Irony

For years, I have said that English classes, especially those in elementary school when they split it between “Reading” and “Writing”, should be 45 minutes of just reading. Any book you want, just to be given time to read during the school day.

Well now I’ve got my wish. For my AP English Literature and Composition class, we are being required to read a book during the year on our own – for the first time in any class. Oh, sure, I’ve read books/stories/poems in class, and have had to read chapters for homework. But the goal for this class is to read as many books as possible in the year so that when we take the AP test, we’ll be able to summarize and analyze a random book that fills certain requirements that we won’t know what they are until we take the essay. So now I’m being required to read The Color Purple along with an independent reading novel, of which I’ve chosen Anna Karenina because out of the seven hundred odd pages, I’ve already read about 200.

In addition to those two books, I also have to read a book for my Senior Seminar class, which is a service learning project for the whole year, so my teacher wants to make sure that we have no free time for her class – no time wasted. If you are interested, you can check out my particular project here. Anyway, for that class I’m reading The Last Lecture. Pay back is a *****, haha.

So the reason I’m telling you this is so that you don’t think that I’ve abandoned the blog! Hopefully I can finish these books quickly and get back to reading modern young adult fiction!! Wish me luck!

~Yours Truly

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Crossed

Title: Crossed (Book 2 in Matched Trilogy)
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: November 1, 2011

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.
Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

This second installment of the trilogy was an amazing transition from the first and into the third. The plot was more rebellious, and more uncertain, than the first, where everyone was set in their decisions. Now, however, there are intrigue, lies, and secrets between people, which upsets me when they are inbetween characters that I like. The flashback parts of the novel give a lot more strength to the characters, more of a solid background. Plus, the separation between Ky and Cassia only serve to sweeten their flashback memories. The tone behind the writing gives more depth and emotion to the story and captivated me until the very last word.

The romantic aspect of the novel was slightly disappointing. There was a gap between Ky and Cassia that neither they nor the reader could truly get a grip on, which both angered and upset me (I’m totally Team Ky!). I REALLY hope they work everything out in the last book! Because the way the novel ended, with secrets revealed, mysteries introduced, and vague pronouns indicating him and she and her and him (which were used throughout the novel to enhance the “there’s only one he/she for me” from Ky and Cassia – and I loved it, but at the end, there was no telling, really, who was being talked about). The mystery has me aching for the next book!

The alternating points of view, where the above pronouns are used, were definitely interesting. I enjoyed seeing things from Ky’s perspective, especially memories from the first book. Also, as they got closer to each other, it definitely heightened the excitement, and once they were together again, the tension. The new characters that were introduced, Indie and Vick and Eli, were fun and sad at the same time. I loved them all, and hope to see more of them in the third and last book.

If you have read Matched, then you will love Crossed just as much. The story is strong, and the characters are lovable and just imperfect enough to keep you cheering for them. Can’t wait for the last installment!

~Yours Truly

Weekend BookBlogger Hop: 22

The BookBlogger Hop is hosted by Crazy-for-Books every week, but this week it is hosted by Soon Remembered Tales. It had been too time-consuming for a while, but she’s started it back up again. Basically, if you blog about books, answer a question provided and if you link to their post in your blog, you can add your blog to their list of participants. This week’s question is:

With Autumn upon us and Halloween drawing near, what books remind you of fall? What ones do you enjoy reading that are about autumn?

The books that most remind me of fall are the one like Melissa Mar’s Wicked Lovely and the rest of that series. With different seasons for different Fey, even though it focuses on Summer and Winter, I like to think about how fall would affect the personalities of the Autumn Fey. So basically, any books with faeries in them, that follow the seasons, reminds me of fall.

Matched

Title: Matched (Book 1 of Matched Trilogy)
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: November 30, 2010

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow — between perfection and passion.

I reread Matched in order to be prepared for Crossed, which I received for Christmas last year (wow – that took a while!), as well as for Reached which is being released soon, this November! I’m very happy that I took the time to reread, because while everything was vaguely familiar and came back to me as I read, I would have been lost if I had decided to just pick up the second book in an attempt to jump right back in.

The three main characters, the love triangle – Xander, Cassia, and Ky – were fascinating. I loved the boy next door element with Xander, but also the forbidden secret romance with Ky. I am definitely a Team Ky person, but I really do love Xander in his own way, which makes me feel even worse for Cassia because she has to choose, as well as for him because he got the bad end of the bargain. Still, I appreciate everything that he does for her.

Cassia’s family is amazing, as well. Bram is a clever, funny boy who never fails to capture my heart. If I were Cassia, I would never be able to leave such an adorable little brother behind – having the annoying real thing has made me very appreciative of the cute younger brother rather than the boorish one. Her parents are also very interesting, and diverse, too, creating even more turmoil as she tries to control her inner conflict. Their obvious love for each other, and the things they do because of or in spite of it, makes Cassia’s thoughts very interesting to read.

Because the book is a dystopian novel, of course I despise the Society. It is by no means perfect, and the mistakes and lies and deceit and coverups that they provide are disgusting. It is sickening to listen to the Officials whip up a lie in two seconds flat and have no one question it. The games that they play, the experiments on people’s lives, is absolutely horrifying – it would be enough to make any normal person from the real world insane attempting to decipher what is real, what is Society, and what has been influenced by Society. Just writing that has begun my thoughts to head in the direction of headache-land.

The book itself was well-written; I love Cassia, and am so glad to be able to follow her story. I would definitely recommend this book to teenagers, especially girls who perhaps don’t enjoy reading very much. I have had several such people tell me that they have enjoyed the books very much. Onward to Crossed!

~Yours Truly

FYI

Just so you all know, due to major school stuff that I have to do (it’s my senior year! AHHH all the paperwork is INSANE!!) i.e. SAT IIs in Spanish and US History, 4 AP classes + homework, a service learning project (that is my class. The service learning project is an entire honors course. I’M FREAKING OUT!), and another honors course, plus volleyball and changes in the drama club and being in NHS and wow I’m basically telling you my college resume. Oh yeah, I’m applying to college! And asking for teacher recommendations and writing non-graded essays to submit to college, and attempting to organize this all, and trying to access the guidance office’s site to do all this. SO I’m really busy. And this week I’m studying for the SAT IIs that I’m taking on Saturday, so until then, I won’t start another book. I really need to study instead D:

Hope you all read a great book this week in my stead. Tell me about it please! I miss books!

~Yours Truly

Peaches

Title: Peaches (Book 1 in Peaches Trilogy)
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: HarperTrophy – HarperCollins
Release Date: June 1, 2005

Murphy McGowen has bright green eyes, a reputation as the wildest girl in Bridgewater, and a way of getting out of all the trouble she gets into. But when she’s caught stealing from the Darlington Orchard, she’s forced to repay her debt picking peaches in the hot Georgia sun.
Leeda Cawley-Smith has professionally whitened teeth and the softest skin her boyfriend has ever touched. Unfortunately, Leeda’s parents aren’t too keen on her being touched anymore. Now Leeda’s country-club summer is out the window — she’ll be getting a serious sock tan working at her uncle’s peach orchard instead.
Birdie Darlington used to dance around her family’s orchard picking peaches for fun. But now that her parents are getting divorced, Birdie would rather spend the summer in the A/C eating Thin Mints than pick another peach — too bad she doesn’t have a choice.
Thrown together at Darlington Orchard, Murphy, Leeda, and Birdie discover what it means to find a real soul mate, and that sometimes cute boys know a lot about peach cider. And, of course, they learn the trick to picking a perfect peach. One thing’s for sure — it’s going to be a juicy summer.

Despite the fact that it took me an unusually long time to read this book, I did really enjoy it. There were some parts that almost lost my interest in the middle, and made this a not-so-fun read, but it definitely recaptured my attention. Even though this book was really only O.K., it was a good book.

The characters were very unique and personal. I liked each one of their stories and how they intertwined and affected one another. Even the adults and other characters, not just the three main ones, were decidedly different in terms of the books that I usually read. The chemistry between the three friends was fun to read about too, especially all the mischief and antics that all of them cook up at one point or another. I liked the family dynamics – the Cawley-Smiths, Darlingtons, and McGowens. Leeda’s “perfect family” and her not so clear niche, Birdie’s love for her home and her parents, and Murphy’s odd-woman-out attitude that she derived for herself to escape all add up to a wonderful adventure in an old peach orchard for three girls to explore, grow, and eventually understand.

The romance aspect was minimal; it was definitely more of a coming of age story. However, with most coming of age stories, there is a high school crush or some such involved, and this tale was no different. Enrico and Birdie’s cautious tiptoeing around each other was sweet and innocent, and endearing to read. Leeda and Rex was more of a learning period for both of them, and Murphy’s exploits was definitely eye-opening for her at the end. I liked how all of this helped each of them grow as individuals as well as together, as friends.

Their misadventures and sadness and mischief and youth all came together in this book to tell a wonderful summer tale. I do recommend this book – it was a very enjoyable read, especially at the end. It was stylistic, and the plot was pretty good. I think many people will share the girls’ experiences through the book and laugh and cry and enjoy themselves with it in hand. I hope that I get to read the rest of the trilogy soon!

~Yours Truly

**Note: This book is not recommended to ages 12 & under due to sexual references and inappropriateness.