Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review - Twenty Boy Summer

Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler

“I’ve replayed the events of that day a hundred thousand times, looking for clues. An alternate ending. The butterfly effect . . . If I could find the butterfly that flapped its wings before we got into the car that day, I would crush it."
     These are the words of Anna, who just a year earlier was having the time of her life with her two best friends, Frankie and Matt, until a tragic accident killed Matt. Now, Anna and Frankie are heading to California for vacation, determined to have the "Absolute Best Summer Ever (A.B.S.E)" but it's clear no one has truly come to terms with Matt's death. What's more, Anna has a secret she can't tell anyone, she was in love with Matt, and Matt was supposed to break the news of their relationship to Frankie (his younger sister) before he died. Afraid of hurting Frankie, Anna keeps her feelings locked up inside even though they continue to eat away at her. Frankie has already been acting out since the death, and now she has challenged Anna to a game, a "twenty boy summer" leading Anna to determine “the statue of limitations on feeling guilty for cheating on a ghost.” Readers will be quickly drawn in and moved by the pain of everyone touched by Matt's death. We see the strain put on Frankie and her parents, on Anna, and on the friendship between Anna and Frankie.
     The writing is easy to follow, but I wouldnt recommend this for anyone younger than 13, since a main aspect of the book is "getting" twenty boys and losing one's virginity. Still, everything was portrayed in a decent manner, and Okler's writing was often poetic.There were times when I caught myself smiling, and other times where I had to try not to tear up (I was reading in public; embarassing).
I would definitely recommend this book to any girl looking for a light, yet meaningful, read.

~ Allie

Recipe - Twenty Boy Summer

So this may seem like a trivial, no-brainer recipe but I will share it none-the-less.
While it is technically supposed to be winter, Southern California has been warm and sunny, so in honor of this beautiful weather, and our Summer-y book, I thought I'd share a tried and true smoothie recipe that even Anna and Frankie would have enjoyed.
I am actually very picky when it comes to my fruit smoothies. Usually when I go to a smoothie shop they insist on all of these extra add-ins that make the drink no longer healthy, can't I just have a plain fruit smoothie?!!?
So, to save money and stay healthy I make my own smoothies at home.
Here is my recipe for a very healthy strawberry banana smoothie:

1 banana
3-4 frozen strawberries
a very small amount of milk (maybe 1/8 cup, no more than 1/4)

just put these together and blend!

the banana adds a creamy texture, while the frozen strawberries act in place of adding ice or sherbert or ice cream, and the milk is just enough to make sure the fruit blends well and isnt too thick

Hope you enjoy! :)

~ Allie

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Book Thief Review

I do not carry a sickle or scythe.

I only wear a hooded black robe when it's cold.

And I don't have those skull-like

facial features you seem to enjoy

pinning on me from a distance. You

want to know what I truly look like?

I'll help you out. Find yourself

a mirror while I continue.

(p. 307)

With Death as the narrator, one would expect The Book Thief to be a haunting tale. It is. Everyone knows that World War II was a terrible time, a sad scar on the face of history to say the least. With so much death and destruction have you ever wondered what Death’s perspective on war was? Author Markus Zusak show readers how he believes Death must have felt, and it is truly intriguing.

"It was a year for the ages, like 79, like 1346, to name just a few. Forget the scythe, Goddamn it, I needed a broom or a mop. And I needed a vacation." Throughout the novel, Death takes on the rather surprising role of a being skeptical of humanity since he has witnessed so much war and irrational evil. The idea that Death has a heart is constantly proven through the narrative. He begs the question, how can the human race be “so ugly and so glorious” at the same time? He describes taking the souls of people, of being amused by humans portrayal of him as the grim reaper, and throughout the novel he surprises readers with his bluntness and reflections. Zusak uses the witty and compassionate character of Death to weave a story full of emotion and imagery. "Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens and so do you. It's the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest, and astound me." Death frequently uses foreshadowing to reveal the fates of characters, but although readers know what the general outcome of a novel during WWII will be, it is still an impressive and emotional journey that continues to captivate until the very last words on the final page. Readers will go on an emotional rollercoaster. They will feel the love of family, the despair of great losses, the joy of accomplishments, and shock at the ability of people to act both with compassion and with cruelty.

The story chronicles the life of Liesel Meminger. Readers discover how she lived, what she witnessed, the love she gave and received, and how she dealt with the tragedy around her. Death witnesses Liesel’s first act of thievery, at her brother’s graveside she picks up an object in the snow; The Gravedigger’s Handbook. With the help of her foster father, Liesel learns to read and so sparks her love of books. Soon she is stealing them whenever she can. Stealing books is not all Leisel has to worry about though. When her foster parents hide a Jew in their basement, Liesel becomes aware of how truly dangerous the times are. With each page Liesels ignorance and innocent is stripped away and replaced with knowledge that both frightens her and makes her stronger. With every act of brutality she witnesses, Liesel is also shown the extent of human kindness and love.

Through elegant writing Zusak gives readers a glimpse of what life was like in Nazi Germany and shows the true power of love and compassion in saving people. By the end of the novel readers will feel as Death does, “that although it broke my heart, I was, and still am, glad I was there." This novel will haunt readers just as Death say humans haunt him.
A highly recommended book. One of my Absolute favorites!
♥ Allie

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Banned Books Week extras

Hey guys,
So I saw this post/article on a site and thought that it was interesting.
This shows a little about what happens when a parent takes issue with a book, and what subsequent responses may be. In this case the book is the Hunger Games.
So read the article, and please tell us what you think

♥ Allie

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Banned books week

It is banned books week!
This event started as a protest because too many books (over thousands now) have been banned from schools and stores due to the fact that some people found them offensive in some way shape or form.
I have read a number of these books, and trust me, they are fantastic!
I urge everyone to go out and read what makes you happy, not what others say is good or not.
Sometimes the fact that something is challenged is point enough to read it.

Below is a link with more information about banned books week, along with a list of banned books.
I hope all of you look at it

♥ Allie