Friday, March 21, 2008


So I've been reading a lot of books lately, and haven't had time to review them all until now. Watch out! These ones are good!

The True Meaning of Smekday
by Adam Rex, 423 pages, 2007.
Winner of the SF/F Elementary/Middle Grade category of the Cybils. There is a great description of it there. Basically, it is hilarious. But what do you expect with a girl named Gratuity, a cat named Pig, and an alien named J.Lo? Their illegal hovercar is only the start! Recommended to fans of The Hitchhiker's Guide and/or humans ages ~10+. A must-read.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre
by Gail Carson Levine, 241 pages, 2001.
This author has already brought us the romantic and high-spirited Ella Enchanted. If you're looking for a fantasy that is fast-paced and clever, try this little book. You can't help but love its main characters. Try not to read the back though. It gives too much away, if you ask me. Suffice it to say, its about two princesses and a quest. If that's your sort of thing, go for it!

Here Lies the Librarian
by Richard Peck, 145 pages, 2006.
There's an excellent beginning on this novel -- a tornado tearing up the local cemetery in the days of the first automobiles. And ever since the librarian (who refused to lend out books) was buried there a few years ago, the town's tiny library has been boarded up. What will happen when some new librarians come to town? Recommended to fans of Historical & Realistic Fiction, or those who've liked Richard Peck's other books.

Into the Wild
by Sarah Beth Durst, 260 pages, 2007.
A fantasy set in the modern day, Into the Wild is not the book about the guy who goes all Walden and gives up civilization for several years. Sorry, it's about Julie -- Rapunzel's daughter. Rapunzel and the other fairy tale characters have escaped the Wild Wood. But when the Wild starts taking over again, and Julie finds her mother's hair salon vacant, she's gotta go in. The book is full of imagination, but the writing occasionally lacks clarity. Recommended to those who like to have fun with fairy tales, and don't mind a few cheesy one-liners.

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup
by Sharon Creech, 141 pages, 2003.
This thin novel is simple and tasty -- just like the soup that funny and loving Granny Torrelli makes. The book is a super-quick read that just warms the soul. Rosie is 12, and Bailey is her best friend. Best friends are not supposed to say things like "Get over yourself." Fortunately, Granny's got some recipes for reconciliation, as well as zuppa. Realistic fiction recommended to pretty much anyone.

by Maureen Johnson, 263 pages, 2006.
Maureen always makes me laugh. This book is a good beach-type read -- funny, well-written, and entertaining without requiring a lot of brain power. Jane Jarvis is our main character, and this short spunky senior is a rebel at her Catholic high school. Again, I think the back of the book gives too much away, but I'll tell you that some supernatural shenanigans are headed her way. My favorite part of the book? This awesome simile about one of the teachers: "Sister smiled slightly. It looked unnatural on her, like mascara on a baby." Recommended if you want a cupcake of a book.


Amy Coyne said...

Alysa! I found your blog and am liking your book recommendations. I went to the library and got a few of them and am enjoying my new reads. Thanks for posting them! Hope you're having fun with student teaching. It's over soon, right? Have fun with your last few weeks!

maggie-t said...

Hey Alysa!
I had no idea that you and Jacob were so much into books. I think that is awesome! i love reading, but Jeremy isn't too much into into it. I could barely get him to finish the 7th Harry Potter Book. tsk, tsk, I know it's horrible. So what are y'alls fav books?

Alysa said...

amy -- what books did you get??

maggie -- I love childrens' and YA fiction. I'd recommend anything by Shannon Hale or Sharon Creech. Jacob is more into sci-fi/fantasy and has liked Orson Scott Card (I like him too) and Robert Jordan. So there are a couple of big names for you!

Katie Smith said...

Thanks for all of the good recommendations. I have been looking for something good to read so I'll have to check some of these out!

Smartphone said...
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Kathlen said...

Hi Alysa!! Tag your it. Go to my blog to get the tag.

Greg and Kimberly ... said...

Thanks for the reviews, I've been looking for some new things to read!

Lori said...

Thanks for the book suggestions! I am always on the lookout...