Friday, December 13, 2013

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Twenty Boy SummerTwenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Series: N/A
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Paperback
Pages: 290
Source: Won

"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
"Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

Going into this I was expecting something that was going to rip my heart out, I didn't get that. Sure the book was a sad one but I just didn't really get that into it. We start off with Frankie, Anna and Matt. They're all best friends and Matt and Frankie are brother and sister. Anna and Matt end up kissing and she thinks it's all going to be great until it isn't. Matt was going to tell his sister about their relationship but he didn't get a chance before he died. Anna not wanting to betray him doesn't say anything. You can see where the drama's going to start right?
The writing was fantastic, it really was. I just think it was me who wasn't a huge fan of this one. The choices that are made throughout this novel just really bothered me and I absolutely hated one of the characters.
Let's talk about Anna first though. She's a doormat. Honestly, she just lets Frankie push her around and tell her what to do because she's afraid of hurting her. I get it, Frankie's brother died, but she's really hurting as well and she doesn't say anything. And Frankie was the most vain, controlling, manipulative character. She really got on my nerves and I honestly thought Anna would have been better off without her.
I do however recommend this for a quick read. Sure it's got some touchy subjects but it's also got it's moments of pure fluff.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Battle RoyaleBattle Royale by Koushun Takami
Series: N/A
Publisher: Viz Media, LLC
Format: Paperback
Pages: 608
Source: Purchased

Battle Royale, a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence, is one of Japan's best-selling and most controversial novels. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television. A Japanese pulp classic available in English for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today's dog-eat-dog world. The first novel by small-town journalist Koushun Takami, it went on to become an even more notorious film by 70-year-old gangster director Kinji Fukusaku.

As someone who has never read The Hunger Games I can't really compare the two. Which I guess is a good thing considering I didn't already have it in my mind that THG would be better. I'm really not sure what I can possibly say about this book without there being a wave of spoilers, but I'm going to try.

This book is gory. If this makes you squeamish I really suggest you not pick this one up. The deaths are described in vivid detail. I mean one kid getting a hatchet to the face, pretty gruesome right? But that being said, I think there's a lot you can take away from this book. You can see what happens when a government gains too much power and can pretty much force a group of junior high kids to kill each other. You also really get to delve into the friendships behind these characters and just how much it will take to really discover who your true friends are, considering they may snap and end up taking you out when put under the pressure of the "game".

I honestly thought I would have a hard time keeping track of 42 different characters (just the students, not to mention the numerous other characters that were behind the program) but I was surprised when I could actually tell them apart. Sure I had my couple favorites, namely Shuya and Shogo, but I could appreciate the view points of every single character.

I really do think this book deserves to be read at least once. It's gruesome and horrifying yet there are the few characters who manage to retain hope in their situation. Don't let the blood and violence scare you off, once you get to the end you will be extremely glad you decided to take the chance.