Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You

Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You by  Joyce Carol Oates

Merissa, Hannah, Nadia, Chloe and (Katrina) Tink have been best friends at their very exclusive high school.  Tink is the leader, even to the extent that they call themselves Tink Inc.  Everyone is intimidated by Tink, a former child actress, who says and does outrageous things.  But as seniors, the group needs to carry on without Tink because she committed suicide.  

The story is told in three parts:  first from Merissa- the perfect one, the one who was accepted early by Brown University;  the new lead in the school play; the one whose family is falling apart; the one who cuts herself to have enough pain to forget the rest.  

The middle section features Tink, multi-talented, charming, exasperating, enigmatic; now gone, with some of her secrets.  

Nadia is the last voice, a girl who is now called the school slut because of an incident when her drink was altered. Nadia now fixates on her science teacher as her savior.  To all the girls in her inner circle, Tink is still present- they have dreams about her, wonder how she would handle a situation, even hear whispers from her.  These characters will stay with you long after you finish the novel.

We are left wondering about many peripheral characters who are intriguing but dropped:  Colin, who acts like he has deep problems; Virgil, the science geek from Budapest.  Even Chloe, one of Tink’s inner circle, is poorly fleshed out.

And there are still perhaps two or three things I forgot to put in the review….

For mature 14 up

Friday, September 21, 2012

Carter's Unfocused One-Track Mind

Carter’s Unfocused One-Track Mind by Brent Crawford

Will Carter is now a sophomore, buffing out through football, thinking about a theater school in New York City, and still hoping for sex with Abby.  Will took Amber to the Homecoming Dance, to make Abby jealous; however, Amber ditched Will, hooked up with Rusty, and became pregnant.  

Sophomore boys are mystified with Amber’s pregnancy.  Will says, “We’re just not cool enough to deal with the …baby situation, I think.  We’re just like really focused on sex, you know?  Like all the time… “   Will and his “boys” also join what seems like an unsupervised party every weekend, create a “fight club” with one pair of gloves (and one pair of ski gloves), go camping and start a major fire, and generally have more adventures than any ten average fifteen year olds.  

Realistic?  Not a chance.  

Laugh-out-loud funny?  You will be laughing so hard you will need to stop reading to wipe away the tears.  

Even after you put the book down, you will be visualizing a bathroom floor full of pee, feces, vomit, and Will slipping across the bathroom floor, getting puke even in his ear. Third in the series. 

Ages 14 and up;
cussing, kissing, pregnancy, Star Trek Sex. 

Monday, September 10, 2012


Americus  written by M.K. Reed, drawn by Jonathan Hill
8th-graders Neil and Daniel would rather read books in their favorite fantasy series The Chronicles of Apathea Ravenchilde than pay attention to their gossipy classmates or the adults in their small town of Americus. 
However, Daniel's mom is convinced that Apathea is the work of the devil and sends her son away to military school, leaving Neil alone to defend his favorite book.  However, it turns out that Neil isn't alone in loving the book....
Here is a great graphic novel depicting terrific friendships inspired by books.  Following the example of the main character in Apathea, Neil learns to stand up to bullies on behalf of other book-lovers, gains the confidence of classmates and the local library staff, and even starts a new romance with a fellow-bookworm.  Three cheers!
Highly recommended for readers ages 12 to adult.  No sex or cussing; there are depictions of bullying and some rather ugly adult behaviors towards books, children, and other adults.