The Compulsive Reader: Cool New Reads!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cool New Reads!

Violet in Private by Melissa Walker

Violet Greenfield knows she’s supposed to be a super-confident nineteen-year-old because she’s done runway shows in New York and internationally. But now that she’s finally headed to college, she’s afraid she’ll turn back into that girl who blended into the walls in high school. Vassar is just two hours away from New York City––her friends in fashion think she’s crazy to stop modeling now. And her old friend Roger is there...but things have been weird ever since they kissed. The real question is if she’s not going to be “Violet on the Runway” anymore...who is she?

Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo

Fenfang is seventeen years old when she escapes from her tiny, suffocating village, where all that awaits her is a life full of sweet potato farming. She travels to Beijing, where she works many odd jobs to stay afloat, before finally managing to become a film extra. In between making minute appearances in TV shows and films, Fenfang struggles to build a modern life for herself in the vast city of Beijing, facing sexist men, the strict Communist rules, and struggles to learn where her own destiny lies.Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth is a highly intriguing and scintillating novel that will leave the reader with much to ponder. Fenfang is a very easygoing narrator and the story unrolls smoothly from her perspective, giving the reader an educational, but still very substantial glimpse into the bustling life of China's younger generation, all in an honest and sure voice that will make a lasting impression. This is a book that demands your complete attention, through random observations, inquisitive contemplations, and a gritty and realistic grasp on life, making the connection between readers and author an instantaneous one.

Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: The New Girl by Meg Cabot

After moving to a big, slightly creepy house in a new neighborhood, rescuing a turtle from certain death, and becoming a mother-to-be of a kitten all her own, you'd think that being the New Girl would be no problem to Allie Finkle, right? But things get off on the wrong foot right away when Allie's parents insist on walking her and her younger brothers to school on their first day. And then she gets caught talking in class! But the worst thing of all? Allie's new classmate Rosemary says she's going to beat her up after school!

Allie asks everyone she knows (except people who are going to tell her mom, because moms just make things like this worse!) what she should do, but no one seems to be able to give her an answer. And on top of it all, Lady Serena Archibald, mother of Allie's kitten Mewsette, gets sick, and Allie's dreams of having a kitten all her own are in jeopardy! What's a girl to do?

Meg Cabot has proven herself just as adept at reaching the younger set of girls as she is at getting through to teenagers in this fun filled, frank, and quick witted sequel to Moving Day. Allie Finkle shines as she continues to stun and delight readers and faces a whole new set of problems and takes on an issue that is very relevant to kids today--bullying. Her reactions are understandable and relatable, and her despair and confusion are emotions that are sure to ring true with many younger readers as Allie takes on her problem and searches for a solution among many that she believes is right, and grows up a little in the process. Also present are the many smaller fiascos and escapades which Cabot pulls together to create a story that flows fluidly together, coupled with dry wit and a dash of irony that has made her voice so popular among the younger generations, but will not fail in beguiling anyone of any age.

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