Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell Goodreads | Amazon

Stand Alone

Published by St Martin's Press February 28, 2013

328 Pages

Source: Library

Bookologists Analysis: A cute romance of the nitty and gritty world of the 80s and high school.

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Eleanor and Park had the vibe of something real. The story was set with a broken household and with a multiracial household. It isn't the  perfect suburban romance which is so common in the teen section. The constant tenacity of Eleanor was understandable, but sometimes it got on my nerves. Eleanor had the right psychology in how Rainbow Rowell wanted to present Eleanor, however it isn't how I wanted to see the book. On the flip side, Park was determined and stubborn through out-- something I identify more so with. Even at the end however the main character traits had not changed. For me the character development was little stagnate despite the possibility of more growth especially along the plot line of families. 

The writing of Eleanor and Park has been heralded by much of the YA community, though I can't disagree with it, I don't fully join the choruses. The writing of Eleanor and Park is a needed addition to the teen romance repitiore. The addition is need especially considering the period of time the book is set in (70s/80s) not being fleshed out in YA writing because it's not exactly historical ficiton or realistic ficiton exactly. Many YA writers grew during this time, so it's their reality, while for teens the time period is shrouded in clouds. I think Rowell exposing the more ordinary, middle class part of this period is necessarry. 

I really enojoyed the freshness of the Eleanor and Park. The writing laid out the occasional the poetic flashes of the teenage brain, but also simplicity of a train of thoughts. The actual story line was a little bland, but I encourage people to give Rainbow Rowell a try even if the story isn't revolutionary.  It's more of a subtle turn of page with a story of the ordinary. Rating: 3.5 Stars

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Why I Love My Library

The greatest treasure of public institutions is the library. The library is a multi-faceted place for private public congregation. My first introduction to the public library system, I remember, is probably the time in pre-k when my class took a trip to the local branch. There we picked up our first library cards and got to explore the little, dreary branch. It was there I got to see the pitfalls of public funding first hand while still fill my craving for books. Later on we moved and I wasn't allowed to go the local library due to issues with safety; during that time almost every weekend my father and I would go to a bookstore and sit there for hours to read. Each time we left I was pained with the experience of not being able buy each book I was reading. Since then at least every week I've gone to my local  branch and fell head over heels for everything about my local library.

 Location, Location, Location
The library I frequent is right on a small lake which it faces. Often times I get to see sailboats pass by and nice houses on the other side which makes the atmosphere quite tranquil. It is also right in town making the library centrally located and convenient if there are other errands I need to run. The library building is also eco-friendly being accredited by LEED and is quite new giving it a clean, modern feel.

Despite there being a current trend of library defunding in the United States my current library has quite the breadth of things to offer. Recently a maker lab was opened up with access to objects like podcast equipment, sewing machines, and Minecraft specific computer (yes, there are people who come with their friends to solely play Minecraft). For younger kids there are also literacy programs and cute play sets to entertain them.  However for teens-- an often neglected group of children there is a specific section of the library dedicated to YA, teen club, and special volunteer program for teens. They even manage to have age targeted summer reading programs.

There are FREE books! What is not to love about it? Book stores are hard to get to from where I live right now while the library is within walking distance. My library is also great at buying books that they don't have and have a huge shared collection in their district. The library is what funds my book addiction since I also have this habit of not reading books I buy right away because I figure I'll keep them forever while library books have a due date

It's also great to meet fellow booklovers and librarians who are so passionate about public service and books. Thank you to all the people who support libraries around the world.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: Material Girls

Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos Goodreads | Amazon

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers May 5, 2015

336 Pages

Source: Library

Bookologists Analysis: Eco friendly book meets scifi meets good old YA. 

In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves. Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives?
        Smart, provocative, and entertaining, this thrilling page-turner for teens questions the cult like mentality of fame and fashion. Are you in or are you out?

The garment industry’s environmental impact is not given a lot of attention or thought about, especially in the YA sphere let alone big issues in YA like global warming or fair working conditions. The draw for me to Material Girls is the tackling of the issue of the garment industry in its career paths, materialism, and waste. However I didn't fully realize that the clothing industry was pivotal till the end of the book which made the book that much more accessible. The issues were also very clear in the extreme of a materialistic quasi scifi world of Material Girls.

A fabulous thing about Material Girls is that it is a summer read-- very light and quick while still having a wonderful female centric character group. For a YA novel to be so light in the romance area it was refreshing and a reminder of how determined the heroines in the genre are. The character development was easy to follow as the book unraveled into differing opinions on environmental issues. Without being in first person the decisions and reasoning made in each narrator was remarkably clear. My one issue with the book was the worldbuilding. Some of the terms and technology were very hard to comprehend due to the lack of explanation. It took quite a time for me to understand the Tap (when children are chosen to be in the creative field or not). The family dynamic was also hard to pick up on as the looseness of the familial unit.

Material Girl raises questions about our habits in clothing and fair trade which is nicely supplemented with resources in the back of the book. The conflict between the pop star and fashion designer was simple and clean with the needed plot though it was a bit hard to appreciate without the setting well placed. An overall rounded read that comes to a satisfying conclusion that leaves a topic to ponder.