Twilight is for twits (sorry to say)

I just finished the last book of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga and I just feel so strongly about the four books I’ve read in a bid to understand why is it so popular.

First, I must say that they were very easy to read, making them seem almost like page-turners. I practically flipped through Twilight and New Moon.

When I hit Eclipse that’s where it started to go downhill. I can’t remember the plot, but I remember thinking what’s the point of book number three?

Breaking Dawn really topped it. The way Jacob transferred his love by imprinting (speaking of which, I find the concept of imprinting quite silly – something about that term just doesn’t make sense to me) on Bella’s daughter, Renesmee, is just too ludicrous for me.

Okay, if I would suspend reality, this is a supernatural romance, therefore one might conclude it will have an unusual couple. Like a 200-year-old Angel falling for 17-year-old Buffy. But older men fall for younger women all the time. I’ve never heard of a man falling for the daughter of a woman he used to love. It’s not incest but it feels like a tinge of it to me.

I find Bella a terrible protagonist. She seemed nice, but there’s nothing much special about her until she became a vampire and acquired supernatural abilities. Before that, the way she brooded when she thought she lost Edward was just so off-putting for a protagonist. Even if you don’t really get over who you think was the love of your life, everyone needs to move on. I understand that it’s a heartbreaking thing to happen, but did the author need to make her suffer for that loooong?

Speaking of which, the books were highly long-winded despite being easy to read. Long-winded and has a really bad tendency to exaggerate. Every negative feeling described on the books seemed to be using adjectives like agony and excruciating – and this was only to describe emotional pain, which happened almost all the time in the books. Come on, how often can you feel excruciating emotional pain?

The climax of Breaking Dawn was so anti-climactic. Almost 100 people gather, prepared to fight and die, and in the end only one person is killed? There was no fight at all, just lots of talking. Yap, yap, yap… okay, no fight. Happily ever after. The end. Such a typical girly, idealistic, unrealistic plot.

Urgh. I probably offend many Twilight fans by my review, but this is just my personal opinion. I can’t stand what Twilight stands for.

Update: Read this instead of Twilight. It’s a better read, I assure you.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie

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The book in one sentence: Arnold Spirit Jr. quits the local reservation high school to go to a better, all-white high school in the next county, in an inspirational underdog tale that will make you laugh!

Who would you recommend it to: If you’re looking for a refreshing, uplifting read, this is the book for you. A highly-recommended young adult book.

OK bits: It’s a story about how the biggest underdog of all underdogs there are in the world manages to triumph in life, with courage and spirit and determination. And a great sense of humour! It also won the National Book Award.

Boring bits: Nothing.

Verdict: I loved this book! Junior is funny, sweet, brave, smart and a whole lot more. A character you can’t help but root for, in whatever challenges he faces in life.

The Chocolate War & Beyond the Chocolate War – Robert Cormier

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Robert Cormier is the distinguished author of many books, including After the First Death, Eight Plus One, Now and at the Hour, Take Me Where the Good Times Are, A Little Raw on Monday Mornings, Fade, The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, The Chocolate War, and Beyond the Chocolate War. He is the recipient of the Young Adult Services Division, School Library Journal Author Award, which recognizes authors “whose books have provided young adults with a window through which they can view their world and which will help them to grow and to understand themselves and their role in society.” Robert Cormier and his wife live in Leominster, Massachusetts.

The books in two sentences: Trinity High has its annual chocolate sale and is determined to sell the most ever, but freshman Jerry Renault exercises his right to not volunteer to sell the chocolates and the Vigils are not happy. President of the Vigils, Archie Costello, who nearly engineered a murder, gets off scot-free but is not satisfied – he plans to leave Trinity High as the ultimate legend, but not if Obie has his way of revenge…

Who would you recommend it to: Boys or girls who like to read books about boys. Think S. E. Hinton The Outsiders, prep school style. Chocolate lovers would be disappointed by the possibly misleading titles if they are looking for a story about chocolate. This would be more suited to their liking.

OK bits: The writing is really good. Very dark and sinister. You almost feel as if these schoolboys are on par in evil with their adult counterparts in other stories.

Boring bits: It can be a bit too intense sometimes.

Random review quotes:

“The characterizations of all the boys are superb… This novel [is] unique in its uncompromising portrait of human cruelty and conformity.” – School Library Journal, starred review

“No one who has read Rober Cormier’s young adult novel The Chocolate War can forget the anguish of thatfinal fight under the spotlights at the Trinity School… Mr. Cormier is almost unique in his powerful integration of the personal, political, and moral. Beyond the Chocolate War is very much a sequel.” – The New York Times Book Review

Verdict: I was contemplating giving away these books after reading them, but now I’ve decided to keep them. The Chocolate War won ALA Best Book for Young Adults and for good reason. It’s a riveting book that teaches about the power of evil without being preachy, and so is its sequel.

Face – Benjamin Zephaniah

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Benjamin Zephaniah was born and brought up in Birmingham. For as long as he can remember, he has been passionate about poetry. In 1991, he toured ever continent of the world, performing his work. As well as his writing, he is interested in music, and once produced a tribute song for Nelson Mandela whom he later met. interested in human- and animal-rights groups, as well as other political and racial issues, he is never short of inspiration.

Face is Benjamin Zephaniah’s first novel for young people. It has been very well received and was shortlisted for three book awards.

The book in one sentence: Martin is handsome, has a gorgeous girlfriend and is a good dancer, but one day all that changed when his face is disfigured as a result of a freak car accident…

Who would you recommend it to: People who think beauty is everything in life. Myself included, lol.

OK bits: I love the plot and concept of the story.

Boring bits: I don’t really fancy the narration.

Verdict: I bought the book because I love Zephaniah’s poetry. After reading this, I still prefer his poetry. Nevertheless, I like that he tackles important issues in his writing, be it poetry or fiction.

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Johnny Tremain – Esther Forbes

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The book in one sentence: A story about the Boston Tea Party and the war with the British after that.

Who would you recommend it to: People who are interested in reading a story with a historical setting. The war theme may interest boy readers, but girl readers who are open to various genres could like this too.

OK bits: The protagonist, Johnny Tremain, is a great character. I like his attitude, even his flaws, and how from an accident that changed his life, did not even matter anymore as he moved on to his new job and role as a spy of sorts for the Boston rebels.

Boring bits: I finally understood what the Boston Tea Party was about, but I still don’t quite get the details of it and the war after that.

Random review quote:

“This is Esther Forbes at her brilliant best… Johnny may well take his place with Jim Hawkins, Huck Finn and other young immortals…” – Book Week

Verdict: I’m surprised I managed to finish this book, although it took me much longer than usual. I’m also surprised that I actually enjoyed the book, at least some parts of it. I think this is often used as a literature text in middle and high schools. If I were made to read this book for class, I know I’d have hated it, like I did with Jane Eyre!

Ads R Us – Claire Carmichael

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Claire Carmichael has written for a wide range of ages, but finds the young adult genre particularly rewarding.

She has deep interest in science and society, and how we, as individuals, face both the delights and often daunting problems of our time, as well as the new challenges, that will arise in the near future.

In her books Claire explores the meaning of personal identity, the impact of technology, and how we deal with the ceaseless rain of information that impinges on us every day.

Claire divides her time between Australia and America.

Go to http://www.clairecarmichael.com for more information about the author, and links to discussion downloads about the ideas and themes in Ads R Us.

The book in one sentence: When his uncle dies, teenager Barrett Trent is taken off his simple life in an eco-cult into the big, bad, noisy city to live with his aunt, who has sinister motives for his virtually untouched mind from advertisements.

Who would you recommend it to: If you think advertisements are bad, you’d like the book. If you want to know why advertisements are bad, you should read the book.

OK bits: I like the protagonist, sensible guy.

Boring bits: The ending is a bit messy and too much for me.

Verdict: I like it. I had taken a course on advertising, so in a way what they say about advertising being a form of propaganda and brainwashing rings true to me. It’s an easy read too.

The Library Card – Jerry Spinelli

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Jerry Spinelli is the author of several novels, including Wringer, Crash, There’s a Girl in My Hammerlock, and the Newbery Medal-winning Maniac Magee.

Jerry Spinelli attended Gettysburg College. He lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, with his wife and fellow author, Eileen Spinelli, and their children.

The book in one sentence: To quote the New York Times’ quote: “Here are four amusingly extravagant stories about how a modest library card can change lives.”

Who would you recommend it to: People who don’t like reading books.

OK bits: Out of the four stories, I like the first one best (Mongoose). Brenda is also quite nice, since I can relate to her addiction to the idiot box.

Boring bits: I didn’t like the last two stories as much – Sonseray and April Mendez.

Random review quote:

“Spinelli’s characters are unusual and memorable; his writing both humorous and convincing… readers… are likely to identify with these four characters and be easily persuaded that a plain blue library card could indeed contain all the magic necessary to find an identity, a mother, a friend, or a future.” — The Horn Book Magazine

Verdict: It’s not a book that I like very much, but I’m sentimental towards it because it’s about the power of a library card.

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