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Jolene’s May Round-Up

May 29, 2008

How to be Bad (E Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle)

Written by three very talented young adult authors, How to be Bad is told through the perspective of three very different characters. Vicky is the resident “badass” of the group, Mel is the new girl in town who avoids being stereotyped by hiding her family’s wealth, and Jesse is a good christian girl who wants everyone to practice what she preaches. The three girls go on a road trip to visit Vicky’s estranged boyfriend in Miami.  Along the way they find out about each other and learn a lot about their friendship. Overall a great fun chick lit read, especially for summer! Also for more info on the book refer to Lockhart’s interview on this blog.

The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies (Lizabeth Zindel)

Like Girl of the Moment  Zindel once again focuses on the young elite of New York City.  After her parents divorce Maggie moves from Jersey to Manhattan to attend the all girls posh Berkley Prep.  At first Maggie is snubbed by the other girls due to her newbie status.  However, after sneaking into the popular clique’s party she is invited to join the most powerful secret society in school, The Revelers. The secret group is led by Victoria the most popular and wealthiest girl in school.  The main goal of The Revelers is to collect their classmates secrets and record them on a wall located in Victoria’s secret room. In the beginning Maggie is happy to be a part of the popular clique and is dazzled by The Revelers wealth and sophistication.  However, after Victoria forces her to perform a task that she feels is unethical Maggie begins to have second thoughts.  A great page turner and it reminded me of a smarter version of Mean Girls.

Gods of Manhatten (Scott Mebus)

Thirteen year old Rory Hennessy’s world changes once his eyes are opened to a secret world called Mannahatta, which is a spiritual world of Manhattan.  The city is made up of dead legends turned into gods, warrior roaches and their sidekick rats, and ancient Indians.  Rory must save the ancient Indians in order to save modern Manhattan.  At first glance, the premise for this book might sound exciting but it’s really not.  I found the endless historical references tedious and uninteresting and it felt like filler to make the story more exciting.   In addition, the gods who were former legends did not reflect the historical diversity of New York’s rich cultural history. Where was the Asian god of Chinatown or the Falafal god of hummus?  Fuse #8  does a better job on tallying up the ethnic count in this book.

 Truancy(Isamu Fukui)

Fifteen year old Tack is trying to survive in a world where the education board rules the city with an iron fist.  In this alternate world students live in a prison like society where children should be seen and not heard.   In the past when a student strayed from the educational system they were just given a slap on the hand. However, lately the board has begun to pass out death warrants to unruly students.  In addition,  a group of defected students called the Truancy are trying to take down the tyrannical government through terroistic violence.  Tack finds himself caught in the middle of it all after he joins the Truancyto avenge a family member’s demise.  It is in the hive of the Truancy where he meets Zyid the enigmatic leader of the group and the person who killed his family member. It’s hard to believe that Fukui was just fifteen years old when he wrote this book. The narrative in this book flows smoothly and Fukui is able to set up a world that is a commentary on society and what we could become if we let violence and a militaristic government take over.  I would describe this book as a cross between Westerfield’s Uglies and Battle Royale.

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