Thursday, October 20, 2011


O. MY. BA-GA!  I think I've just found the next series to ruin me - but in a good way, of course.

What do you value most of all- honesty, knowledge, kindness, selflessness, or courage?  Are you Candor, Erudite, Amity, Abnegation, or Dauntless?  The separate factions keep Beatrice's society peaceful and functioning.   Every sixteen-year-old takes an aptitude test to confirm your faction status.  However, you may choose which direction your life will take - you can stay in the faction you were born into or you may transfer to another, dependent upon your test results.  Beatrice's results revealed a dangerous secret: she's Divergent, meaning she shows almost equally strong aptitude for two factions: Abnegation and Dauntless. 

When she chooses Dauntless over Abnegation, she must leave her family behind and learn to be stronger than she has ever had to be.  Training sessions for Dauntless initiates are brutal both physically and mentally, and Tris (and she renames herself) is the smallest of the entire group.  Shedding her old image as a "Stiff" requires more than exchanging her drab gray tunic and pants for tattoos and form-fitting black clothes.  As Tris battles her way through training to become one of the few to pass the final test and be fully accepted into Dauntless, the last things she expects to learn about is tenderness and who it comes from: Four, her training instructor who has his own secret.  Above all else, Tris has to keep the fact that she is Divergent from Eric, the ruthless leader of the Dauntless.  When Tris and Four uncover a plan to send the factions into war, they must show how courageous they really are.

Let me just say: Tris rocks.  She is my new favorite heroine.  I sorta feel disloyal to Katniss for saying that but she went a little too off the deep end for me.  Oh, and did I mention the swoon o'meter totally reached and 10 between Tris and Four?  I found myself rooting for them and whatever this crazy thing is that they have together from the very beginning.  And I could not be more happy that there's no "other guy" in this story!

My prediction: Veronica Roth - you have the next big thing in YA lit.  And congratulations, I am now languishing until the next book comes out!  Are ya happy?  Are ya?!?!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


This was quite the quirky little book. It's only available in e-book format and it's only 114 pages.  It was a quick read and the writing style is definitely breezy.  What's also fun is that it's about a young adult - not a teenager, an adult who is still very young.

Fair Finley is officially in charge of her very own hotel: The Wilfair.  Built by her grandfather in the 1940s the hotel, on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax in L.A. (hence the hotel's name), the hotel was added on to over the years, mostly at the whims of her eccentric yet somewhat business-ruthless parents.  From the first level on up the styles of the hotel are themed: Traditional, Spanish, Deco, Rococo, Gothic-Storybook, Mission, and Modern.  The Wilfair also has the 500 Dip Bar.  That's right, a restaurant with 500 different kinds of creamy dips.  What they don't have is a pool.  Finley, has been charged with stealing the pool from the embattled establishment around the corner: the Fairwil.  The Wilfair tried adding an entire pool level once but all that's left of it is a drip in Finley's office.  As Finley tries to reconcile her less-than-pushy personality (she solves every guest problem with a fruit basket) with the demands of her parents, she finds herself in some strange circumstances.  The Fairwil seems to be haunted and the young cousins that run it, Monty and Gomery, are pretty dreamy. 

This may not appeal to many teens but I really liked it.  So this might be one for you grown-ups!  The only drawback is the tendency of Fair to get wordy and to mash up words.  At first it was funny, but then it just got a little too gimmicky.  But, once the next in the series is released, I'll be downloading it post-haste.  The growing swoon between Fair and one of the Montgomeries will be more than worth it!

White Crow

Let me just start by saying I should not have read this book in the dark.  I should never read Marcus Sedgwick books in the dark.  Once again, Sedgwick takes historical events and shapes an incredibly believable and incredibly creepy story out of them.

Set in a small sea-side village on the western coast of England the story is told from three interwoven perspectives: Rebecca has just moved to the village with her father under mysterious circumstances.  Ferelith has lived in the village her whole life but is now an orphan.  The priest lived over 200 years ago in that same village.  Over the years violent storms have sheered away the land, causing the village to change shape as buildings and graves from the old churches fall into the sea.  Time has also faded the memory of rumors...rumors of terrible and gruesome experiments performed in the manor house by a rich doctor.  As Rebecca forms an uneasy and sometimes volatile relationship with Ferelith, they start to unravel the mystery of what happened all those years ago.

All of Sedgwick's books are short and even though this one has female main characters for the most part, I still think boys will eat this up.  I'm not a fan of the horror genre but there is something so, dare I say luscious, about the way Sedgwick writes that I can't help myself!  For me though, I have to read something funny and light after finishing his books!

Withering Tights

In a cousin series to the Georgia Nicholson books, Louise Rennison has created a  new heroine for the middle school crowd. Tullulah Casey is off to Dother Hall, a private performing arts school, in Yorkshire to unearth all her acting talents.  Hopefully she can also simulatneously burry her legs, which she feels are way to long for her own good.  She also wouldn't be opposed to meeting a few boys either.

Because she applied late, Tullulah doesn't actually get to stay at Dother Hall, rather with a rather odd but loving Dobbins family in the town adjacent to the school.  And it turns out that that Dother Hall doesn't have boys anymore because of, well hormones.  Yorkshire isn't a total bust though because it turns out that there is a boys school nearby and you never know who you'll meet in the woods!  A sweet and eccentric group of new gal friends, a group of zany teachers, and a genuine Heathcliff archetype make this story full entertaining.

It wouldn't be a Rennison book if there weren't plenty of inside jokes, British slang (and probably a few made-up words), and abounding confusion about who is interested in whom.  Tulluah's summer adventures aren't quite as screamingly hilarious her cousin Georgia but they are still funny enough to keep me wanting to read the rest of the series.