5 Mini-Reviews!

Ok…so I figured I’d just review the 5 books that I read for the Read-a-Thon all together as mini reviews…it’s not like I’d remember details about all of them :p

141. Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix – This book was AWESOME! I wish I would’ve gotten the whole series to read during the Read-a-Thon…I didn’t know how much I would enjoy it. The book is set in some alternative modern day earth…the time is never really mentioned. The government has put restrictions on how many children families can have, but Luke’s family has broken that rule. He is a third child. He lives his life in constant hiding as he has to be non-existent as far as the rest of the world goes. But one day, while hiding in the house, he notices that one of his new neighbors seems to have a third child as well. He risks it all by going to see for himself…and he meets Jen, also a third child. Jen has big plans for fighting for third childrens’ rights, but are they too big? This was a really engaging book and a short read as well! Just perfect for the read-a-thon. Great way to start things off.

2. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood – Another really good one. This was my first experience 21with Atwood and it certainly won’t be my last. Anyone who’s read The Odyssey knows who Penelope is. She is Odysseus’ wife, the ever patient wife who waits for her husband to come home. And her 12 maids have made legend as well. Well in this installment of the Canongate Myth Series, Atwood explores Penelope’s life in further death from her point of view and also shows us the 12 maids point of view. The story is told from the afterlife. This likely will not be in my favorite reads of the year, though it was really good and will have me reading more Atwood and more of the Myth series. Another great one for the read-a-thon.

313. Skim by Mariko Tamaki illustrated by Jillian Tamaki – So freaking good! This was the first graphic novel that I decided to read for the read-a-thon and boy am I glad that I read this one. First of all, I love that cover…isn’t it great? The illustrations inside are just as good. Skim is the story of a young girl that’s confused about life. She comes from a family where her mother is of Asian descent, her father white, and they are divorced. Her name is Kimberly and she’s Wiccan. Though she’s somewhat confused about what that means. She takes her religion seriously, though the others in her circle don’t seem to so much. And her best friend can be a little wrapped up in herself sometimes. Kim has also found that she has feelings for her female drama teacher and has a hard time figuring those feelings out. It’s obvious that Kim is confused. A suicide happens at the school which puts the whole school on suicide alert and people start worrying about her during a time that she doesn’t need the added stress. This was a really touching story and one that actually reminded me a LOT of my own adolescent years. Really loved this book and I’d recommend it to everyone!

4. Silk by Alessandro Baricco – I had mixed feelings about this one. I loved the style of the novel. It’s written in very short41 chapters, some of them only taking up 1/4 of the page. It’s the tale of a married silk worm importer who travels to Japan for his business. While there, his eyes connect with a young woman who’s very mysterious. And while they never speak a word to each other, the chemistry is there from the beginning. He goes back to Japan throughout the years desperate for more contact with her, but in doing so estranges his own wife who loves him so. The end of this book was awesome. It really gave me a good impression of the story overall. But there were times when my mind just strayed from the story and I couldn’t even remember what I read in the last 4 pages. Still a recommended read though!

515. Marcello in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork – I REALLY liked this story. I didn’t know how I would feel about it at the beginning. But I liked it. It’s the story of a young boy named Marcelo who has Asperger’s Syndrome, a disorder that’s found on the autism spectrum. He’s lived his life in a tree house that his father built for him and has attended a special school for people with disabilities. And he’s always been happy doing that. Over the summers, he works at a therapeutic horse camp for people with disabilities. But his father wants something different from him this summer. He wants him to go to school with “normal” kids in the fall and wants him to work at his law firm in the mail room. My fear with this book was that it was going to spread the message that in the end, Marcelo learned that he shouldn’t have Asperger’s, that there was something wrong with him and that he needed to be normal like everyone else. I would’ve been SO angry if the story was like that, because it was set up to where it could be at the beginning. But it wasn’t and I was SO thrilled. Marcelo was such a wonderful character. I really loved him. He reminded me of a kid I see at the hospital who has Asperger’s and he’s one of my favorites (shhh, we’re not supposed to have favorites). Some of Marcelo’s characteristics change throughout the novel, but he never loses who he is. He remains an individual. He just adapts some to his surroundings. In the end, he’s still Marcello and for that, I would recommend this one highly!

Phew!! Feels good to have those little reviews out of the way!

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25 Responses

  1. I’m glad you liked Marcelo. I was worried there for a bit. I would NOT have recommended Marcelo to you if it had been like that. I promise. I wouldn’t do that to you 🙂 Granted you may not love it as much as I did, but I haven’t really read any other autism/asperger’s books to compare it with. I have an interview coming up with Stork tomorrow.

    Among the Hidden…I can only say I *tried* to tell you that you needed the whole series heading into the read-a-thon. 🙂 Those have to be the most unputdownable books…at least for that age group. I really really wish I’d had these when I was growing up.

    Maybe just maybe it will inspire you to read all the Haddix you can get your hands on…I know I haven’t been disappointed really with any of her work. She’s a very different writer, very complex and original. She always makes me think.

  2. I haven’t read any of the 5, but I just added 4 to my TBR list. Gee, thanks Chris!

    Glad you had a great read-a-thon. Congrats!

  3. Becky, I LOVED Marcelo 🙂 It was different than what I though, but I still loved it…and I should’ve known that you wouldn’t steer me wrong 😛 I don’t know why I ever even let that thought enter my head, lol. I’m so excited that you interviewed Stork!!! I can’t wait to read the interview! I hope he has more coming out soon. The Haddix books…amazing! I had never even heard of her before you recommended Found. I wish I would’ve found her earlier. I’ve already become a sucker for her and have put all kinds of books by her on my library list. I had no idea how much she had written!! That’s just awesome! In fact, I have a request in for Among the Impostors now!

    Steph, Woohoo!! I think you’ll love them…let me guess..everything but Silk?

  4. Your first Atwood?! That shocks me because Atwood is such a part of my own reading landscape. I’ve not read all her books, but most of them. And not the one you read. But I want to now, especially because I’m drawn to afterlife stories.

  5. So glad you enjoyed your first Atwood. I highly recommend The Handmaids Tale and The Blind Assassin oh and Oryx and Crake is one I think you would really enjoy as well. Glad you enjoyed the read-a-thon and it looks like you rad some great books.

  6. wow you did good Chris!! I’m glad you liked all the books and found some more than worth a second read one day!

  7. I actually have Among the Hidden in the pile of library books that I picked up last week. It sounds like it should be the next book I read!

    Marcello in the Real World sounds fantastic! Thank you for a great review and I will be sure to add it to the ever growing TBR list.

  8. Well done on doing so well in the readathon. I keep meaning to seek out Silk as I feel it would be a book I would enjoy. Your also not on your own – I haven’t read Atwood either.

  9. I just added The Penelopiad, Skim, and Among the Hidden to my TBR stack. Thanks, Chris. Really appreciate it.

    *cutting the sarcasm*

    I glad you (mostly) enjoyed all the books you read for the read-a-thon. Marcello in the Real World reminds me of Up High in the Trees . Loved Up High in the Trees , so I’ll have to check out Marcello in the Real World some more.

  10. Darn you, Chris! *goes add books to her wishlist* That’s it. I’m keeping tabs on what of that list I’m adding because of people…

    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed most of the books! Silk has always felt a little too short for me. It’s a good story, but it’s so bare. You have to supply so much yourself. I don’t blame you for having trouble focusing on it at times!

  11. I’m a wee bit jealous that you got all your reviews done. I’d decided that I’m going the mini-review route for my read-a-thon books, too, and yet I just can’t seem to actually do it. Soon. Maybe.

    I sooooo loved Skim, too! It felt so incredibly authentic to me, you know? I so loved Kim, and was so proud of her. Despite all her inner turmoil, she never let others dictate who she should be. I just loved her!

    Hope you’re feeling refreshed and recovered by now! I think the 11 hours of sleep I got last night (I NEVER do that!) finally knocked out that read-a-thon hangover.

    Have a wonderful week, Chris!

  12. I really need to get a copy of Stork’s novel! I am going to have to break my no book-buying rule… Unless the library will buy it… hm… Congrats on finishing five books!

  13. Just added Skim to my TBR based on your review. I only recently picked up a graphic novel (Persepolis) and am always on the look out for others that are worthwhile.

  14. Lenore, Yep! My first! But it certainly won’t be my last 🙂

    Rhinoa, Awesome! Just added all 3 to my wishlist 😉 Thanks…yeah, that’s sarcasm, lol

    Deslily, thanks 😀 They were all really good! I was really happy with them!

    Molly, Those are both great books! And that’s so cool that you have Among the Hidden to read!! You’ll love it 🙂

    Vivienne, Phew! I’m glad I’m not the only one to have not read Atwood! Silk is a very good book…I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. I just don’t think it was right for the read-a-thon for me! I needed fast paced!

    Christina, Oooh, I MUST add Up High in the Trees to my wishlist!! I’m running to Amazon now to check it out…thanks right back atcha 😉 Sense the sarcasm there as well 😉

    Shanra, I think you hit the nail on the head with Silk…it’s just a little too bare for me too, but I think that at the same time, that’s what makes it a special book…who knows :p

    Debi, DEFINITELY go the mini review route :p It took me no time at all to write this up, lol.. I don’t put all that much thought into my reviews…just talk about them. I know exactly what you mean! “authentic” is the perfect word to define Skim. I just loved that book and hate the fact that it was a library book 😦 11 hours of sleep! Go Debi! You’re starting to sound like me :p

    Kailana, For sure! You really need to read Marcelo 🙂 I’ve been scared to ask my library to buy books, but there are so many I want! I’ve seen other people do it though and they usually have no problem with it!

    Christina, Awesome! Skim is so good!! I just finished Persepolis! In fact, I’m about to review it…really cool book, huh?

  15. Nice reviews! I am partial to quick reviews that let me know whether I’d like the book or not. I was a big fan of the Penelopiad. Doesn’t Atwood have a way with words? Her creativity amazes me. And I love the way she revisits the theme from the perspective of characters who are very neglected in the original story.

  16. I picked up Skim from the library for the read-a-thon but decided on Persepolis instead. Anyway, I feel the same as you on Silk. I knew it was good, but it didn’t really engage me and didn’t connect with me that much.

  17. No, no, I definitely agree with you. The bareness of Silk works both in its favour and against it. Do hope it was still a fast/easy read for you, after I made such a fuss about that before the read-a-thon!

    Also, because I is dim. I have The Blind Assassin somewhere on my TBR pile. ^-^ *should perhaps not be so happy to come across books she has heard of* I think that’s one of the best (and worst? My wallet says so.) things about book blogs. I hear of so many books that would never make it into the book stores I’m stuck with…

  18. Kim, You know, I’m really liking these short reviews too :p It’s very tempting to just keep doing these for now on, lol…I’ve always been a fan of short and to the point! Atwood really does have a way with words! There were so many beautiful lines in that book and I’m usually really good about marking passages…but I didn’t this time 😦

    Claire, I hope you still get to read Skim! It was so good! I was really surprised and I was expecting it to be good already! Ditto on your thoughts on Silk…it just wasn’t my favorite of the readathon.

    Shanra, I think I would’ve enjoyed Silk more if I would’ve read it not during the read-a-thon, lol…That is an EXTREMELY dangerous thing about book blogs, lol…I can’t tell you how much my book intake has increased since reading them, lol.

  19. I read Among the Hidden a few years ago, and it was eerie and compelling. The whole series is very popular among older elementary school and middle school kids at my library – they always come in breathlessly demanding the next one in the series. I have been meaning to get back to it at some point. It reminded me in some ways of the Pretties and the others in Westerfeld’s series.

    I am glad to hear you enjoyed Marcello in the Real World – I’ve had that on my list since I read Becky’s review, darn her. And now you! 🙂

  20. I love, love, love these mini-reviews!! I’ve a few I’d like to review like this but I always end up blathering on like a dork 😛

    Penelopiad is one that I must-read, I adore Atwoods style. Among The Hidden sounds really good too, reminds me a tiny bit of Declaration by Gemma Malley in that people are governed on how many kids they can have.

  21. Skim sounds great! I am now officially putting it on my mental list 🙂

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