So June. From what I remember it was cutting down some pine trees in the backyard and seeing a wide variety of movies. Oh, summer time when the weather gets horrid and the blockbusters come out. How I don’t actually like you at all. Give me Autumn or Winter anytime. I read a lot last month. Admittedly 23 of them were manga that I’ve read before.

Books Read: 44
Books Partially Read: 4
Books Re-read: 23
Books Bought: 6
Money Spent: $0
Books Borrowed: 17
Books Given: 0

Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: 46

Favorite Books This Month: Losers in Space by John Barnes, Brotherband Chronicles: Invaders by John Flanagan, A Night Like This by Julia Quinn, Underworld by Meg Cabot, A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger, Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter, Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, and The Girl Who Was On Fire ed. by Leah Wilson.

This is way too many.

Losers in Space is this awesome sci-fi adventure about the consumerism nature of celebrity and sociopath methods of obtaining fame IN SPACE. It’s about a bunch of teenagers with famous parents who need to make themselves famous too and so they stowaway on a space ship which then blows up and they have to survive a really long time in space. There’s also a talking elephant. I am telling you at first I was like, these people are horrible, but by the end I found it a completely enthralling story. Really good.

Brotherband Chron: Invaders is the second in Flanagan’s new series about some Viking teenagers, sailing, pillage, revenge, redemption, advances in ship design. It was good for the sophomore effort. I’m looking forward to the next one.

A Night Like This is the second of Quinn’s in the Smythe-Smith series. The Smythe-Smiths are a family in…Victorian(?) England–it’s a historical romance. I didn’t love it as much as the first one (or some of her other books) but it’s still good and has some awesome secondary characters (the girls the heroine is the governess for especially.)

Underworld is the second (seriously several seconds here) in the retelling of the Hades/Persephone story by Meg Cabot. I thought this one was waaaay better than Abandon (first book). The characters were better, the plot was better, it was more engaging all around. The characters are renamed Hayden and Pierce and they start out in the Underworld in this one with some mature (delightful) scenes.

A Midsummer’s Nightmare is the second book by Keplinger set in the same town as The DUFF. It is nowhere near as good as DUFF but it’s okay. It’s about a girl and guy who have sex and then discover their dad and mother are marrying one another and they have to live together for the summer. The back stories for these two were kind of poor and I didn’t feel their motivations. But I loved the reappearance of characters from DUFF and the easy fluff of it all.

Out of Sight, Out of Time is the…4th? or 5th maybe in a series about female teenage spies and their boarding academy. This was possibly my favorite of the series. The last one was mediocre/terrible. This one was great. The main girl, Cammie, disappears for months, loses her memory and then has to piece it back together to find out what she’d been doing and where she’d been. It was realistic and gripping and had a lot of great relationships/character development

Dead End in Norvelt is a semi-autobiographic tale of Gantos’ childhood growing up in a pre-fab community started by EleaNOR RooseVELT. Jack spends the summer grounded for cutting down his mom’s vegetable garden and writing obituaries for an old lady down the street who has arthritis. Christine told me about this and said she hadn’t laughed so hard in ages. I didn’t laugh that much but that’s possibly because I focused way too much on the death subtext (see my favorite quotes below). It’s not even really SUBtext. A lot of people die. It also won the 2012 Newberry Award.

The Girl Who Was On Fire
is a collection of essays by YA authors writing about The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Some of the essays are really thought-provoking and interesting. Others I had less interest in based on my personal preferences for literature and what I read it for. Still, if you like Hunger Games I’d recommend checking this out just to get some alternate viewpoints. I really liked Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ contribution, “Team Katniss” where she argued that being Team Peeta or Team Gale was stupid and she’d rather be Team Katniss. She made several comparisons to Buffy (which I also love) which were fascinating–on the theme of reaction vs. action heroines and self-sacrifice/living is harding than dying. ALSO she compared Katniss to Buttercup (one of my other absolute favorite characters–The Cat Who Refuses to Die. Seriously I would have been more distraught if that cat didn’t make it than I was over Prim dying.)

Least Favorite Books This Month: Article 5 by Kristin Simmons, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Immortal City by Scott Speer, and Fever by Dee Shulman.

Article 5 was this horribly written dystopic future with bad characters and plot.

The Selection is about a group of 36(?) girls chosen to compete in a reality show for the hand of the kingdom’s prince in marriage. It’s basically The Bachelor with some side elements of civil war. It was kind of a love/hate thing for me. I mean, it was bad and I kind of hate the main character and her inability to figure out who she loves (this triangle business is getting OLD, people) but at the same time, I kind of enjoyed the plot and the relationships between the girls. I’ll read the second one but I don’t recommend these to anyone else who doesn’t want to waste time of their lives.

Immortal City is about angels who decide to charge for their services. You pay enough and you get a guardian angel. It’s sad. Also it browbeats the reader with the message that selfishness is bad while simultaneously reinforcing how selfishness is special and gets rewarded. It pissed me off. It’s badly written and just a mess a lot of the time. The author contradicts himself a couple times like he forgot his own plot. I can’t believe I read the whole thing. I want to say I’ll never read the sequel but it’s possible I might be an idiot and unable to help myself. I hate myself for this weakness.

Fever is a time travel book about a gladiator and a girl from the 21st century who are destined and linked and blah blah. It took way too much time and unnecessary prose to set up the link and for them to even meet. Seriously it was like way over 200 pages before they met. There’s a surprising amount of science in this which was vaguely interesting but which the author seemed to be trying to make big reveals about when it was already obvious how the whole business worked. Will I read the sequel? Maybe. I hate myself for this weakness too. Just don’t read it in the first place. Learn from my mistakes.

Book Quotes I Liked:
From Jennifer Lynn Barne’s essay in The Girl Who Was On Fire ed. by Leah Wilson, “Team Katniss”:

“Sometimes it is about the girl.”

“Katniss isn’t the kind of hero we’re used to seeing…She reacts more than she acts. She’s not a Buffy. She’s not a Bella. She limps across the finish line when we’re used to seeing heroes racing.”

From Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos:

“‘How does a town die?’ I asked.
‘One old person at a time,’ she replied deliberately.”

“‘How can dying be good for you?’ I asked
‘When living is worse,’ she replied matter-of-factly.”

“‘When you are young,’ Mom said, ‘You only see how death affects the living. When you get older you worry about how your death will be greeted by those who are already dead.'”

From Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas:

“…I like being made to feel that she’s been waiting for my return so she can tell me everything. I like remembering that even though I can’t have everything I want, I’m still an extraordinarily fortunate man.”