Slam – Nick Hornby

June 30, 2008

This is the first book I’ve read by Nick Hornby, although About a Boy has been on my enormous to-read list ever since I watched this movie.

Slam is about a boy’s transformation from a child to a mature adult. The narrator is an 18-year-old Sam Jones who looks back on the past few years of his life. His mother had him when she was 16, and history repeats itself when Sam ends up becoming a teenage father himself when his ex-girlfriend, Alicia, becomes pregnant. Slam is about the hardships Sam faces which includes his relationship with Alicia and her parents.

Sam’s favorite thing to do is skate, and Tony Hawk is his idol. Sam has a poster of him in his room that he enjoys talking to. Tony cleverly replies with quotes from his memoir.  Hornby adds a twist when Sam asks Tony for advice on Alicia’s pregnancy, and Tony takes Sam into the future (just a few months) to see what his life will be like.

The novel is slightly predictable, although I suppose any book (or movie) about teenage pregnancy is. Slam’s strength lies in the witty narration, but even the narration could have been better. In the end I am left with only a feeling of disappointment.

Nick Hornby’s website.


Required Reading

June 25, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a book many are required to read in school. Somehow, it was never recquired for me, and I thought it would be, so I delayed reading it my eighth grade and ninth grade years. My eighth grade teacher didn’t want to go near a book with rape in it, and my ninth grade teacher said we would read it, but we never did. I think every ninth grader other than my class read it. I didn’t read it my tenth grade year because I never got around to it. Now that summer has arrived, I finally got around to reading it. I loved it. It’s the first book I’ve read a few years that takes place in the South, and I didn’t realize I would like that aspect of it so much.

Now I’ve thought about this for sometime, and I’ve decided not to do a “review” of the book. Instead, I’d like to write about books I’ve read for school.

In eighth grade, my teacher chose The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Lord of the Flies, and The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963. I don’t see why she thought it was okay for us to read Lord of the Flies, but not To Kill a Mockingbird. Probably because she hadn’t read it herself or heard about it. Actually, the year after my class, she didn’t let her class read Lord of the Flies, and strongly discouraged a boy to read it on his own. My favorite was Lord of the Flies.

In ninth grade, my teacher chose Things Fall Apart, Romeo and Juliet, and The Eyes of the Dragon. I didn’t like The Eyes of the Dragon or Things Fall Apart. Romeo and Juliet was good. I remember in sixth grade, my teacher tried to act out the play with us. Our Romeo and Juliet were dating at the time (Ah, sixth grade love) We stopped about halfway when she realized we didn’t understand the play.

In tenth grade, we read Ethan Frome, Night, MacBeth, and Silas Marner. I loved NIght and MacBeth. I wasn’t a fan of the other two, and the people in my class didn’t like those two either.

Fear not–I have returned.

June 23, 2008

After a mear two entries, I seem to have left the blogscene. Let me explain my absence.

After a heavy thunderstorm, my computer stopped connecting the the internet. We’ve basically tried everything except a system restore which is what I’m doing now. Maybe it will work. Right now I am on my dad’s laptop. I know I could have updated from here, but it’s just not the same, but the main reason is that  I haven’t finished any books recently, so I would have reviewed a book I read in May or earlier which I didn’t want to do.

ANYWAYS, I am currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and I plan to review it (from my dad’s laptop). I’m not sure what I could say about it which hasn’t already been said. I also ordered some books from BN today. They are:

Johnny Got His Gun – Dalton Trumbo

It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizzini

Hero – Perry Moore

Slam – Nick Hornby

Beneath a Marble Sky – John Shors

Be on the look out! 🙂

Claws – Will Weaver

June 8, 2008

This is the second book I’ve read by Will Weaver. The first was Full Service which I absolutely loved. By the description of Claws, I knew it would be a completely different book. The book is filled with twists and turns in almost every chapter. I should have realized the ending would also be a surprise. There are also hints on the cover and back cover that the ending would be sad. On the front is a quote by Anton Chekhov: “Life will sooner or later show its claws.” On the back is a quote that appears near the end of the book: “It’s not the big, tragic things in life that do you in–it’s the small stuff.” The book wasn’t just sad; it was depressing. I was bawling by the end of it.

Anyways, Claws is about a boy, Jed Berg, who has it good. He’s junior in high school with a senior girlfriend. He’s number one singles in tennis. His dad lets him drive his ’69 Camaro. His parents are still together. Of course this doesn’t last for long. His life comes crashing down on him when he meets a pink-haired girl who tells him that his father is having an affair with her mother. Jed, obviously, doesn’t take the news too well.

The ending will frustrate some readers. Weaver could have easily gone the “happy” route at the end of the novel, but he chose the other route, and it won’t appeal to everyone. On Weaver’s website, he states: “I’ve gotten a lot of great letters and emails about it from kids in charter and alternative schools. This novel seems to speak to kids “on the fringe.”” Anyone who reads the novel will see why.

While I still enjoyed Claws, I would have liked it just the same with a happy ending. A sad, instead of a terribly depressing ending, would have satisfied me the most, but life doesn’t always go my way. And life doesn’t always go Jed Berg’s way either.

Will Weaver’s Website.

Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature – Robin Brande

June 7, 2008

I finished Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature a few days ago. It took me a day to read it. Needless to say, I loved it.

It is about a girl, Mena, who is having the worst time of her life. She has been ostracized from her church, barely spoken to by her parents, and lost her friends. The novel starts with a first day of high school: a time known for new beginnings.

Luckily, things begin to look up thanks to Ms. Shepherd, Mena’s crazy science teacher, and her lab partner, Casey Connor (a boy). Alas, new problems arise when Ms. Shepherd begins the evolution section, and class members refuse to believe or be taught the theory.

One of the reasons I loved Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature was that it was SMART. It covered so many topics in just 272 pages. Combining science & religion. Right vs. wrong. Teenage love. I could keep going on and on.

In the book, Casey’s sister’s boyfriend makes t-shirts with the most hilarious one-liners. My favorite: “Gravity Is Just a Theory–Why Won’t They Tell Us the Truth?”

Robin Brande’s Website.

So, readers I have a question for you: what are your beliefs on evolution and/or creationism?

Hello world!

June 6, 2008

Just stopping by to say hello. I hope to make this blog into a book blog (duh!) targeted more towards teens. I don’t think my YA choices are the typical choices (no Gossip Girl or Twilight [although I must say Robert Pattinson is hot!]). I mostly like to read YA books about boys, and I tend to have crushes on the protagonists. Hey, I am a teenage girl. 😉