Archive | February, 2012

Ashes by Ilsa Bick

23 Feb

I’m going to preface this review by making a somewhat controversial statement: I don’t really like zombies very much. For whatever reason the wide world is obsessed with the undead and has been for years, but to be honest zombie apocalypse scenarios are usually too stressful for me to actually enjoy them. I know for a fact that I would kill myself next to immediately if the dead started rising from the grave, so watching and/or reading about people struggling to survive when I know that, in their shoes, I’d rather just die and get it over with is pretty unbearable. That said, I am totally hooked on The Walking Dead, so go figure. Anyways, when Ilsa Bick’s Ashes was listed in Voice of Youth Advocates’ list of “Perfect Tens of 2011,” I decided to swallow my general dislike of of zombies and give it a go.

In Ashes, seventeen-year-old Alexandra has cut school to go hiking in Michigan’s Waucamaw Wilderness when a massive electromagnetic pulse lights up the sky, making blood geyser out of everyone’s mouths and driving animals into a frenzy. Alex happens to be chatting with a young girl named Ellie and her grandfather on the trail when disaster strikes; after the crushing pain subsides, Alex realizes that that gramps has dropped dead in his tracks, leaving her responsible for the grief-stricken little girl. But wait, there’s more! Alex, who had lost her sense of smell in her battle against brain cancer (affectionately referred to as “the monster” throughout the novel), realizes that something about the EMP making her nervous system go bonkers made her regain her sense of smell and then some. Her animalistic ability to detect the layered nuances of emotions that make up a living thing’s scent is what alerts her to the zombie element of the story, for while the EMP left her alive with some sort of crazy olfactory super-powers, it left the majority of the young survivors totally brain fried, pushing them into a cannibalistic, monstrous feeding frenzy. As Alex and Ellie traipse through the cannibal teenager infested woods towards the hope of safety, they meet Tom, a young man stranded in the forest after his companions are transformed and/or killed by the EMP. The three form a pseudo-family as they struggle to survive in a nightmarish, post-apocalyptic world in which most of the surviving youngsters have been transformed into something less than human and the remaining adults have devolved into a state of desperate, murderous paranoia.

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Must love (teen) books.

21 Feb

So, there are about one million and a half book blogs out there, so I figured, why not! I’ll make another one. Contrary to a friend’s advice, I am not going to make my book blog unique by doing nude video reviews in which I rate books with varying degrees of my exposed body. Funny as it would be to give a book “two tits out,” I do like being employed in a capacity that involves working with youth, which means I’m going to have to rely on my witty and unique voice to win me some readers. Plus, you know, blackmailing my friends into promoting me and stuff.

Why should anyone care what I think about a book, ever? Well, you shouldn’t, but! As a librarian I make a living from engaging with the wide world of bookwormdom, I read a shit ton, I write a shit ton, I have a degree in English,  and I just plain like writing about books. In other words, I’ve spent enough of my life thinking and talking about books to make what I believe to be valid judgments of other people’s work, and I don’t really care whether any of you anonymous readers agree with me. OR DO I???

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