Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Project 50 Restart: June

"Looking for Alaska" by John Green
"Looking for Alaska" is about Miles, a boy who moves, in his junior year, to a boarding school in Alabama and into a culture of have and have nots, pranks, and plenty of vice. Now that I think about it, I'm sure that there was just the same amount of vice among students at my high school in rural Oregon, but I was a naive good girl, so I knew nothing about it. Miles meets and falls in love with a beautiful, wild and crazy, but untouchable girl named Alaska (she picked the name herself). They spend a lot of time alone together because Alaska doesn't want to go home for holidays. Along with Miles' roommate, "the Colonel," their friend Takumi, and Lara, the girl that Alaska chooses to be Miles' girlfriend, they have a good time pulling pranks and talking about famous last words.
The first part of the book has an ominous "# of days before" countdown, so you know something big is coming. I won't say what it is, but I cried, just a little, and not many books can make me cry.
From there, the book turned into something similar to Paper Towns, with a mystery to solve, and it was only then that I saw the similarities between Alaska and Margo in the first half of the book. Both are amazing yet wounded girls, making best friends with the nerdy boy. I found Alaska a little bit cheesy and forced sometimes, especially her claims of militant feminism, while the boys define her by her insatiable appetite for sex.
I think the book gets its strength from is base around Miles' World Religions class and its relation to his fascination with famous last words. It's this this that makes the novel not just a romp of high school hedonism and trajedy, but depth and inspiration and encouragment for a young adult reader to think about more than just what they want out of life. B

"Judgement of the Judoon" by Colin Brake
This Doctor Who novel features the Tenth Doctor on his own. It's got a brain teasing plot, but it got a little bit thin in places on its representation of Tennant's Doctor. It played a little too much on the "lone alien explorer" bit. I thought that the sudden humanish transformation of the Judoon guard's personality was a little bit weak too. C-

"Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth" by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson is in trouble again. He and his friends have to battle monsters and tricksters through the infamous Labyrinth to find its inventor, Daedalus and find a way to defeat Luke, the half-blood camper who's allied himself with the Titans threatening to bring down Olympus. He gets in a bit of a mix with his friend Annabeth when he asks a gifted mortal girl to join their quest. The ending didn't end like I thought it would, but it did end exactly like it should. B+

"Martian Time-Slip" by Phillip K. Dick
This story reminded me a little bit of the Martian Chronicles, but not enough for me to hate it for that. Its fractured plot that jumps back and forth between several characters gives the novel about a time when 1/6th of the human population has schizophrenia its own fractured feeling. Arnie Kott, a big boss in the Mars black market, subscribes to a school that says that schizophrenics have pre-cognition, and he wants one of these fortune-tellers on his payroll. He chooses an autistic orphan boy who doesn't communicate, and tells his machine repairman to create a system that would allow him to tell the future to those who would use it. His theory is that autistic people operate on a faster timeline than other humans, and that normal speed communication goes by too fast for them to understand. I can't tell the rest without ruining the plot, but I found the book and the way it addressed mental ability absolutely fascinating. A-

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by JK Rowling
I adore this book, just for Gilderoy Lockheart. He's so flawlessly over the top, I cheer everytime he shows up. I think the reactions from his fellow teachers are the best because they're so UNCOMFORTABLE! It's the third time I've read it, and I still laugh my head off. A

"The Larion Senators: Eldarn Sequence Book 3" by Robert Scott and Jay Gordon
I thought that all was lost for Steven Taylor and Mark Jenkins after "Lessek's Key," but there was enough hope for one more book. Except that it was really awkward. Mark's bits were half in an inescapable dreamworld, and half about killing people. Steven Taylor gets nerdy with math, and Hannah has awkward pity sex with someone else. Why is sex always out of nowhere in these books? I was mildly disappointed with most of the book, with just enough intrigue and magic to keep me going. C

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