Archive | November 2012

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.” – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

So, I think I have found my new favourite book. Granted, I will likely find another favourite book soon, but I’m sure Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is going to stay with me until I’m a little old lady.

The story centres around a girl named Francie Nolan. We meet her as an 11 year old child, Imagegrowing up in a suburb of New York City in the 1920’s. The Nolan family is made up of a often drunk father, Johnny, a hard working mother, Katie, a daughter, Francie and her younger brother, Neeley.

Francie is a quiet child. She loves her family, she understands she is very poor, and she is an avid reader. Francie finds freedom in the pages at her local library. Despite the harsh conditions she lives in, she thrives despite the odds. Her character mirrors the tree that grows outside her window: A Tree of Heaven which grows toward the sun despite its urban surroundings.  Read More…

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Beautiful Creatures – By Alexa Pronman

by Alexa Pronman

It was at my old school, during a book sale, that I spotted a book by the name of Beautiful Darkness. I begged my mom to buy it for me and she did. It was only half way through the book that I realised it wasn’t the first book in a series of three. I thought I had ruined the series forever, until I managed to find the first book, called Beautiful Creatures, by authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Luckily, Beautiful Darkness didn’t have many spoilers.

The story is set in a fictional town where nothing new ever happens. It’s the kind of town with no secrets because everyone knows everyone else and the community is pretty tight. That is, except for one person. Old Man Ravenwood is a man who keeps to himself, always hidden in his large mansion, never coming out. That is until his niece, Lena, moves in with him.

Told by Ethan Wate, a normal sixteen-year-old boy who doesn’t like being stuck in his town and tries desperately not to be like his peers. He finds himself strangely attracted to Lena, and can’t understand why; she’s different from the other people in town. Once he gets closer to her, he discovers she’s a Caster, very similar to a witch. Not only that, but he shares a telepathic connection with her and is being haunted by a song that comes and goes on his iPod named Sixteen Moons. Here are the lyrics of the song:

 

Sixteen Moons, Sixteen Years
Sixteen of your deepest fears
Sixteen times you dreamed my tears
Falling, Falling through the years

Sixteen moons, sixteen years
Sound of thunder in your ears
Sixteen miles before she nears
Sixteen seeks what sixteen fears

Sixteen moons, sixteen years
sixteen times you dreamed my fears
Sixteen will try to Bind the spears
Sixteen screams just one hears

Sixteen moons, sixteen years
The Claiming moon, the hour nears
In these pages Darkness clears
Powers bind what fire sears

Sixteeth moon, Sixteenth year
now has come the day you fear
Claim or be Claimed
Shed blood, Shed tear
Moon or Sun- destroy, revere.

Trouble starts when he falls in love with her. On Lena’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to become either Dark or Light. If she’s a Dark Caster, she can be with Ethan but her heart will be too filled with evil to care and she will kill all the Light Casters in her family. If she becomes Light, she can only be with Ethan if she’s okay with nearly burning him alive, and will kill all Dark Casters in her family. Now Lena must make a choice that will decide her fate with Ethan, and the fate of her family.

Written by two girls Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the tale is an exciting, riveting page turner that will keep you at the edge of your seat the entire time. It was well-written, with humour splashed here and there. Though there is a romance, it isn’t the main focus of the story.

The book is rather large, so if you aren’t a big reader, it may be a bit of a challenge. As well, for those who don’t like the strange and mysterious, this might not be your cup of tea. But if you’re up for a long read and love the unnatural, take it out of the Traf library today!