Friday, January 9, 2015

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Saenz

Weirdly enough I checked this book out from the library about the same time that someone randomly bought the book for me on reddit. I was meant to read this book, I guess.

Aristotle and Dante, is about two young teens who are best friends, one of whom happens to be gay. It's up to the two boys to figure out what their friendship means and at what cost.

Overall I really enjoyed the book. I enjoyed how the two young men really progressed as characters and you watched them grow. Each character had their own voice, there wasn't a moment when I questioned who was currently talking.

The pace of the novel was a little off to me, I'd been reading the books for a few months now when normally I would finish a book like this in a few days. Though, with that being said--I still suggest you check this book out. It had something that many books don't. It felt real, and while sometimes reality isn't always the most interesting, it's important.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication: April 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review: One Man Guy - Michael Barakiva

I've been in a reading slump for some time. I've found that to be a reoccurring problem in my life. Maybe it's because I read so many novels in my teen years I can sift through the good and the bad. Very rarely do I make myself finish a book if I cannot get into it.

As I've said on this blog before, this is a space for me to share books I've enjoyed. Not to be a billboard for the newest craze. Though, as of late I feel like I've only been highlighting LGBT books. But, there's nothing wrong with that, right?

I've read a lot of gay YA in my life and they usually all evolve around a white American teen who is in the process of coming out. That can get pretty boring after awhile which is why this book grabbed hold of me right off the bat.

Enter, Alek Khederian who happens to be Armenian. Armenian culture is something I'd not been exposed too probably because I'm one of those Americans. But I loved all of the information about Armenia that the book was filled with and the details of what being a gay underachiever in an Armenian family would be like.

This book has everything, drama, romance and comedy. I even found myself laughing out loud during rehearsal one night, Alek has a great sense of humor. I would recommend this book to anyone who happens to like love stories, LGBT books or even someone who would like to dig deeper into Armenian culture.

I for one have been doing my own research after finishing the book... great work Michael, Cher would be proud.

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication: May 2014

Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Teeth - Hannah Moskowitz

I don't know where to start this review. I first purchased a Hannah Moskowitz novel at my event, The Teen Author Carnival. I had very little money that year and told her I needed to read Gone, Gone, Gone and it was in fact the only book I bought that whole trip to New York. I feel in love with Hannah's work and am glad that I decided to pick up Teeth.

What does a book about mermaids offer the young adult community? I was hesitant to pick up this book, not because I doubted the writing. I doubted anyone could make mermaids interesting. Many have tried, many have failed.

What makes Hannah's mermaid different then the other books? It's raw, in your face. After reading this I'm pretty sure Hannah could write a book about a magical piece of poop and I'd love it. There's something that Moskowitz has mastered that many have yet to learn.

She digs deep into herself to tell this story, a story unlike anything I've ever read from her. The story is so compelling and when you get down to the raw facts, it's about a boy, his sick brother and a fish boy. This is THE mermaid book the young adult genre has been waiting for. To put it simple it's fucking brilliant and I suggest you move it to the top of your reading piles if you haven't read it yet.

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication: January 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: Six Earlier Days - David Levithan

I read Every Day by David Levithan and fell in love with the character known as A. It was one of the few books to ever make me cry, so naturally I had to get my hands on Six Earlier Days.

Six Earlier Days is the perfect companion to David Levithan's novel Every Day. You're quickly sucked into the life of A on page one, once more. It was nice to jump around, sometimes several years at a time in A's time line to see how A has grown to be the spirit it is today.

The first few stories were slightly jagged but I quickly fell into accepting A once more as I got deeper into the story. I bow to David for crafting together the life of A and giving his readers a little something more to help understand A.

eBook: 47 pages
Published: November 26th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J. K. Rowling

I'd be lying if I said at one point I thought myself to be one of the biggest Harry Potter fans in the world. I remember saying "J. K. Rowling could probably write a book about poop and I'd love it." Boy, was I wrong.

I was excited to finally read THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD after hearing so many people talk about it through the years. It's been sitting on my shelf collecting dust and my Boyfriend finally convinced me I should give it a shot. I had tried numerous times before and always had issues getting through the first story.

I felt like none of the stories meshed well together and it felt very disconnected  Don't get me wrong, I totally understand it's a book of fairy tales, I guess I was expecting something more from Rowling. It took me a few months to finish the book--I can usually read through a hundred pages in a half hour/hour max.

I remember hearing several people mention they were excited to read the fairy tales of wizarding children. However it felt like I had read something rushed and took very little from the book when finished. This book isn't for everyone, as the Quidditch Throughout The Ages & Fantastic Book of Beasts and Where to Find Them aren't mentioned by many people anymore.

This book helped me realize  I won't like everything from my favorite authors and that's okay. (Which was my biggest fear.) It's even okay to blog about it.

Publisher: Bloomsbury (UK)
Publication: December 4th, 2008

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Review: Stage Management - Lawrence Stern

I've been spending my time at our local theater, but while I was away I did have the chance to read a book. A book about stage management ironically enough, so it was an easy theater tie in. I've been slowly learning how to do things at the theater and wanted to conquer stage management next.

I had watched a few people stage manage before me so I knew the general direction of things. What needed the most attention, what didn't deserve stressing out and what I could improve on organization skill wise.

I had mentioned my interest in being a stage manager and was told I'd be a good fit to try a small cast first. Small cast here meaning four people; however the production currently happening was the only one of the season with a small cast.

I was bummed.

And then I was handed a few books and PDF's to read by friends, Stage Management  being one of them. I read the book in less than a week and took extensive notes. I found that a lot of the chapters went a little overboard for the type of theater that work at but it would be great for a traveling stage show or a show on a much larger scale.

The book offers many examples of paperwork that you could use to aid you in your stage managing journey. As well as check off sheets for setting the stage, cleaning the stage and emergency protocols.

I would suggest this book to anyone who has an interest in stage managing. I believe it's a school text book, but very handy to anyone looking to apply a more structured stage management environment.

And apparently my note taking and book reading paid off. I was recently asked to stage manage our next production, 9 to 5 the musical. I know if it wasn't for this book my workstation and binder would be a pigsty and I would be completely lost.

I'm going to make Dolly proud, Y'all!

Publisher: Allyn & Bacon
Publication Date: January 2009

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli

I've known about the Stargirl books for some time. I even have a friend who was impacted by the novel so much she has Stargirl tattooed on her arm. Initially I rolled by eyes, I mean I roll my eyes at any book inspired tattoo to be completely honest.

Last year I saw Stargirl sitting by itself at a local library book sale, I bought it for a whopping twenty-five cents! It's sat beside my bed since then. “I'll get to it sometime.” I would say, but then again I say that about my one-hundred plus collection of books that I've yet to read.

I signed up for the Goodreads reading challenge again this year, my goal is to read thirty books. I decided why not start with Stargirl after all many people had said it impacted their life... if only I had known what I was getting myself into.

Stargirl is a novel about a very interesting young women in a small town population. She's caring, supportive and outgoing. Everyone seems to love her until the moment when she starts supporting the opposing team as well as her own. I mean after all, what kind of person does that?

The book follows Leo and his complex relationship with Stargirl. It covers several topics. I'd suggest it to the middle grade crowd, especially to children who feel they do not fit in as they should. This novel isn't amazingly written, BUT it hits all of the heart strings all at once, which easily could make it a classic. I think everyone wants to connect with Stargirl when really most of us would end of being the Leo's of the world.

Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 5/11/2004