Jenny's Library

Reading Round-up 2013: week 46 – part 1

Posted on: February 1, 2014

cover image for UntoldUntold by Sarah Rees Brennan

Kami Glass no longer has to keep what she knows about her town, Sorry-in-the-Vale, a secret.  Now practically everyone in town is aware that magic is the town’s legacy, and of the power that the Lynburn family once held over everyone else.  But the person Kami most wants to talk to is no longer speaking to her. Which poses a danger to more than just her heart, for Kami is going to need all the help she can get to stop Rob Lynburn from turning Sorry-in-the-Vale back into the Lynbrun’s own private kingdom.

This books starts with killer scarecrows and kisses in the dark and mistaken identities – and just keeps going from there.  SO MUCH WACKY DRAMA. (in a good way.)  I appreciate that Brennan didn’t undo everything that happened at the end of the last book, and that Kami and Jared (and others) instead have to live with and deal with the choices they made and the things they said.  Best of all, Brennan is really great at the overwhelming angst and other emotions that is typical of young adult novels, but without resorting to the kind of situations where everything would be solved if people would just talk.  And when people aren’t talking, it makes sense.

When does the next book come out again?

cover image for The Adoration of Jenna FoxThe Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

A seventeen year old girl wakes up without any memories of who she is.  All she knows is what she’s been told. Her name (Jenna Fox), where she is (in her parent’s house), and why she doesn’t remember anything (accident, then coma).  Her parents give her videos to watch, images of a past she doesn’t remember, in the hopes that they will help heal her.  Instead they simply prompt more questions, questions that no one seems willing to answer.

I think what I love most about this book is that it’s the kind of story that’s best told with a teenaged protagonist.  Not that I’m against young adult genre novels where the teens take on more adult roles, however unlikely that may be.  But I really do love when authors come up with scenarios that not only make more sense with teens as the center of the story, but that demonstrate how certain questions are best asked in that context.  It’s an easy read, but thought provoking nonetheless.

cover image for Mister Max: The Book of Lost ThingsMister Max – The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt

Max knew he wasn’t late to the pier, but the ship that was supposed to take him and his family to India was no where to be seen.  And neither were his parents.  Now Max’s grandmother is insisting he move in with her until his parents return, but all Max wants are answers and some independence.  Suddenly presented with a pile of problems and mysteries, Max decides that his only option to be the person who finds the solutions.

I kept feeling like I ought to like this book, but instead it left me feeling like I was merely trudging through in order to be done with it.  I suspect it will hold more appeal for it’s middle grade target audience, but not nearly as much as it could have.

cover image for The Infinite Moment of UsThe Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

I am going to skip the synopsis this time around because I CAN’T with this book.  It’s  a badly needed update of Judy Blume’s Forever (at least, that was my impression, and I’m clearly not the only one) and while I’d recommend it over that any day, and I’m so very glad both books exist, I was still frowning through most of this novel.

To be fair, this is in part because, in trying to show that it’s normal and ok and healthy for teens to have sex – as long as they are responsible – one ends up presenting that specific relationship as a model for how to Do Things Right, rather than exploring these characters in particular.  And this book really could have done better when it came to exploring the characters.

It’s the caveat (the “as long as they’re responsible” part) that’s the kicker.  Everyone should be responsible, not just teens, and putting that condition on teens’, and only teens’, right to take pleasure in their own bodies is bound to imply that only certain people have the right, and those certain people are usually going to be the ones that adhere to the status quo.  This may not have been was Myracle was going for, but it is the impression I got, particularly because of the way Wrenn and Charlie’s relationship was compared to Charlie and Starrla’s.  I suspect Myracle was simply trying to acknowledge that not all sex is healthy, but it came across as more: not all sex is healthy for teens.

And on that score, this book does have much to recommend it: teens having sex, girls in particular finding pleasure in sex, and all without either of the two main characters being punished for it!  Still, I am rolling my eyes so hard the way the book ends and absolutely everything involving Starrla – the sexually promiscuous and not very nice girl who acts as a foil to Wren’s innocence.


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