Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.Of course, it could all go horribly wrong and I could absolutely hate it, but I'm choosing to have a little faith for once and give in to my love of dystopia. Also, Lauren DeStefano has a great Twitter presence, which is always a good sign when it comes to a debut novelist. Keep an eye out for Wither when it releases March of 2011!
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.
October 27, 2010
Two memes in a week??? What's happening to me? Am I seeing the light or getting lazy? Who knows? Anyway, Waiting on Wednesdays is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, so don't forget to check out her post this week. My pick is...
October 26, 2010
Find it at your local indie!
- Why I read it: Speak Loudly!
- Disclosure: Borrowed a final published edition from a friend.
Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute...I know when I reviewed Monster, I listed Speak as one of those books that has so entered our psyche that it's pointless to review. So this won't exactly be a review, but I thought it might be interesting to share my reactions after finishing the book that has become such a touchstone for anti-censorship activists, rape victims, and teenagers everywhere. As I said in my Speak Loudly post, I was actually kind of terrified to pick this one up, because when a book represents as much as this one does, sometimes it's better to like a book in the abstract than to actually read it. I was afraid my hyper-critical-ness was going to get in the way of things. For all of my readers who have skipped this one for the same reason, boy, are you depriving yourself. First of all, the unusual format used for most of the dialogue.
Laurie Halse Anderson's first novel is a stunning and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast. The triumphant ending, in which Melinda finds her voice, is cause for cheering (while many readers might also shed a tear or two). After reading Speak, it will be hard for any teen to look at the class scapegoat again without a measure of compassion and understanding for that person--who may be screaming beneath the silence.
Character: blah blah blah
Character: blah blah blah
I'm a talkative person, and I still can't even tell you the amount of times this has been me. Of course, it's ten times worse for Melinda, but I've literally written stuff out like that in my journal. For some reason while you're a freshman in high school, no one seems to really care whether you speak or not, and every time we had a passage like this I wanted to cheer: Somebody gets it! So kudos to you, Laurie Halse Anderson. You know the teenage experience and how it really works, not how most adults try to remember it fondly.
The other thing that stands out to me? The teachers. Wow. The whole thing was rather Donnie Darko-esque in its adults-don't-get-it-ness. From Mr. Neck (Donnie's health teacher?) to the art teacher (Drew Barrymore as his English teacher?), the caricatures of high school teachers were really played on, and it worked because of their sort-of acknowledgment as caricatures and also because of the acknowledgment that those caricatures are there for a reason. Maybe it's not my place to say this, as I've never had to endure high school teachers, but the high school teachers were really nailed. After all, high school is life in miniature, and you'll keep on finding those caricatures in college, too, even if they're all slightly less crazy.
And, despite the fact that I've known how this book ends for two years now as everybody in the blogosphere and Twitterverse seems to assume that you've read it, it remained surprisingly suspenseful for me. Again, my readers who have avoided it because they think they know everything that's going to happen, read it anyway. There were still a lot of surprises for me.
I've never been raped, and I hope I never am, though unfortunately statistics aren't in my favor. (According to the bonus material in the back of the platinum edition of Speak, 44% of rape victims are under the age of eighteen, and 46% of those are somewhere between 12 and 15, and one in three women will be raped over the course of her lifetime. You don't need to be a math genius to figure that one out.) Of course you can see why this book appeals to rape victims, and the way it handles such a taboo topic is masterful. Unfortunately, we still live in a misogynist culture, as evidenced by the frat boy cheers at Yale. But this book isn't just about rape - it's about speaking loudly against all injustice, whether it's censorship or prejudice or anything that affects our right to the pursuit of happiness. It's so important that teens speak out and find their own voices, and I have to admit I got teary eyed at the end of it, because even though I've been lucky enough to find my voice pretty early, sometimes I still find it easier to be mute. Thank you, Laurie Halse Anderson, for making it clear without preaching that being mute is never the way to go. And a thank you is owed to Wesley Scroggins as well, for condemning this book and therefore making it irresistible. I'm sure it's the exact opposite of what you intended. An obvious five out of five stars.
October 25, 2010
I never really do In My Mailbox or any meme, mostly because I'm scatterbrained and the idea of having to do something on a certain day every week makes me break out in a cold sweat, and also because it's feast or famine as far as the books I get any given week, but as I got THREE new books this week, I figured I'd give it a shot. It's technically supposed to be done on a Sunday, but I was out of town over the weekend, and if you all wanted a blogger who got things done on time then you probably wouldn't be here. *glares* Right? Anyway, in My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, so check it out!
Not actually in my mailbox but covert adventures in indie:
Not actually in my mailbox but covert adventures in indie:
In her most accomplished novel, Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Lacuna is a poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern identities.my Vampire Academy post for the Falling for February feature? Believe it or not, I have completely resisted the temptation to continue with the series, as I knew the torment would only continue until the final book is released this December. My sister, however, got hooked, and it was really for her that I bought this one as an early Christmas present. Right.
Born in the United States, reared in a series of provisional households in Mexico—from a coastal island jungle to 1930s Mexico City—Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers who put him to work in the kitchen, errands he runs in the streets, and one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. He discovers a passion for Aztec history and meets the exotic, imperious artist Frida Kahlo, who will become his lifelong friend. When he goes to work for Lev Trotsky, an exiled political leader fighting for his life, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, newspaper headlines and howling gossip, and a risk of terrible violence.
Meanwhile, to the north, the United States will soon be caught up in the internationalist goodwill of World War II. There in the land of his birth, Shepherd believes he might remake himself in America's hopeful image and claim a voice of his own. He finds support from an unlikely kindred soul, his stenographer, Mrs. Brown, who will be far more valuable to her employer than he could ever know. Through darkening years, political winds continue to toss him between north and south in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach—the lacuna—between truth and public presumption.
With deeply compelling characters, a vivid sense of place, and a clear grasp of how history and public opinion can shape a life, Barbara Kingsolver has created an unforgettable portrait of the artist—and of art itself. The Lacuna is a rich and daring work of literature, establishing its author as one of the most provocative and important of her time.
How far will Rose go to keep her promise?
The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them. . . including Dimitri.
He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?
Love is a dangerous angel...Francesca Lia Block's luminous saga of interwoven lives will send the senses into wild overdrive. These post-modern fairy tales chronicle the thin line between fear and desire, pain and pleasure, cutting loose and holding on in a world where everyone is vulnerable to the most beautiful and dangerous angel of all: love.What's in your mailbox? If you're late like me, don't forget to add your post to The Story Siren's Mister Linky for this week!