Genre: Verse

Short and Sweet Review – Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

November 29, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 0 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Short and Sweet Review – Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCallUnder the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Published by Tu Books on September 15, 2011
Pages: 225
Genres: Contemporary, Verse
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

When Lupita sees Mami crying over a pesky mesquite growing in her rose garden, she knows something is wrong. Through the kitchen window, she overhears that Mami has cancer. After an operation, things seem to return to normal for Lupita and her family, and they go on with their lives, going back and forth between attending school, working, and living in the United States and visiting family and friends in Mexico. However, when Mami’s cancer returns, Papi doesn’t know whether he should accompany Mami during her long convalescence at an out of town cancer clinic or stay home to care for Lupita and her seven brothers and sisters. Suddenly, being a high school student, dealing with difficult friends, starring in the school play, even writing, become less important to Lupita than doing whatever it takes to save Mami’s life.

‘Under the Mesquite’ tells the story of Lupita and her Mexican American family. Lupita struggles with finding her own identity in a new place after her family moves from Mexico to the United States. To make matters worse she has discovered that her mother has cancer and will undergo surgery to hopefully give her more time on this Earth. Desperate to help in any way she can, Lupita takes care of her 7 younger siblings so that her father can take care of her mother. Unable to handle the stress of the situation, Lupita resorts to writing ‘seeking refuse in the healing power of words.’

I picked this book up after finding out that it’s written in free-verse; I’ve been a sucker for any type of book written in that format recently. Getting a few of these types of books under my belt, I’ve never felt that books have suffered from being written in that format. Unfortunately, this was the case here for me. This was an emotional story that could have been extremely heart-wrenching, but I didn’t feel this emotion come through sufficiently for me. It was an emotional-disconnect for me and it should have been the exact opposite.

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Book Review – Far From You by Lisa Schroeder

November 21, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Far From You by Lisa SchroederFar from You by Lisa Schroeder
Published by Simon Pulse on December 18, 2008
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Verse
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


three-half-stars

Lost and alone...down the rabbit hole.

Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn't quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can by writing her music, losing herself in her love for her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife.

But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother and newborn half sister, she'll face issues she's been avoiding for too long. As Alice looks to the heavens for guidance, she discovers something wonderful.

Perhaps she's not so alone after all....

’Memories fall like snowflakes upon my dreams.’

The Storyline
Alice lost her mother years ago but it changed her deeply despite the fact that everyone else around her has moved on. Her father has remarried a woman named Victoria and they’ve just had their first child; Ivy. Not able to accept this new family of hers, she remains as distant as possible. The two constants in her life are her best friend Claire and her boyfriend Blaze.

On the way home from Victoria’s parent’s house, Alice, Ivy, and Victoria get stuck in a snow bank on the side of the road with very little to survive on. Despite the dreadful situation, it does allow Alice and Victoria to get to know one another and Alice finally begins to realize that there really is happiness still left in the world.

My Thoughts
Finding out that this was written in verse I immediately moved it up in my list. I’m new to discovering this writing style but it’s become an instant favorite of mine. I did enjoy the writing of Lisa Schroeder; it was chalk full of beautiful, vibrant lines.

The story itself was enjoyable despite its predictability, although I did not anticipate it being quite as religious as it ended up being. This was an extremely quick read that still manages to showcase each of the characters nicely and makes them thoroughly relatable. I definitely enjoyed it and will be adding Lisa Schroeder to my list of authors to look out for.

”…it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

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Book Review – Crank (Crank, #1) by Ellen Hopkins

November 21, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Crank (Crank, #1) by Ellen HopkinsCrank by Ellen Hopkins
Series: Crank #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on June 15, 2010
Pages: 544
Genres: Realistic YA Fiction, Verse
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Triangles, Burned, Fallout

four-stars

This is a story about a monster. Not a dragon or a mythological beast, but a very real, very destructive monster--crystal meth--that takes hold of seventeen-year-old Kristina Snow and transforms her into her reckless alter-ego Bree. Based on her own daughter's addiction to crystal meth, Ellen Hopkins' novel-in-verse is a vivid, transfixing look into teenage drug use. Told in Kristina's voice, it provides a realistic portrayal of the tortured logic of an addict.

Crank, you see
isn’t any ordinary
monster. It’s like a
giant octopus,
weaving
its tentacles not
just around you,
but through you,
squeezing
not hard enough to
kill you, but enough
to keep you from
reeling
until you try to get
away.

The Storyline
Kristina is a high school junior who’s your typical normal kid who brings home good grades and has never done anything to disappoint her mom. Kristina though, isn’t always Kristina. Sometimes she becomes Bree, the girl she’s always wanted to be. The girl who tells it like it is, the confident one, the one who’s nothing like Kristina.

When Kristina goes to Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit her dad she meets the neighbor boy Adam and her life begins the slow roll downhill.

His voice dripped
Honey and cream,
Irresistible poison.

He was poison and he introduced her to another irresistible poison: the monster. Just trying it once and her life was forever changed.

My Thoughts
This is my third foray into the works of Ellen Hopkins and I have yet to be disappointed. These are hard books and I can see why people either love them or hate them. They wrestle the difficult subjects that normal authors refuse to touch in order to avoid controversy or dispute. I can understand this; however, that makes me love this author that much more because she does wrestle these tough subjects. She tackles them to the ground and does it with gusto.

All of Ellen Hopkins books tell a brutally honest tale and you’re not likely to get a happy ending either so don’t be surprised if you’re left beaten and bruised by her stories and not given your fairy tale ending. Her books just simply are take it or leave it. Personally, I can’t get enough of them; I find them incredibly hard to put down once I’ve started and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one.

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Early Review – Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

October 14, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2011 3 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Triangles by Ellen HopkinsTriangles by Ellen Hopkins
Published by Atria Books on October 18th 2011
Pages: 529
Genres: Contemporary, Verse
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Crank, Burned, Fallout

five-stars

THREE FEMALE FRIENDS FACE MIDLIFE CRISES IN A NO-HOLDS-BARRED EXPLORATION OF SEX, MARRIAGE, AND THE FRAGILITY OF LIFE.

Holly: Filled with regret for being a stay-athome mom, she sheds sixty pounds and loses herself in the world of extramarital sex. Will it bring the fulfillment she is searching for?

Andrea: A single mom and avowed celibate, she watches her friend Holly’s meltdown with a mixture of concern and contempt. Holly is throwing away what Andrea has spent her whole life searching for—a committed relationship with a decent guy. So what if Andrea picks up Holly’s castaway husband?

Marissa: She has more than her fair share of challenges—a gay, rebellious teenage son, a terminally ill daughter, and a husband who buries himself in his work rather than face the facts.

As one woman’s marriage unravels, another’s rekindles. As one woman’s family comes apart at the seams, another’s reconfigures into something bigger and better. In this story of connections and disconnections, one woman’s up is another one’s down, and all of them will learn the meaning of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness.

Unflinchingly honest, emotionally powerful, surprisingly erotic, Triangles is the ultimate page-turner. Hopkins’s gorgeous, expertly honed poetic verse perfectly captures the inner lives of her characters. Sometimes it happens like that. Sometimes you just get lost.

Get lost in the world of Triangles, where the lives of three unforgettable women intersect, and where there are no easy answers.

’Two lines that never intersect are parallel. Two lines that intersect forming ninety-degree angles, are perpendicular. Perpendicular lines cross each other. Crossing lines. Today I’m thinking about how easy it is to be perpendicular. And about how, while parallel lines may not intersect, parallel lives too often do.’

Thoughts
I got this off of Galley Grab and it went on my list of ‘I might read… maybe’. Truth is I had heard about Ellen Hopkins YA books and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to handle the harshness of the subjects that she writes about and if her YA books were harsh I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from her adult novel. I picked it up one morning when I had some time to kill and was completely blown away. This woman is an amazing writer.

’Falling to pieces. That’s how my life feels. Fractured. Crushed. Disintegrating. And the weird thing is, it’s all because of that stupid little word: love. I’ve fallen in love with *name omitted*, and it’s tinting everything normal about me with shades of insanity.’

I could go into the storyline and what it’s all about, but the summary of the book pretty much says it all. The storyline wasn’t what made this book amazing though, it was the writing. The author also did the most amazing thing with the formatting of each page that really added something spectacular. I’m not often a fan of POV changes, and this book switches the POV often between the three main characters, but it totally worked in this situation. She also used a different font to differentiate between the characters which I thought was a brilliant touch.

As many of you already know, this author writes in verse, and I was not expecting to fall in love with that style of writing as I have. She would write in verse and then often between POV changes she would insert a poem… which was simply remarkable.

This was my favorite piece of hers:

Spilling a Secret
What its size,
will have varying
consequences. It’s not
possible to predict
what will happen
if you
open the gunnysack,
let the cat escape.
A liberated feline
might purr on your lap,
or it might scratch
your eyes out. You can’t
tell
until you loosen the knot.
Do you chance losing
a friendship, if that
friend’s well-being
will
only be preserved
by betraying sworn-to
silence trust? Once
the seam is ripped, can
it be
mended again?
And if that proves
impossible, will you be
okay
when it all falls to pieces?

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