This week is where I play catch up...telling you about lots of great things I've read, so I can start the new year off on track!
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan - I really liked this! It's the start of a new series, back at Camp Half-Blood. I'm anxiously waiting for it to be my turn to get the second one. Funny story - I was at a high school for a visit, and I overheard a couple of girls talking this. I mentioned I was reading it, and one of them got really excited and started to say something. I cut her off, "I'm not that far into it...I don't know why Jason has no memory or where Percy is...don't tell me anything!" Her eyes got big and she literally put her hand over her mouth to keep from telling me something.
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos - Okay, before reading this, I wasn't a huge Jack Gantos fan...I've read some Joey Pigza and some Rotten Ralph, and they just haven't worked for me. But this book? This book I LOVED. It has great characters and is laugh out loud funny...yes, the plot kind of falls apart and yes, the "murder mystery" at the end didn't work so well, but it still manages to be a terrific read about a boy who is grounded for the summer and only allowed to dig his family's bomb shelter in the backyard and help an elderly neighbor write obituaries for the local paper. It's one of my favorites of the year.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys - A moving story of how 15-year-old Lina and her mother and brother are taken from their home in Lithuania and sent to Siberia, a time during Stalin's reign which I knew little about.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - A story of angels and devils that manages to be so different from all of the other angel books that have been published lately. I absolutely never really knew where the story was heading and couldn't put the book down. One of the best young adult books of 2011.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - Violent races with water horses (a "summary" that probably doesn't do the book justice)...what I liked most were the fully-drawn characters, the relationship between Puck and Sean, and the village life.
Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin - A hugely detailed look at not just the actual fire, but the events leading up to it (immigration and why people left their home countries), immigrant life during this time, and then the reform movement after the fire. Lots of good sidebar information on related topics. If the Triangle Fire interests you, but you'd rather a more fictionalized account try Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner, in which 13-year-old Raisa leaves Poland to join her sister in America, and eventually takes a job for the Triangle Shirtwaist Company.
The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure - McClure takes the reader along as she visits all of the sights from the Little House books. Highly entertaining and chatty at times...other times, I skimmed. I didn't remember much about the surveyor's house, which is from By the Shores of Silver Lake, which I haven't read nearly as many times as all the others. So, I picked up a copy to re-read...Mary is blind, Jack dies...and I realized why this was never a favorite.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness - Conor's mom is dying...and he isn't dealing with it very well. A monster comes in the middle of several nights, and tells Conor stories to help him find the truth. Brilliantly written, this was so powerful and so emotional, it's hard for me to see beyond the strong reaction it evoked.
What have you been reading lately?