She's Got Books on Her Mind

Based upon my reviews on my other blog:

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

My Summary:
Felton Reinstein has suddenly gone from being small, skinny, and being a squirrel nut to this big, really hairy, and now he might possibly be a football player in High School. He can run circles around the honkies (that's what he calls the locals) now that he's stupid fast.

Felton now finds himself in the most peculiar situation. While his best friend is away he is being talked to by the former football players that used to make fun of him and not only that but want to play with him! His friend's house is being rented out and it contains the most beautiful world famous teenage pianist who actually likes him.

The Reinstein household consists of his mom who he has to call by her first name, Jerri. She's the yoga holistic hippie type of person. She's acting even weirder than usual. She's always watching him while he sleeps and scrutinizing his new change. His brother is also a pianist and he's encouraged a lot by Jerri to practice and be with his other nerdy friends. So you got the mother and a brother but where's the dad? The dad's dead. His dad committed suicide and Felton found him. Everything is changing around Felton. Will he lose his best friend? Will he get the girl? Will he become a football player? Or is he destined to stay a squirrel nut all of his life?

My Review:
I wrote a lot of squirrel nuts in there and you might be wondering what exactly a squirrel nut is. Felton is a squirrel nut. He says the wrong things at the wrong time always. He's also very jumpy and when you read the narrative of his life you wonder if he has ADD. I really didn't see this character coming. When I think of YA Sports books I think of strong personalities but I also think of people like Danny from Mexican Whiteboy. He was quiet but he had this certain strength inside of him. Felton... I found him slow... He even said he thought he might be so I'm not making things up. I seriously felt like he had ADD. So it wasn't what I expected at all. It took me a while to get used to him and even then I really wanted to tell him to calm down.

I did love that he had a "Jew Fro" and would have liked to see it on the cover so I knew exactly what it was. I probably kind of do because since my hair is so curly in my early years I had a "Fro". My brother called it Afro Thunder. God my brother is weird... and coincidentally so is his brother. He's brother has issues... in the beginning he was really jealous of Aleah's talent and preceded to say how much he hates her. He sounded psycho. He got even weirder later on but he had a reason.

Felton's mom goes a little crazy and no one really knows why. His brother is the only one trying to figure it out while he's hanging out with football player friends. He has a couple of new friends including Cody who I absolutely think is the greatest guy. He always has Felton's back and is concerned for his well-being. I wish there was more of him in the story.

Aleah is completely different than Felton. She's very intelligent and has great talent. They make an odd couple. She does act a bit like a kid herself and I like her in the mix of things. She brings balance to him. I honestly didn't like Felton's character too much and I can't help it. I liked the book but his character just killed me sometimes. A lot of people thought he was hilarious in other reviews but to me he was anything but. It was a good read. I just wished I would have connected with his character more.

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

Tall Story - Candy Gourlay

Bernardo lives in a small village called San Andres in Philippines. He wasn't always eight feet tall. He used to be smaller than his best friend Jabby who nicknamed himself after the famous basketball player, Kareem Abdul Jabbar. He used to be smaller than most kids. He used to be picked on all the time. But now he is considered the village's savior. Since he's grown there hasn't been any major earthquake and in a village where little earthquakes happen every day and major earthquakes are always a threat they are grateful. It's all because of this legend where I giant used to walk among them named Bernardo Carpio (that's actually a real Philippine Myth) and he stopped an earthquake that would have destroyed the village.

Bernardo doesn't live with his mother. He was left behind but his mother planned to send for him when she settled. She didn't realize that it would take more than a decade to get him to come to London but the day has finally come.

Amandolina or Andi for short thought she would be excited to see her brother but after having to move right after she was made point guard on her team and since the new school she's going to doesn't have basketball she isn't very happy. Not only those two things but she discovers that her brother is this eight foot giant! She is this short looking thing and is mistaken a couple of times as a boy. She's tough and I love tough girls. I feel sorry for her from the very beginning because her mother is a witch telling her she is too short to play basketball and how she shouldn't play it anymore. She pestered her about it and really what kind of good mother does that? I'll tell you that she wasn't a good mother for her even later on she didn't win me back.

Bernardo is very sensitive. He was a real nice guy but sometimes I felt like telling him to stop crying. I do give him the benefit of the doubt. He had the weight of his village on his shoulders and it's still a big mystery about some things. Gourlay I think put these images and thoughts into your head but leaves part of the book up to you or maybe that's just me. Anyways Bernardo is another one I feel bad for because his village and even his best friend is using him and trying to prevent him from happiness by putting guilt on him. Almost of all the adults in here are jerks which is to be expected in a children's/middle grade read. Adults are usually the bad guys. Bernardo also speaks reverse what he's supposed to say in English like "Please to meet me" or something like that. I'm Hispanic and I guess I've never heard a Hispanic who only knows Spanish try to speak English in front of me but I seriously doubt they would speak like that. Whatever. It made him more endearing and anyways his village spoke their own language and it was pretty funny reading it.

The story goes from her and then Bernardo's perspective. It is also goes through different points in the story like it goes to when Bernardo was young and then now to his sixteen year old self which I thought was not confusing and I often read how people don't like that but I do. It's more mysterious that way to see how the story unravels. Since I now know that the story is based on a Filipino Myth I can say that I'm impressed. Whenever authors take from myths like Greek Mythology its fun to see what they come up with. This was a winner for me and yay! Diversity!


Stuck On Earth by David Klass

Stuck on Earth - David Klass

Ketchvar III has a mission to do. His mission: Through a fourteen year old boy find out whether the earth is worth saving or should be put out of their misery. The reason for all of this is because there is another planet, a peaceful planet that is being threatened by a supernova that might any minute destroy their home. This is a consideration of course but Ketchvar's goal supersedes that. He needs to make sure the planet Earth's natives are worth letting go.

Ketchvar is a snail. Yes, he is a snail but as he went up a random fourteen year old named Tom Filber's nose and brain and eventually took over his mind I can imagine him as Tom but more robotic. They actually use robots for most of their needs because of the no hands thing. Ketchvar is very formal in everything he says and I would hear his voice in my head like a nerdy kid who is very polite and formal.

"Whatever you're after," he gasped quickly. "The key. The formula. The stuff. I know where they've hidden it. I can get it for you. You think I won't because I love the human race? Hah! I hate them all. I have more in common with you. Let's work together. Tell me what you want and I'll get it. We'll split the take. Fifty-fifty. Deal?" I reach his chin.

He uses Tom for advice when traversing his new life. Tom is not so very polite. He can best be described as a awkward teenager with too much testosterone. He was a bit annoying to me. He was rude a lot of the time but you can also feel that he was angry with the world he lived in. Mostly his family. His sister and him are always fighting and even when Ketchvar's nice to her she responds meanly. His father is a drunk but actually he's a very nice father that is just down in the dumps. His mother is totally crazy. She's very violent and yells all the time. You could understand why but I HATE accusatory people. You are not helping.

He is constantly being bullied and harassed and called funnily enough an alien. It seems that the obvious choice is to put these people out of their misery because not only are they an angry lot but they are also very sad beings. He doesn't know what to make of all their sadness but then he discovers Michelle Peabody, the girl next door, which Tom has had a crush on since forever. He sees good in her. It's a good thing there was Michelle. You need a little love interest sometimes but I also liked that other than everyone else she wasn't a jerk and didn't do anything wrong to Ketchvar.

Klass wrote one of my favorites called You Don't Know Me so I expected greatness. I truly liked this book and find that a lot of middle schoolers will like it. Not only that but I know there are a lot of middle grade books for boys which is a stark contrast to the number of teen books for boys. Having never really wanting to read a teen book about aliens its good I started with middle grade otherwise I might have been turned off of reading a book about aliens. But fortunately I wasn't and of course I wasn't! I am reading a Klass book.

I loved the contrast of this alien boy and all the rude people at his school. He calls school a twelve year period of voluntary daily incarceration. I think we can all agree with that statement. Ketchvar is very likable (I like the good guys). He put up with us a lot. I would have destroyed us too if I were him and was greeted to Earth the way he was but he's a peaceful snail so he stays (I can't get over that he is a snail). Seeing everything from his eyes and the lesson of trying to help better the world we live in because it's the only one we got I think will be well received by others reading this book. It's not like the lesson is pointedly there but it's obviously there. It was very entertaining  reading a book through the eyes of someone completely foreign (literally). Klass has created another excellent world and is half way for me to becoming a favorite author of mine. We'll see if I like his other books won't we?


Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Glitch - Heather Anastasiu

In Glitch Zoe (real name Zoel) lives in a world where everyone works together for the whole community through order. Order first, order always. Zoe is always repeating this mantra as is everybody else. They live as drones thanks to the computer chips installed in their brain while they are young. There are points in a person's life where they update their software. They need maintenance and it's all so really creepy how they say things like that all nonchalant like they don't sounds as if they are computers and not humans. At 18 you get your final update and by then it's impossible to stop being a drone.

Zoe knows there is something wrong with her. She has been anomalous for a while now. She knows that the community comes first and that she should turn herself in to get fixed. Maybe it's the new awareness she has of her world or the colors and tastes she discovers or maybe it's because she can move things with her mind but she doesn't do it.

So why on earth would you let someone put chips in your brain to control you? That's the worst choice you could ever make! It always starts with a war doesn't it? There were bombs and the surface of the earth was destroyed. That's why everyone lives underground and they allow the Uppers to control their emotions. There are sometimes glitches, anomalies, that are "dangerous" to the society. I don't know why I'm putting quotations when it's actually true! I mean there are a bunch of people with powers who could dismantle your perfect society while you reap the benefits... that's dangerous for you!

In the beginning I'm thinking when Zoe wants to turn herself in that she's insane. STOP! WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO HAPPEN! You are just going to just walk in there and say you're anomalous and how you can move things with your mind... and everything's going to turn out fine? She talks like a robot too. All of them do and their names sound alien but they aren't. I assumed as much by the cover. She does redeem herself. Her point of view from it all and her learning what the world is like is like a child learning new things. She's not totally robotic thank goodness because if she started out as this mindless being and then changed into anomalous. Sure it would have been interesting to see the change but I rather not deal with the boredom.

Everything about this book was enjoyable. The only thing was the love part of it which seems like a big deal but I might just be nit-picky. It wasn't exactly instalove but it happened pretty fast for me. At first I chalked it up to how you feel when you first have a crush and you're all hyped up with emotion but there was this bond already that I just didn't get. There are two possible guys in this story. A little bit spoilery!: One who's very nice and sweet and the other who ends up being very stalkerish and possessive. Each time she had an encounter with the stalker I would just think how he's not right for you for a while until he got way too crazy and then I would think some other inappropriate words... He started out pretty okay but then he was talking about pleasures and whole lot of creep came out. I think back now and I guess it's because she felt she wasn't alone and she did argue with him a lot so she was taking some sort of stand but I would have telekinesised (Not a word. I know) his behind through a wall! End of spoilery parts.

She has these dreams about a boy she once saw get taken because he was anomalous and she's not supposed to have these nightmares. She has a pretty rough time as an anomalous and you get to feeling pretty bad for her although her having a rough time means a more interesting time with some action in there too. The boy in the dream she sometimes sees as her younger brother who she worries about because he can suddenly turn anomalous and she wants to get him out of the control of the Uppers. I really didn't see why she thought that at all. She thought about him a couple of times but I guess since they could never talk to each other because he was so linked I didn't see where he mattered to her so much. Hardly any mention of the parents which was weird but they are apparently a lost cause so...

Although having some weak points in the book plus her not standing up for herself for awhile she was able to show she wasn't merely a love sick puppy who needed a guy to hold her hand. She became AWESOME. That moment where she truly shows how strong she is makes me think of when Katniss shouts into the camera "Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!." She goes that out of control. It's beautiful. That's what I want in a heroine and she's going to be even more fierce in the next book and I will be there reading it. Don't lose your edge Zoe.


Memoirs of A Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac - Gabrielle Zevin

Naomi's life is just like a flip of a coin. She could have been a Russian girl, she could have not been found as an infant in a type writing case, and she could have not fallen down some stairs and get amnesia but I guess that's what happens when your life is like a flip of a coin.

This is a love story. It says so on the very first page and boy is it a love story but before that it's about the day where she picked heads in a coin flip on whether to go back for a camera. It could have been her or her best friend Will who calls her Chief. She's on the yearbook club/society? Point is she works on the yearbook and she also has a photography class and she ends up tripping on some stairs but saves the camera. The price? Her memory from seventh grade until now.

So it comes as a shock to her when she finds out that her mother has a new husband and daughter. Her father has a fiancée. She has a boyfriend named Ace. How she supposedly knows how to speak French. But then she would have never met the mysterious James. The boy who found her and told her that he once wanted to kiss her.

Naomi was a bit... stuck up in her former life. Well maybe that's not the right word but she was in the popular crowd and she has a diary for her calories plus her room is ridiculously neat. She definitely isn't that person anymore. She's looking at how her life like you would if you were me. With narrow eyes and a questioning look like how can these people even be real? She was at times I thought immature but others very mature. She went for what she wanted but she doesn't do it in the right way. She can probably go either way with you.

Will is her best friend and he is sort of in and out of her life. It's most likely because she is dealing with her own troubles and although he's her best friend she knows nothing really about him. He is this very sweet guy that has a particular sense of humor that I appreciate. He likes to make mixes? I guess you would call them. I think he burns cds and he names them like Amnesia Girl Part 1 or something like that which I thought was very endearing but there are times that Naomi neglects him... I can see his and her perspective but it kind of annoyed me that she did that but again she was dealing with being a new person so no wonder.

Then there's James who according to Will tried to kill himself, does drugs, etc. So he's the bad boy of the bunch. He's very mysterious because he doesn't want to get to close with her. Naomi transforms herself throughout the book. I love how she isn't this neat freak perfect popular person she was. She definitely has flaws and before and after amnesia she is a different person which I find super interesting. She starts all over but she doesn't become what she was. That's so weird. So given another chance she would act differently with the world she is given.

This story also makes me wonder some things about how we could have been anyone. We could have had any life. We are who we are partly because of genetics and who are parents are so what if you were born from someone other than your mother or even adopted? Would we still act the same? Will we be the same person? This was a great book and one of the rare ones that I actually possess and I'm glad I do.


The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick Loved the majority of it but it was kind of predictable and I got bored at the end. It was though a good read with fantastic illustrations.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox - Quentin Blake, Roald Dahl I guess since I saw the movie first I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would. It is still pretty good and the reason I got to see the movie at all.

I Am Number Four Movie Tie-in Edition (Lorien Legacies)

I Am Number Four Movie Tie-in Edition (Lorien Legacies) - Pittacus Lore Wasn't really convinced about John and Sarah. They really had no relationship except kissing and the book could have been more... exciting.


Unwind - Neal Shusterman I didn't really know what this book was about when I picked it up but it was Neal Shusterman so I thought it must be good. At first I was like oh no it's about abortion. I really didn't want to read a book about that. But, it ended it up being really good. It showed what could happen if people couldn't stop arguing and let people have their own opinions about the whole thing. Parents are pretty cruel in this. Characters were interesting and the book was amazing!