Saturday, December 6, 2014

November Book Wrap-up!

November was a crazy busy month, but I did manage to get my book count up, which really pleased me! The majority of my books were obviously geared towards male readers, so it certainly shook things up, but what I love about these books is that they were so well written, that it didn't matter.

The first book I read in November was "The Scorch Trials" by James Dashner, which is the second book in the Maze Runner trilogy. I had started reading this book in the seventh grade, but I never got around to finishing it, and I'm so glad that I decided to pick it back up this month.
For starters, if you love Dystopian novels, this series is a must read. So many of my friends are in love, to the point of obsession, with these books, and I can't say I blame them. If you're a parent trying to get your son to read a book, I would suggest these ten times over, because they not only teach life lessons, but they do it in a way that is so close to an action, sci-fi, or adventure movie that even those who don't like to read can enjoy them.
Thomas' internal dialogue is humorous, self-loathing, and beautifully composed. Dashner shows no mercy for his characters, but rather brings about the realistic consequences for this world, and I love it. Sure, it's terrible to read about kids my age dying, but in the world of "the Maze Runner" I expect nothing less. He doesn't bring in these characters to paint a charade, he tells the truth, and I applaud him for that.
Favorite Quotes: 
“I felt her absence. it was like waking up one day with no teeth in your mouth. you wouldn't need to run to the mirror to know they were gone”

“He didn't care about the others anymore. The chaos around him seemed to siphon away his humanity, turn him into an animal. All he wanted was to survive, make it to that building, get inside. Live. Gain another day.” 

“False hope," she said. "Guess that's better then no hope at all.”

I realize how far behind I am on "The Lightning Thief" bandwagon, but I did finally pick up this book and read it in November. Let me first start of by saying, that I am so jealous that Rick Riordan came up with this idea and I didn't. It's written so well and the idea is brilliant, and I just wish it had been me.
Again parents, if you want you son, or daughter, to read a book or two, try this series.
It's actually a middle-grade book, but I had no problem reading it as a senior in high school. Sure, the vocabulary was easy for me and the story line wasn't as fully developed as I could have handled, but it was still entertaining, and I think that's a power this book possesses. By using the timeless tales of Greek mythology, Riordan crafted a book that can appeal to people of all ages.
You want to root for Percy, because in the end we've all felt like Percy; Aliens who don't understand why we're different. We can relate to Percy, because he isn't perfect, but we admire him because he never gives up.

Favorite Quotes:
"Don't get me started on Charon!" Hades yelled. "He's been impossible ever since he discovered Italian suits!"

"In his pocket was a set of reed pipes his daddy goat had carved for him, even though he only knew two songs: Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 12 and Hillary Duff's 'So Yesterday' both of which sounded pretty bad on reed pipes."

I then re-read Mockingjay just in time to see it in theaters. Speaking of Dystopian novels, this series takes the cake for my all time favorite messed up society books. 
If you haven't read these books, I cannot say it enough times how much you should. Suzanne Collins is a genius, and I am in love. Obsessive love.
Freak out aside, if you're interested in politics and war, you are really going to love the third novel of the series. Again, Collins makes the connections to Rome and to America so cleverly that you might not even catch it the first time. I know that as I've gotten older and lost my naivety, I have also learned to appreciate these books even more. Sometimes it scares me how close America comes to Panem, and I thank Collins for that. I'm not suggesting that she has predicted the end of our country, but I do think that she sees the flaws, ad like the maze runner series, has shown them to us in a way that is entertaining and dramatic, so that we truly can grasp her meaning.

Favorite Quotes:
"Well don't expect us to be too impressed. We just saw Finnick Odair in his underwear."

"Some walks you have to take alone."

"They only had the misfortune to have me."

"Oh, no. It costs a lot more than your life. To murder innocent people?" says Peeta. "It costs everything you are."

"The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy" was the last book I read for the month of November. This book was told by a male narrator, and had the sense of boyish humor, but regardless was an entertaining read, and I think either gender would enjoy it. This book was similar to John Green's books, minus "The Fault in Our Stars", and held so much talk of literature in it, that I was hooked from the second I opened it up. 
This novel tells the story of four friends and their journey to remove a popular reality tv show from their school. That's all I'm going to say, because I don't want to spoil anything, but I will include that the ending totally surprised me, and actually left me feeling really unsatisfied. After thinking about it, however, I realized that the reason I wasn't happy, was because the ending was realistic. It wasn't some grand ending with hope and promise, but just the truth, and I hated that because I had already begun to realize that I was almost exactly like the main character, and that meant that his ending might be my own some day.
The main character in this novel, Ethan, learns that he sabotages things for himself by living in a fictitious world, something I think all writers, including myself, can relate to. Having to overcome this barrior between what is real and what is not real actually becomes the driving force for the novel, which was again something I didn't expect.
That's the other thing about this book, it's unexpected. For starters, it's a new YA book that doesn't need romance at the center of the story. Sure, romance and attraction is discussed in the novel, but at the end of the book it doesn't matter. Ethan is still single, and still pining after a girl that he could have had all along, according to his friends. It was frustrating at times because I honestly had no idea how the book was going to end, but it was also exciting, new, and fresh, and I can honestly say I appreciated that aspect of the book the most.

Favorite Quotes:
“I hold a strict policy of automatic grudges against people everyone likes.”

“Everybody has unattainable crushes too and imaginary friends. Some part of their mind that they talk to when they can't deal with talking to real people.”

“Everyone knows how to love, but not how to love well. The mistake is too easy. You call her a goddess and you think he's perfect and suddenly they're not people anymore. You've betrayed them. Instead of being in awe of their complexity, you've swept it away. ... Once you've recognized a person as a person, you can start to love that person well. It's an awful thing to learn, but it's the best thing in the world to know.”

“He didn't know that sometimes, the most awesome and complicated thing you can do is just stick around.”

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