Archive for April, 2012

24
Apr
12

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Reviews #15 – 19: The Saga of the Sisterhood and Their Pants by Ann Brashares

I originally planned to read and review these books one at a time (like Baxlala did in the recent series of Sisterhood reviews), but I found that as I finished one book and started another, I was having trouble remembering exactly what happened in which book.  I read all five books in about a week, so I figured I would just write up one long-ish review covering all the entire saga.

For those who have never heard of the Sisterhood and their pants, the story is as follows:  In Bethesda, MD, there are four girls who have been friends their entire lives (their moms met in prenatal exercise class and they all have birthdays in September).  They are Lena, Carmen, Tibby, and Bridget.  Closer than sisters, they have created their own family and when the first book starts, they are about to be apart from each other for the first time in their lives.  How will they stand it?

Well, luckily, they find a magic (really) pair of pants that they decide will keep them bonding while they are apart that long summer.  The pants fit all four girls (strange, as they have four different body types) and make each girl look beautiful and gives them the best qualities of their friends.    The first four books take place over the course of about 4 summers…here is a brief overview (no spoiler alerts, as these books have been around a while, as have the movies).

Lena spends the first summer in Greece with her grandparents.  She is an artist and she meets a boy (THE BOY) named Kostos.  Over the next few years she and Kostos fall in love, break up, get back together, become separated by crazy circumstances, and supposedly move on with their lives.  Lena ends up going to RISD to study and eventually teach art.  She has other boyfriends but never quite gets over Kostos.

Carmen lives with her mom but spends the first summer visiting her dad and his new family down in North Carolina.  She acts like a total brat, and I have a lot of trouble with her chapters, as I find her pretty much terrible all around.  Her new stepbrother Paul becomes her friend and confidant, and eventually she comes to terms with her dad’s new family, blah blah blah.  As the years pass, she stays a brat (breaking up her mom and her new boyfriend), and other things I can’t even remember.  Her mom has a baby, which Carmen names after a soap opera actor.  Really?  Eventually, Carmen goes to Williams College, gains the dreaded Freshman Fifteen, and finally becomes a character that doesn’t drive me crazy.  She ends up becoming an actress and finding that she’s pretty good at it.

Bridget is a beautiful, blonde, athlete.  She plays soccer and goes to a great soccer camp in Mexico, where she meets and obsesses over the gorgeous Eric.  When she eventually convinces him to sleep with her, she can’t handle it and withdraws from herself completely.  (Oh, by the way, her mother died a few years prior to this, and she suffered from depression her entire life).  She quits soccer for a while, colors her hair brown, and decides to befriend the grandmother that her father had kept from her since her mother died.  She and grandma become best buds, she decides she loves soccer again, and eventually heads back to another soccer camp where she works with Eric again.  They of course fall in love.  Even when Bridget goes on an archaelogical dig with Brown University to Turkey and has a fling with her professor, she realizes she loves Eric.

Tibby is an aspiring filmmaker.  Her first summer, she gets a job at the local drugstore and tries to make a documentary about life in their town. She meets 12 year old Bailey, who has cancer, and wants to help make the movie.  Bailey changes Tibby’s life for the better, of course.  When Bailey dies, Tibby finds herself in both an emotional and artistic rut, and it takes until the next year at film camp for her to figure out her real feelings about the tragic life and death of Bailey.  Tibby eventually makes her way to NYU to study film, and she continues and on-again/off-again relationship with Brian, a boy she meets when Bailey interviews him for their movie.

SPOILER ALERT

In the final book, Sisterhood Everalasting, we find that 10 years have passed.  Bridget and Eric live in San Francisco.  Lena is still at RISD teaching art.  Carmen is a TV actress, engaged to a TV executive that nobody likes.  TIbby and Brian live in Australia, but nobody has talked to them in a while, and everyone is wondering what is going on with her.

Tibby reaches out and sends the girls plane tickets to Greece for a mini-reunion.  But when the girls get there, they find that (ACK) Tibby has drowned and that maybe it wasn’t an accident.  Tibby’s death breaks the girls up and keeps them from each other for quite a while, as none of them can deal with the tragedy.

Lena finds herself leaning on Kostos for support and help dealing with all the red tape in Greece in handling Tibby’s death.  She begins to wonder if she has feelings for him again (duh).  Carmen throws herself into planning her wedding, even though she isn’t really sure if she wants to marry her fiance or not.  Bridget takes off, leaving Eric behind, looking for Brian in Australia, hoping to get the truth about Tibby.

The girls find that even in death, Tibby is looking out for them. She has letters and packages for all three girls, asking them to go places, meet people, and do things on specific dates…she gets Lena and Kostos together again. She gets Carmen to realize her fiance isn’t who she wants.  She gets Bridget to figure out that she loves Eric and wants to have a family with him.

And her biggest surprise is that she and Brian had a daughter named Bailey, and that Tibby was dying of Huntington’s disease.  Ugh.

In the end, Tibby brings everyone together at a huge farm in PA, where she has planned rooms, cottages, guest houses, etc for all of her friends to have forever.  I was so not buying this ending and was really annoyed by it.  These girls love each other, sure, but to live on a huge farm together for years to come?  No thanks.  And poor Brian…will he ever have a moment to himself?

All in all, entertaining, but I hated the very ending.  And also, I had trouble picturing the girls apart from the actresses in the movies…Rory Gilmore especially as Lena was hard for me to forget.  I couldn’t remember what Kostos looked like though, so I had fun imagining him to look like Enver Gjokaj from Dollhouse, which was nice. 

 

 

22
Apr
12

Joemyjoe’s #CBR4 Review #3: Muncha Muncha Muncha by Candace Fleming

Muncha Muncha Muncha tells the story of Mr. McGreely, who wants to plant a garden in the spring.  He plants lettuce, carrots, peas, and tomatoes.  Everything starts to grow.  One night, three bunnies show up and eat the vegetables, and Mr. McGreely is angry.

He builds a wire fence around his garden, but the bunnies jump over it and eat his vegetables.

He builds a wooden wall around the wire fence, but the bunnies dig under it and eat his vegetables.

He digs a wet trench all around the wooden wall, but the bunnies swim across it and eat his vegetables.

He builds a huge, enormous stone building with a lock around the trench.  He is furious.

The next night, the bunnies can’t in and eat the vegetables.  Mr. McGreely is happy.

But the bunnies sneak into his garden basket and when Mr. McGreely pick his vegetables, the bunnies jump out of the basket and eats the veggies.  Mr. McGreelly finally gives up and decides to eat vegetables with them.

22
Apr
12

Bunnybean’s #CBR4 Review #15: Liberty Porter, First Daughter by Julia DeVillers

Liberty Porter is a nine year old girl who has just moved to Washington, DC for her dad’s new job.  Her dad’s new job happens to be President of the United States!  And she is moving into the White House!

Liberty becomes famous overnight, and now everyone, everywhere knows who she is.  She isn’t allowed to go anywhere by herself now, she has to go around with Sam, her Secret Service agent who watches over her.

Liberty disguises herself as a boy and Secret Service Sam lets her join a class taking a tour of the White House.  When the tour ends up in her bedroom, she gets mad and takes off her disguise, showing everyone who she really is.  She makes a few new friends, and the have cookies before they leave.

Its a pretty funny book, and is part of a series.  I’ll try and read a few more, I reeeeeeeeeeeallly enjoyed it.

 

18
Apr
12

The Tenth Doctor?

13
Apr
12

Bunnybean’s #CBR4 Review #14: Superfudge by Judy Blume

Superfudge is book #3 in the series of books about Fudge and Peter Hatcher (I already reviewed Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great).

In this story, Fudge and Peter and their family move to New Jersey for a year.  Lots of stuff happens during the year:  Peter finds out that his mom is going to have another baby and gets worried that the baby will be like Fudge.  They have the baby, and it is a little girl that they call Tootsie (her real name is Tamara Roxanne).  Fudge starts kindergarten, even though he is a year too young (and Fudge calls his teacher Rat Face, because she insists on calling him Farley Drexel instead of Fudge).  They make new friends, and miss their old friends (but not Sheila).

One of the parts I liked best was when Fudge gets a new pet.  He gets a myna bird and he teaches it to talk a little bit.  He names it Uncle Feather and teaches it to say things like “Bonjour” and “Bonjour, stupid”.

Another good part is when Fudge and his fat, bossy friend ride their bikes across town to a deli and a bakery.  The problem is, they don’t tell anyone where they are going and everyone worries all day about where they are.

The next book is Fudge-A-Mania, which I’m sure I’ll write about soon.

12
Apr
12

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review #14: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

A few quick thoughts on The Magicians…

I think enough of us have read The Magicians by now, so I don’t need to describe it as “Harry Potter for adults”, and I don’t need to talk about what an awful character Quentin “Holden Caulfield” Coldwater is.  We all know about Fillory and Brakebills; lovely Alice and the horrible Janet; and obnoxious Eliot and his dependence on red wine.

Like many of you, I didn’t love the book, but I definitely appreciated it.  I had a very hard time getting past my hatred of Quentin and trying to enjoy the story and writing.  But between Quentin’s instances of assholery (is that a word?) I had many glimpses of true brilliance.  Grossman is truly a talented writer and has created a brilliant alternate world (and an alternate world within that world).

For instance, I was blown away by the entire sequence where the students are woken in the night, turned into geese, and fly all the way to Antarctica.  That was some awesome writing.  I also liked how Grossman created this magical world in which magic was actually REALLY HARD and not as easy as in those Harry Potter books.

At some point I’ll read The Magician King, but not anytime soon, as I need a break from Quentin.

09
Apr
12

Joemyjoe’s #CBR4 Review #2: Flat Stanley, Flat Again by Jeff Brown

In this book, Stanley becomes flat when his bulletin board falls on him at night AGAIN.

He goes back to the doctor, who tells him there has been flat people throughout history.  He and his dad go sailing, and Stanley has to be the sail when the real sail rips.

Other kids think it is exciting to be flat, but Stanley just wants to be round and regular.

Stanley hears about a girl named Emma on the news — she got stuck under a building when it collapsed.  She is in Stanley’s class at school.  Stanley goes to the building and slips underneath the building to help save her.  Even though she is kind of mean to him, he helps her get out, and he is a hero.

When they are getting their picture taken, she elbows him in the ribs and BAM! He gets round again.

I hope that bulletin board doesn’t fall on him again!

 




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