Spoiler Warning

Book reviews and discussions may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk!

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Time Has Come...

...my little friends, to talk of other things. Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and Kings. And also, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta and Gale, and oh yeah, what about Cinna and Haymitch and Prim, and the evil Capitol, and...

That's right, our book selection this month is the long awaited sequel to The Hunger Games:



Can I get a "EEEK!"? The excitement is just hanging in the air. I can feel it. And this is going to be an exciting month on the SRBC blog. I promise lots of contests and prizes and such. Starting with the big "cake frost-off" happening on my home blog.

I have a sneaking suspicion that sparks are gonna fly this month.

Peeta

Sunday, August 30, 2009

This is it! Right here! The official discussion of the Diplomats Wife

A Delightful and Exciting Series of Unlikely Events

I liked this book.

It was exciting (most of the time). It had a nice pace (most of the time). It held my attention, except on those few occasions when a word or a smell or a rock would send my mind drifting back through time, and I would recall the time I hid in a cave with Peeta. But I knew I mustn't think of him, and I would throw myself back into the book at hand.

I loved the setting, both historically and geographically. I liked hearing the stories from Marta's time working with the resistance, and of Jacob and Emma. I wish I would have read book one first, because that setting sounds even more exciting and interesting.

The plot twists were deliciously unlikely, almost campy ("I heard a familiar voice. But, no. It couldn't be... I slowly turn around/lift my head/search the crowd/walk around the corner. Paul?/Charles?/Emma?/Simon?/Dava? It can't be!") HOWEVER, I found myself enjoying the tangled plot and watching as it all came together nicely at the end.

As a love story, it fell short, I'm afraid. Marta and Paul's relationship felt two-dimensional and artificial. I found myself more interested Marta and Simon's more complicated relationship, and hoping that they would fall in love (that was before he tried to kill her of course). But at least there was an interesting tension between Marta and Simon. With Paul, it was surprisingly easy. The author just told us they were instantly in love, without really showing us how or why that happened.

As a suspense, I very much enjoyed it. In fact, I was happy reading about Marta going along on her own in Prague and Germany, and when Paul showed up out of nowhere, I was almost disappointed.

While I was reading it, I could not stop thinking about two old movies from my childhood. Ones that I loved and watched over and over. The first is Shining Through, a 1992 movie starring Melanie Griffith and Michael Douglas. You should rent it if you haven't seen it. It's a spy/romantic drama movie set in the same era. The second movie is American Dreamer, from 1985. It's a suspense/comedy, hil-air-i-ous, and gave us such lines as "Rebecca Ryan slowly unbuttoned her blouse." and "I told you I always get my man ... even when he's a woman!"

Thanks for picking it Cristin!

Interesting facts I got from my Kindle.
This phrase:
"Wait here." <--was in there 23 times
And this phrase:
"I don't understand." <--was in there 52 times

I got my homework done!

So, as I usually do, I put off purchasing this book until this last week. I went to the bookstore to get my books for school (another post I've been meaning to get to). I was at Barnes and Noble, you know, trying to help save the economy. I found The Diplomat's Wife and was staring at the back cover looking at the price. Nearly $14.00. I had already spent a pretty penny on the school books and was debating on the affordability of this book. The cutest little old man came up to me and said, "Are you gonna buy that book?" I said, "I'm thinking about it." He said, "Well, it's your lucky day. I have a giftcard for you." He bought my book for me! It was a Diplomat's Wife miracle. I took it as a sign that I needed to read this book. After actually reading the book, I'm not sure I totally needed to read it, but maybe I needed to be available for the discussion of it. So getting the show on the road;
Overall, I liked the book. I liked how time flew by inbetween paragraphs and Pam didn't waste my time telling me every little detail, she just gave us the "jist" of the story. I needed to just read the jist of the story since I had put off reading it to the last minute. So for that Pam, I thank you.
I was having a hard time with the whole instant love that was going on between Marta and Paul. Until it dawned on me, Paul must have imprinted on her when he first saw her soiled body laying there on the prison floor. What else could explain it? I mean, any normal person would have only felt sorry for the poor victim laying there beaten up and covered in their own "soil". Right? Or was Paul into that kind of stuff?
I liked how quickly the story moved. There was a lot of stuff packed into this book. She was in prison, she was saved, she travels pennyless to Engalnd, she was engaged, She meets Delia, she was mouring Paul's death, she was pregnant, she gets married, she's working, she goes undercover, she finds her friends, Pauls alive, she meets Jan, she gets the cipher, she goes home, she loves Paul, Simon's a traiter, Rachel is taken, Dava's a bad friend, Simon's dead, she's moving to the States, she's engaged to Paul. Even though most of this was predictable, I still liked it.
Would I recommend this to others? Heck yes. Especially since it was free, I will be loaning out my copy to whoever wants to read it. Gotta pay back the cute old man ya know.
BTW, how did you pronounce Delia? Da-lie-ya, Dee-lee-ya, Del-ee-ya, Doll-ee-ya? I don't know why I kept pronouncing different everytime. Total renesme flashbacks.

Who doesn't love a shack in the rain?

This seems to be a fun way to comment on the book, so I’m going to give it a shot. (and I wrote this like two and half weeks ago, btw. I'm patting myself on the back for doing it when it was fresh in my mind.)

Things I liked:
• Paul; the kind, sensitive soldier who insisted that they save Marta – held his hand behind her head – and more later in the list.
• Marta; strong enough to take beating after beating without ever telling them a thing.
• A palace turned into a refugee camp/hospital.
• Making out with Paul in a gardening shed while the rain is pounding outside.
• The desperation and adrenaline involved with Paul leaving right away and Marta also, at the last minute to go to London.
• All things Paris.
• Finding Paul at the café and everything he did to help her – getting her Visa stamped, feeding her some real food, being happy to see her, a first class ticket to London.
• Paul jumping on the back of the taxi to make it stop, dropping to his knees to propose and he and Marta back in the hotel room….
• Delia – perfectly rich, perfectly kind old lady, taking Marta in as if she were her own family and fully supporting her.
• Rachel.
• The idea of the crazy trip to Prague.
• Feeling that Paul couldn’t possibly be dead.
• Escaping the dude on the bridge and getting away in the middle of the night, despite the assassin and the curfew and the communists.
• Paul. Paul Paul Paul – appearing in the woods and being alive. He’s Alive!!! Shooting the guy, carrying Marta to a dark cave and agreeing to stick with her to finish her ‘mission.’
• Ummmmm……………the wine cellar. The wine cellar. The wine cellar.
• The boat ride.
• The rescue after the boat ride.
• Paul’s silent calls.
• Simon being a bad guy. I hated him right away. He needed to be a bad guy and I was relieved that he was. Although, duh?!?
• A happy ending.


Things I did not like:
• Huge breaks in time from one chapter to another. What? Hang on…where did all that time go?
• Kind of obvious that Paul and Marta would be separated and something terrible would happen.
• Very convenient events, like Paul being in Paris and again later when she was trying to get to Berlin. In fact, so many things were way convenient.
• Paul never making more of an effort to see her after he survived the crash. Ok, he saw that she was preggers, but come on…everything else was so conveniently perfect.
• Simon. Everything Simon. His suit, his eye color, his stature, his voice, his OCD. Do I need to go on? And Marta probably did it with him, which is so gross.
• How Marta, seemingly instantaneously, shifted from the naïve-can-barely-survive-crying-because-she’s-alone girl to a spy expert who was then ready to fly off to Prague on a moments notice.
• The night in the hotel room in Paris. Did it seem to last only a second or two? And, if it was just a second or two…just once?
• Dava. Really? That was a low blow.
• Paul’s silent calls.

Overall, I really did enjoy this book. It only took me a couple of days to read it (on my iPhone Kindle, btw). And, I was so smart, as I said above, I sat down and made this list immediately afterward.

I'm now delving back into Katniss, Gale, Prim and Peeta. Bit fat apology for saying some stupid thing about a boy with chickens way back when. I just re-read that and there were clearly NO chickens. Everyone would have eaten them anyway. But I'm GIDDY with excitement to pick up that book! YAY!

The Diplomat’s Wife: aka I KNEW IT!

Damn that Simon and his prissy tea & effeminate mannerisms.I knew he was the leak. I’d scan in & show you where I wrote that in the margin but my scanner is broken and plus I didn’t write that cuz it was a library book… but I’m serious. I knew it. Dava threw me for a loop but geez, you gize! I’m not a freaking mind-reader… no one saw that coming.

Another thing I didn’t see coming? Paul. Michael Stevens…no, he’s hawter with the name Paul. What the? Coming back from the dead as a secret agent? It doesn’t get any hawter than that. I was so happy to see him. Probably happier than Marta. His hands seemed to be warmer than most men’s…I’m guessing he’s part werewolf. If I had to guess.

Oh Marta. Poor Marta. Her life nothing but a series of events which were being manipulated by someone else. People dying left & right. I will say this, though. She wasn’t very likable, for me. Everyone in the entire book was so serious all the time and Marta was the worst. Paul had a bit of a sense of humor but Marta? None. A bit of an emotional basket case actually. Getting beaten and starved in a Nazi prison will do that to a person, I guess. Still. She could smile more.

Thanks Cristin for a fun read. It was a bit of a departure from the normal SRBC choices (meaning it wasn’t about creepy creatures and the people who hunt them). It kept me turning the pages and I finished it one August morning at 2:30am because I couldn’t put it down. I’d say it was a story “told with luminous simplicity…this is historical romance at its finest.” <---- I totally did NOT get that off the back of the book, btw.

I went ahead and read the next book "The Military Man's Bastard Daughter" in which Rachel grows up to be a member of al-Qa'ida and ends up shooting Marta & Paul in their sleep one particularly warm evening in North Carolina. Total snoozer.

So good, like a made for tv movie.

I love this book. I love that it's an easy read, somewhat predictable except for Jan and Dava (so did not expect that). And that I can read and appreciate without over thinking it and getting so caught up into it that I wish it wouldn't end.

I also love this book because it made me feel. I could imagine how completely lonely it could be for someone who has lost everything and everyone she loves. I felt how scary it must have been for her to leave the hospital and travel to a country where she doesn't know the language very well. I felt passion that she felt for Paul and how sad I was when he died, then she dreamed he was alive then realized it was a dream and he was dead then she see's him again because he's really alive. It was a roller coaster. I understood how completely conflicted she was with her love of Paul and her very unromantic sinister husband and how she didn't want to betray that even though he is evil...though she didn't know that even though I knew it when he introduced himself on the boat. I thought it was romantic without all the heavy talking and getting to know each other "stuff". I like how they pretty much got down to business, I don't think it's possible to fall in love with someone like that but I love imagining that it's possible. I could understand her insecurities even though sometimes I thought it was annoying. I loved the tension between Marta and Paul once they meet again and dealing with their conflicting feelings.

I could picture this book being played out as a tv movie, staring a young Mellissa Gilbert with a really bad accent, even though I didn't give her one while reading it. (I don't normally unless it's written but even then...). I have a weakness for tv movies, which is probably why I like this book so much.

Things I didn't like:
She had a baby. I realize that she needed to get pregnant to give her a reason to marry but still...I don't care for that in romantic books.

Sometimes she was overly insecure.

She stayed with Simon even though it was obvious, even to her, that he wasn't interested.

Can't wait to read the rest of the reviews and I'll see you all tonight.

Cheesy Romancia

I love me some romance. Like Mr. Darcy/Miss Bennett romance.

This book didn't really find romance as far as I can tell. I think the author tried to build romance by having Paul see her as a concentration camp victim and fall in love with her but that was weird. I think that it could have been built up more by having them actually have a conversation. As far as I can tell, their whole relationship was built on her memory of his "gentle touch" as he was rescuing her. Again, a little weird.

Overall, it was a semi-fun read. The setting made it interesting and the best surprise in the book is that Jan was a woman. Loved that twist. Too bad that was kind of unrelated to the main plot so it was only somewhat shocking.

I think I should go back and read the other book because I think there was this whole tortured romance with her and the married dude and that actually seemed more interesting--the idea of her being involved in the resistance with someone and hiding furtively away, THAT could be romance.

I guess what I like about a romance is a slow build. When people fall straight in love, I don't buy it--perhaps that says something more about me than about these actual romances.

Would I read it again? No.
Would I recommend it? Sure, to a kind of silly teenager (that is our genre afterall, right?)
Am I glad I read it? Yeah. As memzy mentioned, I thought it was different than the normal stuff and it had some interesting bits in it.

And Katniss better get together with Peeta.

The predictable-bad-guy's-trophy-wife

Things I liked:

1. It was a quick and easy read. I love those. Especially since I was coming off of a very long and intense Leon Uris number. Whew!

2. I liked the fact that a girl could kick-butt Nazi style by surviving torture/beatings/etc. I'll have to admit, before getting my bearings I jumped right into the book and didn't realize until 4 pages in that the character WAS a woman.

3. The supporting characters were pretty good. How sad slash lollerz that Delia and Charles were secretly doing the lovers thing?

Things I didn't like:

1. The main character, though "strong" in a certain sense, was very unlikeable for me. Supposedly she survived all of the uprising and rebellion of WW II and then Nazi prison but she can't survive living as a single mother in a safe and beautiful house after the war? Instead she marries that bozo and is constantly telling herself "enough". She annoyed me.

2. The idea that she and Paul could spend 1.5 days together and be forever in love and pining for each other years later. It just doesn't fly with me. They had no history, they had no future, they had a night in a shack and a night in Paris and BOOM.

3. Ummmm, fairly predictable. Like you didn't see THAT coming. I knew Simon was the bad guy the second he introduced himself on the boat. The only thing I didn't see coming was that the nurse Dava was in on it from the get go.

Overall I am glad to have read something different and from a new author. I ended up reading the Kommandant's girl after that one and actually liked it a little more than this one. And I shared this book with a friend who is loving it right now. See how the book recommendation world goes round? So I will see you all tonight at 8 after I wipe the frosting off of my hands from the winning Hunger Games cake.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

For clarification sake ...

mine, not yours. SRBC will be meeting at 8pm Pacific time. Hopefully that works for everyone...of course except for those that didn't read it....yeah...I'm talking to you Uncle Markie. It's ok...I still love you, even if you didn't read it. I'm actually quite comforted by the idea that next months meeting will be the best SRBC meeting EVAH! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Be there or regret it for the rest of your life

or something. You have till Sunday 7PM Oregon time or 8PM for everyone else. I know some of you haven't started reading The Diplomats Wife...coughsaracough or aren't planning on reading coughmarkcough. I don't want to go all Nazi on you, but if you haven't read it yet, you bettter!! I'm just saying....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Decisions Decisions...

Gize, I was seriously worried that I wouldn't think of a book for this month but as July progressed I thought of more and more books and now it's to the point, that I'm having difficulty choosing. I'm thinking about putting all the ideas in a hat and having one of the kids draw a name.

I mean, do I risk having my secret love of Christian romance get picked on??? Like Janette Oakes Canadian Series. It has Canadian Mounties, tea and some "saving" going on which I heart since my best friends are the "saving" kind of Christians.

Or do I go for the classics like Persuasion by Jane Austin
or North and South by Elizabeth Gaskel

(though the movie has an even better ending then the book. Think Anne and Gilbert or Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy).
But then a few weeks ago while on our Mother/ Daughter date with Sara, I found this book at Borders.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I know for a fact that Ms. Juliet and I would be best friends and she would write me witty letters every week. I mean I'm only half way through the book and I'm pretty sure it's going to be just as good till the end.

But then do I dare mention or not mention my love of

The Kommandant's Girl and The Diplomats wife by Pam Jenoff. Cathe lent me The Diplomats wife and afterward I found out that there was a book before, though they can be read separately. I heart them both but I think my favorite is The Diplomats Wife. They might be a little more risky but I enjoyed them. It has love, sex, danger, suspense and Nazi's. They are so good...you know except for the Nazi's. I would say they are probably a PG13 rating.

Now can you see why it's so difficult??? But in the end I'm gonna choose ::drum roll::

The Diplomats Wife by Pam Jenoff. I honestly hope I don't offend anyone with the pg 13 book...but it's soooooooooooo good. This may mean that you will be forced to read The Kommandant's Girl but I promise you don't have to.





Howdy Y'all!!

Ready to chatty about the book?

Bring it on.

x-men and little house on the prarie

it was. I don't have much to say as I'm busy pacing back and forth, chewing on my finger nails while trying to decide a book for this month, so I'll keep this short.

It was a charming book that I think my kids will like but it left me wondering what year it was. Back on the farm it seemed like the 1930's but in the I.N.S.A.N.E. it was modern day...it was kinda annoying, kinda like her accent. I like the characters but kept wondering what it was about a flying girl that a super smart kid needed but I like that they all needed each other to escape the asylum and that she introduced interesting animals and plants and even this mysterious J that left me wondering if their is going to be more to the story because J seemed like he would be an interesting story in himself but she didn't bring it up. hmmm All in all I enjoyed it as a simple read with cute characters but it'll never be a book that I'll want to read again.

Landee Lu Pipes Up

Sally Sue, Lizzie Lee, Piggy Pooh, Billy Bob.... yup, this is a town where Landee Lu can fit right in. Or can she? I would hope I'd be more like Piper McCloud than the rest of those townsfolk (yes, it was not lost on me that she was the ONLY one with out alliteration in her name, you know, cuz she was different and stuff). Piper was imaginative, kind, a hard-worker, maybe a bit naive but nice.... always nice. Niceness is a quality I rank extremely high... like #1... or #2 at the most.

As for the book, it was just what the doctor ordered for a quick summer read. Light, entertaining, whimsical and breathy. I don't know what breathy means but I couldn't think of another word and that was the best I could come up with. Yes it was easy. Yes it was simply written. But who wants a Debbie Downer/deep, meaningful book every month? Not me. It was a breath of fresh air (there, that's what I meant by breathy!). Once I figured out what time period this was I was all set--- I was srsly confused on that for a while.

As for the characters, I thought they were interesting enough. Some were predictable (knowing Conrad had to be up to something, knowing Hellion was a bizznatch from the get-go, etc) but who doesn't love a little predictability in life? I'll tell you what, I hope all the characters in MY life stay predictable, ifyouknowwhati'msayin. I do wish there would have been more on J, however. Like, I wish he would have sneaked into Piper's room at night and watched her sleep. I wish he would have taken her on his back and jumped tree top to tree top and she would have held on like a little spider monkey..... ahem, or, at the very least, I wish he would have filled her in on what's what in that INSANE place. That would have been better than Conrad's torture and all the poems he wrote on his bedroom wall.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. I never got bogged down. I appreciated it for what it was. Best of all I read it in about a day and a half. It made me feel smart.

PS I may not be at the discush tonight. I'll try but I'll be stuffing my face at my bro's in-law's house this evening. I hope I can make it.

Light Reading Plus 1

EDIT thanks to Jespy for catching my error. All fixed now!

I am giving this book a 29. I don't know on what scale, it just seems like a random scale to match the randomness of the book. I am not in a narrative mood right now so I am going to bullet it out (wait do I always do that?)

I should have followed Landee's advice to write it as soon as I read it.

What I liked:
  • One-dimensional bad guys. You could tell Dr. Evil was going to be bad from the get-go. Even her name.
  • The cricket. I was sad to see the early demise but what a cool talent, to unshackle chains from the heart.
  • The uncovering of the healing talent by stuttering kid. I was moved.
  • Conrad. I had a student named Connor who was super genius and his father was a super nice guy but couldn't handle the genius his son was. Once I invited the dad to come be a guest speaker and the night before the kid ran away and woke up high in the local park. The kid came to school in shambles and his dad was exhausted from staying up all night with worry. The dad, to his credit, kept his commitment and was filled with sorrow and relief when he found his homeless-looking son in my class. My heart strings are still pulled when I hear about a genius named Conrad (which reminds me of Connor) and a dad who never understood. This book brought it all together for me and the fact that he ended up living with Piper and his talent was appreciated got me pretty emotional.
  • Rainbow girl. She had the coolest talent.
  • Conrad selling his soul to whatshername thinking his parents still wanted him. Then his regret. Then Piper's forgiveness. All pretty.
  • Piper herself. I didn't think there was anything wrong with her being a hero. Her number one skill was persistence-like she did to learn how to fly, make friends, etc. She was super persistent and that makes anyone smarty.
What I think was kind of weirdo:
  • Silver-spotted giraffe. Total disconnect. It was a cool idea but he really didn't play a role. None of the animals did so that fell short for me except Sr. Cricket who died.
  • The cricket being a threat to the bad guys because his talent undid the bad stuff. I would think that a really scary animal to the bad guys would be one that had an actual harmful skill.
  • The byline of House on Prairie meets X-men. There were no good v. bad x-men teams and that is what I was expecting. As a huge fan of Magneto and the blue body chick, I was really disappointed that we didn't have a house divided.
  • J. Of course he was dr. evils bro.
  • Speaking of Dr. Evil, dumb that she could fly. DUMB.
  • The rainbow girl never recovering. That was inexcusable.
  • I agree with Markie that there was a huge incongruency between the intended audience of the book and the very heavy themes.
  • Sequel: must contain romance, must end the whole concept of the school being a shelter, and must create a bad-guy. Perhaps rainbow girl can come back and be bad, like the trick is that once the talent is treated with this drug, it is dormant as a bad evil and then emerges all at once, a whole community of people who once had a talent to do good that becomes wicked awesomely evil. I will likely read it otherwise because I don't have a reason not to read it.
Overall:

Not a waste of my time. I enjoyed it, it was fun, I retold the story to my kids in the car who are now interested in reading it. Thanks for the recommend and can't wait for the next book in the club. Thanks to everyone for keeping me reading so I can go to conferences with high school teachers and have read the same stuff as their students.

Light as a Feather, Thick as a Board

Let's see, I give The Girl Who Could Fly 69 out of 99 luftballons.

Which means, it wasn’t horrible, but it was sure easy to put down.

I thought the concept was interesting, and I was looking forward to reading it, but in the end, I was a little let down. I guess you can keep a good girl down.

There were a few things that distracted me right from the start. Are there really towns (outside of Dr. Seuss books) where every single resident has two names that start with the same letter? Millie Mae, Jessie Jean, Rory Ray, Sally Sue, Timmie Todd, Junie Jane, Jimmy Joe, Gomer Gun, and of course, Billy Bob. I guess those sorts of names are notorious for belonging to dimwitted people, so maybe that was the effect the author was looking for. The only problem was, Piper (the one we were all supposed to be rooting for) was the dumbest of them all. Which leads me to my number one problem with the book…

Piper was as dumb as a door mouse. Simpleminded. Dimwitted. Clueless. Naive. And… she stayed that way throughout the book until the very end.

It would have been fine and dandy, wonderful even, if she had started out dumb, but by the end, had learned a thing or two and came out of it a clever and savvy young girl. I love watching characters overcome challenges… but the thing is, they have to grow and change and become better people for having experienced those challenges. Piper was sweet and brave right from the start, and in the end, she was simply sweet and brave. She didn't change the way I needed her to change. I needed her to visit the Wiz and get some brains. Sadly, Piper was the same ol’ dimwitted, simpleminded redneck in the end, which makes me think she didn‘t learn what she needed to learn. In fact, she proved to be slightly stupider in the end when she decided she’d “had enough schooling for the time being and wasn’t much interesting in going to school anymore.”

Um. Go to sckool kids. Please. Formal edukashun good.

It didn’t help that this is how I heard Piper’s voice in my head (Amy Poehler playing simpleminded MJ on SNL).



“Dang, Liz Taylor! I can fly. Look at that RAINBOW!”

To be fair to Piper, she wasn’t the only dummy in this book. All the kids at I.N.S.A.N.E. were pretty dumb, save for one... Conrad. Who I like to affectionately call Connie, as did his deadbeat dad. I loved him. He single-handedly saved this book for me. He was the only character with two brain cells to rub together. I believed the whole “this was his plan all along” thing. It reminded me of those clever Artemis Fowl books. And of course, like all smart people, he was the only character who learned something from the experience, and who came out of it a different person in the end.

What I did have a hard time believing was that the ability to fly somehow made Piper a precious commodity in the world of freaks, and placed her at the top of the hierarchy at I.N.S.A.N.E.. Don’t get me wrong, flying would be awesome, super fun, a dream come true… but what use is it really to anyone other than the flyer? More than once, a very weak argument was made that because flying was a rare talent, it was therefore a powerful and useful talent. Um, three-legged buffalo nickles are rare too, but I don't see what use they are to me unless Tony is gonna put 'em up on eBay. So unless Connie was planning to make a little cash off of Piper's flying skillz, the idea that he needed Piper's rare flying ability in order to escape seemed far fetched indeed. Especially when he had kids with x-ray vision, telekinesis, inhuman strength, shrinking powers, and healing powers at his disposal. All those powers are leaps and bounds more useful than flying.

High security or not, the institution seemed no match for a group of kids with these kinds of powers. It seemed to me, that once they were convinced they needed to escape, they would have simply needed to... leave.

In the end, Piper's "brilliant" plan of escape was just as easy and anticlimactic as that. All it proved to me was that Dr. Hellion was slightly stupider than Piper. "Run away? Never! I must make you normal. Huh? What's that? You want to rebel? Oh, that's different. Dang! You found the loophole."

BTW, if I had to chose from one of them super abilities in that book, I think I would pick Smitty’s X-ray vision, am I right ladies?

Ms. Forester left the ending open to a sequel. I don't know if I will read it (fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again), but I must admit, my interest was piqued by the "invisible guy" who simply went by the initial J. ... which was also the first initial of Dr. Hellion's "rogue" brother. Hmm, who could this mysterious J. character be, hmm, I do not know, but I'll bet Piper'll figger that there riddle out, once J. suddenly has a mental break down and tells her outright in the most awkward and inopportune of places. Still, my interest was genuinely piqued by creepy invisible guy. Too bad he didn't play a bigger part in this book.

My Review

Markie, thank you so much for posting your review first. It was a nice little memory jog for me. It's been so many weeks since I read the book. I loaned my copy to Landee, who then loaned it to Flem (so glad to, btw) and I haven't had a chance to flip through and review the story again. However, if my review sounds a little disjointed, I hope y'all can forgive me.

I was immediately intrigued by the idea of the little baby rolling off the table and floating in the air. I have an Aunt Margaret who is very uptight, old-fashioned, bossy. When I pictured the baby floating in the air and the mom freaking out over it - I saw my Aunt Margaret's face, heard her nasaly voice and it just made me giggle! I enjoyed the drastic contrast in environments. I think it's entirely realistic that such differences exist everywhere. I haven't seen much of the world, but I grew up in a little town. Before the days of the internet and satellite tv. At least, where I lived...there wasn't any satellite tv. The music we listened to on the radio was a couple years behind what the rest of the country was listening to. Movies came to the theater weeks after they initially premiered, but with only two screens, we got a very small handful of what was actually being released. I was shocked to find out that my husband had rollerblades for the longest time. I didn't even know they existed until I was almost 20. I love the idea of the little hick town, completely isolated from the hightech society we live in. My parents can't even get call-waiting, or worse :::gulp::: buy iPhones because there isn't any 3G where they live. They've only had access to voicemail for a few years and only shortly after I moved away from home, our phone numbers transitioned from 5 digits to 7.

Epiphany - perhaps I'm likening myself to Piper....hmmmmmmm. Flew the coop and all that? Interrrressssting.

So she gets to the school and I hated Conrad to begin with. I thought, "Great. There's always some annoying trouble-maker..." It was a relief to find out that he was really very wise to what was going on. Especially when he became friends with Piper. I love the name Piper too, btw. I was suspicious of the whole thing, but from Piper's perspective, why wouldn't she trust it? And her poor parents, completely freaked out by her out-of-the-ordinaryness. They were surely relieved to see her go.

How sad when the rainbow girl did her little rainbow thing and then went home. I really, really wanted her to be okay again.

I do agree that the idea of children and animals being tortured is a little unsettling, but I can't really get too much after that because I loved The Hunger Games so much. The difference, I think, is that The Hunger Games was written SO well. The horrid nature of children hunting eachother in the forest never even dawned on me until well after I'd finished the book. I do kind of wish I could hear that cricket. Crickets are creepy, though. Ich!

There are bad guys everywhere. Even uptight, cityfolk women bad guys. I don't know why it always surprises me, but everyone has their story. Right? Conrad was not accepted by his parents. Why wouldn't he lean toward bully behavior? Lady Hellion killed her little sister, for heaven's sake, and never saw her brother again (the invisible guy...right? Isn't that who that is?). She just flat out snapped and turned into an animal/child torturer. I don't forgive or condone her behavior, mind you. But, as I've often heard, it's hard not to love someone when you've heard their story.

Piper was so naive, she was just pure in her intentions and thoughts toward other people. It was an easy read, but I found it entertaining. Hopefully when it comes around again, I can pick a more 'meaty' literary adventure. How I envy the person who gets to host the sequel to The Hunger Games. Lucky.

I can't wait to read everyone's reviews and we'll chittychatty online tonight, 9pm mountain time.

Ann

Save The Okie, Save The World

Like an ABC Afterschool Special, The Girl Who Could Fly was a couple hours of harmless entertainment. For the most part, I read it during a weeks worth of 15 minute bus rides to and from work. But other than helping to pass that time, it didn’t really do much for me.

I found Piper’s dumb Okie talk distracting. Maybe it was due in part to just having read These Is My Words, and I was “Okie talked” out. Her language didn’t fit with the modern high-tech setting she was in. “Little House On The Prairie meets X-Men” just didn’t work for me. It was oil and vinegar; a strange juxtaposition of opposing ideas; a weird melding of two worlds; an impossible dichotomy of contrasting genres. At least that’s how Lil C described it to me.

There was also another uncomfortable contrast for me. The reading level and story line really seemed to be geared toward the tween crowd, but there were some rather adult themes buried in there – namely, the torture of animals, and children; going tharn; and suicide. I’m not sure a tweeny can really grab hold of the concept of Dr. Hellion’s blocked memory and the story that had replaced it in her mind, and how it drove her to torture shiny giraffe’s and singing crickets; and then her decision to plummet to her death when the reality that she had killed her little sister came crashing in on her.

Regarding X-Men and Heroes like powers – I don’t know why Piper seemed to be the key to everyone’s escape - other than her little bit of moral support. They already had super smarts, super strength, x-ray vision, weather control, telekinesis, electric bolts shooting from hands, and of course Rainbow Girl; and yet Conrad was just waiting for a girl who could fly so he could escape. Yeeaaaah. The cruelty in order to get her to realize what was going on seemed contrived as well. You don’t need super smarts to know that there is something going on when your school is underground, the directors name is Hellion, and it happens to be called I.N.S.A.N.E.

The author also left things kind of hanging in the end; there was an invisible man that we never really got the story on, who came back to tell them they were still in danger and needed to come with him; yet, I haven’t heard anything mentioned about any planned sequels. Just as well for me I guess. I rekon I won’t be readin’ any mo from this writer.