Thursday, October 10, 2013

Interesting YA titles

I finished both of these in September and what ties them together is love and the power of acceptance; something most humans desire. One uses that power and the other makes it into a curable disease.

The List by Siobhan Vivian:

Filled with the craziness of high school it brought back memories of how BAD it can be.  I thought it said a lot though for all that high school student’s experience-being popular is weird and being unpopular is just as weird.  If only all high school students could learn to be themselves;  a very difficult concept because most teens have yet to truly find themselves as it often takes years to figure it all out. 

Mount Washington H.S. has this tradition of a published list plastered all over the walls right before homecoming.  The list shares the prettiest and the ugliest female student in each class.  At any level it is difficult to appear on either side of the list; yet both sides display negative behavior because they are on the list.

Siobhan Vivian relays the stories of all eight young women affected by the list and we learn just how being a member of this small group changes them.  In order to ignore the list you’d have to be a very mighty girl!  I was not a brave soul in high school and would have found it heart-breaking to be even mentioned.  Even the young women chosen for the pretties side struggle with how to keep up with the image they think every one expects.  My first thoughts were that the list must be written by a guy or a group of guys. The ending left me shaking my head and praying for a second women’s movement!   

A quote:

She lifts her chin a few degrees.  ‘I’ve decided not to take a shower for a whole week.’
‘For real?’
‘Yup,’ she says, making the p pop.  ‘I’m not showering, I’m not brushing my teeth, putting on deodorant, anything.  I’m wearing these same clothes, not just the shirt, but the jeans, the socks, the underwear, the bra. My last shower was on Sunday night, before I went over to your house.’  She folds her arms.  ‘I won’t participate in any kind of hygiene until Saturday night.’ It feels good to say her plan out loud.  Now there can be no backing out.
‘What’s on Saturday night?’
‘The homecoming dance.’ It sounds so utterly ridiculous, but she keeps a straight face.  ‘I’m going as smelly and disgusting as I can possibly make myself, dressed in these clothes.’
Milo laughs and laughs, but when Sarah doesn’t join, he stops.  “Wait.  You’re not serious.’
‘I am.’
‘Why are you letting that stupid list get to you? You hate the girls at this school, obviously for good reason.  And now you want to show up at their dumb dance? This isn’t like you at all.’ (101)

Even the young women chosen for the pretties side struggle with how to keep up with the image they think every one expects.  The ending left me baffled and praying for a second women’s movement! 

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (2011):

This is a glorious look at a future world where love has been deemed a disease.  Can you imagine?  They make a good case for why love could be perceived as a sickness.  Lena is an orphan living in her aunt’s household waiting for her treatment that will prevent her from getting the disease. Many good plans fail to work out though and Lena meets someone that makes her feel all the effects of love which confuses her.  Does she feel this way because she is now sick or are the people protecting her lying to her?  As love often does her life becomes complicated as she balances her quiet life at home with her new desire to break the rules and see Alex as much as she can.  

I enjoyed the relationship between Lena and her best friend Hana.  They are good to each other but have a few struggles and conflicts throughout the story but in the end they find they can count on each other.  

A quote:

I was named after Mary Magdalene, who was nearly killed from love: “So infected with deliria and in violation of the pacts of society, she fell in love with men who would not have her or could not keep her.” (Book of Lamentations, Mary 13:1).
We learned all about it in Biblical Science.  First there was John, then Matthew, then Jeremiah and Peter and Judas, and many other nameless men in-between. 
Her last love, they say, was the greatest: a man named Joseph, a bachelor all of his life, who found her on the street, bruised and broken and half-crazy from deliria.  There’s some debate about what kind of man Joseph was-whether he was righteous or not, whether he ever succumbed to the disease-but in any case, he took good care of her.  He nursed her to health and tried to bring her peace. (87-88)

I enjoyed how Oliver twisted our own biblical stories to create and re-enforce this new history and makes a convincing argument against love.

Both books were borrowed from my local library.

I'm reading Maggie's Stiefvater's sequel to The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, and love it.  I downloaded it to my kindle to encourage myself to finish a book on this device.  I love using it as a mini-computer and as a game device but have yet to finish a book on it.  Dream Thieves will be my first and I'm proud to say I'm half way through or in Kindle-speak 48%.  

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