Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On My Mind (and its Contents)

What have I been thinking?
  • I have not posted on a Wednesday in awhile.
  • I should join Twitter. I've never actually seen its homepage, but it couldn't be that difficult to navigate....
  • I really don't want to continue writing the second draft of my novel. The first draft was hard enough.
  • I should really continue writing my second draft. Halfway through it already, right?
  • I want it to be Friday already. Or, even better, Saturday.
  • Ooh, aluminum foil! Shiny.
  • I should look into agents and the publishing industry more. I should also look into colleges.
  • Wow, what possessed me to think of trying 4 AP classes next year? Isn't senior year a time to slacken off a little?
  • Ugh. I have a math test tomorrow. And chemistry. (Because just chemistry class is enough to make me dread odd days.)
  • Rorshach inkblot test!
  • The weather needs to make up its mind. Last Friday, it was snowing. Today, it was almost 80 degrees outside. (Farenheit, thankfully. If it had been 80 degrees celsius, I would have melted.) 
  • Vault of Souls. The Sunset Decades. Or the Sunset Century. Those sound like cool titles. Not strictly relevant to my novel, but I can always write another novel that does fit. In fact... *Plots dastardly conflict*

My mind doesn't stick to one topic. As you can see. This post is mainly here because I felt I was blog-slacking. I haven't posted anything but book reviews and Follow Fridays. Gotta step up my game, man.

Anyways, I'll try to find something worth writing about on Wednesdays. Any suggestions on what you want me to write about?

Ooh! A poll in the sidebar, asking for what you want. Seriously, I'm writing stuff off the top of my head without any clue as to whether you actually care about my random bletherings. Please vote on what you'd like to see more of. (Within reason. I am a stay-at-home teenager.)

Anyways... I've already run out of things to say. Gracious wisdom ...*grumble*fakeswear*... -- please vote. Have a blessed weekend I mean, Wednesday!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Divergent by Veronica Roth

One choice decides your friends... One choice defines your beliefs... One choice determines your loyalties -- forever... One choice can transform you.
In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to determine her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

~Print copy, 487 pages
Published: 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books

(The unbolded summary above is not the back-cover summary, because there was no back-cover summary, just the bolded sentence and rave reviews of the book. That is the... what's-it-called.... the publisher's summary. The one located on the back of the title page.)

Yes, I'm super late. I don't normally read popular books. I only picked this up at all because the whole "one-choice" thing caught my eye.

It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought.

What did I like about this?
  • I liked the voice. I don't come across the first-person-present often, and Roth's style was perfect for a mature-teenager.
  • I liked the premise. Obviously. If I hadn't liked the premise, I wouldn't have bought the book.
  • Beatrice was... a strong character. Weak at the same time. Instead of contradictory, though, her conflicting qualities blended together to form an actual person.
  • The whole conflict was well-handled. By that I mean, it took precedence. This isn't a romance story; it's an action story, and the struggle between Erudite (the Intelligent) and Abnegation (the Selfless) was the overarching thing. Not Tris and Four.
  • The world-building was pretty decent, as well. I understood sort of where they were, even though I couldn't even tell you where Chicago is on a map. (Seriously. I looked US map on google and was like, "Chicago's really that far west?!")

What did I NOT like about this?
  • I'm not a big fan of romance-in-general. The whole thing between Four and Tris, while at least not too much a love triangle, still made me a little impatient. Everytime they had an intimate conversation (which wasn't too often, but still) I was like, "hurry it along. Tell me about Erudite's prejudice and speculate on what they plan on doing next!"
  • I wasn't too big a fan of Four, either. He was kind of... controlled-violent. Well, really, I can't pinpoint what I don't like about him.

That's about it. I couldn't really organize my thoughts too well on whether I liked it or not, so I thought it over Sunday (yesterday) and came up with this. I guess it's a 4-stars. Or a 3.75, which still rounds to a four.

(And yes, it's a Monday. We have the day off -- it's a teacher workday, because it's the end of the 9 weeks. They have grades to put in, report cards to get.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Follow Friday #31

[It's been a strange week. Snow's hit us randomly throughout the week, so we had a two hour delay for school yesterday, and a two-hour early release today (at the last minute; we were informed of that during lunch). Now it's really snowing outside. Knowing our weather, it'll be warm enough for short-sleeved shirts before the weekend's done.]

Anyways... Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee.

Q: What is the last book that kept you up late into the night just to finish it?

I don't know. There's a lot of books that keep me up. I recently read Un Lun Dun by China Mievelle, which was bizarre enough to catch my attention. There's the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini. The book I'm currently reading, Divergent by Veronica Roth.

I guess it depends on what you mean by "kept up late into the night". Books like the ones I mentioned keep me up until, like, 10:30 pm. I've never had a book keep me up later than that; waking up for school at 6 in the morning tends to ruin any chance of reading later. (Not that school starts at 6:00; we're not crazy. It's starts at 7:30ish, but my bus comes at 6:40 and I need a little time to prepare.)

Even over the summer, I don't give up too much sleep for reading. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I spend every waking free moment reading -- including between classes, on the bus, and instead of my homework -- but I don't really feel the need to. I've never liked giving up sleep, so I content myself with reading less. I know a lot of readers (and writers, for that matter) spend a lot of time usually reserved for sleep on books, but I've always managed reading in the day.

Am I going to technical into this? Perhaps you simply wanted a list of books I read recently that I enjoyed.
  • The Aviary by O'Dell
  • The Butterfly Clues by Ellison
  • The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Moriarty 
Plus the books I mentioned above. Basically, most of the books I've read this month. And a couple from last month, since I read the first three Inheritance books in December. And there are a few books I missed, but I can't think of the titles so I assume they're among my lesser-favorites.

Anyways, that's really my recent-books-to-love list. There're plenty of others that I haven't read for a while, but that'd take too long. (I read over a hundred books a year, guys! And I at least semi-like around 2/3s of them!)

What's your list? Or book, if you've had a bad January book-wise. Have a blessed, snow-filled weekend!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell

Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the crumbling Glendoveer mansion, home to a magician's widow, a cage full of exotic birds, and a decades-old mystery. Clara loves old Mrs. Glendoveer, but the birds in the aviary frighten her -- they always seem to screech and squall whenever she's near. And then one day, the mynah bird speaks, and the mystery starts to unravel.
Clara discovers dark secrets about the family, and about her own past. Somehow the birds in the aviary seem to be at the center of it all, and Clara can't shake the feeling that they are trying to tell her something...

~Print copy, 337 pages
Published: 2011 by Yearling

 Clara Dooley has a weak heart, and cannot leave the ancient Glendoveer mansion, where she spends her days reading and taking care of old Mrs. Glendoveer. But when Mrs. Glendoveer dies and the birds begin to speak to her, Clara needs to pry into the secrets surrounding Mrs. Glendoveer. Where are her children, who disappeared nigh on 50 years ago? Why does she keep those birds? How have those birds lived so long?

This book is MG, true, but as my mother tells me: "there are good books for everyone in every genre." (Perhaps not for erotica. But by "genre" she meant MG/YA/Adult, not specifics.)

I felt this book could appeal to if not everyone, then at least plenty of people. There's ghostly activity, a stronger-than-she-seems heroine (did anyone else think Winnie-the-Pooh right there?) and a decent amount of magic.

The characters were all pretty solid. Especially Clara and her best friend, Daphne. (They're not technically allowed to be friends, since Clara's mother wants her in isolation because of her "weak heart", but they're still friends. Read the book.)  They are not deterred from this mystery, even with the somewhat-sinister finding that the children were found dead in the nearby Lockhaven Bay... and the magician's right hand man, a hypnotist by the last name Booth, seems connected.

The mystery itself, while somewhat easy for me to guess at by mid-book, was pretty satisfying. It kept me on my toes, my imagination on alert. The ending, when all was said and done, both chilled and relieved me. I won't say more, for fear of spoilers.

The dialogue was somewhat stilted, of course, this book taking place in the late 1800s/early 1900s. I wasn't particularly fond of it, but I read books for the ideas, not the dialogue.

Overall, I loved this book. It was well worth the read. It wasn't one of my absolute favorites, but still worth the two days it took me to read it. 4 stars!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Follow Friday #30

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. (I'm doing this in the morning because I'm off school! Snow Day! Yay!!)

Q: Who is your favorite villain from a book?

Ohmygosh. Um... let's see... Opal Koboi from Artemis Fowl? Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter? Capricorn from Inkheart? Tigerclaw/TigerStar from the Warriors series (Erin Hunter)?

As you can see, I still have a mighty soft spot for my MG favorites. And that I have a hard time picking my favorite villain.

What makes a good villain?
-A cool name
-brilliant intellect
-doesn't go into monologues
-Actively opposes the protagonist (through minions or by himself)
-That evil, charismatic attitude
-Knows morality; knows what he wants; ignores morals in favor of what he wants.

At least, this is my definition. All of the villains I mentioned above do this. (Except maybe Opal Koboi. But she's crazy. And looks completely innocent, so nobody knows how evil she is for awhile, and she has the freedom to gloat monologue. But I think she has the other attributes.)

Yes, they have to have a cool name. You can't be evil without a cool name, or everyone will laugh at you. Capricorn even renamed himself that -- named after a horoscope, but at least it's a cool horoscope name. (I don't know what I would've thought if it'd been a not-cool name, like Taurus; who would take your genius seriously when your name means bull [or something similar to a bull]?)

And stupid villains... are stupid. Case in point. They have to be a genius. How far would Voldemort have gotten if he was an idiot? Certainly not far enough to know what a horcrux is.

And charisma is necessary if you want followers. Otherwise, the villain sits in his lair, shunned by all, and has no minions to send after you. He's too busy cooking his own meals and cleaning his own house to plan his daring plots against the hero. Or under his bush, if you're Tigerstar. (He's a cat. Living in the woods with his clan[s], who he's not the leader of until after the third book.)

So... yea. This is my list. And my explanations. Trust me, there are plenty of other villains I loved, but I didn't want to blog post to stretch on for infinity, so I cut it short.

How about you? Who did you choose? What makes a villain cool for you?

Have a blessed Friday!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Penelope "Lo" Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things.
But in the year since her bother's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. When she discovers a beautiful antique butterfly figurine and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as Sapphire, Lo becomes fixated.
As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues", with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld -- a world much closer to home than she ever imagined.
Kate Ellison's debut novel is a tour de force thriller about a girl whose obsessive-compulsive collecting leads her down a dangerous path of secrets, mystery, and murder -- where every clue she uncovers could be her last.

~Print copy, 325 pages (from the library)
Published: 2012 by Egmont USA

This book is about a girl with OCD who accidently happens to be there when a girl is murdered.

She was not a witness, per se, but she was standing outside an apartment when a gun shot fires. She runs, making it home on the bus, but the next day, when she hears about the girl who was murdered in that part of town ("Neverland"), she looks it up. The house she had been next to when the gun fired was the home of a strip-club dancer, Sapphire, who was raped and murdered.

Lo visits a flea market the next day, where she finds a man who is selling a butterfly figurine and a horse pendant, both of which were missing from Sapphire's apartment when the police found her body. She confronts the seller about it, who swears he had nothing to do with it and gives her the butterfly figurine for free. Lo feels obligated to help figure out the killer, having been there and now owning the dead girl's figurine.

What did I think about this novel, really? I did enjoy reading it. A lot. It wasn't my favorite, but it was worth reading.

First off, there's Lo. She has an obsession with the numbers 3, 6, and especially 9. She compulsively steals things. But she wasn't represented as a freak, or someone who "has" to get better by the end of the book. She didn't need "help". She was represented as a real person, and her "urges" were real.

I'm not going into a rant about how people with mental disorders aren't "freaks" (because really, I don't think I need to). But I did enjoy that Lo was as real as any character I've read in my favorite books -- Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter, Emily Strange.

I felt Lo was kind of weak at times, truth admits, but I couldn't fault her for it. Not just because of her mental disorder, but because her brother died, and she was coping the best she could, and sometimes that slowed her down. Like how she had to tap her thighs nine times and say "banana" before she could enter a place: not really useful when running from a killer. But she had to, it made her feel safe. And really, that's what makes this book not-hateful: you can connect with Lo because her habits make her feel safe. And who doesn't have something they do, some small tic, to make themselves feel better?

Secondly, I love the ending. Everything ties together, like it should. The author really did a good job with that: everything was cleared up, everything made sense. It was lovely, a real nice ending.

Which leads me to a point I semi-hated: the romance. There was nothing wrong with this romance; actually, it was an element of the plot that tied into the ending pretty well, too. But I just dislike romance in general. There was a part that got semi-sexual, but they didn't do anything besides make out (which was described in detail).

Also, the setting was a strip club in Neverland for a good portion of the book. She applies for a job there, so she can talk to the other girls about Sapphire. This was not a smart idea, in my opinion -- how do you turn that sort of job down without raising suspicion? It's kind of assumed in this poor neighborhood that you needed the money, or you wouldn't have applied. But I can agree to let a character have at least one bad decision. The setting descriptions, I couldn't picture exactly, just in jagged points -- a tree here, a birdbath there, how many of this or that -- but I got enough of a picture to imagine it.

The writing itself was beautiful, though. It was sort of Laurie Halse Anderson meets Eoin Colfer (the author of Speak meets the author of Artemis Fowl). Laurie Halse Anderson because of how Ellison points out just the right details and in just the right way to make it seem like actual thought. And Eoin Colfer because of the ending, how you can almost see everything tying itself together, but you don't guess the ending. I mean, you can't guess the ending, but you can see how everything led up to it. It was really unique, really. Managing to be compared to two of my favorite authors, but still sounding like a unique voice, is pretty spiffy. I'm vaguely impressed.

Overall, there wasn't much I hated. It didn't quite catch my spark (though it came awful close) but it was well worth a read. 4.25 stars (which we all should remember means we round down).

Friday, January 11, 2013

Follow Friday #30

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. This is my first F&F this year, guys. And it's an even number; 30, but still an even number. I love even numbers so much. *Contented sigh*

Q: If you could choose one supernatural being/creature to really exist, what would it be?

First off, let me define my difference between the fantasy creature and the supernatural creature.

Supernatural: a being (usually human) that was once dead, but is now "alive". Ex. Zombies, vampires.

Fantasy: 1. a creature who wields magic, and was never human to begin with. 2. a human that suddenly can wield magic, or who was born with magic. Ex. Dragons, witches.

Alright, now that that is sorted out, I can answer the question. Supernatural is kind of limited by that above definition, and I've never been a fan of the paranormal. But I would choose a ghost. Let me break "ghost" down for you: there's the evil type of ghost you want to exorcise, and the neutral ghost that is simply repeating their past actions on a loop. I would wish the second to exist, of course.

The fact is, the thought of a piece of history, a person who was there x amount of years ago when event y happened, who can walk around, doing the same things they did x amount of years ago, is kind of comforting. Not that they won't go to Heaven, but that they can take their time getting there: it's not straight to Heaven or H* for you. But this isn't everyone's belief, I know, and it's only a part of my reason.

My other reason is the hope that we could communicate with these ghosts. If you think people from other countries are interesting, then people from a different time period are even cooler. The stories they could tell! The details of the past I could learn! (And subsequently write into my book, because that is where a lot of the random-trivia-fluff ends up!)

Yes, I am super-specific about my definitions. It's part of my personality. (Not really: Freud or his daughter wrote something on the subject. There's the id, or your impulses; the ego, which allows you to find a safe way to act on this urge; and the superego, which allows you to find a moral way to act on that urge.) Ignore my specificity. Or accept my specificity with enthusiasm. You decide.

What (or who, since we're talking about sentient creatures) did you pick? I'd love to know. :) Have a blessed weekend! Don't talk to evil ghosts who need to be exorcised!


*Yea, I can't bring myself to say or type the Devil's-place. It feels weird even writing that.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

History stuffs: the South

Every Wednesday (or thereabouts), I want to post random spots of history for either the begninnings of research, or as inspiration, or for fun. Because trivia is always cool.

This week, I will post about the Southern* culture. And slavery. And stuffs like that.

Some Truths about Slavery:
  • Less than 10% of the 8 million people in the South owned slaves.
  • 1/2 of all slaveowners owned 4 or less.
  • 15% of that original <10% owned 30 or more.
  • Less than 2,000 people owned more than 100.
  • Less than 14 people owned more than 500.
  • Only one person owned more than 1,000 slaves.
  • (Source: 1860 census)

The Hierarchy:
  • "Slaveocracy" (plantation farmers) vs. the "Plain Folk" (white yeoman farmers) -- 6 million people.
  • Black freemen -- 250,000 people.
  • Black slaves -- 3,200,000 people.
  • poor whites -- unknown (to me, at least). These were the "hillbillies": landless, living in barren, swampy lands, and were usually diseased (malaria, hookworm) because they didn't wear proper clothing.
So, rich and white middle class on top, black freemen beneath them, then the black slaves and the landless whites.

Southern Economy
  • dependent on imported clothes, foodstuffs, and furniture; they exported mainly cotton, tobacco, rice, and sugar.
  • debtor's region -- needed Northern capital.
  • Most of South's assets were tied up in land, slaves
  • Slavery was supposed to die out early 1800s, but the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 made it profitable. so, they bought more land and produced more cotton with more slaves, so they could buy more land and slaves to produce more cotton to keep up with demand and competition.
  • More than 1/2 of American exports came from the South, esp. cotton.
  • There was little industry, few cities in the South -- about 10% of overall manufacturing came from the South.

Why so Pro-slavery?
  • Slaves were considered property, yes. But they were valuable property -- most wouldn't beat their slaves too badly/kill them: 4 million slaves in the South = a $2 billion investment.
  • A couple of slave rebellions in the early 1800s (i.e. Nat Turner's rebellion) and a northern abolitionist newspaper (written by a man named William Lloyd Garrison) called the Liberator spooked the Southern elite into paranoia, so they began supporting slavery with the Positive Good Theory.
  • Some of their arguments: master-slave relationships were like family. Slavery is supported in the Bible and by Aristotle. Slaves were better off working in the sunshine without fear of unemployment instead of working in a Northern factory on minimum wage. (This was before labor laws -- children worked, workplaces were unsafe and unclean, people worked twelve-hour days for minimum pay and could be replaced arbitrarily.)  
  • Northerners, in this time period, didn't actually even like blacks. In fact, the US actually set up a colony in Africa, called Liberia, for free blacks. After all, free blacks would take even more jobs away from white citizens, and most still thought they were inferior, but they deserved basic human rights. So, the solution was to ship them somewhere where they could acclomplish both.
  • The North depended on South for cotton for their textile industries. Abolitionism rocked the economical boat; it was hated there, too. But the evilness of slavery daunted Northern mindset, and quite a few opposed letting slavery become part of the new Western territories (i.e. Oregon, Nebraska/Kansas, California).

I know it's a common misconception that all of the South used a ton of slaves for only cotton, but that is not the case. There was a somewhat diversity of crops and few had slaves. It's also a misconception that all the people of the North were extreme abolitionists, who were bent on making the South see the evilness of slavery and supported equality. Most were on the edge: the common factory worker.

In all truth, all the hype about racism and slavery? Racism was really started with a concept called White Supremacy. By the British and Europeans. You know, the original white people? They entered a technological boom circa 1600s-1700s, when they colonized Africa and America. The Africans were already trading slaves among themselves, and the Europeans butted into that market and took it over, using them in the South where it was warmer than Britain and the slaves somewhat had a chance of living. Also, it was cheaper than all those indentured servants, who eventually grew out of their contract anyways.

There was one place in South Carolina that tried to refuse slaves in the 1700s -- but Britain forced them to keep using it. Therefore, in the 1800s, after the Revolutionary War, slavery was something of a habit. Slavery was needed for the large tracts of lands used by the rich. Somewhere along the line, the truth became distorted, and the Southern stereotype became that horizonless tract of slaves and cotton. The Northern stereotype became that of an abolitionist willing to resort to violence to get what they wanted.

And thus the Civil War started. Because people looked at stereotypes, and their own Racial Supremacy feelings, and things became kinda hazy.

Yes, this is what I learned in AP American History: how to defend the South (of which I am a part). All of this came from my school notes and my AP American History textbook. I apologize for my semi-relevant rant on racism, but I want you to understand that slavery and racism isn't a Southern thing, it's no one's fault, etc. History is a big ole set of extenuating circumstances, where people did what they thought was best for their future, and obviously there were... discrepencies.

Have a blessed Wednesday and don't hate people! :)

*It comes to my attention that not everyone actually capitalizes North and South when talking about America. Or really, anytime. I've always capitalized them, whether I'm talking about directions or America. And I will continue to because I'm more stubborn than a mule.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini

I apologize for the impromptu hiatus, guys. I have felt rather poorly for a week, and my internet gave out Friday/Saturday, and we started school up again. Meh.

Anyways, the point of this post is not to indulge in self-pity. After reading 400 pages this past weekend (as opposed to my normal 200-250 pages in a weekend), I have finished Inheritance! I am happy. And sad. And a little stunned.

I feel like I've been obsessing over this series since December. Nevertheless, I shall state what I loved about this series in a series of bullet points. And then the (short) list of what I didn't like. sort of like a normal book review, except this one staggered me and I don't know whether I should give it 5,000 stars or about two stars.

What I like:
  • Putting down the last book of this series made me think. Not a second of oh-that-was-a-pleasant-read, but a full-blown epiphany on my own life. That is the sign of a good book, right there. I must have sat awake for an hour, just contemplating my own mortality, my loves, my home... and whether I would cope if I had to leave it all.
  • Seriously, dragons. Elves. Magic. Evil king. I'm a sucker for high fantasy stuff like that. (Not because of LoTR, but because of... I can't remember. But I read LoTR over the summer, long after I required a love of fantasy.)
  • I saw the characters develop over time. This isn't a series where you can pick up the third book and truly understand everything. Reading first book to last, I felt the true intricacies that linked everyone together and what made each individual tick.
  • The setting is brilliantly thought out. This isn't my slap-down-a-map-and-go-from-there. (That is actually what I did for my novel: sketch a hasty map during math class one day and just rolled with it.) This is a setting where everything is unique and fresh: each city has its own unique structure, described to you; each mountain, each plain, each little town or foreign city all has a mood attached to it, whether it's a sinister mountain (Helgrind) or a beautiful, peaceful place (Ellesmera).
  • There's little romance in it. There's friendship; sometimes there's desire. But there is no main romantic relationship that ensnares the plot, unless you count Roran's love for Katrina (read the book).

What I didn't like:
  • I don't like the ending of the last book. It made me think. Thinking about mortality and loss makes my head and heart hurt. It's sort of a love-hate thing, which is why I included it in what I like, as well. I won't spoil the ending for you -- go spend a month reading all four books if you want to know what I mean.
  • The length of these books. It can't be helped: if I were Paolini or his editors, I wouldn't have cut anything else, either. But still -- the shortest book was the first, Eragon, at about 590 pages. The longest was the last, Inheritance, which topped out at about 850 pages. This isn't a casual read; you need time and effort to put into it.
  • ...I kind of wanted to see more of Solumbum the werecat. Such an interesting idea, werecats, and since I have a book of cat fairytales, I can tell it's inspired. The werecats don't really come into play until late in the series, though.

There's a lot of stuff going on in these books. Like I said, it really made me think; I'm still a bit staggered. My thoughts slide about, from mortality to schoolwork to my presonal beliefs to the future. Nowhere near my usual daydreams. Which is a pretty impressive feat; the last time I felt like this was when I finished the Artemis Fowl series, which I've been reading and re-reading for years. I first picked up Eragon in late 2011.

I'm not going to go into the whole "boy" books vs. "girl" books thing  (which is a stupid concept, if I want to sum up my opinion about it), but I would say that even as this book is about him becoming a man, it says a lot more about growing up in general. I would encourage anyone to pick up this book, regardless of gender.

I have a pile of homework that I was supposed to do over the weekend waiting for me. Have a blessed Monday, if such a thing exists! And if it doesn't, go search Narnia for it!