Tag Archives: politics

Glimmerglass – Jenna Black
Book Reviews
August 10, 2010 posted by Christina

Glimmerglass – Jenna Black

“Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, Dana decides she’s had it with being her mother’s keeper, so she packs her bags and heads to stay with her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn’t just an ordinary teenage girl—she’s a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Soon, she finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone’s trying to kill her, and everyone wants something from her, even her newfound friends and family. Suddenly, life with her alcoholic mom doesn’t sound half bad, and Dana would do anything to escape Avalon and get back home. Too bad both her friends and her enemies alike are determined not to let her go . . .”

I’ll be honest; I picked this book by its cover. I think in the summary all I saw was “faerie”, “runaway” and “Avalon” before the cover caught my attention and I went “Ooooooooo, I’ll take it!” Often, that’s not a good plan but luckily this time it worked pretty well.

Dana Hathaway has had enough. Enough of having to deal with her alcoholic mother, enough of being the parent, enough of being embarrassed, of constantly moving and enough with her current life. She’s particularly had enough of not knowing the truth about her father. When Dana’s mother fell pregnant years before, she ran away from the city of Avalon and from big shot Fae Seamus Stuart – Dana’s father, to go into hiding and keep Dana away from the Faerie world and its politics.

Avalon is the only place where the mortal world and the Faerie world intersect, and that’s exactly where Dana runs away to in order to meet her dad and escape her former life. Little does she know that her rare status as a Faeriewalker as a result of being half human, half Fae is a coveted position and she’s just walked into the middle of a political war.

Glimmerglass is the first young adult novel by Jenna Black and is the first in the Faeriewalker series. I found the writing to be really engaging and even though it is a fantasy book, for someone who hasn’t read any books about Faeries, I found the concept and rules of the Faerie world easy and quick to grasp. The events in the book mean the characters are always on their toes and it’s very go, go, go.

Soon after arriving in Avalon, events bring Dana to meet sibling Ethan and Kimber. Ethan is of course, gorgeous even by Fae standards and there’s an instant attraction between the two.  His sister, Kimber is guarded and hostile when she and Dana first meet but soon enough a friendship blooms. But what are their motivations for getting involved with Dana?

Our main character Dana is a sixteen year old girl trying to find the parental support she’s been lacking all these years. She’s quite a strong character, having to deal with one crisis after the other but one that also makes mistakes that are true to her age. She’s aware of herself and when she’s being stupid or whiny, but recovers fast, especially when it comes to her potential love interests. She can get a bit blinded by her hormones, but I guess she is sixteen, so she’s forgiven.

I was glad to see that the times when I would think “Oh man, I would freak out and cry if that happened to me” Dana did do that (but without coming across as a baby), which made it more real as opposed to characters who push on tear-free through impossible situations. Perhaps the only weird thing was Dana’s love of Victoria’s Secret and that she reads “dirty” books….haha, uh…awkward.

This book is full of twists mainly with whom exactly Dana can trust and whose side should she be on. No character in this story was two dimensional, each had a definite personality and it made for great reading, with Finn being a personal favorite. By the end you still don’t know who you can trust and can’t trust which gives a great lead (as well as other unanswered questions) for the next book.

Great start to a new series! I’ll definitely be checking out the next book in the series, Shadowspell when it comes out early next year.

Pages: 294

Publication Date: August 2010

Rating: : ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: “How many of us are there?” I asked, because there was no point in arguing I wasn’t a Faeriewalker. I wished I could convince myself I’d been hallucinating earlier, but I knew what I’d seen.
I felt, rather than saw, the look Ethan and Kimber exchanged.
“The last one before you died about seventy-five years ago.”

Life Swap – Abby McDonald
Book Reviews
November 23, 2009 posted by Katie

Life Swap – Abby McDonald

Can changing places change their lives?

Two girls on opposite sides of the globe both want a quick getaway. The answer? They switch places through a last minute global exchange program. The catch? It’s a direct swap. They swap classes, accommodation and universities. No exceptions. Feminist political theory for film studies. On-camps accommodation for an share-apartment. A university where attendance is expected to one that doesn’t take a roll.

Tasha’s life seems to be coming to pieces. After the disastrous ‘hot-tub incident’, Tasha’s parents wont even talk to her. She can’t go anywhere without being recognised – for all the wrong reasons. She’s desperate to get out. To go anywhere. Emily thought she was on-track. Every aspect planned until she is dumped by her boyfriend for being too studious and up-tight. Every step of her life has been because it is the right decision for the future. The future that her parents what for her. Until now.

Tasha winds up in Oxford, England. Not something you would expect of a typical beach going, class-skipping and all round party girl from America. Finding herself wadding Ugg-deep in feminist theory, Tasha just wants people to see her for who she really is. Not who they all think she is. Yet when the whole university seems out to get her for her rather different views on feminism, blending in seems to be an impossible feat. Emily heads to the University of California, Santa Barbara. Suddenly she is in a world that is the opposite of organisation, planning and preparation. From a class size of three to a lecture hall of 200, Emily is in for a semester of film critiquing, script re-writing and filming. However, her ‘English’ image of perfection and organisation seems to be alienating the rest of the student body against her.

Before long, the two girls make contact from opposite sides of the globe, each offering the other tips and strategies on how to fit in, navigate the difficulty of love and figuring out who they really want to be. Can Tasha and Emily help each other before they each make the best or worst mistake of their lives?

First off, I loved this book. It was extremely well-written and captivating from the first page until the end. Life Swap is debut novel from Abby McDonald, who is a recent graduate of Oxford University providing an excellent platform to satire the collage experience. McDonald’s spin on what could have potentially be seen as stereotypical characters gave a fresh new insight into the way different cultures work and operate against each other. The language choices are fresh and real – McDonald knows how to talk in the language of a teenager, and it transfers into the truth and reality conveyed in Life Swap. With interesting plot developments for both characters and an equal division of both characters story, McDonald manages to create two diverse universe’s that operate in sync with each other. For me, the characters where real people that I could relate to.

I saw a reflection of myself in both Tasha and Emily’s actions, and were able to relate to the choices and situations that both characters found themselves in. From Tasha trying to re-gain some sense of pride and belief in herself after a past mistake that the world wouldn’t forget, to Emily trying to let loose and relinquish her almost obsessive-compulsive to have everything this in her life organised. Emily’s defiance of her parents in the face of, for once, choosing to do what she wants and the events that influence this decision was an interesting look for me, and I feel that many young adults who read this book will relate to it in the same way.

Life Swap was a joy of an adventure that had you laughing, crying and cringing with every decision made.

Rating:: ★★★★★