Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where vampires are a horrific fact of life. Vampirism has become an epidemic and the government has set up Coldtowns, where vampires and those infected are quarantined.  These Coldtowns have used social media, and our fascination with reality television, to their advantage, setting up live feeds of the glamorous and horrific lifestyle of the undead and their followers.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black opens with Tana waking up in a bathtub, having drank too much the night before, and discovering that her and her ex-boyfriend Aidan are the only survivors of a vampire massacre. Unfortunately, Aidan has been infected and he and another vampire, Gavriel, are chained up. Tana hastily decides to rescue them both  and take them all to the country's biggest, and most infamous, Coldtown. On the road trip to Coldtown they pick up two vampire wannabes and the reader comes to realize Gavriel has his own agenda.  

Life in this alternate reality is well crafted, leaving the reader feeling uneasy about being out and about in a world with a species that is higher on the food chain than you. Filled with evil vampires and those who live in a moral gray area (at times very dark gray) makes for great action and interesting characters.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Godless by Pete Hautman

If you are going to read one book this year about teens worshipping a water tower, then I suggest you read Pete Hautman’s novel Godless. This unique book follows Jason Bock. He is not particularly happy about having to attend a church group called Teen Power Outreach.  At one meeting he announces that he’s a member of the Church of the Ten-Legged One, mostly to mess with Just Al, the group’s leader. What starts off as a joke about worshipping the local water tower soon gains a following, including Jason’s obsessive friend Shin, a girl named Magda who Jason has a crush on, and Henry Stagg, the town’s leading juvenile delinquent.

Keeping the events contained within the characters’ town rather than having them explode into a nationwide sensation helps the book’s believability. In addition, Godless is the rare book that explores heavy subject matter without ever feeling heavy. In an entertaining and often humorous way, Hautman explores how people come to have or not have faith and how one’s faith can change over time. Highly recommended.