Monday, November 28, 2011

Withering Tights- Louise Rennison

 I was looking forward to this one after reading The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, but I didn't think it was as funny.  It had some good parts, but it wasn't the type of book that has you in hysterics.  I think what I like most about Rennison's books are the slang- for some reason weird slang really amuses me.  I thought Tallulah, being Georgia's cousin, was pretty similar in a lot of ways but not quite as outrageous.  She was like a toned down version.  Her friends also weren't as ridiculous as Georgia's; they seemed pretty normal and she never made fun of them like Georgia is constantly doing. While Georgia would go crazy and change her mind about something at a moment's notice, Tallulah was more steadfast in her ways.  Altogether, she was a more mature character, but that kind of made the book less interesting.

The setting was very different from Georgia Nicolson's world- Tallulah is doing a performance art program in Yorkshire, where there is pretty much nothing. Well, there's a pub, of course, as this IS England, but that's about it.

Tallulah was also obsessed with boys, a little less obsessed with makeup, didn't break as many rules, and just couldn't figure out why she started doing Irish dancing whenever her mind went blank.  She was very obsessed  with her knees and lack of corkers and came across as misunderstood.  And she adored her older cousin Georgia, who gave her a fake mustache which she did in the end find a use for.

Withering Tights was more of a 'I stumbled into a performing arts school and oh look I found out my unique talent' type of story, whereas with Georgia, well, she pretty much lived in a fantasy land.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick- Joe Schreiber

I think it's just one of those things American teenagers do- they get these ideas in their heads that they'll fall in love with some gorgeous European and either a) live happily ever after, or b) have a raucous good naughty fun time that will make their friends jealous.

Perry was hoping for the latter.  Gobija was supposed to be some extremely sexy and experienced Eastern European Goddess who was coming to stay with his family outside New York City.
But she was more like a kerchief wearing mashed potato faced frump.
Not what he was hoping for.
And to top off the year of living with the disappointing foreign exchange student, he's forced to take her to the Prom instead of going to play a huge gig his band had in the city.
Enter the Transformation.

After Gobi's very blah prom attendance, she and Perry end up driving Dad's Jag to the city, and Gobi transforms into this vampish wonder of death.  Turns out, the exchange student thing was a cover for her being an ASSASSIN.  And a sexy one too.  Only, she sort of makes Perry drive her to to all her hits, and he gets in major trouble, and oh the blood and guts are everywhere!  But the whole thing is so ridiculous, the 'OMG, it's like he's puking blood!' is really more amusing than disgusting.

This is seriously quick read, and definitely enjoyable, but of course it isn't exactly the sort of thing with lingering  impact.  More like junk food reading, but not really bad.  It's like an action film you all go to see, but by the time it's out on blu-ray, everyone forgot about it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Darker Still- Leanna Renee Hieber

This is a book about a girl who falls in love with a painting.

Okay, maybe that's not the most accurate description, but basically, Natalie sees this painting of this Lord Denbury character, and somehow the painting is communicating with her.

So Natalie, a mute but pretty middle class girl in Victorian New York City, is introduced to the fabulously wealthy and somewhat eccentric Mrs Northe, who knows all kinds of amazing things about magic and spiritualism  and gets away with her weird meddling because she is fabulously wealthy.

Mrs Northe is very aware that there is something about this painting that is not normal.  She is determined to keep it out of the hands of people who practice foul magic as opposed to the helpful type that interests her.  She also discovers that Natalie is important to the process of discovering the mystery of the painting.
Most young women who see that painting act like preteen girls who scream about Justin Bieber, but only Natalie can actually communicate with it.  Even though she's mute.

Things start to get weird, and soon enough, Natalie finds she can go inside the painting, and while she's there, she can talk, too.

So a lot of the book consists of Natalie hopping into this painting and talking to the dashing young British Lord who is trapped inside.

I was somewhat disappointed with the book, which I had been looking forward to forever.  This could just mean that I need to read a different type of book, one that doesn't have a pretty teenage outcast girl becoming the love interest of a dashing and swoon-worthy man.  There seems to be a lot of that these days.  I'm getting a little sick of romance, I think.

The setting was pretty cool, however- I have always been intrigued by those stories about people trapped in paintings which do not get told too often.  They're so creepy.  I really like the creepy.

The story incorporated just about every form of religion and spirituality- Christianity was combined with Egyptian mythology, and there was all this Latin, so it was just all over the place.  I was surprised Buddha did not make an appearance.  Since Mrs Northe was just so interested in EVERYTHING, she was this fountain of information that wouldn't be useful in the real world unless you were taking your finals for a liberal arts degree.

This may sound petty, but I got annoyed with the characters because they didn't like Baudelaire's poetry.  I hate most poetry EXCEPT for Baudelaire.  And maybe a little Lewis Carroll.  But that's it.  And they're all, 'oh, how I hate Baudelaire!' and I wanted to be like 'man, you people are so SQUARE!' Though I suppose that they are Victorian, so they're just normally like that no matter what.  Stupid Victorians.

There's also a part about how someone is using Lord Denbury's body to kill people.  So that makes things complicated. And dire. And foul. So of course Natalie and Mrs Northe must use their otherwise useless specialized educations to solve the issue and free Lord Denbury.

There will be more in this series, but I'm not sure I'll read them.  I guess I thought the protagonists were too well-behaved and I like my characters with a touch of the nefarious in them.