I read several books during our spring break trip to Hawaii which I haven't gotten to blogging about, but I'm determined to whip out some serious posting today.
First up I read the Printz winner, In Darkness by Nick Lake which was available through Multnomah County Library as an e-book. Good choice for the title, b/c it was seriously DARK. It's set in Haiti, and I like that there is now a YA book set there, because I can't think of another one. Someone chime in if you know of one. The book takes place in the slums of Haiti just after the big earthquake and is super intense, depressing and creepy. The main character, Shorty, is a gang member, and he's been mixed up in some seriously bad stuff. In the novel, he's trapped in the rubble, sure he's going to die, and telling his life story mixed in with visions of the Haitian liberation from the early 1800s. I didn't love this book. It was a little too intense, violent and weird. And it's definitely not the kind of book I usually read on vacation! But by the last third of the book, I really did care about Shorty and was engaged in the story. If it hadn't won the Printz, I probably wouldn't have stuck with it, and I think that will be the reaction of all but the most sophisticated teen readers, but I'm glad I did.
Real Mermaids Don't Need High Heels by Helene Boudreau. I didn't realize this was the second book in the series when I read it, but I didn't feel like I was missing any information, so it clearly worked well as a stand alone. For some reason, I just love mermaid books. I'm not sure why, but they're just fun. And while I did enjoy this book overall, I thought it was a little too mermaid-y, a little too obvious or overdone. Jade is half mermaid and half human, and not everyone knows she's a mermaid, so she has to deal with some interesting problems. Luckily, her boyfriend is also half mer. In fact, there are quite a lot of mer-people in the town, perhaps there were too many?? anyway, things are going crazy in the mer-world in the lake in Jade's town, and she and her friends have to do their best to try and get things figured out. I read an advanced reader's copy of this book.
Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally. I thought this was a great storyline, about a girl, Kate, who'd helped a friend who wanted to get an abortion even though she firmly believed abortion was wrong. Kate couldn't quite forgive herself for helping her friend or her friend for aborting the baby, and she was miserable. Kate hopes that spending the summer as a church camp counselor might send her the sign she's been seeking, that she's forgiven. There's a romance in the story, and some typical petty girl stuff, and normally I'd be all in favor of this type of story. I thought, however, that the Christian aspect of this book was way too over the top for many readers. I don't have a problem with authors bringing in religion or religious ideas. I know they're important to many people and they're issues young people struggle with. Heck, adults struggle with them. Unfortunately, I thought this book was too heavy handed and I think it will turn many readers off. I read an advanced reader's copy of this book.
Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt. I just love Lindsey Leavitt, and this book reminded me why. It's terrific. Fun and funny, but with serious issues woven in as well. Mallory's boyfriend Jeremy has been cheating with her via an online girlfriend. When Mallory finds out, her reaction is a little overboard, but it leads to a great story. Mallory swears off all technology - no Internet, no Facebook, no cell phone. Can you imagine? I mean screen free week is one thing, but this is something else altogether. And that's not all. She's also found an old list her grandmother made in the 1960's of things to do, and she wants to do everything on it. She wants to, for example, sew a prom dress. Does she know how to sew? No. She wants to start a pep club at school. Does she know what a pep club even is, really? No. All of these things lead to some very funny results, and they all have some unexpected consequences. I think you'll find yourself charmed by Mallory in her vintage period if you can get your hands on a copy of this recently published novel. I read an advanced reader's copy of this book.
Double Crossed by Ally Carter was a super short fun read that combined her two worlds of the Heist society novels and the Gallagher girls novels (one of my all time fave series). It's actually available for the Kindle (or on the Kindle app if you have an iPad or iPhone) for FREE here. It's only about fifty pages, but it's a great introduction to both series if you've never read them, and I thought she did a great job mixing the two worlds. There are excerpts from both series with the download, too.
Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King is the most recent installment of the Mary Russell series, written about sherlock Holmes and his wife Mary Russell. I quite love this series, and although I was a little disappointed in the last one, I decided to give this one a try. SO glad I came back to it because it was great. In this story, Mary Russell has a case of amnesia, to the point of not knowing who she is, let alone who Holmes is. When the story begins, doesn't even know where she is or why her head hurts so badly. Piece by piece, bruise by bruise, the story unfolds and readers discover with her, what happened when she disappeared with the little boy who doesn't speak. Fabulous series which I highly recommend to lovers of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
So that was my spring break. Have you read any great books on vacation lately?