Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

by Matthew Dicks
published: St. Martin's Press, 2012
pages: 311

Budo is as lucky as imaginary friends can get.  He's one of the longest living and he'd like to keep it that way.  Max needs him for every day life, and Budo would like to keep it that way.  His parents argue about sending him to a special school for help, but Max is content as long as everything stays the same.  He even likes his teacher.  However, Max's life is about to get rocked.  How could anybody see, especially Max, that major change is just around the corner and he'll need Budo more than ever to survive.

This book gives insight to a child on the spectrum.  It's one of those books I think most everyone should read to get a bitter understanding of disabilities and how children with autism in any capacity think and function.

Max is an incredibly bright kid and it's amazing to be to be able to see how he thinks and internalizes.  It's fascinating to see how difficult he finds it to make the simplest decisions like which pair of socks to wear.  He grows so much in so many little ways in the book, it's amazing how each little bit of change creates so much character growth.

It's interesting because one of the things that Max hates is change.  He likes things to be consistent and predictable. Yet, he isn't constant at all.  I would argue that he does the most changing in the book; his character growth is staggering.

Budo, Max's imaginary friend, narrates the story and has an entire life outside of Max which I find so incredible and confusing.  I'm still contemplating how someone that comes out of Max's imagination can be anything other than Max's conscience.  He's such an interesting character, complex in every way that a human would be.  He's loyal and considerate but also selfish and lonely, his spectrum of emotions knows no bounds.  I love that the story was told by Budo because he's only able to communicate with Max and other imaginary friends.  He gives an interesting point of view of the story and allows for dramatic irony to be used in a great way.  

Dramatic irony is used at it's best in the story.  I have a love/hate relationship with dramatic irony, here's why:  I love knowing all the details.  I love it.  BUT I hate that the characters don't know what I know.  I find myself yelling at characters because how could they have missed important information that was right in front of them.  Or how could that character be so blind!  I find myself stressing out for the characters.  It's a battle, but Matthew Dicks, employs dramatic irony is a best fashion.  He had me pulling hair and cursing under my breath.

Matthew Dicks writes an incredibly compelling narrative about a little boy and his imaginary friend.  The writing is captivating, I am excited to see what else he has to offer.

Stars: 4/5


"A chipper narrative and lively climax make Dick's newest a fun read and engaging exploration of vibrant world of child's imagination."
     --Publishers Weekly

"...Dick's novel will appeal to those with a soft spot for vulnerable, kindhearted protagonists.  Dicks perfectly captures Max's autistic qualities, and Budo is an accomplished narrator.  An incredibly captivating novel about the wonder of youth and the importance of friendship, whether real or imagined.  Delightfully compelling reading."

"An endearing tale of love, loyalty and the extraordinary power of a child's imagination."
     --Glamour UK

An Eclectic Reader 2015 Challenge book!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read if You Like YA Contemporary

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. My Faire Lady by Laura Wetterson - This one takes place at a Renaissance Faire which is amazing!  It's the first and only book I've read that has taken place there.  I love the Renaissance Faire and enjoyed imagining the characters in their costumes and dealing with the behind the scenes drama.  It's a great story.

2. How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer - It's a story of love, life, and drama!  Stick a bunch of teenager in a Disney style theme park and throw in a competition for a large scholarship opportunity.  It's kind of crazy, but entirely entertaining.

3. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King - This story is incredibly moving.  It's about anger and grief and confusion and eagerness and depression and happiness and every other emotion a teenager can have.  It's an incredible look at how one girl copes with losing someone.  It's strange, sad, and beautiful.

4. Looking for Alaska by John Green - John Green has to be on this list.  His writing is phenomenal and this story in particular is incredibly moving.  I love the characters, their spunk and spontaneity.  It takes place at a boarding school, in which the main character makes new friends that pushes him beyond his comfort zone.  And the character development is beautiful!  Plus, it tackles grief and confusion and the wisdom of knowledge.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - Both Rainbow Rowell's YA books are great, but Fangirl holds a special place in my heart because I was the main character at one point.  That was me in middle school/early high school.  Even though Fangirl takes place during college, I still identify with Cath closely.  It's a great story!

6. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - Stephanie Perkins is amazing at cute romances and Lola happens to be my favorite of her three books.  I like them all but Lola's tenacity is what attracts me to this set of characters. (Plus, Cricket is pretty awesome himself.)

7. Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald - This is a good story.  How does one get over their best friend, but finding someone else to hang out with!  It's a moving on story and a didn't notice until you didn't have it story.  I like this one because Sadie takes control of her love life and it's great!

8. All American Girl by Meg Cabot - My middle school heart is shouting from the rooftops screaming for everyone to read this book.  It's a cute story with a little bit of life saving and a little bit of love and a lot of sass!

9. The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty - This book is the second in a quartet of companion novels.  I've only read the second and third mostly because I didn't know the books were related until I read the third and recognized some of the character overlap.  Secret notes, crazy tasks and potential love letters, it's fun to watch these girls figure out the mystery in this story.

10. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen - I feel like Sarah Dessen needed to be on this list somewhere and of all the books she's written, I've only read a few.  This one was my favorite.  Music and art and summer and unsuspecting friendship, this story has it all!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fandom Mashup (#6)

Hosted by Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Micheline has come up with a great idea and I can't pass up the opportunity to participate.  Each week Micheline will pose a unique fiction scenario and I will choose 5 characters from 5 different fandoms to help me with the situation.  It's going to be quite fun, I can already tell!

An evil king has taken up the mantle and declared that he is the supreme ruler of all.  Who's going to help you over throw him?

Meira (Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch) - She's a little unpredictable but she can kick ass with her weapon of choice and she's not afraid to put herself at risk for the great good of other people.  She's having to deal with an evil king already, so she's got some experience that will be useful.

Aragorn (Lord of the Rings) - Aragorn helped defend his Middle Earth from Sauron and his army of dark beings.  He's a natural born leader.  He will be perfect to dealing with the group and encouraging everyone during the plan.

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl) - Okay so he might not be a king or a leader, but he is a criminal mastermind.  He's always a several steps ahead of everyone.  He will be the one to plot and help execute the overthrow of the evil king! (Plus wherever Artemis goes, Butler follows and I love that guy.)

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Avengers) - Okay, so she would be an amazing addition to this team for so many reasons.  Her ability to go undercover is just the beginning of it.  She can take out entire teams and extract information from just about anyone.  She is fearless and incredibly persuasive.

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) - She's our research and resource person.  She can hold her own in combat but she's amazing when it comes to information.  I would want Hermione on my team for any reason what so ever.  She and Artemis would be unstoppable, and with Nat's inside information that evil king is going down.  Plus, if looks could kill...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Notable Quotable: Holly Black (#91)

"Protecting somebody by hurting them before someone else gets the chance isn't the kind of protecting that anybody wants." 
     --Doll Bones

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#57)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Which books would you recommend to Harry?

Harry needs a little bit of an escape from his world and the muggle world too.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - I think he would enjoy these books.  I can just see Harry going through wardrobes searching for Narnia because if the wizarding world is real, why can't Narnia be as well.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - I think he'd enjoy reading these books, knowing that the good guys do win in the end, not without changing them, but they win in the end.  Give him hope that everything might turn out in the end.  The good would conquer evil.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


by Noelle Stevenson
published: Harper Collins, 2015
pages: 272

Ballister Blackheart is the most villainous man in the realm.  His arch nemesis, Goldenloin, is the only one who can and has stopped him.  That's all about to change.  When Nimona appoints herself Blackheart's evil sidekick, the villainy really begins.  Together Nimona and Blackheart will cause all sorts of chaos, that is unless Goldenloin and his knights can stop them.  Lines will be crossed, true character will be revealed and the definition of good and evil will be questioned by all.

One thing I love about Nimona is that it started as a web comic and then it was turned into a novel.  It makes me happy that so many people wanted to read this story on paper. There's a great positive message in this unique story that gives it the momentum it needed to become a graphic novel.

The art in this graphic novel is amazing!  I was really drawn to the art style in particular. The drawings are amazing and somewhat realistic in their cartoony fashion.  The colors fit the story so well.  There is lots of bright and vivid coloring, but also quite a bit of blue/green shading that gives the story a little bit of a sinister tone.

Nimona is a feisty and vibrant character that becomes more than just a sidekick to Ballister.  He may seem annoyed by her most of the time but their relationship is one of my favorite parts of this story.  Ballister sort of becomes a father figure for Nimona and she's like a kitten that is constantly getting into trouble and goofing around.  They balance each other very well.

This is one of the best graphic novels I've ever read.  I had a friend recommend it to me and I'm so so glad that I read it when I did.  Hands down, this graphic novel was funny, poignant, incredibly clever and a little bit diabolical.

This was the first true glimpse at Noelle Stevenson's work and it won't be my last.  I can't wait to catch up on the Lumberjanes comics and read anything else she publishes!

Stars: 5/5


"If you're going to read one graphic novel this year, make it this one."
     --Kirkus Reviews

"At its core, Nimona is a story of rescue.  Each of the main characters rescue allies, friendships, the Kingdom, and ultimately, themselves... A vibrant solo work."
     --School Library Journal, starred review

"Sharp visuals, a nifty amalgam of fantasy and science fiction elements, and relationships drawn with complexity, wit, and depth create a world worth returning to again and again."
     --Publishers Weekly, starred review

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
2. Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy
5. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mendel
6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

7. Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell
8. Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Books coming out in the fall:
9. Ice Like Fire by Sarah Raasch (Oct 13)
10. The Rose Society by Marie Lu (Oct 15)

11. Illuminae by Amy Kaufman (Oct 20)
12. Winter by Marissa Meyer (Nov 10)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fandom Mashup (#5)

Hosted by Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Micheline has come up with a great idea and I can't pass up the opportunity to participate.  Each week Micheline will pose a unique fiction scenario and I will choose 5 characters from 5 different fandoms to help me with the situation.  It's going to be quite fun, I can already tell!

Your car breaks down on the side of the road.  Who do you call to help fix it?

Dean Winchester (Supernatural) - He's the first person I thought of to fix my car.  I mean he takes such good care of his Impala, I'm sure he wouldn't mind helping me out with my car.

Mack (Agents of SHIELD) - He's a grade a mechanic (even if I don't like him very much) and maybe he could even trick my car out a little bit, maybe like Lola, Coulson's car.  I wouldn't mind being able to fly in it.

Kaylee (Firefly) - She's probably the person I would trust most with my car.  Yes, she typically works on spaceships, but come, she knows more about mechanics than anyone I've seen.  Plus she's awesome!

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) - She's a great mechanic.  I mean, she took a junked out car in a post World War IV world and made it work!  She would make a great part of the team that would help me fix my car.


Tony Stark (Avengers) - I'm not sure he'd fix my car but he would sure entertain me by all his snarky comments.  And if he decides he wants to help, he would fix my car in about five minutes.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Notable Quotable: Michael Crichton (#90)

"The planet has survived everything, in its time.  It will certainly survive us." 
     --Jurassic Park

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#56)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Which one of the 5 trials the trio faced in the Sorcerer's Stone would have been your downfall?

If they were out of order, I'm pretty sure the potion one would get me good.  I'd get stuck because I wouldn't trust myself to drink the right potion. However, if we're talking about them in order, the chess board would definitely be my downfall.  I'm not great at chess.  I learned how to play when I was a kid, but I'm not sure I remember all the rules.  Plus, all that extreme wizards chess would freak me out.  It's very unlikely that I'd make it past that board game.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I have YET to START

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Last week I shared with you series I have started, this week I'm going to share with you series that I'm interested in but haven't started yet.  All of these series look really good, and most of them I've heard great things.  I think I just have a fear of commitment, just kidding.  But really.

1. The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld
2. Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
3. Boneshakers by Cherie Priest

4. Gilda Joyce Series by Jennifer Allison
5. The 5th Wave Trilogy by Rick Yancy
6. Taken by Erin Bowan

7. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
8. Cormoran Strike Series (A Cuckoo's Calling) by Robert Galbraith

9. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
10. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

And those are just some of the series that are on my bookshelf.
It seems to me that I'm more apt to pick up a series that has just begun rather than look at all the unread books of a series that is either already complete or partially complete.  I don't know.  I get really funky about series sometimes.

Bonus Jonas:
11.  Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - I'm all set to start reading this series because it looks so good and I have now confirmed that I like her writing style.  I just - there are so many books out already.  How will I ever catch up?

This has me thinking: If I hadn't found Harry Potter right out of the gate, would I have ever read it?

So many commitment issues in this post.