July 29, 2010

REVIEW! Boy Meets Boy.

Boy Meets Boy
David Levithan


Love is never easy. Especially if you’re Paul. He’s a sophomore at a high school like no other – and these are his friends:

Infinite Darlene, the homecoming queen and star quarterback
Joni, Paul’s best friend who may not be his best friend anymore
Tony, his other best friend, who can’t leave the house unless his parents think he’s going on a date … with a girl
Kyle, the ex-boyfriend who won’t go away
Rip, the school bookie, who sets the odds…
And Noah. The Boy. The one who changes everything.
Love meets love.
Confusion meets clarity.
Boy meets boy.

My rating: 4 stars.

Although not even 200 pages in length, Boy Meets Boy is worth every second spent reading. What I love most about this book is that there’s clearly a set guideline for the plot, but the characters act as catalysts and help it develop; they do the work, instead of the plot doing the work for them. Without the characters Levithan’s created, the plot would fall flat, typical. But instead the characters elevate the situations they’ve been placed in, and each is complex in their own way, even if they’re just a minor character.

Each character has a distinct personality that is able to meld with the other distinctive personalities. There’s no feeling of disconnect between any, and that’s what gives this book its charm. Dialogue and narration are just as helpful and important; Levithan gives Paul’s narrative voice comedy, quirkiness and insight, while keeping it relatable and believable.

There’s not a dull moment and it makes for a great quick read.

July 26, 2010

REVIEW! Charlie St. Cloud.

Charlie St. Cloud
Ben Sherwood


In a snug New England fishing village, Charlie St. Cloud tends the lawns and monuments of an ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. After surviving the car accident that claimed his brother’s life, Charlie is graced with an extraordinary gift: He can see, talk to, and even play catch with Sam’s spirit. Into this magical world comes Tess Carroll, a captivating woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that propels her into Charlie’s life. Their beautiful and uncommon collection leads to a race against time and a choice between life and death, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go – and the discovery that miracles can happen if we simply open our hearts.

My rating: 3 stars.


A catchy, unique concept: actual interaction with the Other Side. Charlie St. Cloud can experience all five senses when mingling with spirits, rather than only being able to experience one or two; it’s this that sets the book apart from others.

Unfortunately, all of the characters show little-to-no development. While most novels have characters changing and growing throughout their entirety, Charlie St. Cloud does not. After the beginning accident, readers are brought thirteen years into the future – a future that is monotonous and showing Charlie’s unwillingness to let go of the past. But this dreary mood lasts for a good portion of the book. The only relief Sherwood gives his readers are chapters about Tess, from her point of view. Even then, too many details about her boat, Querencia, left me wanting for more details about the characters instead.

Tess is pretty and sporty, Charlie is kind-hearted and a hard worker, and Sam is a goofy and innocent young boy. Nothing more. The not-at-all-complex personalities only make the sudden romance between Charlie and Tess that much more unbelievable and straining.

Yet, despite dry, stereotypical details about the characters, the pace of the book remains steady; every scene has its purpose, and the story doesn’t wander off course. Sherwood manages to insert surprises where I didn’t expect them to be, which is what prodded me to finish.

EXTRA: Readers who enjoy this might also like novels by Nicholas Sparks.

Welcome to the beginning!

I’m an English major that enjoys reading and writing, dutifully fulfilling such a cliché. But it’s time that I share my love of books with other readers – it’s no fun keeping books to myself! Hence, the creation of this blog.

Aside from reading and writing, I also enjoy book discussions. Why do you think so-and-so did this? What technique did the author use to create such-and-such? Would I rather something different happen? These are all questions that I love to address with fellow readers. I don’t read and forget. I read and analyze.

Here, I aim to post reviews and thoughts about the books I read, hoping that discussions will spark and visitors will learn about a book and decide to give it a shot. I also hope that I can learn more as this blog progresses.

As a wannabe editor and grammarian, I’m more than open to taking suggestions for reviews and am willing to help edit any works (feel free to leave me comments regarding either).

Most importantly, thank you for visiting!

Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep creating.
And remember that grammar matters!

- Alissa.
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