Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Girl, Stolen by April Henry

"She decided that the first step would be to get him to untie her. Poor blindy, that's what she had to make him think. Once she could use her hands, she could find a phone. Or a weapon. She could even take her cane and run away as soon as it was dark. She longed for it to be nighttime, when she would be more than a sighted person's equal."

Girl, Stolen by April Henry is the story of two teenagers. The first is Cheyenne Wilder. Blind and sick with pneumonia, she opts to stay in the car when her stepmother goes into the store to retrieve her prescription, leaving her in the back with the car on. This is when the second teenager shows up in the form of Griffin. He sees the keys in the ignition and thinks it'll be an easy car theft. He didn't mean to steal a girl too. He panics and takes her back to his father, Roy, hoping to release her somewhere that night so she could go home and he wouldn't be blamed for the kidnapping. But Roy has different plans. When he finds out that Cheyenne's father is the president of Nike, he has new plans for the girl.

A very original, well-written plot with believable and (especially in Cheyenne's case) strong characters, Girl, Stolen was a pleasure to read. April Henry's character development is well-rounded and seeing the entire ordeal from the eyes of both Griffin and Cheyenne is amazing. Not only does it cover the current situation, but we get to see those memories and experiences that made them who they are. For Cheyenne, we see the accident that made her blind and how she learned to deal with the disability. For Griffin, we learn how his father's disregard for him put him in the hospital as a child and permanently scarred his body. Nothing is simple or easy for the two of them and they are each about to have to make some decisions that could save their lives or culminate in their deaths.

This was a great read that had me hooked from the start. In fact, one of my friends was so amused by my reactions to the book (I tend to respond vocally to scenes in books in movies) that he immediately asked to borrow it when I was done. It's definitely worth checking out.

Rating: ★★★★★

"It was easier to think about her being blind than it was about what to do now. Griffin wished his life was like one of the computers at his old school, that he could just make a few clicks and restore things to the way they had been five minutes before he spotted the keys dangling from the Escalade's ignition. Instead, he had made one impulsive decision after another, and now he was stuck with the results."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

"It's like when you are excited about a girl and you see a couple holding hands, and you feel so happy for them. And other times you see the same couple, and they make you so mad. And all you want is to feel happy for them because you know that if you do, then it means that you're happy, too."

Guys, it looks like I have another new favorite book.

It's funny. My two favorite books, Paper Towns and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, are both constantly compared to Catcher in the Rye, which was a book I really did not enjoy. It's weird how that works.

Anyway, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is Stephen Chbosky's first novel. No one would be able to tell that from reading his work. Written in the form of letters to an anonymous recipient, it tells the story of high school freshman Charlie. He's not exactly a social butterfly. As the title suggests, he is more of a wallflower, more content to observe the life around him than participate in it. But Charlie is an insightful and incredibly introspective person. He has a big heart and a pure soul that permeates the pages of the story.

When Charlie makes friends with step-siblings, Patrick and Sam, he falls in love with the "unconventionally beautiful" Sam right off the bat. But more than that, he quickly becomes close with the two and they help introduce him to exactly what it's like to be himself and live his life.

I personally found Chbosky's writing compelling and beautiful (even if I can't pronounce his last name). His narrative draws you in from the start and there was never a moment where I wanted to put it down or where it became boring. I eagerly devoured it and, in the spirit of Charlie, am seriously considering going back and immediately reading it again. I'll try to resist, though. I usually like to give myself time between re-readings.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower was an inspiring and intoxicatingly beautiful book. It was a joy to read and is a delight to have on my shelf.

Rating: ~★★★★★~

"I'm going to do what I want to do. I am going to be who I really am. And I'm going to figure out what that is."