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The Road: Review

Today I will be reviewing a “light read” (I hope you know I’m joking). The Road by Cormac Mccarthy is one of the most critically acclaimed novels of our time. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, was selected for Oprah’s book club in 2007, and the Quill Award for General fiction in 2007. 

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I had heard a lot about this book before I read it. My dad claims that this is the one book that has made him cry. My mom didn’t like it as much, for it was too gory and depressing for her. I think my brother felt more neutral about this book, except for the cannibalism. I didn’t think I would ever read this book until this year. It never really appealed to me, but I found that it was actually a much easier read than I anticipated.

The Road is set in a post apocalyptic dystopian world. It follows the journey of a father and his son and their methods of survival through the desolation. The book contains flashbacks, unique description of setting, and the most influential part of the book: dialogue.

The dialogue in The Road is unlike any other book I have read. Mccarthy does not use quotation marks, and the characters rarely speak more than one sentence at a time. For me, this was the most jarring part of the book. I remembered the interactions between the father and the son better than anything else I read. Although little is said between the two, the combination of setting and internal dialogue makes up for it. 

One thing that I noticed about this book was how little it impacted me. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book, because I did. I just noticed that the way my dad and my teacher spoke about it was different from how I would speak about it. I think the reason why this book maybe didn’t impact me as much is because I didn’t relate to the characters. I don’t think I will ever be a parent, so if the apocalypse were to happen and we were all left behind with this dystopia, I wouldn’t be in the same position the father was. I often think about how different the book would be if it was just the father and not the son, or vice versa. I think that this book will impact fathers (or soon-to-be) fathers the most, unless they don’t value their children much. I mean hey, I don’t even know for sure because like I said, I have no plans to be a parent.

Another thing that was discussed in my English class was how one of the reasons this book is so powerful is the fact that this could very well be the setting of our post apocalyptic world. Many students said that they could see this scenario playing out in real time, and I agree. While I would like to think that supernatural beings and forces would come into play post-apocalypse, if you’re going with what you know about the world today this is what is most likely to happen. I see cannibalism as a definite possibility in our future. It’s something I’m squeamish about, so I don’t talk about it often.

Overall, I would give this book a 3/5 and recommend it to those who are not faint of heart.

-Leah

Review of Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan

In this eloquent tale of heroism, war, and hope, Nancy Yi Fan tells of two tribes of the birds, the bluewingles (blue jays), and the sunrise tribe (cardinals), who are at war over berries and grain each one thought the other had stolen, while in truth it was all a plan by the scheming hawk tyrant, Turnatt. To save Stonerun Forest, bluejay Aska and Miltin, a robin, must travel over the White cap mountain to reach Miltin’s tribe, the Waterthorn Tribe, and retrieve their leasorn gem, a tear of the great spirit, to summon swordbird, son of the great spirit and he who wields the hero’s sword.

I highly recommend this story to all readers who love action, adventure, and especially birds.

Review of “Level Up” by Gene Luen Yang (Sure hope I spelled that right)

First things first, this is what I look like:

Ta-daa. I like grazing.

Anyway, this is a review of Gene Luen Yang’s book “Level Up” which looks along the lines of this: 

Feast your eyes. And look at the top! It tells us this author wrote another book [that was super awesome]! I loved that book. Read it three times or so, and I never reread books. Anyway, enough of that. These images simply enrich your experience. 

I don’t have to put summaries, right? 

So…*SPOILER ALERT* I thought it was super cool how, at the end, those weird angels went all Mapleshade on him (they said they were helping but they were sort of bad guys). See, he loses all his cool friends and is forced to abandon his dream because he is living up to the dream of his dad to become a doctor [of gastroenterology]. I mean, what even is that?! So the poor guy (Our main character) whose name I actually forgot (come to think of it, I forgot the name of the protaganist in American Born Chinese too despite how many times I’ve read it…) must throw out his possible future of making a career out of video games, which he’s played for years and is really good at. Wasting a good skill…we’ll come to that later. And that is because of some weird angels. 

Who look nothing like this. At all.

Watch the angel, little children…

Haha. There are four of them, all different colors (This gif is so distracting), who first appeared on a card he got from his now-dead father. Strangely, the card had dissapered soon after he got it. (Why am I making a summary?!) OK, the main character is then forced to study gastroenterology by the said creepy angels (who, once again, do not look like this. They aren’t weeping angels either). They tell him it is his destiny, but luckily they help him study, wash his clothes, etc. Pretty nice for deceptively adorable destiny angels. He makes friends at his place, but the friendship crumbles, in part due to the creepy angels’ almost obsessive quest to make him follow his destiny. That in itself is unnerving. Also, they can sometimes go all RAGE on you.

After this, the main character meets an old friend of his who he had played video games with, all the time (He was his “Luigi”). This friend is making money playing video games and also gets the girls. Which, understandably, makes the main character start to question this whole “destiny” thing. But those creepy angels will not let him exercise his own choices. (At least they do his chores.) 

Then…there’s the end. *ominous forest*

The main character tries to run and realizes…this is just like Pac-man. The angels are the ghosts. So what does he do?

He eats them, of course. 

Apparently they taste really bad…

Finally, he finds out that his dad promised HIS beloved relatives and such to be a doctor as well. 

He never did.

After his friends rescue him from the street where he fainted (No one else can see the angels, so it probably looks weird to them) they make up, and the main character pursues his dream of video games. The end shows him going back to medical school, where he might’ve found a video game skill he can apply to it…

Sorry for going on so long. Anyone, I thought this book was super awesome!!! I need to find more stuff by the author. *gets out puppets* And where do you think you could find more books by the author?

THE LIBRARY!!!!!

More specifically, ours. See you here!

The end. *takes a bow*

Hyperbole and a Half - Review

Today, I will be reviewing a graphic memoir by Allie Brosh. Hyperbole and a Half, which was published in 2013, was originally a series of blog posts. After it gained popularity, the posts were published into a 370 paged series.

The book is split up into many events in Brosh’s life, such as getting lost in the woods with her mother and sister and her own struggles with depression. From what I’ve noticed, the book doesn’t seem to be in chronological order. She jumps from being a severely depressed adult into eating hot sauce at the age of six in a few short pages. These stories about her life are also accompanied by illustrations, which were presumably made on MS Paint. I think that this adds to Brosh’s voice in each story.

One of my favorite illustrations is in “Depression Part One”, in which MS Paint version of Brosh is sitting on her kitchen floor with a cup of juice and crying. 

Personally, Brosh’s segment on depression was the most moving to me. While I understand that not everyone’s experience with depression is the same, I could relate to the uncontrollable crying on the kitchen floor. I could also relate to frustrations with therapists and doctors. Brosh covers the true aspects of what it’s like to live with depression. It’s more helpful than your usual school social worker trying to talk at your face about depression and bullying when you doubt whether or not they have actually experienced it themselves.

I’m very glad that Hyperbole and a Half got a chance to be published into a book. I would have never known about the blog connected to it, or the origins of the “ALL THE THINGS!” meme if I hadn’t received the book for Hanukkah last year. It’s hard to describe how this book makes me feel in general. Obviously the depression segment hit home with me, but the pieces about her dogs and her childhood just entertained me. They also made me realize that often times, your childhood is not as boring as you think it is. Reading about all the little things that Brosh went through as a child helped me reflect on my own childhood and all the strange things that happened. 

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a variety of stories in one book. I also encourage people to once again check out Allie Brosh’s blog for more stories and pictures.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! Hopefully I will be back soon with another review (Possibly Bryan Lee O’Malley’s new graphic novel…?)

-Leah

New Reviewer - Introduction

Hello! My name is Leah, and I will be writing reviews on this blog. Most of the books that I will review will be graphic novels, mainly because I don’t have enough time to read other books for fun. You can also find my artwork here if you are interested in commissioning/just want to browse. That’s all, and I hope you are well!

Review of AFTERWORLDS

Afterworlds is an amazing book by Scott Westerfeld. It features Darcy Patel, a young adult who abandons college to pursue a career of writing. She moves into NYC whilst waiting for her book, Afterworlds, to be published. 

Afterworlds is an interesting book that grasps the reader and pulls them into the world of Darcy Patel, but alternates between Darcy’s real life and the lives of her book characters. This is a little confusing, as I personally wasn’t used to the constant switching from Darcy’s view to Lizzie’s view (the protagonist in her book Afterworlds). Although it proved to be an interesting thing to do in a book, I didn’t enjoy the constant shifting of viewpoints, and it threw me off when I first started reading the book. 

In Darcy Patel’s Afterworlds, you’re taken on a wild adventure through the eyes of Lizzie. Lizzie is on her way home from NYC when she misses her flight while at the Dallas airport. Unbeknownst to her a group of terrorists from an unknown group plan to gun down everyone in that airport. Lizzie panics, dialing 911 for help. A woman there tells her to play dead, and that is when Lizzie’s world becomes unreal. Colours seep away, and suddenly she’s in the Afterworld, a place between the dead and the living. There she meets Yami and Yamaraj, a brother and sister who have been in the Afterworld for several hundred years. Yamaraj is essentially a death god, and when he was younger he chose to follow his sister into the Afterlife. Lizzie and Yamaraj’s actions towards one another shows for an obvious romance, one that will take many twists and turns. It’s then that Lizzie’s true abilities are shown, the fact that she can alternate between the Afterworld and the Overworld. Soon enough she is able to see ghosts, befriending Mindy, the girl in Lizzie’s mother’s closet. Lizzie’s abilities grow, and soon enough she’s caught trying to decide what is right and what is wrong, torn between making painful decisions that could leave her and those she loves broken.

In Darcy Patel’s eyes, she is an 18 year old who is already moving away from her home in Philadelphia to NYC where she’ll be staying for an estimated three years. Darcy’s book, Afterworlds, is going to be published by Paradox, making her an unofficial YA authour. And that means that she has to deal with the fresh gossip from the other YA authours during YA drink night, the drama that ensues with her blossoming relation ship with YA authour Imogen Grey. Darcy has to overcome many obstacles in order to have Afterworlds published, many of which she didn’t sign up for. Darcy struggles with everyday things, such as her budget which she seems to ignore despite her younger sister Nisha’s warnings. Darcy is already writing a sequel to Afterworlds (which she calls Untitled Patel), which is just another big brick wall in her way to YA Heaven. 

Overall this book was absolutely amazing, I adored reading it and suggest it to anyone who enjoys things like this. Although the alternating chapters can be confusing at times, I still enjoyed this book thoroughly. I was hooked within the first few chapters, with the heart wrenching romance between the protagonists of the chapters as well as their struggles to succeed in both a peace of mind and the happiness of those around them, this book is a must read. 

The Bargaining by Carly Anne West is a must read! It’s a book filled with everyday struggles, haunting children and some very mixed emotions. It’s about Penny, who was recently sent to live with her father, step mom and step brother in Washington. 

The one thing Penny doesn’t know when she arrives is that she’ll be spending the next two months with her step mom (who she doesn’t know all that well and isn’t too fond of) in an old house in the middle of nowhere. The first few things Penny doesn’t like about the house are the eerie woods that surround the worn out place, the mural of the red haired boy in one of the bedrooms, and the nightmares she has when sleeping in the house. Towns people are not pleased when April, her step mother, tells them they’re staying in the Carver house.

From children with white eyes and gaping mouths, creepy girls running through the forest into sheds filled with dead creatures, mattress forts hiding monsters and a pulse pounding ending, The Bargaining is a book you need to read.

This book will be published on February 17th, 2015. An advanced reader copy was provided from the publisher by Edelweiss.

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