Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Peach Keeper

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The Peach Keeper
by Sarah Addison Allen
publication date: March 22, 2011

From Goodreads:
The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon welcomes you to her newest locale: Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.

Sarah Addison Allen creates stories rich with heart and magic. The world she creates is so real and wonderful, I want to pick up and move to her fictional small towns. Her first three books have become some of my favorites and I can't wait to get my hands on her latest novel!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Periodically

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question asks:

Even I read things other than books from time to time…like, Magazines! What magazines/journals do you read?

Oh, I read a lot of magazines, but I'm cheap, so I love finding low-priced subscriptions to magazines. Really, you can get a full year's worth of magazines for the price of two issues!

My current subscriptions include Better Homes and Gardens, which besides being an awesome magazine full of recipes, decorating tips, and crafty things, also has an addictive website.

I also get Marie Claire, which has the expected fashion and love advice common to many women's mags, but it also provides current information about women's issues around the world.

Other magazines that I've subscribed to in the past or buy sporadically include Entertainment Weekly, Country Living, Self, Bon Appetit, and the occasional People double issue.

As for journals, I get the American Library Association's (ALA) American Libraries magazine and I read plenty of journal articles related to libraries and library science.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Bossypants

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

by Tina Fey
I've always been more of a novel reader, but I do love humorous books and that includes memoires. I enjoyed reading Kristin Chenowith, Chelsea Handler, and Amy Sedaris, and I have no doubt that Tina Fey's book will be hilarious. Shoot, even the Goodread's description is funny! And that cover!
I judge a book by it's cover,
and I judge that this cover
is awesome. 
Goodreads says:
Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin" Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.
She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately half-hearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

(Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)

Once in a generation a woman comes along who changes everything. TINA FEY is not that woman, but she met that woman once and acted weird around her.


You'd be pretty if you lost weight. --COLLEGE BOYFRIEND, 1990

Tina Fey is an ugly, pear-shaped, overrated troll. --THE INTERNET

Mommy, where are my pretzels. --TRACY MORGAN


I hope that's not really the cover. That's really going to hurt sales. --DON FEY, FATHER OF TINA FEY

Absolutely delicious! --A GUY WHO EATS BOOKS

Totally worth it. --TREES

Do not print this glowing recommendation of Tina Fey's book until I've been dead a hundred years. --MARK TWAIN

Hilarious and insightful. Laugh-out-loud funny oh no, a full moon! No! Arrgh! Get away from me! Save yourself! --A GUY TURNING INTO A WEREWOLF

Monday, January 17, 2011

Musing Mondays (2)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. This week’s musing asks…

Do you prefer deep, intellectual, “meaty” books… or light, “fluffy” books? Why? Give us an example of your preferred type of book.

I like books that entertain me, and "deep, intellectual" books rarely do that. I want something fun, something that draws me and makes me laugh or, occassionally, provides a good mope (that's where the Twilight series fits in for me, specifically New Moon - it's great for a good wallow). I particularly like books with a sense of humor, like Jennifer Crusie's Agnes and the Hitman or Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series. A book doesn't have to be "fluffy" to be fun - and I look for fun in my entertainment.

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (14)

It's Monday: What are you Reading? is a weekly meme from BookJourney.

That noise - that banging sound you may hear? That would be my head against the wall. I cannot get this book finished! It has nothing to do with the style or content - it's an excellent book and I've really enjoyed reading it. But it's sooooo loooonnnngggggg!!!! I have to have it finished by Friday, and I'm not sure I can do it. Which is really bad, since I'm leading the book group that's reading it...

So, I'm still reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. If you'd like more information about it, please see my last two It's Monday posts, as well as my last two Teaser Tuesday posts. Maybe someday I'll be able to post about a different book.

Bang.  Bang.  Bang.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Jane Goes Batty (Jane Bites #2)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Jane Goes Batty (Jane Bites #2)
by Michael Thomas Ford
expected publication: February 1, 2011

Jane Austen is a vampire and trying to make it as a writer in the 21st century (and having more trouble than you may think) - she found success with her book in Jane Bites Back, and now she's dealing with the ramifications. I can't read the synopsis below without getting excited and a bit giggly!

From Goodreads:
After two hundred years undead, Jane Austen still has bite. But will her most recent literary success be her last?

Life was a lot easier for Jane when she was just an unknown, undead bookstore owner in a sleepy hamlet in upstate New York. But now the world embraces her as Jane Fairfax, author of the bestselling novel Constance—and she’s having a killer time trying to keep her true identity as the Jane Austen a secret. Even the ongoing lessons in How to Be a Vampire, taught by her former lover Lord Byron, don’t seem to be helping much. Jane can barely focus on her boyfriend, Walter, while keeping him in the dark about her more sanguine tastes.

To make matters worse, Walter announces that his mother is coming for a visit—and she’s expecting Jane to be Jewish. Add in a demanding new editor, a convention of romance readers in period costume, a Hollywood camera crew following Jane’s every move, and the constant threat of a certain bloodsucking Brontë sister coming back to finish her off, and it’s enough to make even the most well-mannered heroine go batty!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
"Horace Tott spent an uneventful life in Cheshire always intending to write a large book on English magic, but never quite beginning. And so he died at seventy-four, still imagining he might begin next week, or perhaps the week after that."

- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Monday, January 10, 2011

My 100th post! Celebrate with a Giveaway!

Yay, this is my 100th post! I can't believe I managed it. And in honor of that major milestone, I'm going to link you to a truly awesome giveaway! Bookalicious is offering several cool secondary book giveaways and a main prize of a NookColor! How awesome is that! Just check out the info here to find out how to enter, and good luck!

I'm a NookColor!
Thanks for sticking with me through my first 100 posts and here's looking forward to the next 100!

It's Monday: What are you reading? (13)

It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from BookJourney.

I am still reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Alas, I'm supposed to have this finished in about a week and a half and I'm having the worst time getting it finished, not because it's bad (on the contrary, I'm quite enjoying it), but because I've been too busy. And now classes are starting back up and I'll have even less time. I'm thinking I'll have to set aside a power-read session and see if I can put a dent in the remaining 700 pages (yeah, and I've already read 300).

For more info on this book, please see my post from last week.

Musing Mondays (1)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Today's musing asks:

Where is your favorite place to find new books to read? Blogs? The library? Newspapers? Magazines? In the backs of other books? Suggestions from friends/family? Online bookstores? On the shelves of the local bookstores? (I don’t necessarily mean, ‘where do you find books to buy’ — I mean, ‘where do you discover new titles that you add to your to-be-read lists’?).

I rely on my friends' and fellow librarian classmates' and professors' suggestions, websites like Goodreads or Amazon, lots of fabulous book bloggers, and browsing stores like Half Priced Books and Books A Million or the stacks at my library (or their website).

I'm an equal opportunity book browser!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a time for everyone to share what books they acquired over the course of the week. I'll share what I received in the mail, bought at bookstores, downloaded, or picked up from the library.
I adore Half Priced Books, particularly their clearance section. I made out pretty well this week:

Ghouls Just Want To Have Fun, by Kathleen Bacus
The Spellman Files, by Lisa Lutz
No Lifeguard on Duty: The accidental life of the world's first supermodel, by Janice Dickenson (my super-role model)

And two cookbooks (yay!):
The Pillsbury Healthy Baking Book: Fresh Approaches to More Than 200 Favorite Recipes, by Pillsbury
Williams-Sonoma Entertaining: Easy Entertaining, by George Dolese
Plus two more books from Books A Million:
Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
I heart books!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Poor Mr. Norrell! He had not heard Drawlight's story of how the fairies had washed the people's clothes and it came as a great shock to him. He assured Sir Walter that he had never in his life washed linen - not by magic nor by any other means."  - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, page 86

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's Monday, what are you reading? (12)

It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from BookJourney.

I have been reading and will be reading for some time to come:

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke

From Goodreads:
"It's 1808 and that Corsican upstart Napoleon is battering the English army and navy. Enter Mr. Norrell, a fusty but ambitious scholar from the Yorkshire countryside and the first practical magician in hundreds of years. What better way to demonstrate his revival of British magic than to change the course of the Napoleonic wars? Susanna Clarke's ingenious first novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, has the cleverness and lightness of touch of the Harry Potter series, but is less a fairy tale of good versus evil than a fantastic comedy of manners, complete with elaborate false footnotes, occasional period spellings, and a dense, lively mythology teeming beneath the narrative. Mr. Norrell moves to London to establish his influence in government circles, devising such powerful illusions as an 11-day blockade of French ports by English ships fabricated from rainwater. But however skillful his magic, his vanity provides an Achilles heel, and the differing ambitions of his more glamorous apprentice, Jonathan Strange, threaten to topple all that Mr. Norrell has achieved. A sparkling debut from Susanna Clarke--and it's not all fairy dust. --Regina Marler"

I'm reading this book for my super-awesome book group. And it's big, a real beast of a book, one I have to have read by January 21st. Here's hopin'! But so far, so good...

New for 2011

My poor, poor blog, neglected all these busy school months. For the new year, I resolve to post more often and get back into the swing of being a blogger. To start off on the right foot, I've just added a ton of new posts for many of the books I've read since August. Most of my reading has been class and book group related; sadly I've had little time to read for my own edification. Luckily, though, the majority of the books I've been forced to read have been winners.

Please enjoy the new blog posts and new look as we head into a brand spankin' new year!


Book Review: Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go follows three students from a school that isn't what it seems with a future that's bleaker than what it first appears.

It's hard to say anything about this book without a major spoiler alert, and I don't want to give anything away. I will say this, though, Never Let Me Go wasn't to my taste, but it was a good book. Heartbreaking and a dark look at what our future may hold, but good. It's a great choice for a book group - it offers many topics for discussion. And while it's an adult novel, it would be an interesting book for a high school audience, too.

Book Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
by E. Lockhart

From Goodreads:
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club.
Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Laundau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.
Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.

From Me:
I loved this book! It was clever and fun, and the characters, though few could relate to their wealth and boarding school experiences, were relatable. Most of the story centered around the awkwardness of growing up, young love, and wanting to fit in, allowing the reader to say "this story is about a girl [or boy] like me."

I think Frankie, despite her poor choices in boyfriends, is someone to look up to. She saw everyone following the status quo and she didn't like it, so she did something about it. I can see Frankie breaking all kinds of glass ceilings in her future.

I also loved the descriptions of the panopticon and the neglected positives. I love words and word play so I really enjoyed the neglected positive sections; I'd never heard of the panopticon idea, but it makes complete sense and feels very 1984/Big Brother. But my favorite part is how Frankie takes on the all-male secret society, and with it, she takes on old conventions and perceived gender roles. Frankie rocks!

Book Review: Frindle

by Andrew Clements
illustrations by Brian Selznick

** Spoiler Alert **

I love bengoes and bengo-play. And the idea that a young boy, no matter his intentions, created a brand new bengo and that it became so popular that it was eventually added to the dictionary is fantastic. Nick may have come up with the idea to change the bengo for "pen" in an effort to make another move in the chess game he and Mrs. Granger were playing, but I think he really understood the lesson that she was teaching him. He may have decided to waste the class time by making a super-...moreI love bengoes and bengo-play. And the idea that a young boy, no matter his intentions, created a brand new bengo and that it became so popular that it was eventually added to the dictionary is fantastic. Nick may have come up with the idea to change the bengo for "pen" in an effort to make another move in the chess game he and Mrs. Granger were playing, but I think he really understood the lesson that she was teaching him. He may have decided to waste the class time by making a super-long report, but the report was full of good information and he did learn a lot in the process. In the same way, when he created his new bengo, he was taking to heart Mrs. Granger's answer to his question about who creates bengoes: "You do, Nicholas. You and me and everyone in this class and this school and this town and this state and this country...We decide what goes in [the dictionary]" (29-31). Mrs. Granger was passionate about bengoes, and in her creative way, she got her students to be passionate about them too, particularly Nick.

Children can identify with Nick and his issues with school and teachers: not wanting to do homework and being concerned about a tough new teacher. They could also be drawn in by the humor of Nick's clever pranks. But once in, the story provides pretty cool lesson about the power of bengoes and that someone as young as Nick can make a difference, even one as big as creating a brand new bengo. This book is a fun, humorous book that will draw in a reader by a normal, relatable kid and the amazing, but not too impossible, thing he did.

Bengo = Word. Pass it on!

Book Review: Leviathan

by Scott Westerfeld
illustrations by Keith Thompson

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.

From me:
While Leviathan may be hard to categorize, it's a great example of a different type of science fiction - one that doesn't meet anyone's definition. Westerfeld's creation is strange and wondrous while being filled with war and danger. Deryn, the middy hiding her gender, doesn't let her deception hinder her (or her storyline); she takes risks with her get-it-done attitude, but she does so intelligently, making her one of the best crewmen on the Leviathan. Alek is a prince who has been looked down on most of his life, makes many blunders, and has little confidence, and yet he proves to be both skilled and able with a heart for people. These outside-the-box characters fit excellently with an outside-the-box story.

Audio Book Review: The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1)

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1)
by Rick Riordan
Audio CD, unabridged, read by Kevin R. Free and Katherine Kellgren

From Goodreads:
Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

From me:
The Kane Chronicles are a new series by the author of the Percy Jackson books. And by new, I mean different - this book is a couple of years old now, but the series is not connected to the Percy books (at least to my knowledge). Where the Olympians series focuses on figures from Greek mythology, the Kane titles feature the Egyptian gods. One of my favorite parts of this book was how Riordan made history interesting.

Riordan did an excellent job of creating a world that was exciting and fun. It really lends itself to the audio format, as the main characters switch back and forth with the narration as though they're making a recording for future listeners (that, and Kevin R. Price and Katherine Kellgren did an amazing job voicing the narration). The reader/listener is drawn in by the adventure and mystery, but the story is also kept light by the teasing asides between Sadie and Carter as they're narrating. I like how Riordan kept this good-versus-evil, save-the-world tale more fun than scary. The reader also gets drawn into the story as though they may be one of the children with the "blood of the pharaohs."

A great read for the prescribed age-group of grades 4-9, but I got a real kick out of it, too!

Book Review: Cheri

by Colette

From Goodreads:
Chéri, together with The Last of Chéri, is a classic story of a love affair between a very young man and a charming older woman. The amour between Fred Peloux, the beautiful gigolo known as Chéri, and the courtesan Léa de Lonval tenderly depicts the devotion that stems from desire, and is an honest account of the most human preoccupations of youth and middle age. With compassionate insight Colette paints a full-length double portrait using an impressionistic style all her own.
From me:
This review is only for Cheri; I haven't had a chance to read The Last of Cheri, yet. Cheri follows the end of an affair between an older courtesan with a much younger man, something that turns out to be much harder than either of them could have imagined. This story is both moving and still relevant to today, though it takes place in pre-World War I France.

This book was read for a book group and created great topics of discussion.

Graphic Novel Review: Twilight: The Graphic Novel

Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1
by Stephenie Meyer
illustrated by Young Kim

One problem with creating a movie based on a book with extraordinarily beautiful and occasionally sparkly vampires (not to mention the uber-tall and muscled wolf-people) is that you have to cast those parts with real people. While the actors and actresses in the Twilight movie are very attractive, they they still look like regular people...with bad make-up jobs (as someone who is naturally uber-pale, I thought the face make-up used in that movie was laughable). I think the graphic novel does much better with this. To me, like the combination of imagination and the written word, the artistry of this graphic novel created the author’s world better than the movie. Young Kim also made choices that enhanced the story, like the use of color or photographic elements (the La Push beach or the wolf in Bella’s dream).

I only had two issues with the graphic novel. Despite the fact that I really loved the artistry in this book – I thought Young Kim’s illustrations were beautiful – I thought some of the characters looked a little too similar to one another; sometimes it was hard to tell them apart. The other issue is that, while I think the graphic novel did an excellent job of making sure that all of the major scenes were included, without the meat of the text, what was left behind felt a little light or weak. And to stay with the food analogy, without that meat, sometimes it felt like all that was left was cheese. That’s why I think this graphic novel does much better as an “enhancement” to the original book, rather than a stand-alone graphic novel.

Book Review: Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska
by John Green

While this book wasn't to my taste, I do believe it has quality and literary merit. The writing quality was strong, including the occasional sentence that made me pause to appreciate the words. The characters were well developed, the countdown kept the reader intrigued and pushing through to see what happened on The Day, and the overall plot was poignant and meaningful.

I wasn't particularly fond of the first half of this book. Reading about how these teens were living their lives, or rather, wasting them, bothered me. Yes, they were bonding, and perhaps they were acting as many teens do (I couldn't relate myself, but maybe that's true for others), but it felt so wasteful. And the adult in me, though only a decade or so removed from high school, did think that the smoking, drinking, etc., was inappropriate. That being said, I'm well aware that none of this material would shock the majority of today's teens, let alone influence their behavior.

After finishing the book and ruminating on the plot, I think it may have been intentional on John Green's part to make the Before section aimless - it made the second half and the teens' search for meaning that much more powerful. I think Pudge's statement at the end of the book, in his final paper, really sums up the first and second parts of the book:

"When adults say, 'Teenagers think they are invincible' with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are...They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail."

**Spoiler Alert - quit reading here if you don't want vague references to what happens in this story!**

The first half of the story, our main characters live like they're invincible, but in the end they get a taste of their own mortality. And for any teenager who has dealt with the loss of one of their friends or acquaintances, this book could potentially help them. So despite my personal feelings about this book, I think Alaska deserves to have a place in any teen's library.

Book Review: The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

From Goodreads:
After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . .

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

From me:
Even though the book started out dark and creepy, I felt like the story was more fantastic and adventuresome, rather than dark or scary. Throughout the book, Bod was constantly not afraid of the things that most of us would be. Ghosts are his family, a graveyard is his home - that being true, a school bully is nothing to fear. To me, I found the overall theme to be fearlessness and the importance of really living your life, which is something I need to embrace a little more often. A great read for both children and adults.