A Need So Beautiful

In previous posts on this blog, I have mentioned my many fears–clowns, zombies, evil children, thunderstorms, rodents, reptiles, arachnids, bugs, and the dark, just to name a few.  I haven’t however, mentioned my greatest fear, the one that really keeps me up at night and leaves me depressed during my waking hours.  It’s deeply personal, and I’m pretty sure only my mom knows that I have this fear.  It’s the fear of being forgotten.  The thought of no one remembering my existence is shattering.  (I’m pretty sure this all started in the eighth grade.  My science teacher was handing out papers or something, and he came to one with my name on it.  He had no idea who I was…and school was about to get out for the summer.)  Anyway, this fear took center stage when I read my latest book, A Need So Beautiful, by Suzanne Young.  The protagonist, Charlotte, is forced to face her own destiny, one where she loses everyone she loves and is completely erased from their memories.  She will be forgotten…

Ever since she can remember, Charlotte has felt the Need, an uncontrollable urge to help people in need.  She cannot control when or where the Need will hit, but she feels intense pain until she helps those who call to her.  At first, the Need would hit her every month or so.  Then, it became every week.  Now, though, the Need plagues her one or more times per day. 

Charlotte doesn’t know what’s happening to her, or even what she really is, but the Need is quickly destroying her.  It’s wrecking her relationships–with her boyfriend, her best friend, and her adoptive family.  She wishes she could ignore the Need, but the pain is just too much to handle.  She must help those who need her, even if it means losing parts of herself.  But when things begin to get even worse–like her body emitting a golden glow and people around her forgetting who she is–Charlotte seeks answers.  First of all, who and what is she?  Why does the Need compel her to help people she doesn’t even know?  And can she change her destiny before everyone in the world forgets she ever existed?

Charlotte’s search for the truth leads her to something she never expected.  She is one of the Forgotten, sort of an angel sent to earth to help those in need.  When she helps people, she is instantly forgotten.  And every time she helps someone, she draws closer and closer to the end of her own life.  She will wear out until she is nothing but light, and her entire being will be erased from the memories of those she encountered.  But there might be a way out.  There may be a way to keep her life, her plans, her boyfriend, and her family.  Is Charlotte willing to do anything to be remembered?  And what is the price she will have to pay to make it happen?  Will she be able to pay it?  Read A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young to find out.

A Need So Beautiful is a breathtaking book, and, if you’re anything like me, it will leave you thinking long after you’ve finished reading.  It made me think about what it would really be like if no one remembered me.  (It would suck, by the way.)  But it also made me consider that there might be worse things than being forgotten.  Would I be willing to sacrifice my own desire to be remembered for the greater good?  Would you?

FYI, this book has a couple of adult situations, mostly involving sex, so I would recommend it for ages 16 and up.

If you’d like more information about this book or others by Suzanne Young, visit http://suzanne-young.blogspot.com/.



Spoiler alert!  If you haven’t read Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, you need to do that before reading this post or, you know, the book this post is about.  Honestly, you need to read Paranormalcy and Supernaturally anyway.  These books are made of awesome.

As you may have gathered, I just finished reading the highly anticipated sequel to Paranormalcy, Supernaturally.  I’ve been waiting on this book for quite a while, and…Totally.  Worth.  The.  Wait.  The continuing adventures of Evie and company are totally captivating, and I was so engrossed in this story that I finished it in less than a day.  Kiersten White is a brilliant author, and she weaves humor, drama, and action so seamlessly that it’s almost like she’s got some paranormal abilities herself.  Maybe she does…

Evie finally has the normal life she’s always wanted.  Okay, so gym class is probably worse than any paranormal creature she’s ever encountered, but everything else is just super.  Really.  She’s not bored at all.  She doesn’t miss anything about working for the IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency) or the life she left behind.  No way.  Not her.  Everything is fan-bleeping-tastic.

Who are we kidding here?  Evie is bored out of her mind.  The only thing she really looks forward to is spending her weekends with Lend, her not-quite-mortal boyfriend, but he’s doing his college thing all week, and Evie is tired of sitting around waiting for things to happen.  So, when Raquel, supervisor of the IPCA and the woman who practically raised Evie, asks Evie for help with a few paranormal problems, Evie decides to actually do something.  (And since Lend is not exactly a fan of IPCA, she’ll just keep this little-bitty secret from him.  No biggie.)  She’s not altogether thrilled about it–after all, things didn’t turn out so well the last time she was involved with the IPCA, but things are different now…aren’t they?

One thing is definitely different–Jack, a mortal who was raised in the Faerie Realms and is now apparently working for Raquel and the IPCA.  He’s manic nearly all the time and unbelievably annoying, but he can navigate the Faerie Paths, an unheard-of skill but one that Evie will take advantage of if it means avoiding any Faerie entanglements.  Evie and Jack work together to figure out what’s going on in the paranormal world, and, along the way, Evie encounters her Faerie ex-boyfriend, Reth, and the truth about herself, her past, her future, and the abilities that, quite frankly, scare the bleep out of her.

Secrets abound in Evie’s exciting life, but they always have a way of coming out (and usually at the most inconvenient times).  How will Lend react when he finds out what Evie’s keeping from him?  What does Reth really want?  What is up with Jack, and what, exactly, do the Faeries mean to him?  Most importantly, what is Evie, and can she find a way to save her soul without losing herself?  Normal is not even a possibility anymore.  Join the adventure when you read Supernaturally by Kiersten White.

If you’ve read Paranormalcy, you know that Supernaturally would have to be pretty amazing to live up to it.  Well, it is.  It gives us even more insight into what makes Evie tick, and, honestly, if she does not have a happy ending in the third book, I will probably consider doing something stupid…like buy a Justin Bieber CD or eat at Taco Bell.  Not pretty.  I bleeping love these books, and I seriously cannot wait until the third and final book, Eternally, is released.  (Alas, I will have to wait, as the book is not scheduled for release until sometime in 2012).  These books, Paranormalcy in particular, have become part of my life–I say “bleep” instead of curse words now, and I asked for a pink taser for Christmas–and I look forward to seeing where Evie’s journey takes her from here.  Good times (I hope) ahead.

For more information on this super-duper series and other books by the fabulous Kiersten White, visit http://kierstenwhite.com/.  Her blog is hilariously funny and never fails to put a smile on my face.  Have fun!


Warning!  This post will be about Forever, the third and final book in Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series.  If you have not read Shiver and Linger, you may want to do that before proceeding.  That is all.


I almost hate to write this post because it means that this series, which I have grown to love, is officially finished.  I feel like I’ve gotten to know Sam, Grace, Isabel, and Cole, and I hate to say goodbye.  But life goes on, and, like these characters proved in Forever, it may not be what you always thought it would be…

In Shiver, we got to know Sam as both human and wolf, and we saw the depth of his connection with Grace.  In Linger, while Sam was getting used to the possibility of a future with Grace, Grace was facing life as a wolf, a life she never expected.  Now, in Forever, Sam and Grace are fighting to stay together, in whatever form that takes.  They have many obstacles to face–hunters determined to eliminate the wolves of Mercy Falls, people thinking that Grace is missing and Sam is to blame, a rogue wolf bent on destroying anyone who gets in her way, the cold that forces the wolves to shift and tears Sam and Grace apart–but they, as well as their friends Cole and Isabel, are determined to everything possible to overcome the trials that face them.

Sam must confront his own past.  Why did Beck choose him?  How would his life have been different if he’d been allowed to grow up without the wolf inside of him?  Would he change things if he could?  And how can he hope to save the wolves without unleashing the beast inside himself?

Grace must come out of hiding and let people know that she’s still alive.  She can’t let Sam be blamed for something beyond his control.  Will her parents accept her vague explanations?  Will anyone find out what she really is?  Can she build a life with Sam when so many people are determined to come between them?

Cole is confronting his own demons and trying to find a cure for the “disease” that plagues him and those he’s come to care about.  Can he get past his own issues and save himself and his new family?  Will he be able to do what everyone has told him is impossible?

Isabel finds herself in the middle of a war.  On one side is her father, determined to wipe out the wolves that he believes killed his son.  On the other side are her friends, the very wolves her father wants to kill.  What can she do to stop her father from committing murder?  How can she help her friends–including Cole, a guy she’s coming to love–without losing her family?

As Sam, Grace, Cole, and Isabel fight to save the wolves of Mercy Falls, they find help in unlikely places, but will help come in time?  How can they look to the future when the present is so uncertain?  Will Sam and Grace be able to have the forever they’ve always dreamed of, or will forces conspire to keep them apart?  Find out when you read Forever by Maggie Stiefvater.

Like I mentioned before, I am sad to see this series end, but I will say that this final installment was kind of satisfying.  While there wasn’t a crystal clear resolution, some questions were answered, some relationships were resolved, and there was at least a possibility of happily-ever-after.  That’s the kind of ending I like–one where the author doesn’t try to tie up every single loose end and leaves something to the reader’s imagination.  All in all, I am happy with Forever and how this series concluded.  I will miss the wolves of Mercy Falls, but I know that I can revisit them anytime I want…or I can continue their story in my own mind.

If you’d like more information on the Wolves of Mercy Falls series or author Maggie Stiefvater, I encourage you to visit http://maggiestiefvater.com/.  She has a new book, The Scorpio Races, coming out in October that looks pretty interesting.  If it’s as good as the series I just finished, I will be one happy reader.


After finishing my lastest read, Divergent by Veronica Roth, I don’t know how I can possibly write a post that will do this book justice.  Yes, it was that good.  We’re talking Hunger Games good here.  I was utterly enthralled by this story, particularly having to choose your entire future at the age of sixteen.  (I can’t even remember what I wanted to be when I was sixteen, and I changed my major four times in college–and still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up when I graduated.  Luckily, I eventually figured it out.)  The choices aren’t always clear, and they lead our main character, Tris, into a very uncertain future…

In the not-too-distant future, society is split up into five factions based on particular virtues:  Candor (honest), Amity (peaceful), Erudite (intelligent), Dauntless (brave), and Abnegation (selfless).  Every year, sixteen-year-olds must choose which faction they will belong to for the rest of their lives.  They can stay with their families’ factions, or they can leave everything behind and choose a different faction.  Beatrice Prior, who grew up in Abnegation, doesn’t know what to do.  Her aptitude test doesn’t help her situation, either, as her results were inconclusive (not an entirely normal situation).  Beatrice is told that she’s Divergent, but she must not let anyone know about it.  She’s not entirely sure what this means, but she realizes that keeping her secret could be a matter of life and death.

Beatrice is torn between the family she loves and her own desires.  Can she leave her life of selflessness behind and look to a future without the support of her family?  Beatrice makes a choice that surprises everyone around her.  She leaves her old life behind, renames herself Tris, and works to be the best initiate her new faction has ever seen.  It’s not exactly easy.  Some of the other initiates look down on her because she’s from Abnegation, she’s small, and she’s, quite frankly, making them look bad.  Tris is bullied unmercifully, and an attempt is even made on her life, but Tris remains strong.  She makes some friends and gains the notice of one of her instructors, an eighteen-year-old with the odd nickname of Four.  But Four is not the only one who has noticed Tris…

As Tris and Four grow closer, Tris wonders if she’s found someone like her–a Divergent–someone whose test results were unclear, someone who could belong in almost any faction, someone who would be killed if the secret were discovered.  Can she trust Four with her secret?  And can Tris figure out why divergence is so bad?   What is so dangerous about being Divergent, and why will the faction leaders do everything they can to find and eliminate these threats?  A couple of these leaders suspect the truth about Tris, and they are watching her constantly for signs that she might pose a threat.  But a threat to what?

As Tris learns more about her self, she also learns more about her perfect society.  She discovers that tensions are running high among the factions, and some of those in power are preparing for war.  Tris knows she has to do something, but what?  With everything unraveling around her, what can she possibly do to prevent a massacre of her former faction, Abnegation?  Can Tris use her status as Divergent to save those she loves, or will it cause her to lose everything?  Read Divergent by Veronica Roth to learn how one choice has the power to change a life forever.

I hope this post has whetted your appetite for this book.  It is truly outstanding, and I think it will be very popular with both male and female readers.  It might also be interesting to think about which faction you would choose to be in if you were a part of this society.  I know I couldn’t be in Dauntless (I’m a wuss) or Candor (I lie remarkably well), and I think I’m much too selfish to be in Abnegation.  I could probably fit okay into Amity because I’m kind of a pacifist, but I believe I would be best suited for Erudite.  I love to learn, and a lifetime spent on academic pursuits definitely appeals to me.  (If you read this book, though, please don’t judge me by the Erudite faction members you encounter.  Some of them are just scary.)

If you’ve enjoyed books like The Hunger Games, Matched, The Maze Runner, Delirium, My Beginning, Birthmarked, or The Silenced, I think you will find another winner in Divergent.  The second book in the Divergent series, Insurgent, is scheduled for a 2012 release, and the third book, currently untitled, should be out sometime in 2013.  For more information on this exciting new series and author Veronica Roth, please visit http://veronicarothbooks.blogspot.com/.

Thoughts on the final Harry Potter movie

As many people know, I am a huge fan of Harry Potter, so it should come as no surprise that I was at last night’s midnight premiere of the final film in the series, part two of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I’ve been waiting a long time for this movie, and, let me tell you, it was totally worth the wait. I really think this is the best movie of the entire series. Were there some things different from the book? Yes. Did that take away from the awesomeness of the movie? Not a bit.

The movie was truly outstanding, and I think other people in the audience would agree with me. There was applause during several scenes, obvious crying at others, and cheering at the end.  I was especially moved by the scenes depicting Snape’s memories.  (I actually had to take off both my regular and 3D glasses so that I could wipe my eyes.  I cried a lot.)  I absolutely adored every scene with Neville, and I thought Professor McGonagall and Molly Weasley just rocked.  I was heartbroken by the deaths of some favorite characters.  (Yes, I knew what was coming, but it still made me sad.)  In the end, though, this movie provided a very satisfying conclusion to the series I’ve loved for the past ten years, and I plan to see the film at least a few more times.

I am sorry to see this series come to an end, but I have the awesome job of sharing Harry Potter with young readers who have never experienced this magical world. I hope they enjoy the journey as much as I have.

Have you seen this movie yet?  What do you think?  How do you think it compares to the book?  Are you as sad about the end of Harry Potter as I am?

Getting It

My latest read, Getting It by Alex Sanchez, has been on my bookshelf for a while.  This week, I finally decided to give this book a go.  It was a quick, light read, but it had a very positive message—a message that teens as well as adults could stand to receive.  Getting It revolves around the life of Carlos, a fifteen-year-old guy who comes to understand that getting something isn’t nearly as important as giving.

Carlos wants a girlfriend.  Bad.  His buddies all brag about their latest hookups, but Carlos is a virgin, and he doesn’t see that changing anytime soon.  He’s obsessed with gorgeous Roxy, but he knows he has no shot at her.  He’s a slob with bad skin and no confidence.  Is there any way to change his image and get the girl of his dreams?  There just may be…

Carlos decides to seek the help of the only openly gay guy in school, Sal (because everyone knows that guy guys know about being clean, neat, and fashionable).  Sal agrees to help Carlos in exchange for a little cash and his assistance in starting a Gay-Straight Alliance at their school.  Even though Carlos worries that everyone will think he’s gay, he agrees to Sal’s terms.

As Sal works his magic, and Carlos begins to notice changes on the outside, it seems the inside might be changing as well.  Yes, he’s still obsessed with Roxy, but he’s also coming face to face with homophobia among his friends and classmates.  His time with Sal has made him realize the power of words, and how gay slurs, even when directed at straight people, are not okay.  But Carlos is still uneasy about his friendship with Sal and forming a GSA at school.  Can he overcome his own issues and step up for the friend who has helped him so much, or will he always be worried about what other people think?  Will Carlos ever get the girl, and, if he gets her, will it really make him happy?  Join Carlos on his journey of self-discovery when you read Getting It by Alex Sanchez.

Even though some of the pop culture references in this book are a little dated—particularly the nods to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy—and some stereotyping of gay men, the book’s message is really timely.  If you keep up with current events at all, you know that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people are fighting alongside their straight allies for equal rights.  There have been great strides recently, but there is still work to be done.  Getting It brings that fight to a high school setting.  Even teenagers, gay and straight alike, can do their part to battle against homophobia (and they might just teach us adults a few things along the way).

If you’d like more information about Getting It or author Alex Sanchez, visit http://www.alexsanchez.com/default.asp.

Fins Are Forever

Spoiler alert!  If you haven’t read Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs, proceed with caution. 

I’ve been oddly fascinated by mermaids since I saw The Little Mermaid years ago.  I’ve always loved the water (even though I’m terrified of sharks and jellyfish), and I’m certain that humans will never know all there is to know about the ocean.  Could there be mermaids or other mysterious creatures below the surface?  I don’t know, but it’s definitely fun to read about, and Tera Lynn Childs’ mermaid books definitely fall into the “fun” cagegory.  When I read Forgive My Fins, I likened it to a combination of The Little Mermaid and The Princess Diaries.  Those comparisons continue in the sequel, Fins Are Forever.

Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs picks up where Forgive My Fins left off.  Lily has made her decision to renounce the throne of Thalassinia to spend her life on land with Quince, the love of her life.  She will formally renounce her royal title after her eighteenth birthday, which is just a few weeks away.  But a lot can happen in a few weeks…

Now that Lily will be staying on land for the forseeable future, she has to deal with life after high school.  Unfortunately, she hasn’t really been focused on grades and preparing for college until now.  Her GPA is less than stellar, and the dreaded SATs are looming.  How can Lily possibly become a marine biologist–and help the kingdom of Thalassinia from land–if she can’t even get into college?

To add to Lily’s stress-filled life, her cousin Dosinia has arrived to further complicate matters.  It seems that Doe has been exiled, and it is up to Lily to educate the pest on how to appreciate humans and live among them.  It’s not an easy task.  Doe is a brat who is used to getting her way, and living on land is not going to change that.  And when Doe bonds with Lily’s former crush, Brody, things go from bad to worse.  Now, Lily has to clean up Doe’s mess when her own life is messy enough.

Lily is about to lose it.  The pressure is really getting to her, and the sudden appearance of a childhood friend, Tellin, is about to complicate her life even more.  He plants an idea in her head that has her questioning the decisions she’s made, especially her decision to give up the throne.  Lily is torn between her love for Quince and her duty to her home.  Is there any way she can have both, or will she be torn between two worlds forever?  Read Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs to find out!

Even though I thought Fins Are Forever was a little more serious than Forgive My Fins, I liked it just as much.  It was a light, quick read that was full of humor.  Both of these books are perfect for some fun summer reading.  Just imagine reading these books at the beach, looking out over the ocean, and thinking “what if…”

I’m not sure if there will be more books in this series, but I hope there will be.  I’m anxious to see where Lily’s story goes from here.  For now, though, you can visit the author’s website at http://www.teralynnchilds.com/ for more information on the Fins series and other awesome books.  Enjoy!