Posts Tagged ‘Review’

The Noah Confessions

Posted: November 2, 2009 in Reviews
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Noah

Book: The Noah Confessions
Author: Barbara Hall
Binding: Paperback
Publishing Date: 2008/11/11
Publisher: Delacorte Press Books For Young Readers
Number of Pages: 215

Category: Young Adult

My Rating: 4 out of 5

My Review:

I have been reading quite a lot of YA recently and some seriously good YA at that. The Noah Confessions was no exception. An accidental find at my library (which has quite a good selection of Teen books ) I was intrigued on reading the summary at the back. I must say I was little put off with the cover though.

Lynnie Russo  is as difficult to handle as is any 16 yr old when her highly  expected birthday gift of a car , turns out to be a really ugly-looking bird charm bracelet. Every person in her school gets a new car when they turn sixteen. But her father has other plans. When she fails to understand his intention at not letting her have a car , and bunks her class to take a surfing lesson from a friend , he hands over a manuscript, saying that her mother , who died when Lynnie was a little girl ,wanted her to have this. Now ,Lynnie  is stuck with 2 gifts she doesn’t really want , an  ugly bracelet and an old set of letters written by her mom to some guy named Noah when she was a teen ager.

What follows is a Lynnie’s  journey in to her late mother’s childhood and teenage. Along the way , she uncovers a few family secrets she would rather not know and some that bring joy to her . All the time thinking did she really know the perfect  mother she idolizes .

It’s a really beautiful narrative with quite a storyline. I really liked the father daughter bond , that Lynnie and John Russo share. Even though she hates the gift he gives her , she still wears it so that he doesn’t feel bad. I am yet to see a teenager I know do that.

Her are a few lines from the book I really liked

He said, “Lynnie, Mommy is gone.” It was that simple. And part of me still blamed him just because he was the one who said it. I remember going very still and thinking, Don’t cry, don’t show anything. Because if you show something  it will be real, not just for you but for him. I started taking care of him right that moment.

And I hadn’t stopped. I didn’t know how to stop. Which was why I was wearing the stupid bird bracelet and why I hadn’t cried or complained as much as I wanted to about the car. I
had to let it go. He had been through enough and I was all he had.

Now  why didn’t I give this book a 5 on 5? Firstly , it did grow monotonous somewhere half way through, got a little philosophical for a YA.  That didn’t last long. It went back to fast and interesting within 4 to 5  of pages. Secondly , the cover. Come on , they could have done better than that. It has no connection whatsoever with the story , it’s a big put off so to say.

If not for these 2 little glitches , the book is a wonderful read.

Highly recommended for teens and adults alike

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Book : Letters From A Father To His Daughter

Author : Jawaharlal Nehru

Publisher: Puffin Books

Pages :154 pgs

Category : Non Fiction, History

My grandfather was a very avid reader. He was the one who recommended books to me when I would spend hours just surfing bookshelves in our local library. It was through him that I got familiar with the works of Tolstoy , Pearl S Buck , Charles Dickens and some great Indian authors like Mulk Raj Anand , K.M.Munshi and Jawaharlal Nehru. I had read Glimpses Of World History by Nehru and loved it but somehow never read this beautiful little collection of letters Jawaharlal Nehru sent his 10 yrs old daughter Indira ( later known as Indira Gandhi ) when she was spending her summer at Mussorie , a hill station and Nehru himself was busy working in his home town Allahabad.

This set of letters he sent , tell the story of creation of Earth and its evolution. Nehru covers them chronologically with letters on First Living Things , Early Men , Civilizations , Trade, Great Cities and many more. Such is  the lucidity of his writing that at one point I felt , wish all books were written in this way.

Another intresting  point to be noted is that Nehru didnt spoon feed his daughter with all  the facts . He just told enough to make her curoius , so that she was initiated in to the quest of knowing more about them. Now, that is what process of learning is all about.

Here is my fav part of the book

Boys and girls, even grown ups are are often taught history in a peculiar way. They learn the names of the kings and others , and dates of battle and like. But surely history does not consist of battle and few persons who became kings and generals. History should tell us of the people of the country , how they lived , what they did and what they thought .It should tell us of their joys and sorrows , of their difficulties and how they overcame them..

 

With some really great illustrations , it makes a wonderful read not just for kids but also for adults. I can say its a refresher course on things we should know but hardly make an effort to think about..

Highly recommended..

 

sara zarrBook : Story Of A Girl

Author : Sara Zarr

Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages : 208 pgs

Category : Young Adult

My Rating : 4 out of 5

Summary ( from Goodreads) :

When she is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother’s best friend – Deanna Lambert’s teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of “school slut,” she longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom and striking emotion, The Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany and redemption.

My Views:

As a teenager Deanna has endured much more than her friends . She has to live with the fact that the whole school knows that she was caught in the back seat of  a car having sex with Tommy, her elder brother’s best friend. Different takes of this event are circulating in her school ,where people have given her some nasty nicknames . Tommy himself has fueled some of these rumours .She could have tolerated all that if her father too hadn’t given up on her. She hasn’t had a decent conversation with her dad since . Her life revolves around her 2 friends  and her  baby niece. When Deanne takes up a job in summer ,little does she know that Tommy is going to work with her. If life seemed difficult before , it isn’t getting any easier for Deanne.

Deanne is one of those few characters who touched my heart. She isn’t perfect. She has made some really wrong choices . But don’t we all?  But  the price paid by her is too heavy. When she handles her problems we see her hurt  , we see her need to gain acceptance. Need to be in a place where she isn’t judged by her previous mistakes. Need to see people whom she cares about ,understanding her. Her effort to attain financial independence so that she can get out of the town where people see her for not what she is but what her past follies are.

Deanne was a strong voice , though sometimes a confused one . I liked her for her honesty and also persevering in conditions , when most other teenagers would have broken down.  I am sure she is one character I am going to remember for a long time.

This is my first Sara Zarr book and after finishing this one I decided that I did want to read her other books. The main reason being ,her ability to bring out emotions that are completely honest without pretensions.

Awards:

2007 National Book Award Finalist

ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers

American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults


Book : Goose Girl (Books Of Bayern 1)
Author : Shannon Hale
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Category: Young Adult , Fantasy
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis (From Good Reads):

She was born with her eyes closed and a word on her tongue, a word she could not taste.

is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt’s guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani’s journey to be married in a foreign land, AniAni eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny.

From the Grimm’s fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original, and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can lead the people she has made her own.

Review:
Fairy tales are for little girls. Right? Not always. Sometimes , adults like me happen to take up these stories and thoroughly enjoy them. Shannon Hale’s take on Grimm’s Goose Girl makes a delightful read.We all know the Goose Girl story but here it’s presented in a more believable way with realistic touches to turn of events.

Ani’s development from a quite child to girl who knows her mind and does what is right is one of the best character development I have seen. It took me a while to get in to the story and also to understand Ani but the tightly woven plot kept me gripped.

A talent of animal speech is not a requirement for the post of a queen . It’s is something you would rather not have. But Ani can’t help it as she is gifted with it. It is this gift of hers that keep her away from her rightful authority over the throne and makes her politically very intelligent mother to send her off as the bride to crown prince of Bayern. Little does Ani know the journey she is embarking on is the one that will bring her face to face with some of the best and worst kind of people and in the process moulding her in to a person , her mother would have wanted to have as a queen.

Affection, love , friendship, betrayal and loyalty are well sown in to the book which made me want to finish it in one sitting. While reading it I was wanting good things for Ani, wanting her to have a life she so much deserves , feeling how long will it be until justice is done. Such is the impact of the book that you get totally involved in it.

This was my first Shannon Hale book and I know it won’t be the last as I have Enna Burning waiting on my book shelf.


Book : 2 States- The Story Of My Marriage
Author : Chetan Bhagat
Publisher : Rupa & Co.
ISBN:8129115301
ISBN-13:9788129115300 ,978-8129115300

Synopsis :

Love marriages around the world are simple:

Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy.
They get married.

In India, there are a few more steps:

Boy loves Girl. Girl loves Boy.
Girl’s family has to love boy. Boy’s family has to love girl.
Girl’s Family has to love Boy’s Family. Boy’s family has to love girl’s family.
Girl and Boy still love each other. They get married.

Welcome to 2 States, a story about Krish and Ananya. They are from two different states of India, deeply in love and want to get married. Of course, their parents don’t agree. To convert their love story into a love marriage, the couple have a tough battle in front of them. For it is easy to fight and rebel, but it is much harder to convince. Will they make it? From the author of blockbusters Five Point Someone, One Night @ the Call Center and The 3 Mistakes of My Life, comes another witty tale about inter-community marriages in modern india.

Review :

I have been a Chetan Bhagat fan ever since I had randomly picked up Five Point Someone authored by him at a book exhibition. It might not have been a modern day classic but it got me hooked to this new age Indian writer whose works have sincerity and simplicity which goes straight to the heart. One Night At The Call Center and The Three Mistakes Of My Life were read my me within a week of their release , so I just couldn’t resist getting hold of 2 States upon its arrival at my local book store. I must say I wasn’t disappointed.

Krish and Ananya , the protagonists are so much like thousands of other modern Indian couples who find out that convincing their respective parents for an inter caste marriage is a much tougher job than cracking an IIT entrance or getting admission into top management institute.
The best of the book is Krish ‘s interaction with his would be in laws . His frustration ,disappointment has been presented in a very honest manner and that’s praise worthy.

Chetan Bhagat has put in right amount of masala(spices), to keep the readers hooked on to it. The plot looks cinematic sometimes but by experience 75 % of people know that these kind of situations do arise in India. Modern India is yet to warm up towards inter caste inter state marriages and this is portrayed wonderfully in the book. A laugh riot at places and a few really emotional moments make it a great read.

I know I am praising this book too highly and some of them might just call it a run of the mill love story but the point is that, the way it is presented is really really good. It reminded me of some incidents that happened in my family when my cousin , a Maharashtrian got married to a Punjabi. For the record it took 1 and half year to convince both the set of parents 🙂 and another 5 months for deciding on the marriage rituals 🙂

If you get a chance to read this book do not miss out.