Month: May 2016

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – Paperback, 232 pages – Published by Pocket Books

There’s obviously been a lot of hype about this novel and although I didn’t know much about the plot (at all) I decided it was worth a read.

I had no idea that this was written in the form of letters to the reader. Don’t get me wrong, I adore that writing style, it was just totally unexpected. Chbosky has really captured Charlie’s voice, giving us a better insight into his life and personality than any descriptive writing ever could.

Charlie is 15/16 in this novel, and lonely. He befriends Sam and Patrick, siblings who are older than himself. Then follows people like Craig, Alive and Mary-Elizabeth. Charlie’s siblings are also a prominent aspect in this book, not to mention his deceased Aunt Helen.

They go through typical teenage experiences, including crushes and breakups and even some abuse. They help each other and they fall out and Charlie tells us everything in brutal honesty, apart from those few parts where he feels incapable of repeating what happened/was said.

There are a lot of deeper undercurrents, which may or may not be hard for some people to read. But again, these subplots are truthful and realistic and full of emotion. A lot of them are also pretty unexpected and shocking – as they often are in life.

It’s definitely easy enough to read this whole novel in one sitting and is totally worth having a look at. Although it isn’t quite one of my favourites – though honestly I’m not quite sure what exactly it’s lacking – it has earnt a strong four stars out of the full five.

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Book Review: Extras

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Extras by Scott Westerfeld (Uglies #4) – Paperback, 448 pages – Published September 1st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Ltd

An unexpected new protagonist is introduced in this novel, as opposed to the original Tally Youngblood. This is set around three years after the previous book where Tally becomes a Special. It is also based in a futuristic area supposedly in Japan – I assume, as they talk in Japanese.

“They” is mainly Aya, a fifteen-year-old girl who is desperate to become famous. Like her older brother Hiro, Aya kicks all the coolest things, using footage from her personal hovercam to keep her feed updated. She gets mixed up with the Sly Girls when trying to film their tricks, which results in an amazing discovery.

This is set after the “mind-rain” when Tally brought attention to the bubbleheadedness that cities bestowed upon their citizens. Since then, people have been going crazy – Tech Heads, Surge Monkeys, even NeoFoodies. In Aya’s home city, people can earn merits by completing good deeds or, more popularly, become a famous face. The city has learned to pick up when people mention your name, and if it got mentioned enough, you could become one of the Thousand Faces. However, most people – such as Aya – are stuck being Extras.

During the process of unravelling the mysteries of the “inhumans” that she sees, Aya drags Frizz, Hiro, Ren and even the Cutters into her world. They discover the plan of a different group of Extras – surged-up people who are preparing to make an orbital habitat for humankind.

I like Aya as a character, though her immature desperation for fame is somewhat annoying. Frizz and Hiro, although only secondary characters, are both very important in their own ways and also very interesting characters. Tally, however, seems surprisingly brutal and vicious in this novel.

Westerfeld has constantly used the appropriate (albeit fictional) slang throughout the book, again keeping you emerged in their world. I’m not sure about the second group of Extras having the same name as the first, though; I feel like Westerfeld just couldn’t be bothered to think of anything else. The title of the book, to me, should be based on the alien-like beings who cause so much confusion.

This was a very interesting addition to the series, rather different to the previous books. It maybe wasn’t crucial but wasn’t the worst fourth-in-series novel I’ve read. I think 3.5 stars is fair for this.

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Book Review: The Giving Tree

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The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – Hardback, 64 pages – Published December 2nd 2010 by Particular Books

I recently had a go at reading Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic which was lovely (even if I am a little too old for these books now), and now I’ve read his The Giving Tree.

There’s not that much I can say about this book as it is only 60-odd pages, but I did find it super sweet. Even at 16, I kind of enjoyed reading this short, childishly simple book…

It tells the unusual tale of love between a boy and an apple tree while the boy grows up and the tree gives everything she has to keep him happy. I thought it was just so cute!

If you have any young family members, I would definitely recommend reading this book with them. I might have to give this 4 stars…

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WWW Wednesdays

What am I currently reading?

Ruins, The Summer I Turned Pretty, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Extras. (I’m currently taking my GCSE exams so I haven’t had much time to read.)

15058687What did I finish reading recently?

Only Specials I’m afraid.

What am I reading next?

As I said last week, I want to get my teacher’s books read as soon as I can, so those are Past Imperfect, Highland Fling and The Blessing. I also need to read The Giving Tree quickly, too.

Here are all the other options:

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Book Review: Specials

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Specials by Scott Westerfeld (Uglies #3) – Paperback, 372 pages – Published May 1st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Children’s

Now I’ve got just one more Uglies book to go!

If you’ve read any of these books, then you’ll probably know that the title of this book is referencing Special Circumstances – a terrifying, elite group of pretties. After Shay turned up at the end of the last novel, things with Special Circumstances get rather interesting…

The tables have turned and Shay and Tally are working with Special Circumstances to bring down the New Smoke – along with David. But the New Smoke is far more advanced than they ever expected, and someone among their group has been planning to help develop a cure for Specials all along.

Dr Cable, the leader of the Specials, has big things in mind. In fact, she decides to start a war with Diego – the New Smoke. The first war since the Rusty days.

Tally’s boyfriend, Zane, is suffering the aftereffects of the cure he tested. Can the New Smoke help him? Is it worth the risk?

Again, Scott Westerfeld writes exactly like Tally would (I imagine, anyway) which can actually get kind of annoying as Tally is rather shallow at times. Yeah, this is due to all the mental meddling the city does, but it still gets on my nerves occasionally. And I understand that Tally isn’t the same now that she is a Special, but I feel like she should have had a more emotional reaction after what happens with Zane in Diego. (I’m trying not to spoil anything!)

Also, the war just kind of… sizzles out. It seems so anti-climatic to me. The first war in centuries, and it just kind of… ends.

This series is really easy to read and is actually pretty exciting. I do enjoy it more than I really expected to. But it isn’t overly Special (hah! See what I did there?) and each book just seems to have a new element thrown in on top of everything else. I don’t know, I guess this series just doesn’t quite do anything for me. But I do like it, so I think I’ll give it 3.5 stars.

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WWW Wednesdays

What am I currently reading?

The Summer I Turned Pretty, Ruins, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Specials.

What did I finish reading recently?

I finished The Boy Who Fell to Earth and A Light in the Attic.

What am I reading next?

As they are my teacher’s books and the school year is nearly over, I feel like I should get Past Imperfect, Highland Fling and The Blessing out of the way as soon as I can.

Other than those, I have no idea which books to read! Here are some options:

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Book Review: A Light in the Attic

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A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein – Hardback, 185 pages – Published June 1st 2011 by Particular Books

I recently decided that I need to read some poetry books, and this happens to be the one that I started with. I’m also planning on reading another of Silverstein’s collections, The Giving Tree. I don’t really know all that much about poets or poetry, so I may have just searched Goodreads for high-rated books…

Silverstein often uses prominent, simply rhyme schemes throughout this book of poetry, making them easy to follow and popular with younger children/teens. They flow beautifully, almost rhythmically, and are all rather short. They are mostly humourous poems, with little illustrations alongside them. These illustrations, also by Shel Silverstein, are also often funny, and help us understand the point/joke being made in the related poem.

These are all pretty easy-reading poems, nothing too thought-provoking or hard to understand. Quite a nice book to read in bed, or when you just have a little time to relax. There are definitely poems in here that remind me of stories and poems from my early childhood. I think I can give his 4 stars quite easily.

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Book Review: The Boy Who Fell to Earth

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The Boy Who Fell To Earth by Kathy Lette – Paperback, 400 pages – Published April 11th 2013 by Black Swan

This is another book I was lent by my teacher, so I previously had no idea it even existed. I’ve never even heard of the author, Kathy Lette, but I’m glad I know of her now!

Okay, it’s nearly midnight and I need to be up early so I’m going to have to keep this one rather short.

Lette writes from the point of view of Lucy, who’s son has been involved in a serious car accident. She recaps her time with him, telling us her story of love, loss and difficulty.

This novel is written in an honest voice, with sarcasm and humour on every page. It tells the tale of parenting, divorce, finding and losing love, and even coping with the world’s way of dealing with special needs. Like I said, it’s brutally honest and does not exclude any of the less favourable thoughts or feelings.

It is quite clear that this is aimed at an older generation of readers, but I must say that I did really enjoy it, far more than I anticipated. It isn’t a fantasy or an action novel, and it does have a slightly cheesy happy ending, but I do think a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised by how easy this is to read.

If I was a bit older I would probably adore this, but as it is I can’t say it’s quite a favourite of mine. But I’m definitely happy to have read it, so 4 stars.

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WWW Wednesdays

What am I currently reading?

I have to admit that I haven’t read much of The Boy Who Fell to Earth, The Summer I Turned Pretty or Ruins so I’m still getting through those, and I just started reading A Light in the Attic earlier today.

What did I finish reading recently?

I have finished Poison Study, Pretties and Touching the Void since my last update two weeks ago.

What am I reading next?

15058687Well, as soon as I finish A Light in the Attic I need to start reading Specials, but other than that one the next books I read are all up to you!

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