Another. mostly enjoyable outing for the wisecracking skeleton detective and his teenage sidekick, Valkyrie Cain (formerly Stephanie Edgley).
Review under the cut, because I plan to go into considerable detail about a plot problem.
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by Stephen King
Started: February 8, 2011
Finished: February 11, 2011
I enjoyed this book the whole way through but especially liked the opening memoir section. 288 pages. Grade: A
Total # of books read in 2011: 22
Total # of pages read in 2011: 5,536
6. There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby Scary Faurt Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, selected and translated by Keith Gressen and Anna Summers (206 pages) A collection of dark fairy tales, which are strikingly similar to the grotesque, bordering-on-fantasy Southern gothic short fiction of Kate Chopin, Eudora Welty, and Flannery O'Connor, but in the stock style of faerie tales, using established oral traditions (such as urban ghost stories) in order to portray the external and internal tragedies of life, particularly in the Soviet Union. Beautiful, poignant, haunting, and imaginative, though certainly some tales are stronger than others (many tend to ramble or never quite get off the ground). But the best of them (the fat circus freak that becomes two dancing sisters at night, The Cabbage Patch Mother, The Black Coat, The Father, and There's Something in the House), are certainly the strongest and most moving. Grade: B+
7. That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton (159 pages) Bryon and Mark are the closest of friends, practically brothers. But something is changing. Bryon is starting to question the world. Why do people have to die? Why do kids have to fight? Why do kids do drugs? But Mark doesn't care and doesn't want to change. He doesn't care about people, about death, or about laws. Naturally, Bryon and Mark start to move apart as they grow into two very different people. S.E. Hinton writes a real, powerful, and even timeless (despite the 1960s setting) story about friendship and adolescence. Hinton's prose is perfectly accessible to young adults, and her material is not only identifiable and engaging for them, but also full of wisdom, without ever being preachy. Grade: A
8. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (337 pages) After the moon is hit by a meteor, life on earth struggles to survive against volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Sixteen-year-old Miranda, her mother and two brothers must also struggle to survive hunger, cold, and each other. An engaging "disaster movie" of a book, with all the appeal of the end-of-the-world survival drama. Though, of course, the science is questionable, and though most of the action is about the characters being hungry, the book is definitely a page turner and a great book for young adults. Exciting, interesting, and even thought-provoking at times. Mostly, though, it's just fun. Grade: A-
9. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents: Earth (The Book) A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race (245 pages) A textbook/guide chronicling the history of our planet and species for the benefit of future visitors to our planet, done with the hilarious and poignant style trademarked by The Daily Show, revealing that perhaps humanity's greatest accomplishment might be our ability to laugh at our own horrors and foibles. Grade: A
10. Tex by S.E. Hinton (194 pages) Tex's older brother, Mason, is their Pop's favorite, and yet, Mason hates their father, and instead must play father to Tex. With their father gone for months to the rodeos, Mason is forced to sell Tex's horse, and Tex is heartbroken. He soon falls for his best friend's sister, Jamie, and conflicts with their father. But Tex is about to face the greatest conflict of his young life when he learns the truth about his own father. An intense coming-of-age story that doesn't shy away from the difficulties of adolescence (sex, drugs, poverty, identity, and family). Well-written with a true-to-life voice not often heard in young adult literature, exciting and moving, powerful and poignant, this is another young adult masterpiece by the voice of adolescence, S.E. Hinton, whose timeless stories tell it like it is. Grade: A
2011 page total: 2107