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In a world where young adult romance has actually spawned a genre called “sick-lit” (thanks for that, The Fault in Our Stars), thank the literary deities for Say You Will.
This is a book that I have no reservations handing over to even a younger teen (my own daughter, for example), and it is fully readable by boys as well.
I first heard about the book last fall, from Eric Walters himself – he was really excited about the book, and the whole idea of “promposals” – which I had never heard of. A promposal is an elaborate, public invite to the prom – like it wasn’t laden with enough pressure to begin with. The protagonist, Sam, is a boy with a very high IQ who is only just starting to get the hang of social interaction, who wants to create the perfect promposal for the girl of his dreams. I can’t tell you much, because it will ruin the story, however Walters not only tells a sweet love story but also makes sure to puncture as many tropes and preconceptions along the way as possible. Highly recommend this.
I now digress from this review to make a point that has been bothering me. As was brought up very eloquently in a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, boys are often steered away from books that either have female protagonists, or that might be classified as romance. GIRLS ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES WHO LIKE ROMANCE. I have a couple of male customers at my store who are die-hard Harlequin lovers, and know many men, including my husband, who are fond of a good love story. (In fact, a great romantic night in can be a bottle of wine and taking turns reading The Notebook) Even books like The Hunger Games, or Divergent, I have seen parents steer away from because a female is the star, so of course their son won’t want to read it. Thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy; Clearly there must be something wrong with a boy reading a book starring a girl, or with a guy reading a love story – so he will never pick one up. This is dumb. Boys can empathize with a girl main character, and you’re selling them short by assuming they won’t. Boys dream of being the star of their own epic love story too, and Say You Will is a great one.
I’ve been eyeing Graceling by Kristin Cashore for a while, because I love the cover. I finally got around to picking it up yesterday, and it was definitely worth the read. The premise is that in the world of Graceling, there are individuals with what are called “graces”, skills of supernatural intensity. The skills can be anything from cooking to fighting to climbing trees, and the individuals who possess them are identifiable by having eyes of two different colours. Gracelings can be useful, but are also feared and generally friendless. Katsa, whose grace is killing, is feared more than most, and is also struggling with her role as an unwilling assassin for her uncle, the king.
What the book is really about is realizing that you don’t have to let others define you – you can define yourself. That you have more power than you think. Also it is about really awesome fighting sequences, and kicking evil butt.
The writing is good, the romance is unconventional, and the villain even more so. Highly recommended for fantasy fans of all ages, I will be picking up the other two in the series immediately. May cause a desire to learn martial arts. Will likely cause missed bedtimes and ignoring of family members. Bring food and drink with you, because you won’t be getting up for a while.
This is not a romance novel. I thought I’d get that out of the way right off the bat, before you judged the book by its cover (and title). I realize that angels have mostly been showing up in either Doreen Virtue books or as the latest supernatural romance stars. This book, although it features some romance, is a thriller more in the line of Tom Clancy than Sherrilyn Kenyon (not dissing Sherrilyn Kenyon, she’s awesome). Fans of Dan Brown or Ludlum might enjoy this, if they don’t mind a little supernatural in their thriller. Trussoni’s angels are nephilim – the resulting descendants of unions between fallen angels and human women. These are not rosy-cheeked cherubs; they’re more like really pretty serial killers.
There is, of course an organization dedicated to defeating them – but there are lost artifacts to be found, conspiracies to be unraveled, and mysterious science to be uncovered.
There is a second novel, Angelopolis, which delves further into the storyline, and introduces Fabergé eggs into the story. It’s a perfect addition because the intricacy and wonder of the eggs and the treasures found inside lend themselves perfectly to a hidden history, full of magic and mystery. Russia is added to the story as a main setting, and everyone knows that dark conspiracies are around every corner in Russia.
Both books are perfect for summer reading, although you’ll find yourself startled that it is warm and sunny outside, instead of the grey and snowy world of the books. Highly recommended. I’ve heard there’s a potential movie in the works, which should be interesting.
Thank you Marissa Meyer. Thank you for not only exceeding my expectations, but making me completely forget I had expectations (or laundry to do).
The book is called Cinder. There are definitely elements of the Cinderella story in there, but the heroine is a kick-butt mechanic, there are political implications, a deadly plague, and other fun stuff. It’s the first book in a trilogy, of which the first two are out, so it’s not a quick wrap up for a happy ending story. Fans of dystopian literature, like Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, or Divergent should enjoy this. There is a romance, but it’s definitely not your stereotype fairy-tale one. This girl is not waiting for a prince to rescue her – in fact, she might do the rescuing.
Technically it’s YA, but don’t miss it because of that.
Sometimes for a good idea of what a teen will think of a book, you need a teen review. Nitharshana, a middle school student, has written the following review (which I love and agree with) of New Moon by Stephanie Meyer. Take it away, Nitharshana…
I have read the book New Moon by Stephenie Meyer and I have to say that this was one of the oddest books I have ever read.
Stephenie Meyer has done an excellent job of writing the story. Her writing was clear and I understood the story more than I thought I would. However, the more I understood the story, the more I despised it. The main reason for me not liking this book is the main character. Bella Swan is the most idiotic character I have ever read. I understand why she would risk her life for her beloved’s. Doing multiple suicide missions just to feel her love’s presence is plain stupidity. That is what Bella was doing for three quarters of the story. Luckily, she had her werewolf friends to save her each time. If I could, I would ask Meggie or Mo from Inkheart to read me into this book so I could tell Bella how much a life is worth. I enjoy fantasy stories, but in this case where Bella’s boyfriend leaves her and she can not cope, I just couldn’t take the book seriously anymore.
Even though this book is not my cup of tea, people who enjoy supernatural characters and romance would actually have a good time reading this. Also, if you can cope with psychotic characters this would be a great book for you. I hope you find something better in this book than I did.
What she said. If you want to know what the target audience thinks… ask the target audience. Thanks N.P.!
Happy (or not) reading!