This post is a teensy bit overdue, but I will try to fill you in on what I’ve read so far, make recommendations and a few comments about each.
(5) I reread another one of my favorite books, Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen. It’s such a cute little story that never gets old, even though the characters are younger than me. It is a super easy read for anyone looking for a teen romancey-type book that isn’t stupid.
(6) My mom found this book, Look At the Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut, at a garage sale. It’s a compilation of some of Vonnegut’s weird short stories. I thought it was good, but you have to be into small stories that twist your mind (which I am).
(7) I was a bit apprehensive about reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, but I actually really, really liked it. My initial reaction to seeing it was written in the perspective of a dog and about a professional race car driver was “This isn’t really my style…It sounds kind of lame.” I admit it — I thought it would be lame. I thought “What does racing in the rain have to do with dogs and how is it an ‘art’?!” But, I sat down with it and immediately fell in love. It was a very good story. It did induce some tears here and there and I got so angry at Denny’s wife’s parents and life itself, really, and I wanted to punch them! But, that anger fueled me to read the rest of the book, weirdly enough. I wasn’t satisfied with putting the book down at the height of my anger; I wanted my anger resolved, to see how the story turned around. And by God, it was fantastic. A++ work. I really liked the fact that I understood why Stein picked the title he did. Anyone can read this book, unless they hate goodness.
(8) I read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, and cried at the end. I shed a tear because I didn’t want it to be over!! Alas…it must end, though. I almost died at the movie theater the other day when the trailer for the Hunger Games movie came on. I love this dang series; I’m going to read it again. And again. The only problem is that I imagined Peeta with dark, short hair, and Gale with light hair by mistake. I got them backward! Anyway, I think Suzanne Collins has a great idea with these books, especially since there are a few parallels with problems in the world today. And I think Katniss is a hero. Although, my favorite character is secretly Haymitch. Don’t ask why. I don’t know. (PS, I personally think the casting in the movie isn’t that good! — besides Katniss; she looks OK.)
(9 – 12) I finally started the HP series. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secerts, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling came next and I almost died again. JK Rowling is a genius. That’s all there is to it. I am happy to say that the movies didn’t taint the experience – except that I imagine the characters as their respective actors and actresses. (it’s not too bad, however, because I haven’t watched most of the movies since I saw them in theaters, therefore I forget most of the details, so they are a surprise!) I actually noticed many parallels between our Muggle world and the Wizarding world; I read a while ago that HP is based on history – I don’t know if that’s true, though, but I can see it. At the heart of this story is really a good versus evil battle that gets twisted and complicated. But the twists and overlapping details are exactly what makes it so fantastic. Plus, the Wizarding world feels so real… From a writer’s standpoint, this series is outstanding as well. I dream of being able to imagine and contain a world like Harry’s so accurately and detailed like JK Rowling in my head. I absolutely love these books and I think all ages could get into them. My secret favorite characters in these books are DEFINITELY the Weasley twins. Again, don’t ask why, these preferences just happen.
(13 & 14) And finally, I finished the Percy Jackson series with Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian by Rick Riordian. I have to say, this series is pretty similar to Harry Potter. See, in a way, there is the good versus evil battle, the main character is a boy who is destined for something he was unaware of that started with weird things happening to him that he gets blamed for. He starts out living with unbearable people (Percy’s mom’s boyfriend Gabe and Harry’s aunt and uncle). He makes friends with a smarty pants girl and a funny, awkward boy; is led by a wise man (Chiron and Dumbledore); treasures his parents; and he is very brave, generous and doesn’t kill unless his has to. Etc., etc. Despite that, Percy Jackson was a good series. I like Greek mythology and I was really impressed at how easily it fit into Riordian’s story. Anyone who likes Harry Potter and isn’t a snob would probably like this series.
I hope you can take something away from this post and dive into some good teen fiction!! And don’t ask about the secret favorite characters, they just happen. The main character isn’t always the coolest…although, they usually don’t die and the cool side characters sometimes do, which is uncool. But, in the name of a good story, it has to happen! Happy reading!!