Posts tagged ‘laurendestefano’

July 8th, 2011

Characters I’d Name My Sons After

by Madeleine Rex

The second installment in baby name posts! As I said before in my previous post, Characters I’d Name My Daughters After, I stole this idea from Audrey over at holes In My brain (a blog you should definitely read even if you don’t care what we want to name our children).

Characters I’d Name My Sons After:

Walter
Walter Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series. Yet again another Anne character I actually intend to name a child after. I know Walter might not appear to be the most… attractive name to begin with, but read the books. Read the books and love them. Walter Blythe is someone I have a particular connection to – I love him so much. I can’t say more without revealing his fate, but he’s absolutely, unarguably inspiring.

Jem
Jem is also one of Anne Shirley’s sons. I’m not planning on naming a child after him because that would be overkill, but I love the name. It’s short for James, obviously, but the nickname is so endearing. He’s a brave, silly, and fantastic little boy who grows into an even more valiant and impressive young man.

Henry
Henry from Miranda Kenneally’s upcoming Catching Jordan. I love Henry. He’s beautiful with all his flaws and quirks. He’s the sort of character that immediately feels like a best friend you would love to have in real life, and sometimes it kills me that these fantastic characters can never love me back. Henry’s a gem folks, and I can’t wait for you all to have the opportunity to read Catching Jordan!

Wes
Wes from The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (Review). The Truth About Forever was the first Dessen book I read, and I can assure you that Wes makes that book. Even amidst the terribly fun cast of the book, he stands out as the sort of boy any girl would be thrilled to have. I think he prompted me to say sa-wooon for the first time in my life. Need I say anything more?

Linden
Linden from Wither by Lauren DeStefano (Review). This name is so odd and beautiful at the same time. Plus, there are these mysterious undertones to it in my ears due to the mysterious nature of his character. I never know what to think of him, but I do know that I’m inclined to like him. You all need to read it and tell me what you think!

June 29th, 2011

“You’re still reading dystopian?”

by Madeleine Rex

I can’t tell you how many times my mom’s asked me this question.

Now, my mom’s not much of a reader herself (this may be hard to believe, but she really is far too busy to read), but she does host a book club with me and forces herself to listen to my bookish jabbering. Therefore, she’s heard plenty about various dystopian societies. I can’t seem to quit leaping at dystopian novels, despite the fact that many of them are rather similar.

Why?

There’s simply something fascinating about a world that is a twisted and demented version of the one we’re living in. Even without the elements of fantasy, dystopian worlds manage to be just as fantastical, but in a more relatable way. The more connections I can make between our world and the one in the book, and the easier it is to understand the path that was taken to get from one to the other, the more mesmerizing and terrifying the dystopian world is. A few miscalculations, a few conniving people, a few natural disasters, and we’re there, living in a world even more dysfunctional than the one we’re living in now.

However, I’d have to say that the reason I haven’t had my dystopian fix is the same one that motivates me to read almost anything: characters. No matter what genre, and no matter how bland the world, a colorful cast of characters can steal my heart. All I’m really asking for is the opportunity to love a few more people – to make friends and enjoy their company. When I read, my ultimate desire is to be invested in the lives of fascinating people. Dystopian is a genre that accommodates intriguing worlds, horrific realities, and, if the book is good, characters with whom I can fall in love.

There are many irresistible dystopian novels out there, and their strengths vary. Some are written by adept and talented authors whose prose enchants me. Others are set in worlds so corrupt and abominable that I can’t help but read them and savor the horror. And the best of them are homes to people I adore.

Here are a few dystopian books that I’ve enjoyed and recommend, particularly to those that are skeptical about the value and appeal of the dystopian genre:


Divergent by Veronica Roth [5/5]


Wither by Lauren DeStefano [5/5] (Review)


Delirium by Lauren Oliver [5/5] (Review)


Matched by Ally Condie [5/5] (Review)


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins [Can I say 10/5?]


Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky [4/5] (Review)

What are you still doing here? Shouldn’t you be reading?

December 31st, 2010

Wither by Lauren DeStefano; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Wither

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Published: March 22nd, 2011

Number of Pages: 368

Rating: 5/5

Official Review:

With a premise that is extraordinary and unique, particularly among YA literature, Wither stands out on the shelf. However, it’s not until one picks it up and reads that one realizes what a mind-boggling, intriguing treasure it is. Rhine’s story is of love, both voluntary and not, hate, confusion, and passion. I was swept away in her world, her predicament, her feelings and worries. There’s no doubt that Wither wowed me – and there’s no doubt it will hypnotize many others.

Synopsis:

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left. [From Goodreads]

Review:

What a ridiculously original and intriguing book! The premise itself is… unique and disturbing, but indubitably irresistible. I am so very, very grateful the opportunity to read an ARC (as were a friend of mine and her sister…).

Here’s the deal, this book is so fantastically interesting that I can hardly imagine anyone being able to put it down easily. The idea is simultaneously horrifying and surreal (in a, um, nightmarish way). Even during the slower parts of the book, I was desperate to know how the story would unfold – or if it even could. The darned thing was so twisted, and my feelings toward actions, characters, and what I hoped would happen were all over the place. I knew what I should feel, and it tended to be at odds with what was actually running through my head. This book makes your mind reel.

Rhine (first of all, what a stellar name!) is an ideal main character. Nonirritating, thoughtful, loving, naturally worried but not constantly overanxious, smart, clever, funny, and full of weaknesses that show that, not only is she human, but she has a beating heart just like the rest of us. Her confusion mirrored my own. Her fears and needs and wants were just what you’d expect, and her actions were all in character. Ultimately, though, the thing that made her awesome was that she could see beneath people’s skins, forgive them or dislike them, but treat them as they deserved – not necessarily as she wanted to treat them. I loved that despite everything, her visions and opinions weren’t always set in stone, but willing to change should change be necessary. She wasn’t too obstinate or inflexible. She gave second chances.

The other wives are fascinating as well. The dynamics of their situation are certainly unusual, but to them it’s surprisingly… unsurprising. Each one of them has a different take on the situation, their new home, and, for that matter, their new husband. The bond the wives share is one I think all girls or women can relate to. They are the most strong as a group, they work off each others’ energies, thoughts, and strength. They rely on each other as I would guess sisters do (I don’t have one). Essentially, it was a both a touching and heart-wrenching element of the novel.

Linden – the husband – is an incredible character! I never knew what to think of him. With every moment we spent with him, with every comment made by any of the characters regarding him, my opinion changed. Originally, his name made me cringe. He was evil. He was sick. Yet, as his character was revealed I came to “enjoy his company” and yearn to learn more about him. I can’t say anything more without giving too much away!

Gabriel is another key factor in the novel (of course). Though I thought he was sweet and learned to respect him, and though I was excited whenever he made an appearance in the book, I never felt close to him. I never quite felt like I had fallen in love with him – which is a bummer. Interestingly, I thought it was Rhine’s relationship with Linden that developed more and was the more intriguing of the two. I was far more anxious and excited when Linden entered the room.

The atmosphere was fascinating, as it was a mix of the present, future, and past. There were things that we definitely have not achieved technologically as of yet, but the society seemed to be very 1920s-like. I loved living in the world of this book for a short while (I read it way too quickly!), despite the fact that it’s horrifying. There were simply so many characters, settings, plot and character twists, and things to admire about this novel that I cannot wait for the sequel!

Ultimately, Wither is an astounding debut novel with incredible situations, moving scenes, terrific writing, and fascinating characters. I foresee many positive reviews in its future, as it is mystifying.

Thanks, so, so, much to Simon & Schuster for the ARC!