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Entries from Feb 2010

Diana Peterfreund: Rites of Spring (Break): An Ivy League Novel

25 Feb 2010 · No Comments

Rites of Spring Break is another frothy cocktail in Peterfreund’s Ivy League series, following Secret Society Girl and Under the Rose, and mixed up according to the same recipe which is roughly:

1 part coming-of-age novel (protracted)
1 part feminist subtext
1 part formalized presentation (every chapter has an “I Confess…” header; text incorporates ordered lists and the [...]

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Tags: p-author · r-title · young adult

Karen Novak: Innocence

23 Feb 2010 · No Comments

Karen Novak’s creepy suspense novel Innocence impressed me on several levels. It has some vividly drawn characters, and a twisty plot that managed to surprise me more than once. It has an unusual structure, employing shifts of narrative perspective and chronology to build dramatic tension. And Novak’s prose evinces both an eye for interesting detail [...]

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Tags: i-title · n-author · suspense

Lauren McLaughlin: Cycler

22 Feb 2010 · No Comments

Cycler has an inventive premise: for most of every month Jill McTeague is a more-or-less normal teenage girl, but for four days she physically turns into a male. (The novel doesn’t explicitly deal with how this came about, although it drops some clues. I suspect McLaughlin will address it directly in a future volume*.) Jill [...]

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Tags: c-title · m-author · young adult

Jon Krakauer: Under the Banner of Heaven

19 Feb 2010 · No Comments

Krakauer’s creepy, gripping book uses a brutal double murder committed by Mormon fundamentalists as a vehicle for exploring the convoluted history of Mormonism, with a special emphasis on the Mormon church’s ambivalent relationship over time with polygamy and with direct personal revelation. (I never knew, for instance, that although Joseph Smith practiced polygamy himself, he [...]

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Tags: history · k-author · u-title

Laurie Viera Rigler: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict

18 Feb 2010 · No Comments

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict is the flip side of Rigler’s Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict: the earlier novel cast 21st-century Courtney Stone’s mind into the body of a young woman in early 19th-century England. This (much better) novel brings the unfortunately (if significantly) named Jane Mansfield’s persona forward to modern Los [...]

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Tags: fantasy · r-author · r-title

Cassandra Clare: City of Ashes

16 Feb 2010 · No Comments

Mostly I thought City of Ashes was a vast improvement on City of Bones. It had a few nifty surprises. The plot continues to echo elements from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Harry Potter series, and Star Wars, among other sources, but generally doesn’t draw enough from any one of those wells to feel overly [...]

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Tags: c-author · c-title · fantasy · young adult

Daniel Waters: Generation Dead

07 Feb 2010 · No Comments

I think the combination of the current young adult publishing climate and the packaging of Generation Dead do Daniel Waters’ novel a disservice.
For better or worse, in the wake of Twilight’s success (not to mention Harry Potter’s, Buffy’s and the more explicit books of Hamilton’s, Harris’s, et al) there’s a lot of supernaturally-themed young adult [...]

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Tags: fantasy · g-title · w-author · young adult

Timothy Zahn: Night Train to Rigel

03 Feb 2010 · No Comments

Night Train to Rigel’s unusual premise sounds a little jokey, but Zahn plays it (mostly) straight: interstellar travel is accomplished with trains that travel along a sort of hyperspace railway. Frank Compton is an ex-intelligence agent who finds himself embroiled in one of those mysteries that’s bigger than it first appears, and which ultimately affords [...]

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Tags: mystery · n-title · science fiction · z-author