Tuesday 30 November 2010

THE BOOK REVIEW CLUB Dec 2010 - A Matched Made In High School by Kristin Walker

Publisher: Razorbill
Pub. Date: February 4th 2010
Age Range: young adult
Pages: 277
Format: ARC
Source Of Copy: requested and received from publisher

When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can't get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona's long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer.

Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.

I'd been waiting a long time to read this book because it received nothing but praise and admiration from the bloggers as well as readers, and finally I did get my hands on a copy. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait. A Match Made In High School is unique, fun and totally unpredictable.

What primarily makes this book special, I believe, is its plot. Kristin Walker has introduced a new happening that we hardly see in any reads focusing on high school life - Marriage Education program. With this she adeptly brings in more drama, more complex situations and of course, more significant characters. I specifically love how the course goes due to Fiona's funny journal entries and how the couples pretend to earn money and manage their budget.

A Match Made In High School makes you really appreciate high school and all the fun it offers for 4 years. The narration makes the whole thing feels stimulating, hilarious and positive even though there are sticky circumstances and our characters are not happy all the time. Actually, it is fun at first and gets more serious as the story nears the end, yet never loses the hopeful and fun atmosphere.

Fiona. Let's see. She reminds me a lot of Audrey because both are crazily hilarious and witty and sarcastic. She's someone I'd love to befriend or better, be best friends with. Her transformation and personality development are truly enjoyable. I also love Sam, a really cute and thoughtful kid. Quite a lot of male characters may prevent you from guessing which one is the one but I think it's more exciting that way. Todd is my favorite and I'm glad he turns out cool.

Overall, if you have attended high school or will do, you HAVE to read this book.

Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Breathless by Lurlene McDaniel

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pub.Date: May 12th 2009
Age Range: 12 and up
Pages: 165
Format: ARC
Source Of Copy: from the publisher

What is the toughest request anyone can be asked to fulfill?

Travis Morrison is a champion diver and one of the most popular kids at school. On the first day of summer vacation, while boating on the lake with his friends, Travis attempts a silly stunt dive that goes wrong. He fears he has broken his leg. Instead, his trip to the hospital reveals he has a rare form of cancer, and to save him, the doctors tell his parents they must amputate. In an instant, Travis’s life and the lives of everyone around him are forever changed.

Travis is determined that he and only he should decide the course of his life. He has a plan, but he can’t carry it out alone. Will he convince one of his friends to fulfill his most important request?

Lurlene McDaniel tackles a controversial subject, probing the issues of personal choice and quality of life.

A good book depicting a rare subject in young adult titles, Breathless makes a great read for everyone who wants something thought-provoking and meaningful.

The highlight of this book, to me, is how Lurlene McDaniel creates a calm and collected atmosphere even though the characters are facing the fatal choice of life. Even from before the accident happened to the really end it was never depressing or too hard to handle. It makes the story more realistic and less dramatic compared to those of the same genres.

I like the fact that the story keeps switching from character to character so we can look at the matter in many ways. Having said that, I also find that I don't have enough time to understand any of them (if you pay attention to the info listed above, the book is only 165 page long). Travis though, makes a good impression on me. How he reacts to the situation is totally brave to me. He's someone that I won't forget.

Breathless ends in a way that I never expect. Even thought there are a lot of twists in this story, the ending still surprises me. It seems shocking yet still very peaceful.

Bottom line: pick up this book, I think it would be good for you.

Rating: 4/5