Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Beginnings/Endings In Books

Hi, Readers!

Top Ten Tuesday
       Today, The Broke and the Bookish blog asked readers to create a list of the "Top Ten Favorite Beginnings/Endings In Books".  Each and every successful novel draws readers in with some type of interesting introduction.  A well-written introduction is one that leaves readers questioning what will happen next.  However, some books draw readers in faster than others.  Also, almost every novel ends in a way that ties up all of the plot's loose ends.

       I have to say, the most prevalent literary device used to draw in teenage readers to young adult novels is humor.  Every one of my favorite novel beginnings uses humor to make me laugh and want to read more.  On the other hand, most endings are somber and wrap up their respective novels in a serious and complete way.  It is much rarer to find a novel with a good ending than a good beginning.

Below is a list of my ten favorite beginnings (7) and endings (3) of Young Adult novels.  Click on the name of any book title for a link to that book on Amazon.  Feel free to comment about your favorite book beginnings and endings or to agree/disagree with my choices!


Millicent Min, Girl Genius, by Lisa Yee
"I have been accused of being anal retentive, an overachiever, and a compulsive perfectionist, like those are bad things.  My disposition probably has a lot to do with the fact that I am technically a genius.  Unfortunately, this label seems to precede me wherever I go."

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow
"I'm a senior at Cesar Chavez High in San Francisco's sunny Mission district, and that makes me one of the most surveilled people in the world.  My name is Marcus Yallow, but ack when this story starts, I was going by w1n5t0n.  Pronounced 'Winston'.  Not pronounced 'Double-you-one-enn-five-tee-zero-enn' unless you're a clueless disciplinary officer who's far enough behind the curve that you still call the Internet 'the information superhighway'."

Airhead, by Meg Cabot
" 'Emerson Watts', called my first-period Public Speaking teacher, Mr. Greer, startling me from the light doze into which I'd drifted.  Well, whatever.  Do they really expect us to be alert at eight-fifteen in the morning? Come on."

Entwined, by Heather Dixon
"An hour before Azalea's first ball began, she paced the ballroom floor, tracing her toes in a waltz.  She had the opening dance with the King... who danced like a brick."

Gone, by Michael Grant
"One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War.  And the next minute he was gone.  There.  Gone.  No "poof".  No flash of light.  No explosion."

The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan
"Even before he got electrocuted, Jason was having a rotten day."

Dream Factory, by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler
"I wasn't at all surprised when Cinderella gave me the finger."

Endings (Spoiler Alert!):

Life As We Knew It, by Susan Pfeffer
"A while ago Jonny asked me why I was still keeping a journal, who I was writing it for... But today, when I am 17 and warm and well fed, I'm keeping this journal for myself so I can always remember life as we knew it, life as we know it, for a time when I am no longer in the sunroom."

The Princess Diaries, by Meg Cabot
"Wow.  There is so much I don't know about Lilly's brother.  Like he used to be a juvenile delinquent!  Could a computer-genius-slash-juvenile-delinquent ever be interested in a flat-chested princess like myself?  He did save my life tonight (well, ok: he saved me from possible community service).  It's not a French kiss, or a slow dance, or even an admission he's the author of that anonymous letter.  But it's a start."

Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld
"Tally smiled.  At least she was causing trouble to the end.  'I'm Tally Youngblood,' she said.  'Make me pretty.' "

So there you have it - awesome beginnings and endings from some of my favorite Young Adult novels.  Feel free to check out these books at your local book store or library.  As you can tell from their intros and conclusions, these novels are great summer choices.

Happy reading!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: Legend


Title: Legend (Book 1 of the Legend series)
Author: Marie Lu
Publication Date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Genres: Dystopian, Mystery
Pages: 336
Age Rating: Readers above the age of 12
My Opinion: 6/10

Hi, Readers!

       Forget about everyday realistic fiction and quirky fantasy novels - the dystopian genre is completely and utterly taking over the Young Adult book scene.  One exciting book to check out is Legend, by Mary Lu. 

Fan drawing of June
Fan drawing of June
       June Iparis is a perfectionist who lives in military luxury with her older brother. However, when she finds out that her brother is unnecessarily murdered by the infamous convict, Day, she sets out undercover to get revenge. June lives in squalor and poverty to find Day, while constantly reporting back to military headquarters. When she accidentally gets involved in a street fight, her life becomes intertwined with that of a kind stranger. Their lives merge into one as they uncover dangerous secrets about people that June has loved and trusted her whole life.  Doubts about friends versus enemies come into play as June slowly falls in love with her brother's so-called murderer. 
       The best part about Legend is its narration.  All of the storytelling switches off between June and Day, allowing readers insight to both of their perspectives.  

       Although Legend is technically a Dystopian book, it is filled with mystery and even has its share of crime scene investigation. The plot line appeals to both boys and girls, and even the best of sleuths would have trouble predicting its ending. 

       All in all, Legend is an interesting novel, but at the end, it did not leave me wanting to continue reading about June and Day's adventures.  The plot line in which the persecutor falls in love with the criminal seems a little too obvious for an otherwise well-planned plot.  June goes through the dynamic character change of heart, as is expected.

The Legend series
The Legend series
       If you are a mystery lover, Legend is a great option to read. The mystery extends into the next two books in the Legend series, Prodigy and Champion.  Assuredly, Marie Lu will weave even more secrets into June's past to keep things fresh.  For those who are looking for a quick and engaging read, Legend is a good choice. 

Stay cool and keep reading,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Book Review: The Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid
Title: The Red Pyramid (Book 1 of the Kane Chronicles)
Author: Rick Riordan
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 516
Age Rating: Readers above the age of 10 due to length and advanced language
My Opinion: 8/10

Hi, Readers!

       Rick Riordan is most famous for his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, so his Kane Chronicles series tends to be somewhat overlooked.  Instead of focusing on Greek mythology as in Percy Jackson, the Kane Chronicles books are all about Egyptian mythology.  

Sadie and Carter
Sadie and Carter
       In the first novel, the Kane Chronicles introduces Sadie and Carter Kane, vastly different siblings who were separated during childhood.  Sadie lives in England with her grandparents, while Carter travels the world with his archaeologist father.  On Christmas Eve, the two kids witness their father being captured by the Egyptian god Set.  They must do everything in their power to stop Set from overthrowing the order of the world.  Along an intense journey, they befriend the cat goddess, Bast, Khufu, the basketball-playing baboon, and Zia, the magician, but in the end it comes down to Carter and Sadie to use their godly powers to defeat Set and save the world.

       The Red Pyramid is followed by The Throne of Fire and The Serpent's Shadow.  Sadie and Carter Kane must work together to find the sun god, Ra, and eventually defeat the root of all Egyptian evil, the Chaos snake Apophis.  All three books are told by Sadie and Carter and are filled with plot twists and interesting facts about ancient Egyptian mythology.  They are fun (and funny!) reads that are perfect for upper-elementary and middle school students.
The Kane Chronicles books
The Kane Chronicles

       My absolute favorite part of The Red Pyramid is how Rick Riordan is able to create characters with such depth in an action-packed setting.  Even Khufu the baboon is not one-sided!  The deepest character would have to be the cat goddess, Bast.  She was losing an eternal battle with Apophis when Sadie and Carter's parents offered her a way out.  Now living in the real world, Bast struggles through an internal battle of right and wrong, all while defeating perilous enemies and protecting the Kane children.  The Red Pyramid  has excellent characters to analyze.  

       If anyone is looking for an easy-to-read, action-packed, and hilarious novel to read over summer break, check out The Red Pyramid.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Book Review: Divergent

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publication Date: April 25, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins
Genres: Dystopian, Science fiction
Pages: 487
Age Rating: Readers above the age of 13 due to some violence
My Opinion: 9/10

Hi, Readers!

       It seems fitting that my first post EVER (!!!!!) pertains to one of my favorite books of all time - Divergent, by Veronica Roth.  I first read Divergent about a month ago, and I was hooked by the end of the first chapter.  I immediately recommended it to all of my friends.  
       The dystopian novel tells the story of Tris Prior, a somewhat relatable teenage girl who lives in a society where citizens choose their social class.  The five classes are Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intelligent).  Tris finds out that she has a choice between becoming an Abnegation, an Erudite, or a Dauntless - she is dubbed "Divergent".  She ends up choosing Dauntless and has to take part in their extremely difficult and painful initiation, fighting a different fellow initiate each day and jumping off of moving trains.  Luckily, the initiate instructor, Four, keeps an eye on Tris, and the two develop a relationship.  However, the Erudite leaders are on the lookout for Divergent members of society, and Tris is in great danger.  She has to survive initiation as well as watch her back at all times.

Tris fighting off fellow initiates
Tris fighting off fellow initiates
       For those of you who have enjoyed books such as The Hunger Games, make sure you pick up a copy of Divergent.  It is the first book in the Divergent Trilogy, followed by Insurgent and Allegiant.

       One reason that I am so excited about this book is that it is going to be made into a movie coming out on March 21, 2014.  The first shots from filming are coming out, seen above (Tris fighting off fellow initiates) and below (Tris preparing to begin her Dauntless initiation).  There is a lot of hype about the movie, starring Shailene Woodley as Tris.  Although some of the casting choices make me question how the movie will turn out, I am confident that it will be a thrilling, action-packed flick.

Tris preparing to begin her Dauntless initiation
Tris preparing to begin her Dauntless initiation
       I hope that you will reserve this book at your local library (trust me, it will be checked out!) or pick it up at a bookstore.  It is definitely worth reading and will become extremely popular as the movie's premiere date grows closer.

Happy reading!