Monday, May 26, 2008

HUSH by Jacqueline Woodson

HUSH is the story of Evie Thomas, a girl who was and still is Towsiah Green inside. Her whole family has moved from Denver, Colorado to some big city, where they can stay anonymous. The reason of why they had to move and become anonymous was a difficult and confusing one. Her whole family knows what her father had done was right. But its too hard for them to accept, especially for her older sister Anna, who used to be the popular cheerleader Cameron Green.
Evie's mother, a primary school teacher, has now become religious. Her father battles emotionally with himself over the fact whether or not he made the right choice for his family. Anna wants to runaway to college and Evie just wants everyone else to be happy, together as a family.

I found this book a really touching one. At first I thought it would be some boring book. After reading the novel, I think it's a unique story, something we can but can't relate to. At some points in the storyline, the book becomes 'slow', but all is made up with the 'fast' points of the book.
If I were to rate this book(which I am doing now, ha)it would be 8/10. This book is not a normal book. It's an 'independent' book (do you get me??). Even though it's not all ghouls, blood and fantasy, it's strange.

(This was my first post EVER on this blog. Woohoo. Please excuse my excitement ;))

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"We're going to exorcise it"

The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones is an oddity, even by the woman's own standards. For one thing, it actually has somewhat of a clear cut ending. And if you're familiar with Diana's work, you'll know that getting a straight conclusion out of her is as elusive as getting Kiera Knightley to put on two pounds.

The Time of the Ghost is marketed as a novel for "older readers", meaning that it's a little darker, more twisted, gore-ish and with the more adolescent elements of crushes and infatuations (often the more dangerous kind). The whole thing is told from the point of view of a ghost. This ghost, far from being angry or tortured, is simply painfully confused. It doesn't know how it died, why it died, who she was or why she has ended up where she has. The only thing she seems convinced about is that she must be one of the four Melford sisters, whose parents run a private boarding school for boys in the English countryside. The ghost in question continues to observe the four sisters, almost in stalker-fashion, trying to find any spark of recognition or a clue that may let her know which sister she was while alive. And I'll have to end it there. It would be disgustingly improper of me to divulge any more of the plot than I already have. Like I've said before, the pure joy and thrill of reading a Diana Wynne Jones novel that you know nothing about, save for the blurb on the back cover, is discovering the plot on your own. Nobody weaves a plot quite like Jones, I think. Even in one of her shortest books, she manages to find a way to thoroughly befuddle the reader, using her good old ace up the sleeve ; the concept of time travel, which she utilises in a completely fresh way.

Another aspect in which Jones excels herself this time around is through her characters. Having less than a dozen main characters, all entirely non-magical, totally normal homo sapiens, and it would be a pretty mammoth task to make each of them rich, memorable, unique and entirely themselves, as well as having their own quirks and tangled relationship dynamics with each other. But she pulls it off admirably, producing what I believe to be her single strongest cast of characters yet. Her descriptions of them, physical and otherwise, are so powerful, and have such an impact on the imagination, that all their little quirks and characteristics stay with you long after you've closed this book and started on something else.

Yet another aspect of The Time of the Ghost is the stark imagery, and the constant sense of underlying danger and foreboding, and also the knowledge that since there is a ghost floating around, has the worst scenario already happened or is there still a way to undo whatever doom awaits the ghost, whoever she is? Scenes like the exorcism with the knobbly blue candle, the Scrabble game, the sacrifice of the chicken, Cart's cornflake mayhem, and Fenella waving a carving knife with her hair tied in bloody knots are the kind of thing that will stay burned in your mind for months and months.
You had also better be sure that since she is generous enough to provide us with a relatively straight ending, that the road to that ending will be as confusing, ambigous and as littered with vague symbolism as possible.
All in all The Time of the Ghost comes highly recommended, and is living literary proof that sometimes the best things come with the smallest page count.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Warning: Mature Readers Only

Like Hannibal, I give this book a rated R label due to blood, gore, cursing, and disturbing images.

John Dies at the End (or JDatE as it is called on the web) is probably one of the most popular online books in existance. With it's own movie coming soon and a publishing deal already, JDatE is probably going to come into your knowledge sooner or later. It begins with the main character, David (or Dave), fighting a monster. This is not the entire book, however. The real action starts when he begins to tell his tale to a reporter.
The story is riveting as David tells how he and his hetero-sexual partner, John ( of the title) accidentally took a drug called 'Soy Sauce' and are now able to see the other side of the world. . . The ghost side, the demon side. This is a horrible, terrible side that does not, contrary to popular belief, haunt houses. They haunt minds. That is what they do. And so now John and David (along with their fateful side-dog, Molly) fight the monsters whenever opprtunity arrises.

In my opinion, JDatE is one of the best amatuer books ever. It has an obvious 'spooky story' vibe and a 'new author' alert goes off in your head during the first chapter. But I was distubed by some of the detailings put forth and I would not advise anyone under the age of sixteen reading this without having a strong stomach.


Friday, May 2, 2008


Lena ia back from a rather long grounding and then losing the e-mail address! I will soon be posting about a particularly weird book that is completely free to read. So, until then, I have to go. I'll be posting about John Dies at the End tomorrow!