Sunday, September 9, 2012

Novels in Verse Reading Challenge Update & My Take on a Star Rating System


I've been remiss over the past few months in posting my progress in the Novels In Verse Reading Challenge. While I have been reading, I've failed to write and post my reviews. Here are my abbreviated thoughts, and my take on a star rating system, for  The Firefly Letters, All the Broken Pieces, What My Mother Doesn't Know, What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know, and Waiting.

Photo courtesy of George Schick
The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba
by Margarita Engle
When Fredrika Bremer visits Cuba from Sweden in 1851, Cecelia, a young slave who longs for home, becomes her guide. She introduces her to the people, the customs, and the magic of the island. In a time when women do not have the freedom to roam, the journey they make together creates a bond that breaks cultural barriers.
This book is beautifully written, with characters and setting that are richly drawn. I give it this gorgeous purple, finely textured starfish.


Photo courtesy of Mary R. Vogt
All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg
Born in war-torn Vietnam and then living with a loving adoptive family in the United States, twelve-year-old Matt Pin cannot forget what he left behind: his mother, his brother, and a terrible secret. But Matt learns through the people around him - his piano teacher, baseball coach, and his classmates at school, that everyone has been affected by the war.
I give it this lovely star that illustrates what we can do if we come together.


What My Mother Doesn't Know
and
What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know
by Sonya Sones
Although I enjoyed the author's writing, these two stories weren't for me. A lot of "lusty crushes", raging hormones, and very little else. I've heard plenty of good things about these books, so I imagine teens can relate. Perhaps I'm just too far removed from those teen years to appreciate these two. I'm giving each of them this sparkly star shoe, because they obviously appeal to others, they just weren't a good fit for me.


Photo courtesy of J. Durham

Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams  
Photo courtesy of Scott Liddell
This is the story of a missionary family shattered by the tragic death of a beloved brother and favorite son. After distancing herself from her friends and boyfriend, sixteen-year-old London finds herself broken and alone, trying to cope with the loss while living with a mother who ignores her, a father who is distant, and a house full of blame.
I love Carol Lynch William's writing. Her previous novel in verse, Glimpse, is one I've read and re-read. She really knows how to make readers feel. I cried my way through this book and I'll probably read it again.
I give it the starfruit because there was a lot below the surface in this story, and once you've taken one bite, you can't stop. 

What was the last novel in verse that you read?


40 comments:

  1. I can't say I've ever read a novel in verse. I need to put that on my to do list. ; )

    BTW, I love your star rating!

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    1. Thanks, Katie. Can't wait to hear what you choose for your first novel in verse.

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  2. I haven't read a single one, either. I'm definitely up for it though. Thanks for the recommendations :)

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  3. I haven’t read a novel in verse in so long, that I can’t answer without being embarrassed. But I did want to chime in and give you five stars ***** for the wonderful star photos.

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    1. Thanks Mirka. It was fun to search for those stars.

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  4. Wow, have you ever inspired me, Ruth. My last novel written in verse was Thanhha Hai's, "Inside Out and Back Again." I think I'll try "The Firefly Letters," it looks great!

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  5. Thank you for writing these reviews. It's been a while since I've read a novel in verse ...

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  6. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have yet to actually read a novel in verse (*gasp* I know!) Waiting looks really good, though, as does All The Broken Pieces, and I've met Ann Burg and she's just terrific, so I'm really going to have to read that one! :)

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    1. *Gasp* I'm surprised by how many commenters have never read one. There are so many good ones out there. I hope you become a fan of the genre.

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  7. Great recs. These titles are all new to me. I so admire folks who have the discipline to write in verse. Impulse by Ellen Hopkins is the last story I read in verse. Unless I can count King Lear.

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    1. I know Ellen Hopkins books are popular, but I think they're a little "dark" for me. Glad you enjoyed it though.

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  8. Thanks for sharing. Like the previous commenter, I read a book by Ellen Hopkins but the book was called Crank.

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  9. All these books sound so good, and they're new to me. So I have not new books to go and check out.. thanks for sharing:)

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    1. Hope you find one that makes you want to read it!

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  10. I've heard a lot about Carol Lynch Williams. I may have to move her closer to the top of the TBR list.

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  11. I just started Waiting. Glad to hear it's a good one! :)

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  12. I have never ever, never read a novel in reverse. Why is this something to do? I dont know of the concept even. Can you explain?

    ctny

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  13. I have never read a novel in verse. I wasn't aware they existed to be honest. Now I feel like I've got a huge literary gap!

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  14. I love your rating system, Ruth. You are so cool!

    The last novel I read in verse was What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know, and I really enjoyed it. I also liked What My Mother Doesn't Know. The first two novels you mentioned sound like awesome books.

    I love to read novels in verse, but I don't think I could write one!

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  15. I hadn't heard of any of these books. Thanks for the reviews! Your rating system is fun.

    The last novel in verse I read was a middle grade -- Inside Out and Back Again

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  16. 'All the Broken Pieces' has grabbed my interest. Thank you, Ruth.

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  17. I can't think of the name of it but it was MG. If I remember, I'll let you know.

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  18. 'Inside Out and Back Again' is my last novel-in-verse. As I told you last week, it was delicious. I haven't read many novels-in-verse, but for those I have, (e.g. Karen Hesse's YA 'Witness' and Russell Yeung's MG 'Tofu Quilt') they carry a solid and/or intense voice. So glad you've recommended more here!

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  19. I will have to check these out. Thanks for the info, Ruth!

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  20. Oh all of these sounds lovely. Have you read Audition? It's amazing. I highly recommend it.

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  21. I'm sure I sound like a total Philistine, but I haven't read a book in verse, and I have no patience for poetry either -- unless it's rhyming children's books, which I LOVE. I guess I can't be a total Philistine if I love Dr. Seuss and all those others, right? :-)

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  22. The last one I think was May B. Although I also read Love that Dog not long ago.

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  23. Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards. A combo of my two favorite things--novel in verse and historical. ^_^

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  24. I love your star rating system.

    I've read Sones' books, but not the rest.

    I read many verse novels and I believe the last one I read was Sarah Tregay's Love & Leftovers.

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  25. I have to have The Firefly Letters if only to gaze at the cover! The last verse novel I read was The Audition, and I loved it. Another one that I love (but I'm partial because I also critiqued it.) is Riding Invisible.

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  26. These sound great! Thanks for the reviews. I don't think I've ever read a novel in verse but I may just have to soon!

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  27. Ruth, thank you for visiting my blog today and commenting on my giveaway post. I am so thrilled for Ms. Larsen! I'm really enjoying your blog and will hopefully be able to stop by more often.

    I have to confess that like many others have commented, I have not read a novel in verse. You have got me interested though.

    Also props for your creative and thoughtful star rating system :)

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