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Cher-y-lynne {sher-uhl-lin} –noun 1. One who formerly sold and recommended children’s books at a bookstore; a specialist in young adult, middle grade, and picture books. 2. A para-educator at a middle school. 3. A struggling young adult writer. 4. A lover of chocolate and popcorn. Archaic: An Audiology and Speech Language Pathology major at Brigham Young University. Questions? Suggestions? Books you'd like me to review? E-mail me at cherylynne1 (at) gmail (dot) com.
This is a blog for my ranting, raving, and occasionally brilliant opinions. You have been warned. Enter at your own risk.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nameless Book Review #4

Book #10

Not impressed….the slang constantly took me out of the story. Also, I didn’t realize the setting until I was halfway through the book. The plot was fairly uninteresting, though it did pick up a little at the end. And why were there three mini-climaxes? I want one big climax! Come on, people, give me a solid story arc!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nameless Book Review #3

Okay...so I can't tell you what I didn't like about Book #9, because that would give away what book it was.

I'll just say this...It's been awhile since I've been this excited about a concept, and I was SO disappointed. *sigh*

Books #10 and #11 aren't looking too promising either, but I'll push through!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Book Review: The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Baratz-Logsted, Lauren. The Twin’s Daughter. New York: Bloomsbury, 2010.

I could her her step growing closer to the doorway, and I rose from my seat thinking to go to her, to warn her somehow first—although warn her of what exactly, I couldn’t say—but her energetic glide was too quick for me and as she blew into the room, the woman who had been seated across from me rose as well.

I stood between them looking from one to the other: the one who was dressed and coiffed in a way that showed she had every advantage in the world—my beautiful, gorgeous mother—and her mirror image, but dressed and coiffed far differently. I can say with near certainty that I am the only child in the world who can claim she was there the first time her mother met her twin.

My mother fainted dead away.

Lucy’s mother and her Aunt Helen were separated at birth…but now Aunt Helen has found her twin, and is determined to find her rightful place in society.

But there are darker motivations at work…and if Lucy fails to uncover them, she could become the next victim.

Another one that I loved!! It’s sort of like Little Women meets Edgar Allen Poe. Creepy. Twisted. Brilliant.

I kept thinking I had it all figured out. I kept being wrong. It had my favorite feature of a well-written novel…not one wasted word. Everything was there because it was essential to the climax. This is the first novel of this length that I’ve ever seen do that. It was so incredibly impressive to me.

I loved the characters I was supposed to love, I hated the characters I was supposed to hate, I was confused about nearly everyone else…just as the author intended. I fell for every red herring, like I was supposed to. It was amazing, knowing that the author could control me the way she did. Brava, Lauren Baratz-Logsted.

Yay for Book #8!

Book Review: Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

Vivan, Siobhan. Not That Kind of Girl, New York: Push, 2010.

“Hey! Come on, Natalie. I’m only kidding with you.” His smile lengthened into a sneer. “You could never give me a hard-on. You’re like…dick repellant.”

Anger burned hot through my body, and I gripped the sides of my chair. Mike Domski wanted to hurt me, and the best way he knew was to call me ugly. I hated that, despite the fact that I would rather eat vomit than touch a hair on Mike’s head, it worked. It took all my self-control not to hock the biggest, wettest ball of spit right between Mike’s eyes.

Natalie has the perfect plan for senior year. She’s going to get elected to student body president, still get perfect grades, and get into every college she applies to. She and Autumn will stay just as close as ever. And no boys will get in the way.

Then Spencer comes along…a girl who isn’t even remotely afraid to show off her sexuality. And Natalie finds herself wanting to save her, to show Spencer what people are saying, and convince her that taking your shirt off in the middle of a crowded hallway is the wrong way to get attention. Which should be easy—if Natalie could stop getting distracted by a boy that is wrong for her in every way.

I loved this novel, and I’m not sure why. I know I definitely related to the main character…but I’m pretty sure that to most people, Natalie would be sort of unlikeable. Hmm. I’m not going to think about what that says about me. Link

Also, I loved the take on feminism. Both sides of the argument are brought up, and I think they’re dealt with well. It’s clear that the author is on one side of the fence, but I think you can read it and not cross over.

The voice was vibrant, the characters are memorable, and the overall plot is done well. I had some trouble putting this one down. As a warning, there is some sexual content. I thought it was tasteful, but I can definitely see some controversy for conservative areas or younger readers.

Back on track with Book #7!

Buy this book now!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nameless Book Review #2

Book #6

Ugh. That's all I have to say.

I'm just kidding. I always have more to say.

It was predictable, it was BORING, and it was utterly unoriginal. Nothing I hadn't read before. I finished it, just to see if it would redeem itself...it didn't. I was so happy to get to the last page. It reads like a first draft, and I'm wondering if an editor ever got a chance to even glance at it.

Seriously, how do these books get published?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nameless Book Reviews #1

I didn't love the last two books that I read for the panel. I'm not going to tell you which books they were...but I am going to say what I didn't like.

Book 4:

Well, first off, I wasn’t thrilled with the character’s voice. I thought it was weak, especially at the beginning. And I know that she’s supposed to be all depressed and detached from everything, but I don’t think that’s an excuse to not have voice. Also, the plot was cliché, and a little didactic at times, to be perfectly frank. When are we going to see a well-done bullying plot?

One of the biggest problems for me, though, was how in-depth it went with tips on suicide. Don’t get me wrong, I hate censorship, but when I find myself deciding which method is best for me, something is wrong. Teens are much more susceptible to that kind of suggestion than I am.

Another thing I didn’t like was that the character wasn’t saved by any realization of her own, but by other characters that decided to like her, and not back off no matter how badly she treated them. Most teens won’t have that, and by not having it, will decide to go through with killing themselves.

I did find myself relating to the main character, though. I liked her. I thought she was sad without being annoying, and I liked that. Love interest was also very likeable. Every girl’s dream.

Basically, potential, potential, potential, and nothing more.

Book 5:

Again, lack of voice bothered me. It’s told from three different points of view. If you’re going to pull that off successfully, the voices need to be RADICALLY different. I could kind of tell, a little bit, but…not enough.

Also, the title promised more than it delivered on. I needed something juicy, something unexpected, something that would make me gasp. None of that happened. It was cute, it was interesting, but it wasn’t exceptional in any way.

It did have an EXCELLENT premise. It was the mystery that pulled me through the entire thing. It was just the execution that bothered me.

Let's hope I do better with Book 6!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Christopher, Lucy. Stolen. New York, Scholastic, 2010.

“I had to take you.”
The bed creaked and my body rose a little as you sat down on the mattress. I dragged myself away. I tried pushing my legs to the floor, but still they wouldn’t go. The whole world seemed to turn around me. I was going to slide off. I pointed my head away and expected to be sick at any moment. It didn’t come. I hugged my legs toward me. My chest was too tight for crying.
“Where am I?”
You paused before answering. I heard you take a breath, then sigh it out. Your clothing rustled as you changed your position. I realized then that I couldn’t hear any other sounds, anywhere, other than yours.
“You’re here,” you said. “You’re safe.”

At first, Gemma thought Ty was cute. It was flattering, really, to have a hot older guy hitting on her.

Then the world started to get fuzzy. And when she woke up, she was so far from home that she might as well have disappeared from the face of the earth.

Brilliant. Utterly brilliant. This is now on my list of all-time favorite books. Every word counts, subplots and descriptions double as foreshadowing and symbolism. The storyline is gripping, pulling you through every single page…and since there aren’t any chapters, it’s easy to lose track of time.

Ever since I finished it (in one sitting) I’ve been thinking about it. Over and over and over again. I can’t get the characters out of my head. I’m DESPERATE to talk to someone about it, debate about the ending, the meaning, the themes…what fantastic discussions you could get out of this.


Wow, how is it possible that each Cybils book I read is better than the last? This streak has to end sometime.

Book 3—Done!

Buy this book now!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Book Review: Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel

Oppel, Kenneth. Half Brother. New York, Scholastic, 2010.

Some of this I’d heard before, but it did sound exciting. It was like something from a sci-fi movie. One day people would read about it in Popular Science, and I could be a part of it. I caught myself nodding as Dad carried on, his eyes bright, his hands grasping at the air for emphasis.

“And that’s why the project’s whole design is so radical,” he said. “We’re trying to teach another species our language. Human language. So we need to raise Zan like a human baby, so he can learn language just like a human would. No cages. No labs. He’s one of us now. He has a crib and clothes and toys. And most important, he has a family. He has a mother and a father—and a big brother, too.”

Ben’s father is a renowned behavioral psychologist who’s just gotten his big break. Finally, a university willing to fund his experiment—to try teaching a chimp sign language. But in order for that to happen, the chimp must be raised as a human, which means Ben finds himself with a new baby brother.

Brilliant. This is one of those books that rings true in every way. The characters, the family dynamics, the emotions…I feel as though I’ve lived through this. I didn’t think there was any way Oppel could steer around animal rights discussions without sounded didactic, but he did. All sides of every argument were presented flawlessly. He manages to work in deeper themes without ever losing the tension.

This is great for discussions, perfect for book clubs. I would rate it as 13+ due to a few (very) mild sexual references.
Definitely a book to put on your "to be read" list. Go ahead and try not to fall in love with Zan. Really. I dare you.

Book 2 of the Cybils....Done!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Review: Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Henry, April. Girl, Stolen. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2010.

"Who the hell are you?" His voice broke in surprise.

"What are you doing in Danielle's car?"

Their words collided and tangled. Both of them speaking too fast, almost yelling.

Sitting up, she scrambled back against the door, the one farthest from him. "Stop our car and get out!"

"No!" he shouted back. The engine surged as he drove faster.

Cheyenne realized she was being kidnapped.

But she couldn't see the guy who was kidnapping her or where they were going.

Because for the last three years, Cheyenne had been blind.

Cheyenne was just supposed to wait in the car for a minute while her stepmother ran in to pick up a prescription. Instead, she ended up being kidnapped and held for ransom.

The story picked up fast and didn't let down for a minute. I loved the twist of the kidnapped girl also being blind. Everything, literally, was working against her. And yet she was still strong, a great role model for girls. Cheyenne has that Nancy Drew-ness about her, always analyzing her situation and finding the best way out.

I also loved the complexity of Griffin. Great character. I absolultely fell in love with him. (Should I say "He can kidnap me any day?" No, I shouldn't. Okay. I won't.) I love the way April Henry shows us his character...instead of saying "he wanted to be a better person than his father" she has him clean the kitchen, something the father would never do.

This is perfect for fans of Caroline B. Cooney and Lois Duncan. It's a thriller, fun of action and thought-provoking situations.

And Book 1 of the Cybils is finished!

Cybils 2010!

So, for those of you who don't know, I've been chosen as a panelist for the 2010 Cybils award on the Young Adult Fiction panel.

*uncontrollable shrieking and jumping up and down*

Ahem. Yes, I'm very excited.

So, let me tell you a little about how the Cybils are going to work. First, people nominate books. And by people, I mean YOU. If you haven't nominated your favorite book of the past year yet, then you need to. Just click here. You have until October 15th!

Then we read, read, read. We've already started. This is the part I plan on chronicling here. Every book nominated is required to be read by at least two people, and at least 50 pages need to be read. After that, we battle it out to come up with a shortlist of 5-7 titles.

Those titles go to the Round Two judges. They have to read all of the books shortlisted, and then they will make a decision about the winner.

Are you all psyched? I'm psyched! This is going to be awesome!