Pub Writes

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Posts Tagged ‘Review’

Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee

Posted by Caitie F on January 28, 2010

Title: Absolutely Maybe

Author: Lisa Yee

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic)

Hardcover: 274 pages

ISBN: 9780439838444

Rating: ++++

Summary (from

When living with her mother, an alcoholic ex-beauty queen, becomes unbearable, almost seventeen-year-old Maybelline “Maybe” Chestnut runs away to California, where she finds work on a taco truck and tries to track down her birth father.


My heart broke for Maybe. A mom who is an alcoholic and is constantly criticizing her. Being different from everyone else around her and feeling invisible. Having her mother’s latest fiancee try to rape her. Yeah, she is definitely a character that it is hard not to care about.When her mother got mad at HER about Jake, I wanted Maybe to do something drastic and was glad that she did.

An environment like that can’t be healthy for anyone and she found a way to get out, even if it was running away. I will agree with some other bloggers, sometimes Maybe gets overshadowed by some of the other characters, but I still really liked her. I also thought that it was good that she wasn’t always assertive to her friends. She has not had the easiest living situation with her mother and parade of stepfathers, so I could easily see someone in her situation be complacent with friends on things that don’t really matter in the long run.

I don’t want to give away too much of the book because it was so great to read it and not know any of what was happening, but I will say that it was a great read. ALL of the characters were great (well other than the ass Jake) and Lisa Yee has to voice of the teenager down perfectly. It felt realistic and authentic and I couldn’t put the book down.

Here is a warning though – while reading this book, you WILL crave tacos. Good tacos, Delicious tacos. Thinking about it makes me want some…too bad I don’t have anywhere to get them!

Have you read any other books that have made you want food lately?
Here is what some other people had to say – if you did a review, let me know in the comments and I will link to it!

Presenting Lenore was not a big fan and wrote a good review about why.

Katie’s Bookshelf thought it was ok.

This counts for both the
2010 YA Challenge
2010 TBR Challenge


Posted in Review | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Posted by Caitie F on January 21, 2010

Title: Love, Stargirl

Author: Jerry Spinelli

Publisher: Knopf

Hardcover: 274

ISBN: 9780375813757

Rating: +++++

Summary: Love, Stargirl is a sequel to Stargirl. While the first book looked at Stargirl from Leo’s perspective, this book is from Stargirl. It is one long letter to Leo, that is essentially a diary. Stargirl has moved from Arizona to Pennsylvania and she is suffering from heartbreak. Leo has dumped her and she cannot deal with it. Her parents have decided that homeschooling is probably best, so Stargirl gets to interact with a wide variety of people. There is Dootsie, a five-year-old who wants to be Stargirl; Betty Lou, who is suffering from agoraphobia; Alvina, the tough girl that beats up boys and doesn’t fit in; Charlie, who sits by his wife tombstone all day; and several other characters. Through these people, Stargirl begins to hope again.


This book has gotten many mixed reviews. Some people say that Stargirl shouldn’t care about what a boy thinks of her and it shows that she is just a typical girl. I disagree. Stargirl loves people and animals and the world around her more than any of us could.Since she has so much love, wouldn’t the removal of returned love hurt her more than any usual person? I would think so! Love is hard! Losing love is even harder, even Stargirl will have a hard time with that.

She hasn’t lost herself completely. She takes the man by the tombstone donuts and a birthday present. She befriends the people that most people ignore. She does nice things for people around her all the time. She is still a one-of-a-kind Stargirl. I love that we got to see her parents in this book. They obviously love their daughter and help her whenever they can. They accept her for who she is and encourage her in whatever she is trying to do. It is a great example of parenting.

I wish I could have been more like Stargirl. She didn’t care if people thought she was strange, she did nice things for them and asked for nothing in return. In the first book, she found out who had a birthday and sang to them. She continued this every day. You know some of these people were sad because they friends or parents did not really acknowledge it and Stargirl made them smile.

I don’t want to give away the ending, but it was a perfect ending to the book. People came together, they tried something new, and she help change her community for the better.

I love the idea of Stargirl. The closest I saw to a Stargirl was my fourth grade teacher. She made sure every student got acknowledgment on their birthday (or half-birthday if they were born in the summer) and also just made sure that every student felt like they were special. She would figure out what everyone was talented in and she let them shine. She would also go above and beyond to help students with whatever it was that they struggled with. Other teachers might have thought she was strange and some of her practices were unique, but I still can remember how she made us feel. My best friend invited her to the Academic M dinner they had for senior who had over a 3.5 and everyone who was in that room that had her made sure they went over to give her a hug.

Have you know any Stargirls (or Starboys)?

Posted in Review | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Posted by Caitie F on January 13, 2010

Title: The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

Hardcover: 374 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Press

ISBN: 0439023483

Rating: +++++

Summary (from flap):

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 an 18 to participate in the annual Hungar Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

16-year old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before–and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she become a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to stat making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


I knew The Hunger Games would be great. I knew it would make me think. I did not know that I would cry by page 24. This girl has given up herself for her sister, an ultimate sacrifice. In return, she gets the ultimate sign of respect from the people of District 12. A gesture that means thanks, admiration and goodbye to someone you love. A gesture that she deserves, She says that, for most, family devotion only goes so far on reaping day. But she is not most. With this, Suzanne Collins brings us a character to root for, hope for, and one that will captivate us through the entire series.

The Hunger Games is a prime example of what young adult books can and should be. It makes the reader think, it is well-written, and it brings characters and places to life. It tackles issues like loyalty, courage, and hope. It even contains a love story that is tragic and true.

I hope there is never a nation so powerful that they can pick 24 children and give them a death sentence. And they continue that every year and force all of their citizens to watch it. And no one speaks up because they are too scare. Especially when the poor people are more likely to be forced into this situation – children paying because their parents couldn’t make a better life. I would hope that in our world other nations would come to the aid of the people or that a rebellion could take this system down.

The choices that Katniss must make are too difficult to imagine. First, she chooses to save her sister. That is one I could see – she has protected her younger sister for so long and knows that she couldn’t last past the first day. Then she has to choose whether or not she should trust Peeta, the boy who saved her long ago and loves her now. She has to choose whether or not she will kill others to save herself, if she even can. Her tough and high pressure choices continue throughout the book and she keeps making the tough and right decisions that she must make to save herself and her allies.

One death in particular really got to me and those who read the book will know what I am talking about. The compassion and love that Katniss showed toward her fellow tribune member showed the humanity that the Capitol was so against. It was a beautiful scene and I think it showed us so much into her character.

I had originally planned to try to read this book slowly and take notes..but I couldn’t. I devoured it in a few hours today. It was one of those books I couldn’t put down. I cannot wait to read the next two books. I don’t know why I waited this long to read this book!

Just some of the other links to review – again, if I missed your please let me know!

Mrs. Magoo Reads
Pop Culture Junkie
The Zen Leaf
Medieval Bookworm

This counts towards the
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge
2010 TBR Challenge

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Posted by Caitie F on December 18, 2009

Title: American Gods

Author: Neil Gaiman

Publisher: HarperCollins

Paperback: 588 pages

ISBN: 0380789035

Rating: ++++

Summary (back cover copy): Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that hse’s been killed in a terrible accident.

Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than in possible.

He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same.


This book took me a LONG time to read…over a month. The beginning was really slow and dragged for me a lot, so I kept switching to other books or magazines. It was recommended to me by so many people, that I had to keep going (and I love everything I have read by Gaiman)

Once i got to the second half of the book, I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a couple days. Once it picked up, it really picked up. Eventually i want to reread it to see if I could have figured out some of the twists earlier. Shadow is a great character – he wants a simple life, but instead lives an adventure and has to make some tough moral choices.

The book also has a lot of statements about society – the news “gods’ of America are the internet, TV, and laziness. The old gods are ignored and have mostly been forgotten. It takes a while to find out more about the main conflict between old and new, but the result is worth the wait! I like that the book does not include Greek gods that we all know about already. It has Norse, Native American, and other cultures, which I really liked since I did not know much about them.

The book also has quite a bit of philosophies and things that make you think. My favorite was on page 508 in my copy, on the first page on Chapter 18, “Religions are, by definition, metaphors after all: God is a dream, a hope, a woman, and ironist, a father, a city, a house with many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert — even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all oppositions”. What I love about this statement is that it can say so many things to so many different people. To me, it is a fairly true statement because to me, God really is hope and a dream that there is something out there that is watching out for us and is part of a better place when it is over. I also love the comment about football teams and armies. Thanking God for awards or a touchdown always seems silly to me – like in last night’s episode of Survivor two contestants were praying that they would win a reward challenge. I hope that, with all the problems in the world, that God isn’t busy worrying over whether or not they will get to go have a fun feast.

My problem with the book was the beginning though. I know there had to be back story, but the wandering got annoying. It is worth it. For a little bit, Shadow is with Ibis and and Jacquel and that really shows what most of the book is like – strong characters and a fascinating plot.

What do you think? If you have a review, let me know and I will link to it!

Other reviews

Amanda from The Zen Leaf didn’t like it very much.

Posted in Review | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

Posted by Caitie F on October 22, 2009

Title: ghostgirl
Author: Tonya Hurley
Hardcover: 328 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group USA)
Year Published: 2008
Rating: ++

From the Publisher

“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And if I should die before I awake,
I pray the popular attend my wake.

Charlotte Usher feels practically invisible at school, and then one day she really is invisible. Even worse: she’s dead. And all because she choked on a gummy bear. But being dead doesn’t stop Charlotte from wanting to be popular; it just makes her more creative about achieving her goal.

If you thought high school was a matter of life or death, wait till you see just how true that is. In this satirical, yet heartfelt novel, Hurley explores the invisibility we all feel at some times and the lengths we’ll go to be seen.”

My review

I was not a fan of this book. I liked the actual writing and I liked the concept, I think it was just because I didn’t like that main character. There are characters who are unpopular because other kids are mean or they are shy, and then there are people who are unpopular because they try too hard and annoy people. Charlotte is in the second group. She is selfish (even when dead) and only interested in a boy. Even at the end, she doesn’t really redeem herself…she wants a boy to kiss her. Maybe if she was supposed to be a middle schooler it might be okay, but she is immature and annoying in every way.

There ARE some positives of this book. Parts of the book are funny, the pop culture references are clever, and the writing is fantastic, I just greatly disliked the main character. I think middle grade readers will enjoy this.

The best thing about the book is the design. It is a beautiful book. It is longer than most books to look like a coffin. It has a cutout on the cover that is very appealing. The inside has two-color on every page. It is a great design and Hachette needs to be complimented on it.

Since it is so beautiful, I am giving it away! Check out that link for more info!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

The Thirteenth Tale – Quick Review

Posted by Caitie F on September 25, 2009

This is a very brief review of the book The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

I give it a +++++. If you have not yet gotten to this book, drop what you are reading and go get The Thirteenth Tale. The writing is some of the best I have read. If you have read gothic novels, you will notice that she has managed to take elements from the greats and work them into her own unique and enchanting style. I liked everything about this book.

I am not doing a full review because this book has been reviewed and reviewed. Go check out My Friend Amy’s Review and she links to several fantastic reviews of this book!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »