Saturday, August 22, 2009

A House Called Awful End

A House Called Awful End
written by Philip Ardagh

I was sorry to have wasted my time with this book. I thought it'd be a fun, whimsical book, something like a cross between Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket, both of whom I adore. Unfortunately, this one is just...too random, has no apparent plot, and is just ultimately dull. There are so many storylines, each one more absurd than the next, and everything's everywhere and disjointed and Ardagh just tried too hard to be funny and failed miserably. It was a pointless book, all 2D characters with nothing to keep them or their situations interesting. There was certainly potential for a plot, but nope, nothing. Just a frustratingly pointless, plotless read. Not a fan, not a fan at all.

Rating: 1/5

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dying To Meet You: 43 Old Cemetery Road

Dying to Meet You: 43 Old Cemetery Road
written by Kate Klise, illustrated by Sarah Klise

So the diehard Kate&Sarah Klise fan inside me has been sadly disappointed. These lovely ladies have written many a fantastic book, definitely my favorite ones out there, but this one just fell short. It seemed like a lot of it was aimed towards much younger kids than the other novels, and it just really seemed to lack a plot. It had all the elements of the other books, stylistically, but there were no secondary plots (and like I said, I had trouble locating a dominant plot, not just secondary), and no powerful plot twists, two things that made their other novels absolutely spectacular. Typically, their books involve lots of characters with brilliantly punny names, leading very separate lives and over the course of the book, the connections grow stronger and stronger, until you realize they are all involved in whatever the main dilemma may be. In this one, there's just one main dilemma, very minor secondary characters (by which I probably just mean his parents), and no clear hook. Everything was incredibly predictable. I'm not sure what the sequel will contain, and I'm also not sure if I really want to read it. I want more of the old Klise stuff, the spine-tingling, gut-busting mysteries that I immersed myself in, reread after reread. I just...I was disappointed. I expected much better from these two. Again, maybe it's been dumbed down so younger kids would understand what's going on, but it certainly doesn't make for an interesting story.

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Anything But Typical

Anything but Typical
written by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Now that I've read Anything but Typical and Googled Nora Raleigh Baskin, I have realized that I've read another book of hers, it seems like it was in another lifetime, really. This was back when I first got into YA, really got into reading frenzies, and picked up a promising book entitled What Every Girl (except me) Knows. This was when I was trying to figure out life and growing up and changing schools and your typical middle school crud. It's just really intriguing to me that she wrote that book, and then years later, I pick up another of her books without even realizing it. Anything but Typical is another story of a misfit, but this time, our main character is autistic. I almost feel like this book needs to come with a warning: you will absolutely love love love the main character and want to hug him as much as humanly possible, and then probably forget to realize that he's not actually real. I've never had any experience with autism, so this was not only a good read, but an enlightening one. It was really neat seeing just how brilliant this boy was, but how much trouble he had expressing himself. You'll relate, and very quickly forget that there's anything different about him, he'll just be an incredibly interesting kid you wish you knew. And that's the point. If more kids read about autistic children, they'd learn that they require a little more patience and understanding, but are just kids like them in the end. This book is a methodical lesson in writing, in autism, and in life. Absolutely wonderful!

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stanley Yelnats' Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake

Stanley Yelnats' Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake
written by Louis Sachar

As much as I adore Louis Sachar, this book was pretty pathetic, and quite obviously a marketing ploy. While I was glad that there wasn't excessive recappage, mostly everything found in this book could have either been inferred from Holes, or was directly out of the book. There are some really neat extra tidbits that are worth reading, but it's not worth paying the $4.99 just for those, when I'm sure they could be found online. I just feel like this was written to ride the wave of Holes hysteria after the movie came out. No surprise, they were released the same year. It's like someone's saying, "hey, don't wanna read through the big thick book? Read this condensed version instead!", which is, quite frankly, frustrating. On the other hand, I would have loved to read Pendanski's book, much more so than Small Steps, which was what came after.

Rating: 1.5/5