Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Smattering of Book Reviews

The crazy thing about the Summer Reading Program (okay, one of the crazy things) is that I have less time to read books myself. I tend to work through my lunch hours, which is my main reading time, so I mostly just look longingly at interesting books as they pass by my desk. I've managed to squeeze a few in, though:

Anna Dressed in Blood

Oh. Migoodness. Read this one alone at night, curled up in your bed. And do not. let. your foot. dangle over the edge. I read it sitting in the Scholastic Book fair, and was still delightfully creeped out. Everything a horror story needs to be - hugely creepy and gruesome without going over the top to campy. Believable male main character, with side characters that got just enough depth to not be stereotyped - looking forward to more development there in the sequel, and I see there is one, which I have already ordered and put my name on! This is screaming to be made into a movie, and it's one I just might go to a theatre to see!


Best friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. GENs are gestated in a tank and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.
When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds secrets and surprises—not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul’s great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night.
After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan to save the disappearing children. Yet can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, revealing secrets no one is ready to face.

Love me a good dystopian novel, but I haven't read too many lately. This one started off on shaky ground, throwing a lot of new vocabulary at the reader at once, but it smoothed out fairly quickly and I was hooked. Excellent world building, background and history explained naturally for the most part. I felt like I had more of a sense of Kayla's character than Mishalla's, but that may be because we meet her first. The romance(s) that evolve seemed a bit rushed to me, but you could make the case that stressful times/imminent danger sometimes do that. I guessed some things but not others. This could make a good choice for a high school classroom - thought provoking subject matter, but 'clean' enough to satisfy most parents and administrators:)

Knuckle and Potty Destroy Happy World

Knuckle and Potty are tired of being lovable book characters. Together, they hatch a plan to venture to the Outer-world by clicking their heels and leaping off the pages into real life to confront the author and illustrator who created them. When that plan fails, a trip to Happy World is their last option. Simple: they’ll just erase Happy World with their de-zonker contraptions. Little do Knuckle and Potty know that Happy World isn’t as happy as they think.

Great premise...not the greatest follow-through. A fast read, fortunately, or I might not have finished it. Would probably be enjoyed by upper elementary school fans of Captain Underpants and the like, but don't expect Dav Pilkey's wit.

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