09 March 2012

Book Review: Boys Don't Cry

Book Details
Author: Malorie Blackman
Paperback: 301 pages
Publisher: Corgi Children's (April 2011)

In "Boys Don't Cry", bestselling author Malorie Blackman explores the unchartered territory of teenage fatherhood. You're waiting for the postman - he's bringing your A level results. University, a career as a journalist - a glittering future lies ahead. But when the doorbell rings it's your old girlfriend; and she's carrying a baby. Your baby. You're happy to look after it, just for an hour or two. But then she doesn't come back - and your future suddenly looks very different. Malorie's dramatic new novel will take you on a journey from tears to laughter and back again.

Rating: 5/5

Boys Don’t Cry is my first Malorie Blackman novel and I am in awe. This coming-of-age story is about a 17-year old boy, Dante who had his life planned out. He just received his A Level results from the University and set to study Journalism when his ex-Girlfriend shows up with a baby. She told him it was his and left it in his care.

His bright future suddenly becomes bleak and he didn’t know what to do with the baby who was dumped on him. I must admit, I hated him at first. He was quite an ass in treating Emma and questioning his paternity – but as a teenager who has his full life ahead of him, it was quite understandable. Blackman’s portrayal of a teen-father was very realistic. You can actually feel the denial, guilt, anger and confusion of his current predicament. You will witness how his anger dissipates, and he no longer thinks of himself and instead he thinks what is best for Emma and how he can become a good father.

Not only this, but there are family problems surrounding him as well. When his mother passed away because of cancer, his father was never the same again. He had a strained relationship with both his sons and he's not really good in expressing his emotion. Then there's Adam who lives with a family who is in denial of what he really is. I like his sunny disposition and his honest acceptance of himself. 

The fact that it is Dante (the father) who is left with the child made this book interesting. With hundreds of other YA novels having single (teenage) moms - this book stands out. We see how boys turned into men and how they can excellently cope with whatever life throws at them.

This does not only discusses teen-parenthood but it touches sensitive topics such as violence, homosexuality, post-partum depression, alcohol drinking, importance of safe sex and contraceptives and last but not the least, the value and significance of family. 

Told in alternating narrative between siblings Dante and Adam, Boys Don't Cry is touching tale of coming of age is a captivating and inspiring read for all ages.

Favorite Quotes
“Boys don't cry, but men do.” 

“The point is, you have family and friends who love you. You have a world out there just waiting for you to conquer it. You have a life that will be anything you make it. That's the point.” 

“A backup plan means somewhere in my head, I think I might fail and that word is not in my vocabulary. Plus I'm too talented to fail.” 

“The truth isn't going to bend itself to suit you.” 

“Sometimes the things you're convinced you don't want turn out to be the thing you need the most in this world.” 

“Five years off my life... 
I wondered with a wry smile, would people be immortal if they didn't have kids?” 

“Did you love Melanie?" asked Adam unexpectedly. 
There was no pause before I shook my head. 
"That's a shame," said Adam. 
"Well, someone as special as your daughter should've been... made with love.” 

07 March 2012

Book Review: Pandemonium

Book Details
Author: Lauren Oliver
File Size: 340455 KB
Publisher: HarperCollins ebooks (February 28, 2012)

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, 
pushing aside thoughts of Alex, 
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, 
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Rating: 4/5

It would be somehow safe to say that Pandemonium is the most awaited dystopian YA book this year just as Delirium was the favorite book of the previous year.

For a person who isn’t into dystopian novels – I caught amor deliria nervosa. It was one of my favorite books in 2011 and it took me a lot of patience to wait for Pandemonium. And I was so glad it didn’t fall into the 1st book syndrome.

Pandemonium starts the moment Lena was on the other side of the fence, yes right after Delirium ends. She is on her own and is running for hours to save herself. This book brings us to a different world, introduces us to new characters and to a stronger and more courageous Lena whose completely opposite of the old Lena we knew in Delirium. The new characters are okay, they were almost real people but I miss the old characters from Delirium.

If the first book is light and romantic, this one is filled with adventures and action-packed sequence that will leave you breathless.

The story went back and forth between the “then” – when Lena was in the wilds and the “now” when she serves as an undercover for the resistance movement. Perhaps the only problem in this is the fact that I could not remember when the “then” and “now” connected.

And then there’s Julian. Although he’s likable, he’s a walking cliché (he’s the enemy, the epitome of perfection), and I am still on Team Alex on this.

Pandemonium is worth the wait. If the death of Alex broke my heart in the end of Delirium, the surprising end of this book had my heart thumping so hard I could hardly breathe. Yes, every review you read about how amazing the ending is would make you want to take a peek – but please don’t. It would ruin the surprise and you will end up bumping your head on the wall.

Now, if only Requiem can be released ASAP – it would be a lifesaver.

Favorite Quotes
“If you’re smart, you care. And if you care, you love.

“This is what hatred is. It will feed you and at the same time turn you to rot.” 

“We all need mantras, I guess - stories we tell ourselves to keep us going.”

“If he were less well trained, and less careful, he would say hate. But he can’t say it; it is too close to passion, and passion is too close to love, and love is amor deliria nervosa, the deadliest of all deadly things: It is the reason for the games of pretend, for the secret selves, for the spasms in the throat.”

02 March 2012

Book Review: The Catastrophic History of You and Me

The Catastrophic History of You and Me

Book Details
Author: Jess Rothenberg
File Size: 543 KB
Publisher: DIAL (February 21, 2012)

Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever. 

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally. 

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after. 

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

Rating: 5/5

Afraid to die? Read this book and you will forget why you have that kind of fear in the first place.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me had me from the title (interesting), the cover (wow!), and not to mention the blurb that Lauren Oliver (one of my favorites) gave for this book. Allow me to summarize the book in a few words: witty, funny, heartbreaking and filled with surprises rolled into one amazing story. (This coming from a girl who is not a fan of fantasy)

I love the characters, especially Brie (yeah, as in cheese). She died before she reached sweet sixteen, because of a broken heart (literally). The journey through Kubler Ross’ stages of grief was pretty much covered as well. She witnessed first-hand on how her family and friends dealt with her death – and surprised by the secrets she discovered. Although I am ambivalent in her need to get revenge, but I like her character and I think it was a pretty normal emotion for any person (alive or dead). Patrick was a mystery, he’s funny and sweet. I loved their banters, especially the cheesy-nicknames he have for her.

The chapter names were pretty nice too: they were song titles or lines from songs which added more fun in this book.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me: Perfect start, incredible content, brilliant end.

Favorite Quotes
“You can obsess and obsess over how things ended- what you did wrong or could have done differently- but there's not much of a point. It's not like it'll change anything. So really, why worry?” 

“Love is no game. People cut their ears off over this stuff. People jump off the Eiffel Tower and sell all their possessions and move to Alaska to live with the grizzly bears, and then they get eaten and nobody hears them when they scream for help. That’s right. Falling in love is pretty much the same thing as being eaten alive by a grizzly bear.”

“There’s no such thing as too much Disney.” 
“One nice thing about heaven is that you can relive all your favorite moments and memories pretty much as many times as you want—sort of like a DVD of your whole life. Pause, rewind, fast-forward, slowwww motion, all day, every day.” 

“The trouble is, sometimes words are like arrows. Once you shoot them, there's no going back.”