Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Book #49: LibraryLove November 28, 2010

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway

Book description~ I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself. Three sisters share a magical, unshakeable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood—powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose? April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other. Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.

Phew. After FOUR, yes, FOUR Thanksgivings meals shared with both family and friends over the last few days, I finally had this morning and afternoon COMPLETELY unscheduled and uninterrupted to read, read, read like the wind! Although I enjoyed every moment of spending time with friends, families, and babies this weekend, I’ve felt the pressure of this challenge now more than ever. Back in the summer, I was inundated with books to read and review and unfortunately didn’t get to them all. This book fell by the wayside and I finally got around to it this week. Special thanks to Penguin Books and Young Adult (YA) author Robin Benway for sending me this galley copy of April, May & June to review. What a fun and unexpected read! Although I do enjoy the YA genre from time to time, this story was really well-written and could be enjoyed by adults and not just young readers.

“No thanks. I know smoking kills and all that but also, you get these really weird pucker lines around your mouth. And I haven’t been using moisturizer every night since I was ten for no reason. “

The story is focused around the three sisters, named sequentially after the months in which they were each born, each with unique abilities (think Jedi mind tricks!). Dealing with the emotions of being a teenager is more than enough for these three girls. Add on to that a painful divorce for the girls’ mother and you have yourself the starting threads for this fun, suspenseful tale of love, sisterhood, and teen angst. The girls are trying to navigate through high school while missing their father, who now lives states away. The girls’ mother starts to date and so too, do the girls. However, as I was trying to sink my teeth into this quick read, my main criticism is that the mysterious and suspenseful juicy rising action of the plot line didn’t unfurl until almost 200 pages in, then the book suddenly halts and leaves the reader wanting more. I loved April & her love interest Julian’s storyline; I would have much preferred more of them than some of the other extraneous half-developed characters. What is it with most YA novels these days? YOUNG kids are reading 600+ pages of Harry Potter and/or Lord of the Rings; why can’t YA books go a little more in-depth too??

This was a fun and for the most part lighthearted book. Although rated as Young Adult, many of the “party scenes” in this book, to me, wouldn’t be what I’d want my teenager reading. Alright, off I go to enjoy the afternoon with my hubby and puppies in front of the fireplace and excited to crack open of my friends’ suggested reading of The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Off I go….stay tuned!

3/5 stars

49 down, 3 to go!

xoxo,

LibraryLove


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Book #4: LibraryLove January 26, 2010

The Penderwicks on Gardham Street by Jeanne Birdsall

Book description: The Penderwick sisters are home on Gardam Street and ready for an adventure! But the adventure they get isn’t quite what they had in mind. Mr. Penderwick’s sister has decided it’s time for him to start dating and the girls know that can only mean one thing: disaster. Enter the Save-Daddy Plan a plot so brilliant, so bold, so funny, that only the Penderwick girls could have come up with it. It’s high jinks, big laughs, and loads of family warmth as the Penderwicks triumphantly return.

This book came recommended with high praise by one of my beloved fellow Lit & The City book club members who is also a 2nd grade teacher coaching an elementary book club. It was available on audiobook at my library so I happily gave it a listen. “Wait, hold on, you’re reading an elementary school book?” you may be thinking. Chillax, no, I didn’t regress back into my strawberry shortcake roller skate days (despite my immense desire to do so). But yes, I did read a young adult book and loved it. “But why?” Welp…ya see…the challenge that Fa-book-ulous and I embarked upon for 2010 is not just to read 52 books. Sure, on the surface, that’s part of the challenge. However, the real idea is that the challenge will facilitate us expanding far beyond our literary comfort zones of one or two main genres, open up our minds and expand our horizons. Making reading a priority takes us beyond the point of casual reader and makes us bonafide bookworms, hence our monniker. Devoting more time to reading means we’re afforded the opportunity to read all kinds of books whether we end up loving them or hating them. There’s also something to be said about the time when a book finds you. Closing out 2009 with a streak of tear-jerking intense reads (The Lovely Bones, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Change of Heart, My Sister’s Keeper, Precious), it was time for something lighthearted and fun to brighten up the bitterly cold winter. The Penderwicks was exactly that. A lighthearted and fun tale of the Penderwick sisters, who hatch a plan to deter any future suitors from successfully falling in love with their father, recently widowed, who is trying to oblige his sister Claire by getting back out in to the dating scene. The girls don’t want their father to come home with a wicked stepmother. They realize their hijinks are making their father miserable and revise, along with the help of their newest next door neighbor, Iantha. Listening to this on audiobook was that much more enjoyable. The various voices the narrator made for the ranging ages of all four Penderwicks gals kept the hours flying by and with such fun. If you babysit teens or work with children, this would make a really fun slumber party/camp out book to share about the ups, twists and turns of a young family of girls just looking out for their dad, and the fun that ensues along the way.

5/5 stars

On deck on my iPod: The Alchemist (audiobook) + still bookin’ through Keeping The Faith….

4 down 48 to go!

Love and patronize your local library!

Xoxo, LibraryLove