Monday, December 20, 2010

fame, glory, and other things on my to do list by Janette Rallison

Synopsis:  Sixteen-year-old Jessica dreams of Hollywood fame, and when Jordan moves into her small town, she dreams of him, too. He’s a movie star’s son, and hey, he's gorgeous to boot. Jordan has always wanted to get out from the shadow cast by his superstar father, but now that he and his mother have moved so far away from LA, how can he get his divorced parents back together? Jessica convinces Jordan the way to get his father to come for a long visit is to be a part of the school play. And if she’s “discovered” in the process, all the better. Things go wrong when she lets Jordan’s secret identity slip, and grow even more disastrous when the principal tries to change West Side Story into a gang free, violence-free, politically correct production.

My Review:  This book was exactly what I needed.  No, it isn't a book that contemplates the meaning of the universe.  But does every novel need to be that?  Sometimes it's nice to have a funny, light-hearted book to curl up on a couch with.  I loved Janette's humor, and I was laughing out loud numerous times while reading.  The POV character is a teenage girl, and that is the definite audience for this book (although I'm not a teenage girl and I enjoyed it).  It's nice to be reminded now and then that not all angst-ridden teenagers date vampires or fight to the death on reality TV. 
Good for anyone 10 and older, or anyone who's ever been in a play, or anyone who wants a good laugh...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Matched by Ally Condie


In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow — between perfection and passion.

My Review:
Ever heard of this book?  Yes?  Of course you have.  For those of you that haven't, let me tell you a little about it before I review it.  There has been some serious buzz about this book for the last year.  It started when Ally Condie's manuscript caused a bidding war between national publishers and was finally purchased for six-figure sum.  That's serious money-- especially for an author who's only published with a small company before (five books through Deseret Book and its subsidiary Shadow Mountain).   And if that was not enough, a month before the book was even released Disney bought the rights for a three picture deal!  Seriously, how could I not go buy this book the day it was released?  
But enough about the buzz-- what about the book?  As the synopsis explains, it's a dystopic romance-- a story that takes place in an alternate, uber-controlled world.  Essentially, if you were to mix Hunger Games and Twilight, you'd get Matched (and that's saying something).  
Here is why-- in Hunger Games, it's the anxiety and danger that pulls you through the story.  In Twilight, it's the romance, the forbidden romance, that keeps you reading.  Matched has equal parts of both.  
One of the things that makes this book unique is Condie's constant use of poetry.  I've never been a giant fan of poetry.  I studied it in college, had the occasional poem that struck me, but that was about it.  But poems are woven throughout this story--  they're actually pivotal to the entire plot.  Even Condie's writing has a poetic sense.   And I loved that.  It made me feel and appreciate things in a new way.  
I also enjoyed the romance.   It wasn't so "in your face" like a lot of YA these days.  She made a brief touch of the fingers just as significant and romantic (or more) than other authors who fill their stories with graphic love scenes.
I wouldn't have a problem recommending this to anyone 14 or older.  The themes are a little adult, and the romance is intense, though not graphic, so it may not be appropriate for younger readers (depends on the child).  
Overall, if you read YA, romance, or dystopic fiction, you'll really enjoy this book.