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Wednesday, May 5, 2010
This week's Humpday Reads is cut a bit short because I've got a lot of ideas to jot down for Book #2 before they vanish into thin air. So, my recommended reads are as follows:
1.) Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins If Meyer’s Twilight series embodies the romantic supernatural, Hawkins’ debut novel exemplifies the supernatural spoof. Sixteen-year-old Sophie Mercer, whose absentee father is a warlock, discovered both her heritage and her powers at age 13. While at her school prom, Sophie happens upon a miserable girl sobbing in the bathroom and tries to perform a love spell to help her out. It misfires, and Sophie finds herself at Hecate (aka Hex) Hall, a boarding school for delinquent Prodigium (witches, warlocks, faeries, shape-shifters, and the occasional vampire). What makes this fast-paced romp work is Hawkins’ wry humor and sharp eye for teen dynamics, especially between the popular and the misfit crowds. Sophie is a multidimensional character, both likable and believably flawed. Secondary characters lack her depth, but their more broadly drawn portraits are in keeping with narrator Sophie’s impressions of her teachers and classmates. Many clever touches (vampire Lord Byron teaches literature), spot-on depictions of classic teen situations (crushing on the queen bee’s boyfriend), and an ending that leaves you hanging will have readers grabbing for the sequel. Grades 8-11. --Debbie Carton (Booklist Review)
2.) The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips A tight-knit miner's family struggles against poverty and racism in Phillips's evocative first novel, set in Depression-era Alabama. Throughout, she moves skillfully between the points of view of miner father Albert, hard-working mother Leta, young daughter Tess and teenage daughter Virgie, and small son Jack. They see men who are frequently incapacitated or killed by accidents in the local mines; neighbors live off what they can grow on their patch of land; and blacks like Albert's fellow miner and friend Jonah are segregated in another part of Carbon Hill—and often hauled off to jail arbitrarily. When Tess witnesses a woman throwing a baby into their well, no one believes her until the dead child is found, and few are shocked. Tess, hounded by nightmares, and Virgie, on the cusp of womanhood and resistant to the thought of an early marriage to the local boys who court her, begin making inquiries of their own, visiting wives who've recently had babies and learning way more than they imagined. With a wisp of suspense, Phillips fully enters the lives of her honorable characters and brings them vibrantly to the page. (Publishers Weekly Review)
3.) Graceling by Kristin Cashore In many respects Graceling is a study of mysterious angers: it offers a perfect parable of adolescence, as its characters struggle with turbulent emotions they must learn to control. The consequences are more tangible than they usually are in more mundane settings—if Katsa loses control, she breaks someone's jaw by accident—but the principle is the same. The teenage characters in this novel, like some we may know in life, grow into their graces. They realize that their monstrous individuality is not so monstrous after all. (New York Times Review)
*Take advantage of the wonderful libraries and bookstores in your neighborhood by stopping by and checking out something intriguing to READ! Have a great Humpday, everyone! Tory