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Posts Tagged ‘book’

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – A Review

Posted on April 11th, 2014 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

daughter of smoke and bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor

Listened to by Anna/Central Teen Room

Karou is a young art student in Prague with ties to another world where she grew up as a child. Her father figure is  a demon who collects teeth, though for what reason, she does not know. She is caught in the middle of an otherworldly war, and yet, she’s stuck on the outside having no idea a war is going on. But when black hand prints start appearing on portals all over the world she begins to wonder what’s happening, until her curiosity gets the better of her. It’s then she meets beautiful angel, Akiva, and learns of a very violent past she might, or might not, have been a part of in another life.

Instead of picking up the print book or putting the ebook on my Kindle, I opted for the ten disc audio book. I have to say, listening to the audio book was a real adventure and one I will always remember. The first thing I want to say is that the narrator, Khristine Hvam, is super fantastic. She’s able to do so many different voices and accents for all the characters. I didn’t think that was possible. Just when I thought she’d exhausted her collection, a new character would enter the picture and she’d be off with another voice. Not only that, but I really enjoyed the sound of her voice. It’s got a real storytelling quality to it that’s great to relax and listen to for hours on end. Listening to the audio book also meant I could spend more time knitting, or doing other crafty things while a story was read to me. Yay, for multitasking with crafts and books!

The second thing I really enjoyed were the locations used in the book. Most Young Adult novels are set in some boring small town, or some fantasy setting. But this was set in the city of Prague for the most part, with occasional jaunts to other cities and places around the world. And, oh yeah, there was still that fantastical setting too. There was variety in the places and in the characters that we don’t normally see, which was a breath of fresh air.

The third thing I want to talk about is the plot. It’s interesting. There are angels and demons, but you’re not seeing them the way you typically see them in books. Both sides have good and bad parts to them. Individual characters are both good and bad. They’re realistic while still being fantastical. Because of this, you can’t really know what will happen next with the plot. Nothing is predictable. At the same time, I feel I should warn you that the book does jump around in time. A LOT. Be prepared. Especially while listening to an audio book where you won’t get the cues of an extra space between paragraphs or a symbol telling you something’s changing. This changing around doesn’t get too confusing. At least, it didn’t for me. But don’t let that keep you from reading, or listening to, the book.

Overall, I can’t recommend this audio book enough. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

The Art of Racing in the Rain – A Review

Posted on July 30th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

the art of racing in the rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Read by: Anna/Central Library Teen Room

Our Teen Book of the Month group is reading this book for our August 14th book discussion at 3pm in the Central Library Teen Room.

Enzo is a mixed breed dog named after the founder of the Italian car company, Ferrari. He’s also owned by a professional race car driver, Denny. The story is told through the point of view of Enzo as he recounts his life with his human family on the night he realizes he won’t be making a round trip ride to the vet the next morning. His mobility issues are making it increasingly harder for him to move around as he gets older and older.  Enzo learned a lot about life through Denny and his racing tips and tricks and he applied them to the obstacles in his way whenever he could. Their family life wasn’t the greatest. Denny’s wife died from brain cancer and Denny ended up in a legal battle with her parents over the custody of his daughter. Enzo knew the grandparents were not nice people and didn’t like the fact that Zoe, the daughter, had to spend so much time with them. Money is tight for Denny, he’s lost his wife, might lose his daughter to his in-laws, but he’ll never lose Enzo. Enzo is always there for him and for Zoe, when he can be, helping to keep their spirits up and to keep them going when things get tough.

This was an AWESOME book. But don’t read it in public. Unless you don’t mind bringing a large hanky and a bucket to collect your tears in. This book will have you bawling your eyes out and laughing hard in certain places. You will learn a lot about life, as Enzo did, and have a good time doing it. There are a lot of references to racing cars, but you don’t have to have a love of cars to read this and enjoy it, which is another reason it’s a great read. I highly recommend it to everyone who loves dogs especially.

The Realm of Possibility – A Review

Posted on May 15th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

The Realm of Possibility

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room for the TBOM group meeting on May 8th, 2013.

This is the stories of multiple teens struggling to find themselves and figure out who they are in the world. It’s told from their multiple points of view in poem and song lyric formats.

This was an interesting read for me because I wasn’t expecting it to be in poetry format. I was expecting a novel. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the way these stories were told. Each poem and song interwove themselves seemlessly with each of the others. Some responded to what had happened in other poems, some wrote their poems to another person who had a poem in the book. It was a unique take on writing a book in verse. Obviously, each person who “wrote” a poem was a character that came from David Levithan’s head, but he did a really great job with the characterizations and making each one as unique as the next. The first poem and the last poem are connected, which was a nice circle back to the beginning once you got to the end. I really felt that the emotions of the teens he was writing about were clearly stated, or were just as confusing for the reader sometimes as they can be for teens in real life. It was realistically done, and a book I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys stories told in this fashion or thinks they would like to try one for the first time. The fact that some of the characters are gay is not stated in such a way as to hit the reader over the head with it, and there are some who appear straight. Some are lesbian. There is a good mix of characters and experiences to round out the story over all.

My Forbidden Face – A Review

Posted on May 10th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

my forbidden face

My Forbidden Face by Latifa

Read by: Kevin/Copley Teen Room Intern

My Forbidden Face is the story of sixteen year old Latifa who is from Kabul, Afghanistan. Latifa’s story focuses mostly on how the Taliban’s occupation of Kabul resulted in the loss of women’s freedom and the atrocious degradation women and men received from the Taliban. Yet when she describes her journey to Paris for an interview with Elle magazine, Latifa becomes representative of the fact that the Taliban were outmaneuvered by the women they thought so little of in the first place.

Terrorism in America is usually portrayed by the media as an act of meditated violence that results in the victim’s lost sense of safety, security and sometimes results in death.  However, Latifa’s story provided me a much clearer understanding of how terrorism affects a person’s psychological well-being, more than any form of media I had seen or read before. Throughout the book, Latifa refers to herself as a prisoner in her own home. The only way she could think of rebelling at the time was to not go outside, which is essentially what the Taliban wanted. With this picture in mind, Latifa showed me that terrorism can do much more than make one lose their sense of security. It can lead to self-imprisonment.

Another thing I found interesting about Latifa’s story is that she hardly mentions Osama Bin-Laden in her story at all. In the media here in America, we tended to view Bin-Laden as the symbol that stood for terrorism. Yet, as seen in Latifa’s story, he is merely an after-thought, just some rich guy who gives the Taliban money. And with that in mind, Latifa shows what the daily life of being occupied by a terrorist group is like. I have not read a single newspaper article or seen a news broadcast that brings this reality to life as well as Latifa’s story. You should really read this book. Your perspectives on what terrorism really is all about may change the way you think about it.

Looking For Alaska – A Review

Posted on May 5th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

looking for alaska

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Read by: Kevin/Copley Teen Room Intern

John Green’s Looking for Alaska focuses on Miles Halter’s first year at a prestigious boarding school in Alabama. Miles decides to leave his family and “school friends” in Florida to find what he describes as the “Great Perhaps.” In other words, he wants to find adventure, excitement, girls, and true friendship. Miles narrates the reader through his experiences with sex, smoking, alcohol, love, friendship and death.  He also meets “The Colonel” (his roommate) and Alaska. Both of whom smoke cigarettes way too much, love sex and drama, and drink alcohol as if it were water.

By coming into contact with The Colonel and Alaska, Miles is placed into a tight group of friends that will seemingly do anything for each other.  And there lies the importance of Green’s novel. He shows us that by developing true friendship with others, we have to take on the responsibility to uphold the loyalty, and trust that comes with real friendship.

This book made me laugh hysterically and I am not ashamed to say (this is a grown man typing, mind you) that it made me want to cry. The characters go through so many ups and downs in this novel. And I couldn’t get over the fact that everybody’s life is filled with ups and downs and we have to rely on our friends and loved ones to get through those tough times and celebrate and enjoy everything when we’re feeling invincible. Green has written a true to life novel in Looking for Alaska. Check it out, read it, and experience this story. I suspect you will not be disappointed when you finish.