The fourth book in the Uglies 'trilogy', Extras, takes place in post-'mind-rain' Japan a couple of years after Tally Youngblood destroyed the Pretties system. Japan, along with the rest of the world, is adapting to the freedom of thought that people had so long been deprived of. New cultural norms have emerged, and Japan's 'reputation economy' is one of these. It ties wealth and fame together at a whole new level, making most everybody want fame more than anything else.

Enter fifteen-year-old Aya Fuse, who's just as desirous of fame as the next person. She's a kicker, and always has Moggle (her hovercam) by her side. She is constantly searching for a great story to kick, one that might take her out of panic-making obscurity. One that might make her famous. But with a face rank of 451,369 (out of a million), there is little chance of that happening. That is, until she stumbles upon the story of a lifetime. But she gets more than she bargained for when she kicks it, and fame ends up being difficult. And, in her case, dangerous.

For an Uglies/Pretties/Specials fan such as myself, it was awesome to return to Westerfeld's creepy future earth. I couldn't help but notice that the reputation economy makes a lot sense. Which is creepy. We're already fame obsessed enough as it is.

Extras is really quite a wonderful book. It was well tied-in with the three preceding books, but has enough new developments so as not to be repetitive. Aya is a great character. She's endearing but imperfect. And sometimes you get really mad at her.

Which means, of course, that Westerfeld has done his job very well.

Five daggers out of five.

Wanting to mag-lev surf*...

*What is mag-lev surfing, you ask? I don't think I'll tell you. Read the book.


An economy based on fame.* Creepy people with too many joints. Japan. People who surge themselves to look like manga characters. Tally Youngblood. Hoverboards.

Dude, Extras is awesome.

And, as many of you probably know (on account of the link from his blog), we saw Scott Westerfeld talk/sign books... it was pretty darn cool, yo. Justine Larbalestier was also there (author of the Magic or Madness trilogy), which was also pretty darn cool, yo.

So... five out of five. Yep.

*Which would possibly work better than our current economy. I mean, it's creepy, but it would totally work.

Hoverboarding, kicking, mag-lev-riding, fame-seeking,

PS Reese: email us! Quick, before the dark lord of all evil finds out!

I finished reading Extras and I adored it. Tally-wa...Tally makes me incredibly happy. I love her super-specialness and "I'm a loner" attitude and her "just accept me or don't - - I don't care" outlook.

I give this wonderful book, the full 5 daggers.

Nonbubble-headedly yours,
Twyla Lee

Hey, look!

Wowzas! A new picture!

Yep. Proving once and for all that Aislinn is not a boy. Not that there was any doubt in the first place... right?

Isn't it pretty?

There are also other new things, like... individual blogs! Each of the cousins now have their own personal blog, where we will... blog. About bloggy blogging things.

So, dear reader, I command you: click here and here and here.

Bloggingly, picture-admiringly yours,

PS The one on the left is Avery, I'm in the middle, and Twyla is on the right.

Lobster Land by Susan Carlton

Lobsterland, By Susan Carlton, is about a 16 year old who is forced to grow up before her time. Charlotte lives on an island off the coast of Maine that she calls "Bleak". She feels trapped by her environment and her life. Her dad is always playing Scrabble --“scrabble sex” as Charlotte calls it -- with Lola the Laptop. Her Mom is always on medication, not a druggie, but in her own little world. That leaves Charlotte to take care "the siblets" while she juggles her school and personal life. Stressed out, Charlotte applies to prep school hoping to get away. She seems to wear her high heels everywhere in an effort to symbolize the life she wants.

I had a hard time understanding why Charlotte was soo in love with her boyfriend, Noah. His character wasn't really developed until the end. Yeah, they had known each other for a long time, (they used to eat play-doh when they were still ignorant little children) but I never read anything that I thought was particularly sweet or gentlemanlike of him. Nothing that would capture my heart, but maybe that's just me.

I had a really hard time getting into the book partly because I expected it to be a really girly, cliquey book. As you probably guessed...I was slightly wrong. This is a book about the desire for indepence and change versus leaving everything you know and care about. I am left with a vision of high-heeled Charlotte in the ice and snow, still stuck on an island off the east coast. I kind of admire the fact that she didn't fall and break herself, then again if she had, it would have been quite hilariously funny.

Overall...I give this book a 2.5 daggers out of 5.

Still typing, reading and yours,

--Twyla Lee


Teen Read Week

Happy Teen Read Week, everybody! Hmm. I guess we cousins should start reading, huh?

Teen Read Week is... presented by? Sponsored by? Held by? ________ by ALA (The American Library Association). This year's theme is LOL.

No, really. Like the internet abbreviation.

Please excuse me. I have to go curl up in a corner and cry.

But other than the atrocious (in my opinion) theme, Teen Read Week is pretty darn awesome. Teenagers should read more.

Readingly, curling-up-and-cryingly yours,

Note: You can see my further thoughts on lol, and some other stuff, here.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Originally, we were going to refrain from reviewing Harry Potter the Seventh. But then we began to feel so very, very left out. So here it goes: Harry Potter is a character that many of us have grown up with. We wanted his final story to end spectacularly. Alas, it was not to be. I suppose that Rowling, being richer than the queen and knowing that her legions of loyal readers would buy the book no matter what, decided that she could cop out on the final volume. This is incredibly sad. I wanted to like the book. Truly I did. But somehow, it didn't work.

I was actually racing with one of my cousins (of the non-evil sort) to finish the book (I won, of course), so I didn't realise how disappointed I was until I gave it some thought. And there it was, the awful truth: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a creature of deathly boredom.

And OH! The epilogue. Of all the things that could have gone wrong, this was the worst. How could she make everything so...perfect? I shall refrain from saying anything more on the subject, for fear of being hunted down and butchered by a vengeful not-yet-finished reader.

Despite the fact that this Deathly Boredom was so...well, deathly, I feel that I must give it no less than three out of five daggers. Just because I grew up with the series. And the first three books were totally made of awesome.

--Avery Trelaine

Aislinn says,

So, unlike Avery, I am going to assume that everyone reading this had read Harry Potter and the Deathly Boredom, er, that is, Hallows.

SPOILER ALERT!! If you are one of the, like, four people who haven't yet finished, don't read this . . .

I'm going to do this by character, because... because because.

Harry-- Our dear main character was as much of an annoying angst-ridden idiot as always. Only this time, he was an annoying, angst-ridden idiot who was also Jesus. And has anyone else noticed that he's not that good at magic? No, seriously. I mean, who in their right mind would make him head of the auror department? (This is what he goes on to do-- JKR said so.) I was so depressed that he didn't die.

Ron-- Went from being kind of a pathetic loser to being entirely a pathetic loser.

Hermione-- Lost all her awesome. No, really. She went from being all "Get out of my way or I'll turn you into a moose" to "Oh, Ron, you're soooo clever! And also, I'm suddenly not nearly as competent a witch as I used to be!"

Ginny-- If Harry Potter dumped me 'for my safety,' I would most certainly not just sit around and wait for him to come back to me. Then again, I wouldn't date Harry Potter in the first place. Also, JKR tells us that Ginny became a professional Quiddich player, but then left her job when she married Harry. No, Ginny! No! Don't let patriarcial society keep you down! BREAK THE GLASS CEILING!!

Malfoy-- Most certainly did not live up to his potential. He could have been so awesome, but instead, he was just a whiney, incompetent loser. I would also like to take this opportunity to note that if Draco had, in fact, fufilled his potential for awesome, he and Ginny would have made a great couple. (Hey, don't look at me like that. It's true.)

Dumbledore-- The Headmaster was dead, yes. But he was in the book more than any other, except perhaps the sixth. I think JKR simply couldn't fathom writing a Harry Potter book without Dumbledore.

THE DEATHSTICK-- Yes, it's a wand, but it really deserves its own character listing. It had so much personality. And also, it's called the deathstick. And Voldy always said "Deathstick" last, like: "It is mine! The Elder Wand! The Wand Of Destiny! THE DEATHSTICK!!!"*. At which point I always burst into a fit of hysterical laughter (no matter how serious the situation was supposed to be).

*This is not an actual quote from Deathly Hallows. But it's pretty darn close.

Dissapointedly, cynically, thanking-God-it's-over,

Note: We know that this post is seeming to be spreading the HP hate. But really, we love it as much as all you crazy fangirls. Okay, maybe not quite as much. As in, we don't write any Dramione fanfiction. Or any fanfiction, for that matter.
But still. We love Harry Potter. We just hide it really, really well.

Twyla says:

Now for my opion of this wonderfulness. Well, I thought it was ok. I wasnt thrilled with it but there were certain parts I liked. It was pretty, ok very predictable. Especially the ending. The very very end, 19 years later, it was waaay to perfect and like *sigh* aw, how sweet. Lets all go to bed and have sweet dreams because everyone lived happily ever after. After all of what Harry went though, wouldn't he have some emotional drawbacks he needed to work on? Or insane fans he had to outrun?

After saying that, I give Deathly Hallows a 3.5 daggers out of 5.

--Twyla Lee