August 31, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: When Rose Wakes and Living Backwards

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and features books that we just can't wait to get our hands on!

Picks for this week:

When Rose Wakes by Christopher Golden

Amazon's description:

"Her terrifying dreams are nothing compared to the all-too-real nightmare that awaits. . . .Ever since sixteen-year-old Rose DuBois woke up from months in a coma with absolutely no memories, she’s had to start from scratch. She knows she loves her two aunts who take care of her, and that they all used to live in France, but everything else from her life before is a blank. Rose tries to push through the memory gaps and start her new life, attending high school and living in Boston with her aunts, who have seriously old world ideas. Especially when it comes to boys. But despite their seemingly irrational fears and odd superstitions, they insist Rose not worry about the eerie dreams she’s having, vivid nightmares that she comes to realize are strangely like the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. The evil witch, the friendly fairies, a curse that puts an entire town to sleep—Rose relives the frightening story every night. And when a mysterious raven-haired woman starts following her, Rose begins to wonder if she is the dormant princess. And now that she’s awake, she’s in terrible, terrible danger. . . ."

Some of my favorite books are fairytale retellings and this one sounds intriguing! I like the concept of her waking up and gradually realizing the situation without having any background for it. I haven't read much by Christopher Golden, though I have read Poison Ink, which I thought was okay but not phenomenal. Also I love the gorgeous colors in this cover!

Living Backwards by Cyn Balog (sorry, no cover yet)

Goodreads' description: "Nick Cross is not like other fifteen-year-olds. All of his life, he has been able to remember things before they happen. He lives every day walking on glass. One unexpected move can send his future spiraling out of control. One day, he makes a small mistake that causes a horrific tragedy and sets in motion a new chain of events. Suddenly, he can’t remember anything past his sixteenth birthday. Is that because he has no future?"

I quite enjoyed Balog's Sleepless and this sounds like a fresh take on psychic powers! Long wait though, right now it's scheduled for 2012.

What books are you waiting on?

Children's/YA Books That Creeped You Out

I came across a description of a book I read when I was about 11 or 12 that I found really disturbing. It got me thinking about other books that freaked me out when I was younger. These are books that weren't necessarily meant to be scary, but for some reason they left a fairly strong and horrifying impression on my mind (at the time). Thought I'd blog about it and see if anybody else had the same reaction!

So, I remember the following books as being pretty creepy...

Eva by Peter Dickinson
The girl gets turned into a monkey. Something about that just didn't sit right with me.

Wizard's Hall by Jane Yolen
There's a very weird secret at the wizard's hall and some pretty sick-minded people. I kind of had a horrified fascination with this book.

Castle Tourmandyne by Monica Hughes
The dolls come to life and the girl gets trapped inside the castle, from what I remember.

The Half-a-Moon Inn by Paul Fleischman

This poor mute boy gets totally mistreated by this abusive inn-owner. I believe I had to read this one for school and I seriously found it quite horrifying.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

I know this isn't the most obvious choice (being a much-beloved children's book by many people) but I found it a little too bizarre for my liking. Plus I really dislike bugs, and there were so many bugs in this book. I don't believe I ever finished it.

Nell's Quilt by Susan Terris
The title hardly sounds frightening, but the girl starves herself for a long, long time in order to get out of an arranged marriage. Something about her wasting away like that really made an impression on me.

And when I was really, really young, I found a few Robert Munsch books disturbing, in particular:

Purple, Green and Yellow - The girl draws on herself and the ink just won't come off, and then eventually she turns invisible and has to color herself to look normal again.

50 Below Zero - The boy's dad sleepwalks outside on a cold night and the boy finds him pretty much frozen outside.

So, thoughts? What kinds of books made you shudder when you were younger? Any books other people seemed to enjoy that you found positively creepy?

Top Ten Tuesday: Heroines

The "Top Ten Tuesday" meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. I don't know that I can really choose ten favorites so consider these just ten awesome heroines.

So, in no particular order...

1.) Tally from the Uglies series - She's flawed, for sure, but she's got so many great qualities - she's gutsy, she cares about justice and making her world better, she never gives up. She's a fighter. And even in the futuristic world Westerfeld creates, with all the transformations Tally goes through, somehow the reader can still really identify with her.

2.) Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility - She's a quiet heroine, but she endures a lot of hardship without any complaint. See my "Character Connection" for a more in-depth analysis of why I like her character.

3.) Isi (or Ani, she goes by both) from The Goose Girl - I love many things about this book, but Isi's character is one of them. She's strong in a way that isn't showy, she cares deeply about her friends, and she can speak with the wind and animals! Also, even though she's royalty, she doesn't think twice about hiding out as a goose girl and mingling with the lower classes (indeed, she's quite happy to make friends with them).

4.) Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle - Because after being turned into an old woman waaaaay before her time, Sophie grows a backbone and figures out who she is and where she belongs. And she doesn't give up on Howl even when he's at his most disagreeable.

5.) Ella from Ella Enchanted - I loved this book so much when I was younger (and still do!) I always thought that poor Ella had to endure a heck of a lot under that curse of obedience, but she has a lot of spunk and gets her happy ending eventually!

6.) Beauty from Beauty - Wow, this is my third fairytale retelling on this list. Anyway, Beauty's a great character because she deals with a lot of insecurities her readers can relate to (for instance, having the nickname "Beauty" when she doesn't believe she's remotely pretty). She does have some faults, but her love for her family really stands out. Also, she reacts to events in ways that are realistic; she shies away from the Beast for quite a while before she begins to trust him, and she is often homesick despite the lavish furnishings of the Beast's castle.

7.) Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre -  From early on in life Jane had to learn to protect herself, so it's a treat to see how she allows herself to gradually open up to Mr. Rochester. I've encountered some criticism of Jane (especially when she runs off) but I think she can be admired for sticking to her guns and not allowing herself to be persuaded into doing something she believes is morally wrong. She loves Mr. Rochester, but if she had stayed with him I think she would have ended up feeling terribly guilty and resenting him because of it. And hey, she comes back and it all works out in the end!

8.) Daine from the Immortals series - At first I thought of Alanna, but she gets a lot of attention anyway, and Daine is awesome in her own way. She's not a noble and doesn't pretend to be anything that she isn't; she's down-to-earth and very real. Daine's extremely loyal and protective of her friends (human and animal alike), and while she's normally pretty cool and collected, if you threaten them, watch out!

These last two are more childhood favorites than current ones, but I thought they deserved some recognition:

9.) Alice from the Alice series - I absolutely adored this series when I was younger. It's still ongoing, in fact (I think there are just a few more books before the final one) but I haven't been enjoying the most recent additions quite so much. Perhaps it's because I've grown at a faster rate than Alice! In any case, Alice is an extremely relateable protagonist; she gets into lots of scrapes and embarrassing moments and the reader winces right along with her when she does. She's a fabulous friend, and she goes through all sorts of phases that teens do as she tries to decide who she is and what she wants out of life.

10.) Anna from From Anna (lol) - Jean Little used to be one of my favorite authors, and From Anna one of my most worn books (seriously, pages falling out from use). It's a simple story but a sweet one, and it's easy to sympathize with Anna as she struggles to show her family a side of her they all seem to overlook. Also, Anna learns the power and value of literacy in this novel, and as a reader it's always wonderful to see that!

August 30, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (5)

This meme is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey and showcases the books we recently read, are currently reading, and are planning on reading soon!

Since I missed this meme last week I'll cover the past two weeks. The week before last I read and reviewed Nothing by Janne Teller and Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. This past week I read and reviewed Mockingjay (of course!!!) and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

At the moment, I'm still partway through Little Dorrit (though I need to make some major progress in this one, it keeps getting pushed aside for other things like Mockingjay) and Stolen by Lucy Christopher (so far it's been depressing and disturbing, but I keep hoping things will get better...kind of doubt it though).

Next up? Probably The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway, as it's waiting at the library for me. I've heard great things about this one!

August 29, 2010

Before I Fall: Review

It starts with a death. It's Friday, Sam is sitting shotgun in her friend Lindsay's car as they drive home from a party, when suddenly - it's over. There's a crash, and then she's falling through darkness. So when she wakes up the next morning, she's a little confused about what happened...and it gets a good deal more confusing when Sam realizes that she's woken up to Friday. Again. And then again. And then again. Sam can change the choices she makes during the day, but will she be able to alter the ultimate outcome? Or is she destined to die that day?

Before I Fall is like the movie Groundhog Day (which, by the way, I really enjoy!), but set in high school. It's a good thing Lauren Oliver references the movie, because there are certainly a few similarities - for instance, the various stages each main character goes through as they realize things about their situation, and "the other car will swerve first" idea. I'd never seen this premise used before in a book, however, and Oliver does a good job of making it her own.


I didn't like Sam at the beginning. I'm quite sure that was intentional on Oliver's part. Frankly, Sam starts out as rather self-centered and shallow with a frustrating lack of self-awareness. Not to mention, she has a tendency to unthinkingly follow along with what everyone else is doing (particularly her friends, and particularly the ringleader Lindsay). Sam does understand that she's popular - and she's willing to do almost anything to keep it that way. However, we are given a glimmer of hope for Sam's character development; there are mentions of a time when Sam wasn't so concerned with what everyone else thought of her, and she does have some good qualities - loyalty to her friends (though they may not deserve it) and love for her family, especially her younger sister. In this way, Oliver shows us that Sam is really just playing a part, but she's managed to act it so well she's fooled even herself.

Seeing Sam mature gradually throughout the book, and learn what she valued and how her actions affected others, was really enjoyable. She's not the most interesting character in the book - she's fairly ordinary, all things considered - but she makes a good narrator. We may not always like what Sam does or sympathize with her, but we are all familiar with the themes of friendship, popularity, and growing up that are important at this point in her life. Sometimes I wanted to groan when I realized Sam still hadn't got it (she's a bit slow on the uptake on occasion), but we do see progress, and that's the main thing. At the start, I would not have wanted a friend like Sam, but by the end, she'd become a person I think I would have enjoyed spending time with.

Lindsay was the only one of Sam's friends I really felt was a distinct character. She's the head of their little group, she's the cruelest of all of them, and she gets a thrill out of bullying others. So many times I kept wondering why Sam chose to be friends with Lindsay. After all, Lindsay used to make fun of Sam when they were younger. Originally it seems like it was just because Lindsay was popular, Sam wasn't, and when Lindsay invited her into the clique, Sam went. But over the years it's clear that a bond has formed between them (and Ally and Elody, the other members of their group), and their friendship has staying power. (Why she still wants to be friends with them I'm really not sure. They don't seem to go through the same revelations and attitude changes that Sam does.) Also, Lindsay has some secrets from her past, and they're connected with Juliet Sykes, the girl Lindsay seems to hate the most. Learning more about how Lindsay got the way she is, and why she is so hurtful to Juliet, helped me to better understand her character - though I don't have to like it!

Which brings me to Juliet Sykes, who in some ways was my favorite character (well, that's not true, I think my favorite was Kent. But that's for later.) She was the ultimate victim. For years and years she endured teasing and hurtful jokes from everyone; she basically had no friends. I really felt sorry for her - high school can be a pretty awful place if you're in a position like that. Add to that problems at home (her dad is rumored to be an alcoholic) and the reader can understand exactly why Juliet's lost all hope. The storyline surrounding Juliet is definitely where Oliver shows us the darker side of life.

Now, on to Kent. He's the main romantic interest in the book (don't try to tell me that Rob is, because he's not remotely romantic), but more than that - he's Sam's childhood friend. One she cast aside when Lindsay picked her, and she became 'too cool' for the likes of Kent. All of this time, though, he's still been trying to connect with her again, though she's made it perfectly clear he's not good enough for her. One of the sweetest parts of this book was seeing Sam realize what she's been overlooking this whole time by writing Kent off. And one of the saddest parts is that each day when she wakes up, she knows he won't remember anything from the day before, and she has to start all over again. I loved Kent, he was so adorable and so willing to forgive and forget!

I do wish that Ally and Elody had been given more personality. I think Oliver tries to do this by giving us some random facts about them, but I still didn't get a good sense of who they were. To me they always just kind of remained the mindless sheep of the group (maybe that's who they're supposed to be?) Also, I wish we could have seen more of Anna; Sam connects with her at one point, but I didn't really understand what makes Anna tick (and why she was doing some of the things she was). There are also a few characters (Tara and crew) that are introduced briefly for a day, but then not mentioned again. None of these girls had really distinct personalities and they all sort of blended in my mind.


Oliver's twist on the Groundhog Day premise - Sam's death at the beginning - really added to the novel, and made it a little less predictable. I was always wondering: was she really dead this whole time, and would nothing she did make a difference? Or was there a chance she could prevent her death and wake up on Saturday?

Still, since I knew the basic premise, I wasn't surprised by too many developments in the plot. There was at least one I-didn't-see-that-coming moment, but on the whole I would have liked a few more surprises. The book is more focused on characters - their interactions, their histories, their growth - than action, which was probably necessary given that Sam was so unlikeable to begin with.

I did have a little difficulty keeping all of Sam's Fridays straight in my mind. It wasn't so much that I found it too repetitive, because I liked seeing how the choices she made affected how the day went. It was more that I kept getting confused by what happened on which day, and I wouldn't always remember the details Sam would sometimes mention from a previous day.

I can't say too much about the ending without spoiling, but I was a little disappointed. It definitely makes sense and ties everything together - it just wasn't the ending I was hoping for. The solution almost seems a bit too simple, although I can understand why Oliver chose it. Also, the final moments of the story are a bit unclear (they're probably supposed to be, but I usually like to know exactly what's going on). I did appreciate how the epilogue mirrors the prologue, that was a nice touch.

Writing style:

This book was a pretty easy read, and although I often can't get into books written in present voice, it really worked for this one. The author did seem to have a penchant for shorter sentences, which when used too frequently sometimes became a bit irritating (but didn't detract much from my enjoyment). I had to flip back a few times in an effort to mentally straighten out the sequence of events of previous days, although as the book went on I kind of gave up on figuring out exactly what happened when and just went along with it. This problem is tied up with the nature of the premise, and I'm not sure what might have made it easier to keep track, but a bit more clarity in how each day progressed would have been appreciated.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 shooting stars. For readers who enjoy stories set in high school, characters who gradually learn from their mistakes, and seeing how even small choices can affect the events of a single day.

August 28, 2010


I'm so honored to have received the One Lovely Blog award from Alissa at The Grammarian's Reviews, Amber at Down The Rabbit Hole, and Kelli & Natalie at I'd So Rather Be Reading, and the Summer Blogger Award from Missy at Missy's Reads and Reviews. Thanks so much to all of you!!


1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.

3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.

So, this award gets passed on to the following great blogs I've recently discovered:

Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing
Tea Mouse
Under a Star Studded Sky
Cornucopia of Reviews
Book Hooked Blog
I Swim For Oceans
One Big Adventure
Brooke's Box of Books
The Book Girl
Confessions of the Un-published
Debbie's World of Books
Books in the Spotlight
The Library Lurker
A Reader's Ramblings
The Fiction Enthusiast

The rules are simple: thank the person who gave it to you with a link back in your post, and send this on to fellow bloggers who rock this summer. List 4 rocking bloggers to share this with, and post a note to them through their comments.

This one I'm passing on to:

Musings of a Reader Happy
Consumed By Books
The Bookish Type
Erika Breathes Books

Apologies if any of these are a repeat! Happy blogging :)

August 27, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (6)

This fabulous meme is hosted by Crazy For Books, and this week's question is: Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?

I do use a rating system (out of 5 stars - see the right sidebar for the descriptions). I know it never captures all the nuances that a review does, but it gives a general idea of my overall impression of the book, and whether or not I recommend that another reader give it a try.

Hop away!

August 26, 2010

Mockingjay Review: No Spoilers Here!

Amazon's description:

"Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year."

All right, so I just finished Mockingjay about an hour ago. Still can't really believe I'm done after all that anxious anticipation! Also, I can't believe that there won't be any more books in the feels kind of like finishing the last Harry Potter did.

Anyway, on to my reaction: this last book is very, very dark. You thought The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were dark? Think again. Mockingjay is ten times that. I'm going to have to tread carefully here so I don't give anything away...but it's a fabulous final journey Suzanne Collins takes Katniss - and her readers - on.

The book starts out a little more slowly than the other two (a bit surprising, given the cliffhanger ending of Catching Fire), and generally the writing is not quite so full of fast-paced non-stop action as the previous novels. This makes sense, though - in the first two, Katniss was thrust into the arena, where we can expect a constant struggle for survival. In this last, it is a larger-scale, epic struggle for ideals and values that we deal with. And Collins plans, sets up, and executes this well. It's true that the pacing isn't quite as smooth as the first two books, maybe because those had a given structure to follow, while this one branched out into new territory and covered a lot of ground. However, because of the first two novels I was now heavily invested in finding out what happens to these characters I've grown to care about - so it was all right that there was a bit more strategizing going on in this last book, and fewer impulsive reactions (though there are certainly some of those as well!)

We get to see more of some of the side characters introduced in the second novel, which I really enjoyed. Finnick and Johanna both make an appearance and it was great to see their personalities being developed further. And of course, center stage is Katniss - I don't know that I'll ever understand her entirely, but she goes through a lot in this book and it's impossible not to empathize with her situation. I will say that because everything is from Katniss' perspective, at times we as the reader don't get to see the bigger picture, because Katniss doesn't see it. Since this book's written on a larger scale, this was sometimes frustrating for me in trying to visualize exactly what was happening. (On the plus side, however, this is realistic. One person, even if it's Katniss, is not going to be privy to everything that's happening in various parts of the country).

I did have a couple small complaints. One I can't really discuss without spoilers (big ones); the other was that Collins was a bit heavy-handed in her explanations of the metaphors used. I generally enjoyed these metaphors, but thought that it wasn't really necessary for her to explain each one so very thoroughly. Perhaps this was done because the book's marketed for teens, and younger readers won't fully understand the symbolism. However, I like there to be some more room for interpretation on the part of the reader as to the meaning.

Finally, a warning: there are some gut-wrenching events that take place. Characters died in the last two books, and I doubt it's a surprise to anyone that more die in this one. There are twists and turns you won't see coming, and some parts that will likely be very hard to read. If there's one thing Collins does such an amazing job of, it's demonstrating the power of the psyche, and the terrifying consequences of someone playing on your emotions and twisting your mind. Questions are raised about trust, friendship, loyalty, morality, compassion, revenge, humanity...and everyone seems to have a different answer.

Moreover, some things from Mockingjay just keep sticking with me. And what better sign of a well-written book is there?

5 out of 5 shooting stars.

August 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Beautiful Malice

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and features books that we just can't wait to get our hands on!

This week's pick is Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James (I know it's already been released, but I haven't managed to get my hands on a copy yet).

Three versions of the cover, because I can't decide which one I like best:

Description from Amazon:

"An international sensation that The Wall Street Journal called a “publishing phenomenon,” this layered, poignant, and chilling novel of psychological suspense is the year’s most stunning American fiction debut. From its wrenching opening to its shocking climax, Beautiful Malice unfolds a haunting story in which people, motives, and circumstances are never what they seem.

Who is Katherine Patterson? It is a question she hopes no one can answer. To erase her past, Katherine has moved to a new city, enrolled in a new school, and even changed her name. She’s done the next best thing to disappearing altogether. Now, wary and alone, she seeks nothing more than anonymity. What she finds instead is the last thing she expected: a friend.

Even more unlikely, Katherine’s new friend is the most popular and magnetic girl in school. Extroverted, gorgeous, flirtatious, and unpredictable, she is everything that Katherine is not and doesn’t want to be: the center of attention. Yet Alice’s enthusiasm is infectious, her candor sometimes unsettling, and Katherine, in spite of her guarded caution, finds herself drawn into Alice’s private circle.

But Alice has secrets, too—darker than anyone can begin to imagine. And when she lets her guard down at last, Katherine discovers the darkest of them all. For there will be no escaping the past for Katherine Patterson—only a descent into a trap far more sinister . . . and infinitely more seductive."

It's supposed to be dark, gritty and powerful, and I often gravitate towards books with some kind of psychological element to them. Hope it lives up to all the buzz it's generated!

What books are you waiting on?

August 20, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (5)

Once again it's Friday and time for the hop! This fabulous meme is hosted by Crazy For Books, and this week's question is: How many blogs do you follow?

I follow about 100 blogs, and I keep an eye out for updates so when there's a post I'm interested in, then I'll visit that blog. My list of blogs I'm following just keeps growing and growing though!

Time for hopping!

August 18, 2010

Nothing: Review

"Nothing matters. I have known that for a long time. So nothing is worth doing. I just realized that." When Pierre Anthon decides there is no meaning to life, he climbs up a plum tree and won't come back down. Determined to prove him wrong, his classmates begin a game of making each other give up the one item they care about the most. At first it's small things - a fishing rod, a soccer ball, a pair of green sandals - but soon the items escalate in value. Yet the quest for meaning continues despite the price being paid, all to one end: show Pierre Anthon that some things do matter. When he sees what they have given up, will he finally admit that they are right? And if he does - will it make any difference?

Nothing is a book that makes you think. There are a whole host of deep issues and questions raised in this book that you'll be pondering long after you've finished it. It's simple and gripping and twisted.

Questions continually bubble to the surface as you read this book. What would you most hate to lose in your life? How would you react if someone took it away from you? What if it was something you could never get back? How do you define 'meaning' - and can you put a price on it? Does everyone know when something is significant?


The tale is told from the point of view of Agnes, one of several Grade 7 students in a class in the fictional town of Taering, Denmark. We don't find out until a few chapters in who the narrator is (or even if it is a boy or a girl), which distracted me a bit. However, Agnes does an excellent job narrating this type of story. Ordinarily I would wish for a closer understanding of the protagonist - we don't really get much of a sense of her personality - but the point of the book isn't Agnes. It isn't even Pierre Anthon. Agnes distances herself from the action, takes her role out of it, and in this way we see how each individual contributes as a member of a group. She speaks in 'we' form repeatedly, emphasizing a singular plural nature, as though all the children thought as one entity. While I would have liked to have seen how Agnes individually reacted to some of the events, I see how it might have taken away from the tone and message. Also, Agnes' distanced tone ratchets up the mysterious and disturbing nature of everything that unfolds.

Writing style:

Generally, the writing style worked really well to hook the reader in and keep them reading. It's meant to be a bit of a thriller, in a way, and I found myself needing to finish it so I knew the ending. The one aspect of the writing style I didn't like was when synonyms or comparative/superlative adjectives were used - they seemed sort of out of place. For instance, "Blue. Bluer. Bluest." If this had happened a few times, I probably wouldn't have minded so much, but she did it to the point of excess, where it ceased to pack a powerful punch.

Of course, this is translated from the Danish, so that may explain it.


The plot is simple but effective, but I wasn't too clear on the ending. No spoilers here, but I was left with some questions about exactly what happened. However, given what the book was about...perhaps that was intentional?

Also, there is some suspension of disbelief required on the part of the reader. Otherwise, all the practical sorts of questions will start occurring to you. Like, how is it feasible for Pierre Anthon to stay in the plum tree for months (without starving?) Where do his parents and teachers think he is? Where are all the other kids' parents, and aren't they getting suspicious about items going missing? However, do your best to ignore these practical concerns - they'll just distract you from an otherwise extremely engaging read. And anyway, if the author had mentioned all of those nitpicky details, it would have somehow lessened the impact of the important elements of the story.


So many topics are tackled in this short book: the innocence of children, or lack thereof as the case may be; the desire to be right, regardless of the consequences; the fleeting nature of our own mortality; the desperate need for meaning in our lives. Best of all, Janne Teller isn't preachy - indeed, I'm not at all sure that she's even trying to send a particular message in her novel. I think if anything, the author just wanted to get her readers to question their beliefs about life, death, friendship, and meaning.

Creepy factor:

Nothing's been compared to Lord of the Flies, but I'd say that it's more. Yes, it deals with issues of peer pressure, of children's behaviour snowballing out of control, and there is no parental influence to be found - but with Lord of the Flies I was just sickened, disgusted, and depressed. I felt all those emotions with Nothing too, but I got a good deal more out of it. It speaks to larger philosophical and psychological issues, and it handles them in a way that is less clear-cut than Lord of the Flies. It was pretty obvious what William Golding's point was; Janne Teller is a little more ambiguous.

That said, I have to say this is the most disturbing book I've read in quite a while. It is a YA but I would only recommend it to older readers of that age range. I could see this book having a stronger emotional impact than a lot of books that contain much more violence (and this book definitely contains some). Would definitely NOT read it before bed either!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 shooting stars. Read if you want to think hard about philosophical questions and be creeped out psychologically. NOT for younger readers.

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