Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Books, Books, Books

Hey! Am I the only one reading this summer or just the only one blogging? Either way, I seem to have the Book Obsession blog all to myself. I am the queen of the book blog!BWAHAHAHAHA! The power is already going to my head. . .

Okay, let's see what I have been reading. . . well, I have been reading several things, all of them good and recommendation-worthy. I will start with one I was going to save for a Halloween/Horror fiction post, until I realized that I didn't want to wait until October to recommend---

The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff. College freshman, Robin--a dark and dreary girl with no friends---decides to stay in her dorm over Thanksgiving weekend instead of returning home to spend a depressing few days with her mentally ill and clingy mother. Robin's got a lot of anger and depression to work through. She's the girl who feels invisible and always has. She thinks the solo weekend will be better than home, but as soon as all the other students have left, Robin begins to question her choice to spend the holiday weekend alone. A storm rages outside, the residence hall is dark and frightening, and Robin soon finds herself nursing suicidal inclinations. But it turns out she isn't the only one who has chosen to stay. Four other students also remain behind, and the group comes together in the common room to drink, smoke some pot, and play with a (strangely burned) ouija board that one of them finds in a closet. Slowly Robin finds herself bonding with these unlikely candidates for friends. And together they contact the ghost of Zachary, a former student. At first it all seems a lark. Then Zachary's darker side emerges, and our five hapless students come to realize that they've unleashed a force they are unable to control. School Library Journal gave this book a terribly crummy review, but to SLJ I say, "Pooh pooh!" I enjoyed this, and I know other readers of horror will enjoy it as well. The characters are older teens and this book will probably appeal more to older teens than younger. I found it a fresh and unusual idea for a horror plot, and I think Sokoloff pulled it off well. One can easily see this being made into a film. It is cinematic though not "low budget" cinematic as the SLJ reviewer accuses. And again I say, "Pooh pooh!" I read this fast and found myself creeped out and intrigued. This is a good book for readers who like horror but not gore. I'm looking at you, Greg!

I can also recommend, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, a brand new urban fantasy that blends vampires, werewolves, demons, witches and demon hunters into a large volume that is full of action, excitement, and a love triangle. Without revealing too much, I will say that the love triangle took an alarming turn at the end of the book. I'm not sure that I liked the way it went, but I have a feeling the sequels will sort some things out. I found the plot to be rather predictable in many places, but I don't think this will bother most readers. In fact there is a certain satisfaction in saying, "Oh, I just knew it!" (Perhaps this is why I was put off by the one twist I didn't see coming.) Anyway, the characters are good, the action is good. This looks like it will be a very enjoyable trilogy.

Finally, Walking on Air by Kelly Easton, a historical fiction novel set during the Depression. Twelve-year-old June is a tightrope walker, and she's the big draw in her father's traveling revival show. June would like to settle down, but her father is intent on following in the footsteps of his idol, the famous preacher, Aimee Semple McPherson. Unfortunately, he's no Aimee Semple McPherson. Sometimes there's enough to eat; most often there isn't. When June's father gets arrested on a trespassing charge, June and her mother have the rare opportunity to make a home for themselves. But when June's father is released, their stability is again threatened.

I loved the voice of June. She's a wonderful first-person narrator, a personable first person narrator. The book gives a strong sense of the era. It's a quick read and a good one. Whereas the Harrowing is definitely an older read, this is one for a younger teen audience. Twelve-year-olds will like it and parents won't object to it (or at least, they shouldn't as there is no sex and the language is tame.) Older readers would probably like it too, though its cover has a younger feel to it.

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