While this book holds a lot of promise - Bacigalupi created a rich, compelling world and there's no shortage of action - ultimately it fell flat for me. The end is much too abrupt and although it's possible a sequel is planned, from this vantage point I don't think there's enough of a narrative arc to justify a second book. I was also disappointed at the lack of character development. Even though the heroes go through quite a lot (one character's father is out to kill him, for Pete's sake) they never evolved past names on a page for me. The characters felt more like stand-ins for the reader rather than real people.
My personal opinion aside, I do believe many teens are going to love this book and I plan to recommend it. Dystopias are always popular and this one is sure to appeal to fans of The Hunger Games or Joss Whedon's Firefly (TV).
I love the use of engravings and archival photographs to round out the illustrations. Such a beautiful book about an inspiring woman. Great message (ugh, I know) for kids. Paraphrased: Be an ubernerd and you just might make the world a better place.
Never really warmed to this one. The heroine, Callie, is by turns too dumpy (there's an extended sequence where she tries to rid herself of a "food baby" with laxatives hours before an event and is shocked it doesn't go well - really, girl?) and too confident ("Not to brag but there are only two people in the world who don't like me."), neither of which endeared her to me. As for the romance...well, I skimmed the last third so maybe it improves but I really didn't feel the "swoon," as the Forever Young Adult (www.foreveryoungadult.com) girls say. Callie and her intended get thrown together much too often and in unbelievable ways. And even with the multiple meet-cutes-to-beat-meet-cutes, the transition from enemies to lovers (you know the old cliche) is quite the sharp turn.
Overall, not a bad beach read but not recommended. Unless you really like knowing what characters are wearing and eating in extensive detail. Then, by all means, grab this opportunity to know whether your heroine prefers ruffled or plaid skirts (hint: sometimes both at once!!)
I just thought of the perfect analogy for Callie: Imagine Kate Winslet's character in The Holiday, all mopey and in love with her jerky boss, only she's not Winslet (or in other words, awesome) and she lives in Vermont. That's Callie.
In this modernized re-telling of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Jane Moore finds herself destitute after her parents die in a car accident and leave her no means of support. She is forced to drop out of college and take a job as a nanny for a famous rock star. This faithful adaptation of the classic novel is engaging, despite its familiar storyline. However, the ideal audience is unclear. Teens who have just read the original novel will not be interested in reading the same book over again, with a few modern twists. It's possible that Jane could be offered as an alternative for reluctant readers who prefer rock stars to landed gentry and otherwise wouldn't read the original novel.
The Graveyard Book is notable for being heavily decorated. Along with winning the 2009 Newbery Medal, it also won the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the 2010 Carnegie Medal (a British equivalent of the Newbery), and a Locus Award for Best YA Novel. That Graveyard Book won awards for three different age ranges (children’s, young adult, adult), hints at its broad appeal. Although, just to give all of the above a sprinkling of salt, I would point out that Gaiman has an especially rabid fanbase and just maybe they were waiting in the wings to reward him?
This is an excellent audiobook; one of the best I’ve listened to in a long time. Gaiman’s text begs to be read out loud and the fact that Neil himself (pun intended) is such a fabulous narrator is a huge bonus. I realize the guy wrote the book and therefore knew what dialects the characters would use but he does all the voices! He even does convincing women without resorting to falsetto. Phrases like “scraggly grass” come to life in their rightful British accent. It’s awesome. I recommend you give it a listen.
The story itself, I’m afraid, sputters out after an excellent first chapter. Oh, it’s still interesting but it doesn’t have the same pow! it starts with. It revives for the final act though. Oh, does it ever. I apologize to my neighbors for my shouting quite a bit while listening to the last chapter.