Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler: A Book Review

Fifteen-year-old Virginia Schreves feels like she was switched at birth. While the rest of her family is slim, brown-haired, and perfect, she's dishwater blonde and, well, larger than average. Her older sister, Anais, is brilliant, beautiful, and compassionate. Her older brother, Byron, is handsome, intelligent, athletic, and popular. How can she possibly live up to their legacy? She feels out-of-place and awkward surrounded by her perfect siblings and parents...until a single phone call changes all of their lives forever. Despite her family's struggles, throughout the next few months, Ginny will learn to accept her looks, discover her true beauty, and find her own unique style.

This was actually a very good book, even better than I expected it to be. Ginny was a very likeable heroine; she had character, smarts, and she was willing to show who she really was. If there was a sequel to this, I'd definitely read it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nightschool Volumes 1-3 by Svetlana Chmakova: A Book Review

Nightschool is the story of Alex, a 13-year-old weirn, a special type of witch. Alex has been homeschooled for years by her older sister Sarah. Sarah also works at the Nightschool, which provides classes for night beings such as vampires, weirns, demons, and shapeshifters, once the human schools close for the night. Alex refuses to go to the Nightschool at first...but when Sarah disappears, Alex can't help but feel that someone...or the school is responsible. She enrolls as a student to uncover the mystery behind her sister's disappearance.

Meanwhile, dark magical forces are gathering, and a group of young Hunters...humans whose job it is to hunt and kill dangerous night beings...are looking for Alex. Unbeknownst to the weirn, deep inside her she possesses a deadly talent, one that could get many people killed. And the only way to make sure this never to kill Alex herself.

This was a really great set of manga. The fourth volume is released in October, so I still don't know how it ends, and I can't wait to find out. The mystery of what has happened to Alex's sister gets deeper and more complex with each volume. The first volume focused mainly on introducing the characters and didn't give a lot of depth to the world they inhabited. Luckily, the second, and to some extent the third, focused more on examining this.