Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dark Parties

Grant, Sara. Dark Parties. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2011. Print.
[Book cover credit:]

Neva looks a lot like her best friend Sanna who bears a striking similarity to Neva's boyfriend Ethan who has a passing resemblence to Sanna's boyfriend Braydon who you can tell is related to just about everyone else in Homeland. When everything is shared, including the gene pool, life can be suffocating. But in the dark, no on looks the same and the possibilities are almost endless.

Dark Parties is my favorite kind of dystopian novel. The society therein is totally recognizable, and life seems almost completely normal. Only the over-abundance of hand-me-downs and the community-wide family resemblance mark Homeland as different than real life. Until ... DUN Dun dun ... Neva figures out why her life is the way it is and decides to do something about it. This set-up almost never disappoints me, and Dark Parties was no exception. I really liked this book! But as nothing in Neva's world or ours is ever perfect, I had a few issues with this book.

The first is that part of the mystery of what's really going on hinges on Neva not knowing what IVF stands for. If you don't know what IVF stands for, ignore this concern and skip to my next one. It's only mentioned briefly, but in the context of the story, it gave a lot away (Spoiler?: society desperate for healthy babies + teenage girls being taken by the government = In Vitro Fertilization fueled baby factory, obvs). That said, I doubt this will be an issue for the majority of teens reading this book.

My second issue is with Neva's relationship with Braydon. Let me rephrase: Neva's romantic relationship with her best friend's boyfriend. Kissing your best friend's boyfriend in a pitch black room where you can't see anyone could be an honest mistake. Every make-out session behind your best friend's back after that, however, is Not Okay.* Neva and Braydon's affair lasted for jsut about the entire book, and though Neva felt guilty about the inevitability of Sanna's broken heart, she continued to be the one doing the breaking. It made me not like her a bit, and apparently I am one of those people who has a hard time in an unlikable main character.

These two issues aside, Dark Parties really was a great book. It has a great dystopian setting that still has a few secrets left to reveal. I hope Grant chooses to let us explore them!

Book source: ARC provided by the publisher

*Is there a girl version of "bros before hos"? There should be.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Comfort Reading

My apologies for the radio silence, folks.

I don't want this to be the place where I spill all my troubles, so I won't go into it, but things have been, for lack of a better word, difficult lately. I just haven't been able to make myself sit down and write any reviews. I've been doing what any good raised-by-baptists girl would do. I've been making comfort food. Nothing like mac'n cheese or mashed potatoes or mini chocolate nanner muffins to make bad times better. This baptist upbringing has also instilled in me the need to provide a comfort casserole or lasagna to anyone remotely in crisis.

My kitchen's been busy.

But I've also been reading. In recent weeks, I've read some great books (Dark Parties, Rotters, Texas Gothic), and I'm going to try to make myself sit down and talk about them with you all soon. What's really been taking up my time, though, is the Song of Ice and Fire series (many thanks to The Lost Entwife whose non-spoilery reviews pushed me over the edge into Must Read Now). I've not been able to put them down. Part of this is because these books are great and end with just enough left unresolved that I've just HAD to rush into the next 1000+ page installment. The bigger part, I think, is that books like A Game of Thrones et al. are my reading comfort food. The fantasy part is, unsurprisingly, just the kind of thing to make me feel better, but the combination of fantasy with a medieval or feudal setting just does something for me. I blame the books leftover from my father's Arthurian fantasy phase that littered my childhood. I have one more Ice and Fire book in my possession, and there is another that I can buy after that. But I don't feel the need to read them anymore. I just want to. Which means they worked.

I'll be back to my normal book-reviewing self soon, I hope, but in the meantime, what's your favorite comfort reading?

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