Review: Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

In Zoey Redbird’s world, humans are made into vampyres after they are chosen by the Goddess Nyx. They leave their families and go to live at the local House of Night which is a training ground/school for fledgling vampyres. But, that’s just background noise because she has to deal with whatever her best friend is babbling about, and her ex-almost boyfriend, and her mother’s new husband who is a elder in the People of Faith and who has taken over her mother’s life (and subsequently destroyed her relationship with her Mom.)

Did I say it was background noise? I meant it was exposition. Zoey Redbird is marked in the first chapter and has to go to vampyre school. She is visited in a dream by Nyx and she is asked to be the Goddess’s very own eyes and ears in the school. Talk about responsibility.

The rest of the book is taken up with typical school story narrative. People are terrible and fledgling vampyres don’t buck that trend. There are mean girls, there are the cool kids, there are the people you are lucky enough to have as friends. And, there is a mystery of dead or maybe not-so-dead fledglings. Zoey has to navigate the halls of the school and investigate the mystery.

This is the first book in the series, and as discussed in my Saturday Reads I liked Zoey Redbird very much. The second half of the book involved a lot of description of ritual, and while I liked that, it felt a lot using non-Christian cultural practices as a way to make the vampyre world seem exotic and interesting and special instead of pushing the plot forward by character development or by divulging more about the mystery. And, that’s lazy at best and appropriative at worst. Also, a lot of the references felt really dated or forced. Zoey and her friends make a lot of pop culture references.

Even with the low points, I liked the characters and I’ll probably read at least the next one in the series.

Pop Culture Extra Credit: Playlist

A huge part of Eleanor and Park is the music that Park shares with Eleanor throughout the book. I started making notes of songs while I was reading. It seemed like it would be a great playlist, even if the book was breaking my heart. In the end, I compiled a pretty long list but it was in multiple places. Some of the songs were written on a post-it that got rained on. Some were on a bookmark that got left someplace. Some were in a note on my phone. Some were on a receipt. Apparently, I read everywhere and write on what I can get my hands on. So, I compiled this playlist from the pieces of paper, etc. that I could still get my hands on and read. Enjoy!

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This is the story of Cath, a first year college student who is super awkward, in love with characters in a teen series, and a writer of fan fiction. She moves into her dorm room with her new roommate (after her twin sister tells her she doesn’t want to room with her) and then proceeds to try and make it as far as she can without interacting with anyone. Her roommate, Reagan, and her roommate’s friend (boyfriend? friend? boyfriend?) Levi force her to interact with them. Levi forces the issue by snooping through Cath’s stuff and eating most of her supply of protein bars (forcing her to ask where the cafeteria is) and Reagan forces the issue by making Cath eat with her in the cafeteria. They slowly become friends. Cath and Levi realize that they have feelings for each other and the story spirals from there. Additionally, there are story arcs that involve both of Cath’s parents. Cath’s father has raised her and her sister from when they were very young and now her mother would like to have some involvement. Cath’s father also has bipolar disorder. Cath’s interactions with her parents were beautiful and at times heartbreaking.

I love Cath. I love her so much.

This book has beginning of school drama. It has tension between sisters (ugh, her sister drove me crazy!). There is romance. There is friendship. There is at least one douche canoe of a bro tryna take advantage of a young woman. There’s some really satisfying comeuppance for said douche canoe of a bro. There’s an awesome professor who gets it…but also doesn’t get it. And, there’s the fan fiction. Oh, the fan fiction. I finished this book in two days and I read it on my phone because I couldn’t get enough of it. I read it in every spare minute that I had. This was by far my favorite of the books that Beth assigned me this summer. I cannot wait for Carry On!, Cath’s fan fiction, to be published this Fall!