Archive for the ‘Challenges 2009’ Category

Book:13 Little Blue Envelopes
Author:Maureen Johnson
Publisher : Harper Collins
Paperback: Oct 2006,
Pages : 318pg

From the book jacket:
Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it’s all because of the 13 Little Blue Envelopes.

Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket.

In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat.

The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist.

Because of envelope 4, Ginny and her artist, a playwright/thief/bloke-about-town called Keith, go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous — though utterly romantic — results. Ginny isn’t sure she’ll see Keith again, and definitely doesn’t know what to think about him.

Could the answer be in the envelopes?

Ginny doesn’t know it, but adventures in Rome and Paris are in envelopes 6 and 8. The rules are that she has to open one at a time, in order, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that she discovers things about her life and love one by one. Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it’s all because of the 13 Little Blue Envelopes.

My Views:

Its fast, its funny , its entertaining, in some places its enlightening. Ginny Blackstone’s journey from New York to the beautiful locales of Europe is a story of growing up , understanding and discovering oneself. Ginny’s aunt Peg has given her 13 envelopes to be opened during various phases of the journey and through them Ginny learns about life and love and more importantly about her aunt Peg , who is now dead.

Ginny , who hasn’t ever travelled alone embarks on this journey with just a backpack of essential stuff sans any electronic gadget ( no phones, cameras ,laptops, music player or books) and a packet containing those 13 envelopes. What is written in the letters ? I am not give out everything here ,even though the book jacket gives out a lil too much..It’s worth the wait when you read the letters written by Peg just as they are supposed to be read. One after the other.

The best part of the book would be the travel. Europe is described really beautifully. It has made me want to visit those places so much..London, Scotland, Paris..

The style of writing though in third person never fails to keep you glued to the book. Ok, some places you do feel that it could have dealt with Ginny’s feeling in a more detailed manner but we can over look that. It is still a great book. If you get a chance to read it, please do.



Book: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
Author: Judy Blume
ISBN:0440404193
ISBN-13:9780440404194,978-0440404194
Binding: Paperback
Publishing Date: 1993/02/01
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Number of Pages: 160

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret By Judy Blume

“No one ever told Margaret Simon that eleven-going-on- twelve would be such a hard age. When her family moves to New Jersey, she has to adjust to life in the suburbs, a different school, and a whole new group of friends. Margaret knows she needs someone to talk to about growing up-and it’s not long before she’s found a solution.”

The sixth grader Margaret Simon , on the threshold of puberty finds that she has too many questions and doubts. The one she has chosen, to ask her questions is none other than God. Her liberal parents have given her the choice to choose her religion when she is old enough to do so( That’s because , they belong to two different faiths .Margaret’s father is Jewish and mother is Christian). Till then Margaret is just struggling to make sense of it all. Having grandparents of two different faiths has left her thoroughly confused . They are not making it any easy for her by trying to coerce her, towards their respective sides.

Along with it she has the usual preteen problems , not wanting to be the last girl who gets her periods in her school group , wanting to have a curvy figure like the older girls and also wishing for a boyfriend 🙂

The best part of the book is that it’s truthful. I remember being that age and all the emotions a twelve year old goes through. Book makes a real good read .Margaret is totally adorable. Her opinions and arguments are very well reasoned . I wish I had read this book during my preteen days but better late than never..

Book: The Forest Of Hands And Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
ISBN:0385906315
ISBN-13:9780385906319,978-0385906319
Binding: Library Binding
Publishing Date: 2009/03/10
Publisher: Delacorte Press Books For Young Readers
Number of Pages: 320

Book Cover Says :

In Mary’s world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

My Views:

I am not a zombie book fan. Its definitely not my favourite genre. Now you might want to ask why did I even read this book then? My colleague with whom I share the examination room at the hospital had gone outside for coffee and had left her book on the table and I just picked up to see the blurb on the back cover. ‘Zombie book’ I said to myself , not my type of book but really beautiful cover. I had seen the cover on some of the blogs either on the reading list or on the giveaways so I started reading just out of curiosity.

I finished the book and you must have guessed it by now as I am reviewing it here. My friend was kind enough to lend it to me as she was almost done with it .So I read the book all through the journey home and finished it in almost 2hours.

This book holds you from the first line.Writing is beautiful and appealing . Here’s a sample :
As a child growing up, I learned in my lessons from the Sisters that just before the Return They—who They were is long forgotten—knew what was coming. They knew that something had gone horribly wrong and that it was only a matter of time before the Unconsecrated swarmed everywhere.”

What makes it a unstoppable read is the story line itself. Its never slow or mundane. It keeps moving ahead and you try to keep up with it. First I tried to figure out Mary’s strange world , then the people around her, her family , her friends , her village, the secretive sisterhood . It took me a while to assimilate and understand but when I got there I just wanted to know why was all this happening in Mary’s village and what was the secret behind The Forest Of Hands And Teeth, the behind the Unconsecrated. Mary’s curiosity helps us find many answers. For the zombie fans there is action , quite a lot. What else did you expect ? It has some gory descriptive passages but its never overdone, just enough to make it a somewhat scary read.

Mary, the narrator comes across as strong willed young woman who even in the toughest and the hardest of the times shows extraordinary courage. Inquisitive and daring she takes us with her in her journey to find the truth about her world..

All through the book , I never lost interest and that’s a real plus point . Its a Young Adult Fiction but I think there is no harm in a adult reading it. Its enjoyable and gripping.

Author’s Website : Carrie Ryan

The Teen Book Video Award Finalist 2008 :

Book: Before I Die
Author: Jenny Downham
ISBN:0385751583
ISBN-13:9780385751582,978-0385751582
Binding: Library Binding
Publishing Date: 2007/09/25
Publisher: Random House Childrens Books
Number of Pages: 326

Book Cover Says:

Tessa has just a few months to live.

Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is sex.

Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up.

Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

My Views :

I thought a lot since I completed reading this book. I could think straight only once I was done crying. Trust me I cried so much that my sister thought something bad must have happened. When I told her it was the book that I had just finished , she refused to believe me ,so I handed her the book. Now , I am waiting when she is going to have her episode , so I can tell her that its not me , it’s the book. Jenny Downham’s Before I Die is the kind of story that I am sure is gonna touch the lives of people who read it.

Tessa is going to die and you get to see her live the remaining days of her very short life ,trying to fit in all the things she feels she must do before she says her final good-bye. She has made a list of To Do things..There are things in her list that any teenager is warned not to do ,but she wants to do it and her reason is simple ‘she is going to die’ and she needs to experience all that is worth living for.

The book very beautifully explains the pain felt by her father, who masks it by going in to denial about his child’s illness , trying to see if some newer therapy can work. A younger brother who feels may be she should hurry up and be done with . A teenager who has so much to do but has such short time leaving you praying for some miracle to happen. I really wanted some life saving therapy to work for this girl. I really did.

This book makes us realise one thing, that life is precious filled with beautiful things , we don’t appreciate fully because we are too busy. Too busy to see the sun rise or sun set , too busy to appreciate the first rains , too busy to return a smile , too busy to have a life.

This book according me ,needs to be read by all , no matter how old you are. I actually wasn’t able to put all my thoughts in this because it’s so difficult . You just to need to read it to know what it is.

Keep box of tissues at hand. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Everything Austen Challenge hosted by Stephenie at Stephanie’s Written Word . I just needed a reason to read Austen again 🙂

About the challenge :

The Everything Austen Challenge will run for six months (July 1, 2009 – January 1, 2010)!
All you need to do is pick out what six Austen-themed things you want to finish to complete the challenge. You can choose books by Jane Austen , any of the movie adaptations , sequels or even the other Austen themed books.

My list for the challenge

Books By Jane Austen :

1. Northanger Abbey

2. Sense And Sensibility

3. Emma

Movies :

1. Persuasion

Books Inspired By Jane Austen’s Works:

1. Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

2 Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo