Sunday, December 2, 2012

Flashback Reviews: Best of 2010

For every book I read, I write a review. So far I’ve filled one journal and am working my way through another. It helps me keep track of what I’ve read, what I’ve loved and what I could have lived without. Every now and then, I flip through past reviews and reminiscence about the great teen novels that I’ve read over the past few years.

What I Saw and How I Lied – Judy Blundell
(Read April 2010)

Immediately, I was struck by the clear, creative descriptions that opened this novel. They easily transported me back to 1947 Brooklyn and then Palm Beach. I knew very early on that this was a great book. Blundell has a unique style and I loved how she wrote Evie, an innocent young girl that just wanted to be like her mother. Realizing truths that had previously been hidden, Evie took matters into her own hands and became a truly good woman through the course of this novel. Usually foreshadowing irks me, but Blundell used the technique wonderfully, setting up the mysterious, troubling turn of events with an expert hand. I loved how both messages (that I perceived) were present throughout the book and were understood in the end.

The Prince of Mist – Carlos Ruiz Zafón
(Read June 2010)

This was a simple yet magical story. Even though Zafón never told the reader where or when this story took place, I interpreted that it happened in an English coastal town during World War II. Though, he did hint at the setting by making a spider-killing task into a Holocaust metaphor. This novel was an easy but intelligent read, which were the primary reasons why I loved it. There was an innocence to Max, Alicia and Roland and their adventures which was amazing. Yet, Zafón didn’t treat the YA reader as a child since the back story was intricate and mysterious and played well into the character’s current world. I hope Zafón expands his YA repertoire with another entrancing YA read.

Adios, Nirvana – Conrad Wesselhoeft
(Read November 2010)

This was the best teen book I’ve read since “All Unquiet Things” by Anna Jarzab nearly a year ago and it was definitely one of the best teen books of 2010. The main character, Jonathon’s thoughts were written with an original flare and the descriptions were creative beyond belief. Wesselhoeft is a debut author who was inspired by his son and friends jamming on guitars and filling his house with laughter and crumbs. That was how he realistically created Jonathon, a troubled guitar-playing, poetry-writing, refusing-sleep boy who lost his twin brother eight months previous. Surprisingly emotion-ridden, this journey involved an aging World War II veteran, a toppling Velcro Kong, a Rickenbacker 366 and quotations from Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.” I loved the references, the messages and the great surprise in reading a super fresh line that really made me think and made me wish I had written it at the same time.

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