Friday, July 19, 2013

Love Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl #2. Alfred A. Knopf. (August 2007) Library
Dear Leo,                                                                                      I love beginnings. What better way to celebrate than to begin writing a letter to my once (and future?) boyfriend.
Stargirl has moved and left everything behind: Arizona, Mica High, enchanted desert places - and Leo.

He's all she can think about, and her life begins to feel like a parade of unhappy anniversaries. Then Stargirl meets her wonderfully bizarre new neighbors: Dootsie, the curly-headed five-year-old "human bean"; Betty Lou, who hasn't stepped outside her house for nine years; Charlie, who sits among the tombstones; hot-tempered Alvina with that one glittery nail; and Perry Delloplane, the blue-eyed thief who soon lays his own claim to Stargirl's heart.
In letters to Leo over the course of a year, Stargirl comes to find hope in new places: mockingbirds, donut angels, moon flowers, and the Winter Solstice - that turning-point day when dark tips to light. But what's life without Leo? Will he - can he - answer that  one crucial question she asks every morning to the rising sun?

First, I expected a certain something from this book. Something that wasn't what the story had planned for me. I think I expected the Stargirl from the last book and I don't know why. It's not like it was going to be a retelling of well... Stargirl. It wasn't going to be the same carefree Stargirl who sang on people's birthdays or sent people things or danced around wildly whenever she felt the urge. I honestly can't tell you even a single piece of clothing she wore because this book wasn't about that past Stargirl. This book was about a Stargirl that's been shaken up a little by the world. This is about a no longer "naive" Stargirl trying to figure out where she belongs and how she is ever going to get over her first love.

So this book being not as I expected took me awhile to warm up to it. It's one of those books you need to put down for a while and come back to it so you don't have that preconceived mindset you had before. Now that's all said and done I did really enjoy Love, Stargirl. It showed me Stargirl's world, how her emotions bring about how she acts, and who she is now (if that makes any sense...). She's still Stargirl of course. She's just trying to navigate life without Leo. But, really. Why would she want to do that? They belong together!

We've got a wider variety of mismatched characters in this book. We've got Dootsie who is always hanging around Stargirl and wanting to do things with her. She's always super excited. I sometimes forget she is only five years old. When I do forget I am pretty annoyed by her and can't understand why she can't calm herself down and then I remember "Oh duh! She's five! She's doesn't know the meaning of the word calm." Betty Lou the agoraphobic seemed quite content in being who she is. I would say that she was kind of and I mean - kind of - the replacement of Archie. She gave a lot of advice and had stories to tell. I don't know she just had that Archie vibe but of course no one could replace him and he is infinitely better than anyone around him.  

You got to hang out with Stargirl's parents for a while which was interesting. Her parents are pretty normal but more flexible about how they react to life and how Stargirl is let to be this carefree person. Other characters include Charlie who's always with his wife. Weird thing I thought about Charlie - (well not exactly weird but it's interesting to say the least) I thought he would impact Stargirl's life more than I thought it did. Who's to say she didn't learn more from his life than I think? Fact is she learned a lot about herself through this montage of characters and there's still more to discuss.

Alvina is a strange little girl. She likes to fight with boys and it makes sense the reason why but that's not what's strange about her. What's strange about her is she has one fingernail that's all manicured and glittery and girly. I even understand some of what that means but honestly she made no sense to me. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. There's also Arnold this jogger who always asks "Are you looking for me" but doesn't wait around for a response. Stargirl's theory about him is pretty interesting and her theory is the inventive Stargirl that I know and love. 

And finally we have Perry who grabs Stargirl's attention in more than one way. Stargirl and him are the two characters from this story that I had a preconceived mindset towards. You really don't know both of them until you rad about them and start unraveling who they really are. At first I found this frustrating because I wanted them to be a certain way but really they both are written the way they are supposed to be. 

A lot happens to Stargirl through her letters to Leo. She constantly wonders about him and can't seem to get over the amazingness that is Leo. Anyways Stargirl goes through this transformation with the help of the people from her new home town and Leo is a part of that transformation. Really I think there are two transformations happening here. When Leo denied her true self in the last book and the repercussions of that as well as what she learns from the people around her. 

Overall: All in all this was not the story I was expecting but it was still a wonderful story about staying true to yourself.

For more info about Jerry Spinelli and his books you can visit him at his website.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hot Summer Reads Readathon 2013

I'm signing up for another read-a-thon. I wasn't exactly attacking my stack of to read books the last time. This time I'm going for it. I'm really obsessed with these readathons. The Hot Summer Readathon is hosted by Patrick @ The Bookshelves and Jen @ YA Romantics. This should be fun. I must remember that reviews are important too!

I will be updating what I'm reading on here. But before that I will post a ridiculously long list of books I want to read just because as well as my goals.


1) Read 5 books
2) Read at least 1,000 pages
3) Have fun!

Book List:

I have 21 books on my list of to-read books for this challenge. Of course I won't be reading all of them but it's better to have a huge list to choose from than none at all.





Sunday, July 14th

Current Read(s):

Thoughts: 11:20 PM I finished my first book earlier. I knew as I was reading it wasn't going to be the greatest book but it was interesting enough to continue on a finish it. I'm going to work on the review in the morning. I will also be starting my next book soon and if it's really good I'll probably stay up until I finish it. 

Number of books read today: 1
Number of pages read today: 298


Post up a picture of your tbr pile:

Most of my books are on my ereader so that's why my pile looks so small.


Why Am I Reading These Books?

To participate, all you need to do is choose a book from your TBR pile and give at least one reason that you're reading it. 

When We Wake is a book I never expected to want to read. I actually didn't know about it until one day I got an e-mail saying that I won it in a giveaway. I don't remember exactly trying to win this particular book but I do remember the giveaway itself. So as I was waiting for it I thought nothing of it but then when it did and I saw the summary and read a couple of pages I was hooked. Problem was I had other books I had to read. I've put this book off long enough. I'm sure I'll love it.

Monday, July 15th
Current read(s):

Thoughts: 5:40 PM Just made a trip to the library! Guess who's deviating from her list? Yep. That would be me. I'm going to read Love, Stargirl and go on break with Mira in the Present Tense which is a very long book with tiny print on my ereader. It's going pretty good though but I estimate I have three more hours to go...

Number of books read today: 0
Number of pages read today: 204

Total number of books read: 1
Total number of pages read: 502

Thursday, July 18th
Current Read(s):

Thoughts: Got another verse book down this month! It was actually pretty good. Love, Stargirl was also really good. It showed a different side of Stargirl. It wasn't as great as the first but it was still pretty great. I changed my goals. I have had other things on my mind this week. I still have enjoyed what I have read so far.

Number of books read today: 2
Number of pages read today: 253

Total number of books read: 3
Total number of pages read: 755

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mechanical Fish, Building Dreams, & a Healing Bread

I haven't done a post on picture books for a long time so this is as good a time as any. Basically I will be featuring three picture books and the artwork in them. The first book is written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov.

Clink! Clankety-bang! Thump-whirr!  That's the sound of Papa at work. Although he is an inventor, he has never made anything that works perfectly, and that's because he hasn't yet found a truly fantastic idea. But when he takes his family fishing on Lake Michigan, his daughter Virena asks, "Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a fish?"—and Papa is off to his workshop. With a lot of persistence and a little bit of help, Papa—who is based on the real-life inventor Lodner Phillips—creates a submarine that can take his family for a trip to the bottom of Lake Michigan.

This review let me know about this book and illustrator.

Artwork from Papa's Mechanical Fish below:
(click on all the pictures to get the source of the image)

"Glub-glub-glub! Papa swims back to the pier. 
"It almost worked," he says."

The next book is written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts.

A hilarious, irreverent book about doing your own thing

Meet Iggy Peck—creative, independent, and not afraid to express himself! In the spirit of David Shannon’s No, David and Rosemary Wells’s Noisy NoraIggy Peck will delight readers looking for irreverent, inspired fun. 

Iggy has one passion: building. His parents are proud of his fabulous creations, though they’re sometimes surprised by his materials—who could forget the tower he built of dirty diapers? When his second-grade teacher declares her dislike of architecture, Iggy faces a challenge. He loves building too much to give it up! With Andrea Beaty’s irresistible rhyming text and David Roberts’s puckish illustrations, this book will charm creative kids everywhere, and amuse their sometimes bewildered parents.

Artwork from Iggy Peck, Architect below:
(click on all the pictures to get the source of the image)

"Young Iggy Peck is an architect and has been since he was two..."

"It all became clear to Miss Lila Greer, as she crosses that bridge over the stream. 
There are worse things to do when you're in grade two 
than to spend your time building a dream."

You can listen to the whole story here:

There's a second book with the same kind of theme called Rosie Revere, Engineer.

The last book I'm featuring is written by Nicola Winstanley and illustrated by Janice Nadeau.

A contemporary fable about a magical remedy for a baby who won't stop crying. Miriam is a baker whose bread is full of smells to make your nose twitch and tastes to make your tongue tingle. Miriam's own favorite cinnamon bread so delights Sebastian, a musician who enters her shop, that he buys it every day for a year and then asks her to marry him. After a baby is born to the happy couple, all is blissful until their bundle of joy begins crying. And crying. Only when the two are almost at wit's end does Miriam suddenly know, looking down at her baby curled up like a little raisin, exactly what she must do. A celebration of the bond between mother and child and an ode to the power of our senses, each delectable word and image of this beautifully told and illustrated story will be savored.

Artwork from Cinnamon Baby below:
(click on all the pictures to get the source of the image)

"Miriam loved to take the springy dough from the mixer 
and knead in all the tasty treasures with her warm, soft hands."

"One cool autumn morning a man called Sebastian was passing Miriam's bakeshop 
when her sweet smelling voice came floating through the window."

 "But when the baby woke up, it started to cry once more."

"Once the dough had started to rise, Miriam took it out of the mixing bowl and began to knead it. 
Thumping and pushing the dough to the rhythmless sound of the baby's crying."

Papa's Mechanical Fish - The artwork looks like it could be from a movie. It's so detailed and excuse the pun - inventive. I'm just in awe of this book.
Iggy Peck, Architect - I love that I was able to listen to the whole story about this book of literally building your dreams. The baby Iggy Peck picture reminds me so much of the Rugrats picture books I have stored somewhere. I really like that the pictures seem to be drawn on graphic paper towards the end.
Cinnamon Baby - This book just speaks to me. It's looks very french if you know what I mean. Very soft and whimsical. I've loved this story and illustrations from afar for a very long time.

I hope you enjoyed all the wonderful illustrations from these great artists!