2013 TBR Pile Challenge

My to be read pile is out of control. Luckily, there is a challenge being hosted by Evie at Bookish. The challenge helps you to lighten the TBR pile and maybe save some money by actually reading the books you already have instead of buying new ones? I plan on doing the lowest level (A Firm Handshake) and read at least ten books from my toppling pile in 2013. The books in no particular order are:

Is your TBR pile out of control?

All links are to the goodreads.

 

Review: The Tragedy Paper By Elizabeth LaBan

Review of The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

 

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Title: The Tragedy Paper

Author: Elizabeth LaBan

Publication Date: January 8th, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Source: NetGalley

GoodreadsAuthor SiteAuthor Twitter

 

Summary

 

Tim Macbeth is a 17-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is, “Enter here to be and find a friend.” Tim does not expect to find a friend; all he really wants to do is escape his senior year unnoticed. Despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “it” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim’s surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, and she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone finds out. Tim and Vanessa enter into a clandestine relationship, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

The story unfolds from two alternating viewpoints: Tim, the tragic, love-struck figure, and Duncan, a current senior, who uncovers the truth behind Tim and Vanessa’s story and will consequently produce the greatest Tragedy Paper in Irving’s history.

Review

The story begins on the first day of Duncan’s senior year at the Irving School. As is tradition, the person who lived in your room the year before leaves a present for next-years resident. Duncan is left a stack of CD’s that tell the story of Tim Macbeth’s time at the Irving school.

Tim is a lonely guy, an albino who has never really fit in. His new step-father attended the Irving school and loved it. Tim does not have much hope that he will be better off socially at his new school but at least he has a chance. At the airport on the way to school, Tim meets Vanessa who is beautiful and full-of-life. When the plane is delayed, they end up spending the night together waiting for the a flight the following day. Tim takes a few chances and really opens up to Vanessa. Turns out they are going to attend the same school but Tim knows that they can never really be friends.

The Tragedy Paper is a beautiful and tragic story about missed opportunities. There is love and heartbreak. Its is about being our real selves and letting others see us. If I had to compare it to anything, it would be Looking For Alaska by John Green. Maybe because of the boarding school environment but it also has a similar haunting quality. It is sad but hopeful. Tim ultimately has to live with his own tragedy but he is able to let Duncan in on his pain. Helping him to not make the same mistakes.

I really enjoyed how the ending while hopeful, is not a neat package. It is realistic and the characters do have to live with their actions. I truly enjoyed The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan and think it is a very strong debut.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

Waiting On Wednesday (8)

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights new releases that you are eagerly anticipating. This week I am waiting on The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Title: The Interestings

Author: Meg Wolitzer

Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover

Expected Publication Date: April 9, 2013

GoodreadsAuthor Site 

Summary

The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken.

Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.

As someone who studied music in college and has a job that is not creative at all, the plot really intrigues me.

 

What are you waiting on?

Cover image and summary taken from goodreads.

Review: Altered By Jennifer Rush

Review of Altered by Jennifer Rush

 

Altered by Jennifer Rush

Title: Altered (Altered #1)

Author: Jennifer Rush

Publication Date: January 2, 2013

Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.

Source: ARC from the 2013 Debut Author Challenge ARC Tour

GoodreadsAuthor BlogTwitter 

Summary

 

When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

Review

Altered starts off with Anna helping her father study the four boys who are in cages in their basement lab. (Insert many Fifty Shades jokes about hot boys and cages.) Anna is home-schooled and lives a pretty solitary life. She has built relationships with each of the boys and interacts with each in different ways. I enjoyed how different each was, it made it easier to relate to boys who spent five years in a basement lab. Her mother died when she was very young and Anna stays connected to her through an old journal.

Suddenly The Branch, her father’s employer who is in charge of the experiment, decides to take the boys. Sam, the love interest, figures out a way to escape and Anna gets swept up in it. She hits the road with the boys who are bent on figuring out who they were and what The Branch wants with them 

I really loved Altered. It is action packed, with lots of fight and escape scenes. No one is who they seem and you will not know who you can trust. There is a love story between Sam and Anna that proves to be complicated but very sweet. Anna demonstrates that she is no slouch in the self-defense department and holds her own on the run with her super-sexy boys. I love a female protagonist that is strong and smart. Anna is both of these in spades.

The ending is solid. It gives the reader closure while still leaving enough mystery for further installments in the series. There is so much to unpack when you have medical experiments and a top secret company that has every reason to hide what they are doing.

I highly recommend Altered by Jennifer Rush and plan on picking up the future installments in this series.

 

What You Will Find

  • Hot Guys
  • Kick-Ass Heroine
  • Twists and Turns
  • Mystery
  • Sweet Love Story
  • Running from the Man