Monday, February 28, 2011

Hush by Eishes Chayil

Hush: Book Review by Allison T.

Release Date: September 14th, 2010

Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4 stars
Source: County Library
Series: Stand-alone
Buy the Book:
Goodreads Summary:

Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands

of years before down to the last detail and abuse has never been a part of it.
But when thirteen-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend has
suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her community try
to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain
silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe.
A richly detailed and nuanced book, one of both humor and depth, understanding and
horror, this story explains a complex world that remains an echo of its past,
and illuminates the conflict between yesterday's traditions and today's reality.


This book was so interesting and it was almost like a breath of fresh air compared to all of the other books that I have been reading lately. I think the thing that drew me into the story most was how the book was separated into the past and the present. I would get to read about Gittel as a child, teenager, and adult. This helped to explain the story a bit better and made it have more depth. If Hush had only depicted Gittel as an adult, then I would never have known how she felt when she saw Devory, her best friend, hanging in the bathroom, dead.

Eishes Chayil (a pseudonym for "woman of strong valor") is a wonderful writer. She showed me a world completely different from mine. In the Chassidic community, everything is a lot more strict. This meant that even though Devory killed herself because she got raped, no one wanted to alert the news or draw any attention to the story. Hush opened my eyes to a different lifestyle of arranged marriages and not getting to watch any television.

Kathy, Gittel's friend, was very funny and insightful. Even though she was different, Gittel still loved her for who she was. Kathy let Gitel watch t.v. even though she wasn't allowed to and came to her wedding later on

Gittel was a great character that had many dimensions because of her refusal to let Devory's tragic story go untold. At times, she was hilarious, and at other times, she was wise. I think that she was very realistic.

The last thing that I thought was well done was the Jewish terms. Since I'm not Jewish (Christian), I felt that the glossary at the back of the book was very helpful. Also, if I was too lazy to flip all the way to the back, most terms were explained right on the page.

I gave this book only 4 stars because the writing was a bit confusing at times. It was hard to tell what just happened in some parts. Finally, the ending was a bit too perfect. I would have liked to know what happened to Gittel afterwards.

I advise everyone to read this book, even adults. Hush brings a challenging reality to the forefront. Even though something horrible is going on, families or communities will still hide the truth. But, no one can forget things as tragic as rape or suicide. It is a bit more challenging but very good for anyone who is interested in tough issues such as sexual abuse. I give Hush 4 stars.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

In My Mailbox

I got lots of great books this week: some that I won, and others that I bought from the AWESOME Borders sale. Even though I had to drive out to go to the closing stores (my local store is still open), it was worth it to save money.

1) Deception, by Lee Nichols
2) Plain Kate, by Erin Bow
3) The Demon Trapper's Daughter, by Jana Oliver
4) The Education of Hailey Frederick, by Eileen Cook
5) Dear Pen Pal, by Heather Vogel
6) Ice, by Sarah Beth Durst
7) Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind, by Suzanne Fisher Staples
8) Delirium, by Lauren Oliver (Won)


Friday, February 11, 2011

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Publishing Date: April 10, 2008
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 336
Rating: 4.5/5
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Library
Interest: Part of Vampire Academy Series
Frostbite starts where Vampire Academy left off. Lissa and Christian are dating now and Rose still loves Dimitri, her teacher.When there is a huge strigoi attack, everyone from St. Vladimir gets to go to a fancy ski resort in Idaho, which is where a lot of royal Moroi go.
Mason still has a big crush on Rose, and she is starting to think that she should give up on wooing Dimitri. Rose's mom comes into her life out of thin air, and Rose thinks that Dimitri likes Tasha, Christian's aunt. Meanwhile, the Strigoi are still wreaking havoc on Moroi.
Mason, Mia, and Eddie decide to hunt down the Strigo before anyone else gets hurt. When Rose realizes this, she and Christian set off to find the three and end up in big trouble.
What will happen next?
Here is my review:
I loved this book!!!! It took me a few days to read, but it only took me that long because of homework. Richelle Mead is a genius when it comes to her writing, her character development and production, and her plot ideas. In this book, I just kept guessing (and usually got things wrong, haha). Rose is a great role model, because she is learning how to have self-control and not attack other people when she gets angry. She inspires me to try harder. There is a lot of humor and action in Frostbite. Mason was a bit annoying, but cute at the same time. Also, this story was a bit boring at times, but usually I went right through it. I think I actually enjoyed this book more than Vampire Academy. Even though I started reading this vampire series later than most other people, it is still one of my favorite series thus far. (My other favorite is the Pretty Little Liars Series). Right now, I am currently reading Shadow Kiss, so I will put my review up soon.
Allison T.

Glass by Ellen Hopkins

Date Published: April 7, 2009

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Age Group: Young Adult

Pages: 704

Rating: 4/5

Source: Library

Interest: Series


Glass is the sequel to Ellen Hopkin's first novel, Crank, so
do not read this review if you have not read the first book yet. In this book,
Kristina has had her baby boy and is trying to stop using drugs. But she can't.
The monster is too strong for Kristina to fight. She finds a new dealer in
California, and once her mom notices that Kristina is hooked on drugs again, she
gets kicked out, without Hunter, her baby.
This book shows what addiction is like and how it affects people mentally and physically. It is told in verse and is for mature readers, so I wouldn't recommend this book to another 12-year-old unless I knew that they could handle it.
First, I like the covers in this trilogy. At first, the title looked like glass, but upon further inspection, I saw that it was actually the type of drugs that Kristina took. The cover design conveys that these books are edgy, which I agree with.
This book is quickly paced and I just swept through it since there were not that many words on each page. Glass would be great for slow readers or people who don't like long books. Even though this book looks like it would take forever to read, it only took me a few days.
I thought Kristina was stupid for leaving her baby and going back to the monster again, but I guess that's what happens to people who take drugs. It feels like it is impossible for them to quit. Throughout the book, I found myself wondering what Kristina looked like. Even though a lot of guys said she was "hot", she was on drugs, which make you look a lot worse than you usually do.
The scenes with Trey were...... interesting. The same goes with Brad. It didn't seem like the two (Trey and Kristina) had anything in common besides the fact that they took drugs.
Overall, I think I would rate this novel four out of five stars. I rated it this way because even though the writing was great and the novel didn't drag, I thought that the characters made a lot of bad decisions (like dealing drugs) and did not make taking drugs seem that bad. Still, read Glass if you liked the first book. I will definitely be reading Fallout once I get through my tower of books. Hehehe.
Allison T.

Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

(This was for my school book talk.)

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be poor and hungry? Do you like touching stories about achieving your dreams? Does ballet interest you? Would you like to learn about China and its government? Well, if you said yes to at least one of these questions, Mao’s Last Dancer, by Li Cunxin (Chuen-shing), might be just the book for you.
Li Cunxin is very kind and loves his family. He is a great friend and works hard to get things done. Mao’s Last Dancer is set in China and America in 1960 to about 2009.
This novel begins with Li and his family, who are just barely getting by. During class one day, representatives from Madame Mao’s Dance Academy come, looking for dancers. All the selected kids had to take tests of flexibility until there were only a few children left, one being Cunxin. Next, Cunxin began his training. After years of dancing and hard work, Li finally started to love dance. He got to train in Houston, Texas for the summer and went back again for a year, where he met his first love, Elizabeth, and secretly, they eloped without telling Ben Stevenson, choreographer of the Houston Ballet.
What will happen next? Will the Chinese try to stop Li? You’ll have to pick up this fascinating book to find out yourself. Prepare to be surprised, humbled, and shocked along the way as you read about Li’s life story in his autobiography.

The Starlight Prince by Borislava Borissova

I recieved this book for review from the author, and I am glad I did, because I hadn't heard of it before. In this book, there is a boy called the Starlight Prince. Basically, he is trying to find a friend, and is a bit clueless about how to make them. The boy travels to Earth and other planets on his journey to find a friend. He gets stuck in a volcano and almost freezes in a castle, but he keeps going.
This book was interesting because I got to expand my knowledge of Greek gods and what they were gods of. I am learning about that in school right now, so that helped me out. The Starlight Prince is a good book for all ages and is very sweet and cute. I felt bad for the prince since he was not very good at making friends, but you'll have to read this book to see if he finally finds a friend.
I would rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars, and only because there were a few grammatical errors. Also, I recommeded it to a few of my friends who also share my love of reading.
Read on!
Allison T.
(This is my review from amazon)