Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reading Update

Books #48 through 50 were all YA titles. #48 was Lies: A Gone Novel, by Michael Grant. I wasn't that thrilled by the first two books in this series and I don't think I'll be reading any more of them. What interest I had in the characters is no longer strong, and the events become more and more absurd. I do want to know whether they all get out of the FAYZ, though.

Book #49 was Gateway, by Sharon Shinn. This one has time travel, romance, an adopted protagonist...but although I found it mildly interesting, I don't think it's going to be a huge favorite in my classroom.

There's another adopted main character in book #50, North of Beautiful, by Justina Chen Headley: not Terra, the protagonist, but Jacob, the "Goth guy" she meets. Terra, named by her cartographer father (her brothers are Mercatur and Claudius), was born with a port wine stain birthmark on her face. She spends all her time trying to camouflage her birthmark, and also to hide who she really is. She has a "miracle boyfriend," Erik - a miracle because she can't believe anyone wants to be with her, and she'd better hold on to him because she's sure nobody else ever will want her. Her father is disappointed in his career and takes that out on everyone around him. (I thought her father was the least successful character - he never really came alive for me, and he made me think of the father in The Poisonwood Bible, which is otherwise one of my favorite books: a bit too bad, with no redeeming qualities.) I loved all the references to maps and how the mapmaking theme fit in with Terra's collages, which she can't quite accept as art. There's a trip to China that's a lot of fun. (I applaud this mini-genre of YA travel. There may be many more books in this category, but the only other one I've read is Carpe Diem, by Autumn Cornwell - the link is to my review). And while I thought the character of Jacob was wonderful, I had a hard time sharing Terra's swooning over his Goth appearance. I guess I need to learn the lesson of the book, about beauty being everywhere. Jacob is certainly beautiful inside.

This post is linked to today's Saturday Review of Books.

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