Tuesday, February 22, 2011

CR Review #8: The Maze Runner

While I am certainly no longer a young adult, I just finished the YA novel The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

The Maze Runner is the story of Thomas, a teenager who wakes up to find himself in a slowly rising elevator, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. When the elevator stops, he enters his new home, the Glade, and meets his new community...all fellow teenage boys with no recollection of their lives before coming to the Glade.

The Glade is a self-sufficient community surrounded by towering stone walls -- they have a small farm where they can grow fruits and vegetables, they have cows/pigs/chickens for fresh meat and milk, and everyone has a job to keep the Glade running.

But what lies outside of the massive stone walls? An enormous maze, with miles of pathways and patterns that change every night. Oh, and the maze is filled with disgusting, horrific, deadly creatures called Grievers. Yuck.

Thomas quickly adapts to his new life, and even becomes a Runner -- charged with the responsibility of mapping out the maze every day and keeping track of what has changed on a daily basis. And making sure to be back in the Glade every night before the maze doors close and the Grievers come out to play.

I won't give away the ending or any of Thomas' background information to any potential readers. This is supposedly the first in a trilogy of books...not sure I'll follow through and finish up the story. I just wasn't all that interested until the last 15 pages or so, when for me, the story actually started moving.

Monday, February 14, 2011

CR Review #7 : Nellie Oleson!!

Yes, I read "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch". I picked it up and started reading, and didn't stop until I was finished. It was extremely entertaining.

I'm not usually a biography person, but I saw this at the library and suddenly had flashbacks to all those Monday nights when I was 5 or 6 years old...waiting all day for Little House on the Prairie to come on tv, and getting so mad at that Nellie Oleson every time she tried to do something mean to Laura Ingalls. I decided on a whim to give it a try and see what Allison Arngrim had to say. Honestly, I expected it to be mostly about her life post-Little House, as an AIDS activist (I remembered reading about her activism after her on-screen husband passed away from AIDS). And yes, there was plenty of interesting information about her life as an AIDS volunteer and her friendship with Steve Tracy (who played Percival on Little House). But there was so much more that I did not expect: the crazy childhood stories (she grew up in the Chateau Marmont!), her crazy show-biz family, the horrific sexual abuse scandal, her life-long friendship with Melissa Gilbert, or the fact that the girl who played Mary Ingalls was the devil incarnate.

Its a really quick and entertaining read that I would recommend to anyone who ever watched Little House, her descriptions of the actors and characters from the show are so well painted on the page, and so easy to get a feel for. I'm thinking its time for me to introduce my oldest daughter to Little House now. Here's hoping she'll enjoy it as much as I did!