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Booklist: More to Life (or, Bigger than a Breadbox)

April 21st, 2007 (08:19 pm)

Current Mood: accomplished
Current Song: More to Life by Lucy Woodward

As I was telling Sara the day before yesterday, some books deserve far more than a ten-second summary. Books which are bigger than the implications on the jacket flap and the assumptions based on the cover. Books which I put in customers' hands and say:

"Read this. Don't read reviews or anything which could possibly spoil the ending for you. Just read this."

These books include but are not limited to the following:
(Click the title for my full-length review or a related post.)

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Looking for Alaska is about a girl, not a state. It's also about a boy, but it's not your typical boy-meets-girl story. Boarding school, friends, famous last words, and before and after all factor in this dramatic and engrossing tale. John Green's debut novel is about a search for self, and it's a story readers won't soon forget.

The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark
After Alison's mother passes away, she is reluctant to confide in anyone other that her long-time best friend Laurie. Alison decides to play it safe, rather than be sorry later. Truly, do not let anyone spoil this book for you. Just get it and read it, then come back to this post and discuss it with me. This book is poignant and real, and it gets my highest recommendation.

Innocence by Jane Mendelson
If you like coming-of-age stories written in highly imaginative, lyrical prose, and you aren't afraid of a dark story, pick up Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn. The story utilizes the Final Girl concept to the fullest extent. The family set-up - the only child, a girl, has a dead mother, a lonely father, and an evil stepmother - reminds me of a fairy tale, but the story is set in a fully modern world. This is an intriguing one-sitting read which will keep you guessing until the last page. Thoughtful, quotable writing, vivid imagery, and exciting characters. Once you finish this book, you'll never look at the world the same way again.

If you have read any of these titles and wish to discuss them in the comments below, please feel free to do so. Also tell me which books you think of in this way.


Posted by: bright as yellow (idreamofpeace)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2007 03:41 am (UTC)

Three Junes and The Whole World Over by Julia Glass. I love her writing and her characters. Whenever I read her books it feels like something is blooming inside me.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)


Posted by: romanovprincess (romanovprincess)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)

ALASKA = most amazing book ever written. Not really, but it's close!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2007 03:49 am (UTC)

I am so glad that you enjoyed the book so much.

I don't have The Alison Rules in the store. Do yourself a favor and track it down at the library. I need to discuss this book with someone who has read it.

Speaking of which, have you found a copy of On Pointe yet? I saw it at my local library today. I know it's out of print and not available at most stores. When I read it a few years ago, it was from the library too.

Posted by: Melissa (mango_firefly)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2007 04:04 am (UTC)

Forces keep pulling toward Looking For Alaska

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2007 04:07 am (UTC)

Have you read it yet?

Posted by: Claire Hennessy (iliketea)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2007 08:58 am (UTC)

I think it's really so important not be spoiled for Alaska.

Innocence rocks. :D

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC)

I agree.

I agree.

Posted by: misspepsquad16 (misspepsquad16)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
it's definitly worth the read.

I have no idea what category this book fits in but it's called Candy Darlings by Christine Walde and it was REALLY good. It's got alot of drama and it's a little dark in places but it was really unique and fabu.
A summary stolen from Amazon:
Imagine being part of the popular crowd one day and an outcast the next. Imagine meeting a girl who eats nothing but candy. Imagine that girl, Megan Chalmers, becomes your new friend because you're both outcasts.

These are all components to Christine Walde's first novel, THE CANDY DARLINGS. A girl and her father move after her mother dies, and she begins attending a private school, where Meredith, Angela and Laura (MAL) rule the class. Megan is also new, and she immediately latches on to the new girl as someone who can see through MAL's façade to the meanness inside (hence the acronym Megan comes up with --- MAL, a prefix meaning "evil").

Megan and the main character (who remains nameless) forge an interesting friendship. Megan eats candy constantly, always urging her new friend (who is then given the nickname "Dead Girl" by MAL) to have some as well. But Dead Girl won't; she vowed not to when her mother died. Megan also tells candy stories, both to entertain and to answer the questions about her life that she won't respond to straight out. They're bizarre stories, and Dead Girl isn't sure what to make of them.

Eventually, MAL gets meaner, Blake Starfield (the weird boy in class) becomes crazier and Megan begins to disappear for days at a time. The main character's father just won't understand, and she starts eating candy again as a means of coping.

Christine Walde mixes fantasy with realism using Megan's stories, and even the reader can't be entirely sure which parts are true and which aren't. She makes up a fairy tale for an older character in the hospital to read to the girls and adds just a bit of romance without contriving things.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 22nd, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)

Thanks for the recommendation! I have heard of The Candy Darlings - in fact, I've checked for it multiple times at the library - but haven't read it yet. The plot's mix of fantasy and reality intrigues me. You should definitely read INNOCENCE!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 14th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)

Middlesex... There's no way that the blurb or anyones review can sum it up. It must be read.

Same goes for 'Was' by Geoff Ryman. Wow.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 15th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)

I have yet to read either of those, though I am familiar with the first.

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