Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Reviewed by Maggie: August 31, 2012
Published: November 6, 2007
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Goodreads • Buy at AmazonKindleBook Depository

Over dinner last week, I tried to explain the plot of Unwind to my friend Amy, a nurse.

So there was a civil war over reproductive rights.
And to end the war, both sides agreed that there would be no more abortion.
Got it.
But then parents can decide to have their kids unwound at the age of 13.
Wait, what?
The technology exists so that every part of the child would go to another person.
How the...?
Including their skin, major and minor organs, etc.
A lot of kids whose parents have signed their unwind order run away.
Go back to the part about abortion being illegal but killing grown kids isn't.
Why are you asking a perfectly valid question? So anyway...

I don't blame her. The concept of Unwind requires a suspension of disbelief, but I think that's also what makes it successful. If there's one issue that can turn seemingly normal, rational people into fucking lunatics, it's abortion. Abortion in rape cases? No, because legitimate rape doesn't lead to pregnancy. Lunacy. Discussing abortion outright is like staring straight into the sun. It won't go well. However, this dystopian future created by Neal Shusterman provides the perfect filter to discuss abortion and other topics.

I really enjoyed Unwind. Despite being an "issue" book, the issues don't take precedence over the story. I didn't stay up til 5am after driving from San Diego because of some pro-life or pro-choice message. I stayed up because I wanted to know what happened to Connor, Risa, and Lev. This is a suspenseful thriller about survival and, ultimately, children's rights. I think teens would love this book because the story deals with the powerlessness of being under 18. Parents, regardless of their own shortcomings, can choose a child's fate. Some seal their kids' fates by raising them in a belief system that requires them to sacrifice themselves. I thought my mom trying to get me to give 10% of my high school paycheck to the church was bad. Tithing in Unwind... much worse.

I love that this book made me think about organ transplants, adoption, life, death, Roe, Wade, all while I was biting off my nails because I was worried about the characters. Is someone going to sell out Connor and Risa? Where is Lev?? Unwind is a story that made me glad it wasn't plausible because the depiction of human nature was. It was a compelling, fascinating read, one that I'm glad I didn't read earlier because the wait for the sequel would've driven me out of my mind -- more so than Megan Whalen Turner already has. I'm ending this review now so I can finally get to UnWholly.

Note on the audiobook: I listened to the first half of the book on audiobook and the narrator was fantastic. I especially liked his interpretation of CyFy, who could've easily been a confusing character but wasn't.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review: Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride

Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride
Reviewed by Maggie: August 26, 2012
Published September 18, 2012 by Henry Holt & Company
Goodreads • Preorder at AmazonKindle • Book Depository

I don't get to say this nearly enough in my reviews, so I'm going to caps lock it: THIS BOOK IS SO MUCH FUN! As much as I like Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, Necromancing the Stone is even better. Not only is it more streamlined with the focus primarily on Sam, but Lish McBride fully embraces the camp.

*Jack Bauer voice* The following takes place 6 weeks after Necromancer. Sam has gone from lowly burger flipper to Head Necromancer In Charge (HNIC). He's inherited all the property of the former HNIC, Douglas, including a shapeshifting manservant, an army of mischievous gnomes, and a minotaur. (You can shut up about your Hulk, Tony Stark!) Brid is still firmly in the picture, along with her pack, who have been helping Sam train. However, just as Sam starts to settle into his new normal, a murder throws the supernatural world into upheaval.

With this book, Sam LaCroix has become one of my favorite male YA characters. He actually reminds me of another of my favorite boys -- Ed from Graffiti Moon. Like Ed, Sam is a decent, good guy. He's not particularly smooth with the ladies, and he doesn't go chest to chest with the guys either. When his fight-or-flight instinct kicks in while training with Brid's brothers, he wisely chooses flight. However, he's not an overly sensitive, poetic soul either. He's just normal... well, aside from the whole raising the dead thing. He's also sarcastic, nice, and loyal.

As much as I love a good hero, I really love a good villain. The villain in Necromancing the Stone is so great because not only does he embrace his role, he savors it. He's like Russell Edgington.

This book is a witty, snarky, pop culture feast. If there's a joke or pun to be made, McBride makes it. (Were-bears care!) If gnomes named Gnomie Malone, Gnome ChompSky, and The Darkness Known as Mittens don't convince you to read this book, how about a reference to this picture:
Yes, people. SAD KEANU! Need I say more? Okay, I'll say one more thing. Along with the puns and jokes, McBride sneaks in a message about friendship and family that is unexpectedly touching. Necromancing the Stone exceeded all my expectations. I highly recommend it and I hope there are more books in this series.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to the Future: Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

Introducing Back to the Future, a new feature at YAA where we revisit young adult books from back when we were well, young adults.  Sometimes we'll be reading these books for the first time, sometimes we'll be rereading to compare how our adult selves interpret the book and sometimes, as the case is today, we'll be doing a bit of both.  Noelle read Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster when she was 12-ish.  Maggie just read it for the first time.  Did a character nickname of "Daddy" creep Maggie out while sailing over 12 year old Noelle's head?  Only one way to find out---To the DeLorean!

GoodreadsPuffin Classics Paperback •  Free Kindle version

Book description:
Bright and lively Judy Abbott is an orphan who dreams of escaping the drudgery of her life at the John Grier Home. One day she receives a marvelous opportunity—a wealthy benefactor has agreed to fund her higher education. In return, Judy must keep him informed about the ups and downs of college life. From horrendous Latin lessons to falling in love, the result is a series of letters both hilarious and poignant.

Michigan circa 1995:
(via personalized stationery)

Dearest Judy---can I call you Judy? 

Forgive me for jumping ahead of myself but in my imagination we are already the best of friends.  I've already let Anne, Jo and Sarah know to make room for you at our lunch table.  I feel like I know you so well!  Reading your letters to Daddy Long Legs (DLL) was like reading your diary and I bet it felt like that to you too, with him stubbornly refusing to reply and all.  (I knew he'd cave in eventually.  I mean, how could he resist?  You are awesome.)

Your letters jumped right off the page showing how smart, resourceful and hilarious you are.  I hate to think what might have happened to you if you hadn't written that funny paper about your life at the orphanage, cracking DLL up enough that even though he was a trustee of the very orphanage you were making fun of, he decided to send you to college. And to become an author no less!  Forget being best friends, I might just want to BE you!

Getting to read all of your new and exciting experiences in the outside world was so gratifying.  I rooted for you so hard, Judy! And you didn't let me down.  You approached every challenge with such pluck that I couldn't help compare it to my own attitude and sad to say, Judy, but I'm often an ungrateful brat.  You'll forgive me though won't you? I love to read too. And write letters!  And have adventures!  I already laugh at all of your jokes. You'll be such a great influence on me, I can already tell.  

I heard that you had a recent opening for a penpal and well, might as well just come out and say it---I'd like to apply for the job.  What do you say, Judy?  Will I do?


Present day Los Angeles:
(via email)

Dear Noelle,

I just did an email search of the first time you mentioned this book -- it was almost exactly a year ago on August 25, 2011. This is what you wrote:

Daddy Long Legs is written way back in the day by Mark Twain's niece.  It's kinda a little Anne Shirley mixed with Jo March.  It's all in letter format but the protagonist is so charming.  She's an orphan (guess I should put Jane Eyre in there too!) and then one of the orphanage's benefactors decides to send her to college anonymously so she writes him letters about her experiences there.  She only saw his shadow on the wall so she calls him Daddy Long Legs b/c he seemed really tall. 

This is what I wrote:

That's so funny because in the Korean drama I was watching, the lead girl starts getting letters from someone anonymously after her parents die and she just calls him "Daddy Long Legs." They're just friendly letters that offer support. I wonder if it was a reference to the book.

And this time, it wasn't me just using any excuse to bring up a kdrama. It totally was a reference to Daddy Long Legs! Korean dramas, where literary references happen. Also where this happens:
But I digress. I loved Daddy Long Legs! Judy is such an impertinent, feisty little badass. She's not embittered or hardened by her upbringing, but she's not overly solicitous either, which I really liked. Of course she's grateful for the opportunity to go to college, but in her mind, it's a loan that she's going to repay so she doesn't feel subservient to her mysterious benefactor. I know I would be tripping over my words and calling him "Sir" but Judy's all "Hey Daddy. What's up?" ...or as close to that as the 1900s allowed. I love that she is smart and straightforward, but thank God she fails a class or two or else I would've hated her perfect ass, amirite?

Noelle, you should've forced me to read this book sooner! (Hehe, I know you tried.) Even though it's older and obviously dated, I think there's definitely an audience for it now. I wonder if Jaclyn Moriarty was influenced at all by this book when she wrote Feeling Sorry for Celia and The Year of Secret Assignments (both of which you must read). I can totally see how this book influenced Little Noelle, and I'm definitely putting it in my niece's hands. I can just see her asking her dad the Very Important Question, ARE YOU BALD? (Sorry, Joel!) This is also a book I would give to high school students. I love Judy's approach to life and how she embraces her college experience. She's so self-motivated, and that helps her deal with rejection as well. If Rory Gilmore had read Daddy Long Legs instead of Mencken Chrestomathy, she wouldn't have dropped out of Yale after one bad encounter with Mitchum Huntzberger. 

Great rec, Noelle. I loved this book and I won't wait a year to read your next recommendation. What can I say? I spent my childhood reading Baby Sitter's Club and Sweet Valley High. What should we go back to the future with next?

Cordially yours, (<--I think this is how Samantha Parkington ended her letters)

Present Day Orlando, Florida:
(via text message)

Noelle:  Secondly, I'm kind of shocked my original harasking wasn't "JUST READ IT, DAMMIT!" As for next time, as you replied to my Anne Shirley reference with "Anne who?" I think you answered your own question.  Yup, totally called you out on the blog.  OH YES I DID.

12 Year Old Noelle: 5 stars
Present Day Maggie: 4 stars
Present Day Noelle: 4 stars

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bookmark Binge: August 19, 2012

Can't get enough of...

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece?
Watch the book trailer by Orion, Annabel Pitcher's British publisher.
In this video, she talks about the inspiration behind the book.

Look at all these links lying around...
Check out 11 Songs Inspired by Literature at Mental Floss and listen to the Literary Jukebox: a daily quote from a favorite book, thematically matched with a song.
Just in case you wanted to have Every "Harry Potter" Chapter Illustration handy.
YA Highway's 8 TV Shows YA Fans Must Watch.
Let's hear it for the underdogs: Flavorwire's top ten list.
Here is ALPHA reader's John Marsden author event recap.
Looking for some book podcast suggestions? The Wall Street Journal has you covered.
Melina Marchetta answers some questions over at The Readventurer.

Coming soon -- What We're Reading and Reviewing... In Theory.

For review this week:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review: My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece
by Annabel Pitcher
Reviewed by Maggie: August 15, 2012
Published: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
GoodreadsAmazonKindleBook Depository

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece takes place five years after bombs went off in London killing 62 people. The story follows the aftermath of the family of the youngest victim, Rose, from the perspective of her now 10-year-old brother, Jamie. Jamie's parents, unable to deal with the blame and guilt they place on one another, have finally split up. Jamie and Jas, Rose's twin, move with their father out into the country. One benefit, according to their father, is to get away from Muslims. After all, Muslims killed his daughter. Another benefit is the job waiting for him, something he couldn't find in London what with all the foreigners stealing jobs. Never mind the bottle of vodka he empties everyday. Jamie goes to his new school, where he's picked on and told to "go back to London." The only person who smiles at him is Sunya, the girl wearing a hijab. But Muslims killed his sister and he's supposed to honor his father, who hates Muslims, isn't he?

A middle grade book dealing with terrorism and death? Needless to say, I had my doubts. However, Annabel Pitcher confronts issues like hate, loyalty, and loss in such a straightforward way that its simplicity belies its depth. Even more impressive, she confronts the pressure to grieve.

Jamie grieves the loss of his family and his parents' marriage, but he doesn't cry over the sister he barely remembers. How can he? He was 5 years old when she died. His parents and various therapists, though, tell him it just hasn't hit him yet. His mother once made him change a school essay on a special person from a soccer player to Rose, and the story she made him use resulted in his being teased mercilessly by the other students. Poor kid. Over 20 years later and parents still don't understand. As much as I hated Jamie's parents, I loved this storyline because I wonder how many kids who've prematurely lost parents and siblings and relatives are acting how they THINK they should instead of how they actually feel. And I wonder how many kids know that it's okay to feel... nothing. Or close to nothing. How do you mourn someone you barely know or remember? I always hear kids being told that it's okay to cry, it's okay to cry, but it's also okay not to cry.

Jamie also struggles to reconcile his father's view of evil, murderous Muslims with the bright, sunny girl who keeps extending her hand to him. Sunya, seeing Jamie's fascination with superheroes and Spiderman, claims that she's a superhero too. She proudly points to her hijab as part of her superhero costume. I loved Sunya. She's bold and fierce, loyal and kind. She doesn't shy away from her identity, even as the kids call her Curry Breath and other names.

While Jamie and Sunya's relationship is born of struggle, Jamie's relationship with his sister Jas is based purely on love. This is the relationship that made me cry. Jas is just a kid herself and she's lost her twin, but she refuses to let Jamie be hurt. She tries to do the job of two parents as best as her 15-year-old self can. Older sisters, be sure to drain the battery on your phone beforehand so you don't end up calling your mortified younger brothers.

It's sad to say that a book like this is timely and necessary, especially for a younger audience, but it is. It's also hopeful and surprising. A very strong debut by first time author Annabel Pitcher.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bookmark Binge: August 12, 2012

Can't get enough of...

The Raven Boys?
Read the teaser chapters to tide you over until the release date.
Watch the animated book trailer  and then check out the making of by the author herself.  I had no idea Stiefvater drew the art/animated the trailer.  Amazing!  She even composed the music.
Don't miss Maggie Stiefvater's contribution to School Library Journal Where I Work feature.

Look at all these links lying around...
Looking to step up your literary tumblr followage? Here's a pretty comprehensive list.
An awesome gallery of retro library posters.
Absolutely gorgeous Barnes and Noble Leatherbound Classics library-edition series. (via Flannery's twitter )
Why Nathan Adrian is Real-Life Finnick Odair investigation. Spoiler alert: there's no mention of prostitution...

Coming soon -- What We're Reading and Reviewing... In Theory



Friday, August 10, 2012

Early Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Cycle #1
Reviewed by Maggie and Noelle August 10, 2012
Published by Scholastic Press September 18, 2012
(YAA received an ARC of this book from the publishers)
Goodreads • Preorder on Amazon

Blue Sargent is the only non-psychic in a family full of mediums so when she unexpectedly sees a spirit on a routine dead walk on St. Mark's Eve, she's told it means one of two things: the boy is either her true love or she will be the one who kills him. Thanks to a unanimous psychic warning that if she kisses her true love he'll die, it could very well be both.  Either way, he'll be dead within the year.

Unbeknownst to her, Gansey and his Raven Boys are already on a crash course of fate with Blue, her family and his quest to uncover a sleeping secret that has the power to change everything.  But as Blue's aunt says, when you go looking for a god, don't be surprised to find a devil too and the quest promises to take Blue and the Raven Boys places they never expected.

Noelle: As you can see The Raven Boys has an intriguing premise and (raven) boy does it deliver. (Not even sorry!) The end of the prologue and first few chapters should come equipped with the Law and Order chime-of-suspense sound effect. Stiefvater sure hits the ground running.

Maggie: Definitely. This book had me at "kill your first love."

Noelle: I loved Blue and her family right off the bat.  The Sargent house is charmingly packed with psychic abilities, family dysfunction, louder than life personalities and just enough mysteries in the family history to be deliciously intriguing.  It wasn't long before another family dynamic, Gansey's Raven Boys, began stealing my heart too.

Maggie: The Sargent house gave me a Practical Magic/Pushing Daisies feel with charmingly kooky characters who happen to have some powers. I loved the boys right away. Gansey, the leader, who acted as instigator as much as mama hen to Ronan, Adam, and Noah. Ronan, angry, damaged, loyal... of course, I loved him. Adam, the perfect student with the neatly pressed uniform, except for the fraying seam at his shoulder noticeable only to him. Noah, the quiet one who they'd be more worried about if they weren't all caught up in Gansey's quest.

Noelle: At first I was like, so many rich boys in Raven sweaters! But soon it became clear that each boy had a distinct personality and something that made them especially interesting in their own right.  Each had cracks in their shiny veneers, some just more well hidden than others.

Maggie: This is my second Stiefvater book and I absolutely love the way she writes. She's atmospheric and descriptive, yet there's something timeless about her writing. We know this story takes place in present day with references to cell phones and BMWs, but I feel it could've just as easily taken place in an earlier time, or in England instead of Virginia. This is your first Stiefvater book, and I know for some, her writing just doesn't work for them. What did you think?

Noelle: It was my first Stiefvater and I was really surprised!  Besides the qualities of her writing you mentioned, I really appreciated how she kept me engaged the entire novel.  It was exciting to read.  There were a couple developments that took me totally by surprise and that doesn't happen that often.  I loved being swept into the mystery.

Maggie: Nerd confession: I love when I learn things from a book. This story with its ley lines, ancient kings, and Latin had me googling like crazy. Like with Scorpio Races, Stiefvater takes existing folklore and makes it her own. Plus, she even makes dead languages compelling (although this may have more to do with Ronan speaking said dead language). Latin, who knew!

Noelle: Stiefvater's writing was so compelling that it took me awhile to realize I was halfway through and not much had actually happened in the way of forward plot movement.  I got the sneaking feeling the series was conserving it's energy, if you will.  That's when it hit me: Ah, First Book of a Trilogy frustrations and unanswered questions! How I love/hate you!  While the plot definitely picked up the pace during the second half of the book (not coincidentally when all the players in the plot were finally interacting), it became clear that many of the tantalizing possibilities introduced in The Raven Boys wouldn't come to fruition until later installments.

Maggie: That ending. It totally gave me Lord of the Rings rage. (I'll never forget sitting through 3 hours of hobbit feet and elf ears, only to have the movie end with, "And we're off! To be continued." RAGE.) This is why I hate starting series before they're done because I want to read the next book immediately. However, I do love a good cliffhanger. (See: Exiles, Froi) A bad cliffhanger makes me want to find a cliff to throw the book off of (yes, I revenge cliffhang), but a good one just makes you that more excited for the sequel. This one made me more excited for the sequel.

Noelle: Oh totally.  The writing remained compelling straight through and while incomplete, the ending was still more than satisfying.  I can't wait to read what comes next! Rating: 4/5 stars.

Maggie: Maggie Stiefvater, you got some 'splainin to do! That was my initial reaction upon finishing Raven Boys followed immediately by, Actually, Maggie, just write. Rating: 4/5 stars.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bookmark Binge: August 5, 2012

Can't get enough of...

Eleanor and Park?
If you haven't already, check out That Cover Girl's interview with Rainbow Rowell.

Code Name Verity?
Amy at Turn the Page interviews Elizabeth Wein about flygirls, Verity, and her next book.

The Ghost and the Goth?
Get to know author Stacey Kade in interviews with The Raven Happy Hour, Muggle-Born and Electrifying Reviews.
Stacey Kade also has a tumblr.

Look at all these links lying around...
Christa Desir tries out the "guess the story based on the cover" on her kids with YA books.
Via YA Highway's tumblr: Pixar's Story Rules, Illustrated in Legos at Slackstory.
Vintage Book Design launches their Vintage Children's Classics list with some amazing cover redesigns.  Check out the full list and watch the video.  My favorite covers are Little Women, I Capture the Castle, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and the Swallows and Amazons series.
Via Flannery's Twitter: This graphic designer designs a cover for every book she reads.
I wish I had a spare room to transform into a personal library.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Review: The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
(The Ghost and the Goth #1)
Reviewed by Noelle on August 2, 2012
Published by Hyperion Book June 29, 2010
GoodreadsAmazonKindleBook Depository

So, my normal allotment of reading time has been booked pretty solid lately but every once in awhile I'll get some unexpected free time when I don't have access to my Kindle or an actual book let's call these times "work breaks".  Eager to take advantage, I troll my library's Currently Available Kindle Book section to get some reading in using the Kindle Cloud function on my computer.  At the mercy of whatever is available at any specific time, I've read some pretty random books this summer.  At first I was hesitant to give The Ghost and the Goth a shot, but you know what? I'm glad I did.  It was surprisingly fun.

Have you ever wondered...what if Cher Horowitz had gotten run over by a bus and everyone thought Josh was schizophrenic because he was talking to dead people only he could see and hear?  You haven't, you say?  How about now?

(Why yes, that is a hastily photoshopped Ghost Cher and nope, I've never been named Employee of the Month. Why do you ask?)

Now before you get too excited, this book isn't nearly as amazing as Clueless (ugh, as if!) but it does feature a heroine in need of a wider world view and a hero that brushes her off as a shallow, narcissistic annoyance.  When a school bus and his supernatural abilities force them into a new alliance, both find they have quite a lot to learn from the other.

This is a lighthearted romp that easily surpassed my (admittedly low) expectations by adding quite a bit of humor and emotional stakes.  If you're looking for a quick, fun read with a great starring duo, this book hits all the marks.  And for those of you worrying that a ghost and a real live boy can't make out, any ghost within 5 feet or so of Will becomes corporeal, so never fear! Ms. Kade has your back.

The sequels aren't available at my library, but I wouldn't be averse to stumbling across them one day.  In conclusion, it does not say RSVP on the Statue of Liberty! Ahem, I mean...Rating: 3/5 stars.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Reviewed by Maggie: August 1, 2012
Published May 15, 2012 by Hyperion Books for Children
Goodreads • Buy at AmazonKindleBook Depository

Do you remember when The English Patient came out? Or rather, do you remember when the Seinfeld episode about The English Patient came out? (Elaine goes to see it and HATES it, and is either shunned or dragged back to the theater to rewatch because everyone else loves it. She ends up getting sent to Tunisia by her boss, J. Peterman, because the movie was filmed there. Cameo by Holly the waitress/witch from True Blood playing a waitress.)

I'm usually Elaine in these situations, so I worried a little bit after reading glowing review after glowing review of Code Name Verity. However, this book held my attention from the beginning, and I want to send all the Elaines to Ormaie for inspiration.*

Something that I see authors and filmmakers struggle with is how to portray a strong, kick-ass female who can hang with the boys and still retain her femininity. One way is to sexualize them a la Angelina Jolie, and another way is to claim they are the fiercest assassin of all time and then have them fawn over pretty dresses. See, she's tough but girly! Yes, I read Throne of Glass just before Code Name Verity. Elizabeth Wein, however, makes it look so simple with her portrayal of Queenie. Little details like neatly arranged hairpins and well maintained fingernails say so much more than a ball gown, and it keeps you within the context of the story.

Speaking of the story, it's set during World War II when most of the men are off fighting. Still, given the current state of YA, I fully expected a love triangle to somehow get shoehorned in. I did get a love story, but not the one I dreaded/expected.
"It's like being in love, discovering your best friend."
The friendship between Queenie and Maddie, two people from different backgrounds who wouldn't have met under ordinary circumstances, is one that I loved reading. It's the bond between two soldiers who contribute to the war effort in their different ways, whether it's aviation or language proficiency. The story jumps from present to past, but I loved seeing how their relationship evolved. One discussion that struck a nerve with me was when early in their friendship, they talk about their fears. In your 20s, the looming milestone is 30. When people asked me what I was going to do for 30, I would say, "Ugh, kill myself!" It's the vanity and arrogance of youth, of privilege, of safety. Queenie is the same, until that privilege is no longer in her control. She says,
"I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can't believe I ever said anything so stupid. So childish. So offensive and arrogant. But mainly, so very, very stupid. I desperately want to grow old."
Queenie is one of my favorite characters ever, up there with Evanjalin from Finnikin of the Rock. Her intelligence and boldness comes through the page, and Wein's writing exemplifies the principle of "show, don't tell." I loved this story of war, camaraderie, and sacrifice. I loved Queenie's mother, who left the windows open in her house in the hope that her children would be home soon, because this is also a story about faith. Queenie and Maddie have to have faith in each other and faith in the strangers on whose help they depend. This was one of my favorite books of 2012, and one I highly recommend. I have told the truth.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

*No Elaines were harmed in the writing of this review.