Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Specials (Uglies #3) by Scott Westerfeld

Tally has become a Special, hunting the Smokies who had helped her and Zane before they were discovered with the Smokies. Now everything revolves around finding the New Smoke. But Tally loves Zane and wants him to become a Special just like her, but suffers from the brain damage caused by the pills they took as Pretties. To monitor Zane, the city has outfitted him with an unbreakable necklace, so to prove how Special he really is, Shay and Tally break into an armory to steal something that will destroy the necklace, but inadvertently destroy the armory, making the city believe that they are under attack from a different city or the Smokies. Tally and Shay release Zane, who then go with a pack of Crims to the New Smoke. Both Tally and Shay track them, but soon Shay goes ahead of the Crims while Tally stays to make sure Zane is okay. Eventually, the New Smoke is reached and instead of being a small camp in the wilderness, is a whole city. Tally finds that Shay and the other Specials that are with her (known as Cutters) have taken something to cure them of their icy mindedness. Tally doesn't want to change and fights it, and leaves the city to go back to Special Circumstances and confesses who really destroyed the armory. Does Tally ever find her place in society? 

Pretties (Uglies #2) by Scott Westerfeld

After Tally turns Pretty, she enjoys the Pretty lifestyle in New Pretty Town: parties all the time, getting drunk, doing mindless Pretty things. But a visitor from her past comes to her during one of the parties and tells her that something is hidden in a room. She goes on a hunt with Zane, one of her new Pretty friends, and discover two white pills and a note she had written to herself before she decided to turn Pretty. Zane and Tally split the pills, each taking one, and soon their minds are changed and everything is more bubbly. Other people in their clique (known as the Crims), notice the change and want to know how else they can be bubbly and soon everything becomes a competition for who can become more bubbly. Eventually, the Crims do the most bubbly thing ever: they break through a hovering ice rink, which sends a signal to the Smokies that the pills did work. However, Zane has come down with terrible headaches and Special Circumstances are breathing down Tally and Zane's necks, leading them to be trapped in bracelets they can't escape, no matter how much weight they lose. With Zane's increasing headaches, will they be able to escape back to the New Smoke for a cure for Zane or will they end up trapped in New Pretty Town forever?

Uglies (Uglies #1) by Scott Westerfeld

This book centers around Tally, an Ugly who yearns to be a Pretty and cannot wait until her 16th birthday when that will happen. The youngest of all her friends, she is the last to have the operation that makes her beautiful: perfect doe eyes, full lips, hair that lies flat. But she meets Shay (with whom she shares a birthday) who tells her that being Pretty is not what it seems and tries to convince her to run away to a place called the Smoke, where people never have the Pretty operation. Tally, appalled at the thought of remaining Ugly for the rest of her life, balks and decides to remain in Uglyville. But the day of her birthday and right before her operation takes place, Special Circumstances takes Tally to the outskirts of town and tells her that she has to go to the Smoke before she can be turned into a Pretty. She eventually relents, traveling by hoverboard for days on end, searching for the Smoke from clues that Shay had left her in a note. Eventually she finds it and is initially appalled by them: full of Uglies, chopping down trees, eating wild animals, who would ever want to live that way? But slowly she learns more about the Smoke and the truth about what happens when you turn Pretty. She decides to stay in the Smoke and hurls the necklace that she was supposed to use to summon Special Circumstances into a fire. Unbeknownst to her, she accidentally calls Special Circumstances, who find the Smoke. Does Tally and her Smokey friends escape, or do they all turn into bubbleheaded Pretties?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

I read this book in pretty much 26 hours, from when I began to when I ended since it is very much similar to Walls' Glass Castles book. Unlike Glass Castles, which is Walls' memoir, Half Broke Horses is about Walls' grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, and her life living in west Texas and Arizona. Smith's life begins in west Texas, where her family is stuck taking what the weather will give them, in terms of flash flooding and drought, until their house is destroyed by a tornado. Then they move to Arizona onto a ranch they had been renting. There, Smith learns to break horses and has all sorts of adventures, such as going to boarding school and teaching 500 miles away from home when she was 15 years old. How did she get to her job? By riding solo on horseback for almost a month. She eventually moves to Chicago to experience life in the big city, where she meets her first husband, who, after six years of marriage, she discovers is a bigamist who had a wife with three children before marrying her. She leaves him and moves back to Arizona, trying to carve out a life for herself teaching. She has many adventures, such as learning to drive a car and fly a plane and even gets her bachelor's degree and teaching certificate when she was 40 years old. I definitely recommend this book if you want to get a real glimpse of living on a ranch in the early- to mid-1900s.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

This book is about Cinder, a cyborg, who is living in New Beijing after World War IV. She has a stepmother and two stepsisters (much like Cinderella) who are getting prepared for a ball for Prince Kai. One day, when she is at her shop in the market square, Kai approaches her and wants her to fix his robot. She agrees to it, and meanwhile, her stepsister Peony comes down with letumosis, something similar to the Black Plague and has no known cure. With Peony sick, Cinder's stepmother Adri enlists Cinder to be tested for a cure for letumosis, knowing full well that all those tested never live to tell about it. While in the lab, it is discovered that Cinder is immune. She finds out that she is really Lunar, from a colony on the moon, but it is illegal for Lunar to live on earth. Knowing that this must be kept a secret, and despite Kai's persistent courting of her, she decides to run away, but then finds out imperitive information that Kai must know. Will she be able to get to Kai in time or will she go through with her plan to run away to Europe?