Sunday, December 20, 2009

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

Cal is a carrier for the parasite that turns people into vampire-like creatures, called peeps. He contracted the parasite one night and now works for the Night Watch, an organization that hunts down and captures peeps. Cal's responsible for finding the people he infected, Sarah being his latest peep to find. Then he needs to find the person who infected him.

Cal finally figures out where he was infected, and meets Lace in the process. Lace lives on the same floor as Morgan, the woman who infected Cal. Cal discovers a lair in the basement, and some very interesting phenomenon...and drags Lace into the situation on accident. While trying to deal with that mistake, Cal realizes he was only told half of the story from the Night Watch. He then finds Morgan, who attempts to explain why she's going around and infecting as many people as possible. And Lace is in danger of being infected herself. But that's not the worst thing they'll be facing..

Cal tells this story with humor and fear combined. There are many instances where creepy is a definite factor, but suspense is built well and steadily. The references to parasites from around the world stops the story from getting too tense. A great twist on vampire lore.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott

Dani has been a thief her entire life, trained by the best--her mother. The arrive in Heaven--a tourist town with many rich houses--and Dani's mom can't wait to figure out the house they'll be stealing from.

But Dani isn't happy with her life. She doesn't like stealing. And when she meets Allison, who becomes her friend--Dani isn't sure what to do. Then Dani learns Allison lives in the house her mother has her sights on. And Dani has an admirer in the form of a young cop determined to start something with her. Add in her mother's sickness, and Dani feels pressure on each side to decide what kind of life she wants to live.

Well-written and heartfelt. You can't help but like Dani, and enjoy her interactions with Greg and Allison. I really enjoyed the story.

Bait by Alex Sanchez

Diego's in trouble. A guy at school looked at him funny, and Diego went a little off the edge and assaulted him. Now Diego is awaiting sentencing.

That's when he meets Vidas, his probation officer. And Diego, who feels abandoned by all the adults in his life, starting with his mom (who is still around), and finishing with his stepdad who committed suicide, finds he wants to keep talking to Vidas.

There are certain topics Diego would prefer not to talk about. What his stepdad was doing to him for one. What his stepdad was planning on doing to Diego's little brother Eddie for two. The scars up and down both of his arms for three. Diego struggles with guilt, anger, confusion, and hatred while trying to keep his head above water with the law, Vidas, and his own inner demons.

We often forget that boys suffer from a lot of the same pressures girls do, that they can be just or more abused by family members and by their own need to assert their masculinity as they get older. Diego struggles with trying to appear strong instead of weak and a lot of his anger comes from proving he isn't gay.

This was a fabulous book. It was heartbreaking to read Diego's story.

Vamped by Lucienne Diver

Gina woke up to...complete darkness. She died in a car crash--and woke up three days later in her coffin underground. Not the best way to start her undead life. But after climbing out of the grave and having Bobby (the geek vamp who turned her) bring her some new clothes. Gina's ready to make her debut at graduation.

Until she and Bobby are taken and added to Mellisande's army. Mellisande is creating a vampire army to overthrow the vampire council and have all control. Gina doesn't agree and has to find a way to rescue her classmates from Mellisande's control. All while looking fabulous, of course.

The story has a great premise, which really becomes apparent about a third of the way through the book. Gina shines at some points, but otherwise you have to work to like her. That could be intentional on the author's part. However, once the story gets really going, the action is interesting. The humor in the book also adds to the interest.

You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn

Miles is a seventeen-year old ready to be done with school, be on her own, and to find a purpose for the rest of her life. Then her cousin Laura commits suicide. The two girls were almost sisters growing up and the few weeks before Laura's suicide, they spent more time together, getting high and talking.

After Laura's death, Miles' downward spiral becomes more pronounced. Her mom heads to London, and her best friend Jamal starts hanging out with Laura's friend Bex. Laura's dad Jim starts paying more attention to her, along with her own dad Buddy. But Miles has to hit rock bottom before she realizes how close she is to repeating Laura's last act.

This story was extremely intense. There were times it was hard to keep reading, watching Miles slowly going downhill. It was well-written and an important window into the life and world of a drug addict.