Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Hello All,


Yes, I'm adding my voice to the many who will be blogging and otherwise voicing their opinions about this young adult novel. Mockingjay is the best of The Hunger Games trilogy, in my opinion. It heads in a different direction than the other books, namely, there is not a competition called The Hunger Games in it.

Katniss has been reunited with her family and best friend Gale in a neighboring district to her own, as hers has been annihilated. She is disoriented at the beginning of this novel, based on injuries incurred at the end of the last novel (very important--read this trilogy IN ORDER), and the hits just keep on coming. Katniss is used as a hero, and a pawn by several political viewpoints; she realizes this, and tries to keep herself centered throughout the political posturing that goes on. She definitely is a rebel against The Capitol, but she has her own ideas of how she wants to resolve some of the problems. Unfortunately, most of them she is not able to implement; she is forced to follow the goals and ideas of others.

Peeta has been held in The Capitol since the end of their last Hunger Games, and is also being used as a pawn against Katniss. He is mentally tortured into believing that Katniss is his enemy, and once they are reunited, it takes quite a bit of time and help for Peeta to begin to believe he can trust Katniss.

Towards the end of the book, Katniss, Peeta and Gale are among those sent on a mission to attack the Capitol; Katniss's own personal mission is to kill President Snow, but during this mission, amazing things happen, including several very good twists.

Saying much more would give away the end, but I'm happy with Katniss's choice of life partners, and I'm glad the end is honest with how Katniss lives with everything she's been through. Mockinjay brings the trilogy to a well-thought out closure

Happy Reading,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Long Division by Jane Berentson

Hello All,

I read Long Division by Jane Berentson because I received it for review from Plume (Penguin Group). It was not what I expected from reading the back cover.

Annie Harper is a third grade teacher whose boyfriend is deployed to Iraq. She decides to write a book about being on the homefront while he is away. Again, it wasn't what I expected--she does not socialize with other women whose husbands/boyfriends are deployed, she does not socialize with other girlfriends; she starts working on her book, and buys a chicken for a pet. I did find lots of humor in the book--having a chicken for a pet, the endless entertainment of third graders, Annie's commentary in general. And I think she's a terrific teacher. But I feel that Annie is too young and too self-absorbed to write a book about the homefront. I felt that Annie was pretty selfish overall--she wasn't as giving or supportive as one would expect from a girlfriend whose boyfriend's fighting a war.

The other aspect of the book that would have made me put it down had I not been reading it for review were the footnotes. I, personally, do not enjoy or see the reason for footnotes in a fiction book. There were footnotes on almost every page. I found this very distracting, and feel that there should have been a way to put what was in the footnotes into the narrative.

Back to a more positive point, there was an interesting twist that I didn't see coming, though when I look back on the book, I should have. I think it's a good twist, but more than that would be a spoiler.

Recommended for younger adult readers.

Happy Reading!