Good Omens

Jeez, you’d think since it’s summer I’d be posting more often. . .I apologize! Now that I actually am posting, the book of the day is Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. And there’s one thing I would like to say right off the bat: I have never read any other book that made the end of the world so funny. So that is a definite plus! Besides that. . .well, I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, obviously, the world is going to end. And in Good Omens, it’s going to end in just a few days. But we humans aren’t the only ones who aren’t exactly keen on everything going BANG. Aziraphale and Crowley, an unlikely duo made up of an angel and a demon, would rather the Earth stay intact also. Unfortunately, fate isn’t really on their (and our) side.

This book is kind of hard to describe, really. It features Anathema Device, who’s “psychic, you see.” It features Newton Pulsifer, Witchfinder Private, and his superior, Shadwell, Witchfinder Sergeant. It features the Them, a small gang living in the village of Tadfield in Oxfordshire, composed of Brian, Pepper, Wensleydale, and Adam, their leader. Oh, and another thing: Adam’s the Antichrist.

So this book isn’t about any one, or two, or three characters specifically. It’s about the Apocalypse and what happens to the characters as it approaches. And this book is good. It is most definitely good. The characters, the plot, the creativity shown throughout. . .it was great. Even if I didn’t get some of the references. Because they were British. And I’m not British. >cries<

Ahem. Anyway, the book was really enjoyable (in case you didn’t get the point). It’s funny, it’s smart-aleck-y, and the plot is really good. To me, Aziraphale and Crowley are the real stars of the novel; their scenes are most definitely my favorites, and I did find myself getting somewhat bored when they were out of the picture for a while. But really, that’s my only complaint. Overall, Good Omens is a great read, and I definitely recommend it. And no, it doesn’t feature zombies.

Literary Quote of the Day: “Just because you’re an angel doesn’t mean you have to be a fool.” —Good Omens, written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Really Good Books to Get Your Teenager

Okay, this has been languishing in my Drafts since the beginning of December, and now it’s finally posted! Yay! Let us all cheer and eat virtual cookies.

As I’m sure a lot of you have noticed, the holiday season is taking the country by storm. Which means, of course, it’s time to head to the mall. Because of this, I thought I’d do a post about certain books that I think really deserve to be on your shopping list. And so, I present to you: Really Good Books to Get Your Teenager! Ta-DA!

First up is The Diviners, the newest book by Libba Bray, set in the glamorous 1920s. Evie (or Miss Evangeline O’Neill, if you prefer) is thrilled to be sent to New York City to live with her uncle for awhile, even though it is technically a punishment for some hot water she got into at home. From here on out, it’s nothing but parties and chatting up nice fellas for Evie and her best friend, Mabel. But the carefree frivolity doesn’t last very long. It soon becomes apparent that a serial killer is on the loose. And with Evie’s unusual, supernatural powers, she may be able to catch him. Here’s the rub: How’s she supposed to do that? This book is pretty thick, but it’s totally worth your time. Now, give me the sequel!

Second: The Fault in Our Stars! Ahhh, John Green made me so sad with this book, but it was really good! The main character of this novel is Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old with thyroid cancer, and who has had her future determined ever since her diagnosis. She spends most of her time either watching the newest episode of America’s Next Top Model or rereading her most favorite book in the entire world, An Imperial Affliction. Oh, and she sometimes attends this support group for other kids with cancer. And this is where she meet Augustus Waters, a one-legged 17-year-old who becomes Hazel’s friend and more. This won TIME’s #1 fiction book of the year for a reason, people.

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly. And yeah, I’ve already reviewed this, but I don’t care, because it deserves to be on your shopping list! It follows the adventures of Andi Alpers, (who’s still recovering from her brother Truman’s death) as she goes to Paris with her father (against her will!) to work on her senior thesis. But things get more exciting when she discovers the diary of Alexandrine Paradis, an aspiring player from the time of the French Revolution. Andi is soon so caught up her find that it’s almost an obsession, and she’s desperate for it to have a happy ending. But things start to get rather strange one night in the catacombs. . . I’d just like to say that this book does not disappoint. It’s very thick, though, and kind of complicated, so I’m just warning you. Actually, I’m not. I take that back. Get it anyway!

Divergent. This also already has a review, but we’ll ignore that. This is not your run-of-the-mill dystopian novel. It’s a dystopian novel that is awesome. It tells the story of Beatrice Prior, who must make a choice: Her society, which is located in what was once known as Chicago, Illinois, is divided into five factions, each focusing on a certain character trait or value. They are Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. Now that Beatrice is 16 years old, she must decide which of these factions will become her home, after taking the aptitude test that determines which faction she is most suited to. However, there’s just one little problem: Beatrice is Divergent, meaning she had more than one result. Which is just plain dangerous. This book has had a lot of popularity going for it, and it is well-deserving. Veronica Roth is awesome. Now if she would just finish the last book already. . .

Agh, what next? Um. . .oh! How about Poetry Speaks Who I Am? (Okay, let’s just accept that almost every book on this list probably already has a review, or will have one at some point.) This is actually a really good Christmas gift. It’s properly fancy (comes with a CD) and is filled with awesome poetry for teens (I should know), from a myriad of writers. Some of my personal favorites are How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson, Abuelito Who by Sandra Cisneros, Used Book Shop by X. J. Kennedy, The Writer by Richard Wilbur. . .you do realize I could go on forever, right? So, seriously, get this. For pretty much any teenage poetry-lover (and older ones, too!) it’s a must.

There are tons of other books I demand you get, but this post would be never be finished if I wrote about them all. So let me just say that I love anything by Gary D. Schmidt, The Future of Us, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, anything by Carolyn Meyer or Ann Rinaldi is great, and. . .okay, okay, I’ll stop.

So, anyway, I hope you consider putting some of these incredibly awesome books under your Christmas tree this year, or giving them as a Hanukkah present, etc. Or just giving them to someone randomly, hopefully in the near future, or for a birthday, or New Year’s, or even Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, because any day is a good enough occasion to give someone a book. (Well, that sounded kind of corny, but let’s face it: It’s true.) Happy holidays everybody!

P.S. There is only one more week of school before break. Did you hear that? One more week!

Divergent

Okay, I know that there’s been a lot of buzz about this book lately, but I just couldn’t resist putting in my two cents after I read it. At first, I have to admit I was worried. After hearing all the good stuff about Divergent (by Veronica Roth) the last thing I wanted was to be disappointed because I had my hopes up too high. (Besides, when you buy the book with your own money, you kinda want it to be worth it.) I shouldn’t have been worried. Really. I love this book! Not only are the plot and characters great, but the actual writing isn’t too shabby, either. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Ahem. Beatrice is part of the faction Abnegation, as is the rest of her family, in what used to be Chicago, Illinois. But she may not have to be Abnegation for long. In just a little while, all the sixteen-year-olds in the five factions will be tested, to find out what faction they are most compatible with. And the day after the testing, they will choose which faction they will officially become a part of. But Beatrice’s results are more than she bargained for. She’s Divergent–meaning she belongs in more than one faction. And that’s the just the start of it. After she chooses–donning a new life, new friends, and even a new name–things only get more suspicious. Could it be her once perfectly-safe life isn’t all that it seems? (Well, duh.) As I said before, this book is great. And I’m sorry if this sounds redundant because of all the reviews and stuff you’ve already heard, but as I also said before, I had to say my piece. So, if you haven’t done it already, you just have to go to the nearest library/bookstore/whatever and get this book!

The Future of Us

Okay, let me just start off with this: I love the idea of this book. It’s 1996, and the Internet is just getting its start. Not everyone has computers. Google doesn’t exist yet. Neither does Bing. But when two teenagers log onto America Online for the first time, they discover something shocking–themselves on Facebook, 15 years in the future! (Come on, you have to admit that’s kind of cool.) Meet Emma Nelson and Josh Templeton–once best friends, but who have barely interacted at all since the events of last November. Emma’s got a new computer, and Josh has gotten a free CD-ROM in the mail. Little did they know what they would find once they booted it up. As they grapple with coming to terms with who they end up marrying, or where they’re living, or whether they should even believe it at all, they begin to discover that even the slightest change in their present can alter their future. And the future is not something you take lightly. And while trying to figure out how destiny works, they’re also starting to wonder, more than ever, if their friendship will ever be the same again. This book is a collaboration between Carolyn Mackler and Jay Asher, and it’s a really solid read. Like, really solid. Okay, fine–I couldn’t put it down for most of the time I was reading it. As I said before, I love the originality and the potential of the idea, and the writing’s the icing on the cake. So I definitely recommend you go get it from the library! (Soon.)

The Hunger Games

So. The Hunger Games. As a friend of mine said, “You either love it, or you hate it.” She was right. Suzanne Collins is a good writer, and I’m not saying otherwise. When I read this book, I was perfectly happy until I got towards the end. The writing was fantastic, the plot original, the characters interesting. It really is a one-of-a-kind book. But the violence. It kept me up at night. Katniss is a tough girl, a hunter and survivor. She’s living in a futuristic setting, in which the Capital controls everything. The world is made up of twelve districts, Katniss and her family live in the last. And every year, the most dreadful event the Capitol could think up takes place: The Hunger Games. Two youths are taken from every district, and forced to fight to the death. When Katniss’s sister is chosen, she selflessly volunteers herself in her place. And she is shipped off to the Capitol, along with the other competitor. If you do not get bothered by violent and bloody books, you may very well like The Hunger Games. And if you do, it’s the first in a trilogy.

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm

Meet the best detectives in Zimbabwe, 2194: The Ear, the Eye and the Arm. These three clever and unique characters are set to work chasing down General Matsika’s three children, after they sneaked out one night. But it’s not nearly as easy as it seems to track down the three kids-and many obstacles are in the way. And for the kids themselves, they find terrible danger, in the form of the She Elephant and many others. Filled with the wonder that comes with the futuristic setting created by Nancy Farmer, The Ear, the Eye and the Arm is a book that both boys and girls will like. I know I did. The imaginative plot and characters helped, even though I wasn’t always quite enthralled throughout. There’s a wide range of characters: The goofy ones, the serious ones, the old-fashioned ones-the list goes on. It’s a book for everyone. Read a bit!