Sunday, August 28, 2011

Zombie Boyfriend

It was a long summer, relaxing and restful.  I read quite a few books during June, July and August.  One of my favorites was The Scarlet Pimpernel.  I hadn't planned on reading Baroness Orczy's classic, but found a copy with an awesome cover in Target's dollar aisle.  I couln't put that book down and read it in a day.  I loved the romantic tension and the Pimpernel's cleverness.  I promptly found the rest of the books in the series (who knew it was a series!) and downloaded them onto iBooks.  They, of course, await my attention.  I can picture me now during those snow days....

There were quite a few books I did not get through.  I still have Oppel's Airborn series waiting for me patiently, along with 2011's Newbery and Printz winners, Moon Over Manifest and The Shipbreaker.  Never fear, I hear they have all the time in the world. 

I did read George R.R. Martin's most recent addition to the Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance With Dragons.  I was disappointed in that I felt as if the book went nowhere.  I finished knowing very little more than I knew when I started it, except for the fact that one key, most important, reason for the series character may be dead...sigh

I also read Larson's follow-up to The Devil In the White City, In the Garden of Beasts.  This was the story of Ambassador Dodd and his family, who lived in Berlin during Hitler's rise to power.  Terrifying, but not as compelling as Devil.

And I read The Help.  This was one of those books that I kept putting off.  "It can't be that good," I surmised.  How wrong  I was!  I loved this book and when it was done I almost cried.  I want those characters to be part of my life as they were while I was reading it.  It may be on my All-time Favorites shelf. 

I also decided I don't have enough books to review so I joined Net Galley, and requested three ARC downloads:  Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey, Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver and Variant by Robison Wells.  I also have four to read from Library Media Connection...

At any rate, here is the review for Cold Kiss:

From the moment readers begin reading Cold Kiss, they will realize this is not a typical young adult paranormal romance.  The nest Wren has built in the loft of her neighbor's garage may seem cozy, but the boy she has built it for is anything but snuggly.  He is, in fact, a zombie.  Erase from your mind now the image of staggering, brain-hungry mutants so prevalent in today's popular culture.  Garvey's zombie resembles none of those undead.  Rather, he is a product of some heavy-duty witchcraft.  In the hands of a teenager, power can be dangerous.  Wren learns this the hard way when, after a ceremony in the cemetery, she finds herself responsible for her dead boyfriend, Danny.  Her first love looks the same that he always did.  The only difference is that he has no heartbeat and very little memory of what happened.  Lack of blood flow doesn't keep him from remembering Wren, however.  He clings to her as he slowly begins to remember who is he and why he is as he is now.  As he becomes stronger and sometimes violent, Wren realizes she must turn to someone for help, but who will she confide in?  Her mother has made the magic that all women in their family possess a taboo topic, pretending that it does not exist.  Wren's best friends Jess and Darcia are confused and wary of her unpredicable behavior since Danny was killed in a car accident.  Only Gabriel, a mysterious new boy at school, seems able to handle Wren's secret.  The question is, will he be able to help her bring not ony her power under control, but also her undead boyfriend? Garvey's story is engaging and will draw readers in as Wren's horror at her actions becomes apparent.  Along with this, Garvey adequately creates supsense.  Will Danny remember what happened?  When he does remember, will he turn on the one who has brought him back?  Duelling love stories also lend to the appeal of the story.  Wren's first love is strong, as is first love for many teens, and her emotional reaction to Danny's death will be approved by adolescent readers.  Older readers may question the lack of logic in Wren's response, however.  While her love for Danny is strong, does it merit the improbable and fantastical response of raising him from the dead?  Does Wren fall too easily into a relationship with Gabriel when she is still reeling from the results of the midnight ceremony?  Teens will certainly accept these plot components far more easily that most adults.  Garvey's ending will leave both teen and adult readers with unanswered questions.  The lack of resolution may indicate a sequel, which hopefully will lean to the side of caution.  Wren and Gabriel make a likeable and believable couple; possible plots for future books about characters who have dealt with one zombie boyfriend could venture into the ridiculous.

I am teaching part-time this year along with being the district librarian.  It is a challenge; I just spent 4 hours planning lessons for English 11 and elementary library.  Never fear, I won't let this get in the way of reading.  Winter, spring, summer or fall, there is always time for me to slip away with a book.

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