Sunday, 31 July 2011

In My Mailbox 27

Dear Blog,
In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren.
So, it's the summer holidays, and therefore I have no extracurricular activities and next to no schoolwork.  Which means two things: 1) hooray!  and 2) I have more time than usual to devote to reading. Therefore when I was in the huge library in the centre of town the other day, I took out a lot of books. They'll keep me busy for a little while.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (currently reading)

Selected Poems by e. e. cummings
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Wish House by Celia Rees
The Awakening and Selected Stories by Kate Chopin
Purple Hibiscus by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie
Lies by Michael Grant

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (*excited squeal*)

 So, there you go.  Did you get any interesting books this week?
That's all. Over and out.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Foreign Language Friday: Le Bal by Irène Némirovsky

Dear blog,
This is two novellas put together in one volume, so I'll review each one separately.

Original titles: Le Bal and Les Mouches d'automne, respectively.
Written by: Irène Némirovsky
First published in: French
Translated by: Sandra Smith
Summary (from Goodreads): Le Bal is a penetrating and incisive book set in early twentieth century France. At its heart is the tension between mother and daughter. The nouveau-riche Kampfs, desperate to become members of the social elite, decide to throw a ball to launch themselves into high society. For selfish reasons Mrs. Kampf forbids her teenage daughter, Antoinette, to attend the ball and banishes her to the laundry room. In an unpremeditated fury of revolt and despair, Antoinette takes a swift and horrible revenge. A cruel, funny and tender examination of class differences, Le Bal describes the torments of childhood with rare accuracy.
Also included in this volume is Snow in Autumn, in which Némirovsky pays homage to Chekhov and chronicles the life of a devoted servant following her masters as they flee Revolutionary Moscow and emigrate to a life of hardship in Paris. 

Review: Le Bal- This was definitely my favourite of the two.  Of course, I didn't like Antoinette, I didn't think much of her father, and I didn't like her mother either.  But then I don't think you're meant to like Madame Kampf and her daughter, so much as just read from both their perspectives and observe both of their actions, and see how they clash. 
Although they both strongly disliked one another, they both had a lot of mannerisms in common, and the same desperate desire to be appreciated, loved, to show themselves off to society.   At the same time their thoughts are written in such a subtly tender way, and I think on some level it's possible to sympathise with and relate to every single character, even those who are somewhat minor and don't play too large a role, which is something I love her for; the way portrays family dynamics in such a horribly truthful way.  Her characterisation is absolutely spot on. 

The scene where Antoinette is hiding behind the sofa is, by the way,  without a doubt one of the best that I've come across in literature over the last few months.  If this makes sense, reading it from Antoinette's perspective, makes you feel almost kind of guilty.  I don't even know what for... just being, I suppose, being able to identify with some of her thoughts and emotions, and to know that they were messing things up.  For such an outwardly simplistic story, there are a lot of motives that you're left pondering for a long time after you read it.

In three words: Vivacious, insightful, tense.
Rating: 5.

Snow in Autumn- I was pretty surprised at how different this was from Le Bal, which felt lively and sort of fierce in a controlled kind of way.  But the best thing for me to compare Snow in Autumn to is actually snow.  It's so quietly beautiful and sorrowful.  It's told from the perspective of a faithful servant when the wealthy family she works for flees persecution in Russia. Wealth and social standing is another big theme, but it's a total contrast from Le Bal, which is kind of a rags-to-riches story, .  Snow in Autumn is the complete opposite, and the central family are left .  Themes of loss and nostalgia, I've noticed, are also a recurring theme in all the Némirovsky that I've read so far, and she writes it very well. 

But for all its haunting glory, I don't know why, but it felt kind of...incomplete.  The story of their journey from Russia to France was perfectly alright, and the way they initially settled in, but I felt like it could have been a lot longer- maybe even a novel in its own right.  I felt like there were some characters that I would have loved a lot more if I had had more time to get to know them, but I didn't, alas.  Still, it's an entirely beautiful novella in a subtle sort of way, and I highly recommend it.

In three words: Lyrical, sad, haunting.
Rating: 4.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Review: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

Dear blog,
I'm sorry I haven't done any posts in over a week.  I was ill last week, and so I was incapable of writing anything vaguely intelligent about the books I had read.

Summary (from Goodreads): For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.
Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.
Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.

Review:  I was quite looking forward to reading this book before I started it as I'd read a lot of positive reviews and there was a good deal of hype buzzing around cyberspace about it.  And although when I started the book I did have some reservations about it, once things got going I really enjoyed it.
It was quite a refreshing sort of book, and it seemed quite different from a lot of the paranormal novels that I've read.  It was certainly a lot darker than some of them.  Also, it pleased me that the romance between Silla and Nick wasn't the centre of the story. 

I wasn't so sure about either Nick or Silla at the beginning of the story, just because the way they came together seemed a bit... clichéd.  Girl with a dark, tragic past; mysterious new boy in town with some dark secrets of his own; it seemed a little overdone.  Also, there was very little distinction between their voices. As a general rule I love books with multiple or alternating points of view, but there isn't much point to them if you can't tell who's talking.  The only thing that gave me indication as to who was telling the story was that Nick swore more. Still, they were both pretty cool characters, and aside from their pasts and the way they came together, they weren't really flat or boring.

While I'm talking about Nick and Silla, I had better talk about their relationship. This is one of the things I wasn't so keen on.  It was just so...rushed, like just because fate seemed to have an awful lot to do with how they came together, they didn't really need to take that much time to initially get to know each other.  One week after they met each other they're already together and he's calling her "babe" all the time? Really? Speaking of which, I really didn't like the "babe" thing.  It made me cringe.   But, aside from those things, they were pretty sweet together and got on well.  There was none of that stalking and watching-you-sleep-at-night business. Also, Silla continued to have a life and pursue hobbies (I feel like I read a lot of books where the main character has no other interests except, well, her love interest) and wasn't one of those characters who must spend all day and all night with her loved one.

The writing style is another thing that I'm not so sure about.  The way that the story flowed from one thing to another was fine, but I don't think some of the word choices were the best, especially with some of the similes, for instance "My brain whirred like a toy helicopter" and "...Like I was being flushed down a toilet" and the metaphor "He was Mephistopheles, smiling and tempting me, his Dr. Faustus, to dance."  Comparing breathlessness to a broken air mattress kind of interrupts the flow of the story, and left me pondering the awkwardness of it for a minute.

It's a pretty dark book, and not at all for the faint-hearted.  I didn't have much of a problem with this because I'm not generally a squeamish person, although I do think that the beheading/killing of the rabbit was unnecessary and really added nothing to the story.  Small, fluffy animals should not die for no apparent reason.  Anyway, it was quite toe-curling and deliciously creepy in some places, and totally one of those books to read in the middle of the night with a torch. The whole book drips with  is full of blood, curses and possession.  I also liked the extracts from Josephine's diary; it didn't make much sense in relation to the story at first, but then as the story went on and more secrets about Nick and Silla's pasts were revealed, it seemed to be a lot more involved in the plot.  Speaking of the plot, it has a totally excellent twist, which was way too cool.  Also, the tension throughout the book really built up to the conclusion, which was entirely enthralling. I couldn't put the book down for the last 150 pages.

So, aside from a few things here and there, I really enjoyed Blood Magic.  Tessa Gratton is a promising author and I look forward to reading more from her.
In three words:  exciting, dark, promising.
recommended for: Girls who don't mind blood.
Rating: 3.5

Thank you to Random House UK for sending me a copy to review.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Another Ten Books I Absolutely Can't Wait For

Dear Blog,
I haven't done one of this posts in an insanely long time, it seems. Well, I should.  Because there are a lot of books that I'm looking forward to that are released later on in the year or in 2012.
So. Without further ado.

The Diviners by Libba Bray- Libba Bray= possibly my favourite historical fiction writer.  New York City in the 1920s = possibly one of my favourite eras. The summary on Goodreads tells me it will be "a wild new ride full of dames and dapper dons, jazz babies and Prohibition-defying parties, conspiracy and prophecy—and all manner of things that go bump in the neon-drenched night."  All I can say is oh my God yes.  Bring it on.

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins- companion novel to Impulse, and is released this autumn.  And look at that cover.  It's so delicious, I could eat it. In fact, when I get a copy I may well have to do so.

Smoke by Ellen Hopkins-Another Ellen Hopkins.  This is a sequel/companion novel to Burned, the ending of which was intense  but very vague.  I haven't heard much of a synopsis about Smoke, either, and it doesn't come out for a good while yet, so we'll see.

 A Million Suns by Beth Revis- Goodreads is killing me. Although it shows the cover, which is by the way absolutely gorgeous, all it says as a synopsis is "The plot of this book is a mystery."  Aaaaargh I want to know what happens right now *explodes*. 

The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges- Russia.  1888.  Teenage debutante and member of the nobility who is also a necromancer. Need I say more?  I must have this book.   

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver- Although I dislike the cover (maybe it will tie in with a paperback cover of Delirium?) which is nothing like that of its predecessor, I am totally looking forward to reading this. The ending of Delirium was so intense and dramatic. However. If there's a love triangle of sorts in this book, I may well scream and rip my hair out, because honestly I dislike nothing more in books, especially when couples go together as well as Lena and Alex and then some unnecessary other character is thrown into the equation for drama.

Audition by


Friday, 15 July 2011

Cover Love #1: The Amazing Mind of Alice Makin

Dear blog,
So I thought that today, with a lack of a Foreign Language Friday post, I would participate in this new Friday feature hosted by Melissa over at i swim for oceans.  Because I love cover art in all shapes and forms, and the idea of sharing some of my favourites with the rest of cyberspace makes me happy.

Title: The Amazing Mind of Alice Makin
Author: Alan Shea
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd.
Release date: March 2008
Genre: Middle-grade, historical fiction
Fun Fact: I, um, don't have one. Sorry.  If there's something really cool behind the general design or creation of this cover I don't know, do tell me.
Why I Have Cover Lust: I read the book when it was first released, and although it wasn't like "Oh my squash this book is amaaazing" so much as, "Eh, it's all right", it still remains one of my favourite book covers.
I suppose the main reason I like it is how vibrant it looks with the fireworks, while at the bottom of the cover you can see silhouettes of a ruined London.  It's set after the Second World War, in a world where Alice's imagination is the only thing that brightens up her drab world of bomb sites and greyness.

So, there you go.  Do you like it, or not? What are your favourite covers?  If you've read it, what did you think of the book?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Review: The Toll Bridge by Aidan Chambers

Dear blog,

Summary (from Goodreads): Fed up with parents and friends trying to decide on his future, Jan attempts to escape the pressures of home by taking a job as a toll-keeper. Going to live in the country - alone in the house on the toll bridge - Jan hopes to find out who he really is. At the toll bridge Jan meets Tess and Adam. Their friendship works well for a time, but they all have to face a turning point, and for one of them, the result is devastating.

Review: Although Postcards from No Man's Land left me kind of underwhelmed,  I'm quite the Aidan Chambers fangirl these days. When he writes well, it's stunning.  This is All and Now I Know are two of my favourite books; In their own ways they've totally influenced my life or the way I look at the world.  It probably sounds pretty corny, but imagine this: when I read a book, an entirely average novel I quite liked, it drifts around as the centre of my thoughts for a pretty short amount of time.  But TIA and NIK both stuck around in my head for weeks.  But The Toll Bridge fell short for me.  That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I did.  But when you have such high expectations for an author, it's pretty hard to live up to them.  It was a good book in many respects.  

It's not as...deep, I guess, as some of the other books in the sequence.  I guess it's a more "normal" book on many levels, but there were still proper moments of philosophical contemplation.  It's a pretty universal book; I think all people, whether in their teenage years or not, feel like they just need to disappear from their everyday life and work out where they fit into the universe/make a proper change to their lifestyle/find out what it is that they really want from their life.  This book describes that pretty fantastically.  Adam, Jan and Tess all feel like this but they all have very different attitudes towards their lives and what they feel they should be doing with themselves.

I suppose the plot was the main issue I had with the book.  I enjoyed the beginning, the way all the characters were introduced, but the middle felt like quite hard work.  It's like everything suddenly ran out of steam.  It's only around 200 pages, so it shouldn't have taken me four or five days to read, should it? It felt like it dragged somewhat, like it was an effort to read.  There was  a sense of foreboding in the writing style, so for the longest time I felt like I was waiting for something exciting to happen.  Reading the scene at the party, which I can't really say much about in case I give things away, I felt kind of underwhelmed.  Is that it?  Is that really all the action that's going to happen?   In parts it felt kind of...apathetic.  Events were occurring, things were happening, or could have been happening, but things like the tension and the dynamics between the characters seemed to have dissolved almost completely, and it felt like there was no drive behind the story and no way for things to keep going.

Thankfully, things picked up again at the end, and there was a fantastic twist.  Is it possible to be pleased by an event that's so devastating and has such a big impact on all of the characters?  It makes me feel slightly sadistic, but the ending made me happy because things were happening again, there were things to think about and puzzle over and wonder where things would have gone if things had been slightly different, and what happened after the conclusion.  It's a very open ending, which seems very fitting to the book; there are so many different paths that it could take.

So, I guess I'm glad I read it, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone as their first Chambers novel in case it put them off from reading any more of his novels, in which case they would be missing out on a fair amount of awesomeness.  But if you have, then I do think that it's not to be missed.

In Three Words: original, surprising, anti-climatic.
Recommended for: people who've already read some Aidan Chambers.
Rating: 3

Sunday, 10 July 2011

In My Mailbox 26 or The One with the Mighty Tomes

Dear Blog,
In My Mailbox is hosted by  Kristi over at The Story Siren.
I got a fair few books this week, which makes me happy.  A few of them are something of an epic length and will no doubt take me a little while to read, hence the title of this post.
 Note: Sorry the picture isn't very good, and has acquired something of a holga effect.  There's some sand or something stuck in the lens which means it doesn't open all the way anymore.  This will work well next time I want to take some black-and-white photographs, but alas not for actual proper pictures that I want to share with cyberspace.

Eragon, Eldest and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

Underworld by Don DeLillo

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan- not pictured, because I had to return it to the library.  Review to come.
Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald- Because I'm partaking in the Vlogbrother read, and if John Green likes it then I should read it, because in my eyes he can do no wrong. 
Daisy Miller by Henry James
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell- because I love .  We and Anthem and the film Metropolis are
among some of my favourite books/films/ forms of recreational media, so I'm totally looking forward to reading this.

Well, there you go.  Did you get any good books this week? 
Also, in relation to the new blog design; what do you think?

Friday, 8 July 2011

Foreign Language Friday: In The Sea There are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda

Dear Blog,

Original Title: Nel mare ci sono i coccodrilli
Original Language: Italian
Translated by: Howard Curtis

Summary (from Goodreads): One night before putting him to bed, Enaiatollah's mother tells him three things: don't use drugs, don't use weapons, don't steal. The next day he wakes up to find she isn't there. They have fled their village in Ghazni to seek safety outside Afghanistan but his mother has decided to return home to her younger children. Ten-year-old Enaiatollah is left alone in Pakistan to fend for himself. In a book that takes a true story and shapes it into a beautiful piece of fiction, Italian novelist Fabio Geda describes Enaiatollah's remarkable five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy where he finally managed to claim political asylum aged fifteen. His ordeal took him through Iran, Turkey and Greece, working on building sites in order to pay people-traffickers, and enduring the physical misery of dangerous border crossings squeezed into the false bottoms of lorries or trekking across inhospitable mountains. A series of almost implausible strokes of fortune enabled him to get to Turin, find help from an Italian family and meet Fabio Geda, with whom he became friends. The result of their friendship is this unique book in which Enaiatollah's engaging, moving voice is brilliantly captured by Geda's subtle and simple storytelling. In Geda's hands, Enaiatollah's journey becomes a universal story of stoicism in the face of fear, and the search for a place where life is liveable.

Review:  When I sat down to start reading this book, I wasn't sure how many boxes of tissues I was going to need.  Surprisingly, I didn't need any- the story was told in a very straightforward manner, without  much strong emotion at all.  But although it didn't make me cry, it was still an entirely hard-hitting and harrowing book.  There were some moments now and again that just struck me as particularly horrifying, perhaps because of the unadorned and almost casual way they were described, as if they were nothing exceptional to Enaiatollah.  It reminded me a little of The Book of Everything in that respect; having things just told as they are, without any exaggeration, strong emotions and such put in, makes the events seem entirely shocking.

Enaitollah talks about human trafficking, the extremely hard time police across the Middle East and southern Europe give him and the desperate measures he'll go to in order to go abroad in such a frank way I want to just grab him and trap him in a massive bear hug.  Still, I think that was only because of his experiences; sometimes I wished that there had been more of his own thoughts and emotions included.  Although it's a very direct book, like he's sat right across the table from you telling his story, it would have been nice to have felt what he felt, as well as see what he saw.

In The Sea There are Crocodiles reminds me a lot of the Breadwinner trilogy by Deborah Ellis, which were some of my favourite books a few years ago (I read the whole trilogy in about three days). It's very insightful into the world of illegal immigration, and if I hadn't read this book then I  wouldn't have been aware of how it works in any detail. As well as that, there were things like the places Enaiat worked; for fourteen hours a day in a stone-cutting factory, and running all the errands for a hotel, that reminded me how lucky I am to be able to just babysit once a week and still be able to eat three meals a day, sleep with a roof over my head and get a good education.

Still, it's not entirely without hope, which was a pleasant surprise.  Enaiatollah, once he reaches Italy, recounts how he managed  to (gradually) settle down and live an ordinary life.   Enaiat was so resilient and just kept on going whatever life threw at him.  He did such brave and resilient things aged ten or eleven that, as a teenager, makes me feel hopelessly ditzy and (hypothetically) incapable of surviving in such a harsh world.  His fearlessness and determination to keep going, through five years and six countries, will stay with me for a very long time.

In three words: Insightful, hopeful, direct.
Reccommended for: Armchair travellers.
Rating: 3.

Thank you to Random House for sending me a copy for review.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Things Dystopian Novels Have Taught Me

Dear blog,
I'm one of those people who worries about the end of the world. A lot.  I am also one of those people who reads a lot of dystopian novels, perhaps as a way of preparing myself for the future state of mankind.
Thankfully there are a lot of books that serve as an entirely handy guide to surviving rising sea levels/nuclear kersplosions/creepy governments/insert other grim demise of humanity here. 
Here are some of the words of wisdom that I think are particularly essential, from some of my favourite novels of the dystopic variety.
Be warned: There are a few spoilers here, so proceed with caution.
Life as we Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
You need food.
And water.
If you're not sure if you've got enough, obtain more of these things.

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Cities are the worst place to be in an apocalypse.
For the love of God, don't go in a lift when the electricity system in your building is unreliable.
No matter how many inhalers you have, they still cannot ultimately save you from your asthma.

Gone by Michael Grant
Kids are very creepy when they want to be.
Do not live near a nuclear power plant.
You are probably a superhero mutant freak waiting to happen.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Life sucks.
Ultimately there is no hope for humanity.
You are either going to die or go slightly crazy on an island. But probably both.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Wasps are the most efficient way of killing off your enemies. But make sure you're out of the way first.
Despite the fact your government is evil and corrupt, there are always plenty of shallow hair stylists you can hang around with to lighten your mood.
Your dead villains will come back to haunt you as mutant wolves. 

The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd
Being an English teenager in the years to come will be pretty harsh.
Carry a torch with you at all times.
Keep pigs.  They're amazing.

The Declaration by Gemma Malley
There will always be a slightly too-good-to-be-true boy available to sweep you off your feet and tell you how bad the world is.
Life's not fair and everyone hates you.
There are probably a ton of revelatory secrets about you/your family that you do not know.

Siberia by Ann Halam
Your cute little critter companions may be the one thing that will save your life when you're on an epic trek across a bitterly arctic Europe.
Sweden, the place roughly described as Sloe's ultimate destination, is the place to be (Also, I have proof, because I went to Sweden when I was eleven and it was amazing).
You should listen to everything your mother tells you.

Riding Tycho by Jan Mark
Knitting gets boring very quickly if you have no Ravelry to supply you with fresh exciting patterns, and you are eternally doomed to knit stockings all your life.
Your friends are superficial, two-faced and not worth your time.
Especially when there are Welsh singers available who can open your eyes to the wider world.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
See The Declaration.
Don't sweat it if you're worried about your authoritarian government stopping you from having a good time; as a general rule, you should be able to sneak out to the country for a party.
You need a motorbike for the ultimate escape to be achieved.

Exodus by Julie Bertagna
If you're unsure if you live on high enough ground to escape the rising sea levels, move higher up.
Do not eat raw fish in unclean waters.
If possible, befriend or fall in love with the son of one of the most powerful men in your city.

Zenith by Julie Bertagna
Greenland is the place to be when the sea levels rise.
Do not get pregnant when you're having a hard enough time fighting for your own survival.
There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Review: Pink by Lili Wilkinson

Dear blog,
Summary (from Goodreads): Ava Simpson is trying on a whole new image. Stripping the black dye from her hair, she heads off to the Billy Hughes School for Academic Excellence, leaving her uber-cool girlfriend, Chloe, behind.
Ava is quickly taken under the wing of perky, popular Alexis who insists that: a) she's a perfect match for handsome Ethan; and b) she absolutely must audition for the school musical.
But while she's busy trying to fit in -- with Chloe, with Alexis and her Pastel friends, even with the misfits in the stage crew -- Ava fails to notice that her shiny reinvented life is far more fragile than she imagined.

Review: This is one of those books that totally proves why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.  I was expecting this to be a light, fluffy sort of novel.  But it was so much more than that.  Although Pink is pretty lighthearted in a lot of ways, I quite enjoyed that: it was pretty refreshing to read a LGBTQ novel which isn't just about the protagonist coming to terms with their sexuality, coming out etc. A lot of the YA novels I read about sexual identity are pretty heavy going, which I do understand, but the general take on Ava being a lesbian in Pink seemed quite...relaxed, if that makes sense.

Ava already has a long-term girlfriend, but she's actually wondering if she's not gay.   She likes the colour pink, things haven't been going so well with her girlfriend Chloe of late and she doesn't see the appeal with hanging out with their edgy radical friends anymore.  She was an entirely likeable character for all her flaws, and I think that absolutely anyone could relate to her in one way or another. I'm sure everyone at some point in their life wants to be different, wants to fit in with the right crowd.  Throughout the book Ava made a lot of mistakes in her attempts to be accepted. She could be pretty selfish and thoughtless at times, and although I often facepalmed at her actions, I still totally understood why she did the things that she did.

The thing I loved best about this book by far was the characters.   Except Chloe.  Although I had high hopes for her when Ava mentioned she read Anaïs Nin (because anyone who likes Anaïs Nin is generally an awesome person in my book), alas that was not to be. She was mean.  Her remarks to Ava were so cutting and bitter I had a hard time understanding why the two of them were still going out.  Anyway, in the respect that she was totally three-dimensional and believable, yes, she was a good character. All the supporting characters were good.  Seriously, how do Australian authors do this?!  Jaclyn Moriarty and Margaret Wild have the most incredible cast of characters as well, and they both live Down Under.  It must be all that sunshine.

The Pastels were, again, characters I disliked, but were totally believable.  It's like Lili Wilkinson has gone into a school with a video camera, filmed everyone's comings and goings and then broadcast them on a giant outdoor television screen. Everything feels exposed, from the settings to the character dynamics.
Also, the Stage Crew, i.e Screws. They are awesome, although in their anti-Glee win and discarding of pecking order in their school, they made me feel slightly guilty for  being one of those people who loves singing on stage, and whose only pair of high heels is a pair of character shoes.  Still, reading the scenes with all their highly entertaining banter and trivia, it feels like you're painting the sets with them or half-asleep at the movie marathon (by the way, that was one of my favourite scenes in the whole book). 

 So, if the rest of Lili Wilkinson's books are as awesome as Pink, I'll definitely be reading more of her novels in the future.

In Three Words: light-hearted, excellent, refreshing.
Reccommended for: Anyone who's willing to see past the bright pink cover.
Rating: 4.5