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Homeland by Cory DoctorowHOMELAND by Cory Doctorow Book Review
Series: Little Brother, #2
Publication Date: February 5th 2013 by Tor Teen
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: In Cory Doctorow’s wildly successful Little Brother, young Marcus Yallow was arbitrarily detained and brutalized by the government in the wake of a terrorist attack on San Francisco—an experience that led him to become a leader of the whole movement of technologically clued-in teenagers, fighting back against the tyrannical security state.

A few years later, California’s economy collapses, but Marcus’s hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a crusading politician who promises reform. Soon his former nemesis Masha emerges from the political underground to gift him with a thumbdrive containing a Wikileaks-style cable-dump of hard evidence of corporate and governmental perfidy. It’s incendiary stuff—and if Masha goes missing, Marcus is supposed to release it to the world. Then Marcus sees Masha being kidnapped by the same government agents who detained and tortured Marcus years earlier.

Marcus can leak the archive Masha gave him—but he can’t admit to being the leaker, because that will cost his employer the election. He’s surrounded by friends who remember what he did a few years ago and regard him as a hacker hero. He can’t even attend a demonstration without being dragged onstage and handed a mike. He’s not at all sure that just dumping the archive onto the Internet, before he’s gone through its millions of words, is the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, people are beginning to shadow him, people who look like they’re used to inflicting pain until they get the answers they want.

Fast-moving, passionate, and as current as next week, Homeland is every bit the equal of Little Brother—a paean to activism, to courage, to the drive to make the world a better place.

Homeland by Cory Doctorow Book Review Overview:

  • Super nerdy book full of Internet factoids and cameos from famous Internet pioneers
  • The book is long and didactic and almost preachy
  • Inspires me to fight for my rights on the Internet

I listened to the audiobook version of HOMELAND by Cory Doctorow after really enjoying the first book, Little Brother. The book in general is super nerdy, full of Internet factoids, and even some cameos from pioneers of the Internet. (For the record, I knew none of them and had to Wikipedia to double check that they were in fact Real People.) But as much as I wanted to really enjoy HOMELAND, I found the book a little too didactic and wanted a speedier plot.

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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , | Words 588 words

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Every Day by David LevithanEVERY DAY by David Levithan Book Review
Publication Date: August 28th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |

Book Summary: Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

Every Day by David Levithan Book Review Overview:

  • The genderless main character makes you redefine what love means
  • Sweet romance with an undeniable connection between two characters
  • Beautiful writing; you will want to mark up passages

Imagine if you woke up in a different body every day, but was in love with the same girl? How far would you go to make this love work? In David Levithan’s most unique novel yet, he explores this concept as A wakes up every day in a different body of a wide variety of teens.

What makes EVERY DAY by David Levithan so ground-breaking is the fact that the protagonist is not confined to a single gender. A is genderless; neither a boy nor a girl. A does not feel more comfortable or at home depending on the gender of the person. Admittedly, it is a tough habit to break not to refer to a character using pronouns but A stresses so many times in the novel that A does not categorize as one or the other. I think that this is important because of the message that David Levithan is trying to point out in regards to love: gender does not matter. Love should be between two people. That’s it.

At first, I worried that I would not be a fan of the romance in EVERY DAY. The protagonist meets Rhiannon from the very first chapter of EVERY DAY by David Levithan. There’s an instant spark; they have chemistry. My biggest fear was that this would turn out to be a meaningless insta-love match. I was wrong. David Levithan is a talented author and he evokes so much feeling through A. You are instantly able to feel the connection between A and Rhiannon and it feels like they’ve known each other for a lot longer.

I fell in love with the writing in EVERY DAY immediately. David Levithan has written a book that will make you want to mark a passage to read over and over in the future. The writing alone was a reminder as to why David Levithan book is one of my favorite authors ever.

EVERY DAY is easily one of my favorite David Levithan books right next to Boy Meets Boy and The Lover’s Dictionary. EVERY DAY by David Levithan is a book that I can see myself reading over and over again.

Other Book Reviews:
Jane & Carin
Reading or Breathing
The Young Folks

About the Author

David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children’s book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , , , | Words 1065 words

You are here: Home » Makes You Think

WonderWONDER by RJ Palacio Book Review
Publication Date: February 14th 2012 by Random House Children’s Books
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |

Book Summary: I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

Wonder by RJ Palacio Book Review Overview:

  • Mostly told through Auggie’s perspective but also switches to the perspective of other characters
  • Inspiring and touching story; Auggie is such a delightful character to read about
  • Makes you think twice about how you act towards someone with a disability

There is always some hesitation in my part when picking up middle grade novels, because there’s always the chance where the novel is not as accessible to older readers. I didn’t have a problem with WONDER by R.J. Palacio in that aspect. I think that Palacio does a wonderful job of making her writing appeal to readers of all ages.

What surprised me the most about WONDER by R.J. Palacio is the impact it had on me in terms of my thinking of how I act towards someone with a disability or a handicap. Auggie is such an inspiring character to read about. His life is hard – there’s no doubt about that. And it made me sad to read about him. But Auggie is such a fighter and he tries so hard no matter how many obstacles get in his way. Auggie made me put my problems into perspective. My problems seemed so petty in comparison to the life that he lives. Furthermore, WONDER by RJ Palacio made me think about how I conduct myself in public. WONDER will make me think twice next time I see someone with a disability or a handicap.

At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the switching perspectives throughout the novel. For the most part, the novel is told from Auggie’s point of view, but randomly switches to other characters such as his friends. My dislike for the multiple perspectives was short-lived; I fell in love with Palacio’s writing style and I loved seeing Auggie from other people’s eyes. My love for him as a character grew even more.

The ending of WONDER by RJ Palacio gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling. As a reader, I felt like I grew so much with Auggie on this emotional roller coaster. His character was developed so well throughout the book and I wanted to give him a massive congratulatory hug at the end.

WONDER by RJ Palacio is the kind of middle grade novel that should be read by all. It’s not just a “children’s” book.

Other Book Reviews:
Poetry to Prose
The Reading Date

About the Author

RJ Palacio RJ Palacio lives in New York City with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. For many years, Palacio was an art director and book jacket designer, designing covers for countless well-known and not so well-known writers in every genre of fiction and nonfiction. She always wanted to write, though. So Palacio decided to just go for it. Wonder is her first novel. And no, she didn’t design the cover, but she sure does love it.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , , | Words 1022 words

I wish friends held hands more often, like the children I see on the streets sometimes. I'm not sure why we have to grow up and get embarrassed about it.
- Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss

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