before reading this novel a few months earlier and I learnt a fair bit about it.

I love the ideas this novel possess and how opinionated the characters appear to be, the controversy was relevant for the time era.

I don't know whether it was intentional, but Lawrinson shows clearly which path Erica could have taken, she could have played it safe and stayed in the dining room at lunch with Jean and stayed in a relationship with boring David, but she chose the elusive push with Johnno.

She with me!” David said. “I'll punch your head in you impertinent pig.”

The man gave a small laugh. “Oh you will, will you?”

There are a few mini mysteries in this novel, based around Erica's absent sister Peggy and hearing things from Peggy's POV is great though she isn't having the best life.

Lawrinson's writing style is wonderful and I love the vague way she writes. She does a wonderful job of keeping the characters in character and keeping you hooked.

The ending! The ending was great! I can't believe how wonderful I thought it was and I'm so picky about the end. It was happy but at the same time it wasn't corny and allowed you to have your own and wide opinion of what happens next. It gave the best sense of closure and hope I have been given in a long time.

This book was a delight to read, everything was marvelous and I am having trouble thinking of something bad to say about it.

I'm giving this novel five out of five. It was different, interesting, the characters interesting and the plot great. Lawrinson may be an Aussie author and her novels may be hard to get a hold of for people in the U.S, but if you ever get the opportunity to read The Push take it, because you will not regret the twenty something dollars you spend to experience it.

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Friday, November 7, 2008

Where’s your mother, Ruby?”

Rating: 4.5/5

Summary:Only a few months ago, Ruby, almost eighteen was abandoned by her mother. She’s been living in the yellow house, just getting by, but the game is up and she’s going off to live with her older sister Cora who left for college ten years ago and never returned and her husband Jamie.

Suddenly her life is transformed into the opposite of what it used to be. A luxurious house, private school, new clothes and even the chance to have a fulfilling future that Ruby could never have imagined.

But Ruby is having trouble accepting all this, trusting all of those around her who want to make her life easier for her.

There’s an upside though, the boy next door, Nate, genial, popular and sweet seems to understand her problems, maybe it’s because he’s hiding something of his own though.

Review: Mid April I got this novel, I waited a long seven, eight months for it and I must say it was worth it. Though, Lock and Key doesn’t compare to Just Listen (obviously I love that book, check out the blogs name XD), but fear not fans Dessen fans, it does not disappoint.

The plot was fantastic! Everything clicked and made sense, there were a few twists and turns, but they where good ones keeping the story off a boring path.

Ruby was a great character, very easy to relate to and very real, maybe even the realist of all of Dessen's characters, I loved her reactions to events. Nate was something special though (swoon) very intriguing, he was sweet and just so flawed, he was interesting and his secret was sad but a great twist. I enjoyed other characters in the story such as Gervais the little genius who loves to fart, Olivia who is constantly on her cell phone, Jamie with the huge family, Cora who is strong and has too many friends. Dessen writes some of the most amazing characters YA literature has ever seen and Lock and Key once again, raises the bar.

The descriptions were lovely and the emotion was portrayed and written wonderfully.

Dessen does something many authors don't, she has characters from old novels coming back and Lock and Key had a huge amount, people who have read a few of Dessen's novels will be constantly giggling throughout the novel and if you're new to Dessen's novels it will intrigue you.

The end had just the right amount of closure, it wasn't conry, it just signified the ending of an era, of letting go and that's the sort of ending I like.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Sarah Dessen, it touched upon so many topics and in the end won my heart.

Four and a half stars, this book was just fantastic and if you haven’t read a novel by Sarah Dessen yet, go on, what are you waiting for?

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

And then the dark forces of the curse entombed the kingdom, separating a people in two. This is the story, as told to those of us who were born to see such days, recorded here in the Book of Lumatere so we will never forget.

Rating: 5/5

Summary: (From melinamarchetta.com.au)At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh in order to save the royal house of his homeland, Lumatere.

And so he stands on the rock of three wonders with his childhood friend Prince Balthazar and the prince's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood. And Lumatere is safe.

Until the 'five days of the unspeakable', when the King and Queen and their children are slaughtered in the palace. And an imposter king takes the throne.
And a curse is put on Lumatere, which traps those caught inside and forces thousands of others to roam the land as exiles, dying of fever and persecution in foreign camps.

But ten years later Finnikin is led to another rock to meet the young novice, Evanjalin. A girl plagued by dark dreams, who holds the key to their return to the Land of light...

Review: This is a story written in third person and is about dwindling and fiery hope, about redemption and guilt, regret and love, about finding those who you love and going back for those who you left behind. Six long months I waited for this novel and I was not disappointed. Melina Marchetta, my favourite author in the world managed to once again weave another original and amazing tale.

The first thing I will say is: how does Marchetta write such original stories? When you think about the basics of her stories they sound very genial, but whenever she writes it screams originality. This was her first fantasy story and I must say that she pulled this one off.

Her story was a little complicated, she created a whole new world and learning the names of every country, every town was a little difficult at the beginning but as the novel went on you learned a lot about each and I commend Marchetta highly on being able to give so much detail to every town she created that little bit of history we were given made the story that much more realistic and moving.

Finnikin was the main character and was...well awesome. I loved how he was so determined and good natured, I read a Q&A about FOTR on her website and Marchetta said that she had trouble writing Finnikin because he kept appearing too weak or too arrogant, but I think that she crafted him wonderfully. Evanjalin was a great character and was a kick ass female heroin, Finnikin and Evanjalin's relationship was fantastic, complicated and once again, realistic, especially considering the time era. My favourite character though had to be Perri the Savage, he was delightfully miss understood and I loved that Finnikin's father Trevanion trusted him whole heartedly and gave him a chance, despite the rumors that circulated around him, when I explain it that way it sounds corny doesn't it? Well, it isn't.

But Trevanion was staring at Perri. “You,” he said. “If anything happens to me, protect my boy.”

I loved that towards the end of the book we got a look from the misunderstood Froi's point of view, he was perceived as such an awful character at the start of the novel, but he was so...sweet, after my initial hate for him I felt a little bit of sympathy towards him and when I read his perspective it made my feelings of sympathy stronger and caused me to really like him.

The others pretended that deep down he wasn't bad. That he didn't come from evil. But she knew. She saw the badness. She saw it now and shivered. Page: 244.

Melina's wonderful style shone through in this novel, her flashbacks, dream sequences and just writing was beyond enjoyable to read.

A lot of brutal things happen in this story and Marchetta is never too frank about them, which I liked, she implies a lot of what happened to the women and the reaction of her characters say more then the harsh sentence ever would.

Marchetta threw in so many twists and turns it made this almost 400 page novel one I powered through, one twist had me gaping because it was popped in at the most random time and I didn't know whether it was a dream or wishful thinking. One of the biggest twist of the novels I'm glad to say I guessed (yes, I guessed it, whooo) and it was a great twist indeed.

So, overall: the plot? Engaging, amazing, awesome, fantastic, wonderful and amusing. The characters? Gah, amazing. I loved each and every one of them for every flaw and everything that made them glorious. The twists? Amazing, fun, beyond interesting. The writing? Don't get me started on how fantastic it was, how the story was intricately weaved and just so beautiful that I can't believe someone has that much writing talent.

I want you read this book, I love it. I want you to read each and every novel of Marchetta's because each is so wonderful I want you to be able to experience it.

Are you in the U.S? Are you going insane and really want this novel? Well, you can get your hands on it Spring 2010, a little while away, but you can always try and find it on the net.

Five out of five, I think that my review says enough, please, read it when you get the chance.


An Apology And Thank-You To The Very Few Readers Of This Blog. :D

Monday, October 27, 2008

I haven't had a post in a while, it seems that I've miss placed the flash disk containing some (well, a lot) of reviews. I've also been busy preparing for NaNo. Which is approaching fast. I cannot wait to get a start on my story, the outline is so close to being finished. If people are interested in what my stories about, comment and I can post and tell you about it -- don't feel obliged, and honestly, it's not terribly interesting anyway. XD

Also, I've noticed how exciting everyone else's blogs are, any suggestions for what I could do to make this blog just a little more enticing?

Competitions will probably come up, so I'll just tell you two things:
1) I tend to get attached to novels and can't give them away.
2) I'm in Australia and I'm sure that it'll cost me a fortune to post to the U.S or wherever else.
Though, I did just get a job (yessssss) and may have the cash to pull that off soon, hmmmmm...

Also, does anyone know of any other Aussie book reviewers? I'm sure that there's a little community somewhere and I would love to become a part of it, and free books, wow, free books, it'd be like Christmas but better.

Anyway, you should be expecting a review of the wonderful Finnikin of the Rock soon, maybe Thursday -- hopefully Thursday!

I also want to thank all the people who have taken the time to comment and follow my blog, it really means a lot to me that you would do that, you're awesome. But a HUGE thank-you goes out to Kelsey, for not only getting me to start a blog and put up with my stupidity at the very beginning, but then making the adorable banner that sits up the top of my page. Thank-you!

Okay, that's enough from me now, thank you and have a wonderful day!

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This morning, my mother didn’t get out of bed.”

Rating: 5/5

Summary: Francesca is beginning her second term in year eleven at an all boy’s school that’s just started accepting girls. Her mother has had a breakdown and no longer gets out of bed and she misses her old friends.

But what Francesca doesn’t expect when she arrives at her new school, seriously not wanting to be there is that the new friends she makes grudgingly are fiercely loyal and that there’s more to them then it seems. She doesn't expect to fall in love or that she has the power to bring her family that is slowly falling apart in her mother’s absence back together.

Review: This story is phenomenal. Melina writes a magical book with raw and extraordinary real emotion.

With the terrible summary I have written and provided you all with you're probably thinking that this is an awful novel with not much going for it, maybe you're thinking: depression? What a sad topic, why on earth would I want to read such an unhappy tale? Please don't let any of that sort of stuff put you off.

Marchetta has the writing ability to make you seriously care about her characters. Her characters are easy to relate to, fun and different. In each novel Marchetta produces comes with it a fantastic set of new characters and as a reader and major fan of all of her novels the characters in Saving Francesca still stand to be my favourites.

There where so many points where I was touched by the characters who are so much deeper then they seem, and there were even more points where I was laughing out loud at what a character had said or done.

It's an all star cast in this novel and if you're looking for a novel with characters that are beyond the ordinary then you must pick this book up. There's Thomas and Jimmy who make you laugh, there's William who makes your fan girl hearts go insane, there's just so many wonderful characters I could be here all day babbling about them.

Francesca is a fantastic narrator, and what you see and feel thorough her eye’s is real and true. You feel her pain about her mother’s problem, you feel her anger toward the people who just don’t get it and you laugh with her whenever Thomas is a smart ass or when Jimmy invites himself around.

The plot is interesting and I felt driven to finish this novel because...of well everything, the characters – don't get my talking about them again. The plot, original and interesting and the writing, Marchetta's style is in one word blunt and in two: blunt and beautiful. She doesn't beat around the bush, she never drags things out for too long, she tells you all the truth she can and tells it beautifully and by her doing this she has become and probably will always stay my favourite author.

This novel, to be fully appreciated needs to be read by people who are mature, when I read this novel for the first time at age thirteen the mother's depression made me feel a little sick with sadness, but when I reread it a year later I loved this book so much that I am till this day constantly reaching for this novel for comfort when I have a bad day.

This novel gets five stars. Everything about it is wonderful and amazing. I hope that you're putting this novel on the top of a very long list of books to read or running off to buy it because Saving Francesca is not to be missed by YA readers because it is definitely amongst the finest in that category.


The Nature Of Jade by Deb Caletti

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The one thing my illness made me realize is how necessary it is to ignore the dangers of living in order to live. And how much trouble you can get into if you can't.”

Summary: (From debcaletti.com) Jade DeLuna is too young to die. She knows this, and yet she can't quite believe it, especially when terrifying thoughts, loss of breath, and dizzy feelings come. Since being diagnosed with Panic Disorder she's trying her best to stay calm, and visiting the elephants at the nearby zoo seems to help. That's why Jade keeps the live zoo webcam on in her room, and where she first sees the boy in the red jacket. A boy who stops to watch the elephants. A boy carrying a baby.
His name is Sebastian, and he is raising his son alone. Jade is drawn into Sebastian's cozy life with his son and his activist grandmother on their Seattle houseboat, and before she knows it, she's in love. With this boy who has lived through harder times than anyone she knows. This boy with a past.
Jade knows the situation is beyond complicated, but she hasn't felt this safe in a long time. She owes it all to Sebastian, her boy with the great heart. Her boy who is hiding a terrible secret.
A secret that will force Jade to decide between what is right, and what feels right...

Review: I've heard nothing but good things about Caletti's books. I now I see why.
Caletti writes a wonderful novel. Filled with wonderful characters and fantastic plot twists that keeps this book interesting.
I will admit that it took me a while to get into this book, so long in fact it's overdue at my library, but when I did get sucked into this fantastic tale I couldn't put it down.
Jade was a wonderful MC and I could see a little bit of myself in her, everything she did I would have done. I loved how she acted and I loved watching her grow, her love was genuine her reactions perfect. I also loved Sebastian, he was a great character to have and gorgeous love interest. Him, Bo and Tess made me laugh.
The twists, were a little predictable, but I think that it's a wonderful feeling to figure out what's going to happen before the MC.
The information about elephants was fun, I liked that aspect of that book very much, giving it the originality that I really enjoyed.
Everything that happened in the novel was believable. Caletti wrote so that you were feeling what Jade was feeling, so that you loved all the characters.
Down side? I think that we could have had more time with Sebastian, but that's just the fan girl in me talking.
I'm picky about endings and I thought that this was a pretty good one.

I'm giving this novel four out of five. It was awesome. It took a little time to get into, but when you're in, there's no going back. I highly recommend you find a copy of this novel, especially if you're a Sarah Dessen fan.

--- Allie.