Sunday, October 23, 2016

This is Where it Ends

Bibliography (MLA 8)
Nijkamp, Marieke. This is Where it Ends. Sourcebooks, 2016.
image from:

My Thoughts
This was the Big Library Read with Overdrive this month. Since it's YA and I hadn't heard anything about it, I thought I'd read it. It captured my attention!

At first, there were lots of characters, so I was making a chart and tying them together. I had planned to promote this book in our school by hanging some flyers but have decided against it. I'm afraid teens might start reading and will rationalize or glorify the main event--a school shooting. The book is available through the end of the month.

One thing I found when searching for a picture was a post from TeenLibrarianToolbox (a blog I follow and have actually contributed to) where the librarian used this book in a book club. I think that's a great idea! The topic is timely and relevant. The book club allows for discussion, reflection, questions --  I probably saw this post in January, but I don't remember reading it. Now that I've read the book, I have a better understanding of the post.

The character of Tyler Browne frightened me. How many kids do I know feel as alone as Tyler?

The mixture of text and texts (cellular usage) and blogging gives the story a modern edge. However, I wasn't sure who some of the users/commenters were. When I figured it out, I'd flip back in the book and reread the text message or blog comment, and often add some note to my character chart.  The chaos that surrounds the school is felt through the text messages.

Diverse characters with varied connections.  Mystery/thriller read because I really didn't know how the story would unfold (there were many possibilities). Sadly, this story is believable.

I liked that the story is told from multiple viewpoints. Pieces of growing up in Opportunity, Alabama are layered in each character.

Even though I hate even thinking about school shootings, I did enjoy reading this book. It made me think.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Howard, A.G. Untamed. New York: Amulet, 2015. Print.
image from:

My Thoughts
This is a companion book to the Splintered series. The front inside cover explains this book to be a "collection of three novellas" where "Alyssa and her family reminisce about Wonderland, recounting the sacrifices and conquests that define them." I'm glad that Howard included parts of the back story because it's been awhile since reading the trilogy. Adding these novellas gives the "what happened next" after Ensnared ended. I liked seeing Alyssa and Jeb able to live as humans (even the dying scenes were poignant). I liked seeing a softer side to Morpheus. He is not just the snarky manipulator.

I LOVE the covers!

I think the first book was like falling into the rabbit hole--the descriptions were so vivid and the characters were new. Although I enjoyed these novellas, I did often think that the writing was not as flavorful. There were comments made that seemed cliche or too contemporary. Some of the characters that appeared in the trilogy were mentioned, but they were mostly flat.

I look forward to reading Howard's new story, Roseblood--This Phantom of the Opera spin-off follows a high school senior who is sent to RoseBlood Academy -- a French boarding school for musical arts inside a renovated opera house rumored to have ties to the classic opera -- only to discover a very real danger lurks within that has awaited her for over a century. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater or Pearls Before Swine . New York: Dell Publishing, 1965. Print.

image from: personal photo of cover

My Thoughts
I remember liking Slaughterhouse-Five in graduate school, so I picked this book up at a garage sale, and it's been sitting on my shelf, waiting for me. Since I've been reading a lot of current fiction, I thought I'd go back and read something older.  This book was published over 50 years ago, but some of the social commentary is relevant for today. In fact, I caught myself thinking several times how prophetic the story is.  For example,  Vonnegut writes about the welfare system. I think it's true that as a society, we've created "a generation of people to whom welfare has long since become a way of life" (137). Hmmm...wonder what he'd write today.

This is the story of Eliot Rosewater, the heir to a fortune and the head of the Rosewater Foundation. "His duties, according to the charter, were exactly as flimsy or as formidable as he himself declared them to be (Vonnegut 26). His main job is spending money. He doesn't spend it on himself, though. He gives it away to the people in Rosewater County, IN. Is he crazy? A lawyer is trying to prove it so, in order to get his hands on the money for himself.

Eliot Rosewater loves science fiction, his favorite writer is Kilgore Trout. I'm pretty sure this name is also used in Slaughterhouse-Five as well as the planet Tralfamadore. I didn't go back and check that, but these are words I've heard (or read) before this book.

I understood the basic story. There are several times in the book that I recognized allusions, but I didn't understand the deeper meaning. Vonnegut also uses an advanced vocabulary, and I found myself looking up several words. I did think about what Vonnegut was writing. So, now I've read it, but this won't be a book I read again.

The title reference is on page 74 and 158.