Miss Print’s Re-Prints: February 2008 Edition

missprintreprintMiss Print’s Re-Prints is a weekly feature that will post on Saturday. Each week I’ll highlight reviews I wrote during a previous month in this blog’s run.

Currently I am Re-Printing 2008 reviews.

February 2008: Volume 1

  • February 5, 2008: Hitler’s Canary by Sandi Toksvig–“Based on accounts of her own grandparents’ work in the Danish resistance, Toksvig tells a compelling story of the many Danes who helped smuggle Danish Jews out of the country to Sweden before they were taken to Hitler’s Concentration camps”
  • February 6, 2008: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones“Although this novel is largely timeless, the prose has a charmingly Victorian tone–taking its time to arrive at the action, the better to familiarize readers with the characters involved and show the readers just how fantastic they (and the story) really are.”
  • February 13, 2008: Cupidity by Caroline Good–“This comedy of errors is mildly amusing, but in the long run there are too many near-misses and mix ups to make the story anything but frustrating as Laura stumbles along trying to get things back to normal and find true love.”
  • February 20, 2008: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff–“And frankly, despite my criticisms here, Rosoff does have some really nice lines. She writes with a sincerity that makes you really want to believe Daisy knows what she’s doing.”
  • February 27, 2008: Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe–“It has some teen romance, some mystery/suspense, and a lot of comedy. A lot of times, that doesn’t all come together to make a decent novel–with “Bad Kitty” it does.”

 

Miss Print’s Re-Prints: January 2008 Edition, Vol. 2

missprintreprintMiss Print’s Re-Prints is a weekly feature that will post on Saturday. Each week I’ll highlight reviews I wrote during a previous month in this blog’s run.

Currently I am Re-Printing 2008 posts.

January 2008: Volume 2

  • January 23, 2008: Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey–“There are a lot of stories out there about girls who are told they don’t deserve much from life, or girls who think they can’t do what they really want to do. In a way, Menolly has that problem–especially because of her parents. But she’s more than that too. As the novel progresses, Menolly begins to realize with the help of her friends (fire lizard and otherwise) that she deserves better and that there is more to life than pleasing others.”
  • January 26, 2008: Rx by Tracy Lynn–“Rx is an interesting look at the burdens of overachievers even if the novel might leave you with more of a nagging feeling than a completely satisfied one.
  • January 30, 2008: Alice, I Think by Susan Juby–“As Alice leaves the shelter of her home, she embarks on a search for a new haircut, new clothes, a boyfriend and lots of other things. These hunts lead to hilarity of a high degree along with not a little bit of mayhem. In the end, Alice comes out maybe a little worse for wear but no less enthusiastic about checking items off of her list in the future.” I just found out this series went out of print and am kind of devastated. If you manage to track down a copy, read it while you can!
  • January 30, 2008: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde–“Everything is up for grabs in this novel where vampires, time travel, and literature all play their part in the narrative. Fforde also takes known historical and literary facts and turns them upside down (as with Wales not being a part of the United Kingdom). It sounds like this tinkering would make the book confusing for readers without the proper background, but it really doesn’t.” This is another book I cannot recommend highly enough. Go and read it right now!

 

Miss Print’s Re-Prints: January 2008 Edition, Vol. 1

missprintreprintMiss Print’s Re-Prints is a weekly feature that will post on Saturday. Each week I’ll highlight reviews I wrote during a previous month in this blog’s run.

Currently I am Re-Printing 2008 posts.

January 2008: Volume 1

  • January 2, 2008: The Talented Clementine by Sarah Pennypacker–“Pennypacker keeps all of the good things from the first book while expanding the characters here”
  • January 3, 2008: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie–“The characters in these stories have not reached “happily ever after,” it is not clear if they will ever get there. Sometimes, the characters are at fault for these failures. At other times they are victims of circumstances far beyond their control. Regardless of the reason, Alexie portrays his characters with compassion and the hope that they will one day succeed.
  • January 9, 2008: Confessions of a Not It Girl by Melissa Kantor–“Written from Jan’s perspective, Kantor writes in a snappy, youthful voice creating a convincing and usually likable teen narrator.
  • January 16, 2008: Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde–“Even though Vande Velde covers the same territory multiple times, she never gets redundant. Each run through reads slightly differently and covers a different part of the story. Similarly, since Giannine also loses the game several times, Vande Velde creates pseudo-alternative endings for the story by showing Giannine pitfalls as she works her way towards a win.”

 

Miss Print’s Re-Prints: December 2007 Edition, Vol. 2

missprintreprintMiss Print’s Re-Prints is a weekly feature that will post on Saturday. Each week I’ll highlight reviews I wrote during a previous month in this blog’s run.

Currently I am Re-Printing 2007 posts.

December 2007: Volume 2

  • December 26, 2007: Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta–“There is so much I want to say about this book. I love the story, I love the characters, I love the cover art for every edition I have seen. I love that Francesca’s voice is so unique and can appeal to just about everyone.” This is far and away one of my favorite books of all time and definitely one that stands the test of time. Go and read it right now.
  • December 31, 2007: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri–“Lahiri’s writing here (I’ve yet to read her short stories) is beautiful without being pretentious or overly self-aware. The story feels authentic and compelling despite the fact that so many of the cultural references remain worlds away.
  • December 31, 2007: The Toughest Indian in the World by Sherman Alexie–“These stories are not passive. If anything, they are visceral. This collection combines elements of magical realism with painfully real moments of sadness and hardship in the lives of Alexie’s modern Indian characters.” If I am being honest here, most of the things I read by Alexie just make me want to sit down and re-read his novel Reservation Blues.

 

Miss Print’s Re-Prints: December 2007 Edition, Vol. 1

missprintreprintMiss Print’s Re-Prints is a weekly feature that will post on Saturday. Each week I’ll highlight reviews I wrote during a previous month in this blog’s run.

Currently I am Re-Printing 2007 posts.

December 2007: Volume 1

  • December 5, 2007: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine–“The novel addresses several specific feminist issues, specifically negotiating and fighting the burden of obedience, the importance of female friendships and, of course, learning to save yourself.” This review would become the meat of my scholarly article about the effectiveness of this book as a feminist text.
  • December 12, 2007: Temping Fate by Esther Friesner–“This book gets major points for putting ancient Greek gods (and some other myths from other countries) into a modern setting and preserving their integrity. The gods that we meet in the story are convincing characters and they work perfectly in the modern environment. It’s the first book I have read in a while that can claim as much.
  • December 19, 2007: Clementine by Sarah Pennypacker–“Clementine is used to getting in trouble and spending time with the principal of her school though so she tries to make the best of the situation, which in the fine tradition of children’s literature eventually brings Clementine out on top.

Check back next week for volume two!

 

Miss Print’s Re-Prints: November 2007 Edition, Vol. 2

missprintreprintMiss Print’s Re-Prints is a weekly feature that will post on Saturday. Each week I’ll highlight reviews I wrote during a previous month in this blog’s run.

Currently I am Re-Printing 2007 posts.

November 2007: Volume 2

  • November 21, 2007: Little (Grrl) Lost by Derek De Lint–“This novel is extremely complicated stylistically. The story is told in multiple points-of-view with varying narration styles. The amazing thing about this technique is that De Lint still manages to create a seamless narration. He transitions between sections easily without being redundant or leaving the reader at a loss.”
  • November 28, 2007: Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones–“Polly and Tom’s interactions are the bread and butter of the story. The dialogue between them is vividly authentic and humorous. Tom Lynn is one of those dashing heroes that come up too rarely in contemporary fiction while Polly is a persistent, strong young woman who most parents would want their daughters to see as a role model.” This is easily one of my most favorite books. If my constantly listing it as a possible pairing hasn’t done the job yet, let me say again READ IT.
  • November 30, 2007: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger–“The scope of the narrative is vast and strongly cinematic, which leads me to two conclusions: One is that this story might have been better had someone else written it. The other is that the upcoming film adaptation will be better than the novel. Given the fascinating story and characters here, hopefully that will be the case.

 

Miss Print’s Re-Prints: November 2007 Edition, Vol. 1

missprintreprintMiss Print’s Re-Prints is a weekly feature that will post on Saturday. Each week I’ll highlight reviews I wrote during a previous month in this blog’s run.

Currently I am Re-Printing 2007 posts.

November 2007: Volume 1

  • Drawing the Ocean coverNovember 7, 2007: Drawing the Ocean by Carolyn MacCullough–“At its core, Drawing the Ocean is a story about choices. About how certain choices can change everything in an instant. And how the right choice isn’t always the easy one. MacCullough writes about all of these dilemmas masterfully.” To date, MacCullough is still one of my favorite authors in the entire world.

 

 

  • Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist coverNovember 11, 2007: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan–“The narrative of both writers here is really tight. Cohn and Levithan do a great job keeping the story coherent as they alternate chapters without getting redundant. Dual narrations often run the risk of seeming gimmicky, but it here it’s truly effective. The narratives overlap enough that readers get to see key events from Nick and Norah’s point of view. This technique helps to give a fuller version of the story as well as humorously showing how differently two people can see the exact same thing.”

 

  • Jinx coverNovember 14, 2007: Jinx by Meg Cabot–“I liked the story here. But I wanted to like it more than I did. It was funny and light, which is really hard to achieve in writing. But certain elements of the prose were quite annoying. Every time Jean alluded to the “full story” of her trip to New York, I had to fight a strong urge to skim ahead and see what she was talking about. That’s how long it took for Cabot to explain everything.”

 

Miss Print’s Re-Prints: October 2007 Edition, Vol. 2

missprintreprintMiss Print’s Re-Prints is a weekly feature that will post on Saturday. Each week I’ll highlight reviews I wrote during a previous month in this blog’s run.

Currently I am Re-Printing 2007 posts.

October 2007: Volume 2

  • Missing Abby coverOctober 24, 2007: Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly–“Interestingly, it is only after Abby goes missing that Emma is able to realize how precious Abby was as a friend and subsequently find herself again.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Print’s Re-Prints: October 2007 Edition, Vol. 1

missprintreprintMiss Print’s Re-Prints is a weekly feature that will post on Saturday. Each week I’ll highlight reviews I wrote during a previous month in this blog’s run.

Currently I am Re-Printing 2007 posts.

October 2007: Volume 1

  • Catalyst coverOctober 3, 2007: Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson“Anderson does a great job of capturing the anxiety and drama that surrounds the college application/acceptance process. She also creates a compelling study of the silent, overachiever that seems to be at every high school. More importantly, Anderson shows that those achievements don’t always come without a cost.”

 

 

  • A Well-Timed Enchantment coverOctober 10, 2007: A Well-Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde–“I first read this book when I was sixteen. I loved it so much I read it twice back to back. A Well-Timed Enchantment is one of those books that never get old. You can read it again and again and the story is still just as good as the first time.”

 

 

  • Extras coverOctober 16, 2007: Extras by Scott Westerfeld–“At the same time, Extras is a very timely book. In a world where everyone seems to have some kind of website and is trying to be more popular or more famous, it’s fascinating to read about a city where everything literally depends on your reputation.”

 

 

 

  • Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City coverOctober 17, 2007: Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller–“Some books can be described as noir films, others are color movies. This one is definitely a cartoon. But a really well-animated, thoughtful cartoon. It’s silly, but in this case that isn’t a bad thing.

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Print’s Re-Prints: September 2007 Edition, Vol. 3

missprintreprintMiss Print’s Re-Prints is a weekly feature that will post on Saturday. Each week I’ll highlight reviews and other posts I wrote during a previous month in this blog’s run.

Currently I am Re-Printing 2007 posts.

September 2007: Volume 3

  • The Last Days coverSeptember 16, 2007: The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld–“The story is about vampires, of course. And music. But it’s also about friendship and relationships. Westerfeld artfully describes the vicious cycle some friendships have when one friend is always taking whatever the other has to give. He also shows how, sometimes, you have to keep those friends even when it’s the last thing you want to do.” You can talk about the Uglies series all you want. But this vampire duet of Westerfeld’s is pure gold. Magic.

 

 

  • Speak coverSeptember 19, 2007: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson–“Strangely, for a novel where the narrator doesn’t speak to other characters, one of the best features of this novel is Anderson’s dialogue.  Even though Melinda rarely has anything to say to other characters, the dialogue flows, Anderson making used of ellipsis and asides in the narration to fill in Melinda’s half of the “conversations.”” This book is YA canon. If you haven’t read it yet, go pick up a copy right this second.

 

 

  • Zen Shorts coverSeptember 21, 2007: Zen Shorts by Jon Muth–“This is a great book to read with older children because even if they don’t get the philosophy, the stories are approachable and they’ll get something from it. (Even youngsters will enjoy the pictures.) It’s a great introduction to philosophy, a fact that becomes clear after reading the afterward, for “students” of any age. Muth does an admirable job creating a picture book that children and grownups can enjoy together.” My first picture book review!

 

  • Stargirl coverSeptember 26, 2007: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli–“Technically speaking I love everything about this book: the characters, the story, the cover art. This one has the full package. Spinelli’s writing throughout the story is perfect. He captures Leo’s fascination with Stargirl as well as his equivocation as he is forced to choose between Stargirl and “the crowd.”” I still love this book a lot. It’s really a classic. Not to mention flawless.

 

 

  • Fix coverSeptember 26, 2007: Fix by Leslie Margolis–“Margolis really looks at the plastic surgery issue from all sides. The book is interesting but also informative. By the end of the novel, it’s clear that there is no right answer about getting (or not getting) cosmetic surgery. But Margolis intelligently examines all sides of the issue highlighting the risks and the motivations that can lead a girl to the operating table.”

 

 

  • The New Policeman coverSeptember 30, 2007: The New Policeman by Kate Thompson–“Thompson expertly entwines these two seemingly disconnected narratives throughout the novel. The common thread between them remains the music that literally runs through the novel. Chapter breaks are denoted by sheet music for traditional Irish songs whose titles relate to the story in addition to the strong affinity all of the characters have for music. By the end of the novel, Thompson ties together both stories creating a sensational end to a truly enjoyable book.”