Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review - Portal

Portal, by Imogen Rose, is a time travel story. It starts out with a woman named Olivia, thinking about her pregnancy and her marriage to a man she no longer loves. Then she walks into a bar and meets a handsome stranger who seems achingly familiar. Before she leaves he says to her, "Find me two years ago."

Cut to a car ride. A girl named Arizona wakes up and most of her life is different. She lives in a different state, she has an older brother, her grandmother is still alive, her father is a different man, she has a new last name, and she is now blonde. Other things, like some of her friends, her memories, and her hockey skills, have stayed the same. Arizona must navigate this new life and figure out what happened to the old one. In the end she must decide; if she could go back, would she?

Portal was an enjoyable read and the use of time travel was very creative. I also liked all the description. The dialogue could have been better, same with character development. But I liked the book enough that I expect I'll read the rest of the series.

Apparently Imogen Rose published her books independently and has now been picked up by a major publisher. That's what I read in a reader review, so I'm not actually sure about it. Nevertheless, the series is obviously very succesful - another YA paranormal series by an indie author to take off!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Book Review - Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth, takes up where the first book of the trilogy, Divergent, left off. After the main character, Tris, successfully switched factions from Abnegation to Dauntless and snagged cute boyfriend Tobias/Four, a revolution happened so quickly she wasn't able to enjoy any of it. In the course of the revolution Tris lost both her parents, and was forced to shoot and kill her buddy Will, who was under mind control at the time. Bummer.

So Tris is now dealing with loss, grief, guilt, and an inflated sense of responsibility. At every turn, Tris is forced to do stuff no sixteen-year-old should have to do, because her divergent mind makes her uniquely qualified for jobs, missions, and science experiments where she's the subject. This puts a strain on her relationship with Tobias, and she's constantly risking her life and questioning who of her remaining friends and family she can trust. The book builds towards a suspensful end with new revelations, and plenty of questions to be answered in the third installment.

I didn't like this book as much as I liked Divergent. There was too much going on, and so many minor characters with comings and goings; it was hard to keep track of them all or to feel involved. I also started  to feel resentment that the Erudite were vilified to such an extent - there seemed to be a real anti-education bias. However, as the book went on, it became clear that part of the point is that none of the factions are truly good or truly evil, and everyone has altier motives. Beatrice's (Tris) journey is partly about coming to terms with the flaws of society, and learning how to overcome them.

In the end I'm glad I read Insurgent, and I do reccomend it. I'm sure I'll also read the third installment. Plus, young adults love it. My students were very excited about both books, and really, they are the intended audience.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Twitter Practice

People like Twitter because they're not allowed to write much. I find it difficult to say what I want to say in so few words. Besides, is anyone actually listening?

So I don't post on Twitter very often. Maybe that's a mistake. Maybe I'd reach all sorts of readers if I did.

Probably not - but maybe.

So, in an effort to get more comfortable writing tweets, I'm going to start occasionally writing super-short blog posts. I won't count the characters, but I'll limit myself to ten words per post. They can be about anything, and hey, maybe this will get me to post more here too.

So here's my first ten-word blog post (if you don't count all the words I wrote to explain it):

Sunday before
last week of school.
Summer approaches
so quietly.