Tag Archives: YA Novels

Many Waters Review

        As many of you know the new movie adaption of A Wrinkle in Time is set up to be released next year, so out of excitement I decided to reread Madeleine L’Engle’s books because I am a big fan. I then realized I hadn’t ever gotten around to read Many Waters for some reason and was a little shocked I never did so since the story revolves around Sandy and Dennys Murry.

        As mentioned above the story revolves around Sandy and Dennys Murry, the two self proclaimed normal of the Murry children in comparison of the prodigies of Meg and Charles Wallace. When they return home one winter afternoon and go into their parent’s personal lab both Sandy and Dennys are transported to the time of Noah and the ark. Reading this book actually reminded me a lot of the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis which was a science fiction series from a Christian perspective that all other creatures in the universe were aware of the existence of God and the universe beyond them.

Spoilers from this point on, I’m running out of witty things to type in the bold text.

        Unlike the adventures of their siblings Sandy and Dennys are not as adventure ready as readers would believe. For one thing when exposed to the desert climate both Sandy and Dennys suffer from a heat stroke and spend the first half of the book recovering from severe sunburns. At the same time it separates both twins from each other allowing both of them to realize their own personal individual traits that they had never realized about themselves due to always being with each other.

        Along with their own self discovery that both twins aren’t completely like each other Sandy and Dennys begin to realize there is more to them besides being the ‘normal ones’ that they had always called themselves. Dennys has a very strong understanding of the experiments that both his parents perform and the science that Mr and Mrs Murry research and experiment with. In comparison to the adventures of Meg and Charles Wallace, Sandy and Dennys spend significantly more time on their adventure while Meg and Charles Wallace on technicality devoted a few hours to their own adventures (time travel kind of makes it hard to determine who spent the most time on their adventure).

        As mentioned earlier the book takes place during the time of Noah before the days of the great flood. The great flood itself plays a minor role in the story for the first three quarters of the book with major focus being on Sandy, Dennys, Noah’s family and the works of the Seraphim and Nephilim. There is also another tribe of not so nice people who are envious to Noah’s tribe, one of these characters is named Tiglah.

        I want to talk about Tiglah in this review mainly to compare the style of YA writing from when this book was published and how Tiglah would be viewed now. Many Waters was published in 1986 where it was more or less it was frowned upon to be sexually active and open about it as a teenager in the media. In this book Tiglah is in love with one of the Nephilim (fallen Seraphim) and does his bidding for him at one point trying to seduce Sandy and Dennys because the Nephilim are wary of them.

        Throughout the book I felt very sorry for Tiglah and constantly hoped that she would be redeemed; it wasn’t her fault that she ended up this way and clearly she didn’t think that her sexual nature was a bad thing. She admits to genuinely caring about both Sandy and Dennys and hoping that things go well for them as the great flood begins and it is heavily implied that she drowns in the great flood for her ways.

        I think if Tiglah were a character in a modern YA book she would have had more depth to her explored; she may have even been given her own character development and realize that the Nephilim don’t care for her and at least leave her wicked family and ask Noah and his family to give her refuge and teach her to be good.

        Tiglah is also called a slut by Sandy when she tries to convince him to give her his virginity, something that wouldn’t sit well with modern readers (okay more than likely the christian audience would be okay with that.)

        To contrast Tiglah there is Yalith, one of the daughters of Noah; Yalith is essentially a Pure Mary Sue. She is good and kind to all she meets, she nurses Dennys back to health, rejects a Nephilim who claims to be in love with her, convinces the Seraphim to love her (platonically) and is stuck in a love triangle with Sandy and Dennys eventually admitting that she is in love with both of them and it is the mutual love between herself and Sandy that Sandy decides not to have sex with Tiglah. When the issue comes around that Noah can only take his sons and their wives onto the arc and Yalith must be left behind, it is discovered that Yalith is so pure, she can be given a free pass into heaven body and soul because she’s that pure.

        I don’t hate the character of Yalith, but it just annoyed me at times at how she’s presented as the most pure thing in the world and everyone must love her unconditionally. Okay that’s enough ranting about Tiglah and Yalith.

        Concerning the story itself it was very interesting at how ideas and themes presented in the book are actually a very big deal for some people today. One issue frequently brought up is Sandy’s agnostic views and how he needs to “see it to believe it.” At first he treats the story of Noah and the Ark as the equivalent of Norse and Greek mythology, stories told to people that aren’t true, of course with L’Engle being a religious woman, Sandy does believe in unicorns (there is no way I can cover the topic of the importance of unicorns in this book and keep the review brief), but this belief is a result of seeing a unicorn and then believing they are real.

        Sandy also points out in annoyance how many of the women he met on this journey are adapted out of the Bible because the Bible was written by men who viewed the male presence as more important than the female presence.

        Along with this Sandy has comparisons with the unkind people who aren’t part of Noah’s family and terrorists who hijack planes, which in today’s world is a very scary reality that has happened more and more regularly with new forms of shock and horror.

        I’ll end this review by saying that parts of it did hit close to home, particularly since during my time reading this my dad was in the hospital (he is fine and recovering) and one of the biggest plot threads in the book is Noah and his relationship with his dying father Lamech.

I give Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle three out of five cute mini mammoths.

Also small announcement and explanation for things; I will participate in Write a Novel in November this year, so this blog post was partially for me to see if I can write 1667 words in a day. It is something I’ve considered participating in and I hope I can pull it off. This review was 1293 words long meaning I clearly have some improving to do, but book reviews and amount of words written in a day are two very different things. Wish me luck, my theme for this novel will be…mermaids.

Thoughts on Will Grayson Will Grayson

Just in time for school I am back after a summer of a dry spell concerning books! I actually wanted to avoid reading Will Grayson Will Grayson after being disappointed with John Green’s other books and hadn’t read any works by David Levithan. However my interest was sparked when a friend of mine (well let’s be honest the internet) mentioned it is an LGBT story.

I must say I was very satisfied. The gimmick of this story is about two teenagers named Will Grayson and their sucky lives and the different perspective both of them One Will is gay with depression and the other is introverted, but has a best friend who is gay.

Spoilers from this point on, please do not read if you don’t want to be spoiled. 

This story actually reminded me of myself in highschool, to the point where I was crying a few times (care to guess which Will I can relate to?) As stated above the two Wills are the same yet different; the first Will comes from a fairly well off family since both his mother and father are surgeons while the second Will lives with only his mother in a lower income household and suffers from clinical depression.

Both Wills eventually meet after a cruel prank by a character named Mona leads the second Will to Chicago in hopes of meeting his online crush. This results in the gay Will to meet Tiny and become his boyfriend. Gay Will’s life changes in ways that he slowly becomes more open to his friends and loved ones including coming out to his mother and coming out to his friends at school and meeting a new friend (who is also gay.)

Straight Will meanwhile struggles with his desire to be indifferent and not wanting to have any form of change in his life and Tiny’s life based musical and his feelings towards a girl named Jane.

One of the things I like alot about this book is that despite being significantly different people with different problems, both Wills can easily relate to each other and talk to each other about their problems and be open about their experiences (all in just three conversations).

I also like that John Green and David Lavithan chose to not make the parents an obstacle that they must overcome. As soon as Gay Will comes out to his mother and begins to be more honest with her she’s very supportive of him and willing to listen to Will about his depression and relationship troubles.  Straight Will also has supportive parents despite not having too many opportunities to be present in his life due to their line of work. S!Will’s dad even compares Will to a yacht and as being very precious to them.

All in all I was very satisfied with Will Grayson Will Grayson and give it five cat’s in boxes out of five.

Thoughts on Fangirl

Happy New year everyone who reads this. Let’s skip all the holiday stuff and go straight towards my thoughts on Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Generally around Christmas time I was exhausted from shopping with my mother and forgot to bring a book/my ereader with me. Luckily we were breifly at a Target and I walked to the book section
I gazed through the books available and I had the choice between John Green books and other YA novels. I then saw Fangirl and it sparked my interest because the plot involved a girl who was a big fan of a Harry Potter expy. She wrote fanfiction and entered college with the intention of becoming a writer. THe book follows Cath, a fangirl who is abnormal to the rest of the world since she is a fangirl.
Her twin sister Wren was once a fangirl too, but wants to move on with life.
Spoilers Start Here.
Generally through most of the book Wren is a bitch. She behaves recklessly during her first two semesters of college while our hero Cath is concerned with her school work and keeping up with her fanfiction for Simon Snow.
I like that the book concentrates primarily on Cath adjusting to a life outside of her comfort zone and I like that Rainbow Rowell had Cath slowly adjust to living like a normal person without sacrificing any of her fangirl mannerisms.
The only problem I had with the books is when Cath reads her fanfiction to her love interest Levi and while it is sweet that the two bond over her reading out loud to him, I wasn’t interested at all in hearing about her fanfiction (if I don’t read fanfiction in real life why would I read fictional fanfiction,) generally the fanfic portions of the book can be skipped without missing much of the plot.
Although the book was entertaining, I feel a little misled. I still give the book a B-.

The Fault in Our Stars (yo, where you been?)

First, let me say that higher education has higher priorities than this little blog where I write about books and television shows I like. It has been a tough semester, but it’s over and I can enjoy my winter break. Now on with my little blog.

I reluctantly read The Fault in Our Stars, mainly because judging from the way the movie was advertised it seemed like one cheesy ass romance novel involving a girl with cancer as it’s main gimmick. Then again I managed to avoid all commercials for the movie version of The Fault in Our Stars because I was busy with school and family issues to watch normal tv. I bought it because a friend guilted me into it. I will admit, I like the constant snark between Hazel and Augustus so much more than any other romantic couple I’ve read ever!
I also thought a lot about someone I knew who had leukemia and passed away when I was nine. I’m not going too deep into that subject, but I wondered what kind of individual he would have grown into based on reading what Hazel, Augustus, and Isaac go through.
I like that John Green chose to make Hazel more of a fangirl rather than a girl who is ‘so damn educated, but pale and unusual to fit in or have a guy ever notice my plainness’. I mean Hazel still is plain, but she’s beyond being the Mary Sue of YA novels thanks to her snarky ways and fangirl tendencies toward her favorite book and unusual enjoyment of America’s Next Top Model (do they even show that anymore?).
I also like that John Green didn’t make Hazel and Augustus the typical ‘we believe in God, but we’re not religious’ couple and had them both as agnostics with Hazel leaning more towards atheism and Augustus acknowledging that there is a creator rather than the God of Abraham.
I will recommend it, but not because of how popular it is, but because of how good it is without all the hype surrounding it.

The Lunar Chronicles-Cress

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Apologies, for some reason my post deleted itself, here is the review for The Lunar Chronicles Cress. Damn this is so annoying that I lost three paragraphs of writing.

I liked Cress ALOT! This made up for Scarlet so much, the pacing was so much better and it was so much nicer to not be jumping back and fourth between Cinder and the primary protagonist of the book. I mean it does happen, but it’s not as bad as it happened with Scarlet.

Spoilers from this point on, please do not read if you don’t want to be spoiled.

At the end of Cinder we are introduced to the character Cress that I couldn’t help but label a fangirl despite her barely having any screen time. As of this book I can confirm that Cress is a fangirl. A shockingly realistic one too. I’m thinking Merissa Meyer may have gotten inspiration from the fact that most fans of anime or television in general are aware of torrent sites and with the few clicks of a mouse and clicking of a keyboard can get media through torrent sites to flesh out Cress’ character more. Cress is a computer genius who can hack satellites and has been making Lunar spaceships invisible to Earth nations for seven years with her computer abilities all alone on a satellite.

However she does get bored and due to Lunar’s not caring for recorded work she settles for Earth media and grows to love it and becomes a fangirl of Earth and humans. She is a shell so she doesn’t have any glamor abilities and isn’t affected by them. I gotta say I really do like her as she felt more relatable to me. Despite having a Y chromosome and not necessarily being a fangirl (yes even men have inner fangirl moments), I was able to sympathise more with her concerning her living situations. Sadly with no combat abilities Cress is more of a damsel in comparison to Scarlet and Cinder who have some minor combat abilities.

I can also feel that Cress really is a fangirl since like most people in fandoms she researches her favorite characters (in this case Thorne) and has daydreams about falling in love with them. She’s actually adorkable.

Alot more is also explained concerning the backstory of the world Cinder takes place in; the discrimination towards cyborgs is explained, ironically I was nearly spot on about people discriminating against cyborgs for the sake of having something to discriminate against something.

We also get character development from all the characters with CInder realizing that she has no choice but to start a revolution against queen Levena, Dr.Erland’s backstory fully revealed and his regret at sacrificing so many lives, Iko getting her own humanoid body (my favorite part), and Thorne proving to himself and everyone else that he is more than a freeloading perverted thief based on the feelings Cress has for him.

The book does end on a cliffhanger (again), but with a war finally starting between Earth and Luna and with two books coming out next year (one a prequel about Queen Levena and the final book based upon Snow White) the series is definitely going to have a dramatic ending.

Also it appears that with the addition of a Snow White character Merissa Meyer has indeed created her own Sailor Senshi team. I give the book four out of five starts.