Archive for the ‘Challenges 2009’ Category

Book: Th1rteen R3asons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Binding: Hardcover
Publishing Date: 2007/10/18
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Number of Pages: 288

Thirteen Reasons Why By Jay Asher

From Back Cover Of The Book :

Clay Jenkins returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers 13 cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he will find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen reader

My Views :

When I started reading Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why , I knew it was a good story based on all the reviews I had read but I just didn’t realise it would be so powerful.

Hannah Baker has committed suicide and she is making the people she feels are responsible for her miserable life and eventual death pay by making them listen to the tapes she has recorded and sent in to circulation.They need to keep circulating the tape or else they will all be exposed.
We see the events through the eyes of Clay Jenkins , Hannah’s classmate and colleague at her summer job. He has no idea why he is one reason why Hannah killed herself but is about to find out and soon enough.

Every character in Hannah’ life has been sketched really well. Hannah gives you her view about the person and we also get Clay’s views , pretty much completing the picture.Asher’s speed of narrative is just what needs to be. It brings up all of the teen DON T’S -alcohol , reckless driving , sexual abuse , peer pressure..Still it doesn’t preach that is what makes it so good. Actions and their subsequent consequences are just put up there so that we can analyse and see what went wrong.

The way Hannah is wronged and subjected to crude gossip is what happens to so many teenagers in school these days. They are misunderstood, they are not given a chance to explain themselves and even if they get a chance who is ready to believe them ,for gossip is so much more juicier than truth, isn’t it? The signs of coming suicide are almost always there but how many notice it and more importantly how many take a step towards these wounded souls is the question.

I couldn’t stop reading till I had finished it and I must confess that , though this isn’t a feel good book , it is one of those you are not supposed to miss.

Book: Lock And Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
ISBN-10: 067001088X
ISBN-13: 978-0670010882
Hardcover: 432 pages

Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Reading level: Young Adult

Lock And Key by Sarah Dessen

From the front flap of the book:

“Ruby, where is your mother?”

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return. That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future – it’s a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.

My Views :

This was my second Sarah Dessen book and I couldn’t put it down till I had finished it. Its the ease with which she writes, that draws you in and makes you get totally involved with her characters. Ruby is a very independent sort of a girl who has never had a normal childhood given the fact that she and her alcoholic non dependable mother keep changing houses and jobs. Only time she depended on someone was when her elder sister Cora lived with them. That was a long time back. Even as a 17 yr old she has learnt to live alone and fend for herself when her mother takes off for days on end without bothering to inform her. This time when her mom leaves her alone, Ruby finds herself in front of a social worker who hands her over to her elder sister Cora and her husband Jamie as she is still not 18yrs to live on her own. All of a sudden she is brought in to a world she feels she doesn’t belong to and neither does she want to belong.

The book traces the journey of Ruby’s acceptance of the new family and friends and most importantly journey of self discovery and love. It takes a close look at the relationship that Cora and Ruby share earlier and now, when she comes to live with her . It talks of the difficulties faced when put in unexpected situations and how everything can be sorted out if we trust the people who care for us and love us and take a positive approach to life.

It also brings in to focus the abuse faced by kids at the hands of their parents and how reluctant they are in revealing it , even though they know there are people who can set things right for them.

Book gives a very positive message and makes you feel really good when you have reached the last page.I would recommend this book to all who love good YA reading.This book is my entry for the Sarah Dessen Mini Challenge hosted at Becky’s Book Reviews.

This book took more time than usual and you will understand why when you read it.Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a classic and very solid one at that. I had always wanted to read it but never got a chance so I put it up on my Centuries Challenge and read it off. It is a beautiful piece of literature I must say.Its poetry and prose combined together.

Canterbury Tales is a set of stories told by pilgrims going to visit the shrine of Thomas Backet , a saint in Canterbury. Story begins with the introduction of each pilgrim who have come from various parts of England. The group consists of the Knight, his son the Squire, the Knight’s Yeoman, a Prioress, a Second Nun, a Monk, a Friar, a Merchant, a Clerk, a Man of Law, a Franklin, a Weaver, a Dyer, a Carpenter, a Tapestry-Maker, a Haberdasher, a Cook, a Shipman, a Physician, a Parson, a Miller, a Manciple, a Reeve, a Summoner, a Pardoner, the Wife of Bath and Chaucer. Host of the Tabard inn,Harry sets the rules for them.They have to tell stories , two each during to and fro journey .and he will decide whose tale is best of all based on its meaning and moral. Thus begins the book with these pilgrims,some of them brave ,some cunning ,some naive yet all of them adding to the picture a unique quality that doesn’t fail to stand out at the end of the particular tale told by them.A comparison done with present times will surely show similar characters in our midst.

Being a romantic at heart ,I loved the Knight’s tale the most .Though other tales were equally good.The themes of the tales include love, chivalry, dishonesty, sermon and so on but most of them with a religious message. Some tales I must tell you are incomplete and it is not clear if Chaucer ever completed this work as it abruptly ends with no winner chosen in the end.As the characters have been introduced in the first chapter the focus of the book is mostly on the tales .This in no way makes any difference ,as it still a wonderful book for all Classics and Poetry lovers.

Written in the Middle Ages this book is considered Geoffrey Chaucer’s best work.

Last week was more of classics week for me rather than any other genre.Exhausted but not defeated I decided I needed a change. What better than Chick Lit.I headed to my sister’s bookshelf and on her recommendation I picked up Geek High by Piper Banks.

Now , I don’t read Chick Lit very often but whenever I have read it , its been a very pleasant experience.These feel good books are like Gods gift whenever you are travelling or just want to kill time.Small and satisfying.I must say I wasn’t disappointed by this book.Actually, I really liked it.

This is the story of Amanda Bloom aka Human Calculator who goes to a school for children with special talent i.e. geniuses .Her parents have divorced and she lives with her mom , writer of romantic novels. Even though Amanda is gifted with a very unique mathematical ability she has no interest whatsoever in it.She feels she isn’t as gifted as her fellow classmates and there is nothing special about her. Actually her real liking lies in writing and wants to be on the school literary committee and not the Math club of which she is the star candidate. A bizarre twist of events lands her on her father’s doorstep who lives with Amanda’s step mom Peyton aka Demon and step sister Hannah aka Demon spawn 🙂 Amanda has a school year is starting and is not ready to face so many changes at once after all she is just a teenager. Not to mention that she has been crushing on a guy who has no idea she exists.Amidst all this she finds herself being blackmailed in to Organising the yearly Snowflake Gala yearly school event . How Amanda deals with her life crises and learns about her real abilities forms the crux of the story.

Funny and smart account really cheered me up.So if you haven’t read it yet I think you better give it a try.I have heard that a sequel Geek Abroad has also been published .I might read it if I happen to find it.

This book can be purchased in paperback format here.

This is hosted by Royal Reviews for the year 2009.

The rules are simple:
In 2009 read a minimum of 6 books that have been made into movies and then watch the movie.
  • Write a review on the Book vs the Movie
  • Be honest about whether or not you think the film-maker was successful in translating the book to film. Please keep in mind that it is impossible to convey everything.
  • You must both read the book and watch the movie within 2009. All genres are acceptable and it doesn’t matter when the movie was made.
Here’s my list:Vanity Fair

Doctor Zhivago

Marley And Me


Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Sophie’s Choice