Poseur by Rachel Maude

Ah, Gossip Girl rip-offs. How I love them. And by love, I mean, of course, hate.
Take Gossip Girl. Subtract almost anything risque. Add fashion design. Relocate to LA. Voila! Poseur by Rachel Maude.
Poseur is the story of four very different girls, all of whom go to an exclusive LA high school. These girls (a ghetto-diva, a girly-girl, a punk, and a hippie) are foced to take a class together in which they must design their own fashion label. Hilarity attempts to ensue.
The book tried to be clever (and occasionally succeeded), but it was undermined by the fact that the author can't write well. At all.
The one good thing was the drawings that were scattered throughout the book (much as in Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale). The author can't write, but she can definitely draw, and the characters looked exactly as I pictured them. It makes me think that Poseur would work much better as a slightly-vacuous-but-still-entertaining graphic novel.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to point out that the cover is horrendous. The designer obviously hasn't read the book (Though who can blame them?), and whoever dressed the models was obviously on crack. I mean, seriously.
Poseur is intended to be the first in a series.
I award Poseur a whopping... two daggers. One of them is only because of the drawings.

Horrified, critical, and yours,


Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Shannon Hale's Book of a Thousand Days is positively fabulous. A reimagined Grimm brothers fairie tale, it is the journal of Dashti, a mucker girl who leaves behind all she knows and journeys to the city of Titor's Garden. There, she trains to become a maid to the gentry. When her training is complete, she goes to serve the Lady Saren, daughter of the highest house in Titor's Garden. All is not well, however, and she finds herself locked in a tower with her mistress because of Saren's refusal to marry a man who she does not love. Seven years she is destined to live in the tower, serving her lady day in and day out, unable to see the sky. Things in the tower soon turn ugly. Food is depleted, days range from sweltering to frigid, and Dashti and her lady are threatened by Saren's scorned suitor, the cruel Lord Khasar. As conditions spiral from uncomfortable to life-threatening, Dashti is forced to make the choices that will either save or destroy both herself and Saren, who she has sworn to protect.
A fan of Shannon Hale's prior to reading the book, I was not disappointed in the least. Beautifully written, Book of a Thousand Days has a fantastic setting based on medieval Mongolia. It not only has romance, magic, adventure, and a dash of mystery; it challenges the idea of basing one's self-worth on social constructs. Hooray for books with meaning! True, I was able to predict what was going to happen fairly easily...but that wasn't a problem. I rather liked where it was going. Also, it's way better than Maid Maleen (The story that it's based on). I mean, way better.

All in all, Book of a Thousand Days is awesome (To put my wonderfully broad vocabulary to good use...Heh). It's the kind of book that you want to keep reading. Dashti is a great character living in a vivid, believable world. Her story satisfies.

I give Book of a Thousand Days four out of five daggers.

Satisfied, Khan Tegus-adoring*, and quailing at the mere idea of spending seven years in a tower...

*Another awesome male character? Why yes, indeed. So read it.

Book of a Thousand days was amazing. The thing that struck me the most (besides, uh, the fact that it was a really good book) was the drawings that were interspersed throughout the pages. This seems to be a trend of late (perhaps due to the popularity of graphic novels?). Anyhow, the drawings were quite good, even if they weren't the same as how I pictured the main character. (That is a drawback... ack, pun NOT intended. At ALL.)
Also, we met Shannon Hale and she was MADE OF AWESOME. OH MY WORD.

I second Avery's dagger-number:

Reading manga, making puns (urgh), and yours,


Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr is the story of a girl, Jennifer "Jenna" Harris, who once had a friend named Cameron Quick. They were both outcasts in elementary school-- Jennifer the fat girl, Cameron the weird boy. Then, suddenly Cameron moves away-- and Jennifer hears that he has died. Years later, Jennifer has become Jenna, a thin, popular, well-adjusted teen. She has never forgotten Cameron Quick, though, and imagine her suprise when he shows up out of the blue one day. Together, they must confront their past and their present-- and find some way to settle the "unfinished business" (as Jenna's mother calls it) between them.

As delectable as the cover looks, Sweethearts didn't quite satisfy me. There wasn't enough substance-- not much really happened. Scenes from Jenna's present life were interspersed with scenes from her past, including a particularly trumatic one that the book centers around. But, I mean... I feel callous saying this, but it just didn't seem trumatic enough. When you finally find out what happened to Jenna, it's sort of... anticlimactic. I told a librarian friend of mine this, and she said, "Yes, but that's how life is." She has a point-- life isn't always climactic. But life isn't always interesting, either.

Sweethearts is a very psycological book (there really isn't much in the way of plot). I like some books like this (Speak, for instance), but it can drag on after a while. Sweehearts didn't drag too much, but it didn't grab me and pull me in, either. It's very well-written, and makes me want to read Zarr's first book, Story of a Girl (which was nominated for the National Book Award). But Sweethearts just... wasn't my cup of tea. Or plate of cookies. Or something.

I give Sweethearts three out of five daggers.

Eating heart-shaped cookies, vaguely disappointed, and yours,