Saturday, February 26, 2011

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Twelve-year-old Abilene Tucker is the daughter of a drifter who, in the summer of 1936, sends her to stay with an old friend in Manifest, Kansas, where he grew up, and where she hopes to find out some things about his past.

I thought this book was well written. It was a historical fiction with a bit of a mystery twist. I am not sure how much the kids will connect with it. If kids are doing a historical book report I would highly recommend it. It was an enjoyable read for me. It had some interesting facts and there was no slow points. A fast read. Thumbs up.

posted by Lisa

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver’s first novel, Before I Fall, was one of my favorite books last year. Dynamic and beautifully plotted, it’s a masterpiece of YA literature. When I heard that Oliver had a new book in the works I mentally noted it and was later pleasantly surprised to find Delirium offered as an ARC on NetGalley.

Oliver possesses that most desirable of qualities for a writer – the ability to engage a reader to the point of obsession. The minute you open the book (or load it onto your screen in this case) she throws magic reading dust in your face and you are instantly sucked into her story. On reflection, you realize her plots are not all that unique, nor are her characters, but her writing is wonderful and she turns her familiar stories into ones you’ve never heard before.

Especially with Delirium. This is another dystopian-with-a-romance novel, the combination that has become money in the YA lit publishing world. In this instance, Lena, our heroine, lives in a society that has banished love. Love is an infection, a disease that is despised and feared. At the age of 18 every citizen undergoes an operation, a procedure, that cures the disease. They’re also told who they will marry and what job they will perform in society. It’s the summer before Lena’s 18th birthday and a few months before she’s to undergo the procedure and she just happens to … fall in love. With Alex, a mysterious young man who has ties with “resistors”, those who are trying to overthrow the government. Gentle Lena has always obeyed, though she isn’t without questions and Alex’s influence propels her to question even more, even speculate about living a different life, a life in the “Wilds”, an unregulated area inhabited by the “Invalid” population. The story reaches its climax a few days before Lena’s procedure – will she choose duty or love?

Oliver has written a brilliant novel with complex plotting and with twists and turns that will leave you breathless. The only problem I have with the novel is Lena, the main character. I think she suffers a bit from the “Bella Syndrome” – an uninteresting, plain girl who is desired by an exciting, charismatic man. What does Alex see in her? Lena does change during the novel, however, and by the end I liked her.

This is the first in a planned trilogy and I will read the others. I really like Lauren Oliver and am very pleased she writes for teens. They deserve someone this smart and talented writing books for them.

I kindly received this ARC from HarperTeen through NetGalley. It will be released on February 1, 2011.