Sunday, August 31, 2008


This is the final book in the Uglies trilogy, and for many reasons, I think it was my least favorite. There were certain elements that were very fun - the skintennas, the speed at which they could heal and the new abilities, but it was scary to me because of how much of the Tally I came to really like from the first two books was gone.

I found it very interesting that the technique used by all the specials to feel more alive and alert was cutting. I appreciate how Westerfeld really addressed some of the main issues facing young girls today (one of which is definitely cutting) and showing his readers how there are different ways to get that high that they think certain behaviors give them.

I liked that Westerfeld again kept the action moving, introducing again other elements of this society that are the norm, but using them to show that, really, there isn't a society that has quite figured it all out yet.

I liked that Tally could once again reach within herself to figure out who/what she really was, that there was some tragedy that occurred that many YA authors are afraid to do in killing a main character and I do feel like there was some resolution to the series without it having to be "and they all lived happily ever after."

All in all I would recommend this series to anyone who likes to read and anyone who has a pre-adolescent daughter. Absolutely a great conversation starter.

Happy Reading!!!


This is the second book in the Uglies trilogy, and while I found myself disappointed at the decisions that had to be made at the end of Uglies, I liked that even though Tally had to give in for the better good, there was still a strong part of her self awareness that survived the great surge. When it starts out, it is a bit frustrating because she seems to be just like every other Pretty, but after a good party crash and some help from a new cute guy, she is able to remember more of what her life was like while being an Ugly and her time at the Smoke.

I appreciate the fact that she still has feelings of concern for others, still is aware of right and wrong and still has a desire to do something to change anything even though she is not sure how. I thought this one was a well written as the first, throwing in some surprises that I just didn't expect and giving her the chance to show her courage again. I liked that while Tally had to do what was expected of her by society, she didn't continue with surges, adding and constantly changing her appearance with the newest trends. I think that Westerfeld has again written a story to help adolescent girls understand the importance of staying true to oneself even when the rest of the world thinks you're ridiculous. If you liked the first, you will enjoy the second.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If You Could Get Paid

I just came across and interesting idea which seemed bloggable (not sure if that is a word or if it were a word, maybe it would only have one "g" - blogable.  Let me know what you think).  What would you do more often if you got paid to do it?   

Of course the first thing would be some of those chores that I just don't like to do.  I've always found it interesting when I have had a job which required washing or cleaning, it was no big deal, just part of the job, but sometimes when I have to do these jobs at home, I hate them.  But what if the powers that be could give me a check for washing the dishes - maybe even just pay by the load.   I truly believe I would be washing dishes all the time.  

But then I think about the things that I would like to do but just don't seem to find the time to do. What if I could get paid to read.  That, I think, would be the definition of heaven.  I truly believe that I would be in paradise and that my TV would become totally obsolete.  

There is I downside I think though.  What if it became like work - something you enjoy all the time but begin to resent regardless of monetary reimbursement.  But even then, you really wouldn't have to do it because it wouldn't be a job.  

Obviously it wouldn't happen, but still it is fun to wonder - what would you do more often if you could get money for what you did?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Guaranteed Success

I know, you have been missing me and my book reviews and blog updates.  I promise, they are coming.  But in the meantime, and in light of the fact that most of the children of people who read this are in school or starting very soon, I will let you know that I have a strong belief in the only thing that you need to worry about when considering how to help your child succeed in school.  And while I'm just a writer on one of the many blogs out there, I figured to have you believe that what I say is true, I would provide an additional source.  

If you are interested, here is how to ensure your child will succeed in school.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


This book came recommended to me first by several of my students and then I saw that there were several teachers who were reading them, so I figured I should add them to my list. I let my sister Cathy borrow them to read and she gave them back to me at Fish Lake, where I started this one.

I knew the premise of the books before I started, but I have heard several complaints that the start of the books throws a reader off for a bit because there is the element of the unknown when it comes to what is happening, discussions of surges, hoover boards, Uglies, Pretties and the like. I appreciated the fact that the story just starts out rather than trying to give the background. It is one of the greatest flaws many sci-fi writers make and in my research, it is often the first thing that writing teachers tell their students not to do - just start with the story, let the setting build with the characters and plots.

I loved these books. One of the first reasons is the silliness that is shown for the people to be considered ugly until science can fix them. Because it is taken to such extremes, I have heard recently many of the girl students I teach talking about how they think it is so stupid to get plastic surgery done, even though they admit they don't really like how they look all the time, they would rather look like them than have a surgery done.

I loved the adventure of this book, the way that the action continued climbing and building, adding different elements of the different worlds with each new adventure Tally encounters. I think they are very fun books, perfect for girls to read in 6th-7th grade or above, right when they start getting really self-conscious.

It has great lessons on friendship, courage, and most importantly self image. It is a good wholesome book - brain candy if you will, but with a bit of a lesson about how to ignore what everyone is telling you you should be. Two thumbs up.