Alex Flinn wrote Beastly, which many people are familiar with. In addition, there are several other lovely stories. A Kiss in Time is based on Sleeping Beauty. Jack is on a summer trip in Europe when he sneaks away from his tour group in Belgium and ends up in the land of Euphrasia. There he sees that everyone is sleeping and all of the food has rotted. He sees a very beautiful girl, who he somehow knows is named Talia. He kisses her and she awakens. At the same time, everyone else in the kingdom has awaken as well. But they are all confused because they have been asleep for 300 years and do not understand this modern life. Like the fun story of Beastly, this is a great modern retelling of a classic fairy tale.
Monthly Archives: January 2013
Many of us already know Eva Ibbotson’s work (for example, see my last post on Madensky Square). This book is a bit different. It’s a collection of short stories (many of which are only a few pages long) that are quite enchanting. For those that already know Ms. Ibbotson’s historical fiction books, there will be lots of parallels to many of the tales you already know. For those that are new to these stories, it’s a wonderful gateway to the world of Ms. Ibbotson’s historical fiction.
Many of you probably know Eva Ibbotson from her young adult books, such as Which Witch?. She has also written an entire set of adult historical fiction novels, all of which are excellent. Madensky Square is about, unsurprisingly, Madensky Square in Vienna, as told by Frau Susanna, who owns a dress-making shop on the square. She starts her journal (how the story is told) in 1911, and then keeps it for an entire year. It discusses the chaos of Vienna in this time period, as well as the stories of those people whose lives intersect her own. This includes her “protector,” a military man, as well the little boy across the street who plays piano all day long according to his uncle’s dreams of fame. As with all of Ms. Ibbotson’s novels, this story is simply enchanting and takes you immediately to this world of Madensky Square.
Beatrice is just turning 16. She’s grown up in the Abnegation faction, the selfless people, but she’ll get to decide at the Choosing Ceremony which faction she will live in for the rest of her life. She decides to join Dauntless, the brave, fearless individuals she sees jumping on and off moving trains. Each faction has defined characteristics, and every person is supposed to fit neatly into only one. So what happens if you don’t? This is Veronica Roth’s debut novel, and it is extremely excellent. Once I started, I finished the entire book in just two days. And to make things even more exciting, the filming for the movie version starts this Spring!
Ellen Hopkins has written many young adult novels and is most well-known for Crank. Triangles is a bit different from the others. It is still written in poem form, but it follows three adult women in their late thirties and early forties. Holly is a stay-at-home mom of three who is unhappy with her marriage. She sheds a lot of wait and starts to engage in extramarital affairs. Andrea is a single mom whose best friend is Holly. As she watches her friends marriage collapse, is it bad that she picks up the husband from the lifestyle she desperately wants and her friend is throwing away? The third woman is Marissa, Andrea’s sister. She has a gay son and a young daughter who has a disease that she can never recover from. And a husband who is there less and less. What can she do about her depressing situation? Like the other books by Ellen Hopkins, readers are instantly transported into her world and you can relate to every character, even when that means hating the character you just related to. Told from all three women’s perspectives, you get a complete story that seems like you’re hearing it from your three best friends.
In 2010 BBC asked the director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, to choose 100 objects in the Museum’s collection to illustrate the entire history of humanity. These were presented in groups of five objects per week on BBC Radio, with a theme for each week. This book compiles these presentations and edits them down into book form. The first objects are simple hand axes and he then works through monies, statues, pottery and more all the way to the solar-powered lamp of 2010. I had expected the objects to be woven together to create a complete picture, and this was a bit lacking. In addition, there were certain archeological sites that were clearly favored (possibly due to the large number of objects from these locations/civilizations found in the Museum’s collection). Overall, the book gave a good overview of the history of the world, excellent for those with little background.