Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book #77: The Pregnancy Project

Book #77: The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez
4/5 stars

I am not a non-fiction fan, but I've been trying to broaden my horizons, so I borrowed this non-fiction novel, and found that not all non-fiction is about dry topics and old people (haha). This novel is the true story of Gaby Rodriguez, a teen who pretended to be pregnant for a school project, and ended up gaining national attention. Her story has also spawned a Lifetime film in addition to this book.

Just about two years ago, Rodriguez made headlines when people found out that she faked a pregnancy for about six months, telling only her boyfriend, mother, best friend, and a few professionals for the sake of making things look real. She then announced her project to the entire school, as a way of teaching her peers about discrimination and prejudice. However, the book starts way before all of this happens, going through a brief family history in which it is revealed that Gaby comes from a family of single parents: her mother, as well as many of her brothers and sisters, have had children out of wedlock, and become statistics for teen pregnancy. Gaby is a smart young woman, who has a future in mind and a good boyfriend, but she feels that everyone is waiting on her to be the next statistic. So, as her senior project, she consults with professionals to make everything as realistic as possible, and fakes a pregnancy. Her best friend and boyfriend tell her what others say about her, the comments and judgements they make, etc., and Gaby recorded them for the big reveal. Her findings about her peers, herself, and teen pregnancy in general, are very interesting and opened my eyes about the subject.

This book didn't really change my feelings of indifference toward non-fiction, but it was definitely an entertaining and informative read. It's a subject that I don't read much about, and when I do it's usually in fiction form so it was a good change for me to expose myself to this. Gaby does not endorse teen pregnancy; in fact, she does this project in part to make a point about how it can change your life drastically, and that teens should take care to be prepared. I have never seen the Lifetime film, but if anyone has, please let me know if its worth watching. And, as always, let me know if you read this or any other books I review, and let me know what you think!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Book #75: The Maze Runner

Book #75: The Maze Runner by James Dashner
5/5 stars

Since dystopian literature has been all the rage since The Hunger Games series has been published, you might want to check out this new-ish dystopian series by James Dashner! It is fast-paced and an intriguing read, right until the final pages.

The novel starts with Thomas waking up with his memory of the past basically gone, and he finds himself in a strange world, inhabited only by teen boys who call themselves "The Gladers." They explain that they don't know why they're in this new world, all they know is that every month, a new boy is sent into the community, and that once a week they receive supplies from the same box that sends the boys. There is a mysterious maze outside the walls of the community, but you don't want to be caught there at night, because monstrous creatures called "Grievers" patrol the Maze, and can cause serious harm to people, even death. The walls of the Glade are open by day, but close at sundown, so you had better be inside by then, or you will never be heard from again. Each Glader has a job, but the one Thomas wants the most is to be a Maze Runner, a group of boys who head out into the dangerous Maze during the day, and try to study its patterns to figure out a way to escape.

However, everything that the Gladers have known changes the day after Thomas arrives, because they receive the first ever female to the community, and she brings with her a message that everything is going to change, and that the end is coming. From there, the environment changes and the Gladers have to make some quick decisions about how to free themselves, or soon perish, never knowing why they ended up in the Glade.

This novel was super interesting and easy to get into. Lovers of dystopian fiction will enjoy this novel and the new ideas it offers: a world with no adults, secrets that you try to figure out along with the characters, and new, creative inventions of the imagination. The Maze Runner was reminiscent of The Hunger Games series with the secrets in government and teens taking action against the injustices that have been done to them.  After finishing the novel that ends with a cliffhanger, I am excited to get started on the second novel in the trilogy, The Scorch Trials.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book #72: Impulse

Book #72: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
5/5 stars

Does anyone else remember when Ellen Hopkins' Crank series was all the rage in high school? I certainly do! I decided to try another one of her novels to see if they were as good as I remember, and it turns out that Impulse was better than Crank (for me at least)! Hopkins is known for her chunky (and I mean HUGE) Young Adult novels, but don't be scared off by the often 500+ page novels. She writes in verse, which are basically poems without all of the flowery language, and so the novel reads much quicker than you'd expect.

Impulse, as all of Hopkins' novels do, explores some very dark themes. This one in particular follows three teens who are committed to a treatment center for those who have attempted suicide, among other issues. Vanessa, Tony, and Connor all enter the facility around the same time for suicide attempts. None of them are particularly keen on sharing their stories, as you can imagine, but as time goes on and the three meet one another, parts of their past start to come out. Connor was the "perfect boy", with a rich family and top grades and he was fantastic at sports. But, as you can imagine, the pressure to be perfect pushed Connor over the edge. Vanessa's family has always been far from perfect. Her father is often overseas, serving in the military, and her mother suffers from severe mental issues. Tony has even less of a parental influence on his life, as his father abandoned him at a young age, and his mother is constantly dating someone new. As if that's not bad enough, one of the boyfriends once sexually abused Tony. Obviously, these three individuals have a lot of baggage, so they turn to one another for support and comfort over the course of the novel, as they embark on their journey of healing and hopefully getting back to their lives.

This novel is obviously dark, and sometimes really hard to take, but I still enjoyed it immensely. It's awesome that authors are allowed to address these issues that are prevalent in teens' lives, and Hopkins does it in an interesting, yet accessible way through the medium of a verse novel. Anyone who has ever read her novels knows what to expect, but if you haven't, try to go out of your comfort zone and check out Impulse! It's certainly not the type of novel to bring holiday cheer, but it's beautifully crafted and tells a story that you won't soon forget.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book #70: Every Day

Book #70: Every Day by David Levithan
5/5 stars

It's been over a month since I read this fantastic novel, but I'll do my best to remember all the details! I loved this novel, and after my first experience with David Levithan's work, I am excited to try more of his novels, especially Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which he co-wrote with John Green...what a dream team!

This is unlike any novel I've ever read, YA or adult. Every Day is the story of a person named "A", who wakes up every day in a different body. A has no gender, which is a confusing concept at first, but part of what makes this novel and Levithan in general so great. Why give A a gender if A doesn't need one? So every day since A can remember, he/she has woken up in a different body, the only predictable part being that he/she is always the same age as he/she moves grows up. For example, A will not wake up one day as a 6 year old and the next as a 50 year old, but will still continue to grow up. This is the only life that A has ever known, so A is used to it, until A meets a girl named Rhiannon. While in Rhiannon's boyfriend's body for one day, A makes a connection with her, deeper than any relationship A has ever known. A cannot forget about Rhiannon, but the next day, A wakes up in a different body, away from Rhiannon. A makes it a point to try to find this amazing girl each and every day and try to convince her of the situation that he/she is in, and of his/her love for her. The love A has for Rhiannon transcends gender, location, everything. Will the two ever be able to be together, though, due to A's condition, as it becomes more and more difficult for the two to spend time together without disrupting the lives of the people whose bodies A is borrowing each day?

It is ridiculously hard to explain this novel, because of A's lack of gender as well as the strange situation presented, but I assure you, it is not confusing to read, and so worth it! It is such a different kind of story, a refreshing new novel. I became so invested in A and Rhiannon's relationship and wanted it to work so badly! The novel often made me think of The Time Traveler's Wife, because the two have so much in common, with a relationship being disrupted by strange circumstances. I would definitely suggest giving this novel a try! You might just be pleasantly surprised! =)

Monday, December 10, 2012


Hi all,

I know, it has been an embarrassing amount of time since my last post, but rest assured I have been reading LOTS! With the approaching winter break, I want to take time to catch up on sharing all the fabulous books I've had the pleasure to read, and also catch up on the million more I've been wanting to read! If you have any suggestions, please pass them along, and keep an eye out for blog posts coming soon!