Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Market by J.M. Steele

Kate is a senior at Millbank High School, and not happy with her life, but content. Then she finds out that every senior girl is ranked online through a system called the Millbank Social Stock Market, and becomes obsessed. She's number 71 of 140 girls.

So Kate and her friends Dev and Cal get together to change her stock. They change her image and she changes her attitude in the last few weeks of high school to see what they can do to change her stock. They also join the stock market--at $500 a pop--to invest in her. The winner gets $25,000, and they're hoping they can accomplish that.

This is not your typical chick lit book, however. There is a sort of happy ending, but not the typical-girl-wins-guy-and-everyone-is-happy ending. However, this is a very interesting story and ending.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mad Kestrel by Misty Massey

Kestrel has had a hard life. Her parents were murdered when she was four, and she has been on the run since then. Having magical Promise in her world ensures a quick trip to the Danisoba--one that you never return from.

But Kestrel has one more talent. Water nullifies magic--all except hers. In order to stay safe, she became a pirate, hiding her secret from the crew and living under the protection of her captain. Until he is arrested for a crime he didn't actually commit. Now with the threat of his hanging over her head, Kestrel embarks on a daring mission that will reveal her abilities to her enemies and her friends. She must try to save the captain and the king without falling victim to those who hunt her for their own reasons.

The ending of this novel wrapped up a bit too quickly, but the story itself was action-packed and well described. An interesting tale of a strong young woman determined to make her own destiny.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Earth has been taken over by aliens who call themselves souls. They take over human bodies (the organism that effects the environment the most) and live out their life in that guise.

Wanderer, one of the most experienced souls, has requested an adult body, almost unheard of in her day. Adults are the more difficult to control, as they have been influenced by outside forces for longer than children. As one of the strongest souls in their society, Wanderer is expected to use her new body to find the hidden pockets of resistance and help make Earth more peaceful.

What no one expects is that Melanie is very much alive in her own body. Shunted off to the side by Wanderer's soul, Melanie clutches on to her very being--unwilling or unable to let go completely. As she and Wanderer spend more time together, however, Wanderer begins to understand the complexities behind human existence. Forced to see the evil nature of her own species through the eyes of the very organisms she has been trained to discard, Wanderer cannot resist Melanie's pull to find her family and help them survive.

Even though this book is primarily science fiction, it has appeal across all genres as it examines what it means to be human. There are definitely some slower parts to the novel--Meyer has written three teen novels--this is her first adult attempt. The examination of what makes us human, and what can still be admired about our own species is a nice change from everyday life.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin

Lavinia tells the story of Lavinia, a young woman in the early days of Italy. She is the foretold wife of Aeneas, one of the survivors of the Trojan War. Virgil spoke of her in his epic poem, The Aeneid, but she had no voice.

Le Guin has corrected that error and tells Lavinia's story in her own voice. Lavinia is the daughter of a king, and must choose between a horde of suitors all wanting her lands and her wealth. Lavinia, however, knows there is a foreigner coming for her, one from a distant land. She knows this because she has been visited by someone she calls 'the poet'--Virgil. After speaking with her, Virgil wishes he had corrected his story when he had the chance.

Lavinia's story is a story of love, passion, politics, religion, and the strength of a young woman determined to decide her own fate.