Party by Tom Leveen

Tom Leveen Party

          228 pp.  Random House.  2010 ISBN: 978-0-375-86436-0  $16.99
          (High School)

Eleven teenagers, including skaters, a jock, and a girl with a secret, decide to attend an end of the year party.  They each have their own reasons ranging from needing to make a friend to getting over being dumped.  “Everyone” is expected to attend this party, yet none of them expect to have their lives connect in so many different ways.  Each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective, giving the reader an opportunity to see the action from all angles.

I decided to read this book after reading a review that compared it to the Academy Award winning movie Crash (and if you haven’t seen that movie yet you must!).  The first chapter is told from Beckett’s perspective, and I was instantly hooked by this character.  She’s all alone in the world, yet extremely observant, and decides to attend this party because she needs to know she’s visible.  Her character reminds me of Hannah Baker from Th1rteen R3asons Why only less harsh.  As Beckett is deciding whether to show up at the party she sees her old best friend Ashley with another girl Morrigan.  We find out why Ashley is her old best friend, what she thinks of Morrigan, and then the chapter switches to Morrigan.  This carries on throughout the night until we have the full picture of the events as they play out. 

I mostly enjoyed the differing perspectives because it made the story richer than just following one character.  The only drawback is that I wanted more from some characters.  Beckett’s view of the story ends after the first chapter, but we see her story play out as she encounters more characters during the night.  A couple characters lack detail that I prefer when reading a story.  Tommy, for example, didn’t strike me as a worthwhile character besides giving us more insight on how Josh copes with his breakup.  I love Azize’s character and would have loved it if Tommy’s chapter was cut so we could have had more from Azize or even the lovesick,  Max. 

But, like I said, the different views give us a richer story.  Morrigan, for example, is looked at in a variety of ways.  Beckett sees Morrigan as her replacement with Ashley.  Ryan looks at her as an overly drunk partier, and Josh sees her as the evil girl that dumped him out of nowhere.  But then we get to read the chapter from Morrigan’s eyes and we know exactly what she’s thinking and feeling.  We know how deep, hurt and confused she truly is.  Of course, Morrigan isn’t the only rich character in Party.  Tom Leveen has created quite a few rich characters, I only wish we could read even more about them.

Overall, I highly recommend reading Party by Tom Leveen.  If you enjoyed Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher or if you enjoy how Ellen Hopkins brings characters together in her books like Impulse or Tricks, then you’ll really enjoy this novel.  I’m looking forward to talking about this book with my students this coming school year!

Mistwood by Leah Cypess


Leah Cypess Mistwood
          304 pp.  Greenwillow Books.  2010  ISBN:978-0-06-195699-7  $16.99

Isabel is a shifter, a mystical creature meant to loyally serve the kings of Samorna when they call upon her.  Isabel, unfortunately, can’t remember anything about who she is or the powers she has.  Prince Rokan, the soon to be king of Samorna, has come looking for Isabel because he needs the Shifter to protect him.  He needs her strength and supernatural abilities to shift into a wolf or even the mist.  Prince Rokan can only he that she doesn’t regain her memories because if she does, Isabel will be his biggest threat.  Isabel knows that he’s lying, but their bond forces her to remain loyal and continue protecting him.  As startling truths are uncovered Isabel will be faced with difficult decisions that will threaten the relationship she has with her prince.

I put Mistwood on my 2010 Debut Author Challenge list and I’m happy that I did; I always enjoy a good paranormal fantasy 🙂  Leah Cypess has a beautiful way of writing and a wonderful ability to develop characters.  I love how complex Isabel is written.  She’s insecure in her ability as a shifter, but she’s capable of instilling fear in those that may cause Prince Rokan harm.  Isabel is trying to learn about herself as she also tries to determine why the prince is lying to her.  Her search for answers leads to multiple challenges.  Cypess has the story written so that we’re just as unsure as Isabel.  There isn’t a simple answer to be found; as soon as one truth is uncovered, another question develops.  Leah Cypess has  written Mistwood as a compelling and intriguing novel with a great twist towards the end.

B&N Frustrations…

I finished my first 2010 Debut Author Challenge book.  I read Mistwood by Leah Cypess, and I’ll post the review later today or tomorrow.  Anyway, I want to read another book for the challenge and I’d like to buy it from Barnes and Noble because I have a giftcard to spend there.  The problem is, they have a horrible selection!  I don’t want to order it online and wait, I want instant gratification.  I do have a coupon for Borders, so I’ll probably just go there and buy one.  But I do have the humongous pile of books to read from the Donors Choose fundraiser.  I should probably read one of those first, huh?  Decisions, decisions… 

*Stops to go and look at bookshelf full of Donors Choose books.  This shelf also contains a hefty pile of half-read books*

I think I’ll go with If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson.  She was the keynote speaker at the MCTE conference this past fall, and I absolutely LOVED listening to her 🙂  It’s not too long, so I’ll probably finish it today!

Also, are any of my lovely students going to step up to the Debut Author Challenge?  I know it’s late in the year, but I think it’s worth trying.

Tell Me a Secret Book Trailer

2010 Debut Author Challenge!

The Story Siren (see link in my sidebar) has been hosting the 2010 Debut Author Challenge.  I don’t remember how I came across her page, but I’m so excited that I did!  The challenge began in January and runs until Dec. 31st, but you can join at any time.  She’s requesting that if you join the challenge you read new novels released in 2010 by debut authors; try to read at least 12. 

I am joining the challenge.  Here’s my list of the 12 novels I want to read by December 31st:

1. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (9/10/10)
2. Mistwood by Leah Cypress  (8/3/10)
3. Love Drugged by James Klise
4. The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson
5. The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger (9/18/10)
6. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
7. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
8. Num8ers by Rachel Ward
9. The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk
10. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (8/21/10)
11. Party by Tom Leveen  (8/10/10)
12. Numb by Sean Ferrell

These are listed in no particular order, and I’ll update my blog as I read each one.  I am also making it my goal to write a review for each of these books 🙂  So, who’s with me??  Who else will participate in this challege?  Make sure to sign up on her page:

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