Friday, May 31, 2013

Gender (Ab)Norms

I've been super busy (yeah, what's new with you?), but taking time to read is all I've got left for preserving my sanity as we grow nearer and nearer to Finals Week! Well, that and the Sorority Challenge at Yogurtland on the Ave. But that's different.

Therefore, instead of partaking in such normal college student behavior like social interaction, I can hide in my little closet space where my desk looms, large and imposing and covered in books waiting to be read.

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., by Adelle Waldman, is yet another ARC, one that I got from Goodreads a couple of weeks ago. (Publishing: Henry Holt and Co. [Division of Macmillan]/ Expected Date of Publication: July 16th.)

Nathaniel Piven is not your average 30-something Brooklynite literary nerd, nor your dime-a-dozen shallow, pretentious, competitive, and flaky ex-boyfriend-material business boy living in New York. Or at least that's what he thinks. This funny and involving novel, about Nate's romantic entanglements and their repercussions for his self-opinion and life, offers a poignant glimpse at the way the modern metro man thinks, lives, and loves, as well as explores contemporary gender dynamics in a way that is refreshing, unabashed, and spoken with both conviction and honesty.

The authorial voice proved to be my favorite element of this book. Nathaniel - though a bit of a douche, as a great number of Goodreads reviewers have found to be an issue - is a well-formed and richly developed douche, displaying the full spectrum of emotion and range of thought in an unfamiliar way, making reading his thoughts similar to taking a field trip into the inner workings of a mind I've never encountered. This may sound odd, but the story read as distinctly masculine! Yes, I realize that it's the result of our lead character -duh. - but about a third of the way into the story, when I took a glance at the bio, I was shocked to be reminded that the author was a woman. Most interestingly, the strength of voice drudged up the very pertinent question, For a novel that especially delineates and is forced to contend with the messy tangles of men and women mentality and status in interpersonal relationships, how much of this is playing into previously crafted tropes, of what is distinctly masculine and feminine? This superb quality of the style of writing really forced a weighing of archetypes, and I really appreciated that added undercurrent of questionability and mental effort to hold the author accountable to her characters.

The characters themselves, both men and women, were similarly complex and developed. They all served distinct purposes, of course, but couldn't be argued into stock character corners. They furnished the story line without becoming mere furniture themselves; I can only guess that they were probably at least partially constructed from the bones of real people. They constantly challenged existing preconceptions about how these city-dwelling 30-somethings would act or behave, in both truth, and through satire.

It was, at least partially, an almost dry-and-wry satire, of those classically imagined lives of the young and brilliant in New York City, but leaned more towards the sympathetic than the obvious. It was more intuitive and self aware than over-blown or desperately self-acknowledging, and what I've said previously about the characters directly contrasts what you'd expect in a typical satire. It's just that while the novel itself lent directly to challenge the contemporary grand narrative, there will still areas where the story fit puzzle-piece-like directly into the predicted pattern of such things, but did so with a wink and a smile.

It all drew out a little towards the end, getting repetitive and stilted, but so, too, were most of Nate's romances. Still, there's a happy ending. The novel as a whole serves up a brief excerpt from Nate's life and a glimpse into a coming-of-age love story, a sampling of a changing psyche, filed under the classic romantic moralizing that "Everyone meets someone who changes them forever." Instead of true love, however, our lead character finds knowledge, growth, and discovery, without deviating from his own sense of conscious and candor, "true" thinking and refreshingly honest mind.

Adelle Waldman has written a deep, and yet, humorous and spectacularly crafted and intuitive account of the effect of one brief romance in the string of many Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., offering an intriguing study of what is man and what is woman, and more interestingly, what electric friction happens between the two in the lively literary sets of Brooklyn upstarts. The novel is clear and quick in pace, which, when combined with the debut author's frank and unapologetic writing style, results in a simultaneous humor and elegance that you don't necessarily find in many contemporary novels.

And it almost made me feel like I had real friends. (JUST KIDDING. I have friends). Maybe I should go down to the kitchen and seek out some social interaction now, and get away from all this work, to seek out some friendship of my own. :)

{Warning: Novel contains sex scenes, though not gratuitously graphic.}

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Constricting Birdcage-Type Week

Sometimes I think that constriction allows for a certain freedom. For instance, this past week or two, I've been positively strangled by apathy and stress - with an languid and stifling unwillingness to get out of bed and actually go to class, punctuated by high-octane spasms and jolts of ferocious energy as I pound out a three page paper I don't even have the prompt for - and yet, I've still had my down time: I've fallen in love... with 8tracks, a music playlist-sharing site. I've eaten great food... and by great food, I mean approximately six or seven cookies courtesy of our wonderful chef, Doris. And I've read a book.

If there was anything that helped fuel some of those reverts back to work, it was this book. Because no matter how much I can nitpick apart someone else's book, at least she's written one. Meanwhile, I couldn't even manage to pick up a highlighter and skim through a couple chapters of Astronomy.

I'm not going to pull apart this book by the strings in my review, mind you. It's a solid novel; one, that in retrospect, I like a lot more than when I was stuck in the middle of it. It's just a couple of elements that made life even more difficult for me in the past week than I needed.

This story, The Lovebird, by Natalie Brown, is about a young girl named Margie, a freshman in college, who gets entangled romantically in the life of her Latin teacher, joins a renegade animal rights team, gets in hot water with the FBI, and flees to a Crow reservation in Montana, all because she's deeply empathetic, and gets a twinge in her left ovary (I know) whenever she comes across an animal in pain. That's as much as I'm going to say about our insanely weird plot.

For starters, the writing itself is both incredible and exasperating. There's an amazing mastery of adjectives - someone must have a significantly powered inner thesaurus, Natalie Brown! - and a clever and whimsical use of alliteration in places that I really enjoyed. However, this also lead to storyline bottlenecks in places, where it became so hard to simply breathe in the words themselves - got so choked up in descriptions and repetitive descriptions, etc. - that I had to set the book down and practically air out my head. Love, love, love the vivid and flowery descriptions in some places... not so effective in others.

Speaking of flowery descriptions, I really have to emphasize that parts of this book are magical. The heroine, herself, I can't really like that much, but the way she speaks and thinks is lovely. I could almost see why our Woody Allen-ish beginning love interest could find her to be so "winsome" and "precious" (like I said, Woody Allen). I mean, almost. She actually was a terrific whiner and oblivious and seriously morally ambiguous and just... awkward, even though I hate that word. But her words were just gorgeous, a whole lot of the time.

I don't know how much I can fault for personality, however, because she was just a romantic. Living la vie boheme, she was running around falling in love with much older men, interjecting Latin phrases everywhere, obnoxiously vegan, and in love with everything floral... it was only appropriate that it spilled into her language. At other parts, however, she filled the role of a snobby hipster to its brim, while others, she was Zooey Deschanel in a Lolita role. Simultaneously perfectly sweet nearing on saccharine, as well as utterly lost and shake-my-head naive. I had trouble with her. And she has a weird thing for older guys with kids, even though she's not yet out of college.

The main interest it held for me, surfaced when she was forced to flee, leave her home and friends behind, and live on a Crow reservation in Montana. Probably because I basically live next door to the Puyallup reservation, and nearly every time there are Native Americans depicted in popular literature, it is either unrealistic, cliched, or overly romanticized. I still think that this particular depiction was over-romanticized (even though our heroine will claim again and again that it's not), but it's better than most offenders.

In total, the entire book was way too hipster-vegan-Woody Allen- romance - indie- weird. And I am having trouble, in retrospect, figuring out whether I actually liked it or not. I guess, for that, I'll rate it in the middle of the scale: a 2.5, for Margie. But because I'm so short on time, I really can't elaborate more than that.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by book blogger The Broke and the Bookish.

I originally was going to skip this week's Top Ten, mainly because I haven't been able to post all of this past week, and I didn't like the idea of two TT posts running back to back! However, I have quickly realized that A. I don't care, B. it's not my fault I'm busy, and C. I really wanted to tackle this topic. :) 

So, without further ado, some of my favorite book covers! 

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I love, love, love iconic covers, and this one is probably my favorite. The glittering lights in the background, the mysterious face floating about the city, the fact that I didn't even notice that there were two naked ladies reflected in the eyes until my friends pointed it out to me... this is a book cover with a real story behind it, and I'm not talking about Gatsby himself.

2. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
My fascination with this cover is incredibly similar to my #1 spot. The demonically red and slightly terrifying merry-go-around horse, the background of NY in repose... gorgeous.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling
I remember the day this cover was released. I actually think it was my first example of cover art frenzy: we had been chilling out in choir class in middle school, when my friend runs in with a fresh printout of a news release for the cover. We gathered around the picture and probably looked like we were planning a coup, due to how closely we sat and conspired, and debated over what the new book would include, based on the presence of specific elements in the cover art; at least, until, the bell rang, and class began.

4. The Selection, by Kiera Cass.
Beautiful cover. I only wish the story didn't suck quite so bad. (Read my review here).

5. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern.
Terrifically bold, striking and gorgeous. And I actually liked this story. (Read my review here).

6. The Lovebird, by Natalie Brown.
A recent release, and one that I should have reviewed for you all by now! Unfortunately, I haven't really had the time to sit down and think it all out fully. Sorry! :( (Coming soon, though).

7. The Unwritten (Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity), by Mike Carey and Peter Gross.
Alright, alright, nerd alert: I am a comic book fan. This particular series, about a man who finds out that the ties between the realms of reality and literature are a lot more permeable than he would have originally thought, is probably one of the coolest I've read. The covers are particularly gorgeous, as is befitting a comic book of its caliber. Come to think of it, I should probably review this book, too.

8. Breakfast at Tiffany's, by Truman Capote.
I don't know, maybe it's the cherry red nail polish. Or its the way she holds the pencil. Or the bracelet on her hand. Or her hastily scrawled title. I don't know, I just like it.

9. Folger Shakespeare Library titles.
Okay, I'm a huge Shakespeare fan, too, and these are my favorite editions to buy. They are the easiest for me to read, and they are the ones I'm used to, so therefore, they are best. :) I always get inordinately excited when I see one of these covers, and I'm likely to buy it, if I don't have it already.

10. Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer.
Again, not sure I like this one. Maybe its the bus, that tells its own story. Or the words spelled out already in the bottom, as if the story's too excited to tell itself that it can't even contain it within it's own cover. I just like it. :)

What are your favorite book covers? 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Tough Topics

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by book blogger (and evident alliteration fanatic) The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme deals with books that do their part to give some kind of broader form to some of the most difficult issues to understand. Through these peeks into the world of those falling victim to mental illness, those suffering under oppressive societal conventions like racism, and those trapped in terrifying situations, like war.

These are some of my favorite books dealing with harsh issues and tough topics.

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky. 
This is a wide favorite among many, simply because of its tender tackling of many different social and personal issues that affect many teens, including mental illness, bullying, understanding homosexuality, and feeling alone. It's a great novel, and the movie is pretty good as well.

2. Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen. 
I've seen lots of Sarah Dessen novels making it onto people's lists for today, and I understand why: she is able to deal with a wide range of true-to-teenage-life topics with understanding and subtlety. This book deals with the effects of bullying and sexual assault in the main character, as well as eating disorders in a background character,and is one of the first books I found that I could read, and cry about every single time.

3. Looking for Alaska, by John Green. 
I've also seen loads of John Green today, for similar reasons as to Sarah Dessen: these two just really get how to talk to and about teenagers. I wasn't sure what I was expecting going into this book, but the big tough topics really came like a slap in the face. It's a spoiler, so I won't give reasons.

4. The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. 
I've already discussed this to be one of my favorite books on the whole planet. This is one of my favorite books, not only for the relatable nature of the heroine, but because of Plath's amazing talent, in mirroring the character, Esther's, thoughts and feelings perfectly in the mind of the reader. Dealing with depression, mental illness, and suicide, this is one of the greatest books ever written, in my opinion.

5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. 
I'm immensely biased to be on Mark Twain's side in any given situation, due to the fact that he wrote my favorite novel of all time. This book is one of my favorites as well. While widely contested and popularly censored across the United States, this is one of the best examples of Twain's work, and is a vital description of slavery in the South.

6. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. 
Also one of my favorite books, this is yet another moving portrayal of civil rights abuses and injustices against African Americans in the South, set against one young girl's story of simply growing up. (Bonus points to the good folks at King's Books in Downtown Tacoma, who house a friendly cat named Atticus.)

7. The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien. 
This book sucks for many, many reasons, very particular to me, but it is a truly horrifying depiction of the war in Vietnam. It was a polarizing book in my senior year English class, because people either loved it for the war, or hated it; either way, it got us talking on another very important issue, especially when it seems like the wars in the Middle East have been going on forever.

8. Escape from Warsaw/ The Silver Sword, by Ian Serraillier. 
Okay, this is a bit of a random choice, it would seem, but actually, this moving portrayal of the flight of a group of siblings from Warsaw after German invasion in WWII, has stuck with me since I first read it in the seventh grade. (Even all of these years later, I still want to name a chicken Jimpy, after a pet rooster in the book.)

9. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Sherman Alexie. 
This one was read as a summer assignment for junior year, and it ended up introducing me to one of the most unique voices I've ever read. Sherman Alexie is very good at what he does, which is depict the life of Native Americans in a very gritty and  real way, from varying viewpoints and through roundabout descriptions, so you really have to work to actively understand exactly what people are going through. Truly powerful stuff.

10. Animal Farm, George Orwell. 
I had a really difficult time picking out what my last book would be, simply because there were a lot of contenders for the position, but in the end, I had to go with yet another summer read for school - I think it was sophomore year - depicting the evils of governmental oppression and communism, as palatable for popular consumption. This is a quick read, but a powerful one.

So, those are some of my favorite books dealing with Tough Topics. What are yours? 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Inundated by ARCs

So, despite the fact that we're approximately 3/5ths of the way done with this quarter, and I'm studying like a maniac, and reading every chance I get, I'm still struggling to balance everything going on in my life!

(Also, the fact that it's also Greek Week here at UW throws a bit of a monkey wrench into things as well. But a good kind of monkey wrench!)

So, while I'm not really able to give you a solid post today, here's a nice glimpse at what's going on on my desk! Currently in the middle of The Lovebird, a soon-coming release from Natalie Brown and the good folks at Doubleday; soon to be starting The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman. The Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearman and Dear Lucy by Julie Sarkissian coming forthwith as well, as soon as I can extricate myself from all of this work.

See you soon, blue skies!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Life in a Castle

So, confession time: I kind of have a thing for castles. Growing up, I was enamored with every fairy tale you could throw at me. In high school, let's just say I went to America's Hogwarts (and it was awesome). And now, my sorority house is shaped like a castle, too. So, let me just preface this all by saying I really, really love castles.

This novel was recommended for a review in the comments section of one of my very first College Fashion articles, and since I already had the book (thanks to last Spring's trip to Powell's City of Books in Portland, OR), I figured, why not? I mean, it's pretty clearly emblazoned on the cover that J.K. Rowling loves this book, so chances were that I'd love it, too. However, to tell you the truth, I wasn't entirely sure of how it was going to impress me.

And it certainly didn't help that I read the entire book within the space of four hours, confined to a stiff-backed chair in an absolutely silent Business Library, while my Big calmly did her Accounting homework in the seat next to me. That kind of self-imposed torture does affect the way you read... and it certainly helped me identify with a certain later event in the plot line involving Mr. Mortmain and the Tower (read it and you'll know what I mean!).

Alright, before I get too ahead of myself, let me just illuminate the story a little bit:

I Capture the Castle is a classic coming-of-age novel in England, set in the 1930s in between the wars, in the countryside a short distance outside of London. There lies the Castle, old and crumbling under mismanagement, within which resides the Mortmain family, living in genteel poverty, on the royalties their father collects from a best-selling novel he wrote over a decade ago. However, because of Mr. Mortmain's inability to publish anything else noteworthy, Cassandra - our seventeen year old writer-novice narrator - and her sister Rose - beautiful, ambitious, and discontented - as well as their brother Thomas, nude-model stepmother Topaz, and their resident farmhand, Stephen, are all forced to come to terms with... well, not much. Until the wealthy, handsome, American Cotton brothers come to claim their late father's estate, of course. It doesn't take long for the Bronte-and-Austen-obsessed sisters to make a plan for wooing the elder brother, Simon, and pretty soon, hilarity, embarrassment, misunderstandings, betrayals, forgiveness, family, and love are detailed across the pages of Cassandra's many journal pages.

All in all, this emotional journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and inspiration left me thinking long after Sara and I left the Library. It invoked a lot of important questions, like, what does it really mean to be beautiful? The differences between the sisters, Rose and Cassandra, were really what impressed me the most, simply because it reminded me a lot of the dynamic between me and my sister, The Cheerleader. The family depicted in the novel is wholly remarkable for their ability to stand by each other, even when everyone is doing different things and all caught up in their own individual problems, like Rose's relationship, and Mr. Mortmain's inability to write. Other members, like Thomas, factored in as a moral and objective viewpoint, while Topaz figured, for the majority as a form of comic relief... but even so, their personalities were formed by more than mere narrative tropes. Multi-faceted and perfectly flawed, the Mortmain family will probably stand as one of my literary favorites for a long time.

The fact that you could see Cassandra's narrative voice changing over time and journals, was pretty amazing, too, and a narrative form that I haven't really seen before. In terms of simply the structure of the writing, the journal format was interesting, in the way that I too have kept a journal for a long time, and I don't think that my hand would ever stand up to the workouts she impressed upon hers in writing so extensively. Still, it factored in both stream-of-consciousness and narrative stylings in a way that proved very engaging and interesting, and I really enjoyed Cassandra's voice.

And the castle in the story is pretty cool, too. :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wonderful World Web

There have been a couple of things I've found online recently that have really caught my attention, and I just have to take the time to share them with you all! (Mainly because I was planning on having a post for today before my newest College Fashion post comes out tomorrow afternoon).

First off, the incredible convenience and efficiency of Bloglovin!

Bet you couldn't even tell I made this on Paint. Yeah, I can art. 
I came across Bloglovin by chance, when checking out some of the layouts of some of the favorites among the many book blogs I follow (the latter half of that sentence felt kind of creepy... "checking out" your "layout" sounds like some kind of blogger's pickup line). I first noticed the boxes conveniently placed with follower counts underneath, and then I started noticing the Bloglovin fashion icons alongside through random scrolling as well. It finally clicked with me, when my stats displayed numerous people causing site sources to appear from Bloglovin itself, and wouldn't you know it: there are people there!

After a few more minutes checking out the site and exploring its various features, I decided to sign up for an account. It has now been a week, and I love it! It's a glorious thing: instead of constantly having to remember not only the blogs themselves (and to check their updates daily), but to remember which posts from those very sites I've already read, it allows for a scrolling list of most recently published posts from all of my favorite blogs, and alerts me to which posts I've read and not! And the best part is, the interface isn't simply the kind for which you rely on a computer for easy viewing: my ENGL 302 class is a little more bearable when I can use break time to update myself with the Bloglovin app, as well.

So, ladies and gents, I am officially on Bloglovin, and it's a grand thing! Check out my profile HERE and see what blogs I follow, and make sure to take the time to follow my blog, as well!

The second thing that has me raving online recently, was the masterful recently-conducted "gender-flipping" cover art that Maureen Johnson and some of her fans were able to come up with, calling attention to the god-awful gender-stereotyping that goes on in cover development, and challenging publishers to do better.

Documented on HuffPost Books here - best read when prefaced by a post by the mastermind herself on the same site, found here - the project, called "Coverflip" simply proposed the question, "What would popular book covers look like, should the novel have been written by a person of the opposite gender?" For instance, Maureen Johnson... to Maurice Johnson. What would happen?

Well, if you followed the above link, things really would get different. And while it is incredibly difficult for me to even consider what Game of Thrones would be like if written by a woman (well, first off, boobs would garner descriptions probably six times less frequently than in original print), I can't deny that the "flipped" cover is an exquisite portrait of the kind of crap that would have been hastily thrust into my backpack before school, back when I was thirteen.

These covers supposedly tell the same story, but really? Couldn't be more different. 
Another favorite included the "flipped" version of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie - a respected novel, on the part of both my roommate and I - which left us gasping in indignation (the disrespect!) as well as laughing outright, because I could have sworn I'd already seen that very cover on a YA shelf back at home.

On the whole, the project - at least, to me - bore a lot of strong similarities to The Hawkeye Initiative (which seeks to highlight the hyper-sexualization of female characters in the world of comic books... by placing Clint "Hawkeye" Barton into the same ridiculous positions and costumes). Gender-flipping fun, as well. Both organized efforts emphasize the great yawing canyons of inequalities existing in the realms of popular literary consumption, and do so in an incredibly cheeky manner (and if you know T.H.I., you know I mean "cheeky" in an entirely different way than you might think).

Anyways, those are some things I found interesting around the Web recently. I'll be back in a few days with an all-new review, and my newest College Fashion post comes up tomorrow, so be sure to check that out as well!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Falling Into Fantasy, Part Two

Recently, I was of the good fortune enough to pick up Bridget Zinn's Poison... and it was amazing! (Read more of my review, to that effect, here.) After completely devouring such a great example of modern YA fantasy, I decided to try on yet another of that genre, which has been generating rave reviews all across the internet all on it's own,  and, much to my amazement, I was definitely not disappointed. Yet again.

Does this mean I need to raise my standards in regards to YA lit, or are these books really just as great as I think they are? We'll go with the latter.

Throne of Glass, like I've said before, is a YA fantasy, gritty and real where others in this genre may fail to raise the stakes. But really, are the stakes high:

Celaena Sardothien (try saying that name three times fast) is a trained assassin, skilled at what she does, and unwilling to take any one's disbelief or disapproval. She is one kick-ass eighteen-year-old, and fresh out of serving a full year's hard labor in the mines of Endovier - of which the expected survival time is about four months - when the Crown Prince, Dorian, offers her freedom, on the condition that she enters the competition to find the new royal assassin as his champion. Not only much Celaena work up her endurance and stamina again, but now, she must contend with the royal family themselves. Most frightening of all is the King - the man responsible for driving magic out of their world - and the fact that she must not only tolerate him... but to earn her freedom, serve him, as well.

So, there's the genteel battles of polite warfare among the court - of whom Celaena is now unwillingly a member - and the harsher battles on the competition field, as thieves, assassins, soldiers, and a poisoner, all vie against one another to be at the position of the King's right hand. High stakes, high intrigue, and that's all without even throwing in the magic, warring countries, terrifying mystical creatures, and mysterious dead royalty coming back from the crypt to give Celaena yet more mysteries to solve.

But can we just talk about the love triangle, please?

So, there's the cocky and intelligent Crown Prince, Dorian, and then there's the strict and level-headed Captain Westfall. And NEVER HAVE I EVER approved of stupid love triangles, being that they are in almost all attempts, lazy plot-hole-fillers designed to create tension where none exists and to generate more interest in what are mostly half-baked, one-dimensional characters... but boy, did this one pan out well! The genesis of such a relationship configuration was totally organic, and while I have my own favorite, the fact that there wasn't a clear-cut decision - being that the existence of an obvious choice is also a red flag of the poorly-designed romance drama - made it all the better! The masterful construction of such a well-worn plot device into something that worked not only really well, but actually did just as much to strengthen the story as the mysterious symbols and dead bodies popping up everywhere, was the cherry on top of a tension-filled suspense-fest.

Really, I think I have to learn to expect more from this genre, because both this novel and Poison really captured my attention, though for totally different reasons! Throne of Glass was intense and dramatic, and the world within which it existed was masterfully built and filled with incredibly real characters! You can tell how excited I am about it, because of all of the exclamation points.

And bonus points for having the sequel coming out this August! Now, I just have to get my two younger sisters to read it before then. Because honestly, if I had to give this book a rating, I would give it four out of five fangirls. And I'd throw in a fairy or two, too... just because. :)