Archive for the ‘Young Adult Book Challenge 2009’ Category

Book: The Forest Of Hands And Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
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
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.

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.

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.