Loft Blog
Bound / by Donna Jo Napoli PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 December 2013 00:00

title"Secrets could never be rushed. They had to come of their own accord, on their own schedule. That way, when they came, they offered themselves as a gift," (Pg. 4).

Donna Jo Napoli's Bound is a lush, at times sickening, re-telling of the Cinderella story set in China during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 A.D.). At its center is the orphan Xing Xing, whose name, given by her mother, means "Stars," a clever poet and talented calligrapher with a lonesome, sensitive heart. Xing Xing, (pronounced "Shing-Shing"), "whose parents had been devoted to her, despite the fact that she was born a girl," is treated as a slave in the cave where she lives with her stepmother and stepsister, ceaselessly ordered to perform back-breaking work and run errands through the dangerous countryside, no place for a defenseless young girl.

Xing Xing’s only solaces are in secretly practicing the calligraphy she learned from her father and speaking with her mother’s spirit, who Xing Xing believes has returned in the form of a large, gleaming-white carp with red fins in a nearby pond.

Napoli's use of the traditional Chinese Cinderella tale to depict the harrowing and brutal treatment of women in northern Ming China is inspired. In this world women are inferior creatures, treated as property, to be bought or sold according to a man's desires, and they internalize their status:

"Stepmother was fond of repeating the popular saying 'Better one deformed son than many daughters wise as Buddha.' In both cities and villages newborn girls were often thrown away, their bodies eaten by dogs and rats." (Pg. 27).

Foot binding from an early age is the norm, a woman's worth valued by the size of her feet, her limping gait considered "sexy." And Stepmother, so desperate to marry off her kin, goes to extreme, gruesome lengths (think bodily mutilation) to "beatify" her daughter.

But, horrors aside, there is real beauty in Napoli's tale. Her evocations of the land, customs, and spiritual beliefs of Ming China are exquisite; Xing Xing is drawn with love; and the familiar Cinderella elements - the ball, the gown, the slippers, the prince, the animal "friends" - are woven into the story with highly creative, beautiful ingenuity. And Xing Xing's ultimate triumph over her stepmother and stepsister is crafted in a shrewd final scene that gives Xing Xing real choice, and therefore power, while remaining true to the time.

One thing's for certain, though, in this Cinderella tale, there ain't no singing mice. (Jarrett, The Loft).

 

 
The Heartbreak Messenger / Alexander Vance PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 09 December 2013 00:00

altQuentin never planned on becoming the Heartbreak Messenger. He just ended up being at the right place at the right time one day.  He was eating ice cream with his best friend Rob when Rob’s older brother, Marcus, started to  complain about his girlfriend and how he wanted to break up with her, but didn’t want to deal with the fallout.  Marcus even offered to pay Rob to do it and when Rob refused, Quentin offered because who’s going to pass up $20?

Soon word gets out about the Heartbreak Messenger and Quentin finds himself being approached by all different characters wanting his help, from the kind to the slightly scary.  He raking in the money, but his new found job doesn’t come without a price. He’s afraid to tell his other best friend Abby what he’s been up to. Quentin knows she’ll be angry and plus he’s starting to see her in a whole new light and doesn’t know how to handle it.  The Heartbreak Messenger is a hilarious friendship story definitely worth the read. 

(Renee, the Loft)

 
 
From Teens for Teens: Finally / Wendy Mass and Clueless McGee / Jeff Mack PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 00:00

 

altFinally

This book is a great book because of the life lesson which is to not think about yourself all the time. This book was very entertaining and pulls you in right away.

 

(Sophia D.,  Nichols)

 


 

 

 

 

altClueless McGee

 

PJ MCGee has to find the bandit who stole the Mac and cheese! With third grader Dante, he solves the crime. He writes letters to his dad about how he used his private eye and ninja skills to save the day!

 

(Izzy C., Haven)
 
YA Quirky Rom-Coms PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 December 2013 16:54

Need a light, fun and humorous read? Try a book from this list of quirky romantic comedies featuring Ryan Gosling and books NOT written by John Green! - See more at: http://evanston.bibliocommons.com/list/show/81082369_eplyaservices/217534415#sthash.6cgudhPZ.dpuf

Need a light, fun and humorous read? Try a book from this list of quirky romantic comedies featuring Ryan Gosling and books NOT written by John Green! - See more at: http://evanston.bibliocommons.com/list/show/81082369_eplyaservices/217534415#sthash.6cgudhPZ.dpufNeed a light, fun and humorous read? Try a book from this list of quirky romantic comedies featuring Ryan Gosling and books NOT written by John Green!

Need a light, fun and humorous read? Try a book from this list of quirky romantic comedies featuring Ryan Gosling and books NOT written by John Green!

 

titleAmy and Roger's Epic Detour

Written by Morgan Matson

After the death of her father, Amy, a high school student, and Roger, a college freshman, set out on a carefully planned road trip from California to Connecticut, but wind up taking many detours, forcing Amy to face her worst fears and come to terms with her grief and guilt. - See more at: http://evanston.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1722419035_amy_amp_rogers_epic_detour#sthash.TkyeoPYe.dpuf
After the death of her father, Amy, a high school student, and Roger, a college freshman, set out on a carefully planned road trip from California to Connecticut, but wind up taking many detours, forcing Amy to face her worst fears and come to terms with her grief and guilt. - See more at: http://evanston.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1722419035_amy_amp_rogers_epic_detour#sthash.TkyeoPYe.dpuf

 

 

After the death of her father, Amy, a high school student, and Roger, a college freshman, set out on a carefully planned road trip from California to Connecticut, but wind up taking many detours, forcing Amy to face her worst fears and come to terms with her grief and guilt. - See more at: http://evanston.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1722419035_amy_amp_rogers_epic_detour#sthash.TkyeoPYe.dpuf

 

After the death of her father, Amy, a high school student, and Roger, a college freshman, set out on a carefully planned road trip from California to Connecticut, but wind up taking many detours, forcing Amy to face her worst fears and come to terms with her grief and guilt. 

 

 

 

 

titleLars & the Real Girl

directed by Craig Gillespie

 

Lars is a sweet but quirky guy who thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in a life-sized doll named Bianca. He is content with his artificial girlfriend until he develops feelings for Margo, an attractive co-worker. Now Lars finds himself in a unique love triangle, hoping to somehow discover the real meaning of true love.

 

 

 

titleEleanor & Park 

Written by Rainbow Rowell (a lady from Omaha, NE like myself!)

 

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

 

 

 

 

For more quirky, fun but heart-warming reads, check out the rest of the list @ YA Quirky Rom-Coms

 

(Ashley, the Loft)

 

 
The Diviners / Libba Bray PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 December 2013 00:00

altSerial killers, dark magic, flappers, speakeasies, romance, premonitions, suspense and thrills.  The Diviners, by Libba Bray encapsulates all of those things and more.  Set in the 1920’s during prohibition and the rise of flappers, the book revolves around a whole set of diverse characters, but much of story is rooted around one character, the witty, beautiful, slightly selfish,  Evie O’Neil.  Evie is sent to New York to live with her bachelor uncle after she humiliates her family back in Ohio.  Evie’s uncle Will, along with his assistant Jericho oversee a museums filled magical objects and things related to the occult.  Evie wants to make New York her own, seeking out the hottest clubs, fashion and trends, but she has a secret.   

There’s Theta, a Ziegfeld girl, a true beauty and Memphis a numbers runner, who are running from their pasts.  But as grisly murders with ties to the occult start happening in New York, Evie,  Theta and Memphis find that they  may never out run their pasts or their secrets,  but perhaps they’re not the only ones.  With complex and rich storytelling Bray weaves an amazing and horrific  tale that leaves readers desperately waiting for the sequel to come out.   

 

(Renee, the Loft)

 
From Teens for Teens: Nancy Drew / Carolyn Keene PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 00:00


altNancy Drew and the Secret of the Clock

 

I loved this book, because it has lots of suspense.  I would not recommend this book for people who want fast answers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

altNancy Drew and the Bungalow Mystery

 

This was a great book because of its suspense and how Nancy never gave up.

 


(Sophia D.)


 

 
Enclave / Ann Aguirre PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 November 2013 15:18

titleIn a post-apocalyptic New York City where civilization was wiped out by plague and war, fifteen-year-old Deuce has only known life underground—in the enclaves. It’s a world of darkness and brutality where your choices in life are to be a hunter, builder or breeder. No one lives past age thirty. Though the elders claim wisdom and knowledge over the ways of the world, it becomes clear to Deuce that something within their words—and her whole way of life—isn’t quite as it should be.

 

So, when Deuce turns fifteen she pairs up with another hunter, Fade—a boy who lived topside as a child—to travel towards a city above ground that is rumored to be overrun by Freaks. They find the city…but also a truth that devastates Deuce’s old way of thinking. The Freaks, once feared because they numbered so many, are now becoming more organized as if they plan and think. On top of it all, Deuce begins to have odd feelings for Fade—feelings she isn’t sure how to handle—but doesn’t want to stop.

 

Find out how Deuce’s story concludes by checking out Ann Aguirre’s Enclave, book one in the Razorland series. Her story

continues with Outpost and concludes with Horde.

 

(Ashley, the Loft)


 
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