Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “David Levithan

Sunday Post #19

Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It is a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

I love participating in Sunday Post because I can provide a recap of books I read, talk about what is coming up next week, and discuss any books I received in the past week!

This was a mixed week for me, great for getting books, but blah for reading. First, the new (to me) books!

Book Outlet Binge

The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell 

The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

Uses For Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Seemingly Random Purchases

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

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Last Week On the Blog

Monday – Wicked Valentine’s Readathon Vol. 2 Recap

Tuesday – Totally Random Tuesday: What Kind of Reader Are You?

Wednesday – Waiting on Wednesday: In a Handful of Dust

Thursday – Killing My Kindle: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

Friday – Frodo’s Frisky Friday – The Battle of the Dragon Slayer

Saturday – Middle Grade Books: Why I Love Them & Need to Read More

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Books Read Last Week

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge – 2/5 (Ugh. So disappointed.) unearthly

Sheep and Wolves by Jeremy C. Shipp – 3/5 (Not my favorite of his.)

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe – 3/5 (Review above)

The Battle of the Dragon Slayer by Leigh Wilder – 4/5 (Review above)

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand – 5/5 (Review next week!)

Send in the Clowns by Sheena Stone – 1/5 (No to all of this, ew.)

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This Week On the Blog

Monday – Mini Review Monday

Tuesday – Top Ten Tuesday

Wednesday – Waiting on Wednesday #21

Thursday – Killing My Kindle

Friday – Frodo’s Frisky Friday

Saturday – Book of the Week

Sunday – Sunday Post #20

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As you can see the book haul was pretty great this week! I got some new MG to read (see yesterday’s post all about that!), a couple I had been considering for a while (Mind Games & Uses For Boys), and two recommendation books (Bruiser and D&LBoD) from Book Outlet for (as usual) crazy cheap. Attachments was another recommendation book that I saw on ze booktube, and Slaughterhouse-Five is because Crash Course (John Green in this case) is going Literary and it is giving me an excuse to read classics! ^.^

On the other hand is my reading week…goodness that was brutal. I had high hopes for Cruel Beauty with that gorgeous cover, but 2/5 was generous and I’m definitely a black sheep on that one. Speaking of sheep, Sheep and Wolves by one of my favorite authors, Jeremy C. Shipp, wasn’t bad, but comparatively not nearly as good as his other work. Anne Merchant was one I really had been looking forward to and for the most part it let me down, and don’t get me started on the atrocity that was the clown book. *shudders*

The bright spots were The Battle of the Dragon Slayer by my favorite “naughty” author Leigh Wilder, and especially Unearthly by Cynthia Hand which I will be reviewing next Saturday for Book of the Week! They saved what otherwise was a sluggish, disappointing, and altogether blah reading week, but as a whole it was probably the worst I’ve had so far this year.

On the blog I did two more “original” and random posts where I asked what kind of reader are you and also all about middle grade books and how I need more of them in my life, so that was a lot of fun! Thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a link to your Sunday Post or whatever other bookish meme you partake in over the weekend and I will be sure to check it out! Enjoy your Sunday! ^.^


Review: Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

Invisibility

Summary From GoodreadsInvisibility

Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. But things don’t go as planned, especially when Stephen’s grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they’re willing to make for Stephen to become visible — because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.

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Invisibility is filled with just as much awkwardness as the teen romance it contains. Teen romance can be epic, it can be ugly and usually it has bits of everything in between, such is the case here. So let’s break it down just like that, it’s time for the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good 

– Levithan. The man can flat out WRITE. While his style does seem to carry over in everything he writes (the set of rules of the invisibility curse is reminiscent of his set of rules in Every Day for that MC) it doesn’t become stale. Stephen is a main character that is easy to get behind and the way Levithan breaks down his world creates complete believability despite him being invisible, no easy task.

– The pacing. While some might argue that the pacing takes a dramatic shift in the second half, I feel that it works well throughout the entire piece and adapts to what is happening in the plot very well. I never felt bored, not during the world building and setup (mostly due again to Levithan’s prowess as a writer) nor during the paranormal takeover of the book (more on that later). The book flows.

– The ending. The last 15-20% or so of the book flew by. It was a rush of paranormal awesome, displays of abilities and the bond that the characters had developed coming to its epic conclusion. It was wonderful and I didn’t want to leave this fascinating world that had been so carefully created. Fantastic.

The Bad

– Insta-love. Oh insta-love, why must you appear in all of the books I am trying to enjoy? We didn’t even make it into chapters with multiple digits before the characters felt like they were meant for each other. I understand teen love can feel VERY powerful and all consuming, but that doesn’t stop this sort of thing from being irritating. I could understand Stephen feeling this way quickly because of being invisible. You finally find someone who can see you, she’s a girl, and she’s your age? It wouldn’t take much more. Elizabeth has no such reasoning to fall back on, she just falls head over heels for the guy very, very quickly. Insta-love please go away.

– The plot. I don’t know that this deserves to be in “the bad”, but it can’t go in “the good” either so here it lies. For the most part it worked, but there were certain areas that didn’t make sense. It didn’t feel cohesive. Elizabeth’s motives felt contrived and while much of what she did was for Stephen’s sake it didn’t feel genuine. Which leads me to my next point.

– Elizabeth. She was just plain frustrating too many times in the book to like her character. Her humor didn’t work and felt forced. I’ve already touched on her relationship but again, she had no reason to fall so hard so quickly for Stephen, ugh. I don’t think her character had much life to it. She felt robotic even when the paranormal events occurred involving her it didn’t make her character more interesting, just the things that happened around her. Bleh.

The Ugly

– Laurie. I want to make one thing clear, I don’t mean that I didn’t like his character, I thoroughly enjoyed Laurie, especially his sense of humor. However we are quickly made aware that he is gay, which is the motivation for a lot that happens in sections of the book. What we didn’t need was constant reminders and bad attempts at humor (some involving references to a certain wizard in Harry Potter) about how he is gay. It isn’t discussing homosexuality, it isn’t enlightening readers on a variety of subjects that are related in order to either strengthen the storyline, give Laurie purpose or make this book pointed in some way. It’s just bland, and pointless repetition. I’m going to go to the next point before I fall victim to the same thing.

-Styles and Andrea Cremer. Notice how earlier I put Levithan as one of my good points but didn’t say “the writing” in general? This is why. I don’t think that Cremer’s style meshes well with Levithan’s and this is exacerbated by them alternating chapters (Levithan writing Stephen’s, Cremer writing Elizabeth’s). It wasn’t something that they hid, and while Levithan is more than capable of doing this back and forth style (his work with John Green in Will Grayson, Will Grayson is the perfect example of how this can be done beautifully) I don’t know that I can say the same for Cremer. Her writing just didn’t appeal to me nearly as much from a humor standpoint, in her development of Elizabeth’s character or in the paranormal world that comes into focus in the second half of the book. Which leads me to my final and most frustrating point.

– Transitions. Find the nearest wall. Does it look like it would be fun to ram your head into it? That would probably hurt right? Well that’s what it felt like was happening when we moved into the paranormal half of Invisibility. Oh sure, having an invisible boy as a main character means there is a touch of the magical or paranormal from the beginning, but the book reads like a contemporary for the first half of the book. Then BOOM magic, brand new terminology (often corny and, to me at least unoriginal) and a brand new world opened up. Oh and of course don’t forget how one of the main characters happens to be a super special type that is unique to practically the whole world. Perfect. So no, I didn’t enjoy ramming my head through the brick wall that was this transition, and while the world they created WAS interesting it wasn’t believable in certain parts and I felt that it could have been brought about a tad more smoothly. Oh well.

Overall

Invisibility had a host of issues for me. I couldn’t ignore the insta-love, the bland second MC or the clashing of styles between the authors. The transition from a mostly contemporary world to one with a paranormal focus was painful. However, the pacing was good, Levithan’s writing and his MC Stephen were very enjoyable, and the world they built was very intriguing. It was a decent read, but the brick wall is too much to overcome in terms of it being a book I could re-read or recommend. Thanks as always for reading and make sure to enter my giveaway for a 10$ Amazon GC in the post below! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #98/200

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Day 41: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Day 41

Summary From Goodreads:  

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both of them legions of faithful fans.

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Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a truly “fabulous” collaboration of two very talented authors. With each using their unique style, the combination of John Green & David Levithan is powerful but also perfectly synchronized, neither overpowering the other. Their styles don’t clash at all, and the one complaint I have heard from some that have read the book, the lack of capitalization to signify one of the characters, was not distracting at all. Oh sure, if you are an obsessive grammar-nazi this book may in fact be the death of you, but for the rest of us the story is beautiful and compelling.

Just as it is the crux of the play, the focus of the book seems to be on love, something so complex and intricate that it takes the combined talents of two of the best writers of our generation to bring to life in full. Will Grayson, Will Grayson tackles issues such as homosexuality, depression and perception, both of the public eye and even from your closest friends, especially concerning size. Many would argue that the main characters are the two Will Graysons, but from my point of view I think it was Tiny, the best friend of one and the boyfriend of the other. He brings the two together just by his presence and positive attitude toward life. However, don’t think that Tiny, who is a rather large individual as well as being gay, is just left to be a “happy-go-lucky” individual, no that gets cleared up in the later portion of the book. I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t read it (which you should), but suffice it to say Tiny explains what it is like to be him and all of the energy, which seems to be wasted most of the time, that goes into pulling off that persona and worldview.

As for the two Will Graysons, they are both equally compelling characters. One for his goofy rules and girl troubles (among other things) and the other for his sarcasm and wit, and his own brand of dating drama. Both have issues that they have to conquer and are likable enough, in their own ways, that you truly do want them to succeed. I can see why some quirks of both characters (complaining throughout the book for both mostly) could be annoying to some, but for me, as someone who suffers from mild/moderate depression, I can understand what they are going through and it just makes me want Tiny to influence them and help change them all the more. It isn’t ever easy, but it can certainly be worth it.

Girl troubles, boy troubles, life as a teenager, homosexuality, happiness, you name it Will Grayson, Will Grayson covers it. I found it to be a fantastic read and it is definitely high up on my favorites, both in Contemporary and overall. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially to YA fans and romance ones as well. This is also a very good pick if you want a book that includes GLBTA issues. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 42!

Genre Reading Challenge #20/30 – Category – GLBTA; Mount TBR Challenge 34/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #34/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #41/365

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Day 7: Every Day by David Levithan

Day 7

Summary From Amazon:  

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan, bestselling co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

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I want to start off by saying I’m writing this immediately after reading Every Day and that my initial thoughts were summed up like so:

So ya, that happened. Outside of being completely cliche and saying something like “all of the feels” and then just gif’ing my way out of actually having to say how I feel about the book, I’m not really sure how to convey my feelings for Every Day fully. Oh well, here’s what I’ve got.

The premise of switching bodies each day is already enough to engage the reader. There was no question in my mind that I would at least be intrigued by Every Day, even if I somehow didn’t enjoy the book. I need not have worried though, I loved Every Day. Part of this was my connection with A, the main character. While the romance in Every Day is certainly compelling in its own right, the internal struggle of A to make sense of what it is like just to be human, and finding out where the limits lie on what you can and will do to a person in order to get what you want is the foundation of what makes Every Day amazing. The basic things that humans understand as part of life, being the same person, knowing the same people, experiencing, for the most part at least, the same things on a regular basis are called into question. Levithan forces the reader, though only with a nudge at a time as to not make it overwhelming, to strip down the essence of what it means to live and to be and asks them not to take them for granted.

The relationship between A and Rhiannon isn’t just a part of the story in a traditional sense of love and loss and the like, but is actually used as the prime example of the possibilities we have as people to engage with each other, or just with one other. It asks you what it would be like if you lost all of that and then reassures you at the same time that you won’t, because you aren’t drifting like A is, you are solid, you are whole. Every Day isn’t saying you need to depend on someone else to be happy, it is asking you to enjoy the people you have simply because you can. Every bit of the devotion these two people feel is no less real because of the shape that A takes on any given day, and as cliche as “the inside that counts” might be, that is truly what you should cherish.

One thing that struck me was when A differentiated niceness and kindness, saying that kindness is “much more a sign of character than mere niceness. Kindness connects to who you are, while niceness connects to how you want to be seen.” This is something that shouldn’t be understated, kindness is shown despite the effect it might have on those around you, those who might not agree or approve, niceness is done because of that effect. It was this as well as a variety of other issues such as gender, sexuality and even appearance that made Every Day not just something to be enjoyed, but a book that could be, and at least for me is, impactful.

I said at the beginning of this review that I connected with A. I guess what I meant was that I think humans in general could. I, like many others, am searching for just what makes us human, what separates us, what makes us individuals and why that individuality matters so much. Every Day examines this and while not giving us an exact answer, does show examples about the good that we can do, the part that we can play in the lives of others and that we can change things, and it is up to us to decide, like A, how we change them. We can create, we can destroy, and we can love, but we have to decide, no matter what decision we make, if it is worth the cost.

Every Day is a fantastic read, I’d recommend it to anyone. It can be read with all of the things I have mentioned in mind, or just as another wonderful book in someone’s vast collection. It doesn’t have to change lives, I’m not saying it even changed mine, but it can, and it is up to us to choose whether or not we let it. As always, thank you for reading.

Genre Reading Challenge: #6/30 – Category – Romance; Mount TBR Challenge #7/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #7/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #7/365

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Bout of Books Readathon!

Bout of Books Readathon!

This will be my first read-a-thon of 2013 and I’m psyched to participate! I have 3/7 days off of work (Mon, Wed & Sat) so I will be trying to get even more reading in then I usually do which will also help me get a bit ahead on my 365 Books in 365 Days challenge (so needed). Make sure to sign up if you’d like here! The following is the official Bout of Books blurb which is a great summary of the read-a-thon:

“The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 6.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books 6.0 team”

I already am reading a book a day (to keep up with my challenges of course!) but I will somehow try and read even more than that during this read-a-thon. My specific goals are to get going on my Seriously Series Reading & Key Word Reading Challenges since I haven’t read anything for those and some of the books (especially for the series) are quite long so I need to get a move on. I don’t have a specific amount of books I’ll try to read but I’ll shoot for 10-12 including a couple short prequels. Here is a list of possibilites:

1. The Snow Garden by Christopher Rice

2. Ten by Gretchen McNeil

3. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

5. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

6. Divergent by Veronica Roth

7. Black Water (Pendragon Series) by D. J. MacHale

8. Paper Towns by John Green

9. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

10. Every Day by David Levithan

11. Looking For Alaska by John Green

12. Become by Ali Cross

13. Angelfall by Susan Ee

14. Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia

15. The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

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I will update this as I go but my usual daily posts will continue so you will find reviews of whatever I do end up reading. ^.^

Books I’m Reading: Passenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie

Pages Read: 1,809

Books Completed: Every Day by David Levithan, The First Dragoneer; Black Water by D. J. MacHale; Attic Clowns: Volume 3 by Jeremy C. Shipp; Paper Towns by John Green; Become by Ali Cross & Looking for Alaska by John Green

Snacks Eaten: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (2), Kit Kat Bars (3), Pizza (5 slices), Coke (2 can), NOS Energy Drink (2 cans)