Recently, I've been thinking about the books that I read before I started blogging. These were books that I went into the library or the bookstore and picked up, 98% of the time on a complete whim. This 98% of the time, I hadn't heard of the book at all but the synopsis and, if I'm being honest here, the cover made me want to bring it home with me. These are books that I haven't been able to talk about on here because I feel that it's been too long since I've read them to do a review, and I'm not the biggest re-reader. I was brainstorming some features and thinking about doing a post once in a while highlighting a couple books that I read before I started blogging, where I picked them up, what I liked about them, etc. This week is my very first and I would love to start with a middle grade series that I have loved dearly, a book by a famous author, and a YA survival story.
Firstly, a middle-grade story that holds a special place in my heart..
"Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?"
Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children - two boys and two girls - succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they'll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you're gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.
A little tidbit about me, I used to work at Target and I found this book while browsing the book section one day on a work break. The cover drew me in - isn't it gorgeous - but the synopsis drew me in even more, but I read the first couple pages and had to buy it. I LOVED it. I loved the witty and clever humor it had to it. I loved the puzzles and the challenges the children faced. I loved seeing the children's different personalities bicker and yet come together in the end. It was such a fun read. Even better is that this is the first book of a trilogy. I love the second one just as much and I don't think I ever got around to finishing the third book (I used to be terrible at finishing series, I didn't want them to end). Ever since I read this, I've been looking forward to one day re-reading these with my kids.
And then, there's Neil Gaiman..
Under the streets of London there's a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armor and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.
Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.
This book was recommended to me by a classmate in college many years ago. It was the first encounter with Gaiman that I had and I fell head over heels in love with the writing and the world. This was a book that I remember not being able to put down, I just had to keep reading. The writing was captivating. The world was so fantastical and whimsical. I was so excited to see what waited around the corner as Gaiman was constantly surprising me. This book is so good, I still recommend it!
And lastly, a survival story that I really enjoyed..
Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.
Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda's struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all -- hope -- in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.
I've always been a bit of a sucker for survival stories. I find them fascinating! Especially survival stories that come about because of natural disasters. This story seemed plausible to me, a meteor that knocks the moon...I mean anything can happen in space. Learning the cause of what would happen if the moon was knocked closer to the earth was devastating and scary. As mentioned in the synopsis, the tsunamis, the earthquakes, the volcanos, it's crazy! I remember thinking that the main character was so sensible through it but yet scared, she seemed so strong to me. This story has really stuck with me, I remember quite a bit of what I read and it's been probably five years since I read this one. I really enjoyed it and I could possibly see myself revisiting it so I can finish the series (once again, terrible at finishing series in the past, haha!)