Friday, May 29, 2015

May-End Bookshelf pt. 2

I had to split this into two posts because I finished THIRTEEN books these past couple weeks.
Look back one to see the first 7. :)

The Lost Boy by Dave Pelter

This is the 2nd book in Dave Pelzer's series about his life growing up in an abusive household. While A Child Called It focused on his early childhood in his mother's house, The Lost Boy deals on his middle years, while he's living in foster care.

It tells about his bouncing around from foster family to foster family. It talks about the trial against his mother and how he felt during it. It explains the fact that he still felt some sort of loyalty to his mother, even though he hated her for everything she did to him.

Another heartbreaking story, but it makes me want to read the next one (and his brother's books).

5 out of 5 stars.

This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl
Okay, I have so many feelings about this book. And I know I probably have the "unpopular opinion" about some of it.

1. I don't get why it was published. Did I learn anything new about cancer? No. I learned about the Harry Potter Alliance, an internet group called Catitude, John Green, and nerdfighteria. I didn't learn anything about cancer aside from the fact that the kind Esther had was not normal for children.

2. John Green flat out says in the beginning that Esther is NOT the inspiration behind The Fault In Our Stars and he already had started that book before meeting Esther. So why is her cancer story any more important than some other kid? Yes, she met John Green. Yes, they became friends. But it almost seems like her parents used that fact to get their kid's journal published.

3. About 75% of the book is just other people saying how kind, caring, and compassionate Esther is. While I don't doubt that, I don't see why it needs said 1,000 times in one book. I get it.

4. Everyone also says that they were shocked Esther was so young. When they chatted with her online, they thought she was older. Sure, she may have loved like someone wiser beyond her years, but one look at her writing style and I knew she was a middle schooler. You're not fooling anyone and if you honestly thought she was 20 something then wow....

5. Okay, so the Harry Potter Alliance won $25,000 "with Esther", but riddle me this. Your favorite author meets a child who is sick with *insert disease here* and this kid happens to be a part of this organization which is trying to win money to *insert good cause here*, so your author writes a blog post/posts a YouTube video/etc. about this and the organization wins. Did that sick kid win the money? No. No offense to Esther, because I'm sure her story did inspire some people.... but I also guarantee there were people who watched John Green's video, thought it was awesome that he wanted the Harry Potter Alliance to win and voted for them that way, with no significance to Esther.

It was a decent book. I'll give it that. But there were just so many things that also really bugged me about it. I don't see how this book was able to win a Goodreads award. I don't know why it was published in the first place, aside from the fact that Esther was friends with John Green.

My Story by Elizabeth Smart
This book was nuts. 

Since I was only around 8 years old when this happened, I have no memory of ever hearing about it, especially details. But wow, it was shocking.

This is Elizabeth Smart's story of the time she was kidnapped from her Mormon, Utah home by a religious fanatic. She spent 9 months tied up, living in the mountains, being raped by a man who claimed his name was Immanuel and he was "sent by God".

This book seriously gave me the creeps because I know that it truly happened and that this guy is not the only one out there who has done this stuff to young girls, and who continue to do things to young girls. 

I applaud Elizabeth for her bravery for publishing this book and having the courage to tell all of the horrible things that happened to her. 

4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

This was another re-read because my 7th graders needed to read it.

The Giver is a story of a different type of society, which promotes the idea of "sameness". Everyone is the same. They follow the same, strict rules. The community is run very precisely. Partners are chosen for you, instead of you getting to marry for love. Birthmothers give birth to children, who are raised in nurturing centers for the first year, before being placed in a household. Children get their bikes at a certain age, etc. 

At 12 years old, things start to change. At this point, children are assigned jobs in their community. They may work at the house of the Old, the fish hatchery, etc. 

Jonas is selected to be the next "Receiver of Memory". With this position, Jonas receives the truth about life "before" (how it is now). 

This is my 2nd time reading this book and I liked it even more than the 1st. I may have to re-read the rest of the series. 

4 out of 5 stars.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
by Harriet Jacobs
This book was written by Harriet Jacobs, a slave. She tells about her life living as a slave in the 1800s. It's interesting in the fact that it was a book by a slave (which was unheard of) but also by a woman.

This tells about her struggles with her master, running away, trying to find freedom for her children, etc.

I believe this is the shorter version of a longer book. I re-read it with my 8th graders. It was a good book to give a look at slavery, but overall I can't say there was anything unusually wonderful about it.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Didn't like it. Which is unfortunate. It was definitely written for younger kids, but usually that doesn't bother me.

Bad, Badder, Baddest by Cynthia Voigt
The entire book is about Mikey and Margalo, who are trying to stop one of their parents from getting divorced. Literally, the whole book. 80% of it is them discussing it, trying to figure out what to do. Then they actually try one thing to make it stop.There's also a girl who is "badder" than the rest of them, but everything she does sounds made up.I like Cynthia Voigt as an author, I really do. But this book seems forced.
2 out of 5 stars. Barely.

Summer Book Challenge Update
5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules. - My Story by Elizabeth Smart (308 pages)
10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before. - She Sins At Midnight by Whitney Dineen (314 pages)
10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. - Not Afraid of Life by Bristol Palin (272 pages)
10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014. - This Star Won't Go Out (431 pages)
15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you. - Suicide City by Julie Frayn (272 pages)
15 points: 
Read a book by an author you have read before. - Match Point by Erynn Mangnum (367 pages)
15 points: Read a book with "light" or "dark" in the title. (Or "lightness" or "darkness.")
20 points: Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title. - Princesses of Iowa by Molly M. Backes (464 pages)
20 points: Read a book with an animal on the cover.
25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books. -- The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer (331 pages)
25 points: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long. --
30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. -- Bad, Badder, Baddest by Cynthia Voigt (266 pages)

Total: 140 points

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