Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Compelling Ellen Hopkins Book, Burned

Unlike in Crank, Glass and the conclusion Fallout, Burned by Ellen Hopkins is about a normal, average, Mormon girl. I found this to be an addictive and compelling, just like I find all her books to be. I honestly just love her story telling, poetry style. Makes it hard to put the book down.  Behind the style though, I think she hits the hard to talk about topics and hits them with just the right amount of force.

Burned focus on Pattyn, not Patty definitely not Pat, the eldest daughter of six in a Mormon family. For most of her life she's been a good little Mormon girl, but she starts questioning things. Like is she really some man's property? Does she really need to follow her father's rules, a man that beats her mother? Will she die a virgin and forever roam the earth without a body because she lacks a Mormon husband to bring her to heaven? Is the Mormon way really her way?

She meets a boy and starts her downward spiral, according to her father that is. He packs her off to his sister's house for the summer as punishment. Not mention her mother is finally pregnant with a boy. Out in the foreverland Pattyn becomes a strong, confident, loved young woman. She also becomes pregnant by her one forever love.

I don't want to give too much away, but this story will definitely make you cry and smile. (Or maybe that's just my pregnancy hormones.) But I think it's a great story of love and finding yourself.

I would recommend this to anyone who thinks they might just be "too plain" to be loved. It definitely reminds you that someone out there loves the light you shine.

Forgetful demigod, uses Roman terms, it's The Lost Hero

After reading the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan I was counting the days to when I could buy The Lost Hero, the first in his Heroes of Olympus series. I mean I really am hooked on this whole modern mixing of the Greek gods. And who can deny feeling like a misfit during the teen years, and wishing there was some special reason for it?

Now we open on a young hero named Jason in The Lost Hero, who doesn't remember a thing but fights with gold and uses the Roman terms for the gods instead of Greek. Annabeth comes along with Butch, son of Iris, looking for Percy who is missing and instead finds Jason sizzling and missing a shoe. The oracle, Rachel Elizabeth Dare, sent Annabeth there saying she would find Percy, instead she finds the clue, Jason.

We do find upon Jason and his friends, Leo (son of Hephaestus) and Piper (daughter of Aphrodite), that the gods have been keeping their promise to Percy and claiming all their demigod, kids. Leo gets claimed right away, Piper gets claimed when the claiming would be most dramatic, and Jason they find have been claimed already, just not in a way they are used to, or that Chiron is willing to explain.  

Either way the three embark on their quest to save Hera, apparently Jason's patron, a gift from Zeus for (surprise, surprise) fathering two children with one mortal. Jason meets his sister, Thalia, along the way and explains part of his missing memories. He just remembered she was his sister. The twist is that Zeus was Zeus when he fathered Thalia, but he was his Roman aspect, Jupiter when he fathered Jason. And guess what? There's a whole another demigod camp out there in California for the Roman demigods. Apparently the Roman and the Greek demigods have fights, big fights, all out wars with each other.

We also find that Hera had taken away Jason's memories and that he was part of a trade of leaders, to bring peace. Guess who the other leader was? That's right, in the next book the Camp Half Blood demigods sail for California to find Annabeth's missing boyfriend in Son of Neptune.


Again, I just can't say enough how much I recommend these books to everyone. But then I'm a big Greek mythology nerd. But either way they are a funny, great, enjoyable read. That I definitely think will get kids into Greek mythology.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Last Olympian

So like I said I've been said last time I've been reading the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. I think I've read these faster than anything else lately. I'm such a sucker for the Greek Gods.

In the last book of the series The Last Olympian, Percy and Nico, son of Hades, undergo a journey to the Underworld, and then the campers at Camp Half-Blood lead by Percy and Annabeth wage war again the Titan Kronos in no better place than Manhattan, filled with sleeping mortals. Since Mount Olympus is onto the Empire State Building, don't you know.

 I really loved the ending on this book, the Gods offer Percy immortality for his bravery which Percy turns down in order to be with Annabeth. Instead he requests that the Gods recognize all their kids. And not just the main 12, he wants all demigods to be claimed. Since Kronos wouldn't have been able to get so many demigod supporters if they had felt they got the loyalty of their Godly parents.

The Last Olympian referred to by the title is Hestia, goddess of the hearth. She calls herself "the last Olympian", saying that when all the other Olympians leave she is always left to tend the fire. She also gave up her chair on the council to avoid another fight.

I truly do recommend this book to anyone that tends to feel left behind or forgotten. And as I said before I recommend the whole series to anyone with a taste for the Greek Gods.

 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Are you a demigod? Cause Percy Jackson is

So I have been reading the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, I'm kind of addicted. You can ask my mom I've always loved Greek mythology. We used to sit and watch Hercules and Xena together. The series is about a kid Percy Jackson who finds out that he is the son of Poseidon, god of the sea. He goes to Camp Half Blood, a place where young demigods go to train to fight the monsters that are drawn to them.

I just finished reading The Battle of the Labyrinth. I really love how Rick Riordan pulls classic Greek myths into the modern day. Makes it very easy to relate to, especially for younger teens. I loved how in the labyrinth they run into the (most exemplary) Sphinx and instead of the usual riddle she tries to give Annabeth a standard test. It's almost a let's poke fun of today's lowered standards. The find the way through the labyrinth with the help of Percy's friend, Rachel Elizabeth Dare, who can see through the Mist that normally hides the gods, demigods, and monsters from mortals.

I would really recommend this to anyone that loves Greek mythology, or just likes really about the supernatural. I would also recommend to any parent who would like to pass on their love of Greek mythology to their kids to buy them these books.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Twenty Boy Summer" A Must Read

As I said in the previous post, I had bought and was going to read Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. Now I know the I went a bit of a rant about the "wack-job" last time, so I'm going to try and avoid that now. But I will say that one of his problems with Twenty Boy Summer was that "the title sounds promiscuous". This book is anything but that. To me it's obvious that he reads a title, skims the book, and picks out parts to suit his judgemental decisions on a book.

But I digress. This book is a powerful and emotional read on a teen girl going through the loss of her first love. I think we can all relate that, even if our first love didn't die, we still can relate to the loss of them. To the loss of innocence.

This book is about grief, plain and simple, it is not about what to go do on weekends, or how to hook up with twenty boys in a summer. It is about two teenage girls learning how to live after losing someone they both loved.

I think anyone that has lost someone, whether in a tragic accident or not, would find something to relate to in this book. I definitely would recommend it. Just fair warning, have a box of tissues near by, you will cry.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Always #SpeakLoudly

While looking through my Twitter feed one day, I noticed a new hashtag and Twibbon called #SpeakLoudly. I looked into it, read some blog posts on it, and was amazed at what I was reading. Now I have noticed from time to time Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson in my many trips to Barnes & Noble, but I never really picked it up. As you know I'm more of a faerie tale, supernatural, fantasy reader. But after reading all this information I had come across from #SpeakLoudly, I had to read this book. I was appalled even before picking up Speak at what this professor was saying. If you haven't read about it, this I'm sorry "whack-job" wants his local public school to ban Speak, along with Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (which I also bought) and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (which I haven't decide whether I'm interested in or not). But it was this supposedly intelligent man, since he is a professor at a college, and his comments towards Speak that hit home with me. He, so wrongly, called Speak "soft pornography" for the rape scenes it describes. How anyone could associate rape with pornography is beyond me. Pornography is suppose to be something people find sexually stimulating, rape is a violation, and usually violent, and by definition something that someone does not want. 

I can now say after reading this book, just how wrong this man was. First it isn't even very graphic, trust me I heard more graphic language from my friends in high school. There was nothing in the book that I would even remotely associate with "soft pornography".

The majority of Speak, to me, was about this young girl, who could have been anyone of my friends in high school including me, working through depression. Feeling like she had no one to talk to, turning into herself, not talking more than she needed to. Losing all her friends, at a time when she needed them most. Having to confront her inner torment and find a way to live again, to "Speak".

I have always found it disturbing how many people brush aside rape victims. How they feel like they can't tell anyone, that it was somehow their fault for what happened. I found Speak to be a compelling read, one that I think anyone who has ever been depressed for what ever reason, would be able to relate to. Who might be able to find the courage to #SpeakLoudly about what is happening with them, what has happened with them.

Not only that, I think that it is important for high school students, the age that Melinda the main character is, to read this. This is about things that they are being confronted with. Everyday. It might not be a rape or rapist they are dealing with but a bully or a rumor that made their friends abandon them, or being depressed. It may help them notice something in a friend that has changed or become withdrawn.

I recommend this book not only for teens, especially those in high school, but for their parents, for middle school kids, for girls, for boys, for men, for women, for anyone, for everyone. Though I do say that if parents are concerned about the subject matter to read it and then decide.

I have decided that I will always #SpeakLoudly. I connected with Melinda, I felt those feelings, thought those thoughts. I have been silence. No more. As scary as it is to say it, to admit it, to send it out for people to see, I was raped. I encourage you to also #SpeakLoudly.

Buy the book, read it, discuss it, recommend it.