Bookends -- my chance to tell
you what I (the young adult librarian) have been reading. For lots of tips from previous years, see the
Bookends Archives for 2007 and for 2004-2005.
Book of a Thousand
Days by Shannon Hale
Lady Saren refuses to marry the man her father betrothed her to,
choosing instead another, and for her insolence she is sentenced to live
in the tower for 7 years until her father lets her out. And because she
made the promise to never leave Lady Saren's side, her maid Dashti joins
her to cook and clean and keep company -- and Dashti tracks it all in
her writing book. But soon rats appear, and the food dwindles, and the
guards that used to deliver fresh milk and meat disappear -- after
fierce howlings from wolves and sharp screams in the night. Completely
alone and left to starve, Lady Saren continues to despair; but Dashti,
clever and hopeful, finds a way out of their tower -- only to discover
their old world has been ravished by war. Alone, friendless, and
poverty-stricken, they must figure out how to survive on the steppes of
I was hopeful and doubtful about this book at the same time -- I haven't
read this author before, but I know she receives much praise;
nevertheless from the early pages, the book seemed to be a stretch.
However, I pushed through some of the journal entries, and am pleased I
did. Wicked kings, wars, dedication, hope, fear, skinwalkers, good and
evil, true love -- these roam the book freely and make a well-crafted
story that I ended up enjoying more than I thought.
Y FANTASY FICTION
from the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl
Georyn is a woodcutter's son on Andrecia, determined to kill the evil
dragon plaguing their forest and be rewarded with knowledge from the
king. Jarel is a medical officer with a crew set out to colonize
Andrecia -- and to force the natives onto reservations. Elana is a
member of an advanced civilization from another planet, on her way to
Andrecia to save the primitive people from losing their land and their
culture to colonization. Through a series of encounters and
misadventures, the story is created of how the Enchantress from the
Stars helped a woodcutter's son free his people from a powerful magical
dragon and his minions.
Part interplanetary adventure, part fairy tale, this story is full of
magic, science, misunderstandings, humanity, moral issues, romance --
and a wonderful prose that weaves it all together flawlessly in three
voices. And I quite enjoyed it -- it was thought-provoking and engaging.
I'll definitely recommend it to those not afraid of mixed genres or of a
little substance in their books.
Y PB Science Fiction
by Carl Hiaasen
read by Michael Welch
When Noah's blows up a casino boat, the Coral Queen, because he believes
the owner is dumping sewage into the bay, he ends up in jail -- a slight
problem for Noah, his sister, and his mother. But the protest fails, and
the Coral Queen is back in business before Noah's dad gets out of jail.
So Noah decides to take things into his own hands and succeed where his
impulsive father has failed. With the help of his sister Abbey, Lice
Peeking, Shelly the bartender, and a strange old pirate, he sets out to
prove that the Coral Queen is illegally (and disgustingly) dumping
sewage into the ocean.
I'm usually not a huge fan of audiobooks, but I'm trying to learn. I
picked this one up last week as an attempt to save myself from
repetitive radio stations -- and I chose it because it's only 5 discs
and a story I hadn't yet read. And I'm reasonably pleased -- in fact, I
looked forward to driving this week so I could listen to the story.
First of all, the story is fun, full of spicy characters getting into
scrapes and helping each other out. Second, the reader does a fine job,
except in a few places where his voice gets so soft you have to turn the
volume way up; he's expressive but doesn't overdue it with the voices.
All in all, I'd say this is a good choice for audiobooks.
Y COMPACT DISC
Tells the World by Elizabeth McKenzie
(In 35 words or less) -- MacGregor's mom left him and now he's on the
search for his father. What he discovers along the way disturbs him and
aids him. Good adult-teen crossover. Lags a bit in the middle.
Y FICTION McKenzie
by AM Jenkins
(In 35 words or less) -- about a fallen angel who takes possession of a
boy's body for the experience of having a body. Definitely a guy's book.
Some sexual content. Printz Award runner-up.
Y FICTION Jenkins
by Edward Bloor
Kidnapped. Charity Meyers wakes up in the back of a van, strapped to a
stretcher. She has been taken. By the clock set up in front of her, she
realizes that she probably only has 12 more hours for her parents to
follow the instructions of the kidnappers before something terrible
happens to her. Kidnapping is big business in 2036, and students are
taught in school what to do and how to act, should they be kidnapped,
and Charity goes over these lessons over and over again -- she wants to
be let go, returned to her life. But as the minutes tick by and she is
not freed, the worries and fears begin to increase....
As I mentioned before, I took interest in this book mostly because of
Unshelved Comic I saw one Sunday, so I picked up the book and took
it home. The premise is definitely interesting, but despite the
action-based plot, the story gets off to a bit of a slow start. It
doesn't really pick up and start moving until about halfway through, but
even then the tension and action don't seem to be where they could be.
And don't be fooled by the cover -- it has little to do with the story
-- chess is
mentioned but is not a major part of the book, though it works as a
Y FICTION Bloor
by Stefan Petrucha
(In 35 words or less) -- adopted by a corporation, Jaiden's life has
been different than anyone else's, but when he learns of dangerous
practices, he has to determine whose side he's on. Enjoyable with themes
Y FICTION Petrucha