INKlets: Four (Count ‘Em, Four!) Book Review Round-Up

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay AsherBriefly: Nice guy Clay Jensen receives a mysterious box that contains cassette tapes. The weird thing? They are from his dead classmate, Hannah Baker. Hannah committed suicide, and Clay does not want to have to hear her voice. But she tells him that he needs to listen to the tapes to hear the reason that he is included. But why is he? He always had an (almost) unrequited crush on Hannah, and now she’s dead.

Didja Like It?: This isn’t your typical “everyone was mean to me so I did the unthinkable” story. While that certainly hangs over the entire book, it’s a lesson in what happens when we don’t reach out, even only a little, to people. Or if we do something worse.

Anything Else to Mention?: The book is written so that Hannah’s italicized words alternate with Clay’s thoughts and other happenings. It is a very effective way to keep everything moving and current. It gives an immediacy to the story that would be lost even if they alternated chapters.

To Read or Not To Read: It’s a very serious topic, and since the suicide has already happened, there’s an extra poignancy to it. Everyone should read a book like this that talks about the consequences of actions.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher was published October 18, 2007 by Razorbill. Ink and Page’s kid purchased this book and begged Ink and Page to read it because she thought it was so great. She pestered Ink and Page until it was read. She was right.

Rating: 4

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: This book deals with suicide and its aftermath. There are mature themes and discussions of sex, drinking and drugs.

 

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by J Green and D LevithanBriefly: How can you summarize inventive greatness? Through song, of course.

No no no…I won’t try that here and now. Hey, maybe today’s real theme is Alternating Chapters. This book is written by two of the best authors writing in the genre today. And each writes the story of…Will Grayson. Not the same one, by any means, which is partly what this tale is about; two Will Graysons who operate in separate universes, but somehow, connect. There’s also:

  1. A giant gay kid who plays football and writes musicals (and is named Tiny, of course);
  2. A girl named Jane who may be gay and is nice and maybe should not be overlooked;
  3. A girl names Maura who asks to many questions;
  4. A secret online buddy named Isaac.

Didja Like It?: So one Will made a choice about his best friend; the other is angry and doesn’t think he can reveal his BIG SECRET to anyone except his online buddy. And somehow, the universe eventually puts both Will Graysons in the same place at the same time, and the planets align. It is a real, standing-on-the-precipice of life kind of book. You know the kind: do you or don’t you? and whatever choice you make, will it define the rest of your life?

Anything Else to Mention?: It is heartbreaking and lovely, seamless and bawdy, crazy and truthful, painful and skweenchy.

To Read or Not To Read: I heard that Elton John’s touring contract contains a requirement that 17 copies of this paperback are to be in his green room at all times. Well, maybe not, but one can hope.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan was published April 6, 2010 by Dutton’s Childrens. Ink and Page purchased this book, and thus, it was reviewed.

Rating: 4

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Mature themes and profanity with discussions of sex, drinking and rock n roll.

 

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic_HC_JKT_des4.inddBriefly: A game that started because there was nothing else to do that summer, Panic is not for the faint-hearted. Everyone at Carp High School pays, whether they participate or not. The judges decide the events in secret; in fact, no one even knows who the judges are. And no one knows when the next task will be; they only know that if they fail, they’re out. Winner takes the entire pot.

Heather never intended to participate; she was only supporting her best friend, Nat. But on the night that Heather is ready to tell her boyfriend, Matt, that she loves him, she finds she is no longer part of a couple. He has told her that he has found someone new. Is that what drives her to join Panic? Then there’s Dodge. His sister was critically injured when participating in Panic, and Dodge has nothing but revenge on his mind. Can an alliance among Heather, Nat and Dodge work?

Didja Like It?: I am usually a big fan of Lauren Oliver, but this book left me “meh.” While there’s a lot of action, secrets and craziness, the roller coaster never got to the top. The cover is fabulous, though.

Anything Else to Mention?: I didn’t really connect with/care about any of the characters except for Bishop. Everyone else was two-dimensional in their single-mindedness.

To Read or Not To Read: I’m going to leave this one up to you. If you liked it more than I did, I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Panic by Lauren Oliver was published March 4, 2014 by HarperCollins. Ink and Page received this book in a giveaway or promotion.

Rating: 2

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Action/Adventure
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Mature themes; sexual references and references to drinking and drugs.

 

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. SmithBriefly: Lucy and Owen meet in the most unlikely of circumstances; they are trapped together in an elevator during a power outage in New York City. Two people who would normally never talk, they spend the evening together, first on the elevator and then, once they are rescued, walking around New York and taking in the sights. People are on the streets, everyone sharing food and drinks like it is one giant blackout party. It is magical.

Then Lucy moves abroad with her parents, and Owen’s Dad decides to move west. During all of this, Lucy and Owen never forget each other. Was their relationship just a fluke, or is it something bigger?

Didja Like It?: I am a big fan of Ms. Smith’s books; they are always centered around two people who, through unusual circumstances, find each other. People who would have never been in the same orbit. It’s always fun to wonder if things slightly changed, would they have ever met? Was it fate or chance? Is there a future, or should the moment be savored and then you move on?

Anything Else to Mention?: This book is a bit different than the author’s previous ones in that the characters are apart during much of the action. I love her “claustrophobic” smooshing together of people and wish there had been a little more of that.

To Read or Not To Read: Of course. If you liked her previous titles, this will fill your Jennifer E. Smith void, just maybe not as fully as her other books.

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith was published April 15, 2014 by Poppy. Ink and Page purchased this book, read it, waited way too many months, and then wrote a review.

Rating: 3

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Nothing of note.

 

 

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