Monday, February 23, 2009

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman

Let me start off by stating that I love dystopian novels. I had been looking forward to reading Unwind since I first heard about it, and it was one of my first reads when my book order came in.

In the future (mid to late 21st century) abortion is no longer allowed. Instead, unwanted children are "unwound" between the ages of 13 and 18. The law states that as long as 99.44% of the body is transplanted into other people's bodies, the children who are unwound are not dead, they are just living their lives differently. Unwind follows the paths of three children who have all been classified as unwinds. Connor is the classic "bad kid" whose parents no longer know what to do him; Risa has grown up in an orphanage that can no longer afford to keep her; and Lev has known since birth that as the tenth child of a very religious family, he is to be tithed to an unwind facility. All three end up together, literally running for their lives as they try to escape a truly gruesome fate.

As I've said, I love dystopian novels, and I've read a lot of them. One of the things I particularly enjoyed about this one is that I never saw where it was going -- it constantly surprised me. Like many dystopian novels, this one makes a lot of commentary on today's society. I think this would make a great book club book -- lots of things to discuss and think about.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Artichoke's Heart by Susanne Supplee

Artichoke's Heart
Suzanne Supplee

I had marked Artichoke's Heart for purchase several months ago when I read the reviews of several respected bloggers. I must say they were all right -- this is a wonderful book that is about so much more than what you weigh.

Rosemary is an only child. Her mother was seventeen when she was born and she's never known her father. Her mother was determined to succeed despite having a child at a young age and she had developed and extremely bust hair and nail salon. In fact, Rose immersed herself so deeply in the store that in many ways Rosemary has felt like she's second place and she compensates by eating, and eating a lot. Now she's fifteen and has ballooned to 200 pounds and hates herself. Her mom and her Aunt Mary are on her case constantly to lose weight -- they give her a treadmill for Christmas -- but she just wants to make love to Mr. Hershey, Mr. Reeses, and Mr. M&M. It's not that Rosemary doesn't know that it takes to lose weight, she just can't find the will to start and stay on a diet.

And then comes Kyle -- a boy who appears to be interested in her no matter what she weighs. Rosemary now has the motivation and she manages to start to take off the pounds. She also makes friends with Kay-Kay, a thin girl who has her own set of problems.

This is not a simple book about a girl who wants to lose weight -- it's about a girl who in the midst of a family crisis (which I haven't mentioned but plays an important part in the book) learns to love herself