Saturday, April 30, 2011

Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi

Donna's father died three and a half years ago.  Now she's getting ready to graduate from high school and she considering...mortuary school.  Her friends think she's crazy.  Her mother is upset and doesn't want her to go.  Everyone thinks Donna is obsessed with death and isn't over her father dying.  While Donna might not be over her father dying, she's interested in mortuary school because she wants to help people to their final resting place.  And she's determined to make that happen.

This was so different from any other YA I've read!  YA involving mortuary school.  And it's not supernatural.  I really enjoyed it.  It was very sweet, which might sound weird, considering the topic, but it really was.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Luna by Julie Anne Peters

Regan's brother Liam knows he wasn't supposed to be born a boy. He's really Luna, a girl, but he can't let anyone know, accept Regan. Regan has spent her whole life protecting her brother. As Luna finds it more and more difficult to hide her true self, Regan also suffers from the strain.

So Luna is usually mentioned as the first YA book with a transsexual character. The book isn't really about Luna though, it's about Regan. We don't know what Luna is thinking, because it's written from Regan's perspective. It's more about how Regan handles the situation, and less about Liam transitioning to Luna.

We do see Liam deciding he wants to live as Luna more often, and begins by dressing as Luna and going to a mall where no one will know him to see if he can pass, and when she can, she's so happy and when she doesn't she's crushed. There's some mention of transitioning and limited discussion of surgery and hormonal options.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hush by Eishes Chayil

Gittle has grown up in the Chassidic Jewish community of Borough Park.  She has graduated high school, and is ready to get married.  But something is haunting her.  When she was nine, something terrible happened to her best friend Devory.  Something that even now, ten years later, she hardly understands.  She was told the best way to handle it was to forget and pretend it never happened.  And Gittle did, but she can't any longer.  Gittle loves her community, but she knows Devory never had justice.  Gittle will find it for her.

This was a very powerful, very sad book.  It isn't possible to discuss without telling you what happened to Devory, so I'll do a jump before I say.


Nooooo! Taylor Lautner would be interested in making the movie if Stephenie Meyer writes a spin-off about Jacob and Renesmee. From GalleyCat.

Transcripts of Jersey Shore being read in the style of Oscar Wilde. Amazing. And hysterical. From EW.

More Hunger Games casting news, including Rue. From EW.

Why I Still Love the Little House on the Prairie Books. After I read this article, I went to the shelf and flip through Little House on the Prairie. How I loved those books! From The Atlantic.

New Harry Potter Trailer

You all know that we loved the first part of the seventh movie (except for a few parts that made us giggle). The trailer for the last part is finally out. It looks exciting! Can't wait until July 15.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

GIVEAWAY: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

This contest is now closed.

Thanks to the kind folks at Viking, we have a copy of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness to give away! And not only will you get a copy of the book, but we also have some cute buttons for you. We unfortunately have to limit entries to the US and Canada.

So here's how it works! Leave us a comment and let us know just how much you love fantasy. We will randomly select a winner. Giveaway closes on 5/4/11 at midnight.

+1 if you post about this giveaway on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, whatever (don't forget to leave us a link!).

+1 if you're one of our fabulous followers.

Follow the jump if you want a description:

Waiting on Wednesday Spellbound The Book of Elsewhere Vol. 2 by Jacqueline West

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on the graphic novel Spellbound: The Book of Elsewhere Vol. 2by Jacqueline West.

With no way into the hou
se's magical paintings, and its three guardian cats reluctant to help, Olive's friend Morton is still trapped inside Elsewhere. So when Rutherford, the new oddball kid next door, mentions a grimoire - a spellbook - Olive feels a breathless tug of excitement. If she can find the McMartins' spellbook, maybe she can help Morton escape Elsewhere for good. Unless, that is, the book finds Olive first.

The house isn't the only one keeping secrets anymore. Mystery, magic, corruption, and betrayal abound (plus just enough laughs to take the edge off). You'll never guess what happens next in this thrilling, chilling second volume in the critically acclaimed series.

Obviously this is a sequel (I seem to be recommending a lot of those) of a book I got as an ARC at the ALA conference last summer. It was AWESOME! Seriously one of the best I got from the conference. Creepy and engaging it was amazing. When I saw that the sequel was finally coming out I actually squealed at my desk, not my proudest moment but I was overcome. Can't wait to get this book, and if anyone has a hook up to get the ARC of this PLEASE HELP A BLOGGER OUT AND SEND A COPY!!! I promise to send good karma your way.

Spellbound comes out July 12. Yay!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Diana Bishop is currently in Oxford finishing up her research on alchemy at the Bodleian Library. Her research is going smoothly until she comes across a rare (and magical) manuscript called the Ashmole 782. It's then that her past and present life clash. Diana grew up in a household of powerful witches, but after her parents mysterious deaths Diana has cut herself off from her magic and the witch community. But the Ashmole has created a stir amongst the witches, vampires, and daemons, and their interest is focusing on Diana. With the help of Matthew Clairmont, an enigmatic vampire, she is slowly piecing together the mystery of her past, her powers, and the beginnings of life itself.

Wow, I can't believe that I summed up the entire book in so few sentences. The thing is pretty massive at 592 pages, and truly that's more or less the entire plot. And yet it's so much more! I think that I enjoyed this book so much because it took it's time. Deborah Harkness obviously knows where her plot is going and is not stringing you along trying to stretch tired plot lines that have no meaning. At the same time she's not afraid to take her time and give you fun and interesting details about wine, rowing, art, yoga, and history. I like that. I think some of the best books I've ever read have those qualities: Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings being some examples. It was such a relief to see such depth in detail. Perhaps I've gotten a little YA fatigued; it seems like the last couple of books I've read have been so terribly adequate, nothing really special to them. They either seemed to not have enough detail, or were obviously just trying to get you to just interested enough to go out and buy the sequel. I didn't feel this way with the Discovery of Witches. The slower pace and wealth of information was so refreshing and enjoyable!

Okay... moving on from the details, I also liked the characters that she developed. Especially the secondary characters! I L-O-V-E Diana's Aunt Sarah and her partner Em, they were gems. Matthew's son Marcus was quite wonderful, as was his research assistant Miriam. They all had such personality and history to them. There's obviously back-stories to the people that we will never know because it's all locked up in Deborah Harkness's head! But you can tell it's there, and it really adds to the story.

There are a couple little spoilers that I'm going to be talking about, after the jump but they also have to do with my critiques. You've been forewarned, your call.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The New York Four by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly

Riley has always been shy and kept to herself.  Now that she's in school at NYU, she's meeting new friends and is back in touch with her sister who she hasn't seen or spoken to in years.  She also develops an online crush.  As her online relationship intensifies, Riley pays less and less attention to her friends, who plan to get an apartment together and to her school work.  When Riley's crush reveals himself, everything begins to unravel.

So I think I made this sound like an online stalker warning book, which it's not at all.  Because Riley's really shy, she's always on her Smartphone texting and IMing with her online friends.  When she gets to school and finds a group friends (who we learn a little about, but most of the focus is on Riley) she needs her online world less.  After a night at a club, she finds an email address in her pocket and starts exchanging messages with "sneakerfreak."  They have lots in common and Riley is very happy, but reluctant to meet him in person.

Meanwhile, Riley's relationship with her sister, Angie, grows.  She hasn't seen her sister since Angie was thrown out by her parents, apparently for dropping out of school to be with some guy. 


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Kimberly Chang and her mother have immigrated to New York from Hong Kong.  They expect America to be magical, but instead end up living in an unheated apartment and working in a sweatshop.  Kimberly speaks little English, and her mother speaks no English at all.  Kimberly knows that if she and her mother are ever going to have a better life, it's going to be up to her to make it.  Kimberly is determined to excel at school and one day bring her mother and herself out of poverty.

Because the radio and I have been in a fight lately (as in, I'm sick of everything on the radio) I've been listening to a lot of audio books lately.  I enjoyed this one very much.  I found myself sitting in the car for several minutes after I'd arrived where ever I was going because I wanted to hear just a little bit more.  It was read by Grayce Wey, and she was very good.  She captured Kimberly's voice well, and while she didn't do dramatically different voices for other characters, it was always clear who was speaking.

The story itself was excellent.  When I think of sweatshop life, I think New York in the early 1900s.  I don't connect it with modern day sweatshops.  When Kimberly and her mother arrive in New York, they think Kimberly's Aunt Paula, her mother's sister, is going to help them.  And she does, in a way.  Aunt Paula did help them get to America, but she also puts them to work at her clothing factory and sets them up in a horrifying apartment.  Roaches everywhere, no glass in the windows, and no heat.  No heat at all.  New York in the winter is awfully cold.  At the sweatshop, everyone is paid by the piece, so after Kimberly gets out of school, she goes to the factory to help her mother so they can get the shipments out in time.  Kimberly and her mother have to pay Aunt Paula back for the money it took to bring them to America, and she charges them interests.  They have very little money to spare, and no hopes of moving to a new apartment.  They're trapped.

Kimberly figures out much earlier than her mother does that Aunt Paula isn't really trying to help them.  Because Aunt Paula helped bring them to America, Kimberly's mother feels they owe her an unpayable debt, and therefore should not complain, no matter what the conditions are.  As Kimberly learns more about how things work in America, she realizes that it isn't right.  Kimberly is determined to use her "talent for school" to get them out of their terrible apartment and give them a better life, but it's a long time in coming.

Spoilers ahead.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on the graphic novel Heartless by Gail Carriger.

Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?

This is the fourth in a series called The Parasol Protectorate. If you haven't read any of the first three, I STRONGLY recommend them. They're amaze-balls. As in laugh out loud hilarious. That and the fact that Carriger seems to have a clever grasp on what's going on in her steampunk universe. Super clever, kinda sexy, and just overall awesome, I'm excited for this next installment.

Heartless comes out June 28!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Librarians: Masters of the info universe.  From CNN.

Patrick Ness's top 10 unsuitable books for teenagers.  From The Guardian.

Rejected children's books.  From

Happy 95th birthday Beverly Cleary!  From The New York Times.

YALSA Teens' Top Ten nominations are in.

Dystopias can be beaten: The Hunger Games as a Dystopia in the Age of New Media.  Really interesting article from Teresa Jusino.   From

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie is allergic to blood.  And iron.  And consecrated ground.  That's because Mackie isn't human.  He's a changeling child, switched at birth.  In the town of Gentry, every seven years a switch happens, and the changeling baby usually dies.  But Mackie didn't.  No one talks about it.  No one acknowledges what happens in the town of Gentry.  Mackie has gone his whole life trying to be invisible, but he can't any more.  Mackie has been feeling sicker and sicker.  He's told he's dying, and the baby sister of a girl at school has been switched.  Mackie doesn't want to get involved, but he's being pulled into the world he doesn't want to know exists.  The world he's really from.

This started off good and then lost me as it went on.  There were some pacing problems.  Things really started to drag as it got toward the middle.  I wanted everyone to just get on with it already.  Stop the mopping around, I'm getting bored.

ALA Top Ten List of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2010

It's that time again!  The annual release of the top ten most frequently challenged books.  And Tango Makes Three is still going strong.  You'd think it'd fade out, but apparently not.
1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Offensive language, Racism, Sex Education, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence
3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: Insensitivity, Offensive Language, Racism, Sexually Explicit
4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: Drugs, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit
5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence
6. Lush, by Natasha Friend
Reasons: Drugs, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
Reasons: Sexism, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
8. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons: Drugs, Inaccurate, Offensive Language, Political Viewpoint, Religious Viewpoint
9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit
10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint, Violence

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about.  This week I'm waiting on the graphic novel Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol.

Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part . . .Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century. Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs. Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya’s Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.
Check out a preview here.

I've been hearing really good things about this one.  Possibly another one to add to our Great Graphic Novels for Girls list?

Anya's Ghost will be available June 7th.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Water Baby by Ross Campbell

Surfer girl Brody loses a leg to a shark attack.  Her best friend Louisa moves in with Brody and her mother to help take care of her.  Things get even more crowded when Brody's ex, Jake, shows up and crashes on her couch.  Brody finally gets fed up and takes Louisa and Jake off on a road trip from Florida to Rochester, NY, to return Jake to his family.

This confused me.  Where was this going?  What was it suppose to be about?  You'd think a large part of this would be about Brody dealing with losing a leg, but it isn't.  Brody seems pretty unaffected by losing a leg actually.  She does have nightmares about getting attacked by the shark, and she doesn't want to go back in the water, but that's all we get.  We see very little of her struggle or conflict.  She's in the hospital, and then it's a year later.  She complains about how her stump hurts sometimes, but otherwise, nothing.

The book was really about relationships.  The relationship between Brody and Jake, and the relationship between Brody and Louisa.  It was a road trip adventure.  Brody still has some feelings for Jake, but mostly he disgusts her.  After puking all over her apartment, she, in a totally not thought out teenager moment, throws him and Louisa in the car and takes off (leaving her mother to clean up the vomit, I guess).  They road trip along, picking up a hitchhiker, Chrissie, who ends up hooking up with Jake and then stealing their car.

But even the relationships were unexplored.  Brody and Louisa had a relationship at some point, but this wasn't expanded on.  It suggests that both Brody and Louisa have dated girls and guys, and that maybe Louisa wants to be with Brody again?  Maybe?  I have no idea what Brody wants.  Jake wants to get with whatever hot girl strolls by.

I enjoyed the art.  I liked seeing the different body types.  I'll forgive everyone wearing short shorts all the times, since they did spend a lot of time on the beach.  But in general, I'm not totally sure what the point of the story was.  And why bother having Brody lose her leg at all?  It was hardly part of the story.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot

Helen has been living on street ever since she ran away from her sexually abusive father.  With her pet rat for company, Helen rereads her precious Beatrix Potter books.  Following in Beatrix Potter's footsteps and going to the English countryside, Helen gradually begins to direct her anger and disgust to it's rightful place, and gathers the courage to confront her father.

This was very powerful.  It starts off with Helen homeless in London.  We don't know what happened to her.  She has a pet rat that she talks to.  She has fantasies of killing herself.  She can't stand to have anyone touch her.

We get snippets of Helen's earlier life.  Her mother seems distant, unhappy and disinterested in Helen, but Helen seems to have a loving and close relationship with her father.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spoiled by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Brooke Berlin lives with her famous actor father, Brick, in a fabulous house with every luxury she could ever want.  Except attention.  Brooke wants to be in the spotlight, but her father wants her out of it and is hardly ever at home himself.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, Brooke discovers she has a half sister, Molly, just her age, who is coming to live with her and Brick.  Now Molly is getting all the attention, both from photographers and Brick.  Brooke will stop at nothing until Molly goes back to Indiana where she belongs.

So when I first heard the summary for this book, I wasn't interested at all.  What's that?  Another book about spoiled rich people and their problems?  PASS.  But then I realized it was written by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, the fabulous bloggers behind Go Fug Yourself which I LOVE and is absolutely HILARIOUS.  I therefore assumed any book they wrote would also be a delightfully funny as their blog.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wicked Pretty Things Kerfuffle

Because I like using any excuse for use the word "kerfuffle."  Jessica Verday was asked to change her story for the anthology Wicked Pretty Things from two male characters in love to a male and female in love.  This happened at the very end of March, and I totally missed it.  Cleolinda sums things up nicely.  Sounds like things could have come to a mostly tidy end, and then Christopher Navratil went and riled everything up again by posting an amazing inaccurate article on PW.

College Bound Students

This week I attended a meeting called "Independent School Libraries & College Bound Students."  It was to discuss what library information skills students should have in their "backpacks" to be successful in college.  A good question.  The meeting was held at the Harvard Graduate School of Education library and there were librarians from Tufts, Boston College and Harvard.  But first, we heard from John Palfrey, author of Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives, which I'm sorry John, I have not read.

John spoke about how there are many challenges facing young people, but these challenges present opportunities for instruction.  Although people who are born after 1980 often are referred to as "digital natives," they aren't all "digital natives" (duh).  Not all kids grow up with cell phones and computers, because not all families can afford those kinds of things.  Also, some adults use technologies just as well, or as poorly, as kids do.

It is vital to make libraries cool and important, not just serious.  John spoke a bit about how kids these days are multitaskers, and how we know that when kids multitask they don't learn as well, but they're going to multitask anyway.  We need to embrace this and work with it.  While students want newspapers, magazines and journals to be digital, the majority still want print books.  The major issues students have, says John, are figuring out credibility, dealing with too much information, and understanding intellectual property.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about.  This week I'm waiting on Enclave by Ann Aguirre.
New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

Is it just me, or are there a lot of books coming out lately about plague were the life expectancy is early 20s, or everyone over 20 has died?  It's like a revival of The Girl Who Owned a City.

Enclave will be available April 12th. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


What do kids say is the biggest obstacle to technology at school?  Really interesting article.  We think we're doing a great job, kids do not agree.  Also, 20% of K-2 graders have cellphones?  ...why?  From ReadWriteWeb.

The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud wins School Library Journal's Battle of the Kids Books.

Sex?  Violence?  An author tests the bounds of YA fiction.  I think Mr. Davis sells teen readers short in terms of what they can handle and what's appropriate.  From The Wall Street Journal.

The Railway Children 'plagiarized' from earlier story.  From just what the article says, it seems like a pretty weak case to me.  Both books have absent fathers.  Both books involve children having adventures.  Both books have the children saving a train from crashing.  Both books the children get engraved watches as rewards.   It was written in 1906.  Engraved watches was a pretty standard thank you, wasn't it?  From The Telegraph.

Scholastic relaunches 'Dear America'.  Yay!  I loved Dear America!  From SLJ.

California hands out scores of pink slips to school librarians.  From SLJ.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Peeta and Gale cast

Casting is complete.  Peeta and Gale will be played by Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth.  I haven't seen anything with either of them.  I have to say neither of them look like the pictures of these characters in my head.  Thoughts?

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Briony knows she's a witch.  Her beloved stepmother told her so.  Whenever Briony gets angry or jealous, bad things are apt to happen.  That's why her twin sister Rose isn't quite right.  And that's why her stepmother is now dead.  Briony knows it was her fault, but she can't tell anyone, or risk hanging.  But now Rose is in danger again. The Boggy Mun has given Rose the swamp cough, and everyone who gets the swamp cough eventually dies.  The Boggy Mun is angry that the engineering men are draining the swamp, and he wants Briony to stop it.  But how can Briony stop it without confessing to being a witch?

I didn't think I was going to like this.  It started with the cover, with the generic pretty girl.  And then the description sounded like another supernatural romance.  Yawn.  Oh how wrong I was!  It was fantasy and romance and mystery and psychological thriller all in one and I loved it!

First, let us discuss the romance aspect.  It started with the new boy, Eldric, coming to town.  However, there is no falling in love at first sight and knowing they are destined to be together.  Briony, as a witch, isn't capable of loving anyone.  And she does not like boys and men in general.  She is mildly surprised when Eldric doesn't repel her, and they become friends.  Just think!  The setting up of a relationship before we're told they love each other!  How delightful.  We actually get to see them both as people, and were their ultimate attraction comes from.  I could actually understand why people liked Eldric.  He had an easy, comfortable way about him.  He set other people at ease.  He could to talk to anyone.  Yes, yes, he's also very pretty, but he actually had a developed personality too!

I enjoyed Briony's voice very much.  She narrates the whole story.  Her way of explaining things are often short and disjointed.  Sometimes it feels more like stream of consciousness.  Briony is fighting against herself.  She keeps having memories she doesn't understand.  She has to keep reminding herself that she's a witch, that she's bad, that she hurts people, that witches don't cry and don't love.  She has strong reactions to things and she doesn't know why.  We get the feeling that Briony isn't a completely reliable narrator when it comes to remembering the past.

They mystery aspect is that we don't really know what happened to Briony's stepmother, or how Briony really burned her hand, or why she refuses to write stories anymore.  The memories she has don't seem quite right.  Her sister Rose keeps trying to tell her something, but Briony doesn't understand what it is.  She thinks it's just Rose being her usual odd self.  Things finally come to a head, and Briony is put on trial as a witch and the murderer of her stepmother.  Over the course of the trial, we finally learn what really happened.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey

Brat has just been offered the most amazing deal of his life.  A stranger has noticed Brat's uncanny resemblance to the well-off Ashby family.  The stranger offers to teach him everything he needs to know about the Ashby family, and Brat will pose as the long disappeared and presumed dead Patrick Ashby and claim the Ashby home, Latchetts, on Patrick Ashby's 21st birthday.  At first reluctant, Brat agrees.  Brat successfully passes as Patrick Ashby, and the family is delighted to find him alive.  Expect for Simon Ashby, Patrick Ashby's twin brother.  Brat knows that Simon doesn't think he's really Patrick, but why doesn't Simon expose him?

I had never read anything by Josephine Tey before.  I was interested in reading Brat Farrar because I'd read about it on bookshelves of doom and was intrigued.  I've actually been reading this for like four months.  I'd read a bit, but then something else would come along and I'd have to read that, then I'd come back, then something else would come up.  But I finally finished it, and as it got toward the end I wouldn't have put it aside anyway because I desperately wanted to know what was going to happen.

You'd think that Brat would be the bad guy.  He is, after all, pretending to be a long-missing member of the family and claiming other people's money as his own.  You'd think it would be hard to make that character into someone sympathetic that you'd root for.  It was so conflicting!  Brat is clearly doing something very wrong, yet you want him to work things out, and Simon, who it seems is in the right, is the giant jerk.

Brat is determined to solve the mystery of Patrick Ashby.  Patrick's death was ruled a suicide, although the body was never found.  Brat is suspicious of Simon.  He thinks he knows more about Patrick's "death" than he lets on.  Brat begins to investigate and makes a gruesome and troubling discovery.  Now Brat has to make a difficult choice.  In order to set things right, he'll have to reveal what he's done and who he really is, and by doing so lose the love and trust of the family who he has come to deeply care about.

I do so love a well-written mystery, and this was great.  It was in a book called A Cup of Tey, which has two other works by Josephine Tey, so I have more delightful mysteries to look forward to.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer

"Being an Account of the curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy."  A street child from a young age, Mary Faber roves with her street gang until their leader is killed.  Desperate to get off the streets, Mary, who's always been small and plain, cuts off her hair, puts on her dead leader's clothes and gets herself taken on as a ship's boy on the HMS Dolphin, a warship.  Now all she has to do is not let anyone know she's a girl, which becomes harder and harder the longer she's on board.

This had been recommended to me by a colleague, and I actually didn't like it all that much at first.  When things got going on board the ship though, I got more into it and ended up really enjoying it.  Mary was an engaging, multidimensional character.  She's smart and resourceful, but still makes plenty of mistakes and gets herself into unfortunate situations which she has to get herself out of again.  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...