Monday, November 28, 2011

Catching Up with TATAL

So, sometimes I go through phases where I don't read new things, I re-read older things that I already know I love. Comfort food reading is sometimes the best thing in the world. But, when I do that, I fall behind in my new releases and the other bloggers on TATAL (Katie, Kady and Michelle especially) sometimes beat me to the punch on the reviews. So, here are a few books I read that have already been reviewed, but which I couldn't pass up the opportunity to throw my two cents in on as well.

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler (See Katie's review)
First of all, it's 1996. It's easy to forget how different some parts of our lives were just 15 years ago because it's just a blip on any sort of time line. BUT revisiting 1996 in The Future of Us was a huge reminder! Only a few people had cell phones (some teens had beepers!) and people were only just starting to have email addresses. No Twitter, no status updates, no Flickr, no Instagram, no You-Tube, none of it. That's the world that Emma and Josh are smack in the middle of.

When Emma gets a personal computer from her dad, her neighbor Josh brings over a copy of AOL that his mom had gotten in the mail. But when it loads up, (slowly, over dial up--- side note: I'd forgotten about the fact that your parents used to get mad at you for tying up the phone line when you checked your email) there is a surprise there. Another program is bundled with the AOL service. Something called "The Facebook." When Emma loads it up, there is a picture of a woman with her name, as she looks closer she realizes that she's staring at a picture of herself- 15 years in the future. She and Josh have suddenly been gifted with a window into their own futures.

What I loved about this was how Asher and Mackler mix these MAJOR questions with regular high school life. I also like that Emma and Josh react exactly like any one normal would- they start messing around with it. Emma sees that her future self is unhappy living where she is, so she makes a promise to her future self that she will NEVER move there and *boom* refresh* future Emma isn't living there anymore.... but as you can probably guess, one change leads to many. But, what if they're the wrong changes? What if they are unalterably changing the way their lives were supposed to go? And, should they be tampering with the future lives of their friends?

If you want to explore the idea of the future being changable and get a bit of a 90s flashback at the same time, you will enjoy the very fun, very thought-provoking The Future of Us.



The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (See Katie's review)
If your best friend told you stories about the creatures she hung out with on the weekend; ladies who were half-snake and half human, a wishmonger who would trade you wishes for teeth and her journeys half-way around the world and back to run the wishmonger's errands. You would think your friend was an amazing story-teller with a strangely secretive past. If she accompanied these stories with gorgeous drawings, you would chalk it all up to amazing artistic talent and an overactive imagination... but what if it was all true?

Karou tells everyone in her life the truth: that her hair grows azure blue out of her head, that she was in Marrakesh last weekend and Tokyo on Thursday, running errands for her guardian, Brimstone, the wishmonger. But, she does it all with a wry smile and so no one questions her sanity or looks into her stories too closely.Which is good because she needs to keep her life at art school in Prague separate from the crazy adventures she has while working for Brimstone.

There is a SERIOUS reason why everyone (Entertainment Weekly, Amazon, the NYTimes, everyone) is talking about this book- and it's the world that Ms. Taylor has built. You open the book and without even thinking twice you are swept up into Karou's world, where a wish might give your ex's girlfriend eyebrows that won't stop growing and traders all over the world know the value of an incisor. It;'s gorgeous writing.

Oh, and there's a guy. Akiva. A guy who will ruin you for all other winged creature guys, Fallen Angel, Seraphim or otherwise. He's gorgeous, tortured and fiercely loyal to those he loves. Taylor was not fooling around when she created this guy. I think he will challenge the field of fictional fantasy guys.

My only complaint is that I want more. This book ends with a cliff hanger like you wouldn't believe and I just want one big tome so that I can sit and read all of Karou and Akiva's story from beginning to end. If you can deal with a "To Be Continued" that will leave you scrawling crazed twitter messages to Taylor about release dates for book 2, then I'd say you better get on the hold list for this book stat.




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