Monday, July 30, 2012

Teen Book Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Title: The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Author: Emily Danforth
Reviewer: Lauren Batchelder
Rating: 4.6/5 stars

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.  (Source: book summary)

The relief doesn’t last long, though, as Cameron is soon sent to live with her conservative aunt and grandmother. Despite their differences, she is able to keep her secret until Coley Taylor arrives in town. Good looking, spunky, peppy Coley has a perfect boyfriend, but it doesn’t stop Cam from starting to love her. They soon form an intense relationship and when Coley falls in love with Cam, things finally seem right. Then the world comes crashing down on Cam, when her Aunt finds out and sends the poor girl to a school to “fix” her and stop her from being a lesbian. This costs Cam the ability to love and accept herself, while she is still in the process of  trying to figure out who she is on her own terms.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a beautiful book about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life in your own way. I really enjoyed this book, because it was a topic that isn’t really discussed much, and I found it interesting that Danforth had the guts to write about it. This riveting page turner was beautifully told. I loved it and I am sure that you will too! 4.6/5 stars!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

Title: The Woman Warrior
Author: Maxine Hong Kingston
Year of Publication: 1975
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 209

First Line: "'You must not tell anyone,' my mother said, 'what I am about to tell you. In China your father had a sister who killed herself. She jumped into the family well. We say that your father has all brothers because it is as if she had never been born.'"

Summary: Maxine Hong Kingston reveals aspects of her life and Chinese culture and history through her rich prose.

Review:  Kingston tells her stories in a unique prose style reminiscent of intimate story telling.  I read this book at the recommendation of my boyfriend.  Though, because of a lack of background, I did not quite get the full meaning of everything Kingston wrote about, I enjoyed what I did understand and came away with a new and more in-depth perspective of Chinese-American and Chinese culture.  This memoir might not be suitable for younger readers because of the depth and some content but is an enjoyable read for the summer.

Disliked: I didn't feel there was enough connection through each section to make it feel like a whole piece.

Liked:  Kingston's candid and ruthless perspective offers great insight.

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Author's Website: None

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

Title: Switched
Author: Amanda Hocking
Reviewer: Kinsey Manchester
Rating: 5/5 stars
Wendy Everly’s life has never quite been perfect. When she was six, her mother tried to kill her and has been locked up in a mental hospital ever since. Her brother and aunt raise her and care for her, because her mother hates her and believes she is a monster. Wendy has not been able to settle in one place, always changing schools and not ever fitting in. At her newest school, she meets a boy named Finn Holmes. Finn is a mysterious boy who seems to be paying a lot of attention to Wendy. He is the one guy who makes her feel like a normal girl. When Finn tells Wendy that all of her quirks add up to make her something more than human, Wendy doesn’t have a hard time believing him. Wendy’s mother may just be right about Wendy being a monster. Finn promises her a new life and a place where she can finally fit in; he tells her about a place called Förening. Wendy, believing him and also not wanting to admit how much she likes him, goes with Finn and leaves behind her family. She believes that she is keeping her family safe by leaving them behind because she believes that she is a monster. She is also interested in meeting people like her. Even when Wendy finds out that the people like her aren’t remotely close to being monsters, she still doesn’t love her new life. The only thing keeping her from leaving is Finn. Wendy misses the comfort of home as things become strained. She cannot be two different people and has to choose which will win over- her supernatural self or who she was raised to be.

I did not expect myself to like this book nearly as much as I did. I really adored this book because it was a supernatural book featuring creatures other than vampires, werewolves, and fairies. Amanda Hocking wrote a unique book and she wrote it well. Switched hooked me within the first few chapters. I finished this book in one afternoon because I couldn’t put it down. The characters were extremely likable. Wendy was a great main character and I loved how she was not afraid to stand up to those higher up than her. She cares for people and even though she thinks she is a monster at first, there is no way that someone that nice is capable of hurting anyone. Wendy’s brother, Matt, was a perfect supporting character. He was the best big brother, always doing anything for his little sister. Matt saved Wendy from their mother and he never stopped protecting and loving her. Finn was also a great match for Wendy and I loved how their relationship worked. It did not feel rushed like relationships sometime seem in books. Also, when Wendy met Rhys, I enjoyed Rhys, too. Rhys was a boy in Wendy’s new life at Förening and he was a good friend to her when she had nobody. The plot of Switched was fast paced and moved along quickly, but not fast enough that you felt like you were missing details. This book was the perfect start to a trilogy, and I absolutely cannot wait to read the next one. I recommend this book to readers who like action, supernatural, or a little romance. 5/5 stars!