Mar 11, 2011

Review + Giveaway | You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin (ARC) [CLOSED]

Title: You Killed Wesley Payne
Author: Sean Beaudoin
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: February 1, 2011 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher for review

Summary: He's come to do a job.
A job that involves a body.
A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.

You Killed Wesley Payne is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn't whether Dalton's going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he's gonna get the girl. He always sometimes gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him.

Cover: A very simple cover, but I like it a lot. It adds a little mystery and looks cool :)

Thoughts: It took me a couple of pages to understand what was going on in the bizarre and dark world that Beaudoin created: Salt River. You're immediately thrown into a strange and corrupted Salt River High, where the students must learn to survive all while making a profit. Money is the only thing that really matters, the guy with the hockey mask on top of the roof shoots at the students to keep the order, and cliques are everything (even the faculty is a clique: the Fack Cult.)

The story follows Dalton Rev, a Private Dick (and sometimes just a dick) who has just transferred to Salt River High to solve the mystery of The Body and hopefully uncover...well, who killed Wesley Payne?

Wesley Payne's murder (or was it suicide?) brings Dalton plenty of trouble and as soon as he steps off his scooter on his first day of school, we know that things are not going to go smoothly. He faces a beating, gets shot at, has to pay to get a decent class schedule and proper care from the nurse, and is threatened by Inference (the principle)...all within a few hours of his first day at school. Dalton is a likeable character (most of the time) and although he was determined to be cool and aloof, he was actually a nice guy just trying to get paid...sort of. He's funny and smart mouthed, usually thinking of his favorite fictional character, Lex Cole, and what he would do in such strange situations that Dalton seems to always find himself in. His interactions with the other characters were interesting and always came with great dialogue.

It takes a little while to get used to the strangeness of this book, but once you get past the first few pages and realize that there isn't much we would call "normal" going on, it is too enjoyable to put down. You are quickly moving through a fast-paced, unstoppable adventure, full of dark humor, lots of slang, plenty of characters who connect and add quite a lot to the story, and the mystery of who killed The Body that will keep you guessing until the end. There are also a few extra additions: the glossary, clique chart, index and other interesting little bits that are fun to read. I recommend You Killed Wesley Payne to other young adult lovers who like detective stories and pulp noir.

The publishers have also been generous to provide a signed copy of Beaudoin's second book Fade to Blue to one lucky winner! Also make sure to check out for other free goodies and fun stuff :)

+ one signed copy of Fade to Blue is up for grabs for one winner
+ Just fill out the form
+ Winners will be chosen March 25th
(please allow three weeks for delivery)
+ U.S. only!

Mar 3, 2011

Review | A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Title: A Walk to Remember
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Publication: 09.04.2004 by Warner Books
Pages: 224 (4 CD's)
Source: Library

Summary: There was a time when the world was sweeter....when the women in Beaufort, North Carolina, wore dresses, and the men donned hats.... Every April, when the wind smells of both the sea and lilacs, Landon Carter remembers 1958, his last year at Beaufort High. Landon had dated a girl or two, and even once sworn that he'd been in love. Certainly the last person he thought he'd fall for was Jamie, the shy, almost ethereal daughter of the town's Baptist minister....Jamie, who was destined to show him the depths of the human heart-and the joy and pain of living.

Cover: It's a simple cover, but I don't think it really captures the story.

Thoughts: I wasn't sure if I really wanted to read it. I saw the movie once, several years ago, so I knew what it was about, how it would come along and how it would end. I liked the movie, but haven't watched it in years. The book, well, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. I've read two other of Nicholas Sparks novels, The Notebook and Dear John. I loved "The Notebook" movie, didn't like the book. Loved Dear John, didn't like the movie. So here I was, trying to decide if I really wanted to give it a try. I picked up the audio book from the library, and it was read by the author, so I thought was kind of nice.

It started off simple, like Sparks' other books, and the story continued its way slowly through the first few discs. What I've loved about Sparks' books are the simplicity, the calmness they seem to be told in, like someone who has lived many years and is in no rush anymore to get anywhere. I love the pace, although there are some out there that might find it a little boring.

I liked the characters right off. Landon and Jamie, they seemed perfect. And all the other additional characters added a lot more to the story. I really thought Landon was a sweetheart and although he was a little mean at times, he wasn't cruel like he played off in the movies. Jamie was another story. Boy, was she nicest person ever. Really, there is no reason not to like her, and in the movie she was sort of an outcast. In the book she is too but she is such a nice person it's easy to understand why so many people cared about her.

The story takes place in the 1950's, which is quite a difference from the movie, and I liked that a whole lot. It gave the story a more real feel and I really was able to follow through everything perfectly even though it was from a different time. The author does a great job describing the town they lived in, the way they looked and the kind of environment they were surrounded by. It was really a great descriptive book.

Overall, I must say I really loved it. It made me laugh and it made me cry, just as was expected. A Walk to Remember is a sweet story with simple, lovable characters and heartwarming ending that will leave you in tears.

Favorite Quote: "Knowing there's one thing I still haven't told you: I now believe, by the way, that miracles can happen."