Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rose Under Fire Book Review

Title: Rose Under Fire
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1423183099

368 pp.

Reading copy from publisher via NetGalley

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein is a companion novel to Code Name Verity, which was recently named Number One of the Teens' Top Ten 2013.

Rose Under Fire is not a sequel to Code Name Verity. There are characters from Code Name Verity who make small but important appearances, but the novel really belongs to Rose Justice.

Rose is an American teenager who transports planes for the British and gets captured by Nazis. She's sent to Ravensbruck, a women's concentration camp, where she meets the Polish Rabbits, a group of girls who were used for medical experiments. It's near the end of the war, but that makes everything just a little more desperate. When the enemy knows they're losing, how many can they take down with them?

Rose Under Fire is a much more traditional story than Code Name Verity, though it does share a similar journal format. They also share the overarching theme of friendship. But Rose Under Fire is like the American Rose, more hopeful, more uplifting, with something as close to a happy ending as can be possible.

One does not need to read Code Name Verity to enjoy Rose Under Fire, but readers who like one will probably like the other. I'd also recommend Ruta Sepetys' Between Shades of Gray as another aspect of survival and friendship during World War II.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Teens Top Ten 2013

I hope you're excited for the announcement of the Teens' Top Ten during the week of October 21st!

There were 28 nominees this year and I promoted them with displays and bookmarks at my library.

These are proven teen-approved titles that make Readers' Advisory easy-peasy. Many of the titles are part of series, so you can hook a voracious reader with the promise of more awesome books.

I haven't gotten to all of the nominees, but you can check out my reviews of Butter, Code Name Verity, Of Poseidon, and The Raven Boys.

All of the Teens' Top Ten nominees are included here:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Life After Life Audiobook Review

Title: Life After Life
Author: Kate Atkinson
Narrated by: Fenella Woolgar
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1619696969

Listening copy via local library

The thing to remember with Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is that it is a character driven story, not plot driven.

Don't expect the traditional three-act structure of beginning, middle, and end. Don't expect linear storytelling where plot point A leads to plot point B. Because that's not what Life After Life is about.

Life After Life is the story of Ursula Todd, a girl born during a snow storm in 1910 England, only to die and live and die again. And again. And again. Ad infinitum. But this isn't reincarnation where she comes back as other people. She always comes back as Ursula Todd, a girl born during a snow storm in 1910 England.

But Life After Life is really about choices. Random choices that haunt us, deliberate choices that don't succeed, choices that others make for us that we may not be aware of. Choices that make up a life.

Kate Atkinson pursues these choices through Ursula, putting her during a time of great change. The key to Atkinson's storytelling is repetition. We see the same moments in Ursula's life, sometimes with a slight alteration here or there, sometimes significantly different. But mostly the same.

And I have to admit, if Fenella Woolgar didn't do such a beautiful job narrating, I might have given up on the book. She's able to capture a range of genders, ages, and accents, and really bring the characters to life. Enough that I cared about the characters to keep on going to the end.

I did realize about three-fours through that there was no endgame to Ursula's life. She would never get it "right" and this would be her final life. Once I stopped expecting that, it did make the whole experience more enjoyable.

Life After Life is not a novel for everyone, although I think that those who gave up on the print version should give the audiobook a try.

Life After Life Book Trailer:


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