October 9th Wednesday (7 PM) Under Wraps Group: This group will pick up one free completely wrapped book from the store and read it. You get to pick your wrapped book by genre and the first line of the book. Then you meet and discuss the books and pick up the next read.
October 16th Wednesday (7 PM)Fiction Group:The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
October 19th Saturday (4 PM) YA Group:Divergent by Veronica Roth
Viciousby V.E. Schwab is her first adult novel, and her book is sure to cause excitement. Her world of ExtraOrdinaries and the monsters that we bury deep inside us has been well developed and written in such a compelling fashion that people are going to want more. Victor and Eli have always had a bit of complicated friendship. Before Eli came to Victor’s college, Victor was easily the top ranked student and was given all of the special privileges that came along with that. Not only has Eli surpassed him in school, but he also got the girl. For the most part Victor can look passed all of this, but then Eli decides to out do him on his thesis topic. Eli believes that people become EO, or ExtraOrdinary people who are given a supernatural power, under the stress of a near death trauma. Naturally, Victor decides to one-up him and proclaims that they should attempt to become EOs. This is the story of what follows and how best friends can easily be turn into archenemies.
I really liked Schwab’s dark world. Not only do the characters have an evil side lurking within, but the entire atmosphere of the town seems a little darker and sinister. Schwab did a great job of creating a new mythology of supernatural people. In some respects I felt her “superheros” were more human than most mythologies, although the characters would be the first to claim that they are no longer human. It was really fascinating how the characters felt even more broken after they came back to life as an EO. You would think most of them would be relieved and thrilled with their new “gift”, but in Vicious the characters felt numb and had a lack of a conscience. I thought this was a nice twist to the standard supernatural psyche that tends to create heroes. Additionally, their darker nature was more prevalent than you would expect, but at the same time there was some good in most of them too, just buried. Scwhab showed more depth to her mythology by not keeping her characters locked into the traditional good or bad superhero. My favorite part of this story is the way that Schwab tells it. She jumps around from the present day, to several years early, to a few days before. This sounds confusing but it really wasn’t. Instead it made the reading engaging since you didn’t know how all the characters came to be where they are now. It was really exciting to piece together Victor and Eli’s past relationship. I would be happy if this a stand alone book, but I am pretty sure I would jump up and down if Schwab decides to continue with these characters and world.
When a book aimed at middle school kids combines real historical events and lyrical prose with a solid story, it’s a winning combination. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, by Gary D. Schmidt does it perfectly. Taking place in the very early 20th century on the coast of Maine, this book illuminates its characters. Though portraying a sad episode in American history about the effects of racial prejudice, even by clergy, the prose and characters stay with the reader long after the book has ended. The main character, Turner Buckminster, a minister’s son, says “I have looked into the eye of a whale,” and the reader understands this boy’s life will change in many ways. The boy then changes the lives of people around him, and thus the reader.
Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel Speakis a compelling and memorable YA fiction novel. I have to confess that even though I had heard incredible reviews about this novel I was reluctant to read it. I knew the subject matter was going to be intense, but I had no idea how well written and insightful the story was going to be. Melinda’s freshman year is not turning out exactly how she thought it would. Everyone is talking and laughing about her behind her back, especially her ex-bestfriend, all because she called the cops to break-up the end of summer party. However, no one knows the truth about why she called the cops, and once they find out everything is going to drastically change.
The characters are fantastic. They are all well developed and I liked the sarcasm and wit of Melinda’s voice. Halse Anderson’s writing style is captivating and I enjoy the way she told the entire story through Melinda’s voice. She still shows you how everyone is dealing with the events of the infamous night, but it is all Melinda’s opinions on how everyone is reacting. I think this made a delicate subject approachable for people to read. This is a great book to start a hard conversation with people and an excellent read.