Book h00T #18

Well, seven days and nine books later, I'm back from a lovely holiday in Bali. We stayed at a beautiful resort in Ubud, and I read and read and read. My idea of a perfect break!

Top of the pile was Judith Lanagan's The True History of The Hula Hoop. This is a dual narrative is told from the perspective of Catherine, an Australian traveling performance artist and Colombia, a 16th century Italian clown. The prose is interesting and well plotted. I learned a lot about the hula hoop too! Lanagan is a hula hoop performer herself and this comes through in her passion about hooping. I also loved the West Australian connection. Highly recommended.

Liar by Justine Larbalestier is about Micah Wilkins, a self-confessed compulsive liar. Talk about an unreliable narrator! Much has been written about this novel, and I'm certainly not going to spoil the surprises for you, so I'll just add that it is an exciting, tightly written narrative that will keep you thinking long after you have closed it. Loved it. The tagline is: "Read it to believe it" and you certainly should.

The last of my YA pile was The Crossing by Mandy Hager. This is the first of the "Blood of the Lamb" trilogy, but to be honest, I don't think I'll be reading the next two. I'm not sure if it is an overdose of post-apocalyptic novels, or just that I didn't warm to any of the characters very much. The concept is interesting, but the manipulation of religion irked me a little; it was heavy-handed in my opinion. The love story just didn't fire either. It is pacy, and younger readers might enjoy it (but I'd point them to the Moon Trilogy, The Other Side of the Island or Hunger Games instead.)

So, back to work on Monday... I think I'll cheer myself up by chatting with my classes about the great books I read over the two week break. And maybe, actually I'm pretty sure they will have some new titles for me to check out too.

Happy tales,

Barking Owl


  1. I strongly disagree with the review of The Crossing.

    a: The "manipulation" of Religion was not, in my opinion, heavy handed. Too often the subject of religion in YA fiction is "light handed" or not bought up at all. I found it compelling and would definitely reccommend it not only to younger readers, but adults as well. The themes bought up by the Mandy Hagers treatment of Religion provoke further thought and reflection long after you have finished the book.

    b: Hell yes I will be reading the next 2 in this trilogy! How could you not? I could not put the Crossing down. Usually I am a slow reader, but I finished this book in 2 days (and 1 very late night!) My only complaint I have about this is that the next two aren't published yet.

    c: The Love story didn't fire? It's the first book! Maryam and Josephs burgeoning romance is so exciting, and I can't wait to see how it develops in the next book, if in fact they end up together.. Perhaps she will end up with Lazarus! Thats what is intriguing about it, I don't know what will happen next.

    So yeah just my thought on The Crossing... I think it's an excellent read and I'm really proud books like this are being written by such talented NZ writers. Your brief review didn't do it justice. Can't wait to read the next 2!

  2. Well, each to their own I suppose. Like I said I might have had an overdose of post-apocalyptic lately, I just think that the others I mentioned were tighter and more gripping in plot and writing.
    I thought the religion motif was necessary, but I'm thinking about how I could present it in an Anglican school, and I just couldn't.

    The love triangle angle was a bit obvious for me too.

    And as for the brief review, perhaps I didn't do it justice. Duly noted.