- Ottawa, ON, Canada
- member since June 30, 2011
“Ellen R said: 3 stars
Renee is the concierge in an elegant apartment house in Paris but Renee is so much more than the snobbish apartment dwellers know or will ever care to know. She is a highly intelligent, self-educated woman who hides her knowledge from everyone letting them believe...”
“Ellen R said: 3 stars
Renee is the concierge in an elegant apartment house in Paris but Renee is so much more than the snobbish apartment dwellers know or will ever care to know. She is a highly intelligent, self-educated woman who hides her knowledge from everyone letting them believe that she is nothing more than a tv watching, errand running, dumpy 50ish servant. Renee begins to come into her own when a charming Japanese man moves into one of the apartments. The two find common ground in their appreciation of art, gourmet food and generally enjoying one another's company. Renee also befriends a precocious 12-year-old neighbor, Paloma, who inexplicably contemplates suicide throughout the book.
I am glad that I listened to this one on audio as the 2 readers (Renee and Paloma) made the experience enjoyable most of the time. I think if I had read the book I would have given up fairly quickly because this book is written so far over my head that in some sections I swear my head was spinning. I'm not a fan of books that make me feel stupid and this one did almost constantly. The bits and pieces that I did understand were wonderful (Renee in the posh bathroom of her Japanese boyfried made me laugh out loud). Seriously though, what 12 year old, and I don't care how brilliant she is, talks like Paloma? I know the author is a philosophy professor but her words don't sit right on a pre-teen.
Coyotemusic said: 3 stars
There were things I liked about this book, and things I didn't. The writing was pretty good, and I loved the humor. I liked the characters, Paloma most of all. But there were too many references I didn't get, and it was a bit too intellectual and philosophical for me.
Ultimately, had I been reading it instead of listening to the audio I don't think I would have finished. When Rene started her rambles, I sort of tuned it out.
I didn't dislike it by any means, and the audio was very well done.
Jaede said: 5 stars and a favorite
“I may be indigent in name, position, and appearance, but in my own mind I am an unrivaled goddess.” Renée Michel
Meet Renée Michel, concierge at 7, rue de Grenelle, a small and elegant apartment building in Paris. The building houses eight families, all in the upper tier of Parisian/French society. Madame Michel, a widow, who has been in her position for the past 27 years. Renée does her best to not draw attention to herself and to project the image that the residents of the building expect of a concierge. In other words, Madame Michel creates an image or caricature of herself as the stereotypical concierge--poorly educated, unintelligent, dull, and bland. But when we see inside her lodge (apartment) we see another side of this complex woman; we see a woman who is self-educated in a wide variety of subjects. She glories in Japanese art and culture, Dutch artists, Tolstoy, and Mozart. But most of all, she is enthralled with beauty
Paloma Josse is a precocious twelve year-old who lives with her parents, Maman or Solange (a Ph.D. in Literature) and Papa, a Parlimentarian and former government minister, as well as her sister Colombe, a grad student. Paloma is extremely intelligent, but like Renée, Paloma hides her true self from those around her; she plays down her intelligence and tries hard just to fit in. Paloma often finds herself at odds with both her parents and her sister, who she holds in disdain for what she considers their vacuous, frivolous, and clichéd lifestyle. Paloma is ultimately searching for herself, but moreover, she is looking for some reason to believe not only in others but for carrying on. Paloma has determined that she will commit suicide on her 13th birthday, but before she does, she will record her thoughts in her Journal of Profound Thoughts that we, as readers, become privy to.
At first, I wasn't sure what to think of this book. It took me much longer than I anticipated to get into it, and because I had seen so many positive and glowing reviews of it, I kept wondering when the book was going to pick up and really grab me. We, as readers, come to know Renée and Paloma, who have very little interaction throughout most of the text, through alternating chapters, and we see the other residents of 7, rue de Grenelle through their eyes. At first, I wasn't sure that actually liked either of the central characters, Renée and Paloma. I found them each a bit self-absorbed and self-indulgent in their criticisms of the upper class of Parisian society. But as I read on, the book picked-up pace, and the more I read, the more the characters grew on me. I soon became absorbed in the lives of these two characters and their view of those around them. Barbery's prose and sketching all the characters, but especially these two, was rich and, quite frankly, simply beautiful.
Then, Mr. Kakuro Ozu enters the story when he purchases the 4th floor apartment from the family of a deceased resident. Mr. Ozu sees through the masks that both Paloma and Renée wear and befriends both of them. As he does, the lives of Paloma and Renée begin to intertwine and we see both of them grow and change, often in ways that neither we, as readers, or they could predict. We are entertained with a series of events that are hilarious, touching, heart-warming, and sometimes, heart-wrenching. We also begin to see the other residents through a third set of eyes. While I was already absorbed with Renée and Paloma, when Kakuro entered the story, I simply did not want to put the book down because he brought another dimension to the text and Barbery's prose. The writing seemed to take on more depth with the introduction of this character who brought out the complexities of the other characters.
I found myself not wanting the book to end. I wanted the burgeoning friendships among Kakuro, Renée, and Paloma to simply go on. And when the end came, it was both unexpected and slightly shocking. I think I'm still processing the ending because I find myself strangely satisfied with ending in that I thought it was fitting for the overall text but also disappointed that the book ended the way that it did.
Overall, I found this to be a beautiful exploration of the characters and human behavior. Barbery's prose is beautifully crafted in a way that I found certain lines haunted me throughout the reading and stuck with me after I closed the book.
ghost of a rose said: 4.5 stars
Don't let the cute title deceive you into thinking this is a book for children or young adults. It comes from a poem in which the hedgehog is described as elegant in its ordinariness and its perfect adaption to its surroundings. It suits the main character, Renée, beautifully.
This elegant novel is about the goings-on in an upper-class apartment building in Paris, with a particular emphasis on social class and how individual people do and don't fit in. It focuses on Renée, the elderly concierge, and Paloma, the pre-teen daughter of a tenant family. Both are highly intelligent, and neither fit in to the social status to which they are assigned. Due to a traumatic incident in her childhood, Renée is obsessed with presenting the image of a stereotypical low-class blue-collar worker who knows her place and would never dream of trying to break out of the mold. Yet she has secretly used her excellent mind to acquire a considerable education on her own. Completely self-taught, she is sophisticated and cultured, but takes great pains to hide this from the world.
Paloma, even at her tender age, has the wisdom to recognize that there is more to life than the materialism and snobbery of her parents and the rest of the privileged tenants in her exclusive building.
To Paloma's family, Renée is nothing more than the building's janitor, but the two recognize a kindred spirit in one another and strike up an unexpected friendship. Then the equilibrium of not just Renée and Paloma, but of the entire building, changes when a wealthy Japanese businessman moves in. To the people of the building, Paloma (as a child) and Renée (as a member of the laboring class) are invisible in their ordinariness. But Ozu is able to really see both as they are, as worthy, unique, and interesting people.
There is a large cast of characters and side plots which require a bit of concentration to avoid confusion. But they are appropriate due to the structure of the novel - it is a large apartment building, of course there are a lot of people and a lot of different things going on.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a beautiful, affirming novel that is both intelligent and wise - and yes, elegant. And I adored the intimate peek into Paris life: the places, the language, the culture, and the food.
I noticed that there is a sequel, which I definitely want to read also.
Ladyslott said: 5 stars
Renee Michel is the concierge of a small but elegant Paris apartment building, inhabited by eight families who are part of the wealthy upper echelon of French society. Our concierge strives to blend into the surroundings, to present a bland but courteous demeanor to those who only see her in relation to what she can do for them. So Renee goes through life hiding whom she really is, presenting the demeanor of an uneducated woman who could aspire to nothing more than the job she has held for 27 years. However when the door to her loge is closed we learn of another Renee, a self educated woman who glories in Tolstoy, Dutch artists, Mozart and Japanese culture. It is her secret life away from the world, one she works assiduously at keeping hidden.
Paloma Josse is twelve years old and lives with her wealthy family in the building where Renee works. An exceedingly bright child, Paloma too presents a different face to the world, trying hard to hide her intelligence and just fit in. Paloma is frequently at odds with her family all of whom she disdains for their clichéd lifestyle. It is for this reason Paloma has decided that on her 13 birthday she will commit suicide. Before she goes through with her plan she begins recording her Profound Thoughts in a journal that we become privy to. Although Renee and Paloma are aware of each other, they have little to do with each other; we just get to see the residents through two sets of eyes.
At first I wasn’t sure about this book, I wasn’t at all sure I liked either of the main characters, whose stories are revealed in alternating chapters. At times I found them a bit pretentious and very self-centered. After a few chapters they began to grow on me, and I enjoyed their wit and humor, as well as their rather astute observations of the people around them. Just as I was settling into a comfort level with these two protagonists, Mr. Kakuro Ozu, a Japanese gentleman, moves into the building. As Mr. Ozu befriends the concierge and the young girl both Renee and Paloma’s lives will become intertwined and changed in ways neither of them could foresee, leading to a series of events that are humorous, touching and sometimes heartbreaking. From the time he enters the story until the last page I could not put this book down. The writing is beautiful and as much as I wanted to finish this book I also didn’t want it to end. I was sorry to turn the last page and end my time with Paloma, Renee and Kakuro. Recommended very highly.
JudithG said: 3 stars
This is a very interesting little book. It is probably the most character driven book I’ve ever read. Essentially, there is no plot. The story is told in two voices: Renee, the middle-aged concierge of an exclusive Paris apartment building and Paloma, a 12-year-old genius. Both Renee and Paloma are hiding their true personalities from the world around them. The book is nothing more than the observations and opinions of these two self-proclaimed misfits. But they are not talking to each other. Paloma is recording her thoughts in a journal and Renee is talking directly to the reader. While protecting themselves from the scrutiny of others these two characters create a picture of the inhabitants of the apartment building. Both characters feel free to expound on such topics as art, music and philosophy. The two narratives begin to overlap with the introduction of a new tenant to the building, a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu.
Ozu intrudes into both lives and unmasks their true natures.
This is not a book for an action lover. At some points the private ruminations of Renee and Paloma begin to become a bit tedious. However, it does have some warm and humorous moments, and these were enough to allow me to put up with digressions into philosophy.
Mary B said: 2 stars
I've been looking forward to reading this book for ages. I bought it (grr) and it has been a staple on the priority tbr.... for God knows what reason. The actual plot of seemingly unrelated people coming together to form an unusual quasi-family is more than slightly over-done. I was also really bothered by the overwhelming elitism. They're just so intelligent and inherently superior to those around them. I guess they briefly made the point that the girl's sister is smart but not devoted to beauty, ergo also a terrible person. It was just intolerant and it bothered me. Also, the ending was awful. Really really dreadful.
Book Concierge said: 4½ ****
In the center of Paris sits an elegant apartment building with a typical concierge – she is middle-aged, frumpy, fat and cantankerous. Or so everyone thinks. For Madam Renee Michel plays her role to perfection, portraying the concierge the residents expect to see, while, in fact, she is a lover of art, literature, philosophy and Japanese culture. One tenant who is not completely blind is 12-year-old Paloma Josse, the youngest daughter of one of the wealthy residents (they have the entire 5th floor). She’s incredibly bright (a genius, in fact), but hides her talents so as to fit in and not gain attention of the adults in her life. She portrays herself as typical pre-teen, interested in teen subculture. But her keen sensibilities have led her to a decision – she will end her life on her 13th birthday.
What forces both these characters to reconsider their roles and reveal more of their own true selves is the arrival of a new resident – a wealthy Japanese man named Kakuro Ozu. He is a fan of Tolstoy, a lover of art, and he seeks to really know both Renee and Paloma, rather than to just accept the portrait they portray.
Paloma and Renee takes turns narrating the novel. Both expound on philosophy, beauty and the meaning of life. Their thoughts and revelations are in turns funny, contemplative and even heart-breaking. The two actresses performing the alternating roles are spot on perfect. Barbara Rosenblat gives us a refined, controlled (though sometimes flustered) Madam Renee Michel. You can really picture Renee just by hearing Rosenblat’s voice. And Cassandra Morris offers a perfectly young, precociously intelligent Paloma Josse. I’m really happy the producers of the audio chose to use two different readers for these two different (yet similar) characters.
I found the beginning of the book slow-going, however. Mr Ozu doesn’t appear until half-way through, and his introduction into the mix is the catalyst for movement in the plot. I also found it harder to connect with Paloma – perhaps because of her pre-adolescent angst. But Renee? Oh, my! I would read her chapters over and over and over again. I loved Madam Renee Michel. The result is that I would give the book 4 stars, and the audio performances 5 stars, averaging to 4½ ****.
JudithAnn said: 3.5 stars
Some people had warned me that this book isn't very good. Others had reassured me it was a great book. Well, I agree with both camps. A bit.
Renée is a widow and janitor of an apartment complex for rich people. She is interested in topics such as philosophy, classic books, classical music, but she thinks it doesn't look good for a janitor to be associated with things like that so she pretends to be a simple woman with the interests of her own class.
Paloma is the 12-year old daughter of a rich family who live in the apartment building and she is very intelligent. She strikes up a friendship with Renée, as does a new (and rich) apartment owner. Slowly but surely Renée drops her working class behaviour and shows her real self.
I enjoyed the story of Renée and the man who recently moved into the apartment building. He is an outsider, too. While he is popular with the rich ladies in his building, he is more interested in Renée, who is not rich but is more of a soulmate to him than his shallow rich neighbours.
But there was way too much philosophy in the book. Both Paloma and Renée think deeply about the world around them and philosophise a lot.
I really enjoyed the interactions between the different characters in the book, though. The first part of the book was heavy on philosophy and had it not been for the Subdue the Shelf competition, I would not have finished the book. Luckily, the second half was much better.
serenity said: 3 stars
There were some parts of this book that I enjoyed, and those are mainly related to the plot that truly took a long time to develop. Then there are the numerous philosophical ramblings in between that go on for ages, making our main characters, a precocious rich 12 year old girl and a jaded 56-year old concierge who live in the same building, sound nothing more than pretentious. Then enter Kakuro and their humanity begins to develop because of him, making them more interesting to me and bringing them out of their shells of self-preservation and disdain for the human race. That's when I started to get into the book. And them bam pow the book is ended and I am left with a very large bad taste in my mouth. I was furious at the ending, just when things started to get good. It felt like a major cop out on the part of the author, or an act of laziness that she just didn't feel like writing anymore. So what could have been a 4 star book gets downgraded because of that incredibly disappointing ending.
Marnie said: 3 Stars
(3 Reviews in one month!! And 3 books down for the tag! Yay me! Yeah, I always start out strong in January....)
The Elegance of the Hedgehog is not something I would have ever questioned as a phrase and made no sense to me at all upon seeing the title of this book. Enter Renee', a fifty something concierge in a building full of rich employers. To them she is not worth their time or concern, always sitting in front of a TV sputtering worthless drivel, gaining more and more weight while being a rude uneducated individual. What you see or assume is not always what you get. Same can be true about Paloma, a 12 year old adolescent on the verge of teenhood. She is your average typical pre-teen who gets lost in the sea of like students. She also has decided to kill yourself on her 13th birthday because what is the point of going further?
Renee' never steps foot in front of the driveling television. She spends time analyzing the rich and their lives while drinking tea with her cat Leo and reading major works of literature. Paloma goes through life doing what is expected of her, an act because she is far more complex then anyone can handle. Both are content to continue the ruse that is their lives until an unexpected event causes one Japanese man named Ozu to enter the scene and change their lives forever.
I listened to the audio production of this. The narrators were well chosen and you felt the characters. The concierge had a course voice and Paloma oozed arrogance. I could feel like I was there with them. The book flowed well alternating between the concierge's story and Paloma's. They are separate people sharing the same world not realizing how much they are alike.
The book caused me to think about life, assumptions, and the impact one can make. I questioned society and why we do the things we do as humans. I gave the book a 3 star rating not because I have any negative thoughts on it. I enjoyed it, and I'm glad I read it. It just was not the type of book to have me jumping up and down or overly impassioned. There is nothing wrong with that though, it served the purpose it was meant to serve.
Leah K said: ★★★★ ½ + ♥
First thing I noticed – I could not read this book when tired. The ramblings, especially of Renee often just left me confused if I was already falling asleep. With that being said, when I was awake and lucid to this world, I really enjoyed this book. I thought the difference in class lines and ages of the main characters and how regardless of that they are practically one-in-the-same.
When I first started this book, I wasn’t too thrilled. I had trouble getting into it and sometimes the philosophical thoughts went over my head. But as the story continued, I realllllllly got into the characters. I absolutely adored Renee, Paloma, and later on Kakuro and how they all grew in different ways, regardless of whether they were 54 years old or 12 years old. So much to learn. And towards the end, I started really soaking in the book and its words. The ending surprised me and I found myself crying through the last 50 pages of the story, absorbed into it all so much. This is a rare case where I book went from mediocre for me with a 3 star rating and quickly raised towards the end, becoming a favorite for me. I am glad I stuck through the beginning to get to the meat of this beautiful book – another one for me to just soak in for awhile.
Karin said: ★★★
Renee Michell, concierge at a building of exclusive homes for the wealthy, hides her brilliance behind her short, squat, ugly body and a mask of intellectual dullness, convinced that this is how things need to be. Paloma, younger daughter of residents there, also hides her brilliant intellect and secretly plans to commit suicide on her 13th birthday to escape the meaningless darkness of life and set fire to the family apartment to spite her family who don't give her a moment's peace to think unless she hides. Enter Ozu, a bright, thinking, wealthy Japanese man who purchases an apartment upon the death of its owner, who not only sees past the masks Paloma and Renee wear, but also befriends Renee and helps the two of them connect.
The book is not only very well written, but it has also been translated to retain beauty and nuance of language that captures the philosophical flavour of the novel in a different language. However, it is becoming increasingly irritating to read books where anyone who is hyper-intelligent just "knows" that there is nothing but what we can see, similar to existentialism or authenticity, and that other thought is inherently weaker. It's blatantly inaccurate to conclude that this is the end of all intelligent, deep thought; there are hyper-intelligent, deep thinking people who come to vastly different conclusions. One might argue that these are just the characters and not the author speaking, but in this case I highly doubt it given that Barbery is a professor of philosophy. A great, and I suspect unwitting, irony of this book is the self-fulfilling fear/prophecy that Renee has about what will happen if she steps out of intellectual hiding and makes a friend out of her class. The ending for Paloma is much more believable and works in the novel's favour. Therefore, despite the brilliant use of language, the with, and some lovely scenes, I am giving this book a 3 for lack of intellectual originality and a bit of a rushed ending.”
“annapi said: 4 stars
Evelyn Couch is forced to accompany her husband every week to visit his cranky mother at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home, which she dreads. But it is here that she one day meets old Ninny Threadgoode, who won't stop talking to her. Gradually the acquaintance blossoms...”
“annapi said: 4 stars
Evelyn Couch is forced to accompany her husband every week to visit his cranky mother at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home, which she dreads. But it is here that she one day meets old Ninny Threadgoode, who won't stop talking to her. Gradually the acquaintance blossoms into a genuine friendship as Evelyn gets caught up in Ninny's stories of her childhood growing up in Whistle Stop, Alabama, as well as the tales of Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison, proprietors of the Whistle Stop Cafe. Full of humor, drama, and fascinating characters, this is wonderful story sure to absorb any reader. Excellent and highly recommended.
Fran said: 4 stars
The characters in this small town, Whistle Stop, were entertaining. The story that Mrs. Threadgoode tells throughout the book is of her life in Whistle Stop and the Threadgoode family. She also tells the story of life-long friendships, the importance of community, and the role of the family. In addition to telling her new friend of what it was like to live in Whistle Stop, Alamabama during the Great Depression, Mrs. Threadgoode also helps her reinvent her life, a life after the children are raised and gone and years of neglect of a marital relationship. This books packs in humor and a murder mystery to boot. It was a fun read.
Kristal said: 5 super shiny stars
The novel weaves together the past and present in a story of blossoming friendship between Evelyn Couch, a middle-aged house wife, and Ninny Threadgoode, an elderly woman who lives in a nursing home. Every week Evelyn and her husband visits her mother-in-law. But after a brief hello, she quickly makes her way to Ninny. Ninny has started telling Evelyn all about Whistle Stop, Alabama, where she grew up and about all the crazy and wonderful people that lived there. These stories, along with Ninny's friendship, enable Evelyn to begin a new, satisfying life.
Jen M said: 4 stars
Bland and frumpy Evelyn feels insignificant when she first meets Mrs. Threadgoode at her mother-in-law's nursing home. While first thinking the old woman was just a babbler and somewhat annoying, Evelyn soon comes to cherish her time with the old woman, and her tales of a lifetime in a small town on the cusp of great changes.
I saw the movie long ago when it first came out, and really only remembered the "famous" Kathy Bates line regarding being older and having more car insurance, so I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book. Told in little bits of memory and flashes to the past from the present, the book moves every couple of pages or so to a new incident, a new memory, or a new day of visiting for Evelyn and Mrs. Threadgoode. While the rapid changes were a little hard to adjust to at first, by the end of the book it felt not unlike flipping through an old photo album with a relative while they gave you snapshots of a time and a life before you. It was joyful, and sad and bittersweet, all at the same time.
SouthWestZippy said: 5 stars plus a heart
Set in the 80's Evelyn meets Mrs. Threadgoode while visiting her husband's Mother in a nursing home. Threadgoode tells stories form her past about herself, family and her friend and business partner Ruth. They ran the Whistle stop Café in the thirties where it was known for its barbecue and warm friendly people.
Great story line and wonderful characters. I laughed, I cried and I just did not want some of the stories to end. I love the movie so much I was apprehensive about reading the book. I am so happy I did. The movie did follow the book in many ways but some things were out of order or just redone all together in some stories lines. Does not matter it is that good.”
“Fyre.Katz said: ★★★★★
I have read the first two, but this one was right down with the darkness. The Shadow Grail is about Merlin and Mordred's battle. Which hasn't ended yet, their knights and warriors are reborn and waiting for the battle where either good or evil will win....”
“Fyre.Katz said: ★★★★★
I have read the first two, but this one was right down with the darkness. The Shadow Grail is about Merlin and Mordred's battle. Which hasn't ended yet, their knights and warriors are reborn and waiting for the battle where either good or evil will win. Spirit and her friends must figure out what Mordred and his followers want. I enjoy Mercedes writing and characters. They are always bright and beautiful with attitude and this book doesn't let me down at all. There are some sad times, some crazy times, and a bit of romance in the air. I will be hungryly waiting for book 4 to be written and released.”
“Ellen R said: (2 stars for the first 3/4 of the book and 4 stars for the last 1/4) 3 stars
Nick Carraway has moved to New York to learn the bond business and has leased a small house on West Egg. His cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan (both from old family money) live in...”
“Ellen R said: (2 stars for the first 3/4 of the book and 4 stars for the last 1/4) 3 stars
Nick Carraway has moved to New York to learn the bond business and has leased a small house on West Egg. His cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan (both from old family money) live in East Egg. Between Nick and Daisy resides the mysterious Jay Gatsby in a huge mansion that constantly resounds with the strains of orchestras, the tinkle of laughter and the general clamor of well-attended parties. This group of twenty-somethings spend the summer drinking, having clandestine affairs and incessantly talking about nothing. Finally, in the last part of the book, something actually happens and the consequences of this event will affect the lives of all of them.
I very nearly did not like this book at all. What a horrid group of unlikeable people with no direction to their lives. Nick summed it up beautifully at the end of the book when he stated: "They were careless people. They smashed up things and creatures then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made." I suppose they are acutally to be pitied rather than disliked because it seems that they did not know any better how to behave than selfishly.
rowanthea said: 3 stars
Still can't decide if I liked this book. It was alright and short enough to keep my interest. Gatsby and Nick are the redeeming characters in the story. Everyone else is spoiled and ultimately uninteresting.
This is tagged romance.....don't know why.
doughgirl5562 said: 4.5 stars
I've lived in Minnesota for over twenty years. I've been "up north" many times, have been to the MN state fair enough times to no longer be amazed at the sight of giant heads carved out of butter, have eaten lefse (but not lukefisk), have been to Twins, Vikings and Wolves games, and have listened to Garrison Keilor's Prairie Home Companion on the radio. But it wasn't until now - when I finally read a Fitzgerald novel - that I considered myself a true Minnesotan.
Ironically, The Great Gatsby isn't set in Minnesota. However, the narrator, Nick, is from the Midwest - probably Minnesota - and that is an important element of the story as his solid Midwest values are compared against those of Gatsby.
No, The Great Gatsby takes place in the world of the wealthy, dissolute and bored over a summer on Long Island during the roaring 20's. The narrator moves to the east coast to try to make his fortune in the bond business. There he becomes re-acquainted with his cousin Daisy, her wealthy but famously unfaithful husband, and the enigmatic J. Gatsby. Gatsby is Nick's neighbor, obviously very wealthy even though there are whispers that his wealth wasn't obtained through lawful means, and also obviously very much attracted to Daisy.
I won't say any more so as not to spoil the story. I listened to this book on audiotape, and at the end of the story the publishers added several letters written by Fitzgerald regarding The Great Gatsby. In one of these letters, Fitzgerald is very adament about there being NO blurbs on the published book cover that would give away or even alude to the ending of the story or important plot points. So I'll respect his wishes also.
This story is jam-packed with meaning. At the beginning of the story a lot of extraneous characters are introduced, and frankly I wondered what was the point of even putting those characters into the story if we're never going to see them again? But, with the help of CliffsNotes (LOVE CliffsNotes) I learned how even those characters added to the colorful background and atmosphere of this story.
Definitely recommended - but keep a copy of CliffsNotes nearby.
Faith said: 4 stars
In 1902's West Egg, NY life is very different than Nick Carraway, newly transported from the west, is used to. His neighbor Jay Gatsby lives an extravagant lifestyle that intrigue's Nick until Nick gets swept up in the drama that comes with this type of lifestyle. His cousin Daisy and her husband Tom are also living this lifestyle and what develops between all the characters in this story is crazy and unbelievable yet could be right out of the pages of today's tabloids.
I am so glad I read this story, it was nothing like I expected it would be and I was so pleasantly surprised. This is a classic story that was true to the time it was written and is even true to society today, it is truely a timeless classic. A complex story of interwoven characters that is better than most stories written today. The twists and turns to the story were great and now I'd like to see the movie, to see these characters come to life. Each character was developed nicely and were wonderful in their own flawed way.
blackadder said: 4 stars
The Great Gatsby is the tragic story of star crossed lovers Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. The story is told from a thrid person perspective in the form of Daisy's cousin Nick Carraway. I was interested in reading the Great Gatsby because its being toted as one of the greatest American novels. I found that it was a good book, but not the greatest American novel in my opinion. There was very little emotion throughout the book probably because it was written in the modern style and in the thrid person. I felt no connection to the story or to the characters.
This review does contain some spoilers
The book is a classic set in the roaring twenties. F.Scott Fitzgerald is a Minnesota born author. I've read this and two other works by the author. The Great Gatsby is short and filled with a lot of literary techniques and I can see why it may be assigned reading in school. This book is also famous for the dust jacket of the first edition, 1925. The story takes place after WWI and is told by a narrator, Nick Carraway, who is an impartial observer of Tom Buchanan and his wife Daisy. Gatsby lives next door to Nick. Gatsby is mysterious and no one knows how he has made his money. He has bought his home in West Egg across the water from Daisy where he can see the green light off her dock. He has met Daisy prior to her marriage and has never stopped pursuing her in his mind. He has done everything to impress Daisy, who he knows loves money and the appearance of wealth. Tom is wealthy and he takes Daisy for granted. He has multiple affairs and everyone knows about his affairs including Daisy. Jay Gatsby has Nick arrange a tea date so he can meet Daisy again. Tom comes realizes that Daisy may love Gatsby. He is hypocritical, judging his wife when has been unfaithful to her. One night the five-some go into town. Daisy is flaunting her affection for Gatsby, Tom attempts to expose Gatsby for the fraud that he is. Gatsby doesn't realize he can't hold onto Daisy because Daisy will choose real wealth over the false wealth that Gatsby has put together in his attempt to capture Daisy's love. The story ends tragedy for Gatsby. This quote would some up the book, You Said a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver? The book is a classic set in the roaring twenties. F.Scott Fitzgerald is a Minnesota born author.
Alli formally awelker said: 3.5 stars
A classic written in the time in the country before the chaos that is the Great Depression. I liked this book on the simple fact that although it was short it was still very well written. I did however think that the book was not really all that grabbing and not one of those books that I had to know how it ended. I liked it but probably not one of those things that I might not read again. I'm not sure if I am not getting some symbolism or something but that seems to be an underlying theme with me and classics. *Sigh*.
Lisa B said: 3 stars
Nick Carraway moves into a home next to the mansion belonging to the wealthy Jay Gatsby. Nick becomes friends with Gatsby and is drawn into his lavish life and parties. Gatsby is in love with Daisy Buchanan, but Daisy is married to Tom. All does not end well. This book was very odd and not what I was expecting. The narrator is Nick, but the story revolves around Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom, so I felt slightly removed from everything and I could never get a real feeling for any of the other characters. I also never really liked any of the other characters besides Nick and by the end of the book I really disliked Daisy and Tom and felt very sorry for Gatsby. I was kinda bummed out when I finished. I was going to give the book 2 stars until I read this quote towards the very end of the book: "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy-they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into the money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made..." and I realized I think I was supposed to feel the way I did at the end of the book, so I gave it 3 stars instead.
Nicole R said: 4.5 stars (round down to 4)
There is something mysterious, flirty, and rebellious about the Jazz Age. Many authors have tried to capture it (some more successfully than others) but no one describes all the glamorous and seedy facets quite like Fitzgerald. Authenticity through firsthand experience is hard to feign.
Nick Carraway is a Midwest man who is spending time in West Egg on Long Island. He finds a small, affordable house to rent squeezed in between the large, new money mansions and across the sound from the old money East Egg. Jay Gatsby lives next door. He has massive amounts of money from an unknown source which he uses to throw lavish parties, parties that represent all of the alcoholic, amoral, excessiveness of the 1920’s. Nick shares his three month window into the lost love, secrecy, extramarital affairs, and personal drama of Gatsby.
I haven’t read this book since high school and I know that I did not truly appreciate it then. Fitzgerald has a wonderful way of writing that transports you back almost 100 years. His word selection and cadence is wonderfully natural because they are his words, not words he thinks he should use because he read them in a Fitzgerald novel.
I have to admit that some of the symbolism is still above my head (yes, I read SparkNotes afterwards just to see what my high school teacher probably told me but I ignored). I picked up on the obvious encapsulation of the rise and fall of the entire Jazz Age in the short three months (and 180 pages) – although this seems very insightful of Fitzgerald given that it was written at the height of the era. The one symbolism that fails me is the eyes on the Dr. T.J. Eckleburg billboard. I know they are often compared to the eyes of God watching down on the debauchery of the rich and careless, but other than the one reference by Mr. Wilson toward the end of the book, I just don’t see that as a reoccurring theme.
The Great Gatsby is a true timeless classic and I hope to read it again someday when I have even more life experience under my belt and can appreciate more of the nuances.
Sleekfeline said: 3 stars
Nick Carraway has just moved to the city and knows almost no one. Nick has found a place to live in the well-to-do neighborhood of West Egg. His neighbors live in beautiful mansions with coiffed lawns while he lives in an eyesore of a home. His new neighbor, Gatsby, is the talk of the neighborhood (if not the town). Gatsby throws lavish parties with numerous guests that carry on through all hours of the night.
Nick's only acquaintances are the Buchanan's, Nick's second cousin Daisy, and her husband Tom. The Buchanan's invite Nick over to their house and introduce him to Jordan Baker, whom he takes a liking to. They all talk quite a while and discuss nothing much, that is until the subject of Tom's mistress pops up. Daisy is aware of Tom's mistress appears to be dealing with it by ignoring it.
One day Nick is invited to attend one of Gatsby's infamous parties. He runs into Jordan and they spend most of the night talking. They also meet the elusive Mr. Gatsby himself who soon pulls Ms. Baker aside to discuss something in private with her. Nick finds out later that Gatsby knew Daisy years ago when they dated. Gatsby has been keeping his distance from Daisy, biding his time, but he wants to see her again. The story focuses on the relationships between all the characters and how their decisions and lives are intertwined.
I read this first in high school and remembered liking it, but didn't remember all the details of the book. I remembered liking Gatsby himself and wanting him to get the girl. I really struggled this time with the relationships that were occurring in the book. It's hard for me to understand why people that are unhappy together will stay together and make each other miserable.
Kristal said: 2 stars
As much as I love reading, I will admit to a lack of suitable 'classics' under my belt and am attempting to correct the situation. This book was already on my list as one that I wanted to read and since I am one that would rather read the book before seeing the movie, the release of the movie caused me to push this one to the top of the list.
I found it very hard to connect to the characters in this story. While I do feel well-acquainted with the time-period, I am however not accustomed to the spoiled, rich people who show up throughout the pages. I am an honest person, speaking what is on my mind. I abhor liars and cheaters. I failed to see the significance of why this is considered a classic. Oh, I get the Shakespearean tragedy enveloped between the pages, the American Dream that oozes out of the pours of the inebriated characters. The greed, the lust. Maybe it's all those things put together that makes this the classic and I am looking for something that has more meaning, something that might revel the secrets of the universe. Maybe I should look at the book as a 'What NOT to Do With My Life' and I might get more out of it.
It just wasn't for me.”
“Regina L said: 3 Stars
In the early 1970’s two unlikely girls, Tuly and Kate, are brought together in middle school and develop a friendship that spans three decades. As life takes the typical twists and turns, the friendship is tested.
This is a pretty formulaic story...”
“Regina L said: 3 Stars
In the early 1970’s two unlikely girls, Tuly and Kate, are brought together in middle school and develop a friendship that spans three decades. As life takes the typical twists and turns, the friendship is tested.
This is a pretty formulaic story line filled with every stereotype you can imagine. While the characters were pretty one-dimensional and the storyline predictable, overall it was an enjoyable read. I think for me it was the right book at the right time. I started it on Mother’s Day, which is always a bit of an emotional day, missing the major mother figures in my life. So a mindless, quick read was perfect. I also really appreciated Hannah weaving the signs for Inflammatory Breast Cancer into the story. It is important that women know it is not just about feeling for lumps, and Hannah brings this to light without overdoing it. If you came to age in the 70’s and 80’s you are likely to enjoy the nostalgic trip down memory lane through the pop-culture references.
I certainly would not recommend this for everyone. If you enjoy chick-lit and beach reads, this is probably a good read for you. If you are fortunate to have a best friend who has known you since childhood, especially if that friend is one of the few people who you know love you know matter flaws, I think you feel a connection to Tuly and Kate. I know I did. If you enjoyed the movie Beaches, you will probably enjoy this book.”
“~* Kim *~ said: 4 stars
Valerie was the girlfriend of the boy who orchestrated a school shooting. They had complied a list of people they hated and Nick took the list to the extreme. 5 months after the shooting, Valerie must return to school and face the aftermath of not only the...”
“~* Kim *~ said: 4 stars
Valerie was the girlfriend of the boy who orchestrated a school shooting. They had complied a list of people they hated and Nick took the list to the extreme. 5 months after the shooting, Valerie must return to school and face the aftermath of not only the shooting, but the "Hate List". She must go through a grieving process of her own and rediscover who she really is.
I enjoyed the story's point of view from a survivor/victim, yet perpetrator stand point. It was interesting to see how the students reacted to Valerie, even though she wasn't the one who did the shooting. I do think there were parts that could have been stronger, though. I think the book could have started a bit early in the story line instead of just starting with the shooting.”
“Kate said: 5 stars and a favorite.
One of the best fantasy books I have read in years! Raymond E. Feist is a "new to me" author and while this book and numerous others are all in the same world, I did not have any trouble devouring the book. If you are like me and happen to pick...”
“Kate said: 5 stars and a favorite.
One of the best fantasy books I have read in years! Raymond E. Feist is a "new to me" author and while this book and numerous others are all in the same world, I did not have any trouble devouring the book. If you are like me and happen to pick this book up first, you will still understand what is going on as this could also be qualified as a stand alone book.
I'm looking forward to book two in The Choaswar Saga and many other books in this world.”
“Kristal said: 4 stars
A dystopian novel, set in once was present day North America. There is a Capital and 12 Districts. Each year, the Capital has an event called 'The Hunger Games' and 2 candidates from each district are picked to participate, one boy and one girl. The object of the...”
“Kristal said: 4 stars
A dystopian novel, set in once was present day North America. There is a Capital and 12 Districts. Each year, the Capital has an event called 'The Hunger Games' and 2 candidates from each district are picked to participate, one boy and one girl. The object of the games is to outsmart and out-live the other 23 opponents, since there is only one winner.
What a great beginning to a series! Completely wrapped up in the games and the struggles the kids are put into through.
Isabelle S said: 3 stars
Everybody knows what this is about, right?
Being the 45,159th person to put Hunger Games on a Shelfari shelf and the 10,248th person to review it has some significant disadvantages. It's virtually impossible not to know how the book ends. Freed up from actually worrying about our heroes, you have time to wonder instead about stuff like the curious ubiquitousness of the cameras - in the top of every tree and behind every fall of rock? Really? Nanotechnology, perhaps? Then there's the fact that, in spite of previous discussions about drop points and the rigors of arranging and funding gifts, sponsor gifts magically appear, sitting on a particular tree branch (?) or floating down from the sky within seconds of a need being established or a reward being earned. How do they do that?
The book is compulsively readable, which is a little odd when you stop to think how much of it was about finding and preparing food. I just couldn't get past the premise that the people of Panem had been allowing their children to be sacrificed for sport for 74 years. If it were the 12th or even the 20th Games, within memory of the original rebellion, it might have worked for me, but three generations of parents refused to defend their children? And out of 74 sets of hormonal adolescents, none were fed up enough with being a helpless pawn to fight back against the adults putting them in that situation? I just couldn't fathom it.
It's a fast read, and I'm glad I read it, but I won't be continuing the series.
Joi W said: 5 stars
I too read the hunger games, after being prodded by my 13 year old niece, and my 34 older brother, they finally convinced me to read the series. I'd give a synopsis, but there already are some floating around this thread. Overall, I loved the book. I read the entire thing in one night, resulting in no sleep, but it was well worth it. I don't normally read science fiction, but it had the perfect amount of suspense and kept me turning pages despite the 3:30 AM clock. I loved the feeling of 'rebellion', although a lot of the story is pretty scary to think about if a real post-apocalyptic world turned out like Panem.
The book made me laugh, made me cry, but actually makes readers think about this unreal world described in the future. The descriptions given really make you feel like you are in the scene, and the character development makes you feel for the characters. Also, it is considered a young adult book, however I wouldn't suggest it to any younger who have a gifted reading level as the violence can get pretty brutal.
If I had describe The Hunger Games in one word, I would say intense. I've already started in on the 2nd in the series.
Barbara M said: 5 stars
I listened to this one and was very impressed by the reader. I always knew when it was a different voice and that's important. I knew that this was a young adult novel that many adults (here in particular!) were enjoying. It was on my list so I avoided reading too many reviews other than the star rating so I would not be influenced in my own review.
Shades of the Roman Gladiators the reality TV (Survivor certainly comes to mind although I've never watched a full episode). Difficult to think that this would be considered entertainment in another future time - but actually scary to think it could come to pass considering what passes for TV entertainment today (sorry if I offend)! This is a very exciting story and, with the characters being teens, having an understandable level of naivete. I actually enjoyed the missing, but nearly obligatory, sex and rape scenes that might have been written into a novel for adults.
Since this was an audio vs hardcopy print, I can't say "pageturner" but I had my earbuds in every possible moment and did more house cleaning than usual since I could listen and clean at the same time!! I've already gotten the second in the series and I'm looking forward to starting it.
serenity said: 5 stars
The Hunger Games is a fast ride through a dystopian society obsessed with putting children, 24 each year, into a large space and letting them kill each other to save themselves. Only one can come out a victor, and the whole games are televised to the entire country, Panem. Katniss would do anything to keep her little sister, Prim, from harm. But Prim's name is called at the reaping ceremony that chooses the contestants for the Hunger Games. Katniss quickly volunteers herself to save her sister, but now the battle begins for her own life. But she has an unexpected ally, Peeta Mellark, the boy chosen to represent their district alongside Katniss. But can anyone truly have allies when they have to fight each other to the death? Let the Hunger Games begin, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
Awesome book. I read it in 2 days, would have been 1 if I hadn't forced myself to put the book down to sleep. The book propells you ever forward, never letting you go for even and instant. I was sorry for the book to end, and really wish I had Catching Fire to pick up right away. So I immediately went to the PBT store and ordered the next two. Now I just have to wait for them to be shipped here.
jtck said: 3.5 stars
I love the premise, I liked the book, but wasn't wowed by the writing. I've had many people RAVE to me about this book, and it didn't deliver as advertised. That said, I will be reading the other two. So, in summary, a completely enjoyable, quick read.
doughgirl5562 said: 5 stars
I won't restate the plot of this young adult book as it has been reviewed by many others already. I'll just say that I started listening to this book on audio on Saturday morning and found it impossible to stop. By bedtime (which was much later than usual), I only had two CD's left. I switched to the paper version for a while, and had to peek at the ending in order to get any sleep at all. The next morning I finished listening to the final two CD's.
Thankfully I had enough foresight (for once LOL) to put both the second and third books on my library waitlist a long time ago. All I have to do for the second book is take it off the waitlist and I would have both the paper and audio versions within a week. But I've heard that the second book has a big cliffhanger. So I think I'll wait until closer to the release date of the third book. Which is coming up soon, right?
Susan T said: 5 stars
Several weeks ago I had dinner with a writer of adult mystery novels. During the course of the evening, she raved to me about a young adult novel she'd read called The Hunger Games. While I don't read a lot of YA fiction, I would say that I'm more open to it than many a childless adult. And her recommendation must have stuck in my head, because when I saw it offered through Amazon's Vine program, I jumped at the chance to read the book. Yesterday I wrote her a thank you note because I loved The Hunger Games as much as she had, and I doubt I'd have given it a second glance if not for her raves.
The novel is set in a dystopian country called Panem--a place that was once North America. There have been wars and uprisings in Panem's past, and now the 12 districts that make up the land are ruled over with severity by the government in the Capitol. There are many ways that the populace is kept in its place, but perhaps the harshest is the annual Hunger Games. By edict, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 is randomly drawn from each district to compete in a fight to the death. The last one of these 24 left standing will win lifetime fame and fortune, and the entire nation is forced to watch these children kill each other live on television.
The first-person narrator of this gripping and fast-paced thriller is 16-year-old Katniss. When her 12-year-old sister is selected, Katniss knows the little girl will never survive, and volunteers to take her place. Katniss has been providing for her family for years, and has learned to show a tough face to the world. Still, nothing could possibly prepare her for what she's about to face. Visiting the Capitol for the first time, she experiences luxury and excess beyond her wildest imagination. On the field of battle, she experiences the best and worst of humanity.
The premise of this novel may seem a bit worn to you. I know that other writers have trod this territory before. And yet... it makes a good story, these human struggles. And Suzanne Collins has crafted a compelling and moving tale. I can tell you that I read 384 pages in a day because I COULD NOT PUT THE BOOK DOWN! I will also admit to sobbing unabashedly at one point in the novel. There's so much more to the story than just the fight to the death. There is a fascinating and disturbing culture explored, complicated relationships, and complex ethical dilemmas. You may think you know how the novel has to end, but don't be so sure. The novelist is clever. This narrative does come to a definitive conclusion, but there is room for more to be told in this story. One aspect is left unresolved. I have absolutely no idea where this is going to go (Isn't that wonderful!), but I can't wait for the sequel!
LibraryCin said: 5 stars
Panem is made up of twelve districts. Every year, the Capitol puts on what they call “The Hunger Games” to teach people a lesson. Every child between the ages of 12 and 18 has their name put in a draw, and one girl and one boy are drawn from each district to compete in the Hunger Games. The competitors are sent to an arena (could be made up of any environment the Capitol decides on), where they fight to the death. The last person alive is the winner and brings fame and glory to their district. The games are televised, so everyone watches. This book is told from the viewpoint of the girl from District 12, Katniss.
Wow! This book kept me wanting to continue to listen, (I was listening to the audio) when I was already listening, and I wanted to get back to it asap, when I wasn’t already listening to it. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. There were times that I was a little bit horrified, when I stopped to think about what was going on, but that didn’t diminish the excitement of the book for me at all. I rarely give out 5 stars, but there’s no question, this one is right up there and will be on my favourites list this year.
sharmee said: 4.5 stars
Katniss is from District 12, in a country where there is no more North America, only 12 districts. Each year, the Capital holds The Hunger Games, where one boy and one girl from each district are sent to compete. Out of the 24, only one can survive. Katniss is strong, brave, and is confused, although somehow she always knows the right answer! I love her, and everyone else from District 12. Peeta, is the boy sent from District 12. He is genuinely a lovable guy :)
They are up against some strong competition, some of whom have trained for the games their entire life (although that's cheating and unfair)... It is a wonderful tale, Panem (what used to be North America) watching the Hunger Games, of Katniss and Peeta's friendship, of Katniss fighting to win the hunger games for her sister, mother, and Peeta.
Dreamer said: 3 stars
Every year, a competition is held involving 2 citizens, aged 12 to 18, from each of the 12 districts. The point of the competition is for the leaders in the Capitol to show the citizens in the Districts that they have complete power. Katniss, a 16 year old from District 12 which is the poorest district, and Peeta, also 16 and a member of District 12, are chosen to compete, and the novel follows them. The competition has various rounds and ends when the last person is standing.
I didn't really enjoy this book, mainly because of the writing style. Also, I had a huge issue with how young the contestants are when they compete. I didn't like the idea of having children kill other children just so the Capitol can show power over the Districts. However, for the world that the novel created, the competition fits well.
Lauran L said: 3.5 stars
I thought the 'kill or be killed' theme in this sort of a gladiator setting was a little grim and too violent for a teen novel so I didn't rush to read it when it first came out. But curiosity got the better of me and so I just finished the first in the series for this month's book tag. I'll finish the series but I have to say that I didn't love it. I found it far simpler than some other series that I do love, like The Dark Materials series. There's definitely the whole coming of age theme as well as others related to resourcefulness, empathy, courage, independence, responsibility, being true to yourself, etc. I liked the characters and I was even okay with the premise after reading it. But I knew how it was going to end shortly after I started because made the mistake of reading the cover of book 2 w/o realizing it revealed the end of book 1 and so it was just about getting there and getting there just wasn't enough for me. Interestingly enough parts of it reminded me of Oryx and Crake - the muttations in particular.
Passion for the Page said: 5 stars
The Hunger Games is a young adult dystopian novel that takes place in what used to be North America. Now called Panem, the place is ruled by the rich, shining, and cruel Capital which is surrounded by twelve districts. To keep the districts in line, the Capital dictates that each district will send two children, one boy and one girl, between the ages of twelve and eighteen to compete in the annual Hunger Games, a reality television show that requires them to fight to the death.
This was a wholly disturbing book. It was certainly a page-turner, but I couldn’t honestly imagine letting kids read it. I don’t have kids, so maybe I’m not giving them enough credit, but I finished the book (late) last night and proceeded to dream about it all night long. Not a pleasant feeling. However, I thought the book brought up some great topics and I suppose if parents talk about those issues with their kids it could lead to some pretty good discussions.
Even though this book was difficult for me to read (because of the subject matter, not because of the way it was written), I have to say it’s one of the most intense, emotional, thought-provoking books I’ve read in a long time. And I’ll probably end up reading the two remaining books in the series to find out what happens to the main characters. Once I can sleep though the night again, that is...
Diane P said: 4.5 stars
Set in the future of an undetermined time, the United States no longer exists. It has been replaced by the nation of Panean, a Capitol with twelve outlying districts.
Whatever disaster occurred is not explained nor are the events leading up to the subjugation of residents of the twelve districts. What we do know is that about seventy-five years ago the Districts attempted a rebellion against the Capitol, but failed. Since that time the Capitol holds its annual Hunger Games. The purpose of the games are to cruelty remind the once rebellious districts of their crime of a failed rebellion. Each district conducts a lottery to select two citizens to serve as tributes sent to the Capitol to enter an "arena" in a fight to the death till only one tribute remains standing.
The main character is Katniss Everdeen. At the lottery Katniss's younger sister Prim is chosen as one of the tributes. Prim is only twelve years old. Horrified, Katniss
volunteers to take her place in the games. The remainder of the book takes Katniss and the reader to the world of the Capitol and the horrors of the Games.
The author has written a book with a suspenseful plot line, dynamic characters, and a setting embedded in the plot. The Hunger Games is thought provoking, suspenseful, and a real page turner. I have the sequel Catching Fire and will be starting that tomorrow. I highly recommend reading this book.
Kentucky Reader said: 5 stars
Katniss is a teen in a future dystopian society. Following an internal war in North America, the victors divided the country into districts and hold a heavy hand over the losers. Katniss lives in District 12, the mining district, formerly known as Appalachia. The woods around District 12 have been fenced off and it's illegal for residents to enter them, but without the woods, Katniss, her little sister and her mother would starve.
When she was 11, her father was killed in a mining accident and her mother was too weak to go to work. Since then, Katniss has spent her days hunting in the woods, using the archery skills her father taught her. She has a friend, an older boy, who also hunts in the woods to feed his family, and the two teens watch out for each other.
Her skills developed in the woods at home become her only chance for survival when Katniss becomes the hunted in the annual Hunger Games. The Games are government sponsored as a show of control and pit the districts' children, a boy and a girl from each, against each other in a fight to the death. It's all televised for the society's entertainment, much like a fatal version of the reality show Survivor. There's also a touch of Top Model and Miss America as a cadre of designers glam up the contestants prior to the actual games and use them to recruit sponsors and increase interest among TV audiences. Katniss is almost immediately a crowd favorite, not only for her skill and beauty but for the romantic interest, which she doesn't know is real or for show.
Once the game begins, Katniss faces one threat to her life after another, and she must outwit and kill new friends as well as enemies, if she can tell them apart. Even though she's worked out deals for others to look after her mom and little sister, she's determined to survive and take care of them herself.
This is a very intense book, filled with food for thought. This is book 1 of a series and the ending definitely left me wanting more.
JudithAnn said: 5 stars & favorite
A fantastic Young Adult book! I read it in a few days but if I had had the time, I would have finished it in one go.
The story takes place in a NorthAmerica of the future. The area is divided in 12 sections and Katniss, our main character, lives in District 12, definitely the worst of them all. Most people there are miners and are very poor. Katniss supplies her family (mother and younger sister) with extra food by hunting in the woods with her friend Gale. Going to the woods is not allowed but everyone is happy with the extra meat she brings home (and sells at the black market).
Then it's time for the draw: one girl and one boy from each district is randomly chosen to go to the Hunger Games, a competition where there can be only one winner: the person that is alice at the end of the Games.
When her sister's name is called, Katniss quickly takes her place and she and a boy from District 12 are taken to the Capitol to prepare for the games.
She assumes she has no chance at all to win, but that changes quite soon during preparation. What follows is a two-week fight in a big arena (the size of at least a few days' walk) in which Katniss has to make choices between killing her opponents and forming alliances with them.
Very easy to read, very fun to read.
Nayla M said: 5 stars
**Contains Spoilers if you haven't read Book 1**
The Hunger Games enter their 75th round and everyone in Panem is looking forward to the special celebrations that occur every 25 years. This year, Katniss and Peeta along with their mentor are seen as possible mentors for the future tributes of district 12. For the meantime, however, they are obliged to go on a tour of all the districts as part of their Victory Tour. And as they start their tour, rumors of rebels in several districts make their way to the victors.
Katniss's quick thinking in the previous hunger games managed to save both her and Peeta's lives. The people of Panem fell in love with the couple, and celebrated their victory. The government however, saw this as a deliberate act of rebellion because only one survivor should have been allowed to live. Katniss recognizes the threat she and her family are under and tries to follow the rules from now on, but things don't always happen as planned.
When President Snow announces that for the 75th round each district would have to choose a tribute from the already existing pool of victors, Katniss knows she'd be facing imminent death disguised as The Hunger Games, since Katniss is the only female victor from district 12. Peeta is also chosen and the government's plan backfires as the people of Panem show their displeasure.
A fast, interesting read that picks up where book 1 ends. I can't wait for the third to come out, and I hope it's just as good.
Moke said: 4 stars
YA novel set in a future U.S. after the nation has been destroyed by a rebellion that has left twelve "peacekeeper" controlled Districts (plus one mythical District thirteen - which I only just realized mirrors the number of the original American colonies) and a wealthy Capitol. Most of the population live in poverty and work to serve the residents of the Capitol. To keep the population in line, each District is required to send annual tributes (one boy and one girl) to participate in a deadly, televised game that only has one survivor. The young heroine of this novel is chosen for the games and has to not only fight to stay alive but to maintain her humanity.
This first novel of this series was a fast and enjoyable read, in spite of its dark theme. I like that the heroine is a strong and resourceful girl who struggles honestly with the callousness and brutality of her world.
Cora R said: 4 stars
**Possible Minor Spoilers**
The Hunger Games is a dystopian novel that takes place in a future where the ruling Capitol City devised a way to punish twelve districts that rebelled against them. Each of the districts must send two of their children (the ages range from 12 to 18) to compete in a gladiator style fight to the death. The children are released in an arena and must battle each other until there is only one winner left alive. The hunger games are televised, and are required viewing throughout the country. When Primrose Everdeen's name is pulled to be one of the tributes from her district, her sister Katniss volunteers to go in her place. Katniss must fight to survive, while at the same time resenting those that have created the deadly game.
I really enjoyed reading this novel. The author does a good job of drawing the reader in and making them care about Katniss and her struggle. Much of the manipulation regarding the games seems eerily familiar to the reality TV shows popular today (minus the killing part). I was a little disappointed that Collins did not let the readers get to know more about Katniss' competition. I thought that the killing part would have been much more appalling if I had known more about the other characters. And despite the hardships that Katniss did suffer, I still was left feeling like she got off pretty easy overall, given the situation. I also was disappointed that the ending was predictable to me, I kept waiting for something to happen to make me say wow...perhaps more overt efforts by the contestants to protest the situation. Despite these issues I thought it was an excellent book and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Nayla M said: 5 stars + heart
So I knew the book was going to be good, but I had no idea it was going to be this good. A piece of advice: try and have the second book ready whilst you're reading this, because even if you think you'd be able to wait or spread your reading, you won't be able to (and if you can manage to wait till August, you might want to read all 3 in one go).
Set in what used to be North America, a new world order is created. The Capitol Panem rules its 12 districts ruthlessly. Each district is famous for something: fish, crops, electronic devices, etc. District 12, where the protagonist Katniss is from, produces coal.
Katniss hunts illegally in the woods behind District 12 to earn money and find food for her family. At 16, she takes care of her mother and younger sister and has been doing so ever since her father died a couple of years ago. She learned almost everything she knows about hunting from her father and her friend Gale, whom she met in the woods one day.
Panem devised a plan, or punishment for the districts when they rebelled 70+ years ago. The Hunger Games were put into motion and in these games, 2 tributes (a male and a female) from each district are chosen randomly and made to participate in the event at Panem. In the games, the tributes are ordered to kill each other until a lone survivor remains. The tributes have to be between the ages of 12 and 18 and all the children in the districts are automatically entered in the draw. Some children have to enter their names several times, because the more times a name is entered, the more wheat-like-crops they were given.
Not only could the people of the districts not complain about the unfairness of the games, and the killings of children, but they had to celebrate the games and be jolly about it. On the 74th year, Katniss is the female tribute from District 12 and is sent to Panem along with the male tribute, Peeta, a fellow classmate that she barely knows but is indebted to because of his help when they were kids.
I don't think I can say any more without giving out too much of the plot, but I definitely recommend this book. I've already finished book 2, and can't wait for the third one to come out.
Jeremiah C said: 4 stars
I know this book has been reviewed an enormous amount of times, but it is because of those reviews that I chose to pick it up. I could easily skip the review here, but you never know when someone will just stumble upon this review and I would hate for them to miss out on a very good book because I skipped the review.
The Hunger Games takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of North America in a nation known as Panem. Panem consists of a rich Capitol and thirteen surrounding, poorer districts. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol, in which the thirteenth district was destroyed, every year one boy and one girl from each district is forced to participate in "The Hunger Games", a televised event whereby the participants, or "tributes", must fight to the death in an outdoor arena until only one remains.
First of all, let me say that I never had to struggle to remember that this was a young adult novel. However, even with that in mind the book consistently had me wondering what would be thrown at the characters and thus the reader next. I would pull into school or home and just want to sit in the car and listen to more of the book because I was completely caught up in the action.
Second, I give the author a lot of credit for the fact that the book starts off really fast. It seems like with way too many books lately, the author is more interested in spending the first 30 pages in background information. Collins does a really nice job of building in enough background information to develop her characters without slowing the pace of the story (Dan Brown should take notes). Moreover, if you are a fan of books that make you think, the action in this novel is not only entertaining but it also lends itself to some interesting political discussions.
Finally, the story, even the ending did not feel contrived. I knew going into the book that it was part of a series and that the author would be attempting to link the books together and thus expected and little bit of a forced ending. The audio version may have helped this, but I felt the ending was very natural and did not interrupt the flow of the book in anyway.
Very enjoyable book and well worth the time.
Sunflowery said: 4 stars
In some unknown future time, the USA no longer exists. The Capitol rules the country of Panem, and requires a yearly tribute of one boy and one girl from each District to participate in the Hunger Games. This is the price of failing to win a revolt seventy-four years earlier: twenty-three teenagers will be killed, one will survive, but at what price?
This book is told from the perspective of Katniss, a sixteen-year-old girl from District 12 - the Appalachia mining area. Her life has already been difficult - her father died in a mine collapse when she was eleven, and her mother shut-down, leaving Katniss trying to feed the family. Now she finds herself fighting for her life.
The dystopian novel usually leaves you thinking about politics and what "could" happen, and this one is no different. The contrast between the districts and the Capitol, and even from district to district is severe, and the limitations on travel and information is terrifying. Because of the set-up for the sequel, I found the ending dissatisfying, but the scene at the end of the games is clever. I also liked the way that even as a teen, Katniss at least has thoughts about politics and the way things are, even when they lead her into trouble.
cacophony said: 3 stars
It's not the sort of book I would normally read (a little too vapid, run-with-the-masses) but I really enjoyed the concept. I understand that it's a young adult book, and accordingly I'm a very young adult. Unfortunately, I felt that the required romance stunted the possibility of the book to explore the emotions of all the characters. We never see Katniss' feelings about killing other human beings, and perhaps because of that the writing lacks depth. A compelling read, I liked the originality the author showed, and it's a perfect light read. I think that I might want to read Battle Royale by Koushun Takami as a result.
i.should.b.reading said; 5 stars
I loved this book!! From the beginning the book captured me and had me waiting to see what would happen. The book takes place after some rebellion in what was the USA. Now, each year tributes must be sent from all districts to participate in the hunger games. The names in the drawing are children from 12 to 18. The drawing partly reminds me of the lottery and the hunger games themselves remind me of survivor except nobody is voted off. Katniss volunteers when her younger sister's name is drawn. She is willing to sacrifice herself for her sister. Then Peeta's name is drawn. He is the baker's son. Together they represent District 12. Their district has only had one winner so the chances for either doesn't look good. The book does show you what the Hunger Games are like, but I didn't think it was gruesome. It kept me on the edge of my seat worrying about Katniss and Peeta. I'm also glad that I already have Catching Fire waiting for me to read it.
literaryvampiress said: 5 stars
Although I started this book in a slump, I finished with a bang and I am extremely impressed.
This is my first 5 star rating of the year, but it is books like The Hunger Games that make me glad that I don't give 5 stars away easily. This book was absolutely brilliant.
When I first got the book from the library I had glanced at the dust jacket, and I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the premise of the book. A game of war fought to the death by children? Really? Although that is a big part of the plot, it was written as delicate as it could have been. There was a beauty in the way Collins chose to tell this story even in the midst of all the death.
We are introduced to Katniss Everdeen who from the minute we meet, I know she's a survivor. I know what she's lived through it's as if I can look into her eyes and see her whole story laid out before me. Katniss is a character that will not soon be forgotten. She's the girl on fire, and she sparked in me such intense emotions that at times I found myself crying in sadness right along with her.
Even now, I had to give myself most of the day to settle in with my emotions and I still can't believe much this story impacted me.
Katniss is not the only character that burned a place in my heart, each character was 3 dimensional even if they weren't a part of the central story and interactions were minimal.
Although I was upset the book ended where it did, I am grateful that I can just request the next, Catching Fire, from the library today.
Jaede said: 4.5 stars
A cross between Battle Royale, The Running Man, and Brave New World, The Hunger Games is a dysutopian / post-pocalyptic set in Paneam, the former United States. Panem, which is now divided into 12 districts, is ruled from the Capital, which every year forces each district to "reap" two of its young and offer them as tributes to participate in The Hunger Games, a hunt and fight to the death. The Hunger Games are the Capital's Way of punishing the Districts for an earlier uprising and reminding the citizens of the District that they only live through the benevolence and slender mercy shown to them by the state.
Katniss Everdeen is a 16-year-old girl who becomes the girl tribute from District 12 when she offers herself in her sister Prim's place. The Hunger Games, narrated from Katniss' point of view, follows Katniss through the reaping, her preparation for the games, and her fight for survival in the games. (I can't say too much more about the plot without giving things away.)
While the plot for this book isn't exactly new, hence of the text to Battle Royale, The Running Man, and Brave New World, I do think that this is one of the better books that I have read in some time. Thinking that I would only read a couple of chapters before bed, I picked the book up just before midnight last night. The book simply would not let me go; I couldn't put it down, so I finished sometime just after 4 a.m. this morning. And boy was I tired when 8 a.m. rolled around this morning, but it was worth it.
Collins does a fantastic job of world building and character development. Through Katniss' reflections on earlier periods of her life, we really get to travel with Kat through her coming of age. The characters in the book are well-developed and multi-dimensional, which is where I think much of the appeal of the book comes from. We get to see the characters layers and complexities as the 74th annual Hunger Games unfold.
I also think the book is very well-paced between the intense action sections of the game and the more reflective moments throughout as Katniss tries to come to terms with some of the larger complexities of this society she lives in, especially the machinations of the Capital, as well as her feelings for some of the other characters in the book. Although, I have to admit that a part of the last section of the book, "The Victor" drug a bit for me; still it was a very well done text.
Grace A said: 5 stars
One of the best books ever. I loved it! And, it was definitely suspenseful and... Thrilling!
Mary B said: 4 stars
Man, what a page-turner. I read the first 50 pages and had no problems putting it down for a nap, but, once the games started, I didn't pause to go to the bathroom or turn off the light (the sun rose while I read it apparently). The Hunger Games were a great invention. Definitely some solid commentary on reality tv and how manufactured the drama is for gaining screentime and wealth. I also really enjoy anything involving camping or survival. I really enjoyed it but cannot give it a fifth star. As engaging as it was, the writing.... It's a young adult novel, which I'm sure is part of it, but it just can't have the last star.
I really don't know that I'm going to enjoy the series as a whole. I'll know soon as I'm 2nd on the list for the sequel, but the parts that didn't involve the Games themselves didn't thrill me. Evil government with no explained motives? Sigh. Love triangle? Again? I'm curious as to how she can attempt to capture the excitement and "kill or be killed" psychology of this one.
Nicole R said: 5 stars
As everyone else has mentioned, the subject matter of a dystopian society in which 24 teenagers (a boy and girl from each of 12 districts) between the ages of 12 and 18 are randomly selected to compete in the Hunger Games - a nationally televised event that shows them fighting each other to the death - is a bit disturbing. The people of the Capitol find it the highest honor to be selected but, for Katniss, it's not just a fight for her life but also for those to whom she is closest. Putting that aside, the book was about so much more than death; it was about loyalty, friendship, family, love, and not loosing yourself in the midst of turmoil; it was a quite political/social commentary.
So, you may be wondering why I didn't adorn it with a "favorite" heart. Well, the ending tied up the main parts of the story but left so much more hanging. In my cryptic code I will reveal that I felt bad for Peeta but am torn between what I want Kat to do! UGH! Now I have to immediately go out and buy the second one so I can see what happens! :)
kairilily said: 5 stars
Welcome to Panem, the former United States, that is now divided into twelve districts that are run from the Capitol which is located in what used to be the Rocky Mountains. The twelve districts once got together and tried to bring down the Capitol. They lost and as punishment, each district is made to send one girl and one boy between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in The Hunger Games each year. Once there, the children have to fight each other for survival because there can only be one winner. While the games are going on, it is a requirement that people everywhere watch and it is televised around the clock.
Wow, what a ride! I really enjoyed this book. While there are similar books out there, this one was different enough to stand on it's own and be considered original. At least I think so. The author did a great job with the characters, specifically the character of Katniss. She was so strong and smart, especially to just be a teenager. My one complaint with the book is that it ended where it did! Now, I have to get my hands on the next one and soon. Maybe as soon as I'm finished typing this review...anyway, if you enjoyed this one, I highly recommend reading The Long Walk by Stephen King. It's a novella, so it's short, but it is an amazing story with a similar concept.
Ladyslott said: 4.5 stars
The Hunger Games is an amazing post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel set in Panem, the former USA. This nation is ruled by The Capitol and surrounded by the 12 districts. In an effort to wield control over the Districts an annual competition called The Hunger Games is held, in which one girl and one boy from each District competes in a fight to the death, which is televised night and day during the competition. When 16 year old Katniss Everdeen’s little sister is chosen for the games she steps forward to take her place; Katniss does this knowing that she is probably going to die.
This is a concept that has been explored in many different novels over the years. It’s a bit of 1984 with a dash of The Running Man and a heaping serving of Survivor. What really sells this book though is Katniss. She is a fighter long before she is chosen for the games. She is the sole means of food for her family, hunting against the rules, dealing in the black market, a strong female protagonist who is not going down without a fight. By using her survival skills and forming an alliance with Peeta, the other contestant from her district, Katniss becomes a challenger in the games. Along the way she is also confronted with her feelings for Peeta as well as those of the boy she left behind at home.
I love that this book is written for Young Adults in a way that is exciting and engaging, while at the same time opening their eyes to injustice without it seeming like a history lesson. So many topics are touched upon; a nation filled with so many poor and a handful of very rich, the use of fear to govern, Big Brother watching every move, even the issue of our addiction to ‘reality tv’ and questioning how real it is. To have a female character that uses her brains to survive, without losing her humanity, is a great achievement, although the games and deaths are very, very brutal. The burgeoning love story between Katniss and Peeta is handled well, with just enough romance to not be mawkish and the book doesn’t wrap everything up completely, since the last line is: END OF BOOK ONE.
The tiniest of complaints is at times some of the writing feels a little repetitious, but that is a small criticism for a truly riveting story.
Now I need to get Catching Fire, book 2.
Julie g said: 5 stars
What a great book.I just couldn't put it down.I loved Katniss straight away.I do believe that the backdrop for this book is political.I have been raving about it to everyone I have come into contact with this week.The idea of sending 24 children into a battle game is shocking until you look back into the history of the world and remember worse things have happened in the history of mankind.It must be remembered also that in poorer parts of the world children as young as 5 are being taught to use guns for a very real war on their doorstep.
I love the survival aspect of the book and it really makes you think about how you would survive.In fact if anyone is interested there is a website to go to to see how you would fare.I am looking forward to the next 2 books.
ghost of a rose said: 4.5 stars
The Hunger Games is a dark, chilling, but totally engrossing read. The USA has collapsed, and most of civilization with it. Especially in District 12 (formerly the Appalachians), where life is cruelly hard and hunger is a permanent state. But as bleak as things are, they can still get worse. And they do, when teenage Katniss becomes one of the contestants in the mandatory Hunger Games, the ultimate reality show where being the last survivor has a very literal meaning. Will her hunting skills, earned in trying to feed her family, be enough to keep her alive when 23 other teens - most larger, better trained and much better fed than she - are all bent on killing her in order to ensure their own survival?
Collins does a superb job of delving into the intricate and subtle psychological effects that would occur to a person in such a situation, and that's what made the book for me. It was kind of like watching the first (and best) two seasons of Survivor, when the contestants were feeling their way blindly, before experience had determined the best survival strategies. Only in this case, the stakes are much higher.
It feels very realistic. One scene especially stands out in my mind, a scene in a cave with a wounded companion. I felt like I was there, could see the monotonous beige rocks with their dark shadows, smell the dust and blood. It sent chills down my back.
I did guess about one aspect of the plot that was revealed near the end, but I had no idea whatsoever how the characters would handle it. Their solution was something I never would have expected.
I definitely want to read the sequel, although I can't imagine how, now that the games are over, it could possibly be as intense or as psychologically complex as The Hunger Games. But I'm willing to be surprised, and Collins has shown that if anyone can do that, she can.
DeeAnn J said: 5 stars
A lot of you have already read or are going to read this so I won't go into a lot of detail. A new country has been established from what was once the continent of North America. There were 13 districts, one of which was destroyed by the "Capitol" when the districts rebelled. Now the 12 remaining districts must choose one boy and one girl by lottery every year. These 24 young people must participate in the Hunger Games. The game is not a game. It is like a real life "Survivor" where the last contestant alive wins. These games are used by the government as a means of keeping control of the remaining districts. I can easily see this being made into a movie, though I don't think our society would tolerate the young ages of children. I had a lot of trouble imagining teens I know participating in something so horrid. I know children in other parts of the world do fight wars, scavenge for food and learn to survive on their own. Knowing this does not make it any easier to read about. I suppose that is one of the reasons the setting is the future. I am eager to read the next book in the series. I am hoping that more of the politics behind the story is brought out. I am also curious to find out how the main character, Katniss, is developed. In The Hunger Games she is just starting to be aware of herself as a young woman. Her life has not afforded her the opportunity to explore much about herself. She has been too busy taking care of her mother and sister. I found myself thinking of the Miss America Pageant at one point while reading this book. I don't recommend this book to everyone, but it will definitely make you think - about politics, government control, children who are not children, young love, have we really come very far from the days of gladiators and even how a family member's depression affects a child.
Ellen R said: 2 stars
I realize that I am in the minority by not liking this book but the whole premise of the novel is distasteful and utterly appalling to me. The idea that 24 teenagers from the ages of 12-17 play a real "Survivor" game to the death with every kill and death throe filmed for the enjoyment of the television audience is horrible. That being said, the author did a fine job with keeping the humanity of the two main characters, Katniss and Peeta, and she can definitely tell a story. Yes, I knew what the book was about before I picked it up but I had no idea that it was quite as graphic and horrific as it turned out to be. Maybe I missed the point and it was supposed to be a satire of reality tv and how the television audience's appetite could evolve into vile voyeurism and that would make sense. I definitely won't read the next book; I couldn't go through that again.
smog said: 5 stars
This is an amazing fun ride that leaps out of the gate and never stops running. In the Country that is formed after the fall of the USA America has been split into 12 districts and the Capitol. The Capitol being modern Rome demands entertainment/punishment from the 12 districts. This is the Hunger Game that pits a boy and girl tribute from each district against each other in a winner take all game of survival. It is an interesting look at how people respond to power and chaos. Also I see it as a critical look at the reality show gone extreme.
Older novels have taken the reality show concept, but most were written before reality shows came about. Running Man being a prime example. So the game playing and how the game was played centered on the cat and mouse with little thought of performing for the audience. This one makes the audience performance even more important than the cat and mouse. Which we now know from the shows is how the games are actually played and why the audience responds to them. Take a hard look at yourself and try to figure out why Survivor or the Bachelor is so popular. We are modern day Rome.
Faith said: 5 Stars - Favorite
Wow, what can I say, this was an amazing novel.
The time is sometime in the distant future, the place is Panem, what we now call North America but is no more. This is the story of Katniss Everdeen and the people who surround her and become a part of her life. In first person, we dive into the thoughts of this 16 year old girl and we are not disappointed. The Hunger games happen once a year where each of the 12 districts of Panem hold a lottery to chose one girl and one boy to fight for food and provisions for their poor district. The games are televised and the basis of the games is reminiscent of the Running Man (where the players are children).
This book is labeled a young adult science fiction novel but it is so much more than this. I can't imagine one person I know who would not enjoy this book, it was amazing. I found myself anxious while reading not being able to wait for what is to come. I would dream about it at night and be utterly absorbed in thoughts of it during the days while not reading it. I picked up this novel for a face to face book club read and I cannot wait until the discussion two weeks from now.
I will absolutely be reading on in the series but feel I should wait until after the book club meeting as to not contain any spoilers in the discussion..
But how can I wait!
kolibri said: 5 stars
"Happy happy Hunger Games! May the odds be ever in your favor!"
What a ride! I could never actually put down this book. I lost myself in the world of Katniss Everdeen, a slender sixteen year old girl, with good hunting skills, who is chosen to be the Hunger Game's girl tribute of her district. That means she has to fight to death, her own or the death of all other 23 tributes, one boy and one girl, from every district in Panem. Peeta, the baker's son is going as boy tribute with her to the capitol to be prepared for the Hunger Games.
The chances for Katniss to come out alive of the arena are small, or aren't they? She is a good hunter and knows how to survive with as little food as there is. And she is smart, strong with bow and arrows. Also she has promised her little sister Prim to fight as hard as she can, when she stepped in for her, as Prim was actually chosen to be the district 12 tribute.
The book was very suspenseful. I felt my heart beating whenever Katniss got into a seriously dangerous situation. I admired her for her courage and her will to survive. I lived through the emotional turmoil she must have felt, when Peeta began working with the Career tributes (the ones who were trained their whole life to fight in the arena) only to find out later that he was on her side all the time.
I have to get my hands on the second book as soon as possible.
Rachel H said: 4 stars
Katniss Everdeen lives in a postapocalyptic North America called Panem which is ruled by a capitol with 12 districts. Every year 2 tributes from each district are sent to the hunger games ina fight to the death. Katniss volunteers to take her sister Prim's place in the Hunger Games and is sent with Peeta Mellark, the bakers son. The book does a good job of setting up the land and once the games got started I couldn't put the book down. I'm looking forward to reading the next two books in the series.
Lee B said: 5 ★
A post-apocalyptic world where the North American capitol is located in the Rocky Mountains and surrounded by 12 outer districts. Life is easy in the capitol which rules the districts with an iron fist. Hunger is rampant with surrounding lands off limits for gathering and hunting for food. Once a year, by lot, each district selects one boy and one girl to go to the capitol and participate in the life or death competition, The Hunger Games. The 24 competitors are released into a selected area with nothing but their skills to help them survive. Equipment becomes available but is dangerous to obtain. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark (who has secretly loved Katniss since he first saw her) are selected from district 12. This is the story of the 74th Hunger Games.
Kristel said: 3.5 stars rounded to 4 stars
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is the first book in the trilogy and as I have said before, I don't like reading series but this is a good one and it is only three deep so I plan to read the rest. I found the characters engaging and the plot suspenseful but also not so awful as it could have been. I enjoyed the 'survival' theme of the story but not so much the violence and was thankful that the violence was limited especially for the heroine.
Potential spoilers***(if there is anyone that hasn't read this)
I liked the story a lot but did not feel the muts worked and they seemed unnecessary and out of place but did give the killing of the last to be less horrible because it was a mercy killing. But I also suspect this will be further developed as things often are in these series. At last, this is a romance. Girl and boy fight, boy loves girl, girl too dumb to realize otherwise she is a great female protagonist.
anarresa said: 3 stars
I chose this book simply to fill the tags between “stephanie meyer” and “twilight” be cause I wasn’t reading Twilight for anything. My expectations were rather low, so I was pleasantly surprised. This is a teen novel through and through, but beyond the juvenile standard fare there are moments of suspense and creativity. I wanted to know what was going to happen next.
In a relatively near future (no bothersome history, part of what makes it “teen”) North America has become a new country composed of 12 districts who provide specific resources for the wealthy, ruling Capitol. Once the districts tried to revolt but were beaten down and as punishment they must send a young boy and girl every year to compete in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death. The victor and his or her district are then favored with food and gifts for the next year.
It’s a reasonable dystopia. Nothing too special because the details are spared, but interesting enough to hold my attention. The basic storyline wasn’t too surprising, good and bad are fairly clear, no religion to mess with, no history, only hints of politics (and that’s where I think the story could shine) and a light romance. The more creative moments come in the action and details of the Games. I’m shocked it hasn’t been turned into a movie yet, it has such good popcorn-eating action. I had hoped the author wrote adult novels as well, I was curious what she would have done with more freedom in language and emotion, but she seems solidly young adult.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a young adult novel as an adult I’d recommend picking this one up.
Debbie B said: This is book one in a 3 part series. I loved this book. All districts of the country are run and owned by the capitol which is cruel to its "subjects". Everyone is afraid of the capitol and is fearful of the aftermaths. Every year the capital requires each of its 12 districts to send 1 girl and 1 boy into the arena. These children will fight until the death. There can only be one "winner". 5 stars
Heather M said: 5 stars
Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12, a coal mining community located in what is now the Appalachians. North America is no longer as it is now. After many years of wars and rebellion by the outer districts, the Capitol (located in the Rockies) uses The Hunger Games to keep their districts in line. One boy and one girl, ages 12-18, are selected randomly from each district to partake in the games - a fight to the death. Katniss' young sister Prim is chosen, but Katniss immediately volunteers and must go, along with the Baker's son Peeta, to fight in the games. Using her hunting skills that she learned from her father and her best friend, Gale, she must survive if she wants to make it back home.
I loved this book. It was so well written, I could not put it down. I think Katniss is a wonderful character - teenage angst and survival all mixed into one poor girl. I can't wait to read the next installment of the series.
Sashinka said: ★ ★ ★ ★
WOW! I avoided this for ages due to all the hype around it - I normally feel that books with a lot of hype are actually a bit weak and mass-market but this had me totally gripped from the first page. The plot evolves around the central character Katniss who volunteers herself for the Hunger Games in order to save her little sister. The Hunger Games are a trial to the death by 24 candidates and Katniss has to use all her wits to try and stay alive. The emotion and constant feeling of being on edge is written into every page, and while you are pretty sure about the ending, you can't be certain. Definitely recommending it.
Robert of Ravenclaw said: 3 stars
The Hunger Games is a fun and vary sad at time ( some may want to have a box of tissues with them ) , but oval a vary good read . Having said that I can only give it 3 stars . I might have given it more , but for the fact that it was written in First-person format. Because of that you know no matter what happens Katniss Everdeen will live . With that said on with my review
warning there will be spoilers
if you do not want
to know what
in the book
stop reading now .
The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where North America once existed. 74 years ago the 13 districts rebelled . District 13 was wiped off the map , they do not say how they were wiped out but I think it was A weapon of mass destruction Nuclear weapon I think .With District 13 gone, the Rebellion ended . As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol, every year, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected at random and forced to participate in the Hunger Games, the Hungergame is a televised game show like event where the 24 kids fight to the death . But lets go back to the beginning of the book .
The book starts with Katniss Everdeen ( Is the one tell the story ) waking up on the Reaping ( that the day that the boy and girl from each District are picked to go to the hunger games .) to go out hunting . When so out hunting she meets up with her hunting partner and best friend Gale Hawthorne. After hunting so goes home and gets ready for the the Reaping . She and her sister Primrose Everdeen who is twelve go to see who will be picked for the games . The draw the girls name first , the girl who is chosen is Primrose Everdeen. Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her place. Then the boys is chosen Peeta Mellark. Katniss has a history with Peeta , that will come clearer in the book .The two of them leave for the Capitol.
The People of the Capitol fall in love with Katniss Everdeen , that puts a vary large target on her back when the games start . 8 or 9 people are killed the first day , I forget how many . As the games go on Katniss Everdeen teams up with a 12 year old girl from District 11 names Rue . The two agree to work togther so at least one of them wins . It will be a short lived alliance , but Rue does save Katniss life at least once . There a few really good fights and actions , after there only 8 kids left .
I will stop now becouse I do not want to give away everything .
End of Spoilers
The Hunger Games as I said is a good read there lots of action , some romance , and a few parts that may break your heart . I would of enjoyed it better if it was writen in 3rd person insted of 1st person . I do think if your looking for smart well writen Science Fiction you should try it .
Book Worm said: 5*
Wow from the first page I was totally drawn into the world of Katniss.
Set in post apocalyptic North American now known as Panem (play on Pan Am perhaps) the Hunger Games are a yearly spectacle staged by the Capitol to remind the districts that they are in charge and rebellion is useless.
Each year the 12 districts must send a boy and a girl to the Capitol for the Hunger Games a fight to the death which can only have one winner.
Who will survive the 74th Hunger games and how will they do it.
A great story that keeps you guessing right upto the end.
punxsygal said: 4 stars
Each year the twelve districts of Panem are required to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18 to represent their district at The Hunger Games. The games represent a fight to the death in a large, nature arena which is required watching for everyone in Panem. Low level District 12 sends Peeta and Katniss to represent it and, hopefully, earn an extra food supply for the next year. The games are savage and take a toil on the fighters.
I just finished The Hunger Games and found it to be a good book. Yes it is young adult and reads that way, which I just had to accept. If written for my age group it probably would have been different. I found that the pageantry before the games to be similar to that of the Olympics, each district putting on flashy clothes and showcasing their tributes. The book also presented the idea of class struggles, with the districts representing tiers in society. And class warfare between the "haves" and "have nots". And it showcased the affects of war on individuals, some trying to retain their sense of empathy and humanity, while others just being killing machines. And I found that the idea of the entertainment value in the games and reality shows reminded me of the objections to TV Ray Bradbury showcased in Fahrenheit 451. While I enjoyed this book, I probably won't continue with the series
Lisa L said: 5 stars.
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Katniss particpates in the hunger games for her district and the story is about what happens to her in her fight for life. I could not put this book. I was scared to read it because I don't typically read books like that but it was well worth it and I can't wait to see what the movie looks like! There is one scene where Katniss was fixing the leg of the other tribute from her district and my leg hurt reading the description.
I was totally into this book, last night I read it as I was falling asleep....an hour later a freak December thunderstorm woke me up. The first thought was "was that thunder." The second was "is it real or is the Capitol making it?" A sign of a very good book!
Sarah C said: 4 Stars
My first book on my new kindle. I figured I get around to this series eventually, but when I got my Kindle I was excited to see that I could borrow the book for free since I have a Prime membership.
I really like the simplicity of the writing. Everything for me was pretty straightforward, survival was key, and by not making the story fussy or over the top it made the book that much better. ( Slight spoilers---]) The only thing I didnt like or understand was the relationship between Katniss and Peeta. Since the games are all about putting on a show, sometimes for me it was hard to tell when Peeta was just strategizing or being sincere. The ending didnt help in that area either. So I'm hoping the rest of the series answers those questions.
Tricia said: The Hunger Games 4 stars
Catching Fire 4 stars
Mockingjay 3 stars
All by Suzanne Collins
These have all 3 been reviewed here, already, so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel. I'll just state what I liked about the first 2 books more than the 3rd.
The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were both built around a separate game. I found it fascinating and grotesquely imaginative of Ms. Collins to come up with the ideas that she presented. I admit, even though they are most assuredly YA reads, I was captivated. I loved the character development.
Mockingjay, the conclusion of the series, was more of a war book than a game book. So, from the onset it just didn't have the same appeal to me. Also, I was reading it in series with the other 2...no breaks in between...so maybe I was starting to tire of them a bit at that point. I felt that in this final book it just started to feel formulaic. The first 2 books really kept me surprised and intrigued to see what was next. In Mockingjay, I just sort of knew what was coming. It was still entertaining and I do recommend the series. I am glad I read it.
Raine said: 5 stars and a favorite!
I LOVED THIS BOOK! I usually don't like or read these types of books, but when I do I tend to really like the ones I pick or that are recommended to me. The reason this book is so good is because of the characters, especially the heroine Katniss. Sure, this is a terrible premise, where in a future world the US is divided into districts and a boy and a girl from each district are sent to the capital once a year to fight to the death, but it is only a book. To me, what makes a book great is the characters and the development of the relationships between them. This book definitely has that, as well as an exciting story line.
Raggedtig said: 5***stars and favorite
Unfortunately I saw the movie before reading this book, but the fortunate thing of that is that I enjoyed this book 100% and cannot say anything negative about it at all. It even brought tears to my eyes a couple times. It's been a long time since a book has brought out such emotion in me. I give high praise to Suzanne Collins for this brilliant story and look forward to reading Catching Fire very soon. This has very easily been placed on my favorites list. Just brilliant!
Alli formally awelker said: 5 stars + [3
Panem is located in what used to be known as North America which is divided up into 12 districts. Each district is designated to a different thing, district 12 being coal mining. Katniss is the daughter of one of those coal miners, but after her father dies in the a tragic mine accident, she is forced to take care of her mother and younger sister, Prim. She was only 11 years old when she had to fight to survive, and survive she did.
After years of foraging in the forest with her hunting partner Gale, she's forced to take the biggest risk to protect her family, volunteering for the Hunger Games, a battle to the death in an arena with representatives from all 12 districts, 2 each. She only volunteers after her 12 year old sister's name is chosen. It's this moment that makes the world of Panem fall for Katniss Everdeen. But the people of Panem aren't the only ones, there is also Peeta, the boy tribute that is chosen for the Games as well.
I really honestly loved this book. I don't know why I waited so long to read it but I'm glad that I did. Now I have to read the other two to see what happens with Kat and Peeta as well as Gale. I think that this was a well written book and I can see why young adults have fallen in love with them. I liked also the quickness of the reading. It was a fast read but it was one that really held your attention.
spirolim said: ★★★ and a 1/2
Synopsis: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts, The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before--and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Review: I've read this before and enjoyed the movie (best rendition of book-to-movie I've seen yet), but I wasn't feeling inclined to finish the series. But then when I went to see Iron Man 3, they showed the trailer for Catching Fire, which looked intriguing enough that I decided to give the series another try. I've watched the movie a second time (still really liked it), and now I've finished reading the book for a second time.
This book is a pretty good YA novel, but this story isn't the first of it's kind. Battle Royale preceded it, but I liked the Collins' premise behind the games better. The love triangle thing is also not new, and it was something that turned me off to the rest of the series the last time I read this book (I was a recovering Twilight fan at the time, so I was finding love triangle stories really irritating). This time however, I found myself a bit more curious about what's going to happen next. I think the movie gave me a new appreciation for the book. The movie The Hunger Games stuck very close to the story, but it had to eliminate a lot of the smaller details that made this book more interesting; I found myself seeking the little details that I remembered, and then relishing the re-discovery of details that I've forgotten.
Overall, it was enjoyable, but I can't say it has a huge WOW! factor for me. YA novels tend to blend together after a while, all spouting the same thing about love and friendship, so while they're fun to read, they start becoming a bit redundant. Thus, I'm curious about the remaining two books, but I'm not in a hurry to read them.”
“LibraryCin said: 3.5 stars
Hailey is stunned to find her boyfriend of six years with someone else on her birthday and on the night she thought he was going to propose. Suddenly she has no place to live and is a little lost. She is a flight attendant, and goes about her work and...”
“LibraryCin said: 3.5 stars
Hailey is stunned to find her boyfriend of six years with someone else on her birthday and on the night she thought he was going to propose. Suddenly she has no place to live and is a little lost. She is a flight attendant, and goes about her work and her life with the help of her best friend Clay and another friend, Kat, who has been a flight attendant for decades. Hailey must now figure out what she wants to do with her life and explores her options, while getting out there and dating new people.
I liked it. It was light, quick, and enjoyable. The author herself was once a flight attendant so it was interesting to read a little behind-the-scenes stuff about that, too.
Book Concierge said: 2**
Flight attendant Hailey Lane is positive her pilot boyfriend of four years is going to propose, so when the rest of her schedule is cancelled she’s thrilled that she can fly home early. But instead of a celebratory dinner she gets a shock when she enters their apartment bedroom. Fleeing to a friend’s apartment she sets out to mend her broken heart by working more trips to Europe and taking advantage of long layovers and free flight passes.
This is pretty typical chick-lit, including a glamorous job (that really isn’t), lots of self-doubt, friends with fabulous Manhattan apartments, and several rich, handsome men all besotted with our heroine. Oh, and LOTS of use of italics to be sure the reader understands the significance of certain phrases.
This is total mind candy. It’s a fast and mildly entertaining read, but the writing is uneven and the situations just had me rolling my eyes. I finished it only because it satisfied several challenges.”
“Alli formally awelker said: 3 stars
Vivi and the Ya-Ya's are at it again, being in the center of attention again. This time it we see in the lives of other people in their crazy life. Baylor, Vivi and Big Sheps youngest son is the main person in this one, where Siddalee was the...”
“Alli formally awelker said: 3 stars
Vivi and the Ya-Ya's are at it again, being in the center of attention again. This time it we see in the lives of other people in their crazy life. Baylor, Vivi and Big Sheps youngest son is the main person in this one, where Siddalee was the focus in the Divine Secrets.
I liked the book, didn't love it but liked it. It was good to see the interactions between the Petites and the Ya-Ya's as well as how the Tres Petites are now becoming the best of friends especially Lee-Lee, named after her godmother Sidda, and Roselyn, the granddaughter of Niece.
Now that I am done with this series its time to move on and finish another one, a goal in my life lol, finish the series' I've started.”
“Vonnie said: 5 stars + favorite
Synopsis: Ever since an article about Lupe Perez ran in the UCLA paper, she's become the poster child for the American Dream: East L.A. bad girl who slashed cop makes good! She goes to school full-time, works in the food court, and volunteers at a...”
“Vonnie said: 5 stars + favorite
Synopsis: Ever since an article about Lupe Perez ran in the UCLA paper, she's become the poster child for the American Dream: East L.A. bad girl who slashed cop makes good! She goes to school full-time, works in the food court, and volunteers at a center for at-risk teens. Against all odds, Lupe has turned her life around. The thing is, she never asked for all this attention. Now, her professor wants her to write a gigantic thesis about what Americanization means to Mexican immigrants-and she's not even sure yet what it means to her.
My Thoughts:*sigh* Lara Rios had done it again. She engrossed me into her novel, made me fall in love with her characters, and had made me question my identity. I fell in love with the first book Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps a few years back and I did not believe that Becoming Americana would be as good as the first. Boy, I was proven wrong.
This book centered with the feisty character that we met in the first one, Lupe Perez. Lupe was no longer the barrio girl who always broke the law, but a girl who was trying to better her life by getting her education at UCLA and by trying to help others who were in the same situation as she was.
At first, Lupe's character got on my nerves but she slowly grew on to me to the point that I now admire her. In the beginning, she was very set in getting rid of her "Mexicaness" so she could be American. It bothered me to read that Lupe kept saying that being Mexican meant being in the barrio (the ghetto), being an outlaw, and having no hopes in bettering themselves. I kept wanting to yell at her that not all Mexicans are like that. I understood what she was trying to say because that was what she grew up on, but what she was actually trying to get rid of was her "barrioness" not her "Mexicaness." Luckily, Lupe soon came to learn that being Mexican was not too bad and that being American does not mean leaving behind your past.
Every chapter began with a quote from Lupe's thesis and all of these were great. In fact, the book was covered with really great quotes. I found myself (just like with the first book) writing in the book, underlining sentences, and writing on Post-its. Throughout the book I questioned myself on, what DOES it mean to be American? There are so many cultures in the United States that it's really hard to define what makes an American.
At first I was not as enamored with this book as I was with the first one. Yes, some of the quotes and Lupe's experiences connected to my real life yet I did not find myself loving every page of it. Then I slowly came into realization on how much the book impacted me. Unlike the first one, I was angered with some of the stereotypical sayings that were in the book and the inaccuracy of Mexican culture. I found myself constantly stopping myself reading the book because I had to give myself time to think of what I just read and write notes about it. It wasn't until the end when I found myself crying that I realized how much I really liked this book. Yeah...it's complicated.
What I'm trying to say in a nutshell is that Becoming Americana is great book. It is filled with many insightful thoughts that are told in a story that many people could connect to.”
“LibraryCin said: 4.5 stars
In a future version of Chicago, Beatrice grew up part of the Abnegation faction, which prizes selflessness above all else. But, she is now of an age where she can choose which faction she belongs in, but that decision will be it for the rest of her life....”
“LibraryCin said: 4.5 stars
In a future version of Chicago, Beatrice grew up part of the Abnegation faction, which prizes selflessness above all else. But, she is now of an age where she can choose which faction she belongs in, but that decision will be it for the rest of her life. Her choices: Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Erudite (intellectuality), Candor (honesty), or Amity (peacefulness). Choosing a faction that you didn't grow up in also means leaving your family for good. What will Beatrice decide to do?
This was really good. It was fast to read and I would often lose myself in the pages, and not want to put the book down. This will make my favourites list this year and I am looking forward to the 2nd in the series being released.
Not Rory Gilmore said: 5 stars
Beatrice Prior lives in the the Abnegation faction of futuristic Chicago. Those who live in Abnegation are selfless people who dress entirely in gray, and eat very plain meals. Even though Beatrice was born into the Abnegation faction she's never felt like she truly belongs there. She's just not as selfless as her brother or parents. When Beatrice goes to take a test to tell her which faction she belongs in, she's very curious and worried. Each year on Choosing Day all the 16 year olds get to decide what faction they will live in for the rest of their lives. You can stay in your faction with your family or you can leave your family behind and join a new faction which becomes your new family. Beatrice finds out in her test that her scores were inconclusive. She doesn't belong in Candor since she lied multiple times to a man. She's not entirely suited for Abnegation since she still wouldn't tell the truth to this test man, even if it meant saving his life, but yet she refused to kill a dog in the test, so she's not completely ruled out from Abnegation. It's possible she's Dauntless and belongs with the brave, or even Erudite where those who seek information belong. Beatrice is warned by Tori, her test administrator, that Beatrice is Divergent. Those who are Divergent have traits of more than one faction, but many leaders fear the power of those who are Divergent. Tori tells Beatrice not to tell anyone that she tested as Divergent since it's highly dangerous. Tori alters the test scores to show that Beatrice tested into Abnegation and will leave Beatrice's faction choice up to her on Choosing Day.
When the big day arrives Beatrice isn't sure what she should choose. Most Abnegation children choose to stay in Abnegation. When her brother, Caleb, chooses to join the Erudite faction Beatrice knows her fate. Since her brother abandoned her parents she needs to put them before herself and stay in Abnegation. However, when it's her turn to decide Beatrice realizes that Caleb always lived so selflessly and seemed like the epitome of Abnegation. If someone with such strong Abnegation qualities chose a different faction, she surely does not belong with the Abnegation. In a moment of braveness, Beatrice decides a different faction is what's best for her.
Once Beatrice arrives in her new faction she changes her name to Tris, makes new friends, tries foods such as hamburgers than people in Abnegation considered to indulgent to consume, and begins dressing in form fitting clothes. While enjoying her new life Tris stumbles into some information that reveals her new faction isn't quite living by the manifesto that they declared when Chicago broke into the five factions (Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless, Amity, and Candor). While trying to finish her initiation into the new faction she realizes that a revolt is most likely in the future with Abnegation as the main target since the government is run by Abnegation based on the thought they are selfless. Tris must find a way to successfully complete her initiation, keep others from finding out she is Divergent, and try to keep her old faction safe.
JoLene R said: 4 stars
With the success of the Hunger Games trilogy, the world of YA literature has been taken over by dystopian stories. Divergent is set in Chicago where everyone belongs to one of the five factions or is "factionless" which is akin to being homeless. At the age of 16, people are tested to see where their own values align to the factions. This is the story of Tris (Beatrice) Prior, whose tests are "inconclusive" so she chooses to switch factions and thus live her family and all that is familiar to her. Most of the story is about Tris being initiated into her new faction, the Dauntless. However, the back-story is that trouble is brewing in Chicago and certain factions want to start a revolution.
Overall, I did enjoy the book; there is A LOT of action which makes it a compelling read. Even though is it a trilogy, the story was self-contained and didn't end on a complete cliff-hanger. I'm not a huge fan of using the first book of the series for "world building", but Divergent was definitely a bit light in that regard -- maybe this will be covered in books 2 and 3.
Overall, I liked the action and the evolution of Tris as she becomes a Dauntless faction member. It was entertaining and even though there wasn't a lot of explanation for the world, I felt like I knew enough to be entertained.
Nicole R said: 3.5 stars (round down to 3)
For pure enjoyment and strict entertainment, I give this book 5 stars! I read through the nearly 500 pages in a single day and while there weren't exactly surprising twists and turns, it was fast paced, well thought out, and fun. However, I am starting to feel like once you have read one young adult dystopian novel about a futuristic society divided into factions with the only hope for the future resting on the shoulders of a teenage girl who happens to be badass at some form of combat and envitably finds love in the midst of the chaos you have read them all.
A futuristic Chicago society has been divided into five factions: Candor, the honest; Abegnation, the selfless; Dauntless, the brave; Amity, the peaceful; and Erudite, the intelligent. Each faction plays a different role in society and each member, while raised in the faction of their parents, must decide for themselves where they belong when they are 16. Beatrice has grown up Abegnation. However, she stuggles to truly be selfless and always put other's thoughts and feelings first. When her aptitude test is indecisive, she has to decide who she wants to be and hide what she truly is.
Again, I devoured this book and will be reading the next installment as well. One of the main reasons is that it doesn't try to be something it's not. It is predictable. It is young adult. It's brain candy. It is jumping on the genre bandwagon with just enough of a twist to be unique. And I loved it. However, it lacks the originality, quality writing, and ability to make me think that I reserve my higher ratings for.
Sleekfeline said: 4 stars
In this dystopian world, people have been split into five factions: the selfless Abnegation, the brave Dauntless, the intellectual Erudite, the honest Candor, and the peaceful Amity. Upon turning sixteen, each person must choose which faction they wish to become a member of. Beatrice is faced with choosing Abnegation, the faction her family belongs to, or choosing another path for herself and leaving her family behind forever. To decide, everyone undergoes a sumulation which indicates the faction they would be ideally suited for. The simulations rule out all options until one is left, the faction that person should choose....that is, unless you're Divergent and exhibit tendencies for more than one faction.
This was a fun and quick read. I really enjoy dystopian stories and this one didn't let me down. I like the idea of segregated factions and the tension of mistrust and a looming war. I wasn't sure at first that I was going to like the characters, but Tris grew on me and I really like Four. Looking forward to the next in the series.
Nicole D said: 5/5
The most thrilling thriller I've read all month!
We've all read it before, the end of the world as we know it. I guess what I found so impressive about this book is the age of the author. She's only 24!
There have been a lot of comparisons to The Hunger Games, but really the similarities are post-apocalyptic fiction and young adult. Beyond that, I don't see the similarities.
This book had a lot more action, and a lot less politics. a little romance, good characters. It was just pure fun.
Sarah C said: 3.5 stars
In this dystopian society, people have been separated into five factions that are based on a virtue. When you turn 16 you are tested to see what faction is best suited to you, and then you choose it or stay in the one your were born into. Beatrice was born into the Abnegation faction, a life of selflessness. When her time comes, the results show her to be Divergent, which is dangerous and must be kept secret. She decides to leave her family and join Dauntless, a life of bravery. During the initiation into her new faction she renames herself Tris and manages to prove herself. Along the way she discovers that all is not well between the factions and war could break out.
Finally got my hands on it. I'm still debating if I like this over The Hunger Games. There are definite similarities, but each has it's own unique qualities that may them special. I think Hunger Games is a bit more relatable to people than this one so far. But I think I like Tris over Katniss, especially since I did not care for the way the Hunger Games ended. Very much looking forward to reading the next book.
Hope N said: 3 stars
A young adult dystopian novel about a society divided into factions, each with their own limited view of what makes a perfect world, and sixteen-year-old Beatrice whose sees that things are more complex and connected that they seem.
An easy read, plot driven and hard to put down. I did get attached to the strong main character, but most of the characters are only outlines and the writing is decent but not beautiful. Mostly this was predictable. I could always tell where the plot was going. That said, if you like young adult dystopian novels and you have a free afternoon, Divergent's a good choice. I'll probably keep reading the series.
Nayla M said: 5 Stars
Beatrice Prior lives in a post apocalyptic Chicago, where the city is divided into 5 fractions based on personality traits. She is Abnegation, who are known for their selflessness, and at 16 she must choose to either stay in her faction or transfer to another, and with that lose touch with her family.
At the choosing ceremony, she chooses Dauntless, known for their bravery and recklessness, and starts her life there as an initiate. She, and all the other 16 year olds who are in Dauntless must pass several stages of initiation before being welcomed to the faction.
During this time, the faction known for intelligence (Erudite) attacks her family's faction Abnegation and turmoil and chaos engulf the city. Beatrice and her friends try to find out why war has been waged and how to end all the confusion and it's very very hard not to be dragged into the story as a reader.
While there are some similarities with the Hunger games, I wouldn't say this is exactly like it. It actually reminded me of a trilogy I read way back in the day Wind on Fire by William Nicholson and also, of City of Ember . Recommended, definitely, if you want a fast paced, action packed, coming of age dystopian ya.
Karin said: ★★★★
Beatrice (Tris) Prior is born and raised in a dystopian Chicago, the daughter of parents in the Abnegation factor. The year she and her brother, Irish twins, are 16 they take a simulation test to determine which of the factions--Abnegation, Candor, Eruduite, Amity or Dauntless. She is shocked to be quietly told that she is Divergent, and tested for three of the factions. Sent home early on the ruse that she didn't feel well, she has to not only decide which faction to choose (all teens choose, regardless of test results) but also to hide who she is. The next day her brother surprises her by choosing Erudite, and despite being torn, she chooses the rather predictable (there has to be the story!) choice of Dauntless.
During her initiation time with Dauntless she not only learns some surprising things about herself, she discovers that all is not what it should be either with Dauntless or with the faction system. I thought this not that much like Hunger Games, although there is the dystopian future and a system that it not working as it's supposed to. While it was somewhat predictable, it kept me up longer than I should, I empathized with Beatrice, and it left me wanting to read the sequel.
I was sceptical in reading this because the only other dystopian book I've read before this was the Hunger Games.
This book was better in the way that young teens aren't thrown into a arena and forced to kill each other like HG.
Roth really knows how to write a good suspense. I couldn't put this down. But I want to take my time before the next book Insurgent because the 3rd book isn't coming out till November (ironically the same month Catching Fire is released).”
“Fantasy Fan 23 said: 4.5 stars
An unlikely friendship between a human and a goblin is the only hope for the salvation of both species when prejudice and misunderstanding threaten to renew the old goblin wars, long consigned to legend.
The goblins live close to the earth...”
“Fantasy Fan 23 said: 4.5 stars
An unlikely friendship between a human and a goblin is the only hope for the salvation of both species when prejudice and misunderstanding threaten to renew the old goblin wars, long consigned to legend.
The goblins live close to the earth in a shamanic society who express their spirituality through drumming and ecstatic dance. The humans are ruled my a caste of magicians. The world of the goblins is what makes the story unique. The traditional warfare between humans and goblins in fantasy is acknowledged and explained from the goblins' POV with some brilliant world building. The story is very character based and provides much food for thought. Those looking for interspecies battles will only find a couple of good skirmishes as the story is more about interactions of characters.
This is what I refer to as intelligent fantasy. It's likely to appeal to those into LARP because of an in joke, but there is sardonic humour throughout as well as some poignant moments.”
“Karin said: ★★★★
A story within a story, an elderly nursing home patient, Elizabeth (Lizzie) tells a caretaker and her son about the escape of her family from Dresden in winter of 1945 with an elephant in tow. Along the arduous trek they surprise a wounded Canadian RAF navigator,...”
“Karin said: ★★★★
A story within a story, an elderly nursing home patient, Elizabeth (Lizzie) tells a caretaker and her son about the escape of her family from Dresden in winter of 1945 with an elephant in tow. Along the arduous trek they surprise a wounded Canadian RAF navigator, who joins them on their journey.
The story is based on two different true accounts, one of an Irish woman who saved an elephant in WWII and the other of a character met somewhere on the journey that is a spoiler to mention. Three unikely sets of friendship integral to the plot form during this book as well, so I've tagged it friendship and put it here.. It is nicely paced and keeps the reader interested throughout.”
“Book Concierge said:
Audio book performed by Arija Bareikis
Elizabeth Berg returns to the story of Katie Nash in this third installment (after Durable Goods and Joy School). It is 1961, and 13-year-old Katie, having started school early and skipped a year is now in...”
“Book Concierge said:
Audio book performed by Arija Bareikis
Elizabeth Berg returns to the story of Katie Nash in this third installment (after Durable Goods and Joy School). It is 1961, and 13-year-old Katie, having started school early and skipped a year is now in high school. An Army brat, she is used to moving from city to city, but her father and new stepmother seem somewhat settled in this St Louis suburb. While she still feels like an outsider, she does have a best friend, Cynthia, as well as a continuing relationship with Cherylanne, her friend and neighbor back in Killeen, Texas. She’s looking forward to a summer job working the popcorn concession stand at the pool (and hanging out with cute lifeguards), when her father announces he’s found her the perfect jobs – babysitting a trio of rambunctious boys alternating with “babysitting” an elderly woman who is bed-ridden. To further cement her reputation as a loser, she is roped into joining a Girl Scout troop. Not everything is bleak, however. Katie is also blossoming as a poet and writer. A trip back to Texas to visit Cherylanne and a chance to become part of the popular “in” group at a new school leave her questioning the meaning of friendship and struggling to find a way to branch out into new experiences and still remain true to herself.
This is Berg at her best. Katie is believable and real. Yes, she is extraordinarily bright and gifted as a writer and observer of life, but she’s also a young teen who makes mistakes in judging other people and suffers the consequences of her decisions. Her journey forces her to learn whom she can really trust, whom to listen to, and how to forgive. This quote describes the basic life lessons Katie learns:
It is never about how good your voice is; it is only about feeling the urge to sing, and then having the courage to do it with the voice you are given. It is about what people try to share with each other, even if so many of us are so off-key when we do it.
While this is the third book in a trilogy it easily stands alone; I do not think a reader will feel s/he is missing anything by not having reading the previous books.
Arija Bareikis does a wonderful job voicing the audio book. She really brings Katie and the other characters to life. I’ll admit there were a few scenes that had me near tears, but on the whole this is a coming-of-age story with a hopeful outcome.”
“Ladyslott said: 5★★★★★
JudithAnn said: 4 stars
This is a Young Adult book that is also very readable for adults. Hazel (16) has been having cancer for several years now and takes portable oxygen around with her, otherwise she can't breath properly. She is depressed...”
“Ladyslott said: 5★★★★★
JudithAnn said: 4 stars
This is a Young Adult book that is also very readable for adults. Hazel (16) has been having cancer for several years now and takes portable oxygen around with her, otherwise she can't breath properly. She is depressed and unhappy about her situation, that seems to be incurable. At a Support Group for children with cancer, she meets Augustus Waters. He's beautiful and he can't take his eyes off her!
They become friends and Hazel is finally having fun again. She lends Augustus her favorite book and together they decide to go the Amsterdam, to find the author, as they want to know what happened to the characters after the book was finished. With Hazel being ill, they may not actually get the opportunity to travel.
The book is full of disappointment, temporary happiness, trying to put your mark on the world, sadness, and coping.
It's a great book, brilliantly written with nothing out of place. I liked it but didn't love it, as lots of people seemed to do. It was a good read, for all ages, but it didn't touch me, somehow.
Nicole D said: 5/5
A few weeks ago my friend and her daughter were visiting. We wanted to watch a movie, and as we were scrolling through the pages of options her daughter said "My Girl, let's watch that." I said "Isn't that sad?" and in unison without hesitation they both said "No." An hour and ten minutes later, through my snotty sobs, I cursed them both. I don't "do" deliberately sad. I REALLY don't do deliberately sad with kids. I've never seen Bambi.
The only reason I read this book is because John Green wrote it, and I love John Green. He did a really good thing with this book. He reminded people that sick kids are still kids. He did it with humor, and with a very good understanding of "kids today." It was gut-wrenchingly sad. More sad than it needed to be frankly, and the kids were a tinge over-precocious, even for kids who had to grow up really fast, but it's still an outstanding book.
I'm totally going to buy a copy of this book for my friends. In the inscrption I'm going to write "It's not sad." Suckas.
Alli formally awelker said: 4.5 stars, rounded to 4
**May Contain Spoilers**
Hazel Grace is a fighter, she has been living with cancer for over 3 years. She keeps fighting the battle with the help of her mom and dad at her side. She doesn't let anyone in until she is forced to go to a Support Group with other kids who are sick just like her, that's where she meets Augustus Waters, a survivor of bone cancer with only one leg, and only 17.
Augustus and Hazel start hanging out almost immediately and their relationship is filled with up's and down's thanks to her sickness. However, the couple finally solidify when Augustus uses his wish on Hazel, taking her to meet the author that wrote her favorite book. It's on this trip that new things are found out and that they are in the end fighting together.
**Definitely Contains Spoilers**
I have to say that this book was good although a bit predictable in parts. The first thing that I thought was overly predictable was how they talked about Van Hauten's book ending so abruptly. I could tell that this one was going to end the same way. It was foreshadowed enough in the book to make it aware. I also predicted that Gus' cancer was going to come back. It's unfortunate that it happened but they knew that they were both going to die and had a beautiful relationship together.
Overall, I would say that this book is acceptable to all ages, young and old. I really enjoyed this book and actually want to read more by Green as this was my first book by him. I have Looking for Alaska on the Kindle so that might get moved up in the ranks.
Katy (Formerly Not Rory) said: 4 stars
I will admit that I did not want to read this book because the plot didn't interest me that much despite all the acclaim the book was receiving. When the high school where I moderate a book club chose this as their selection I wasn't very thrilled. Boy was I wrong. This book had me hooked from the very first page (much unlike the only other John Green book I've ever read), was a very fast read, and I found all of the characters relate-able and realistic.
The three main characters, Hazel, Gus, and Isaac are all cancer patients who meet at support group. Before attending support group Hazel threw a fit with her parents about having to go, but by attending this one meeting the future for Hazel, Gus, and Isaac's lives are forever changed. I really can't give a big plot summary for this book because I feel like it gives too much away to say it's about anything more than the struggles with cancer and relationships with anyone with cancer, be it as a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, or parent.
As I said previously, I really liked this book and I didn't expect to. All of the characters and relationships are real. The relationship between Hazel and Gus, Isaac and his girlfriend Monica, and Hazel's parents. I love how Hazel's relationship with Gus improves her relationship with her parents by the end. While Hazel already has a really good relationship with them she worries about their future after she dies and they worry about talking to her about a future when she's gone. I really liked how they want the same things for the future, but were too afraid to talk for fear of upsetting each other.
Having now read two different titles by John Green, one which I liked and one that I disliked, I'd give another one a try.
Kristel said: Audio version, narrated by Kate Rudd
This young adult novel by John Green features a female protagonist, Hazel who has terminal cancer. She is 16 and has responded to an experimental drug. This story is about sick young people with cancer. The author states that he hadn’t written with a female protagonist before.
*****May contain mild spoilers but I don’t think anything to significant.
I gave this story 4 stars because I think it is a good YA about having cancer or an illness that makes them different than others. There we things I didn’t like about the female protagonist. I didn’t like that she had to know what happened to the people in the book but I get it. This is a question people ask authors. At least that’s what John Green says. And John Green says that Peter Van Houten said is the truth but you don’t have to be a jerk when saying it. The only time I’ve ever wanted to ask an author what happened to the people in the book was with Gone With The Wind. I liked the male characters best in this book. Maybe Mr. Green is just better with males. One comment I had noted in previous reviews is that perhaps these young people acted more mature that a young person really would but I thought it was pretty right on. The author captured a lot of reality with cancer; the becoming the illness, not knowing how to be anything but your illness. I’ve worked with people who survived cancer as children and it does forever affect their lives. Granted, I work only with people who have problems so I can’t say that it is the norm but it does exist. I liked the ending. I am glad that Hazel was finally able to talk with her parents.
I like the title and enjoyed learning that it actually comes from Shakespeare and is Caesar talking to Brutus, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings." and refers to fate and friendship.
The narration was good. I enjoyed Kate’s voice. She handled many accents well. I was a little annoyed that one of the minor characters, Kaitlyn had a British affectation. I thought that was a little much.
A quick read, how can you say anything bad about it but I don’t think I liked it as much as others have.”
“Mary B said: 2 stars
After reading this one, I felt bad for being so harsh on Peony in Love. It was at least original. Not my thing, but original. Shanghai Girls just felt like a combination of common plot devices, characters, and stories (including a couple of recycled ones from Snow...”
“Mary B said: 2 stars
After reading this one, I felt bad for being so harsh on Peony in Love. It was at least original. Not my thing, but original. Shanghai Girls just felt like a combination of common plot devices, characters, and stories (including a couple of recycled ones from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) into a really boring book. I still find her style kind of compelling and will likely try another book by her but this did not do it for me at all. Hopefully she'll return to a slightly older time period and locale; that really helped her other books.
sharmee said: 4 stars
Pearl and May are sisters born in Shanghai, where they have jobs as models and are not rich, but make more than most. They soon learn that their dad has gambled away all of their money and has sold his daughters to the family he owes money to. They are to be married to the sons. Pearl is the oldest sister, with the most sense. May is the youngest sister, who is very spoiled. They have to move to California and leave their parents to live with their husbands and new families. It's about their plan to escape Shanghai to be on their own before they are to be married, how they encounter Japanese soldiers invading their country, how once they finally make it to America, they are held in containment for months.
This story is about the sisters and everything they go through from this point to about the next 20 years. It's about how they fight and are jealous of each other, and also how they show their sisterly love since all they really have are each other. There is a sequel coming out which is given away by a huge shock at the end.
If you've never read any of Lisa See's books, I highly recommend them. I've read Snow Flower & the Secret Fan and also Peony in Love. So far, I've yet to be disappointed by this author :)
Vonnie said: 4.5 stars
Shanghai was known as the Paris of China during the early 1900s. Pearl and May, two sisters, were great examples of how Shanghai was a marvelous place. The girls were young, beautiful, sophisticated, and well-educated. The girls' glamour, though, soon comes to an end when their father becomes bankrupt and sells Pearl and May to an old Chinese man from Los Angeles who is looking for Chinese brides for his sons. When learning the news, the girls do everything possible not to follow the fate that their father has burden on them. Unfortunately, Pearl and May come to learn that marrying the two "Americanized" Chinese men and moving to Los Angeles might be the only way to save their lives with the on-coming Japanese attacks and the attacks from local rebels.
The narrator did a wonderful job portraying the story between these two sisters and making the historical facts sound fascinating. I learned so much about Shanghai during the 1930s and I became more aware of the injustices done to Asians here in my local county (Los Angeles) during this time. I too came to learn how old Chinatown began, was burnt down, and a new one was created. The lives of Pearl and May also had me wrenching. I couldn't stand listening about the rape, the interrogations by the INS, and the tragic deaths that these women had to witness. Though it was a tougher read compared to the other books I've been reading lately, I did like it tremendously. Lisa See is a wonderful writer and she has not disappointed me with this one.
LibraryCin said: 4 stars
Pearl and May are sisters who grew up in Shanghai. They are 21 and 18 in 1937 at the start of the novel, and are “beautiful girls” - they model for an artist who paints them for calendars. Unfortunately, their world is turned upside-down when their father reveals that he gambled away all their money and must sell them to husbands who live in the U.S.
The book covers about 20 years and follows Pearl and May to the States; it is told from Pearl's (the older sister's) point of view. It covers the Sino-Japanese War, their lives as immigrants and the stereotypes and stigmas that go with that, the “Confession Program”, and Red China.
I really liked it, although I was a bit disappointed in the sudden (slight cliffhanger) ending. The ending wasn't enough to drop my rating, overall, though I briefly thought about it. Of course, I will be reading the sequel. Apparently, the book was based on various stories told to Lisa See by various people, and a few characters were real people. I did learn a lot about Chinese immigrants to the U.S. at the time and how they were treated. I'm probably in a minority on this, but I liked this better than Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
doughgirl5562 said: 3.5*
Shanghai Girls starts out with 21-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister May living the high life in Shanghai - which is known as the Paris of Asia. Their parents are wealthy and they are both models for "beautiful girl" calendars painted by a well-known artist. But their life changes drastically when their father loses his business by gambling and is forced to basically sell both girls to two Chinese Americans and they have to escape China when the Japanese attack. Together the girls travel to Los Angeles and make a life there.
I have to preface my review of this book with the fact that, while I'm a very (very) eclectic reader, Asian literature is not among my favorite genres and I only read it when I get the urge - which is rare. In my TBR of over a thousand books, I have maybe six or seven that are Asian themed. So my rating of most Asian literature is going to be lower than someone who does love the genre.
But one of the few that I have read was Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - also by Lisa See - which I ended up loving and rating as a 5* book. So when my book club chose Shanghai Girls last year I eagerly picked it up. But I didn't make it far into the book before our book club meeting, and after the meeting I just had no interest in finishing it. However, this year my book club voted to read the sequel - Dreams of Joy. So a week ago I picked up Shanghai Girls and finished it. In the end I thought it was pretty good. I definitely identified more with Pearl than May.
Erin S said: 3 stars
Since this book has already been reviewed a few times this month, I won't give a synopsis. I loved Snow FLower and the Secret Fan, so Shanghai Girls has a lot to live up to. I thought it was good but disappointing. I completely understand those who said the drama was too over the top. That didn't bother me too much until the end, which annoyed me by the cliffhanger and the amount of drama crammed into one chapter. See certainly has a talent for making Chinese culture and history accessible through the struggles of the culture's women. I did enjoy the book, but I am in no hurry to read the next one.
SouthWestZippy said: 2 stars
So many have written reviews for this book, I don't feel the need to do a synopsis. I did enjoy the beginning of the book but it started to lose me in the Moon Sisters chapter. I believe in the the saying when it rains it pours but this is over the top. The drama is so much it makes the the story a cliche. It is like a contest on just how much of China's history and social etiquette can we put into on families journey.
Alli formally awelker said: 3.5 stars, rounded to 4
Like many others, this is my choice of book for this month, therefore I'm not going to do an in depth synopsis.
This was my first novel by See as well as my first Chinese culture novel. I think that for it being my first one I found it rather enjoyable. Through out most of the novel I wanted to smack May but I liked the dynamics of the two sisters. I also felt that it was rather funny with the old saying that you turn into your mother when you come to be one is rather true, at least in Pearl's case. She did and said things that her own mother once did, but she did somethings differently as well.
Overall, I found this book enjoyable. I thought that it was a rather fast read. It kind of dragged in some parts, but really what book doesn't? I thought it was written well, however, I hated that there was a cliffhanger. It comes off as a bit....presumptuous. Just forcing your readers to buy your next book to find out what happens.
Karin said: ★★★★
Pearl Chin and her sister, May, have grown up in the republic of China, the first generation of girls after foot-binding was made illegal. Both girls are fluent in English as well as the local Shanghai Wu dialect, but Pearl also speaks the dialect of her ancestral home village where she was born and speaks both British and American English; she has been to university as well. The girls work as beautiful girls, who model for painters who use their images for advertising, and live a relatively wild life compared with what their mother would like for them.
In 1937, their father loses everything, including the girls' income he has supposedly invested for them, and sells them into arranged marriages so that his debts will be written off. They spend one night with their husbands, who then head back with their father to the US where they are to join them.
The story follows them as they throw out their tickets, lose their home as a result, escape serious injury when the Japanese bomb Shanghai, escape and make it to their husbands in the US, and through 20 years of their lives there.
Lisa See writes very well, and the book is historically accurate. I did grow to care about Pearl, despite how shallow she was at the outset and for a fairly long time--it was in keeping with her character and story. It was too rife with tragedy and heaviness for me to love it enough to give it a 5, but I did like it enough that I plan to read the sequel.
While it's also about sisters, they are best friends throughout, and their deep and abiding friendship is mentioned a number of times by the protagonist, despite their ups and downs.”
“Tien H said:
Grace was attacked by wolves just over 6 years ago however instead of living in fear of them, which would have been understandable noting her harrowing experience, she loves them and defends them from others who think they are just violent animals. There is however one...”
“Tien H said:
Grace was attacked by wolves just over 6 years ago however instead of living in fear of them, which would have been understandable noting her harrowing experience, she loves them and defends them from others who think they are just violent animals. There is however one special wolf for her.
One day, the wolves attacked and killed a student from Grace's school. Mercy Falls was in uproar and went out to kill some wolves. Grace's effort to stop them did not bear fruit but when she went home, she found a naked boy hurt at her back door. One look at his eyes, she knew... it's her wolf, his name is Sam.
Who is he? Can she save him and the others? Why is she not like them despite her attack?
The story is told from 2 people's perspectives: Grace and Sam which I liked hearing 2 different voices. It is in a way similar to Twilight in terms of supernatural / romance kind of way but that really where it ends. I definitely like Grace much better than Bella; at least she doesn't moon around as much as Bella. The ending though I feel quite abrupt. I was listening to the audio and when it just ended, I was a little bit confused and had to check by listening to the last track again.
Nicole R said: 3.5 stars
Why are werewolves SO much hotter than vampires? If I were forced to choose between these two supernatural beings, werewolves would win. Hands down. Every time. Shiver is an interesting twist on the traditional myth of werewolves set to the same old (well-loved) tune of teenage star-crossed lovers.
When Grace was 11 years old, she was attacked by wolves that live in the woods outside of her Minnesota town of Mercy Falls. She survived the attack and while most people would have developed a healthy fear of these canines, she develops an obsession with a wolf with yellow eyes that always is hanging around. She finally realizes that the wolf morphs into a man, Sam, when the temperature is warm and, as winter approaches, they both struggle to keep him human as long as possible.
I really liked the story of the werewolves and thought the the temperature-induced shifting was an interesting concept. The story was also alternately told from Grace and Sam's perspectives and it provided a more well-rounded story being able to get into both of these characters heads - it cut down on the contrived dialogue that would have been needed to fill the narrator in if it was only told from one POV. The story was tween-cheesy-overly-dramatic-the-world-will-end-if-we-can't-be-together....and I wouldn't have my tween romances any other way! There were some really interesting relationships between characters aside from Grace and Sam; unfortunately, the peripheral story lines were not developed nearly to their full potential but I give the author credit for at least trying.
I didn't like that some parts of the story were so unrealistic - I mean parts OTHER than the shape-shifting werewolves who fall in love with local girls. Grace's parents were borderline neglectful, which resulted in me being angry at them any time they were mentioned. I know that absentee parenting is the hot new trend in teen dramas - perhaps it's because teens who read the books view themselves as independent and not needing invasive parents who do things like make sure they aren't falling in love with non-humans - but parents that don't qualify for a call to social services would be a real breath of fresh air.
The big points deduction for me came from the bazillion unanswered questions I had at the end! Let's see if I can speak in code to those of you who have read this: 1) Ummm, what happened to the newbies that showed up at the end? It was like they were vaporized right out of the story! 2) How in the world does a 17 year old girl have working knowledge of drawing blood? And how did she do it with NO ONE noticing. Oh wait, adults are oblivious. 3) What is up with the white princess that spontaneously shows up and disappears without any explanation what-so-ever? 4) The ending!!! OMG, I want to know who? what? when? where? why? and how? 5) What are the walls of Grace's bedroom made from - fully sound-proof material and a magical spell that causes anyone approaching to be confused and walk away? I am 27 years old and I want my walls to be made of that.
Overall, once I just decided to let go of some of the dangling questions that will never be answered, I really enjoyed this book! It still didn't compare to another popular tween novel that I will not name (it rhymes with "highlight") but this definitely piqued my interested and the second installment (Linger, which comes out late June) deserves a read.
Christina T said: 4 stars
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
This book was highly recommended to me by several women who just raved about it. After finishing this book today I am undecided on my actual thoughts on the book. And after 8 hours I still am not sure if I liked it all that much. I didn't walk away from the book with warm fuzzies from reading it....it really isn't that kind of book. I didn't walk away with unanswered questions so that is good. I'm still not even sure if the back and forth switch between perspectives (some chapters are from Grace's and some are from Sam) was good for the book or just annoying. This by far is the hardest review I have ever had to do. Normally within a few minutes of me finishing a book I already know what I want to say about it. As a matter of fact, while reading a book I often am thinking ahead on what I will say about it when I am finished. This book has left me stumped.
As far as the characters go...Grace is very much an introvert which could be caused by her upbringing (her parents are more friends to her then authority figures) or it could be caused by her obsession with "her" wolves. Her character seems so much older then her actual teenage years. Sam also seems to much older which could be because he is a wolf most of the year. The interaction between Grace and Sam is....for lack of a better word...sweet. The characters are not what I enjoyed about this book however.
What I did enjoy was Sam's take on being a wolf. He struggles to retain his humanity and his biggest fears are turning into a wolf forever losing himself and never seeing Grace again. He likes being a wolf. It is part of who he is, but to be a wolf would mean giving up being Sam. Unfortunately, turning wolf forever is right around the corner. It is a part of the curse. It is inevitable.
Overall, this book was well written. It compelled me to continue reading to find out if Sam and Grace were destined to be together or if Grace would spend her life sitting in her backyard on the edge of the woods forever wondering what happened to her golden eyed wolf. I am glad I read it.
i.should.b.reading said; 4 stars
When Grace was younger she was attacked by the wolves in the woods behind her house. She has always been fascinated by them. Especially by the wolf with the yellow eyes, she calls him her wolf. Sam is only around in the summer and in the winter he is a wolf. The two seem to be from different worlds, but these worlds collide when another student is killed by the wolves. I loved that each chapter was from either Grace or Sam's point of view and that it told the temperature. If it gets too cold Sam will change. The story really is about Sam and Grace there are other characters, but they aren't in the story as much as you would have thought. The book is a quick read and I found it as an interesting take on werewolves. I really liked the book, but I loved the ending.
Jaede said: 3.5 stars (round to 4)
When I picked this book for this tag, I was a little worried, given the glut of vampire and werewolf books that have hit the market since Twilight that I would be stuck with an uninspired book. However, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the fresh take on the human shapeshifting to wolf myth.
Shiver is the story of Grace and Sam. Grace is attacked by wolves when she is 11 years old; she survives the attack, but instead of developing a fear of these creatures, Grace develops an obsession for them, and she watches them. Specifically, she watches her wolf, a yellow-eyed wolf that watches her back. Six years after the attack, Grace discovers that the yellow-eyed wolf, her wolf, is 18 year-old Sam, who morphs into a wolf when the weather turns cold. As the temperatures turn colder throughout the fall and winter creeps in, Sam and Grace spend their time trying to keep Sam in human form for as long as possible so that they can be together.
What I liked most about the book was the relatively strong writing throughout as well as the pacing of the novel, except toward the very end when it felt extremely rushed and left too many unanswered questions. I thought that the temperature inducing shift from human to wolf was a unique twist for this particular meme, and the switch in narration Grace's perspective to Sam's perspective added some real depth to the story. I also enjoyed the development of Grace and Sam's characters; I liked that Grace was a relatively strong female character (and not a clingy Bella Swan), but I especially liked the character development of Sam's "human" self through his creation of song lyrics and his reading of various poetry interspersed within the text.
In addition to Sam and Grace's characters, I found myself drawn to Beck, Sam's protector and guardian. I think that the overall story picked up and moved beyond the typical star-crossed love story of girl and werewolf with the details about Beck, his past, and his motivations. I would have actually liked to have seen a bit more of Beck and his story throughout the novel as a whole.
I disliked that the parents were so completely oblivious to what was happening around them, even if Grace's mother was supposed to be the flighty artistic type and her father the driven businessman. I just wasn't buying that parents--not just Grace's but some of the other kid's parents--were so completely clueless throughout the entire course of the novel. While I think that the writing was relatively strong throughout, I felt that the overall plot was too rushed at the end, leaving too many questions of who, what, when, and how at the end with regards to not only Sam but some of the other wolves.
Despite these drawbacks, however, I think the next installment in the series, Linger will be well worth the read.
Mary B said: 1.75 stars
It's going to be difficult to express my thoughts on this one. If anyone isn't familiar with it, it's a slightly modified Twilight. Clearly, most of it were lifted from those pages. It also had a bit of the Time Traveler's Wife mixed in and the ending was soooo Nicholas Sparks. I couldn't spot a lot of originality in most of the story, but I will absolutely give her credit for the mythology. Rather than using vampires (THAT would be too obvious), she updates the werewolf. Her werewolves only change shape based on the weather and season. No silver or full moons. So long story short, her heroine, a teenage girl with no personality or anything to recommend her (named Grace NOT Bella. See? Totally different!) has watched a wolf for most of her life. He turns into a shot boy and she saves him (with the impressive ability to get to the hospital, possibly in a future book she can order her own takeout). They instantly fall in love based on their similar lack of personalities and they try to stay together despite the fact that they will inevitably be parted. Insert girlish sigh here. And, in a full homage to Twilight, her parents never seem to notice that he chastely sleeps in her bed at night. What a lesson for today's youth. My problem with these books is the female characters. I would prefer negative characteristics to no characteristics. These romance novel characters are devoid of anything to recommend them simply because the authors want as many teenagers as possible to relate. So the moral is to be ordinary and average and wait for your prince to come and notices YOU for being YOU. Blah. Also, there was an author's note that she felt uncomfortable writing alllll of the kissing scenes. I felt it, really. I was listening to it and couldn't speed through the teenage wet dreams. It was creepy. Too many feelings all around. Still, to be honest, I would consider reading a sequel in a very long while. It didn't feel like it needed a sequel so I have no idea what's to come. More importantly, I'm trying desperately to understand this generation and the trash they embrace. Unfortunately, I just really don't want to support the author and her formula for success.
LibraryCin said: 3.75 stars
Grace was bitten by wolves when she was 11 years old. She recovered, but for the past 6 years, she has had a fascination with one of the wolves, who she still sees in the woods behind her house. When a boy at school is killed by wolves, Grace is worried for them, as she doesn't want them hurt. Sam is human and a wolf; he changes with the cold or heat. He has been watching Grace, even as a wolf, ever since she was bitten. With people now afraid of the wolves, and now that he (as a human) has met Grace, he doesn't want to turn back into a wolf, but he's not sure how long he can hold it off.
It was a little slow to start, but I thought it really picked up in the second half. I quite liked it, and plan to continue the trilogy. It had a bit of a different take on werewolves, with the heat vs. cold as an example, so that was kind of interesting, too.
Erin S said: 1.5 stars (round up to 2)
Imagine Twilight with a wolf instead of a vampire, where the writing is even worse and there is none of the entertainment value. Yup, that's this book.
Grace is attacked by wolves as a child but saved when one of the wolves intervenes. She spends years obsessing about that wolf, so of course, she instantly falls in love with him when she meets him in human form. Then half the book is spent with Grace and Sam hanging out at her house and intermittently going places and nothing happens and it's really boring. Finally, somewhat interesting things start to happen, but by that time I was too preoccupied by how I could provoke a wolf attack so I would have an excuse to stop reading.
Grace: I love that yellow-eyed wolf.
Sam: I love Grace even though I've never spoken to her. Doesn't stalking her from the woods in wolf form make for a meaningful relationship?
Grace: My wolf is human so I must love him. I will now spend half the book talking about how I want him and nothing else in my life matters anymore.
Sam: I want Grace, but I better not touch her or kiss her too much for no discernible reason. Instead, I will randomly spout out poetry/song lyrics.
Grace and Sam: Everything is so tragic.
I forgive this kind of silliness with Twilight, because I was entertained by it. I can forgive complete lack of literary merit if I find the book interesting or entertaining. There was potential. It could have been an interesting book given the mythology presented, but it suffered from a lack of depth and development.
Ladyslott said: ★
I was not a huge fan of Twilight, I really disliked the concept and I thought the writing was terrible. Shiver makes Twilight seem like Shakespeare.
The idea here is almost identical to Twilight; pretty girl becomes infatuated with a young man who happens to be a werewolf. She had loved him when he was a wolf, not knowing he was also a young man. He is equally obsessed with her. Her parents are oblivious to anything their daughter does, to the extent that she actually lives with said “wereboy” in her bedroom – for weeks. When she does tell them about Sam he inexplicably lives with the family. It goes downhill from there as far as storyline.
The writing was just over the top, with our young man writing really bad song lyrics in his head. At one point he describes himself as a leaking womb and I was dumbfounded by that metaphor. Overly descriptive writing that was often laughable. Characters that had great potential to bring some tension to the storyline are disposed of or never heard from again. And like the gorgeous Edward of the aforementioned Twilight we have constant commentary and descriptions of Sam’s yellow eyes.
Of course the biggest plot hole, which at first seemed clever, was the fact that when the weather turned cold is when our shape shifters turned into wolves. Once the weather turns warmer they shift back into humans, and are only able to remember vague parts of their lives as wolves; except for Sam who remembers Grace, mostly by her scent. The big question is, why live in Minnesota? I was thinking this as I was reading by the pool in Florida where it is never really cold! When you turn into a human – move, to any southern state or Hawaii maybe. Don’t stay in Minnesota dreading the return of winter. It was just too hard to get over that gaping hole in logic.
So read this if you want a fairly boring story about teenage love and angst. Better yet – dare I say it? - Read Twilight.”
“Nicole R said: 3.5 stars (round up to 4)
I'm giving this series installment the benefit of the doubt...
We are transported back to futuristic Chicago to discover the fates of the five factions: Dauntless, Abegnation, Erudite, Candor, and Amity. However, we learn more...”
“Nicole R said: 3.5 stars (round up to 4)
I'm giving this series installment the benefit of the doubt...
We are transported back to futuristic Chicago to discover the fates of the five factions: Dauntless, Abegnation, Erudite, Candor, and Amity. However, we learn more about the people who do not necessarily fit into a faction and therefore live hidden in their midst or are cast beyond the comfort and protection of the factions: the Divergent and the Factionless. At this point, who thinks that Roth may have been intrigued by the Indian caste system when setting up this plot?!
Tris and Four continue to be the central duo of a story that you really can't say much about without giving away the first book. So, we'll just stick with the fact that they have a tumultuous YA relationship that they struggle through as they attempt to define themselves.
However, I have to admit, that I am a bit surprised by the complexity of the storyline. There are actually great supporting characters, twists and turns in the plot that I didn't see coming, and maturity in Tris and Four that is sometimes (read: often) missing in other YA characters. They love each other (I just threw up a little in my mouth) but they don't ignore the rest of their lives because of that love and they refuse to give up who they really are. While it definitely still smacks of immaturity at times, it was actually more reminiscent of how I felt/acted as a teenager. (Okay, I was a late-bloomer, so in my early 20s).
Roth did a nice job of continuing the storyline, hinting at the next book, but still having a solid ending. For all of these reasons, I rounded it up to 4 stars.
The final book (I guess it's final, maybe it's a series and not a trilogy but it doesn't feel like that) doesn't come out for a year and for me, that is perfectly acceptable. I am not dying to read the final installment but look forward to a conclusion to a story and characters I am engaged by :)
LibraryCin said: 3.5 stars
Insurgent seems to continue from exactly where Divergent left off, so for those of us who read Divergent a long time ago and don't really remember... not so good. There is no recap of any kind, so I spent the first ¼ of the book being really confused. I finally sort of figured out what was going on in this one, but it still bothers/ed me that there was no recap to remind me of what happened in Divergent. This is why I am not doing a synopsis with this review. Well, maybe I'll attempt this: everyone seems to be double-crossing everyone else, including some of the factionless.
All the double-crossing made for lots going on in the book, and so I am rating it 3.5 (good), but I was still somewhat confused through a portion of the book. I bought the first two books, but won't be buying the third. This one ended on a cliffhanger, so I might still read the 3rd one, but it'll come from the library. I hope the author gives a bit of a recap in that one, as a reminder.
Sleekfeline said: 4 stars
***spoilers if you haven't read Divergent***
The second book in the trilogy picks up where Divergent left off and doesn't stop. Tris and Four have just stopped the simulation that turned the Dauntless into blind killers of the Abnegation. In the fighting, Tris' parents were killed and Tris herself was turned into a killer. Now free of the simulation, they must figure out where to go from here. They turn to Amity for assistance, those who value kindness and cooperation. They are accepted on one condition, that there are no weapons and that there are no fights or arguments. The peace cannot last long with Jeanine, head of the Erudite, dead set on exposing the Divergent. She plans to test the Divergent to improve the simulation serum to make it effective on everyone in the future, even the Divergent. Jeanine will stop at nothing to see her plan through, including invading other factions and mass killings. The Dauntless that are left are too few in number to stand a chance of winning a battle against her. They must team up with others if they have any hope of survival.
Another fun read. I liked the backdrop of the story in Divergent, that of the factions and the split society. It continues to be intriguing in Insurgent. The factions are at war and everyone must choose a side. Not everyone knows what they are fighting for....and it's a secret most think worth dying for. It will be interesting to see how the story turns and issues resolved in the next book.
Nicole D said: 4/5
The writing isn't great, and sometimes the dialog is painful; the story isn't even particularly original. Most of us have seen "the movie" - Regardless, I really like these books! What can I say? I'm a sucker for teen dystopia.
It's fast paced, full of action and adventure, and more than one steamy make-out session (fortunately, I don't think of the main character as being only 16 since she acts like an adult.) I cannot wait for book 3, and if it was out right now I'd be starting it immediately.
Nayla M said: 4 Stars
Thank God for kindle, and the ability to have books merely a second away. Otherwise, I would have been forced to wait till the weekend to get myself to the bookstore and get this. And Saturday is oh-so-far-away when it's only Monday and you desperately need to know what happened.
The book picks up right where Divergent stops, and spans Tris et al as they try to connect the factions and confront Erudite. Several revelations occur regarding Tris' and Four's families, and the book ends with an interesting cliffhanger.
Karin said: 3 1/2 ★
With the faction system falling apart and on the verge of war, Tris (Beatrice) Prior is on the lam with some of her Dauntless friends, among others, and helping to fight the evil they have seen led by Jeanine, leader of the Erudite faction, and Eric, from Dauntless. Tris embraces her Divergence gradually as she struggles over something she did in the fighting near the end of Divergence (don't want to give a spoiler from the last book.
There is a great deal of soul-searching, confusion, and challenge for Tris to overcome personally as well as dealing with the conflicts that have arisen. She has to dig deep, live through a few mistakes and finally trust her specific Divergent strength to make the right decision. That decision leads to the books cliffhanger, and we have to wait for the third book to come out. Rounded to a 4, but not quite as good as the first book.”
“Nicole D said: 4/5
There are a lot of appealing aspects to this book. It's a book about books, technology, secret societies, code breaking; it's a mystery and it's funny.
I think this book will appeal to fans of Jasper Fforde, Chirstopher Moore and Matt Ruff. It hangs on...”
“Nicole D said: 4/5
There are a lot of appealing aspects to this book. It's a book about books, technology, secret societies, code breaking; it's a mystery and it's funny.
I think this book will appeal to fans of Jasper Fforde, Chirstopher Moore and Matt Ruff. It hangs on the edge of reality and a certain amount of disbelief must be suspended; but it is FUN!
There was a lot of creativity and if the author keeps coming up with ideas like this, he has a bright future. I found the writing occassionaly stiff, but not to a degree that it diminished the story and I felt the first half of the book was stronger than the second. Overall, it is a strong debut and I think a book that booklovers will really enjoy.
Susan T said: 5 stars
“There are no free stories in the secret library of the Unbroken Spine.”
What is it that bibliophiles everywhere love to read about? That’s right; all things bookish! Debut novelist Robin Sloan uses this insight to great effect in Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. It’s guaranteed to charm any just about any book lover. As for me, I just want to quote from it at length. There were so many delicious passages!
The novel is told from the first-person perspective of 20-something San Franciscan Clay Jannon. Laid off from his corporate design job and desperate for work, Clay takes the graveyard shift at this most unusual bookstore:
“Penumbra sells used books, and they are in such uniformly excellent condition that they might as well be new. He buys them during the day—you can only sell to the man with his name on the window—and he must be a tough customer. He doesn’t seem to pay much attention to bestseller lists. His inventory is eclectic; there’s no evidence of pattern or purpose other than, I suppose, his own personal taste. So, no teenage wizards or vampire police here. That’s a shame, because this is exactly the kind of store that makes you want to buy a book about a teenage wizard. This is the kind of store that makes you want to be a teenage wizard.”
I totally know that store. Penumbra’s however, is quirkier than most. For starters, they hardly ever sell any books. But there’s a bizarre collection of secret books that are not sold, but lent to a select clientele. And Penumbra has very specific rules regarding these dealings. Sloan’s novel begins as Clay’s quest to understand the mysteries of his new workplace, and it expands exponentially from there. It involves a 500-year search for arcane knowledge, a series of trippy fantasy novels, and what Clay recons is a cult that “seems like it might have been designed specifically to prey on bookish old people—Scientology for scholarly seniors.”
Despite the readerly trappings, this novel and the characters within are Silicon Valley savvy. Well, some of them are; it’s generational. Clay’s love interest, Kat, is employed by Google, and that company plays a significant role in the proceedings:
“Kat gushes about Google’s projects, all revealed to her now. They are making a 3-D web browser. They are making a car that drives itself. They are making a sushi search engine—here she pokes a chopstick down at our dinner—to help people find fish that is sustainable and mercury-free. They are building a time machine. They are developing a form of renewable energy that runs on hubris.”
Elsewhere there is talk of e-readers. When the bookstore’s customers disappear, Clay wonders if they’ve all bought Kindles: “I have one, and I use it most nights. I always imagine the books staring and whispering, Traitor!—but come on, I have a lot of free first chapters to get through.”
If you haven’t picked up on this yet, the humor of this novel really tickled me. It goes without saying that I loved the San Francisco setting. (Says Mr. Penumbra, “This city of ours—it has taken me too long to realize it, but we are in the Venice of this world. The Venice.” Amen, brother!) Yes, Clay and his friends seemed very, very young to me (When did I get this middle-aged?), but that didn’t stop me from warming to the clever and quirky cast of characters that Sloan has created.
I would think this book would appeal to Jasper Fforde fans. Sloan’s novel is not a fantasy, and is therefore somewhat more in keeping with reality as we know it, but still, his is a heightened and more literate reality. In Sloan’s world, you could walk into this bar:
“There’s a stack of books on the table and a metal cup with pointy pencils that smell fresh and sharp. In the stack, there are copies of Moby-Dick, Ulysses, The Invisible Man—this is a bar for bibliophiles.”
That’s a world that I was oh-so-happy to spend time in! I was, in fact, sorry to leave. Mr. Sloan, I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
Ladyslott said: ★★★★
This was a feel good book from start to finish.
Clay Jannon is a victim of the financial meltdown of recent years. Out of work as a web designer he takes a job at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, a very unusual store that has very few paying customers and a group of customers that only come in to borrow books from the ‘other store’ in the back. With a lot of time on his hands Clay begins nosing around and soon finds himself knee deep in a mystery, a secret society, code-breaking and more. But the Da Vinci code it is not. It is firmly set in modern times, right in the heart of Google country, but the mystery goes back hundreds of years.
This is a book lover’s book, but it is also a book for nerds. The love of books, both written and electronic; using computers and the almighty Google to help crack the code; a secret society in an underground vault in NYC; a much loved sci-fi author who was once a member of the society; the search for immortality; 3D computer visualization; a love story; friendship and an adventure that changes all the parties involved.
The mystery is clever; the characters are fun, quirky and believable. The book reminded me a lot of Ready Player One, which I read early this year; it has that same love of the kids who played Dungeons and Dragons and somehow use that knowledge to save the world! It was fun, fun, fun.
JudithG said: 4 stars
It’s difficult to classify this one. It’s contemporary fiction, taking place in San Francisco and New York with a cast of characters who are mostly of my niece’s generation; late 20’s, early 30’s, they are dealing with the realities of an economic recession. But the bookstore, that 24 hour book store; it’s from another era. It holds secrets and obsessions. It’s a mystery with just a suggestion of fantasy. This is a book that bridges a number of gaps in genre, technology and generations. I enjoyed every page. It was fast and fun to read.
Leah K said: ★★★★
I try to stay away from books that are super popular at the moment. I tend to be disappointed, expecting so much more than the book can deliver. However, in this case, I am so glad that I chose to read this book! It was absolutely wonderful.
Honestly, I didn’t know where this book was going half the time and that was one of the great joys of it! It sucked me in right away and kept me in suspense from beginning to end, something that I rarely find. I really enjoyed the characters; they were all well-rounded and likable. The settings and the storyline were just as enjoyable and it’s hard for a bibliophile to not enjoy a well written story about books and bookstores, I mean, come on! It was a book about friendship, adventure, technology, and the changing world around us. The only reason this book didn’t make it to my 5-star club was the ending. I can’t put my finger on it but I was not fully satisfied. Perhaps I set myself up for failure, expecting something more grand. Regardless of this, I still loved this book and its lovable characters. I would have no problem recommending it to others.
spirolim said: ★★★★★
Synopsis: The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco web-design drone--and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey have landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything. Instead, they "check out" impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger. Soon Clay has embarked on a complex analysis of the customers' behavior and roped his friends into helping him figure out just what is going on. And when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.
Review: The one thing that really made me want to read this book in the first place was "24-hour bookstore". What could be cooler than a bookstore that is open for 24 hours? It brought back all these wonderful memories I have of studying abroad in England while my fiance, Dave, was studying in Oxford. In Oxford, they have this bookstore named Blackwell's Bookshop that's been around for centuries. It's larger than it appears on the outside, with four floors full of books and a large cafe with lots of chairs and tables where you can drink a mocha and read a good book. I loved that place and always insisted on visiting it whenever I went to see Dave on the weekends. At the university where I was studying, there was a humongous university library that was quite literally open for 24 hours. All the other students went partying at the night clubs and where was I? At the library at 3 a.m. of course! To top it off, there are loads of bookstores everywhere in England, something you don't seem to see as much in the States, and it's something I miss tremendously from my time spent in England.
When a book brings back such wonderful memories like that just by reading the title, there's no way you can't read it! I'll admit, I was a little disappointed that the bookstore turned out to be a place that I wouldn't be inclined to visit, but this story got me hooked from the very beginning! Robin Sloane's style of writing was different, very modern, and a little unusual, but it was still beautiful somehow. The plot is intriguing, and while the ending is pretty easy to figure out (it's nothing you haven't heard before), you still want to continue reading and find out. I loved how they combined the old technology with the new in this book; it actually makes you appreciate hardcover books even more, without harping about how great they are in the story. This book makes me wish that 24-hour bookstores exist, along with bars for bibliophiles (seriously, books at every table, to read while you drink, how cool is that?!) An excellent, fast read, one I recommend reading in the original hardcover edition because of the "surprise" on the cover. ;)”