Sunday, April 10, 2011

CR Review #13: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Amy is 16 years old and has just split up with the first love of her life, Jason. She and her parents are moving away. Where are they moving? Oh, just to a planet 300 light years away. It seems that the Earth is in crisis and a team of settlers are being sent to a new planet, where they can set up a new civilization. They'll just have to be frozen for 300 years, and then when they wake up, boom -- they'll be at their new home.

Except things don't go exactly as planned. Amy's sleep chamber is mysteriously unplugged and she begins to thaw. She is rescued by a boy named Elder, who lives on the spaceship, and he gives her the bad news that she's been unfrozen 50 years too early and cannot be re-frozen or she will die. Elder is being groomed to someday lead the inhabitants of the ship (under the wing of the current leader, simply named Eldest). He quickly falls in love with Amy, and she just might be ready to have feelings for him too.

The book is a sci-fi teen romance, with a little bit of mystery thrown in. Who unplugged Amy? Why are other sleep chambers being unplugged, and their occupants left to die? Why does everyone on the ship seem so lack any sort of emotion? What is Elder's role in all of this?

This is the first in a planned trilogy of books about Amy and Elder. I'm not sure I"ll continue with the series, but then again, I'm not exactly the target audience. I applaud the originality of the story, but am not sure I cared for the resolution of the big mystery at the end, and was not particularly wrapped up in the characters.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

CR Review #12: Gunn's Golden Rules

Even though I have never watched a single episode of Project Runway, I am a big fan of Tim Gunn and his belief that everyone is beautiful and that all we need are a few good pieces of clothing and someone to show us how to wear them. I picked up his book on a whim, thinking it might give some fashion tips (as a stay-at-home mom of 3, I definitely need a few), and was somewhat disappointed to find that this was another sort of book altogether…but it wasn't a bad book and in the end I was glad I read it.

Gunn's Golden Rules basically gives Tim a chance to rant and rave about the lack of manners in our current society. He complains about the lack of written thank you notes, "helicopter" parenting, casual Fridays, and bad tipping in restaurants. Many of his complaints are valid: emails sent instead of a handwritten note after a death are clearly inappropriate; people in the service industry are actually human beings and should be treated as such; parents -- not children -- should be blamed for the ill behavior of their kids, etc.

He also touches briefly upon his upbringing and the difficulties he had growing up gay in a very straight household, and he mentions his suicide attempt as a teen.

I would have liked more names to be named in his stories about divas in the fashion industry, but I'll make do with the few ridiculous stories told about Anna Wintour and Diane Von Furstenberg.