Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show, " when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

The Cover: This isn't the same cover as my copy, but mine is the movie poster, hence my not using it in the blog. The two pictures in the corner is heartbreaking on first glance, but even more so once you read the story. The font is sprawling and covers the cover completely which, if we consider the saying that life is a blank canvas, becomes immediately more significant as you read on.

The Characters: Okay, I'll only talk about Charlie, Patrick and Sam because otherwise I'll end up writing pages and pages of basically 'fangirl' content. Charlie is the narrator and he's quiet and funny and really unprecedented. No-one acts as eccentric as he seems to in real life (not that I've come across anyway) and although it's normal to find such characters in books, none are portrayed in such a truly awkward light. He's often criticised by his peers and isolated and I think it's a fascinating way to look at a character. Patrick is hilarious. He's also the cement of the trio in my opinion, he's honest and he's a good person. he's not a saint or anything, but he's as good as any teenager can be. The best thing about the way Patrick is portrayed in this is that we see his darker moments and we (I certainly did) feel overwhelming empathy for him. I feel the same about Sam, really. The thing that sets her apart is the way she seriously challenges Charlie and won't accept any weak answers or anything less than his honest opinion on his worst character traits. The most interesting character in the book is actually the reader. We're adressed as 'friend' by Charlie, and we're told that we are someone that is kind and someone that will listen - which is a very good compliment.

The Setting: It's set in Pittsburgh, which I don't really know much about. The main places of the novel are Charlies house, the Big Boy and the Tunnel. The most extraordinary part of the book happens on the way to the Big Boy while they are going through the tunnel. I won't write what happens to keep it a surprise, but I will say that it made me feel a surge of reverence that I usually reserve for Looking for Alaska.

The Overall Story: The obvious overall story is about Charlie becoming more involved as he goes through a year in high school, but to me it's more about finding out what is wrong with Charlie. We know that he's a little bit off and a little weird, but as the novel progresses, we see that there really is something in the character that we need to uncover. I don't want to say too much to avoid spoilers, but it is heartbreaking. Truly, truly heartbreaking. But it's an incredible read that leaves you feeling hopeful and (beause of the constant compliments to you as a reader) feeling quite good about yourself.

Brilliant. I definitely recommend! 5 out of 5!

- Elsie

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Rebel Hearts by Moira Young: Review

Rebel Heart (Dust lands #2) by Moira Young


It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba’s world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh’s freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.

What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting
Blood Red Road, a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of danger and destiny, betrayal and passion.

 I love Blood Red Road so much, it really surprised me! Rebel hearts is a fantastic sequel, I did enjoy Blood Red Road a little bit more, but I was still happy with what Moira Young created. Review time!

The cover: I love the simplicity of the cover! The yellow colour really stands out and gives a perfect sense of what the deserted dust land within the story is like. One of the main things I like about the cover is how well it goes with the first book, ahhhhhh they're both so gorgeous together! Thumbs up for the cover!

The setting: This story is set in a dystopian setting, with abandoned cities taken over by sand and wreckage left from technology made before the time the story is set. I loved the setting in Blood Red Road and Rebel Heart doesn't disappoint, I was thrown back into this harsh deserted land and really felt the struggles the characters had to go through. Unlike most dystopian books, this story takes place AFTER all of the advanced technology is created and AFTER the fall of civilisation. This gives the story a very unique setting to play with and I loved it!

The characters: The character development is so good, unlike some stories, the events that happened in the first book actually have an effect on the characters personalities. After the massive fight against the Tonton, the cage fighting and losing so many close friends, Saba becomes tormented with the events that have happened and loses part of herself. Although Saba is overcome with guilt and grief, she still holds onto the strength that she had in the first book which makes it so much more realistic! Lugh also has a slight change in personality and we get to see a clash in the two twins, whereas the first book was about Lugh and Saba's strong relationship, the second book concentrates more on the differences between them and highlights the true reality that they have to face. They can't be together like they used to be now that they are growing up and things are changing. And of course, we still get to see all of the old characters from Blood Red Road and we are introduced to a lot more! Oh, and of course we have Jack. Although he isn't seen a lot in the book, I still love him and the role that he plays.

The overall story: The story starts off a few months later than where we left off. Saba's heading west and Jack's headed to The Lost Cause before heading off to meet Saba. Simple? Oh no. So many things become obstacles and Saba and Jack's reunion seems far off. The story is full of so many twist and turns that made is unpredictable and I often had myself wondering what was going to happen and who was on what side. I loved the fact that we had different stories for each character. We see Saba in complete turmoil over all the people she had to fight in the cage and the deaths that are on her hands whilst trying to get back to Jack and we see Lugh's desperation to fix Saba but also create a life for him and his family. Tommo even gets his own little story on the side! We also have the Tonton, we get to see what they're doing amongst the lands but we also get to find out why they're doing it! Its so refreshing to have a sequel that actually wraps up all the questions I had in the story!

A brilliant sequel full of deserted lands, heartbreak and suspense! I give Rebel Hearts a 4 out of 5 stars. If you have read Blood Red Road then I recommend you to read Rebel hearts, and if you haven't then get your butt to a book shop or library and read it!

 - Brodi