Sunday, March 27, 2005

BOOK REVIEW - Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Maguire, Gregory Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. New York: Harper Collins, c1995.

Wicked, By Gregory Maguire, is an entirely new twist on the Wicked Witch of the West. Known to all as a mere villain to the lovely and perfect Dorothy, in Wicked she’s a woman who had her own story years before that house fell on her sister.
The Wicked Witch of the West is Elphaba (a name that the author cleverly created from the initials of the author of the Wizard of Oz; L. Frank Baum.), a shy girl afflicted with a horrible skin condition that makes her green, and allergic to water. She’s smart and down to earth, made fun of because of her green skin, but still able to rise above that to be accepted into Shiz University for a “quality” education. She becomes friends with Galinda (fated as she is to become one of the Witches) and the story kicks off with Elphaba’s matter-of-fact observations and Galinda’s flighty, yet truly intelligent fancies.
Yes, we’ve all read the book or seen the Wizard of Oz, but Wicked prods us into realizing that even the Wicked Witch of the West had a childhood, a life; before the events that made her infamous. She’s loved and lost and fought as she grew into her destiny long before Dorothy touches down in Oz.
The layers of childhood fear and anger at the Witch for hindering Dorothy in her escape home fall away as the pages turn and you realize it’s all just a big misunderstanding, that the Witch is merely another persona that has been twisted by propaganda. It’s much like growing up and realizing that everything that your parents did that made you angry wasn’t merely an effort to make you angry, that they had reasons just as valid for you eating those lima beans as you had for tucking them in your napkin.
After all, has there ever been a time in the history of man that a person has been liked by everyone? That more than a small group of people could look at one and draw the same conclusions? I think not. As the great Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi said; “Everything is true; or in this case good…from a certain point of view.”

Thursday, March 17, 2005

BOOK REVIEW - Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Levithan, David. Boy Meets Boy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.
YA Levithan.

I haven't cried because of a book in a long time. But this all changed when I read Boy Meets Boy. I've heard librarians talking about this book since it came out -- that it was one of the best young adult books about LGBTQ teens they've ever. I have to agree.

I liked it on so many levels -- the author' s writing style, his ability to write so well from a teen's point of view, and for such imagination. I imagined this to simply be a book about two boys falling in love, but what I found was a world where drag queen football players are the norm and falling in love with someone of the same gender is no big deal.

I loved this book, because I was able to connect to many of the characters on so many levels, but also because I was transported to a world where bigotry doesn't exist. The main character, Paul, is very likeable for his (many) postive attributes, but more importantly, because he has faults, and through friendship and communication, is able to deal with those faults in meaningful ways.

For readers looking for a love story, a little bit of drama, and a world where bigotry has no place, pick this book up today!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

New Young Adult Fiction -- get 'em while they're hot!

Check here for new books in March, 2005.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

BOOK REVIEW - Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Hiaasen, Carl. Hoot. New York : Knopf, c2002.
J Hiaasen & YA Hiaasen.

I decided to read this book as part of the Read Together, Florida literacy initiative, but as soon as I started Carl Hiaasen's first young adult novel, there was no stopping me! The plot of the book revolves around burrows of miniature owls, a large corporation bent on "developing" the nesting ground, and the kids who've made it their mission to save the endangered birds.

I could relate to the strong pro-environment, anti-development theme of the book, and was attracted also by Hiaasen's extensive knowledge of Florida's natural settings. Roy, one of the protagonists of the novel, was also a great draw for me, being that we are both recent transplants to the state of Florida.

Though this is the first novel I've read by Hiaasen (a Florida resident and native), it certainly won't be the last. I sat on the edge of my chair "hooting" for the owls, hoping that somehow a small group of young people would be able to overcome the money and power of a large corporation.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Enter the Unknown

Welcome to Page 51. Here you will become acquainted with carefully shielded knowledge. If anything said here leaks into the outside world, we will be forced to kill you. Well, not really, but it sounds top-secret-ish.
Contrary to popular belief, Page 51 is not located in Arizona. We are located in sunny Delray Beach, Florida. I know it's not as cool and remote sounding - but we couldn't resist the beach.
Again, contrary to popular belief, our research is primarily on books, movies, music, and other media... not aliens - very much. Home of the Delray Beach Library Youth Council, you will find our expert (ahem) opinions on books and such - both new and old.
Check back for reviews de moi.