Tag Archives: third person

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

“People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safer.”
-Silas

After his family was murdered when he was just a baby, Nobody “Bod” Owens grew up in a graveyard, parented by the ghosts of a married couple and guarded by a tall, dark, mysterious man named Silas who is neither living nor dead. The man who killed his family is still out there, waiting until the time is right to finish him off as well. And although the graveyard protects him, Bod wants to explore and meet others like him– which means exposing himself to his family’s killer.

The premise of this book is mysterious and strange, but beautiful nonetheless. It’s not your average fantasy story, of course; it’s bent on showing the “good side” of monsters and creatures we were all afraid of as children, while still being extremely dark.

I really liked the book while reading it, but I think the fan theory about Silas was what made me step up into loving the book. The theory that Silas is actually a vampire never occurred to me while I was reading, but after thinking about it, it made a lot of sense (actually, after thinking about it, I felt stupid for not getting it sooner– but apparently a lot of people were in my same situation) appreciate that Neil Gaiman didn’t stick to the vampire stereotypes that circle today. He was my favorite character in the book by far, and the realization that he was actually a vampire made me love him (and the book) even more.

Although I thought the book was absolutely great, I really disagree with one of the reviews featured in the version I read, which stated it was “a book for all ages.” The novel begins with a man murdering three people and attempting to murder a baby, and the entire plot circles around Bod not being allowed to leave the graveyard in case of being killed by the same man. There are creatures in the book called the Indigo Man and the Sleer, which I believe could definitely be nightmare-triggering to some children. And there’s a chapter where Bod is kidnapped by Ghouls and taken through what seemed to be a portal to the Ghoul world, which I definitely wouldn’t recommend any children to read. Yes, I do love how they portrayed werewolves and mummies and ghosts and vampires to be the good guys, but there are still bad guys in the book.

So, in general: Neil Gaiman is fantastic, The Graveyard Book is fantastic, Silas is fantastic, and I can’t wait to hear more. And, again, I’ve heard rumors of a movie going around. According to Wikipedia:

Irish Academy Award-winning filmmaker Neil Jordan signed on to write and direct a film adaptation, which as of January 2010 was in pre-production. In April 2012, however, rights to the adaptation were acquired by Walt Disney Pictures. Henry Selick, director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and the film adaptation of Gaiman’s novel Coraline has been chosen to direct The Graveyard Book. Like most of Selick’s other films, it is probable that the film will be stop-motion animated, although that decision has yet to be confirmed by Selick himself. However, in the wake of Disney choosing to cancel another Selick project, The Shadow King, Disney appears to be seeking another director, one possible candidate being Ron Howard.

A possible stop-motion film adaption in the future would be brilliant, in my opinion, as I loved Coraline and I could definitely see another of Neil Gaiman’s novels shining in stop-motion, especially certain characters.

Okay, well, I think that’s mostly it. Sorry about the delayed review once again– I was so caught up in the Doctor Who marathon and 50th anniversary episode that I didn’t even remember I’d finished this book. (By the way, Doctor Who— wow. I know I shouldn’t be discussing it here, and no spoilers for any fellow Whovians out there, but seriously… wowI’m absolutely thrilled.) I should have the review of the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick up either tomorrow or Monday, so I’ll see you soon!

-J

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The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver

“They were satisfied with their lives which had none of the vibrance his own was taking on. And he was angry at himself, that he could not change that for them.”

The Giver tells the story of Jonas, an eleven-year-old boy living in a utopian society. Each year at the Ceremony of Twelve, all Elevens receive their career paths, but Jonas has an important task– he is to train with the Receiver of Memory, the most respected Elder in the community who has the job of storing all memories of the past. But as Jonas gets further into his training, he discovers all of the secrets his society is hiding, and how nearly all of the community is living in a black-and-white world (literally).

I hope that was an adequate summary– this is one of those books that is really hard to describe without excessive spoilers. I really enjoyed the book: the symbolism, the foreshadowing, everything. My only problem with the entire book was the “big twist” that I “definitely wouldn’t see coming,” which I suspected from the very beginning.

The thing that came as a big surprise to me– and probably what made me love the book so much– wasn’t a turn-of-events or anything like that; it was the thing about color that I alluded to in the description above. You really have to pay attention to detail to pick up on the fact that everyone in the society is completely color-blind. The way the author uses words like “dull” and “colorless”– they aren’t just plain adjectives, they’re literal. The way the author talks about sometimes Jonas sees things change— he’s seeing small glimpses of color. It’s crazy, and it’s subtle, but it becomes a major plot point later on in the story.

Also, like many other books I’ve been reviewing lately, I’ve just found out a film adaption is being made. (You’d think with a book from 1993 that’s so popular, there would already have been a movie.) It stars Jeff Bridges as the Giver, which I’m extremely excited about, and as soon as I see the movie (which won’t be until sometime in 2014… sigh), you guys will hear about it. See you soon!

-J

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The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure)

maze-runner-trilogy

“If you ain’t scared… You ain’t human.”
-Alby, The Maze Runner

First thing’s first, I apologize for not posting in nearly a month. The review for The Book Thief was supposed to be up next, but it somehow disappeared right before I posted it, and I wasn’t about to spend another hour rewriting. So, no review for that one for now. Within the next year I’ll probably end up re-reading it, so you’ll see one eventually (and one for the movie 😉 ). Also, a quick note before I get to the review: when I got these three books from the library, I also got The Kill Order, which is the prequel to this trilogy, but I’ve decided not to post it right away for a few reasons. And now to the review.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every thirty days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

(Summary courtesy of Goodreads.com.)

I believe that is the same summary found on the inside cover of the book. I knew I couldn’t do a summary of the first without giving away any spoilers, so it’s probably best to let someone else do it for me. I won’t give summaries of the second and third books because of spoilers, so I’ll just go right into the review.

These books reminded me of something that The Hunger Games fans would like. It’s definitely a survival story, and that becomes even more evident in The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. Thomas does remind me a lot of Katniss, in his attitude and independence despite what others tell him to do. And a lot of the other characters between the books compare to each other, like Chuck and Prim, and Janson and President Snow. You’ll even find tons of results after looking up “similarities between The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games.” But in my opinion, the first book in each series are the only ones with real similarities.

If I had to describe this trilogy with a few words: action-packed, scary, vengeful, and sad. It’s like a survival thriller mixed with sci-fi, with zombies thrown in. (Well, they’re not exactly zombies, but they’re pretty close.)

One thing I love about this series is the variety of characters. You’ve got the good guys and the bad guys, the people you aren’t sure about, the people you think are bad guys and end up being good guys, and vice versa. There are big debates about love/hate relationships with certain characters, the love triangle that starts in The Scorch Trials, and more. All I can say is, in order to spark so many interesting debates on these topics, James Dashner must really know what he’s doing.

And finally, the movie. Whoever casted for this movie did an awesome job, in my opinion. I’m not totally happy with who they picked to play Frypan, but other than that, everything is perfect. And the photos that are already up on the IMDB page– wow. It looks like it’s going to be an incredible film adaption, and I can’t wait to see it when it comes out.

Well, folks, that’s all for today. I’ll be back with another full-series review soon, and possibly a Halloween-themed post before that. Until then!

-J

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Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline

““I don’t want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn’t mean anything? What then?”
-Coraline Jones

After moving into a new home, Coraline discovers a door that leads to nothing but a brick wall. But later, when she returns to the door, she finds that it leads to something completely different: an entirely new world where the people have buttons for eyes and no one mispronounces her name. In this world, where animals can talk and her parents always have time for her, everything seems much better than reality. But everything is not what it seems…

You’re probably more familiar with the claymation movie based off of this book than the book itself. There are a number of differences between the two, although both are great. Neil Gaiman is an extremely talented and imaginative author, and I really enjoy reading his works.

If you remember the movie, the first thing that should come to mind is how scary it was. Even though I was eleven when I first watched it, I remember it as the most terrifying animation movie I had ever seen. Even my mother, who was probably thirty-five, was shocked at how disturbing it was. The book was significantly less scary, due to the lack of Other-Mother-turning-into-a-spider scenes. The illustrations in this book weren’t the most comforting, though.

-J

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After by Amy Efaw

After

“She can paint a pretty picture, but this story has a twist. The paintbrush is a razor, and the canvas is her wrist.”
-Karma

Devon Davenport is a sophmore in high school who attempted to murder her newborn daughter immediately after giving birth. After is her story of life in a juvenille detention center while awaiting her trial, and the trial itself. Suspenseful, surprising, and all-around incredible, After is definitely a book you won’t want to miss out on.

Another of my favorites. This book is amazing, and now I can see why it’s so popular in the YA fiction world. No matter how crazy it gets, the characters are occasionally relatable in some way. No matter how much you are prejudiced about the characters, you’ll end up liking them at least a little bit.

Once again, this is one of those books where I can’t say too much due to spoilers. But this book is awesome, and I advise you to go read it as soon as possible.

-J

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13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

13 Little Blue Envelopes

“I like you because you were mad. And you’re pretty. And pretty sane for a mad person.”
-Keith Dobson

Although it seemed interesting, this was another of those books that I thought I would absolutely despise from the very beginning. It seemed a little too girly for my taste, and the review on the back that said something like “fairy-tale ending” didn’t help. But I was wrong, as I usually am with books I’m unsure about.

The summer before she starts her senior year of high school, Ginny Blackstone receives thirteen envelopes in the mail from her Aunt Peg, who died of brain cancer while travelling across Europe. The instructions in the envelopes are simple, leading Ginny on the same route her aunt travelled on. As Ginny follows her aunt’s directions, she wonders why she was sent to Europe in the first place, and what the last envelope will contain.

It was upsetting to see the book end so quickly, but I enjoyed the experience. Throughout her travels, Ginny meets so many kind and strange people that you already know she’ll never see again after the trip. Some of the envelopes make her do odd or unusual things, all while making you question the purpose of the trip.

I do have one small complaint about this book, though. I saw one review on GoodReads that criticized Maureen Johnson for not developing the character of Ginny more. The review said something along the lines of “Even at the end of the book, I still knew nothing about her.” And it’s true, kind of. The only things I can say to describe her is that she’s tall, according to another character named Keith, and shy, judging by her reluctance to ask a boy out or sing karaoke. That’s all. So, yes, I believe Maureen Johnson really needs to work on character development.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say. I really, really hope this review actually publishes, unlike the last two I tried to publish that completely disappeared. If anything does happen to this review, please comment or email me to let me know.

-J

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The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors

“It’s a declaration of intent. In the case of the Death Warrior, it is a public declaration of how the Death Warrior is going to live his life.”
-D.Q.

Pancho, a boy whose goal is to avenge his sister’s death, and D.Q., a boy struggling with brain cancer, couldn’t be less similar. But after Pancho moves to St. Anthony’s, a home for orphaned teenagers, the two become fast friends. And when D.Q. takes Pancho with him to get treatments, Pancho is introduced to a life like he’s never expected.

This is another one of those books that I can barely type a summary for without giving something away. Believe me, I know that was a terrible summary, but don’t judge the book from that. It actually was an alright book, even though it could get boring at points and it wasn’t really my type.

There isn’t much of a central conflict in the story; it’s pretty much just a cause-and-effect kind of book. Pancho and D.Q. have this whole schedule, so for the most part you know what to expect. It’s not very exciting or anything; it’s more of a feeling kind of book, if that makes any sense.

Let me try to explain. D.Q. is dying from brain cancer, like I said earlier. But he refuses to mope around about it and would rather live every moment of his remaining life to its full extent. So there’s a lot of inspiring and deep quotes from this kid and stuff like that.

I expected a lot more, to be honest. The back cover made it seem so exciting, and it was anything but. Sorry if I’m giving you mixed signals with this review, but even I don’t know what my feelings are toward this book.

-J

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Willow by Julia Hoban

Willow

“Oh, Willow, what if you had died that night too?”
-David Randall

Seven months ago, Willow was involved in a car accident that killed both of her parents. Believing the event to be her fault, Willow has been cutting herself to relieve the pain of losing them. Then she meets Guy, a boy at her new school that wants to help her through her struggles. But can he save her before she ends up hurting herself worse than she intends to?

This book is so real. Real struggles, real feelings, real things that actually do happen. I could understand everything that every character was going through, and it was incredible. Willow’s brother, David, was definitely my favorite character (I have no idea why, he just seemed pretty cool to me), and that was one of the main things I loved about this book: the author didn’t kill my favorite character like every other author does with every other book I read. (I may post a rant about this eventually, because it happens so often.)

The only thing that I think would’ve made this book better is if it were written in first person, from Willow’s point of view. I feel like it would help us get to know Willow better, to better understand everything she’s going through and how she feels about different people. Don’t get me wrong, Julia Hoban did a great job explaining all of Willow’s feelings and motives and everything; I just think it would be even better if it was written in first person.

I’d best compare this book to a mixture of Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls. In If I Stay, Mia is involved in a car accident that lands her in the hospital, but kills her parents. In Wintergirls, Lia struggles with self-harm after her best friend’s death. These two books mixed together is a perfect description of Willow, and if you read and enjoyed either of these books, I suggest you read Willow as well. (Alternatively, if you’ve read Willow, definitely check out these other books. You won’t be disappointed.)

-J

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What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles

What Happened to Cass McBride

“I was begging him. I knew it would get me nowhere. I watch TV. I read those kinds of books. The bad guy likes the begging… He gets off on it.”
-Cass McBride

After reading this book and Shattering Glass, I’ve developed a particular liking for Gail Giles. What Happened to Cass McBride? is really a book you keep thinking about long after it’s over, and those kinds of books are always the best. I have to say, this is one of the few books that actually scared me, in a way– reading about this kind of topic with Gail Giles’s descriptiveness makes you really feel what it’s like to be trapped like Cass, and that’s kind of scary sometimes.

David Kirby killed himself not long after being rejected by Cass McBride, the most popular girl in school. Although there’s no way of telling, Cass can’t shake the feeling that his death is her fault. But David’s brother Kyle believes Cass must pay for her actions– so he buries her alive.

One thing I really like about this book is how it switches between three different points of view. It goes from Cass’s perspective of being buried alive, to Ben’s perspective of the investigation, to Kyle’s perspective after the whole ordeal as he’s being interviewed by the police. It’s a really strong novel, and I loved every second of it.

-J

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The Dream Where the Losers Go by Beth Goobie

The Dream Where the Losers Go

“…What’s real is real. You don’t need to hold on to the echo.”
-Elwin “Lick” Serkowski

After cutting her wrists as a suicide attempt, Skey Mitchell was taken to a group home to recover mentally. She spends her time there slipping into her dream world full of dark tunnels and cave wall markings, enjoying the one place where she can escape from her thoughts. Then she finds a boy in her dream, wandering the same tunnels. No longer alone in her escape from reality, Skey tries to help the boy as she deals with her problems outside of the dream as well.

This was so difficult for me to read. I hated every character in the book, even the “good guys”, which made it hard for me to feel bad for the characters after something unexpected happens. I saw every “twist” coming from a mile away, too, making the book just plain boring.

The summaries make it sound like the tunnel dreams are the main plot of the book, but really they aren’t. I tried my best to give a good summary without any spoilers, so I probably made it sound the same way, but the main plot is actually about Skey’s trouble going back to school after being in the group home for so long. I guess it doesn’t really matter, though, because either way the book was dreadful.

-J

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