MARTians
Young Adult / April 9, 2016

Author: Blythe Woolstoon. Summary: Zoe is the last girl of her class, the last living person in her suburb before it closes down, and possibly the last living – rather than simply existing – girl. When her mother leaves for another job, Zoe must move on to her own job at AllMart, where her smile is the welcome mat. It’s the same job as hundreds of other young adults. Surrounded by the consumerism of the huge stores, drugged both literally and figuratively, and trapped by the conditions she agreed to when she signed on, Zoe begins to struggle to realize what this is about and what living might really be like. My Thoughts: This not-so-futuristic dystopia was strange, confusing and yet interesting, in many ways. Overall, the plot was disconnected and jerky, dropping whole side plots and ignoring unexplained things. But taking the book as a whole, I think the author made a deliberate effort to make it more like real life as part of the effect. Our life, where often nothing comes of promising events, where too often little makes sense and there is no real closure. Our Main Character, Zoe, is often as confused as we. She’s just…

The Last Unicorn
Adult , Young Adult / April 9, 2016

Author: Peter S. Beagle Summary: A beautiful, bitter-sweet fairytale with the length of a (short) book. Dreamy and haunting, this is the story of the last unicorn of the world. When She left her friendly forest and set out to find others of her kind, the unicorn was soon captured by a witch and bound in a cage she could not break. Released by the witch’s reluctant compatriot, a magician, she continues on her journey, picking up friends and allies on the way. Everywhere she searches, people tell her the unicorns vanished long ago, driven away by a beast known as the Red Bull. In the end she will have to confront him herself. Facing her direst enemy, alone in the end and struggling to keep hold of her true nature, will the world lose the last of her kind? My Thoughts: One of my all time favorites, both for the gorgeous prose, the best treatment of the essential unicorn that I have ever found, and the masterful bitter-sweet tone throughout the entire book as it muses on beauty, youth long past, and loss. Content Review: Sexual content: When the magician turns the unicorn into a girl, she changes into a…

The Book Thief
Young Adult / April 8, 2016

Author: Marcus Zusak. Summary: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . . Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. (Summary from Goodreads.) My Thoughts: One of the few books that can bring tears to my eyes. Zusak has a knack for unconventional prose that truly overturns the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”.  In this moving World War II story he focuses not on the allies, or the Jews, but on a common German family. They may hate Hitler, but there is nothing they can do, or will do – and yet the consequences of the war will hit them…

Icons
Young Adult / April 8, 2016

Author: Margaret Stohl Summary: When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador’s privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn’t a coincidence. It’s a conspiracy. My Thoughts: The writing style was plain, simple and straightforward, with none of the beauty in prose I enjoy. The plot was rather strange – Aliens have taken over the Earth! We must save ourselves with emotions! (?) The characters felt underdeveloped. They were extremely bad at communicating, thus creating excuses for several fights and sundry other problems. They did have an interesting means of sharing emotions, by which they might be flooded by each other’s (strong) passions. I must note, hiding a love triangle by having the girl refuse to admit it does not help. I’m afraid the overall rating for this story was bored, with a hint of confusion, and a final statement of ‘meh.’ Content Review: Sexual…

The Unicorn Girl

Author: M. L. LeGette Summary: Leah Vindral is suffocating–trapped in her own skin. In a land where magic is feared, magic saved her from death … but it came with a terrible price. Marked forever, she is shunned and isolated by those she loves most. Brimming with bitter rage at those who abandoned her, Leah flees from her childhood home only to be swept into an impending war: Mora, a wicked witch, has been imprisoned for years, waiting like a spider in the folds of her web for the chance to regain the powers once stripped from her. It is there, while she waits, that she learns of a strange young girl … a girl who can speak to unicorns. Now Leah must save the country that shuns her, for if Mora returns to power, all will be lost. But can Leah, who is so frightened and confused herself, find the strength to save them all? (Summary from Goodreads.) My Thoughts: There wasn’t anything wrong with The Unicorn Girl. It was just… bland. Generic. The writing style felt stilted and stiff, with ‘ly’ adverbs liberally scattered. There were elves – tall people with pointed ears who live in a shining castle, and…

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
Adult , Young Adult / April 8, 2016

Author: Patricia McKillip. Summary: Sybel, with frost-white hair and eyes as black as Drede’s heart, is the sorceress of Eldwold, and she has lived alone on the mountain with her five beasts all her life. So when Coren Sirle, seventh son of a seventh son and nemesis of the king, comes knocking at her door with an infant, she has no idea what to do. Take him and love him, Coren begs, and the sorceress does, raising the boy to young manhood and letting herself love him as nothing else. Then Coren returns, wishing the boy back. Sybel refuses, determined to keep Tamlorn away from the tangled webs of politics and war. But when Tamlorn begs to meet his father, Sybel calls the king of Eldwold to her doorstep to meet his son, setting in motion chains of events that even she will be unable to stop. Tamlorn wants a father. Drede, king of Eldwold, wants the iceflower sorceress for his own. And Sybel wants only to be left alone to call the Liralen – until her power is shaken and her confidence ravaged. Then wakes her anger. My Thoughts: I think The Forgotten Beasts of Eld may be something…