Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Epic by Conor Kostick

By: Conor Kostick
Intended Age: YA
Hardcover: 320 pages
Published April 5th 2007 by Viking Juvenile
ISBN-10: 0670061794 (ISBN-13: 978-0670061792)
Series: Epic #1 

Synopsis: Generations ago, violence was banned on New Earth. Society is governed and conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. Everyone plays. If you win, you have the chance to go to university, get more supplies for your community, and fulfill your dreams; if you lose, your life both in and out of the game is worth nothing.

When Erik, seeking revenge for the unjust treatment of his parents, dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends find themselves up against with the ultimate masters of the game: the Committee. If Erik and his friends win, they may have the key to destroying Epic’s tyranny over New Earth. But if they lose . . .

I borrowed this book from the library.

So a friend told me last week I should to read this. Immediately it was on my radar. While perusing my local library last Sunday, there it was sitting out on the end of a table where someone conveniently left it for me to find. I now NEEDED to read this book! My interest was peaked.

So here I am. I am absolutely unaware of the world of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) but I easily slipped into the concept without a hitch. (and yes for those of you who know me I had to read a wiki article on MMORPG’s before writing this to know there was such a thing as MMORPG’s)

I expected this to be a book about the dangers of online gaming. While it is set in an online game, this book is about much more. This book raises a host of questions. How do we see ourselves from the outside? and privately to ourselves? Are they the same? What are our priorities and goals in life? Do we live our lives to achieve them? And most importantly, how much of who we are is in the things we think most people do not see? If Science Fiction/Dystopia is your thing this is a book for you, if it is not you should try it. You may be surprised.

Of course I want to know more of what happens in Erik’s world so I hope the second book in the series Saga(2008) is as easy to find as this one. The final book in the series Edda (2011) will be released August 4th.

Thanks Christina & Elizabeth for the recommendation.
I give this 4 out of 5 stars

Friday, July 22, 2011

High School Library Needs Books

From Danielle Bunner (Frenzy of Noise)

While I was in classes a few weeks ago, I had this huge (kinda funny to me) realization. All week everyone kept talking about community. Saying "this is the place you'll build a lifeline." All week I was that smug girl who's said to myself: I have that. Because I do have that. I have it in bloggers, in readers, in writers, in authors, in twitter. I know I have people. I know I'm part of a community that bans together to stand up for literary injustice, backlash, plagarism and everything in between. We build hashtags on twitter and give small ideas a way to be big. We're awesome.

That's why when the director of my MFA program sent us an email about a book drive, I knew I had to bring the need to my community. This community. Why? Well...

"The literature section of Ballou Senior High School's library in Washington, DC has 63 books, not enough to fill five small shelves. In the area marked "Pure Science," there are 77 volumes. The generally accepted standard for school libraries is 11 books for each of Ballou's 1,104 students."

It's completely unacceptable that a high school is lacking a basic need of life, a need that opens the doors to education, creativity and imagination---books. And this is the time for all of us to step up, to ban together, to help out. No matter what genre you read, because they need everything.

This selection I take out of the email from my program director because he says it better than I ever could.

"It's a challenge for kids to take their literacy seriously when they don't even have books to read. Ballou is located in the most dangerous ward in our nation's capitol. Right now, the library serves as a physical safe space and a refuge for students in off school hours, but wouldn't it be great if they had something to read while they were there--even choices across genre?....This is not the only school in the country with needs, but when the flare went up we saw it and chose to respond."

What they need:
Everything. From Shakespeare to Octavia Butler to Richard Wright. Fantasy, sci-fi, YA, adult fiction, history books, poetry, classic literature, science.

She said they would take anything as long as it is in GOOD condition and has no writing in it.

I've asked if they would accept ARCs, and the director of the book drive, Lisa, said YES.

How to donate:

If you have books you want to give, please mail them directly to:

Perry School
c/o Margaret Pegram
128 M St. NW suite 318
Washington, DC 20001

Inside the box put a note that says "c/o Lisa P. Ballou Book Drive".

The school will be accepting books until August 22nd.

Also, if you'd like to include some kind of quick note for the kids, words of encouragement, that would be awesome!!

Spread the word!

Reblog this post on your blog. Tweet this post. (we're on twitter at #HSBookDrive) Tell everyone. Send books.

This is a chance for our community to step up, to reach out and to provide teens with books. This is why we are here so I challenge you to be part of this.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Top Ten Books I Believe Teens Should be Required to Read

Top Ten Books I Believe Teens Should be Required to Read
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Here is my top ten list of books I think every teen should read. This list is obviously going to reflect my favorites. The beauty of this is we all have different essentials. This list was very hard to compile! Obviously, it is now Wednesday afternoon and I am posting my Top Ten Tuesday list.

When I say teens should be required to read these I mean they should read them before they are adults. I had several teachers who clearly did not like the books they were required to teach us in school. I truly believe this taints the reading experience tremendously! I was lucky to have a few teachers passionate about the books we had to read. I hope I can carry that passion for some of my favorites and pass it along to my child and reading friends! Here Goes!
(In No Particular Order)

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry (1993)– This is a great dystopian novel often dismissed as a children’s book. I think everyone should read this book.

2. Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins (2009 – 2010) – I wish more emphasis would be put on reading what you love! I loved this series and am happy that many teens were able to read my copies of this series because they wanted to! Yea for reading!

3. Night by Elie Wiesel (1982) - Some one gave me this book in high school and I mistook this thin book as an easy read. This book is about Elie Wiesel’s life in a Nazi Concentration camp. This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read! It personalized the holocaust, one period in history we never want to repeat!

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960) – I had to read this in school. I loved this book! The characters are amazing. Atticus Finch is one incredible man, I wish there were more Atticus’s in the real world than just on the pages of a book.

5. Paper Towns by John Green (2008) – I have enjoyed every book I have read by John Green and I have more on my TBR pile. There is language/situations in this book so I would suggest this for older teens. It was easy to root for Q on his quest to find Margo and ultimately himself.

6. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe (1845) – Frankly anything by Poe and more poetry. Lots and lots of poetry!

7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813) – Because before Edward there was Mr. Darcy

8. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (1939) – Any one who knows me knows I could not make this list without Dame Agatha!

9. Short Stories – I love short stories! They are gems of words! You can read a short story… well very shortly! But often times the story sticks with you for a long time after.
Some of my favorites… The Monkeys Paw by WW Jacobs, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, The Gift of the Magi by O Henry, Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling, and anything by Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Saki, Mark Twain, HG Wells, HP Lovecraft.

10. Something funny! Everyone needs to laugh out loud.
Some of my favorites… A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup, Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison, Here Lies the Librarian and the Teachers Funeral by Richard Peck. The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis and A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

by Veronica Roth
Hardcover, 487 pages
Published May 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN 0062024027 (ISBN13: 9780062024022)

Synopsis: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

I have always been a fan of dystopian fiction. After seeing this book hyped up in the blogosphere for some time now, I HAD to read it! Once I started this I literally could not put it down. The world created in Divergent is fascinating. To split society into singular traits really made me stop and think. This book is fast paced, violent and absolutely gripping. This book is about, choices, control, betrayal and loyalty. I cannot wait for Maggie to read this, there is so much to discuss. Which faction would you choose? Would you choose who you think you are supposed to be? Or would you choose to stay with what you know? I am afraid to say much more for fear I would ruin the story.

SOOOOO ya gotta read this!
I give this 5 out of 5 stars

PS. look for the next in the series Insurgent set to release in May 2012.