Monday, December 3, 2012

December 2012

Because of the craziness that comes with the holiday season, we won't be meeting again until January.  The pick for December/January is The Diviners by Libba Bray!

Book Club selection The Diviners by Libba Bray published by Little Brown

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

Don't forget to check out the extra credit reading and have a wonderful holiday!

November Book Selection Follow-Up

Overall, Where Things Come Back was enjoyed by the entire group in attendance this month.  There was a lot of discussion about the way time lines were used in the story and while some people found it to be a bit confusing, the overall opinion was that it connected nicely, in the end.  The way that Cullen's family dealt with the grief over Gabriel's disappearance was also a topic of discussion because to many of us, it seemed very realistic.  Our group is a mix of people who grew up in larger cities and those who grew up in small towns.  For those of us small town folks, the way that Lily was described seemed very authentic and relatable.

How about that ending?  A few members wanted to know if the ending in the book was the original ending because many of use were expecting something much darker.  So, we'll be contacting Mr. Whaley to see if we can get an answer to our question!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 2012

The November selection is a book that won the 2012 Michael L. Printz Award, given to “a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature” and the 2012 William C. Morris YA Award for an outstanding debut.

In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter’s senior year of high school, he is forced to examine everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears.  Meanwhile, the crisis of faith spawned by a young missionary’s disillusion in Africa prompts a frantic search for meaning that has far-reaching consequences. As distant as the two stories initially seem, they are woven together through masterful plotting and merge in a surprising and harrowing climax.

If you finish with Where Things Come Back, check the selections tab for some "extra credit" reading similar to this book.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Book Selection Follow-Up

*The questions might contain some spoilers if you haven't read TINAT*.

There was a lot of discussion about the emotion of the book, but there was also a lot of discussion about the practicalities of surviving an event like this, which was pretty entertaining.  I am confident that, as a book club, we could survive a zombie apocalypse if we had to.

Here are the questions that were submitted by the members for this month's book selection:

1. Do you think the squabbling between the teens was realistic to the situation, or did it go overboard?

2. Were the kids right to stay at the school?

3. Why did Lily leave and why did she come back?

4. What do you think occurred between Mr. Baxter and the man outside?

5. What is the significance of Sloane killing her sister?

6. Did Cary make the right call in his plan to sacrifice someone for the group?  Did Cary feel he had to sacrifice himself to make up for what he did?

7. Why did the kids feel the need to make plans to stay together when they got to the survivor camp?  Why couldn't Sloane just go on her own?

8. Were the teens right to throw Baxter out?

9. What did the zombie girl at the end of the book symbolize to Sloan?

A few people made the comment that this book was really about survival rather than zombies, although the zombies did scare some people.  Within the group of survivors, there were questions about who was expendable and who was used as a distraction or a shield.  As one person pointed out, it ended up having  lot of the characteristics of an episode of survivor.  Sloane's determination to die was an interesting aspect of the story and created some really interesting conflicts within the group since her lack of allegiance meant that everyone came to her at one point to another to try to figure out what she wanted to do.  Sloane was not an entirely likable character to some, but it seemed that most of the club felt that she was a product of abuse from her father and her sister.  The dynamic of the teens and how they reacted to their grief and confusion was very realistic and added to the tense feeling of the story.

 More reviews:

You can read Kathryn's review here.
You can read Kate's review here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

October 2012

October's selection is....zombies!!

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

If you finish This Is Not A Test, check the selections tab for some more spooky book suggestions.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September Book Selection Follow-Up

Every Day
We had a great first meeting with a lot of good discussion about Every Day.  The opinion about the book was not unanimous, which always makes things interesting.  Several people submitted questions, so I've posted the questions that were drawn out the hat for you to ponder:

1.My morals, values and sense of self have always been highly influenced by my family.  How cold A develop a sense of morals, values and acceptable behavior without a constant single family presence?

2. Why do you think A fell in love with Rhiannon over everyone else?

3. What do you think about the "gift" that A gave Rhiannon at the end of the book?

4. We're never given any clue to A's gender and gender roles are a significant theme in this book.  What might the author's purpose be for including them in a YA book?

5. Is A human?  What does it mean to be human?

6. How did A develop his convictions and values?  Why would these be important to follow?

7. How fulfilling would life be if relationships and goals could not continue past 24 hours? Could life feel meaningful without long term goals and accomplishments?

The discussion included questions about A's behavior.  Was he a victim?  Were the people A inhabited victims?  Many people in the group disagreed with what A did at the end for Rhiannon (see questions 3) and felt is was a little heavy handed. While everyone agreed that A started to behave recklessly by following Rhiannon around, regardless of the person A was inhabiting, some felt that it made A seem more flawed and realistic.  Others thought it made A seem like a stalker. 

In examining A's rules and values, there was some discussion about the stability that the rules provided to A in an existence that seemed to have no discernible purpose.  One interesting  point was that A's exposure to a variety of religions and cultures might have also shaped the rules and values that A lived by.  A's online life was also brought up.  Why didn't A have more of an online existence?  Why not a twitter account? 

We had a wide range of opinions on this book:

Kathryn was not a fan and you can read her review here.

Kate loved it, and you can read her review here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

September 2012

Welcome to our inaugural blog post and book selection!

This month's pick:

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl. Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

If you finish Every Day, please go to the Selections tab for some "extra credit" book suggestions, also by David Levithan.  

Quick tip:  Keep a notepad to jot down thoughts, quotes and questions about the book and bring it with you to the club meeting.