Lookism – Park Tae Jun

Boy, I’m just exploring all kinds of new reading material on this blog, huh?

The Story:

Lookism is a serial webtoon. It is an on-going drama, so I can’t give an overall description, but I can offer the main gist of the story. Daniel Park is an obese, unattractive, poverty-stricken victim of severe bullying (I mean, like on enslavement levels of treatment, I swear, it’s that bad) with the lowest of low self-esteem. The bullying has gotten so out of hand that his mother lets him transfer to a new school, where he’d live on his own, and take care of himself. One day, Daniel wakes up in a perfect specimen of a body, handsome, healthy, athletic, perfect in every way. His old body (which if I refer to it again, will be called Body A) is lying asleep next to his awake new body (Body A Prime). Through a little experimentation, he discovers that whenever Body A Prime is conscious, Body A will not be, and vice versa. So, Daniel lives life in both bodies, switching whenever necessary.

Honestly, is there really any point by now in saying that this will be structured differently from my first few blogs? I think not, so let’s move on; let the record show that my coming blogs won’t be a uniformly organized.

Characters (my god the characters, in that there are so freaking many, but let’s only hit the main-main):


Daniel is the main protagonist. He is a great character, very relatable and realistic. Because of his years of bullying trauma, he behaves as such. He yells his frustration at his mother, (something that he matures out of don’t worry, he isn’t a toxic character). Just because he gets a more desirable body doesn’t change his mind.  He still has the past. While he is learning to become a more confident person, even in Body A, he does have relapses. One instant, he, in Body A Prime, encounter his bully and instantly falls back into his own cowering way at the very sight of him.


Vasco is the leader of a notorious, The Burn Knuckles. He possesses ungodly strength, both of will, kindness, and physical means. That’s right, Vasco is a muscled teddy bear. He’s probably the second nicest character in the series. He happy-cries at the slightest thing. He’s sensitive and has good character development.


Jay is the most mysterious main character. The way he is drawn prevents people from seeing his face, and he doesn’t speak audibly, but apparently Daniel manages to communicate with him easily. He is presumed to be handsome, and somewhat unaware of it. He is also very generous with his wealth. The most mysterious thing about him, aside from his face and manner of speech, is his relationship with Daniel. It is unknown whether he regards Daniel romantically, or if he is just a very good friend. He has been shown to be jealous and protective of Daniel, going out of his way to even hurt himself even if helps Daniel. I wonder if this is a plot point or just plain fan-service: I’d be upset if it were the latter.


Zack is the best developed character of the series. He begins a main antagonist, but it isn’t long before his allegiance switches, and he becomes one of Daniel’s closest friends. Zack has two characteristics: tough boy, professional boxer, and mad lover boy. Mira is the object of his affections, and it is for her that he changes from a thug to a hard, but nice guy.



The Plots (sweet Jesus):

Okay, so something that could turn you off from his story are the plots. MY GOD ARE THEY BRUTALLY REALISTIC. From killer stalkers, to freaking serial rapists, to What-The-Actual-Jesus level bullying, to dog-worshipping cults, to kidnappers, to blackmailing gangsters, to abuse of social media trash-talk, to thievery, GOD THIS SERIES NEEDS TO HECKING CHILL.

But that’s also the beauty of it.

I rate Lookism a 7 out of 10 stars. I would give it more bu the disturbing art style makes me reluctant to re-read certain parts.

Stag Party – Katie McCallister

Katie MacAlister’s Ain’t Myth Behaving, published in 2007, is a humorous romantic harlequin (my god, what was I thinking?). It’s divided into Norse Truly and Stag Party. Stag Party is what I read. It tells the love story of Dane, an Irish god more famously known as Cernunnos, and Megan (or is it spelled Meghan (another sign I do not care), an American author on a research trip. Dane, according to ancient mystical law has to get married every year or else he loses his godliness, becomes his actual age, and dies. Until now, he has remarried a woman who recently eloped with a Greek salsa dancer, so yeah, there is that to think about. The deadline from the time Dane meets Megan is a week. So, the conflict is whether or not he can convince her to marry him by the end of the week.

Let me just cut to the chase.

Aside from certain godawful books derived from Twilight that will go unnamed, because that train wreck is for another time, this novella is probably on of the most badly written things I have ever read.

I mean, it is just terrible. I wish I had the will to look up exactly who published this monstrosity.

See, I understand all genres have their own style of writing and all of that. Mysteries are mysterious, romances are romantic, tragedies are tragic, horrors are horrific, you get the idea.

This is the first harlequin I ever read. And for the genre’s sake, I hope this was the only one of its kind.

…but the story did have its perks. Let us get into specifics.

Why Stag Party is a Terrible Book

1: Dane is a horrible person.

Dane (last name I can’t remember because I am trying the best I can to forget this thing) is the only thing that could serve a saving grace, but even he is not enough. He is a funny guy, but unbelievably sexist. He is convinced that every woman swoons at the sight of him, and that is a bit conceited and extremely aggravating.

2. Megan is the weakest willed human being in existence, and probably the most inconsistent too.

I am not sure exactly what Katie MacAlister was going for when she wrote this character. Megan begins the story fine. When Dane starts coming onto her, which is like three microseconds after he meets her, she reacts as normal person would. She rejects his affection. She is also flattered, which is not always realistic, but it is a harlequin, so I let it slide. But the second Dane kisses her for the first time (if I am remembering correctly it was against her will, but I am so past this book, I refuse to fact check), she melts into his arm. Dane wants to sleep with her constantly, and she always says no; until she says yes. It is maddening.

3. What the heck is a tension?

You would think this book with this premise would be suspenseful, what with the protagonist’s life on the line, but nooooooooo. It’s focused on the humor a little (A LOT) too much. Even when a character is stabbed in the chest, which it supposed to be a big moment, it is robbed of its tension, when nearly no one reacts to it.

God, I’m glad it’s over. The story is only good for a quick laugh and a tutorial on how not to write a book.

0.5 Stars out of 1,000,000


The Tales of Beedle the Bard – JK Rowling

Because this is a collection of stories instead of the usually collective story, this review will be different from my previous ones. Okay?


JK Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, ‘s The Tales of Beedle the Bard are a collection of short stories, or more accurately, flash fictions, for the children of the wizarding world. Most likely, Beedle the Bard is the wizard, in-universe equivalent of Muggle,  or non-magic, storytellers, Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm.

The stories are all very silly and have a childish way of explaining good behavior in a way that would make perfect scene to its target audience: children.

Story I: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot”

Short Summary:

“The Wizard and the Hopping Pot” tells the tale of a cold-hearted wizard. After his generous father, who had become town-famous for his literally magical healing concoctions, passes away, the son refuses to assist the poor and unfortunate Muggles surrounding. The wizard’s father’s magical cauldron begins stalking him, all while reflecting all of the Muggles’ troubles, being very noisy in doing so. When the wizard can’t take the racket anymore, he helps everyone and cauldron goes back to normal.

The Moral: The moral child wizards and witches are supposed to take away is, “Treat others nicely.”

My Opinions: The message is  supposed to be “Treat others nicely,” but the problem as the wizard only decides to treat the Muggles nicely  when he’s been tortured into it. As a result, children could potentially take away the message, “Only treat others nicely when it is convenient to you.”

Story II: “The Fountain of Fair Fortune”

Short Summary: In the Fountain of Fair Fortune, there is a competition to get the honor of bathing in a fountain of luck, three unhappy witches and a very unlucky knight go through trials to see who will do so. Spoiler warning: (but it’s so obvious), the knight gets to do it. Also a spoiler warning: the fountain has no magical ability whatsoever.

The Moral: The moral you’re meant to take away from this is, “You make your own luck.”

My Opinions: This was truly a story for children. There was not one bit that was unpredictable. There are terrible loopholes to get around the established rules and there is a pointless romance tossed in at the very last second that did nothing for me.

Story III: “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart”

Short Summary: “The Wizard’s Hairy Heart” is about a warlock who removes his heart and locks it away in a dungeon so that he will never become a fool in love. Years later, he overhears servants insulting his lack of a wife and begins pursuing a maid. She is flattered by his cold words, but tells him he seems heartless. The warlock shows her his heart and when she begs him to replace it, he does. The heart has basically rotted and makes him perverse and malevolent. He kills his new bride and then himself.

The Moral: I’m actually a little stumped on this one. Maybe, “You need love in your blasted life?”

My Opinions: This is the darkest of the tales and more like the Muggle Hans Christian Andersen and Brother Grimm’s stories.

Story IV: “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump”

Short Summary: “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump” is about a foolish Muggle King who declares magic treasonous, but wants to learn for himself. A conman pretends to know magic and embezzles riches from the King, while teaching him fake spells. The washerwoman, Babbitty, a real witch, sees the ridiculousness of the lesson and embarrasses the King by laughing at him. The King forces the conman to hold a ceremony at which he (the King) will perform for his subjects, else the conman will lose his head. The conman makes Babbitty do the magic behind a bush, and all is fine until Babbitty is unable to do spell. The conman accuses her of being an evil witch and she transforms into a tree. The soldiers try to chop her down, but she claims that axes cannot harm magic-wielders and tells them to chop down the conman to prove it. The conman confesses all and is presumably killed. Babbitty “curses” the land, so the King strikes the magic ban.

The Moral: “Don’t discriminate.” and “Don’t lie or steal.”

My Opinions: I thought this story was the most childish one, and I won’t read it again.

Story V: “The Tale of the Three Brothers”

Short Summary: Three brothers cheat Death. Death gives them gifts meant to kill them. Two brothers die. One brother passes his gift to his son and greets Death willingly.

The Moral: “You can’t cheat death.” or “Don’t trust strangers.”

My Opinions: I’m biased, beacause I already know this story from the Deathly Hallows and I love it.

Matilda – Roald Dahl


Matilda is a fantasy novel by renowned British children’s author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach) published in 1988. The story follows Matilda, a child prodigy who has received nothing but contempt, neglect, and abusive her all five years of her miserable life. Matilda, unlike the rest of her family, likes to read and educate herself, so as a result, when she goes to school for the first time, her sweet-natured teacher, Miss Honey, is stunned by her ability. And apparently, being competent at reading college level book and rattling off four-hundred times tables is not all Matilda can do; she learns that she has telekinesis.  So the entire book seems like a slice of life genre story, with Matilda dealing with her horrid family, her insane headmistress, Miss Trunchbull (oh, yeah, we’ll get to that psychopath in all due time), and Miss Honey, the only adult who seems to care what happens to Matilda.

The Diction:

I should be lenient; this book was probably intended for third-graders and below. Thus, the book is written in a jargon that is easy for that demographic to understand. But as senior on the brink of graduation, who has been exposed to complex works, the diction is not enough to satisfy. Especially considering the fact that I analyze prose for fun. To support my point, I will quote movie critic, Chris Stuckmann.

Even though it’s a kid’s movie, it could still be of a high quality. I know when I was a kid, I watched good movies and I knew when it was a good movie. Kids deserve movies of just as high a quality as adult; they aren’t stupid, they know when they just watched trash.

Now, I am not calling the wording trash, not at all, in fact sometimes the wording is quite pleasant, and even humorous at times. “The boy by now was so full of cake he was like a sackful of wet cement and you couldn’t have hurt him with a sledgehammer.” But I will say that my point is one can write a children’s novel that has both nice wording and is easy for younger readers to comprehend.

An Appealing Factor:

The most appealing factor is Matilda herself. As a five year old child genius, one would expect her to be an arrogant, little, stuck-up thing. But she is quite the opposite. She is humble, so much so that at one point in novel, she says something that suggests might not even be aware of how smart she is. Matilda is also an adventurous girl who plays pranks on the wicked, mainly Trunchbull and her parents.

Speaking of the Bull.

Miss Trunchbull is a villain through and through. She physically, mental, and even psychologically abuses everyone she comes in contact with. She assaults children who make the smallest mistakes, and even forces a boy to almost die from eating a 18-inch diameter chocolate cake. She’s a villain I like to dislike.

A Potential Turn-off:

The plot was very predictable to me, but I have to remember that maybe children would not have been able to predict the plot twist.

My Rating:

I rate Matilda 3 out of 5 stars. Nothing spectacular, but nothing terribly wrong with it either.

Phantom (The Novel of His Life) – Susan Kay

Image result for phantom susan kay

The Overview:

Susan Kay’s 1990 dramatic novel, Phantom, is served as a prequel to Gaston Leroux’s gothic fiction The Phantom of the Opera published eighty years earlier. It is not entirely faithful, however, as it also heavily draws influence from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway hit, The Phantom of the Opera. Phantom stars The Phantom, here going by his birth name, Eric, before he became the Opera Ghost. The book covers the entirety of his life and takes the readers through the horrendous events that made him the deranged man seen in Leroux’s original work.

Phantom’s Style:

Phantom is authored by one person, but like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, it has multiple narrators. It is first narrated by Eric’s mother, Madeline, which makes sense, since Eric himself isn’t old enough to think complexly enough to do the story justice. Eric takes over after her though, followed by Giovanni, an old man who takes him in. After Giovanni comes Nadir, otherwise known as The Persian from Leroux’s work. Eric narrates again, then he and Christian Daae shared a section. The last “chapter” is given to Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny. After being in Eric’s head for so long, the reader might find it off-putting to transfer to a completely new character (I did at first), but the story picks up as soon as Eric is mentioned, which usually doesn’t take that long.

A Potential Turn-off:

I do try my best to be unbiased when reviewing books, and for Phantom, this was especially hard. There are so many wonderful components about the book that I hate to admit that were any flaws in it. I stand by that, however I will say that Phantom is disturbing. There are seriously explicit and/ or possibly triggering elements. Excessive child abuse, addictive drug use, racism, slavery, pedophilia, attempted rape, toxic relationships, and murder are all in this book. If any of the above deeply bother you, this book is probably not for you.

A Dementedly Appealing Factor:

This book is unique in its likability. I have a masochistic sort of fondness for it; it’s so brutally realistic, this is what makes it enjoyable. All of the The reason why it is so good is because the main character, Eric, is treated so terribly that the reader can help but feel sympathy for him. When an especially horrid thing was about to happen to him, I remember screaming at the offending character… four o’clock in the morning. I wept for Eric when he did not cry for himself, things of that nature.  Also, I presume everyone reading Phantom has already read Leroux’s Phantom, seen Webber’s, or has had some prior knowledge of the basic plot. So, the reader would get a special sort of satisfaction in seeing all of the mysteriously unexplained factors come together.

My Rating:

This is by far the best book I have ever read, and just to show how much I enjoyed it, let it be known that I now own it. Without a doubt, Phantom receives a eleven star rating out of ten. I can’t wait to read it again!

Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus


In 1818, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (now simplified to Frankenstein). It is a Gothic horror fiction book that stars the titular character, Victor Frankenstein, (not to be confused with the creature, commonly known as Frankenstein) genius but lonely scientist who becomes fascinated with the secret behind life. He decides to create life himself, unnaturally in the form of the 8-foot tall hulking monster (but he’s not really a monster!). He regrets it the moment The Creature opens his eyes and abandons him. From there, because of Frankenstein’s neglect The Creature, disastrous events occur.

Rating and Its Effect on Me:

I’m going to do something different. I’ll give a rating first. I HATE this book. 2 out of 10, and it only gets that is the…


Frankenstein is a very well written book. I enjoyed its manner of speaking. Most famous novels are black or white, Shakespearean language that’s difficult to comprehend, or JK Rowling, easy to pick up because of the currency of the speech. Mary Shelley sits right in the gray area of that scale. The pretty wording truly is pretty wording, but it is not too elaborate for a modern reader to understand.

A Really Big Negative (A Small Rant):


Now, that I have that of my system, I’ll try to approach this rationally.

Over the years, scholars have argued who the true villain of Frankenstein is, The Creature or Victor. I have to say Victor Frankenstein is. He is the one terrible thing about this book.  He blames The Creature for things out of his control. His hurtful words make The Creature become the Monster. He neglects his family, friends, and fiancee in favor of his precious work, who ironically enough is the very Creature he places the blame his misery and un-health upon. He isn’t a strong character; his constant inability to deal with life (fainting, making himself sick, going senile) annoyed me to no end. This is especially terrible because towards the end of the book, he decides to track The Creature to kill him. I couldn’t take him seriously. Victor’s only saving grace is that if weren’t in the story, the story wouldn’t exist, and that’s not a very nice compliment. If I don’t like the main character, how can I like any of the book?

Here’s How– A Really Small (but 8-foot tall) Positive:

The Creature is very best character in the story– with  the exception of perhaps Henry Clerval, who unfortunately isn’t in the story for long. He is nothing like I expected him to be, like his 1931 Hollywood counterpart. He is extremely intelligent, and quick learner, and an optimist. That is, until he is pushed to the brink of the madness. Eventually, he does kill, quite a lot, but at no point does he have no cause to do so. Even if it is for a petty reason, I understand his every action. In fact, every time he murders, I found myself pitying The Creature, instead of the character who was supposed to pitied, Victor. He was a magnificent character.

The Strange Framework:

I suppose I ought to mention the strange framework. It might be off putting. It is a story written by Mary Shelley, narrated by Robert Walton who is telling his sister, Margaret, the story Victor told him, who in his own story includes the story The Creature told him somewhere in the his own story.

… It’s difficult to explain, but not so much while reading it. Even the reader can wrap his/her head around this idea, they are in for a very good reading.

True Rating:

I rate this story 9 out of 10 stars, for it’s amazing storytelling, and very good characters. (Note: Victor is great character, but a terrible person.) I probably won’t ever read it again though, thanks to Frankenstein.

Macbeth- William Shakespeare

The Overview:

Macbeth is a tragic play written by the infamous William Shakespeare and allegedly first performed in 1606. It describes the dramatic fall of the titular Macbeth from revered war veteran to psychotic king. After years of war, Macbeth is declared a war hero. Then he comes across three witches who make for him a startling prophesy: Macbeth will become first, Thane of Calder, then king. He dismisses the witches, until immediately after,  he is named Thane of Calder. This starts a Domino Effect, until Macbeth becomes mad with power and plagued by guilt over the terrible things he has done to achieve it.

The Diction:

As one would expect of anything of Shakespeare’s, the diction is very, for lack of a better term, Shakespearean. It was, for me at least, next to impossible to read and understand simultaneously without prior exposure to Elizabethan language. I would most definitely advise reading aloud, as that is how it is intended to be heard, and is far easier, though still tough, to comprehend.

Potential Turn-offs:

For me, there were many turn-offs. For one, it seems like even the great Shakespeare isn’t perfect. There are subjects that are brought up and dropped later in the story as if they never existed. The problem is, besides the obvious creation of a major plot-hole, is that when you include prophetic elements in a story, you had better fulfill it. Obviously, there are going to be loopholes in it, which makes the wording of the prophesy crucial. There are also abrupt changes in character that bothered me greatly. The story is also far too political for my taste.

An Appealing Factor: 

I’m thinking really hard to come up with even the smallest thing that I enjoyed in Macbeth. The best I can come up with is the smart mouth of Macduff’s son, Macduff’s loyalty, and savagery of Lady Macbeth’s reasoning. I won’t give any spoilers, but not all of the aforementioned  traits survive to the end.

(BONUS) The Hype:

Supposedly, Macbeth is Shakespeare’s second most popular play, right after Hamlet.  I haven’t read Hamlet, but I’ve seen loose adaptions of it. I’ve also read and seen Romeo and Juliet, another famous play of his. So, I went into Macbeth completely ignorant of the plot and hoping to enjoy it as much as I did Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. The only thing I knew about Macbeth was just the bare bones of Lady Macbeth’s characters, and I was looking forward to it. And I must say, I came out of it more disappointed than ever. There is discontinued plot elements, a terrible character’s de-evolution, and if I hadn’t been had an audio-book to listen to, I wouldn’t have understood a word. I wouldn’t have even kept reading.

My Rating:

I don’t think I’ve ever been so let down by such a hyped up piece of literature. Without a doubt, I am never going to read Macbeth again. I’ll give it 3 stars out of 10, and I’m being generous.

Howl’s Moving Castle — Diana Wynne Jones

The Overview:

Diana Wynne Jones’s 1986 fantasy novel, Howl’s Moving Castle, is about Sophie Hatter, who after disrespecting a maniacal witch, is transformed from a beautiful eighteen-year-old woman to a ninety-year old woman. Unable to speak about her cursed, she is forced to move in with Howl Pendragon (or Howell Jenkins, if you go by his birth name), a wizard notorious for swallowing young girls’ hearts, Michael, his young apprentice, and Calcifer, a fire demon. She makes a deal with Calcifer, who promises to break Sophie’s curse if she breaks his.

(BONUS) The Characters:

Sophie is an extremely strange, but refreshing choice for a protagonist. She does not react to situations the way a normal person would. Arguably, this makes her less relatable, but she makes up for it by being interesting. In the beginning of the story, she acknowledges Howl’s handsomeness, but she is repulsed by it, rather than attracted to it. When someone calls her a witch and says she has accidentally cast a spell over Howl’s clothes to make him irresistible to all women, she shrugs and thinks to herself, “Well, that sounds like me, messing up as usual,” despite never having prior knowledge of any magical ability whatsoever. She is, however, easily influenced emotionally. She gets jealous whenever Howl is out courting, mad when her younger sister tries to convince her their mother is manipulating her, and irritated when Calcifer is not direct with her.

How(el)l Pendragon (or Jenkins) is the most vain, supercilious, cowardly, good- natured, cleverest, funniest deuteragonist I have read about in a long time. He is used to getting his way and is not above throwing temper- tantrums, including forcing green slime to ooze out of his skin, when the slightest thing does not go as planned. He takes pleasure sending people out to ‘blacken his name”, just so he will not have to do work. On sight, most people who meet him either fall in love with him or despise the very dirt he stands on. He is not to be trifled with, however. He has been known to intimidate people and even Calcifer, a fire demon.

Michael is a meek boy and there is nothing particular special about him, excluding his diligence. He loves like a normal boy and gets depressed over mediocre things like a normal boy. But I would say this works in his favor because Howl and Sophie have such unusual personalities, that more absurdness might make the book too off-putting.

Lastly, Calcifer. Calcifer is a bit of an antihero, being a demon, but being on the side of “good.” He does mostly what Howl says due to a mystery contract, but he will not stand to be disparaged. He argues with everyone is the house, and is even a little creepy just in his description.

It would be a thin blue face…very long and thin, with a thin blue nose….And those purple flames near the bottom make the mouth– you have savage teeth, my friend…

A Potential Turn-off:

I’ve thought long and hard about what could possibly turn someone off from this book. I guess the sheer abundance of characters might be it. There a lot of characters including: Sophie, Howl, Michael, Calcifer, the Witch of Waster, Sophie’s two sisters and step-mother, Howl’s sister, nephews, and ex-magic teacher, the King and his brother and daughter, Miss Angorian, a creepy scarecrow, a dog-man, and I’m probably forgetting more.

An Appealing Factor: 

Everything. Mostly Howl’s dry humor.

My Rating:

It’s been a long time since I got angry I had to put a book down. I rate Howl’s Moving Castle ten out of ten stars. Buy the book.


Holes – Louis Sachar

The Overview: 

Holes is a 1998 young adult mystery comedy written by Louis Sachar featuring Stanley Yelnats IV, a 14-year old, overweight boy with no friends and terrible luck. After being wrongfully accused of stealing a pair of famous baseball shoes, Stanley is sent to Camp Crystal Lake, a juvenile work camp where “bad boys go to dig a hole and be add good”. Throughout the story, there are flashbacks to Stanley’s great- great-grandfather, Elya Yelnats, supposedly the cause of the Yelnats’s family’s bad luck, and to the love story of Katherine Barlow and Sam the onion picker.

The Diction: 

Holes is a book of a sixth to eighth grade reading level, and although it is written with a more mature voice, it more or less comes off as such. The diction that is used is that of an average sixth grader, and the content deals with both teen-aged themes, such as bullying and obesity, and adult themes, like poverty.

A Potential Turn-off:

The book does tend to jump around and across three story lines: Stanley’s arc, Elya’s arc, and Katherine’s arc. The three arcs  eventually become one cohesive plot, but it takes quite a while. Now, for me, this was not especially a definite problem, so much as an irritation. For instance, while reading about Stanley, the story would jump back over fifty year to Elya’s story. Granted, none of the side-stories are boring, but it was a shock. I enjoyed Stanley’s arc the most, and thus, whenever the story arcs switched I found myself wishing I was back with Stanley.

Another small problem I had with the book is not the book’s fault. If the reader has seen the Disney adaptation of Holes, by the same name, it can become a little difficult separate the written word from the cinematic experience. This is because the movie is almost the book copied-pasted. Good for the movie, but bad for people who have some report to complete on  the book and have previously seen the movie.

An Appealing Factor:

Stanley Yelnats is one of the best protagonists to ever come out of a young adult’s book.  He is not the generic person who finds love with someone who would normally be out of his league. He is not a bombshell in appearance, and in fact, there isn’t even any indication that he is handsome at all. He is explicitly described as morbidly obese and very timid, due to past bullying encounters. On top of all of this, Stanley, and his entire father’s side of the family for that matter, have rotten luck. Therefore he get blamed for many things that aren’t his fault. Even better, Stanley works hard to improve his self-esteem, including dropping over 150 pounds with pure willpower. All of this makes Stanley a very relatable character to most teen ad he can easily gain sympathy and affection. Because he is such a three-dimensional character, the reader can easily slip into his skin and become him, become empathetic regarding his troubles, despise those who treat me unfair, love those he loves. I myself am very fond of Stanley and could see him as my younger brother.

My Rating:

I rate Holes nine of of ten stars. Find your nearest library. They should have it.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas- A Book Review

The Overview:

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a 2006 novel about a young German boy named Bruno growing up during the Holocaust by John Boyne. He faces difficult changes for a nine-year-old and when he makes a new friend, Shmuel, a boy on the other side of an electric fence, he doesn’t understand what is happening to him.

The Diction:

I found this book to be a very good read, but only to some. The way the book is written is very Junie B Jones-esque and written from Bruno’s perspective, but not his point of view. What I mean is, because the main protagonist is a child, although the book is not in first-person, it is written in a childlike way, using his diction as the story’s diction. For example, the new house that Bruno moves into is referred to as “Out-With”, because that is how Bruno hears his sister say it. It might fly over the head of some, like me, that the place is actually called Auschwitz. But the book reads “Out-With” because Bruno is mispronouncing it.

A Potential Turn-off:

Something that might not appeal to a potential reader is the fact that Bruno is a child, a German child growing up during the Holocaust at that; therefore, he will behave as such. He lies at times to get out of trouble, and he gets into petty disagreements with his sister. He can also be a little self-absorbed, and he can definitely be ignorant. These qualities might put the reader off if they are used to older protagonists and subconsciously compare Bruno to those protagonists. The conclusion might lead the reader to think badly of Bruno, because, yes, it’s true: an older main character with these traits could be considered a nuisance.

For me, though, I excuse Bruno from the category of “Nuisance” because of his young age. Simply put, he doesn’t know any better, and any child of his age would most likely behave the same. In my book, that makes him a more realistic character. Unlike so many other child characters, Bruno isn’t horribly misbehaved or unbelievably angelic; he is a good mix of the two. It’s really up to the reader to determine how to feel about Bruno’s character.

An Appealing Factor:

Something else interesting is the little insinuations that Bruno doesn’t understand but the reader might. At one point, a German officer makes an insulting joke about another officer, and Bruno can’t understand why his sister is laughing.  Small things like this make the book a better read. Either way, the story takes place over a time period of at least a year, so naturally Bruno experiences character growth. He tries to be as truthful as possible and he becomes more considerate towards Shmuel, even going so far as to sneak him food. He learns to ignore his sister’s antics, and overall, grows the way a normal child would.

My Rating: Eight out of ten stars.

I thought this book was utterly charming, and I highly recommend it.