Wednesday, February 24, 2010

M or F?
By Lisa Papademetriou and Chris Tebbets

Description (from back of book):

When Frannie is desperate to get the attention of her crush, her fabulous (and gay) best friend Marcus suggests that Frannie chat with him online. Too bad Frannie's terrified. She won't type a word without Marcus's help.
In the chat room, Marcus and Jeffrey hit it off. But the more Marcus writes, the more he's convinced that Jeffrey is falling for him not Frannie.
Whose romance is this anyway?

When I found this book at the bookstore, I read about two pages before I knew I needed to buy it. It's a cute story about both characters finding love, and it's a light read if you need something to cheer you up. I laughed often enough my mom kept ducking into my room to see what I was doing.
Its highschool setting is easy to relate to; typical, with it's ups and downs all over the place. Any girls out there can relate to Frannie as she tries to impress Jeffrey, and instead just makes herself feel dorky and a bit embarrassed.
I was not able to predict the end of this book- I honestly did not see it coming, and it made a wonderful and sweet twist.
Rating: I gave this book 3 1/2 stars out of 5 (but I was very, very close to giving it 4)
Profanity: miniscule, if any.
Drugs and Alcohol: None
Sexual content: None
Violence: None

Friday, February 19, 2010

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield

By: Scott Westerfeld

Description (From Goodreads):Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Review: I didn't even know that the genre of steampunk existed until about a month ago. I must have been living under a rock or something. But, I've noticed it has become an increasingly popular genre, and this book is a good indication of why.

The illustrations in this book were really neat and one of my favorite parts. There was a new illustration every 5 pages or so, and they really added a depth to the story without being overly "cartoonish." (A reason why I could never really get into Manga). Here is an example of this awesome art:
I really liked the character and story of Deryn. I'm also up for a good story about a girl pretending to be a boy and kicking some trash. Deryn certainly did so. She had a lot of spunk and spirit, but also a good dose of compassion, especially at the end of the book.

Aleksander's story went in a little different direction than I had originally thought. While Deryn's story was pretty predictable, I was never quite sure where Aleksander was going to end up.

Sometimes telling a book from two perspectives really doesn't work for me. However, in this case, Westerfeld handled it beautifully. I wasn't as impressed with "The Uglies" series as I wanted to be, so it was nice to have a book by Westerfeld that I really enjoyed. I think this series is going to do really well. This book got a lot of buzz at the end of last year, and I can definitely see why.

Alanna by Tamora Pierce (For the "girl pretending to be a boy" story)
City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (For the machinery aspect, and the boy working with girl story)
If you like other books in the Steam Punk genre, you'll like this one.

I gave this book 4 stars.

Profanity: Like all steampunk, the slang evolves into something different from our culture. So, nothing you'd recognize
Drugs and Alcohol: None
Sexuality: None
Violence: Moderate. This is WWI (or an alternate version), so there is a battle that is described.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Princess and the Hound

by Mette Ivie Harrison

(from back cover:) "He is a prince and heir to a kingdom threatened on all sides, possessor of the forbidden animal magic.

She is a princess from a rival kingdom, the daughter her father never wanted, isolated from all except her hound.

In this lush and beautifully written fairy-tale romance, a prince, a princess, and two kingdoms are joined in the aftermath of a war. Proud, stubborn, and bound to marry for duty, George and Beatrice will steal your heart—but will they fall in love?"

Prince George possesses the gift of speaking to animals, a gift which is forbidden and feared in the kingdom of Kendel. After his mother's tragic death, he has spent his life hiding this ability and forcing himself to follow wherever duty leads him.

Princess Beatrice spent her childhood ignored and neglected by her father and looked down upon, yet her fierce nature keeps her trying to win his approval. But she also has a hidden secret.

When the two royals meet for the official betrothal intended to bind the two countries, something about Beatrice and her only close relationship with her hound, Marit, draws George to her and to the part of himself that he has denied his whole life. The pair face many obstacles, such as George's dying father and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his illness, the sense of being duty bound to marry one another, and Beatrice's own untrusting nature. They struggle to trust each other and mostly themselves.


This is a beautifully written story. The characters are complex and wounded people who strive to form complete relationships and conquer their personal battles. The hound, Marit, is delicately written and the relationship between the Princess and the Hound will capture the curiosity of readers.

While the characters do go through great emotional growth and face what is within themselves, for some reason I didn't find that my emotions were as captured as that of other friends' who have read the book. Something about it didn't quite make the emotional connection for me, but I know that most readers out there will feel an intense connection to the characters and their trials.

A smoothly written book with strong 'old-world fairytale' overtones, this is a book I definitely recommend for anyone who enjoys this genre. The characters were particularly well-developed, more so than in some other fairytale books that I've read.

Book-a-likes: any Robin McKinley, Jessica Day George, Donna Jo Napoli book.

My rating: **** 4 stars, 4.5 if this is your favorite genre

Violence: mild

Profanity: none

Sexuality: none

Drugs/Alcohol: none


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Author Signing

Hey all! Happy Valentines Weekend.
The Literati went to meet author Bree Despain at her signing at a local Barnes and Noble. We have had the fun opportunity of being part of her 'Underground Street Team' just before and after her debut novel, The Dark Divine, came out in December. It's a fabulous paranormal romance. (Read our review here.)

It was very exciting to meet this author we'd done so much work with and to hear her read from the book. We gave her some presents and some 'twisted valentines': letters from Twilight characters to her characters and from her characters to her. We had a blast writing these quirky valentines and going over the top on the smoochiness, but they quickly turned a little creepy. :) She's posted a picture of all of us who could attend as well as links to some of the letters we wrote. Feel free to visit her blog and check it out!

One of our favorite poems:
from Edward Cullen to Grace Divine

Roses are red,
You're veins are blue;
I'll slit my wrists
If I can't be with you.

P.S. What characters would you like to see write letters to one another? (The Literati girls always love a good writing challenge; maybe we'll try our hand at some!)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher


Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

A suspenseful read that held my attention from the first page to the last.

The quickly-switching points of view between Hannah and Clay were confusing at first, but by the second chapter I'd figured out who Hannah was addressing as she spoke. (It changed with each side of the tape.) As Hannah began listing the reasons why she had committed suicide, I worried this was going to be an "everyone was mean to me so I killed myself" book. But it was much, much deeper than that. Jay Asher did a good job making the reader understand why Hannah ended her life. And he did a great job having Clay come to the realization that Hannah's suicide was a choice...and she could have chosen differently.

Jay Asher can write like a teenage boy. (Of course, since he was one.) BUT he can also write convincingly like a teenage girl. I love the fact that Clay turns out to be a good kid - and a really good friend.

The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
Paper Towns by John Green.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
A must-read. One of a kind.

Profanity: Mild as far as I can recall... (I tend to not notice it.)
Drugs and Alcohol: Yes, but in a context to be educational.
Sexual Content: Mature, but alluded to.
Violence: Mild.