A Crop of Mini Reviews

My posting schedule doesn’t allow me to review all the books I’ve read, and I like it that way. Not all books are meant to be talked about at length, so I skip them and only mention those that are either very good, ARCs, or very bad. Sometimes, though, these mini reviews really come in handy. These are all YA and MG reads from November and December.

zmaj-levo

Blankets by Craig Thompson
Published in 2003 by Top Shelf Productions.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: borrowed from my brother (paperback).

Genre: YA contemporary graphic novel.

My rating:

I read Blankets back in high school when my mom and dad gave my brother this copy as a present. It’s a beautiful story of a boy growing up in a highly religious environment, his experiences with faith, first love, friendship, and family. I didn’t remember the story well, so I picked it up when I saw it at my parents’ apartment – my brother didn’t take it with him when he moved out (dun dun dun! This only makes sense if you’ve read the story and maybe not even then, sorry.) It also seems to be largely autobiographical?

I really liked the artwork – it’s all done in black and white, so it’s really powerful. Thompson’s style is beautiful and clean, though he sometimes veers into fantastic shapes and creatures that break up the harsh reality Craig (yeah, the MC’s name is the same as the author’s) has to face every day. If you get a chance, definitely give this one a try, it really packs a punch.

zmaj-desno

Paper Towns/Lažna mesta by John Green
Published in 2014 by Mladinska knjiga .

Links: Goodreads.

Source: borrowed from my mom (paperback).

Genre: YA contemporary.

My rating:

I did not enjoy this John Green novel. *le gasp*

I read The Fault in Our Stars a couple of years ago, before I started blogging, and really, really liked it (like most everyone I know). Then I read Looking for Alaska and reviewed it here. It was good, I liked it, but I definitely wasn’t as star-struck as I was before.

And now my faith in John Green’s writing is failing, because Paper Towns were a disappointment. I read the Slovenian translation (by Neža Božič), which is actually really good, so it didn’t play a role in my lower rating. I know Green has a really loyal following so if you find it unbearable to hear his books insulted, please exit through the side door. Thanks.

My main problem was with Margo. Without going into spoilers, she’s a spoiled (ha!) little brat and I disliked her immensely. Quentin was cool but the entire story was actually very similar to Looking for Alaska when you think about it! I wanted to slap some sense into all of them but couldn’t, because they’re fictional.

And then there was the pretentiousness. I’m sorry but do you know many 18-year-olds who quote Whitman but are also very cool and hip and generally the most intelligent beings around? I’ve read enough to know when an author did not kill his darlings (and he really should have). Parts of the story were horribly long-winded and really dragged along. Look, I had my fair share of stoned conversations about existential questions when I was that age but nobody ever said those conversations were meant to be written down, let alone read my millions of random people. Ugh.

zmaj-levo

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
by Lion UK.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: purchased (paperback).

Genre: MG historical fantasy.

My rating:

The Little White Horse is one of my childhood favorites. I think I must have read it at least five times when I was younger – in Slovenian translation, of course (it is very good). But I wanted to read the original, so I bought myself the English version a couple of years ago and the book has been sitting on my shelf until now. I’m really happy I re-read it! I see it with completely different eyes now but the nostalgia is strong, so I can’t help but love it still.

Of course there are some problematic elements to the story of the orphaned Maria who comes to live at Moonacre Manor. There’s the notion that ladies don’t get angry, or loud, and that women are represented by the Moon while men belong to the Sun; there’s the overwhelming religious element and a number of other details that I could name. But they didn’t bother me in the least when I was little and it’s also wrong to judge the works from the past with today’s criteria.

So I’d still recommend this as a classic work of English children’s literature, and I’ll be reading it to my kids when the time comes, because it’s a pretty fairy tale and I want to share it with them. But if you’re looking for a modern, enlightened fantasy, this most certainly isn’t it.

zmaj-desno

Have you read any of these? 

What did you think?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

  • Greg Hill

    Loved your take on Paper Towns. :) I’ve only seen the movie but even from that I think I can see where you’re coming from. Re: Margo and yeah the pretentiousness. There were things about the movie I liked (some) but not enough to give the book a go.

    Blankets definitely looks interesting.

    • Blargh, the more I think about Paper Towns, the less I like it. I mean, Margo is such a spoiled brat. I get that her family sucks but she’s leaving for college anyway, couldn’t she just do the pranks and then save everybody the trouble of looking for her?

      And give Blankets a try, especially if you can source a copy at your library or something.

  • The Little White Horse has been on my TBR for YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really need to read it.

    • It’s such a cute fairy tale. There’s a bit of romance (MG appropriate, of course), and a whole lot of black-and-white logic, but I love it.

  • How sweet is that cover for Blankets. I don’t read a lot of graphic novels, but it sounds wonderful and I really want to try to pick it up now!

    I’m not really a fan of John Green. His writing seems so pretentious to me, so I’ve never been interested in his works. It’s a bummer though that this didn’t work out for you since you liked his other book. :/

    • Yeah, definitely give Blankets a try if you can, especially if you can find a copy at the library or something. It’s a great story.

      Eh, I’ve now read three John Green novels and I think that’s enough for a while. If he writes something new, I might give it a chance, but I have other authors to read as well, so I’m not super bummed about not liking his stuff. :)

  • Jo @ Mixed Book Bag

    Almost All of my review are Short and Sweet just as published on Goodreads. I find it a great way to share and it is also very easy.

    • Short reviews are a good way to just get down the gist of what you’re thinking, I agree. But sometimes I just need a longer post to say everything I want to say! :)

  • Hmm, I think this post is buggy… or my computer is. All I see is “Have you read any of these?

    What did you think?

    I’d love to hear from you! :)”

    *pokes it*

    • MissBookiverse

      Same for me! But I’m watching it on my phone.

      • What browser are you using?

        • MissBookiverse

          Didn’t work in Chrome and Feedly on my iPhone but I’m on my computer now (Chrome again) and I can see it here :D

          • Well, that was weird… I have no idea why it worked for some people and not for everyone.

    • I’m sorry to hear that! It’s working well for me (on my Android phone, too), and it seems to be working for other commenters. Did you try refreshing the page? :( It’s a custom built form with a bajillion fields so I guess something’s wrong with the plugin, but I don’t know why it only malfunctions for some people. :(

  • Maraia

    I’ve read the first two. Blankets came highly recommended, but unfortunately it just wasn’t for me. I seem to be in the minority on that, though. I’m glad it held up to your reread.

    I definitely agree with you about Paper Town. I disliked it enough to never want to read another John Green novel again, haha.

    I haven’t heard of The Little White Horse, even though I loved both fantasy and horses as a kid. I’ll definitely pick it up if I ever see in in a used bookstore!

    • Yeah, I saw your lower rating for Blankets on Goodreads – you can’t like everything that comes recommended, right? I liked it a lot the first time around, so I was glad it was as good as I remembered.

      Oh, was Paper Towns the first Green book you read? :D I really liked The Fault in Our Stars, but I’m kind of afraid of re-reading it with fresh eyes, alert for more pretentious crap.

      Well Little White Horse isn’t exactly a pony story (hint: the horse = a unicorn, ha!). It’s not the world’s greatest fantasy novel but it’s such a nostalgic read for me.

      • Maraia

        Nope, TFIOS was! I’m afraid to reread it as well, haha.

        I loved unicorns as well. I don’t know what I’d think of it as an adult, reading it for the first time, but I’m sure it would have been a favorite when I was younger.

  • I still haven’t read Blankets, to my chagrin! I’ve heard nothing but good things so I really don’t have an excuse. I’ve got to make more time for standalone graphic novels in 2017!

    LOL your breakdown of Paper Towns is so on point. I wouldn’t want two people to read a transcript of my stoned existential ramblings, let alone millions. Admittedly, I think I did quite enjoy this one when I read it (at least several years ago now) but I admit that with embarrassment. John Green is good at what he does, but his books aren’t for me.

    • If you discover any good standalone graphic novels, I’d be grateful for recs. I read Blankets, Nimona, and Hugo Cabret (I think that’s all), and I like the fact that I don’t need to wait/buy 6+ sequels.

      Haha but do you REMEMBER those stoned ramblings? Because I (weirdly) have a pretty good recollection of some of our high school conversations and it was BAD. I mean, we obviously thought we were being super intelligent at the time but still. :D

  • I read The Little White Horse for the first time a few years ago. I could definitely tell it was written in an older time and for a younger audience, but I thought it was really interesting how the author combined the religious and magical elements. Have you seen the movie based on it, “The Secret of Moonacre”?

    • No, I didn’t know there was a movie! Is it worth watching?

      • It’s very, very different from the book (like Howl’s Moving Castle book v. Miyazaki film different), but I thought it was pretty enjoyable. I first caught it on Netflix, but I liked it enough to buy it when I saw a cheap DVD copy. :)