Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: ATTACHMENTS BY RAINBOW ROWELL

Book: Attachments
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Rating: ****/5 stars
Goodreads
Synopsis:

Lincoln had a tough breakup with his high school sweetheart in his first year of college. Having never recovered from that, he spent years in academia. Now 29 years old and on the  cusp of a new millennium, Lincoln finds himself in a job for a newspaper where he is sent flagged e-mails through the companies e-mail server and sends people warnings when they have written inappropriate e-mails. Lincoln finds his job insanely boring and he knows on some level that this is wrong but he does it anyway because the pay is good but low and behold, he reads an e-mail that is flagged and he finds the conversation to be funny and interesting. Instead of sending them a warning though he keeps reading and falls in love with one of the girls sending the e-mails.
Review:

Attachments was the perfect novel. I have said this again and again, Rowell knows her readers which is evident in her first novel, Attachments as well as Elearnor & Park and Fangirl. What I loved about this novel was the simplicity of Lincoln's life and how he wasn't even looking to fall in love with someone but it happened and not in a way that he could share with the girl he was in love with without seeming creepy.

I found the idea of falling in love with someone before meeting them was so new in this book because of the setting, 1999 which was really interesting. It is completely plausible for someone to look at your Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media before meeting you and now it is less creepy (although still somewhat weird). I think Rowell writes era pieces in such a way that shows just how new things were (the walkman in Eleanor & Park and having your own batteries).

SPOILER, DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK:
I didn't love the ending which makes it a 4/5 for me. I thought the way they met in the theater was great but then she said what he did was wrong. I know they needed to clear things up why wouldn't they have cleared things up before making out in a theater? To me it wasn't realistic but that could be my own issue.

Overall, I give Attachments by Rainbow Rowell 4/5 stars. I thought it was beautiful in so many ways, the pacing was perfect. I did not like the grammar mistakes throughout the book nor was I in love with the ending.

Have you read Attachments by Rainbow Rowell? If so did you like it? I can't wait for Landline to come out this summer so I can read it enjoy Rowell's humour.

DFTBA,
Tara

Saturday, June 7, 2014

IF A BOOK IS WELL WRITTEN, IT SHOULDN'T MATTER THE GENRE

This post is in response to the article titled Against YA Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you're reading is for children. written by Ruth Graham.

I am going to start by stating that I disagree completely with this author. There are a few statements that really bother me such as, "Let’s set aside the transparently trashy stuff like Divergent and Twilight, which no one defends as serious literature. " I understand that there are many themes in Twilight that are problematic but those books got both teenage girls and young adults to put down their smart phones, to stay in on a Friday night and read which is not that bad. Also, I'm not sure if the author has read Divergent but I don't consider it trashy. Graham seems awfully judgmental.

Another statement that the author made that left me boggled was, "But even the myriad defenders of YA fiction admit that the enjoyment of reading this stuff has to do with escapism, instant gratification, and nostalgia." First of all, when I read The Catcher in the Rye or Bell Jars was not simply for pleasure but was to read a coming of age book that has somehow fundamentally been able to show the experiences of being a teenager with so many different expectations. I read both of those novels while in university when I felt more pressure on myself than I ever had in high school and those two books helped me but they were considered Young Adult (you could argue against Bell Jars). My point is, that not all young adult novels are meant for pure enjoyment but so what if they are? If I want to read The Vampire Academy does it hurt anyone? No. In fact, I contribute to the publishing industry by purchasing those books. The same a thirty-five year-old can watch Pretty Little Liars, they can also read the novels. 

Finally, another point that Ruth Graham makes that I find particularly problematic is, " But crucially, YA books present the teenage perspective in a fundamentally uncritical way. It’s not simply that YA readers are asked to immerse themselves in a character’s emotional life—that’s the trick of so much great fiction—but that they are asked to abandon the mature insights into that perspective that they (supposedly) have acquired as adults. " I haven't read The Fault in Our Stars in awhile but I remember there being plenty of metaphors that take on a discussion that involves critical thinking like holding the item that kills you but not giving it the power to. Also, books like Shine by Lauren Myracle show how homophobia can affect a community in a very real and troubling way. Yes, there are books that end perfectly in YA fiction but there are also books that end in tragic ways or hopeful ways. There are books in adult fiction that end perfectly and end tragically.
 In my opinion, if a book is well written, it shouldn't matter the genre it is in. The Hobbit is a children's book but I will proudly dote it around in public when I am reading it. By saying adults shouldn't read Children's Literature of Young Adult Fiction, it is saying that children and teens do not deserve the best writing, they shouldn't be exposed to wonderful literature until they have reached their adult years. I say that is a problematic way of thinking. If we do not expose children and teenagers to well written pieces of literature we create an even bigger problem on our hands. 

I would love to read your thoughts on the matter. If you want, you can leave a comment or you can link me to a post you have made on your blog about this topic. Let's keep up the discussion, I am curious on both sides of the argument. 

DFTBA,

Tara

Friday, June 6, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: SPIRIT BOUND (VAMPIRE ACADEMY #5) BY RICHELLE MEAD

Book: Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5)
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Penguin Razorbill
Rating: ****/5 Stars
Goodreads

Synopsis:

Rose is back in the United States from her trip to Russia which resulted in a failed attempt to kill her Strigoi (lethal vampire) love interest, Dimitri. Now she is graduating from St. Vladimir's Academy with the fear of Dimitri coming after her for revenge while she sets on a mission to find out how to bring Dimitri back from the undead. With a prison break, a hostage situation, and an assassination, what will happen to Rose and her friends in this next installment of the Vampire Academy?

Review:

I think that Spirit Bound was definitely an action packed novel filled with twists and turns but I was disappointed in Rose's character. The reader knows that she has a temper and is not afraid to state how she feels in front of very important people but it was so frustrating to see that she let her weaknesses shine during very vulnerable times. Huge developments in the Moroi world were happening and she was mouthing off to the Queen which I was incredibly frustrated by.

In Frostbite, when I was introduced to Adrian's character, I did not like him. He seemed like he was a rich snob trying to seduce teenage girls. My opinion changed as the series went on to the point where I felt sad for Adrian, especially when reading Spirit Bound. The fact that he loves Rose so much and is willing to be with her when she tries to bring Dimitri back from the dead and continues being with her through so much more is really heartfelt.

SPOILER, DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK. : Dimitri's characterization was interesting in this novel. He immediately wanted to distance himself from the one person who he was always connected with. I understood why he did not want to be around Rose but it was awful to read. However, at the ending he showed that he cared so much for her that he wouldn't let people arrest Rose without a fight.

I gave Spirit Bound 4/5 stars because it was very captivating although frustrating to read the characterizations. I can't wait to wrap up this series as it has been a fun ride.

Have you read Spirit Bound, if so did you find it frustrating to read about Rose's impulsive tongue?

Happy reading,

Tara