Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hannah Just Read: Road Trip Books- Two Way Street and Amy and Roger's Epic Detour

I know that Christmas is just over, and maybe I should be reading books about snow and Christmas miracles and such, but quite frankly, it is COLD out, and I do not need to be reminded of that fact. Consequently, I have been feasting on road trip books lately, and over Christmas break I read two of them. The first was:
Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt. I had been meaning to read this book since I first saw it go through the library more than a year ago. I finally got around to it, and I have to say I wasn't too impressed. I mean... it was good, but it wasn't great. If you're only going to read one road trip book, don't read this one. The two main characters, Jordan and Courtney, have just broken up, but they were planning on road tripping to college together. It is too late to change plans now, so they still set out to drive from Florida to Boston. The story is told from their alternating perspectives, which works sometimes, but in this case, the whole book was just kin of... lacking. I was mostly frustrated by this book and I really didn't like Courtney at all--she was really annoying. However, I also read:
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, which was excellent and funny and sweet and I loved it. This one is about Amy Curry, who has just lost her father, her brother is in rehab, and her mother moved across the country a month ago to start her new job and set up their house. Roger is a neighborhood kid (now a college student) whose mom has volunteered him to drive Amy to her new house. Amy's mom mapped out a very specific (and boring) route from California to Connecticut, but Amy and Roger decide to make up their own route. Like I said, I really liked this book. The story just seemed a lot fuller than Two Way Street, and, plus there were fun extras peppered throughout. I would definitely recommend this book.
So, now that I have done my road trip book study, I've noticed some similarities between road trip books. It seems like there is always a gender mix--it can't just be all girls or all boys, because without a mix there is less likelihood that hi-jinks will ensue. It is always summer in road trip books, too. It is either just after school lets out, or just before it starts again. Also there is usually a party pooper or someone who doesn't want to go or someone whose parents have forced them to go. This sets the characters up for self discovery which, too, is a quality of road trip books, which is expected, because a physical journey nicely sets up the ever present journey of self discovery. (I feel like journey of self discovery should be italicized or capitalized or something: Journey of Self Discovery; Journey of Self Discovery.) There is always a lot of terrible junk food involved, too, and, of course, an excellent playlist.
And here is a list of even MORE road trip/travel books if you, too, are feeling antsy cooped up inside.
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Paper Towns by John Green
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hannah Just Read: Twenty Boy Summer

I have to say, I was really kind of nervous about reading Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. I was under the assumption that it would be about girls who were acting stupid and running around trying to lure boys in with their feminine wiles and that I would hate it, because I hate stuff like that. But the book is on the 2010 Teens' Top Ten Nominations for the Young Adult Library Services Association and I've been trying to read all of them (and I'm failing miserably-- I still have 14 left and only like... 17 days left in the year). So anyway, I picked this one up and, as it turns out, I really enjoyed it a lot!
Anna and her best friend Frankie are going with Frankie's parent's to Zanzibar Bay in California for the A.B.S.E. (Absolute Best Summer Ever). They make a bet that they can meet twenty guys in the twenty days that they're there. Frankie wants to meet boys for herself, but she really wants Anna to have a summer fling. Anna, however, doesn't want to meet anyone. She's still mourning the death of Frankie's older brother, Matt, who died tragically the year before. He was Anna's first kiss and first romance, and Frankie has no idea.
What I really liked about this book was how thoughtful and mature Anna is. Sometimes maybe even a little bit too mature--way more mature and thoughtful than I ever was at 16, but it works for the context of the book. When Anna meets Sam, just boy number four into the twenty-boy summer, and starts to like him, she gives a lot of thought to what liking someone else means to her short relationship with Matt.
I would recommend this book very highly, but probably to high schoolers mostly. It can get pretty intense sometimes. Also, if you've read this one already and liked it, Sarah Ockler has a new book that just came out called Fixing Delilah. I told Mrs. G to order it, so hopefully it will be in in the new year!