#939 Ever by Gail Carson Levine

Ever by Gail Carson Levine

Ever by Gail Carson Levine

Kezi lives with her mother and father. She’s an only child, they worship the one true God. There’s an altar in their home dedicated to this god.

She does not know that other Gods exist, including one around her age named Olus. He happens to raise goats on land leased from Kezi’s father. He is the god of wind and loneliness. He has a special interest in Kezi.

One day, Kezi’s mother falls terribly ill and the local medicine man just wants to let her blood and doesn’t give a lot of hope. Kezi’s father makes an oath to their god. He swears that if his wife recovers, he will sacrifice whoever, if anybody, congratulates him on his wife’s recovery.

She does get better and no one wishes congratulations until an elderly aunt comes by. Kezi knows what will happen, so she wishes her father congratulations instead. She must die.

There are thirty days left in Kezi’s life, but she runs into Olus and he whisks her away. He tells her that perhaps she could become a goddess. She would have to become a heroine and pass a test. Could Kezi complete this task? Could she stay with Olus forever?

What I liked

This story was fun. I like the idea of being with someone forever. I believe we do go on after this life. I would like to think we can keep the relationships we have.

I really have no knowledge of other God’s existing, but it’s kind of fun to think about, at least in the mythology sense.

What I didn’t like

This is kind of Twilight.

Overall

If only we could all be rescued from life by some immortal being…*sigh* *teenage love ideals*

Weigh in

If some immortal dude asked you to go with him and leave everything behind, would you?

Would you offer yourself so someone else wouldn’t have to die?

#733 Middle School The Worst Years of my Life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts

Middle School The Worst Years of my Life by James Patterson and Chris TebbettsMiddle School The Worst Years of my Life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts

Rafe is at a new middle school. He has a plan though. He has this notebook he’s been working on. He wants to break every school rule, every single one. Things aren’t going so great in his home life. There’s a guy named Bear that lives at his house with his mother and his sister. Rafe doesn’t like Bear very much. He sells Bear’s secret stash of sodas at school.

The plan goes. Rafe is late. He streaks through the hallways. He graffitis the walls. He gets bad grades. He gets in school suspension. He knocks things over. He does this and he does that. He makes fun of Shakespeare.

Things just get out of control. Rafe gets a tutor and tries for a bit, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Meanwhile, things at home seem to have come to a point where there needs to be a come to Jesus meeting.

What I liked

This book is entertaining. I can actually remember it and follow it, unlike some of the other James Patterson books I’ve read. I’m not sure why.

Fun fact, Khatchadorian, which is Rafe’s last name, was also the last name of the main character in We Need to Talk About Kevin. The name is originally Armenian and it’s less common than my last name, which is saying something. It’s the 2,891,080th most common name in the world according to Forebears.io.

I liked that Rafe’s mother didn’t give up on him and she didn’t give up on herself. I think if you are a single parent, you can’t do either.

What I didn’t like

I hated middle school. I hated it. I hated it so much. I would say those years were the worst years of my life if I had not been through a mentally abusive marriage and a drawn-out divorce that took much longer than it needed to because of my ex and some archaic divorce laws.

It was such an awful time. Girls have it harder because of puberty, but compound on depression, medical issues, and hard times at home to get just a cocktail of awfulness. That’s my story. Rafe’s story is a little better, but still not awesome. He is depressed. He is acting out. He is having a hard time at school and he’s having a hard time at home as well. If your mom moved in a guy named Bear, wouldn’t you have a hard time at home? I really feel for Rafe. He’s been upended in several ways and then there’s this loser at his house who apparently does nothing but complain and exude the air of he knows what’s right all the time without actually knowing anything about anything. Those aren’t the kind of people you get into relationships with, even if you’re a single mother working at a diner. Leave those losers alone, especially for the kids.

The whole Bear thing made Rafe’s situation so much worse.

Overall

Middle school sucks.

Weigh In

Would you date a guy named Bear?

Did you ever act out at school because of your home life?

#920 I Funny by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

I Funny by James Patterson and Chris GrabensteinI Funny by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Jaime’s uncle has told him about a comedy contest for young people and Jaime has decided that he needs to enter the contest. He practices his jokes out on the people who come to his uncle’s diner and on his uncle’s family. Jaime lives with his uncle ever since the thing that happened that put him in a wheelchair.

That’s what makes Jaime different from other kids; he’s in a wheelchair. None of his friends know why yet. They don’t know why he lives with his uncle and his family instead of his parents.

Some people really like Jaime’s jokes, while others might groan. Jaime looks for everyday events to tell jokes about. At the content, things go well. Some people say it’s because he’s in a wheelchair and people felt sorry for him, but others tell Jaime that it’s because he’s truly funny. He begins to open up to his new friend about his life and about the thing that happened. The thing that happened was actually pretty awful and it took a long time for Jaime to get over it, physically. It’s still hard to get over it mentally, but with the help of his uncle’s family and his friends, Jaime’s doing ok and he is funny.

What I liked

I actually liked this James Patterson book. Granted, he did not write it himself, it’s still the best James Patterson book I’ve read. I think this book does a good job of being comedic, but having a reason for someone wanting to be funny. Jaime wants to be funny to help get over a tragedy that occurred in his life. His life got completely turned upside down, but this stand-up competition, or sit down competition in his case, is an effort on his part to move on with his life. Moving on from something awful is an important part of life. How we move on from things can make or break some other things in the rest of our lives. We have to choose to get up and keep moving, just as Jaime has in this story. It’s quite admirable.

What I didn’t like

The thing that happens to Jaime is a little harsh. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility, but it’s a lot to think about. It could be a little much for some younger people.

Overall

Sometimes the best thing you can do is laugh about something.

Weigh In

If some terrible catastrophe happened in your life, how long would it take for you to laugh?

What do you think about people who are always telling jokes?

#915 Say Cheese –and Die Screaming by R.L. Stine

Say Cheese --and Die Screaming by R.L. StineSay Cheese –and Die Screaming by R.L. Stine

Julie is the photographer for her middle school. She is highly competitive. She is competing with another student photographer for the best photo of the year for the yearbook, or one of them anyway. At a yard sale, she finds a camera, which wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but strange things happen when she takes pictures with the camera. The digital images do not reflect reality; they show terrible things. Those terrible things then happen.

When Julie ends up with a picture of herself, she’s too scared to take the photo that might be the best photo of the year. She has to figure out a way to get the camera to stop bad things from happening.

What I liked

This is yet another story about how cameras might be able to take your soul. People used to have some silly superstitions about a device that could reproduce their image in just a little while. This story moves it over to the digital realm. If digital photographs steal our souls, we’re all screwed, especially Kim Kardashian.

What I didn’t like

How many times can this darn camera, or one like it, show up? I kind of feel like this concept has been done…to…death. Dun, dun, dun! I wasn’t trying to be scary; I was really trying to say that I think the concept is a little overdone by R.L. Stine. He does put a twist on it in each book, but it’s still very much the same idea.

Overall

Strange cameras–you just never know what might be wrong with them.

Weigh In

Would you take your own picture with a strange camera?

If you found out that cameras did steal part of your soul, how would you feel about photography?

#899 The Ruby Moon by Trisha Priebe and Jerry Jenkins

The Ruby Moon by Trisha Priebe and Jerry JenkinsThe Ruby Moon by Trisha Priebe and Jerry Jenkins

In the kingdom, strange things are going on. Teenagers, thirteen-year olds to be precise, are disappearing. One day a kid is there, the next, they’re not. The Olympiads are coming up. The winner of the run will get a private audience with the ailing king. Avery finds out her friend is the son of the king. Currently, the king has no heir and Avery’s friend could be just the ticket.

There are strange circumstances surrounding the first queen and her child. She disappeared, or something.

Avery decides to run in the race even though girls aren’t allowed. Meanwhile more teenagers disappear and others decide to go and live underground. Will the sick king find out about his son? What will happen to Avery?

What I liked

The whimsy in this book is nice. I could tell this wasn’t meant to be a real time or place. There is definitely a lot of intrigue going on here.

What I didn’t like

I obviously missed a book. I would have liked to have known what the deal with thirteen-year olds was. I’m guessing it’s because the lost heir would be thirteen? I’m not sure.

I kind of feel this idea of the Olympiads is out-of-place in this book. I feel like this is a middle ages type of setting, but yet, the Olympics, which is a Greek thing, has a part in the book. More over, the event is something like the 800 yard dash, which is a modern Olympic event. Sure, maybe people in feudal middle ages kingdoms did compete in running, but it doesn’t seem like a real thing. This is, of course, a fiction work, so maybe it doesn’t matter at all.

Overall

The queen is out to get a teenager’s ┬áhead, better hope you don’t end up dead.

Weigh in

Have you read any books in this series?

Would you run a race you weren’t supposed to run because of your gender?