Friday, September 30, 2011

The Near Witch - Victoria Schwab

Synopsis: The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget. 



The Near Witch is one of those books that just completely puts a spell over you. Lexi and her town seem to be straight out of an old German fairy tale or possibly even a tale that is told with flashlights around a campfire in the middle of the woods. Basically, Victoria Schwab is an exquisite storyteller and the story she's told here doesn't seem to be based off of a timeless fairytale, it seems to actually be a timeless fairytale. 


Lexi is an incredible character and I love the way she speaks to tolerance, even if in this case it's tolerance for the supernatural. Really, she serves as a connector between people and the things that they don't understand. She also speaks to belief in things that are hard to believe in and how to deal with loss. There's an awesome parallel between keeping the spirit of her dead father alive and trying to banish the spirit of the dead witch of Near. 


So, through the book when all these stories are told and children are disappearing, you get the sense that people are scared. Still, there's nothing physical to be afraid of. They're all afraid of ideas - of things that could exist. Then when there's actually something real showing up, holy wow. Between the spooky setting and the magic and all the stories, it's a frightening experience.


And Cole, the nameless boy, is just wonderful. He's careful and strong. He has secrets. Add in the fact that he's hanging close to the two living witches of Near, he's downright mysterious. 


This book wasn't what I expected. I don't really know what I expected, actually, but a chapter in, I was surprised. By the time I finished, I knew that there was no way I could have expected anything better than it was. This is such a wonderfully told, incredibly written story. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Books Released This Week!

Tuesday, September 27 
       The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Synopsis: Mara wakes up from a coma with no memory of the accident that caused the deaths of her best friend, boyfriend, and boyfriend’s sister. The doctors tell her parents that starting over in a new state and a new school will be good for her and that she should let the memories come back on their own. But Mara’s new start is anything but comforting when she sees the faces of her dead friends everywhere, and her world starts to fall apart. She begins to see people’s deaths just before they happen—at least that’s what she thinks she’s seeing. On top of that, the most beautiful boy ever is pursuing her, but his intentions may not be so pure…. Part thriller, part paranormal, this hotly anticipated debut novel will have readers on the edge of their seats.

     The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

Synopsis: Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—she is an Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat. A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha. With the threat of Eryx always looming, Jax knows he has to keep Sasha safe and win her over.  But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?
      Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Synopsis: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out. When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
      A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies


Synopsis: On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past. In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.
Thursday, September 29 

      Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Synopsis: In this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, two teens discover that true love may be closer than they think. For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door. When the family returns and Cricket - a gifted inventor and engineer - steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. 
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson 
 Synopsis: The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago. Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Looking for Alaska - John Green

Synopsis: Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave "the Great Perhaps" even more (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.


Can John Green do anything wrong? No. I don't think it's possible. 
I almost want to just write this post with a string of quotes, which I think speaks to the nature of John Green's writing. His way of wrangling the big concepts of life into characters and words just demonstrates his extraordinary power to capture moments in the most preservative way. If any words from this time were to last forever, they would be in some sort of construction created by John Green. 


So Looking for Alaska is John Green's first novel, but it is the last one of his that I've read. He started his career strong and has kept it going. He does seem to have a formula - awkward boy who wants to break out of his boring routine; wild, dangerous, and unattainable girl; an eclectic, but loyal group of friends; lots of epiphanies; and some form of a road trip. I do have to say the road trips get better as John keeps writing, but all the other components are there. Pudge is looking for the "Great Perhaps" and goes to boarding school to escape boredom. Alaska is simultaneously full of life and a deep darkness, sucking Pudge in like quicksand. And Pudge's friends in this novel are, kind of like Paper Towns, the best part. They plan pranks, push every boundary they can think of, fight like friends fight, but no matter what they support each other. 


It was very difficult not to compare Alaska to Margo Roth Spiegleman from Paper Towns. I think that Margo is Alaska, but John took her character further. They seem to have the same personality and the same darkness. They have that tendency to draw people to them, but never let them completely in. They're both just big mysteries - I think the only difference is in how they are solved. In Alaska the mystery ends with closure, but nothing is really solved. Margo's mystery is solved and there's some sort of closure as well. It is interesting to see how John Green took two similar girls, attached to similar guys, and pushed them in different directions. 


Well, Looking for Alaska is incredible. If you haven't read John Green, I suggest you start now. 
I need to quote at least ONE thing so..."When adults say, 'Teenagers think they are invincible' with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end and so it cannot fail."


And in honor of Banned Books week (I had to include a Vlogbrothers video...):
John Green and "I Am Not a Pornographer"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E. Pearson

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox has just awoken from a year-long coma—so she’s been told—and she is still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. But what happened before that? She’s been given home movies chronicling her entire life, which spark memories to surface. But are the memories really hers? And why won’t anyone in her family talk about the accident? Jenna is becoming more curious. But she is also afraid of what she might find out if she ever gets up the courage to ask her questions. What happened to Jenna Fox? And who is she really?


I have very mixed feelings about this book. At first I was completely in love with it. The story was great, the idea was wonderful, and it warranted my reactions. Because I definitely reacted to this book. My heart broke as Jenna uncovered her own story and I was indignant when she was misused. I was able to relate to her.
But then I thought about it too much. Partly because I just read this book for my YA lit class (YES! I'm taking a YA lit class and loving it. My life is a little awesome), and I was set to the task of simply journaling about the book. I filled up  quite a few pages with my ideas only to realize how simple this novel really is.
It has one major theme - identity. It turns out that when you look beyond the story, it's beating you over the head with - Who am I really? What is my purpose? How do you find your identity again when you go through a change?
Basically something that plagues every teenager. Everyone is experiencing change and I think Jenna speaks to that. Jenna is sort of an extreme case of identity loss and in that way she is able to have some answers to questions everyone has.
Beyond that though, I found the plot to be very simple...it was a lot of Jenna doesn't know, Jenna finds out the truth, Jenna freaks out, Jenna's parents explain it all away. This process repeated a few times through the book. The characters were very flat. So much could have been done with Jenna's love interest, but I didn't really get much from him. Like why did he even like her in the first place? Jenna's grandma is really cool, but again, she has little depth.
The entire world revolves around Jenna, I get that, but the world has to have some kind of substance. 
Even with my critiques of the book, I still really enjoyed it. It left me with so many questions and I'll definitely be picking of The Fox Inheritance that was just released at the end of August. The sequel deals with Jenna's mysterious friends Kayla and Locke, so that should be fascinating. I love the concept of Jenna, so I am curious to see where Mary E. Pearson takes her next.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Dark Divine - Bree Despain


Synopsis: Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry, glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boys' dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.
Werewolves+Minnesota=Automatically Awesome. But even beyond my very simple formula, I am in love with this book. I've read a lot of reviews asserting that the story wasn't original, and I suppose it can be seen that way. First, wolves in Minnesota...Linger...the bad boy who's actually really vulnerable? seen it (a lot)...a family that has lots of secrets and doesn't want to talk about their problems, okay. But then there's the fact that Grace is a pastor's daughter and not in the repressed, need to rebel kind of way. She's a genuinely faithful and good person. There are little things that are different than the cookie cutter werewolf romance story. Not to mention that while I was actually reading the story, I was so wrapped up in it that I wasn't concerned with the criticisms I'd read.
Three things that I loved about this book that you don't often find happening in novels like this:
1 - When Grace realizes just how dangerous Daniel is she actually stays away. She makes a conscious effort to stop seeing him and to move on with her life. Even if she's slightly misguided in this action, she is right to make such a move. She felt threatened and didn't file that feeling under the - that makes you dangerously sexy column. She filed that under the - boyfriends that could be bad for my heath column. Yay. This gives her so much power, because she wasn't seeing him because he decided to stay away, but she made the decision.
2 - Grace has parents. Ones that actually monitor her, make sure she's home on time, and, well, actually act like parents. I understand the tactic of creating absent parents so that the characters have more freedom to have adventure, to explore the boundaries of their own worlds, and to become their own independent being. But this is something that gets old. Even though Grace's family isn't perfect, they genuinely care about one another  and they hold Grace accountable for her actions.
3 - Religion is actually acknowledged in the paranormal world. I love it. I love the melding of a very real, contemporary, religious institution and the paranormal. Why can't the co-exist? To me, this is a new lens to see into the world of werewolves and I absolutely love that.
So yeah, some parts of this book can be compared to others, but there are some parts that make it new. In any case I loved it. Freaking loved it. Exclaiming out loud and mumbling under my breath to freak my roommate out loved it.
The second book in the series, The Lost Saint, comes out in paperback in November, and the third book, The Savage Grace, will be out March 13, 2012. Can't freaking wait. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

TEAM HUMAN Announcement


Sarah Rees Brennan just announced that she has been secretly collaborating with Justine Larbalestier to write a new book, Team Human. It's a vampire book coming out in Spring 2012. The twist? This book focuses on friendship. Read Sarah Rees Brennan's announcement OR read Justine Larbalestier's announcement

Ripple - Mandy Hubbard

Synopsis: Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she's ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?


This was my first siren novel. So I don't know if it was my lack of knowledge and background about sirens or the other ways that sirens have been handled in Young Adult fiction, but I was a little disappointed. The bare bones of the novel were good...but that's kind of all this novel was. I wanted more.


The novel is basically an after story. What happens after tragedy. The whole novel jumps off of the event in which Lexi drowns her first love, Stephen (not a spoiler I swear you find this out right away). From that moment Lexi has to learn how to control her murderous impulses and she copes by shutting herself off from the world. But then there's Cole, who was her first love's best friend, and the new boy, Erik, who tries to get through to her, and her ex-best friend/Stephen's sister who's struggling to find out what happened the night her brother mysteriously drowned. Between these three characters, Lexi finds herself coming out of hiding.


Cole was kind of vanilla. He just didn't get me excited or swoony. He was sweet, but there wasn't much to him. Erik was interesting, but he just felt too forced. And I definitely felt like Lexi could have had so much more to her. All of the characters just felt a little undeveloped. As did the story. The complications were simple, the plot was slightly predictable (though not completely, at one point I was thrown for a loop), and Lexi's family history starts to be told but that explanation kind of falls away.
I actually kind of wish the story could have gone back to before Stephen died. That story sounds more interesting.


Again, it's quite possible that I'm just missing things because my background is limited, but I definitely expected more from this novel. It was a really quick read and I definitely don't think it was a waste of time. I do think this book had some kind of potential, it just fell a little short.

Juliet Immortal - Stacey Jay

Synopsis: Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.


This was one of my most highly anticipated books this summer and here's why: I freaking hate Romeo and Juliet. I think that they were both complete idiots and they were just both so willing to throw their lives away for each other when they'd only known each other for a short amount of time and mistook lust and like for love. I mean it would be different if Romeo died saving her from an evil monster or something, but  no, they just died because they couldn't be together. Stupid idiot kids.


So that's why I got so excited when I saw that Stacey Jay wrote this version where Romeo turned evil and murdered Juliet so he could live an immortal life. I loved that Shakespeare's version was mentioned as a recording of an event that Romeo shaped to his own purposes.


Basically, the "true" story is Romeo murdered Juliet so he was granted an eternal life: his catch is that he has to thwart soul mates (something that usually ended in death. Oh, and the girl he murdered, Juliet, was found right before she died and became a part of an ancient group called the Ambassadors of Light. So she gets to stick around for eternity too, following Romeo around making sure his plans don't work. So each time a soulmate is in danger, the two enter the bodies of people around the soul mates and he fights to keep them apart and she fights to make sure the stay together.


It's all been going well, but this time around Juliet falls in love. And oh my gosh, this leads to one of my favorite endings. I kind of saw it coming, but it still made me do a happy dance. I obviously won't tell you what the ending is,  but I can say that this is a version Shakespeare should have written. It's not so aggravating.


There were moments I felt sorry for Romeo, because things aren't working out so well for him. He's finding out that the deal he took has a lot of fine print that's making him suffer. But at the end of the day, he's an idiot (both Shakespeare and Stacey Jay's versions) and he deserves it.
The best way to describe this book is Romeo and Juliet for pessimists. It's almost a demonstration that soul mates exist, but it definitely shows that just because it's meant to be doesn't mean it's going to work out.

Marcelo and the Real World - Francisco X. Stork

Synopsis: Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear--part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify--and he's always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father  demands that Marcelo work in his law firm's mailroom in order to experience "the real world."There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it's a picture he finds in a file -- a picture of a girl with half a face -- that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.


I wish I could be friends with Marcelo. I loved seeing society through Marcelo's eyes, because when he struggles to figure out things that come naturally to others it makes them seem almost absurd. One view of the world, even if it is common comes to seem crazy.


But at the same time, there's this live and let live attitude that comes along with this book. It doesn't necessarily point out glaring errors in mankind and social norms. It is an observation more than a judgement, and the perspective is unique.


I love being able to get into the head of someone who doesn't think like I do, and I loved the way Marcelo's brain worked. It's so logical and often beautiful, the way he processes information. Marcelo hears music that seems to come within him, which is such a gorgeous concept. I think that's where I was a little disappointed. I wanted more about this music he could hear, what it felt like to him, how it affected him, what it meant. It didn't occur enough and it was only mentioned a few times.


As Marcelo learns about corruption in the world, he remains good despite pressure. And Jasmine is such a wonderful character to balance Marcelo. She's enough to convince any reader that a person can be flawed, but still have a gentle spirit and a good heart.

A Long Long Sleep - Anna Sheehan

Synopsis: Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose— hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire— is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes— or be left without any future at all.


I'm not a huge science fiction fan; however, this book may have swayed me. Well, it may be because this book is only part science fiction: It's also Sleeping Beauty retold, it's dystopian, it's fantasy, it's romance. It's everything you could want in a book.

It takes place in the future and Rose has just woken up after 62 years of preservative coma. She wakes up to a kiss (the Sleeping Beauty part) and finds everyone she knew and loved is gone. It's heartbreaking to see her have to continue her life, not only where the world (and universe) is completely different, but she has to do it without the comfort of people that she knows.


I expected this book to place more emphasis on the romance: the love of her life is gone (because she's been asleep for 62 years) and then I figured she'd get over him by falling for the boy who woke her up. But it was so much more than that. It deals so much more with Rose learning about her place in the world, what her place was in her family, and coming to terms with the way history played out.
My two favorite things about this book - The first is seeing how Rose and her family played a hand in their history, and then her waking up to have to deal with those consequences. It was fascinating to watch Rose get uncomfortable in her history class, because it highlighted all the negative aspects of the what she lived through. It naturally projects the reader into their on futures. It's hard to imagine, but this makes it seem like a possibility to have to live with your own consequences.


The second is Otto, a sort of alien, governmental experiment. The post-colonialist in me is freaking out about Otto. He is created and controlled by the corporation that Rose's parents owned. There are only a few of species like Otto. They cannot speak, but Otto writes and communicates beautifully. He is treated terribly by most people because they don't understand him. He's just so much like colonized natives, mistreated, but used for the colonizer's purposes (ok, I won't go into my post-colonial readings of this novel...) I love Otto, he's definitely my favorite character.


Finally, I just want to say that Rose is so strong and her progress is so noticeable. This is definitely one of those books that breaks your heart and puts it back together again. I still ache for Rose - she is so endearing and she just had to lose so much. It's heartbreaking, but it's also beautiful.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Brooklyn, Burning - Steve Brezenoff

Synopsis: Steve Brezenoff's gorgeous, sad, and hopeful Brooklyn, Burning is a love letter to Brooklyn, a love letter to music booming from the basement, and most of all, a love letter to every kind of love (but especially the punk rock kind).


I don't know how to explain how wonderful this book is without understating or overstating. Which makes it even more incredible, it escapes words. The story itself is an understatement, making it a raw portrait of a human being captured through the smoky haze of a warehouse fire, cigarettes, and dingy bars. It's brilliant and powerful.


This is a book that has needed to surface. It is narrated by Kid, a homeless teenager suspected of burning down the historical warehouse used as a home for the homeless. Since the warehouse burned down, Kid has been living underneath Fish's bar. When Scout comes along, Kid falls in love. Neither Kid nor Scout's gender is revealed. It reads almost as a love letter from Kid to Scout, giving readers a glance into the mind and heart of almost too-private a moment.


Naturally, I tried to figure out genders. While it's very clear that Kid is an LGBT character, I still tried to figure it out. I was telling myself that the point of not gendering the characters is to demonstrate that gender is only a label. I was still trying to label the characters when I realized that there's more to this concept. It's because you put your own genders, labels, on the character they are more personal to you. Then, when you  realize they could be any gender, you as a reader could be as well. This is a demonstration of acceptance that stuns me.


The book comes out today. Get your hands on a copy as soon as you can. I foresee this book becoming a classic. I believe it will join the cannon that holds To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye. This story has what it takes to both mark time, and transcend it.


Finally, I want to point out that Kid is homeless due to being kicked out of his house because of his/her sexuality. This is an issue I had not previously considered and I thank Steve Brezenoff for bringing it to light. It's tragic.


Love is love.
That's all there is to it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Near Witch - Victoria Schwab

Synopsis: The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget. 



The Near Witch is one of those books that just completely puts a spell over you. Lexi and her town seem to be straight out of an old German fairy tale or possibly even a tale that is told with flashlights around a campfire in the middle of the woods. Basically, Victoria Schwab is an exquisite storyteller and the story she's told here doesn't seem to be based off of a timeless fairytale, it seems to actually be a timeless fairytale. 


Lexi is an incredible character and I love the way she speaks to tolerance, even if in this case it's tolerance for the supernatural. Really, she serves as a connector between people and the things that they don't understand. She also speaks to belief in things that are hard to believe in and how to deal with loss. There's an awesome parallel between keeping the spirit of her dead father alive and trying to banish the spirit of the dead witch of Near. 


So, through the book when all these stories are told and children are disappearing, you get the sense that people are scared. Still, there's nothing physical to be afraid of. They're all afraid of ideas - of things that could exist. Then when there's actually something real showing up, holy wow. Between the spooky setting and the magic and all the stories, it's a frightening experience.


And Cole, the nameless boy, is just wonderful. He's careful and strong. He has secrets. Add in the fact that he's hanging close to the two living witches of Near, he's downright mysterious. 


This book wasn't what I expected. I don't really know what I expected, actually, but a chapter in, I was surprised. By the time I finished, I knew that there was no way I could have expected anything better than it was. This is such a wonderfully told, incredibly written story. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Books Released This Week!

Tuesday, September 27 
       The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Synopsis: Mara wakes up from a coma with no memory of the accident that caused the deaths of her best friend, boyfriend, and boyfriend’s sister. The doctors tell her parents that starting over in a new state and a new school will be good for her and that she should let the memories come back on their own. But Mara’s new start is anything but comforting when she sees the faces of her dead friends everywhere, and her world starts to fall apart. She begins to see people’s deaths just before they happen—at least that’s what she thinks she’s seeing. On top of that, the most beautiful boy ever is pursuing her, but his intentions may not be so pure…. Part thriller, part paranormal, this hotly anticipated debut novel will have readers on the edge of their seats.

     The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

Synopsis: Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—she is an Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat. A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha. With the threat of Eryx always looming, Jax knows he has to keep Sasha safe and win her over.  But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?
      Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Synopsis: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out. When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
      A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies


Synopsis: On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past. In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.
Thursday, September 29 

      Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Synopsis: In this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, two teens discover that true love may be closer than they think. For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door. When the family returns and Cricket - a gifted inventor and engineer - steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. 
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson 
 Synopsis: The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago. Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Looking for Alaska - John Green

Synopsis: Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave "the Great Perhaps" even more (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.


Can John Green do anything wrong? No. I don't think it's possible. 
I almost want to just write this post with a string of quotes, which I think speaks to the nature of John Green's writing. His way of wrangling the big concepts of life into characters and words just demonstrates his extraordinary power to capture moments in the most preservative way. If any words from this time were to last forever, they would be in some sort of construction created by John Green. 


So Looking for Alaska is John Green's first novel, but it is the last one of his that I've read. He started his career strong and has kept it going. He does seem to have a formula - awkward boy who wants to break out of his boring routine; wild, dangerous, and unattainable girl; an eclectic, but loyal group of friends; lots of epiphanies; and some form of a road trip. I do have to say the road trips get better as John keeps writing, but all the other components are there. Pudge is looking for the "Great Perhaps" and goes to boarding school to escape boredom. Alaska is simultaneously full of life and a deep darkness, sucking Pudge in like quicksand. And Pudge's friends in this novel are, kind of like Paper Towns, the best part. They plan pranks, push every boundary they can think of, fight like friends fight, but no matter what they support each other. 


It was very difficult not to compare Alaska to Margo Roth Spiegleman from Paper Towns. I think that Margo is Alaska, but John took her character further. They seem to have the same personality and the same darkness. They have that tendency to draw people to them, but never let them completely in. They're both just big mysteries - I think the only difference is in how they are solved. In Alaska the mystery ends with closure, but nothing is really solved. Margo's mystery is solved and there's some sort of closure as well. It is interesting to see how John Green took two similar girls, attached to similar guys, and pushed them in different directions. 


Well, Looking for Alaska is incredible. If you haven't read John Green, I suggest you start now. 
I need to quote at least ONE thing so..."When adults say, 'Teenagers think they are invincible' with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end and so it cannot fail."


And in honor of Banned Books week (I had to include a Vlogbrothers video...):
John Green and "I Am Not a Pornographer"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E. Pearson

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox has just awoken from a year-long coma—so she’s been told—and she is still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. But what happened before that? She’s been given home movies chronicling her entire life, which spark memories to surface. But are the memories really hers? And why won’t anyone in her family talk about the accident? Jenna is becoming more curious. But she is also afraid of what she might find out if she ever gets up the courage to ask her questions. What happened to Jenna Fox? And who is she really?


I have very mixed feelings about this book. At first I was completely in love with it. The story was great, the idea was wonderful, and it warranted my reactions. Because I definitely reacted to this book. My heart broke as Jenna uncovered her own story and I was indignant when she was misused. I was able to relate to her.
But then I thought about it too much. Partly because I just read this book for my YA lit class (YES! I'm taking a YA lit class and loving it. My life is a little awesome), and I was set to the task of simply journaling about the book. I filled up  quite a few pages with my ideas only to realize how simple this novel really is.
It has one major theme - identity. It turns out that when you look beyond the story, it's beating you over the head with - Who am I really? What is my purpose? How do you find your identity again when you go through a change?
Basically something that plagues every teenager. Everyone is experiencing change and I think Jenna speaks to that. Jenna is sort of an extreme case of identity loss and in that way she is able to have some answers to questions everyone has.
Beyond that though, I found the plot to be very simple...it was a lot of Jenna doesn't know, Jenna finds out the truth, Jenna freaks out, Jenna's parents explain it all away. This process repeated a few times through the book. The characters were very flat. So much could have been done with Jenna's love interest, but I didn't really get much from him. Like why did he even like her in the first place? Jenna's grandma is really cool, but again, she has little depth.
The entire world revolves around Jenna, I get that, but the world has to have some kind of substance. 
Even with my critiques of the book, I still really enjoyed it. It left me with so many questions and I'll definitely be picking of The Fox Inheritance that was just released at the end of August. The sequel deals with Jenna's mysterious friends Kayla and Locke, so that should be fascinating. I love the concept of Jenna, so I am curious to see where Mary E. Pearson takes her next.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Dark Divine - Bree Despain


Synopsis: Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry, glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boys' dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.
Werewolves+Minnesota=Automatically Awesome. But even beyond my very simple formula, I am in love with this book. I've read a lot of reviews asserting that the story wasn't original, and I suppose it can be seen that way. First, wolves in Minnesota...Linger...the bad boy who's actually really vulnerable? seen it (a lot)...a family that has lots of secrets and doesn't want to talk about their problems, okay. But then there's the fact that Grace is a pastor's daughter and not in the repressed, need to rebel kind of way. She's a genuinely faithful and good person. There are little things that are different than the cookie cutter werewolf romance story. Not to mention that while I was actually reading the story, I was so wrapped up in it that I wasn't concerned with the criticisms I'd read.
Three things that I loved about this book that you don't often find happening in novels like this:
1 - When Grace realizes just how dangerous Daniel is she actually stays away. She makes a conscious effort to stop seeing him and to move on with her life. Even if she's slightly misguided in this action, she is right to make such a move. She felt threatened and didn't file that feeling under the - that makes you dangerously sexy column. She filed that under the - boyfriends that could be bad for my heath column. Yay. This gives her so much power, because she wasn't seeing him because he decided to stay away, but she made the decision.
2 - Grace has parents. Ones that actually monitor her, make sure she's home on time, and, well, actually act like parents. I understand the tactic of creating absent parents so that the characters have more freedom to have adventure, to explore the boundaries of their own worlds, and to become their own independent being. But this is something that gets old. Even though Grace's family isn't perfect, they genuinely care about one another  and they hold Grace accountable for her actions.
3 - Religion is actually acknowledged in the paranormal world. I love it. I love the melding of a very real, contemporary, religious institution and the paranormal. Why can't the co-exist? To me, this is a new lens to see into the world of werewolves and I absolutely love that.
So yeah, some parts of this book can be compared to others, but there are some parts that make it new. In any case I loved it. Freaking loved it. Exclaiming out loud and mumbling under my breath to freak my roommate out loved it.
The second book in the series, The Lost Saint, comes out in paperback in November, and the third book, The Savage Grace, will be out March 13, 2012. Can't freaking wait. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

TEAM HUMAN Announcement


Sarah Rees Brennan just announced that she has been secretly collaborating with Justine Larbalestier to write a new book, Team Human. It's a vampire book coming out in Spring 2012. The twist? This book focuses on friendship. Read Sarah Rees Brennan's announcement OR read Justine Larbalestier's announcement

Ripple - Mandy Hubbard

Synopsis: Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she's ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?


This was my first siren novel. So I don't know if it was my lack of knowledge and background about sirens or the other ways that sirens have been handled in Young Adult fiction, but I was a little disappointed. The bare bones of the novel were good...but that's kind of all this novel was. I wanted more.


The novel is basically an after story. What happens after tragedy. The whole novel jumps off of the event in which Lexi drowns her first love, Stephen (not a spoiler I swear you find this out right away). From that moment Lexi has to learn how to control her murderous impulses and she copes by shutting herself off from the world. But then there's Cole, who was her first love's best friend, and the new boy, Erik, who tries to get through to her, and her ex-best friend/Stephen's sister who's struggling to find out what happened the night her brother mysteriously drowned. Between these three characters, Lexi finds herself coming out of hiding.


Cole was kind of vanilla. He just didn't get me excited or swoony. He was sweet, but there wasn't much to him. Erik was interesting, but he just felt too forced. And I definitely felt like Lexi could have had so much more to her. All of the characters just felt a little undeveloped. As did the story. The complications were simple, the plot was slightly predictable (though not completely, at one point I was thrown for a loop), and Lexi's family history starts to be told but that explanation kind of falls away.
I actually kind of wish the story could have gone back to before Stephen died. That story sounds more interesting.


Again, it's quite possible that I'm just missing things because my background is limited, but I definitely expected more from this novel. It was a really quick read and I definitely don't think it was a waste of time. I do think this book had some kind of potential, it just fell a little short.

Juliet Immortal - Stacey Jay

Synopsis: Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.


This was one of my most highly anticipated books this summer and here's why: I freaking hate Romeo and Juliet. I think that they were both complete idiots and they were just both so willing to throw their lives away for each other when they'd only known each other for a short amount of time and mistook lust and like for love. I mean it would be different if Romeo died saving her from an evil monster or something, but  no, they just died because they couldn't be together. Stupid idiot kids.


So that's why I got so excited when I saw that Stacey Jay wrote this version where Romeo turned evil and murdered Juliet so he could live an immortal life. I loved that Shakespeare's version was mentioned as a recording of an event that Romeo shaped to his own purposes.


Basically, the "true" story is Romeo murdered Juliet so he was granted an eternal life: his catch is that he has to thwart soul mates (something that usually ended in death. Oh, and the girl he murdered, Juliet, was found right before she died and became a part of an ancient group called the Ambassadors of Light. So she gets to stick around for eternity too, following Romeo around making sure his plans don't work. So each time a soulmate is in danger, the two enter the bodies of people around the soul mates and he fights to keep them apart and she fights to make sure the stay together.


It's all been going well, but this time around Juliet falls in love. And oh my gosh, this leads to one of my favorite endings. I kind of saw it coming, but it still made me do a happy dance. I obviously won't tell you what the ending is,  but I can say that this is a version Shakespeare should have written. It's not so aggravating.


There were moments I felt sorry for Romeo, because things aren't working out so well for him. He's finding out that the deal he took has a lot of fine print that's making him suffer. But at the end of the day, he's an idiot (both Shakespeare and Stacey Jay's versions) and he deserves it.
The best way to describe this book is Romeo and Juliet for pessimists. It's almost a demonstration that soul mates exist, but it definitely shows that just because it's meant to be doesn't mean it's going to work out.

Marcelo and the Real World - Francisco X. Stork

Synopsis: Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear--part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify--and he's always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father  demands that Marcelo work in his law firm's mailroom in order to experience "the real world."There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it's a picture he finds in a file -- a picture of a girl with half a face -- that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.


I wish I could be friends with Marcelo. I loved seeing society through Marcelo's eyes, because when he struggles to figure out things that come naturally to others it makes them seem almost absurd. One view of the world, even if it is common comes to seem crazy.


But at the same time, there's this live and let live attitude that comes along with this book. It doesn't necessarily point out glaring errors in mankind and social norms. It is an observation more than a judgement, and the perspective is unique.


I love being able to get into the head of someone who doesn't think like I do, and I loved the way Marcelo's brain worked. It's so logical and often beautiful, the way he processes information. Marcelo hears music that seems to come within him, which is such a gorgeous concept. I think that's where I was a little disappointed. I wanted more about this music he could hear, what it felt like to him, how it affected him, what it meant. It didn't occur enough and it was only mentioned a few times.


As Marcelo learns about corruption in the world, he remains good despite pressure. And Jasmine is such a wonderful character to balance Marcelo. She's enough to convince any reader that a person can be flawed, but still have a gentle spirit and a good heart.

A Long Long Sleep - Anna Sheehan

Synopsis: Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose— hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire— is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes— or be left without any future at all.


I'm not a huge science fiction fan; however, this book may have swayed me. Well, it may be because this book is only part science fiction: It's also Sleeping Beauty retold, it's dystopian, it's fantasy, it's romance. It's everything you could want in a book.

It takes place in the future and Rose has just woken up after 62 years of preservative coma. She wakes up to a kiss (the Sleeping Beauty part) and finds everyone she knew and loved is gone. It's heartbreaking to see her have to continue her life, not only where the world (and universe) is completely different, but she has to do it without the comfort of people that she knows.


I expected this book to place more emphasis on the romance: the love of her life is gone (because she's been asleep for 62 years) and then I figured she'd get over him by falling for the boy who woke her up. But it was so much more than that. It deals so much more with Rose learning about her place in the world, what her place was in her family, and coming to terms with the way history played out.
My two favorite things about this book - The first is seeing how Rose and her family played a hand in their history, and then her waking up to have to deal with those consequences. It was fascinating to watch Rose get uncomfortable in her history class, because it highlighted all the negative aspects of the what she lived through. It naturally projects the reader into their on futures. It's hard to imagine, but this makes it seem like a possibility to have to live with your own consequences.


The second is Otto, a sort of alien, governmental experiment. The post-colonialist in me is freaking out about Otto. He is created and controlled by the corporation that Rose's parents owned. There are only a few of species like Otto. They cannot speak, but Otto writes and communicates beautifully. He is treated terribly by most people because they don't understand him. He's just so much like colonized natives, mistreated, but used for the colonizer's purposes (ok, I won't go into my post-colonial readings of this novel...) I love Otto, he's definitely my favorite character.


Finally, I just want to say that Rose is so strong and her progress is so noticeable. This is definitely one of those books that breaks your heart and puts it back together again. I still ache for Rose - she is so endearing and she just had to lose so much. It's heartbreaking, but it's also beautiful.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Brooklyn, Burning - Steve Brezenoff

Synopsis: Steve Brezenoff's gorgeous, sad, and hopeful Brooklyn, Burning is a love letter to Brooklyn, a love letter to music booming from the basement, and most of all, a love letter to every kind of love (but especially the punk rock kind).


I don't know how to explain how wonderful this book is without understating or overstating. Which makes it even more incredible, it escapes words. The story itself is an understatement, making it a raw portrait of a human being captured through the smoky haze of a warehouse fire, cigarettes, and dingy bars. It's brilliant and powerful.


This is a book that has needed to surface. It is narrated by Kid, a homeless teenager suspected of burning down the historical warehouse used as a home for the homeless. Since the warehouse burned down, Kid has been living underneath Fish's bar. When Scout comes along, Kid falls in love. Neither Kid nor Scout's gender is revealed. It reads almost as a love letter from Kid to Scout, giving readers a glance into the mind and heart of almost too-private a moment.


Naturally, I tried to figure out genders. While it's very clear that Kid is an LGBT character, I still tried to figure it out. I was telling myself that the point of not gendering the characters is to demonstrate that gender is only a label. I was still trying to label the characters when I realized that there's more to this concept. It's because you put your own genders, labels, on the character they are more personal to you. Then, when you  realize they could be any gender, you as a reader could be as well. This is a demonstration of acceptance that stuns me.


The book comes out today. Get your hands on a copy as soon as you can. I foresee this book becoming a classic. I believe it will join the cannon that holds To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye. This story has what it takes to both mark time, and transcend it.


Finally, I want to point out that Kid is homeless due to being kicked out of his house because of his/her sexuality. This is an issue I had not previously considered and I thank Steve Brezenoff for bringing it to light. It's tragic.


Love is love.
That's all there is to it.