Sunday, May 22, 2011

The TBR Back Burner Challenge: Round 5 Reviews

This month I decided to go with two YA books that I have continually heard great things about courtesy of the blogosphere. With this much hype will they live up to it or fall flat? Lets see.

EvilEva reviews...... Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. 
One night, in a porn shop of all places, Will Grayson meets Will Grayson.
Will Grayson is killing time, trying out his new fake ID after being ditched by his friends.
The other Will Grayson is there to meet the boy of his dreams (and IMs) Isaac, for the very first time.
But when Isaac doesn't show, one Will Grayson will try to help out another with a little assistance from could-be crush Jane and the fabulous, musical-loving, larger than life Tiny Cooper in this story about maybe-love, betrayal, friendship, chance encounters, jazz hands and allowing yourself to fall.

This book is so clever and witty and unique and honest and full of hilarious one-liners!
I liked both Will Graysons. I thought they each had clear, individual voices. And I found both of them to be likable characters.
I liked the concept of a straight character and a gay character essentially going through the same romantic hardships but in different ways. They both want love and want to be loved but at the same time they're afraid of it.
Will #1 likes Jane but he doesn't know if he like likes her. Except he totally does and they're so good together but he doesn't want to ruin what they have by diving into something he may not be ready for. But he also doesn't want to see her with anyone else.
Will #2 has fallen in love with a guy online. But the he finds out the whole relationship was a lie. He's devastated, obvs, until he meets Tiny Cooper. Tiny takes Will under his massive, gay wing and shows him kindness and understanding. And though Will loves Tiny, he's not sure that he's in love with him.
I liked that. It made the characters seem real. Love isn't just wonderful. It's scary. It's a leap of faith. And that's scary. I thought the authors did a spectacular job of showing both sides, the beautiful and the uncertain. 
I also thought it was great that one of the protagonists was gay. So often in books gay characters come in as the sassy stereotype, sashaying into a scene, making some pop culture quip and exiting in a flash of glitter. Will Grayson isn't a glittery guy. He's just a boy that happens to be in love with another boy. I liked that he wasn't just the one-dimensional sidekick that he so easily could have been. 
At it's core, this book is about love--- first love, false love, loving your friends and loving in spite of being afraid. And I loved it!

The Scale of Judgment says...... 4.

EvilEva reviews...... The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart.
Frankie Landau-Banks attends a prestigious boarding school known as Alabaster Preparatory Academy. During her sophomore year, Frankie becomes somewhat of a bombshell, nabs the senior boyfriend and discovers a secret society on campus. She also finds out that said boyfriend is a member of said society. And Frankie wants in.
But one thing about the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds--- it's BOYS ONLY.
And that doesn't really jive with Frankie. So if she can't join 'em, she's gonna take 'em down.
Masterminding a series of intricate pranks, Frankie is gonna make this a year no one will forget!

Dust off your Spice Girls CDs (or if you're A Young, google "Spice Girls," go to iTunes, purchase Wannabe, then promptly crank it!) cos this book is totes Girl Power-y!
Frankie is one smart cookie. She works the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds like no boy ever could. And yet the boys still won't give her her props. Stupid boys!
Frankie is an awesome protag. She completely outwits the Basset Hounds and relishes in that but she really just wants them to acknowledge her as something more than simply "Matthew's girlfriend." She wants them to see her as a worthy opponent (or ally), that she has a brain and good ideas.
But the boys are stuck in that old school, 1950s, Leave It To Beaver thinking of men make the money, have the ideas, rule the world while the women cook, clean, and make babies. i can't stand that type of thinking. So that kinda kept me from feeling the swoony-swoon for any of these dudes.
And for Frankie to be so brilliant, it kinda annoyed me that she really just wanted these elitist boys approval. i kept thinking "Frankie, you are made of awesome! Don't get bogged down in these nub's opinions of you." 
The story, on the whole, is about not being afraid to grow into who you are meant to be. Frankie says bye-bye to Bunny Rabbit. She is more than Zada's little sister. She is no longer just that adorable sophomore that goes out with Matthew Livingston. She's Frankie Landau-Banks and she's a force to be reckoned with.
Never hide who you are becoming. Whether it's a great debater. An ultimate Frisbee champ. Or a criminal mastermind. ;)

The Scale of Judgment says...... 4.

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