The Relaxed Ravenous Reader

I'm a bibliophile and also a librocubicularist Things I reviewed here are the books I've read in English only, but since it's not my native, pardon my poor grammar.

Modern Day Cinderella--Sort Of

The Dirt Diary - Anna Staniszewski The Prank List - Anna Staniszewski

Title: The Dirt Diary (#1), The Prank List (#2) and The Gossip File (#3)

Series: The Dirt Diary

Author: Anna Staniszewski

Publishers: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Publication Years: 2014-2015



Book #1

WANTED: Maid for the most popular kids in 8th grade.

Cleaning up after the in-crowd gets Rachel all the best dirt.

Rachel can't believe she has to give up her Saturdays to scrubbing other people's toilets. So. Gross. But she kinda, sorta stole $287.22 from her college fund that she's got to pay back ASAP or her mom will ground her for life. Which is even worse than working for her mother's new cleaning business. Maybe. After all, becoming a maid is definitely not going to help her already loserish reputation.

But Rachel picks up more than smelly socks on the job. As maid to some of the most popular kids in school, Rachel suddenly has all the dirt on the 8th grade in-crowd. Her formerly boring diary is now filled with juicy secrets. And when her crush offers to pay her to spy on his girlfriend, Rachel has to decide if she's willing to get her hands dirty... 


Book #2

Rachel Lee never thought she'd fight for the right to clean toilets. But when a rival cleaning business starts stealing her mom's clients, Rachel will do whatever it takes to save herself the horror of moving to Connecticut — which would mean giving up her almost, sort of boyfriend, her fantastic new pastry classes, and her best friend Marisol. 

Operation Save Mom's Cleaning Business is a go! 

But when the series of pranks Rachel and her BFF cook up to take down the competition totally backfires, Rachel worries that her recipe for success is a dud. You know what they say — if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen...


What I Thought

We both stupid, but we've both smartened up 

A light reading with the predictable endings for each problems. But still it's a fun read. The story is a pure teenager dramas: a unpopular MC who always be bullied by the most popular girl in school, the MC who had crushed to the coolest boy in school (and also our MC's archenemy bf), the MC who has unique bff so everybody called them as "duo losers" and in the end, the MC found herself adored by a cute boy she never noticed before. Sounds clichè, tho?


But the plus of this series is how Rachel Lee, our MC, must struggle to helped her parents get back together. From that point, the reader finally knew why Rachel tried to collected every cent she got from helping her Mom cleaned houses. The problems started when Rachel should cleaned her friends and also her enemies houses. She found so many secrets her friends have and everything revealed, she wrote in a diary. She called it The Dirt Diary.


In the second book, I love the way Rachel loves her family, so she did the pranks to help her Mother business. She also enrolled in a cooking course, but the tutor seemed hated her. And Rachel-Evan's relationship getting cuter. I hope there's more story about Whit 

and Brianna!!!

(show spoiler)


And since I've not read book #3, I hope my wish granted :D


The Grimmer Retelling of A Grimm Stories

A Tale Dark and Grimm - Adam Gidwitz, Khairi Rumantati, Lala Bohang In a Glass Grimmly - Adam Gidwitz The Grimm Conclusion  - Adam Gidwitz

Title: A Tale and Dark Grimm (#1); In A Glass Grimly (#2)and The Grimm Conclusion (#3)

Series: A Tale and Dark Grimm Series

Author: Adam Gidwitz

Publisher: Dutton's Children Books; Gramedia Pustaka Utama

Publication Time: 2010-2013


Book #1

In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches.

Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after.


Book #2

More Grimm tales await in the harrowing, hilarious companion to a beloved new classic

Take caution ahead—
Oversize plant life, eerie amphibious royalty, and fear-inducing creatures abound.

Lest you enter with dread.
Follow Jack and Jill as they enter startling new landscapes that may (or may not) be scary, bloody, terrifying, and altogether true.

Step lively, dear reader . . .
Happily ever after isn’t cutting it anymore.

In this companion novel to Adam Gidwitz’s widely acclaimed, award-winning debut, A Tale Dark & Grimm, Jack and Jill explore a new set of tales from the Brothers Grimm and others, including Jack and the Beanstalk and The Frog Prince.


Book #3

Widely praised and beloved by children, adults, and critics alike, Adam Gidwitz delivers a third serving of eerie new landscapes and fear-inducing creatures in a story sure to delight and frighten fans old and new. In the final book in the series, Adam's brilliantly irreverent narrator leads readers through a fresh world of Grimm-inspired fairy tales, based on such classics as The Juniper Tree, the real story of Cinderella, and Rumpelstiltskin.


What I Thought

I'm not used with retelling stories, but this one is too hilarious to be ignored. Yes, there were so many blood, decapitations and on the top of that, infanticides. In the first book, Hansel and Gretel must faced the fact that their parents killed them to raised their royal servant, Johannes. They also should faced the cannibal baker, cut a finger to made a key and the moon in their world ate children. This is kind of a retelling that the princess must be kidnapped first before married the kidnapper. And this is also kind of stories where children could live happily ever after with their parents after beated the dragon. 


In the second book, Jack and Jill (and the frog which is not a prince), met the Giants from the story Jack and The Beanstalk. This part quite disgusting for me, even though it was the part of Jill's clever plan. But in other hand, this book also the most hilarious book among others. It because of The Eidechse von Feuer, der Menschenfleischfressend a.k.a Eddie. This lizard and the Frog were the most interesting duo of this series. And the last book is the worst book of the series, at least for me. Before our MC's Jorinda and Joringel met someone unpredictable in the history of the retelling stories (okay, I'm babbling...), the story went awesome. But when the most surprising cameo on the retelling universe

('s Adam Gidwitz himself)

(show spoiler)

I thought he would be a regular cameo. But of course, he was not. He influenced the plot so much and for me it was super weird!  I mean, this retelling basically are weird, but it's a FUN weird.


Well, for those who don't bother with a retelling with disturbing things I've mentioned above, I recommended this series. Besides, this series still has the most important things in the world of fairy tales: the moral of the story. 


(I've read the translation version for the first book but the other two were in English)

Gabi, A Girl With a Strong Heart

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces - Isabel Quintero Flores

Title: Gabi, A Girl in Piece

Author: Isabel Quintero

Publication Date: Sept 22nd 2014

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Page Number: 208



Named to "Kirkus Reviews" Best Books of 2014

Named to "School Library Journal" Best Books of 2014

Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy's pregnancy, Sebastian's coming out, the cute boys, her father's meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.


Isabel Quintero is a library technician in the Inland Empire. She is also the events coordinator for Orange Monkey and helps edit the poetry journal "Tin Cannon." "Gabi" is her debut novel.



What I Thought:


What a though girl Gabi was. She's an Mexican American high-school teen, she has two best friends: Sebastian the gay (and who always be bullied because of it) and Cindy the pregnant girl (she also mocked by their school friends because of it), a father who always be high, an ignorant mother and a younger brother who hate their father. Gabi also found herself as a fat girl who loves to eat. But in other hand, she's a poetry genius, she's a caring person and the most of all, she's quite attractive for some boys.


This book is about finding ourselves and the true dreams even in the harsh time. This book also gave me another perspective about teenage sex. As an adult, this book told me the big confusion of teenager about their sex life. This is a good book and it has lots of messages, especially for parents.


Opening Lines:

July 24


My mother named me Gabriela after my grandmother who -- coincidentally -- didn't want to meet me when I'm born because my mother was not married and was therefore living in sin.

A Secret Love During Holiday Project

Sock it to Me, Santa! - Madison  Parker

Title: Sock It To Me, Santa!

Author: Madison Parker

Publisher: Smashwords

Publication Date: Nov 12th 2012

Page Number: 55 pages



Ryan is assigned to Jamie Peterson for his class's secret gift exchange. If word gets out that he has to make a handcrafted gift for flamboyant and openly gay Jamie, Ryan will be the laughing stock of the school. It's a good thing no self-respecting boy would be caught dead in a craft store, because otherwise he'd be at risk of being spotted when his mom drags him to her weekly craft workshops. He hopes Jamie will appreciate all the trouble he's going to for this assignment. Finding the perfect gift is gonna be tricky. Jamie deserves something good, though, after all the crap he has to put up with at school. At least, Ryan tells himself that's the reason he's putting so much thought into the gift. It couldn't be that he has feelings for Jamie, could it?


What I Thought:

A cute GLBT story and Secret Santa project revealed the true feeling. Like any other GLBT teen stories, this novella also showed the anxiety to be recognized as a gay teen. The fear of closest people's reactions to the gayness. But also like any other GLBT teen stories, nothing to worried


Opening Lines:

I don't know what made me do it -- what made me say her name. I guess I panicked.

The Bigness Of The World -- Short Stories

The Bigness of the World: Stories - Lori Ostlund

Title: The Bigness of The World

Author: Lori Ostlund

Publisher: Scribner

(Expected) Publication Date: Feb 16th 2016

Page Numbers: 272


Winner of the Flannery O'Connor Prize, the Edmund White Award, and the California Book Award, Lori Ostlund's "heartbreaking and wonderful" (Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Russo) debut collection of stories about men and women confronting the unmapped and unexpected.

In Lori Ostlund's award-winning debut collection, people seeking escape from situations at home venture out into a world that they find is just as complicated and troubled as the one they left behind.

In prose highlighted by both satire and poignant observation, The Bigness of the World contains characters that represent a different sort of "everyman" men and women who poke fun at ideological rigidity while holding fast to good grammar and manners, people seeking connections in a world that seems increasingly foreign. In "Upon Completion of Baldness" a young woman shaves her head for a part in a movie in Hong Kong that will help her escape life with her lover in Albuquerque. In "All Boy" a young logophile encounters the limits of language when he finds he prefers the comfort of a dark closet over the struggle to make friends at school. In "Dr. Deneau's Punishment", a math teacher leaving New York for Minnesota as a means of punishing himself engages in an unsettling method of discipline. In "Bed Death", a couple travels Malaysia to teach only to find their relationship crumbling as they are accepted in their new environment. And in "Idyllic Little Bali", a group of Americans gather around a pool in Java to discuss their brushes with fame and end up witnessing a man's fatal flight from his wife.

"Ostlund constantly delights the reader with the subtlety of her insights as well as the carefulness of her prose" (San Francisco Chronicle), revealing that wherever you are in the world, where you came from is never far away. "Each piece is sublime" (Publishers Weekly, starred review).


What I Thought:


This book is definitely different with the other short stories I've read recently.
I just think that some of the stories could be the beginning chapter of a novel, such as the story that used as the title of this collection. And I sure have some favorites here, besides
the Bigness of The World itself, like Taking Fowl with My Father, Idyllic Little Bali, Dr. Daneau's Punishment and All Boy. The written of Lori Oslund is absolutely stunning.

Chasing A Dream in The Harsh Time

20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Guo, Xiaolu (2009) Paperback - Xiaolu Guo

Title: 20 Fragments of Ravenous Youth

Author: Xiaolu Guo

Publisher: Vintage Digital

Publication Date:  Jan 1st 2001

Page Number: 208 pages



Life as a film extra in Beijing might seem hard, but Fenfang won't be defeated. She has travelled 1800 miles to seek her fortune in the city, and has no desire to return to the never-ending sweet potato fields back home. Determined to live a modern life, Fenfang works as a cleaner in the Young Pioneer's movie theatre, falls in love with unsuitable men and keeps her kitchen cupboard stocked with UFO instant noodles. As Fenfang might say, Heavenly Bastard in the Sky, isn't it about time I got my lucky break?

Longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize


What I Thought:


Heavenly Bastard in The Sky, what a gem. A wonderful read I've got from this book! I realized this kind of story won't be everybody's favorite, but in some ways, I feel related with Fenfang. Well, I didn't have an obsession to became an artist or wrote some scripts, off course. But I exactly feel the way to survive in the big city. The tiredness, the loneliness, and to feel the joy when we had achieved something, to have a little hope which make us spent more times in the unpredictable future in the big city.

This book also kept us wondering from the beginning to the end. We never knew what will going on to Fenfang. What would happened to her next, because everything could be possible, both good or bad. In other hand, I adored Fenfang's spirit. Left hometown to went 1800 miles away to Beijing to reached her dream wasn't easy thing to do. For me, this book is not an ordinary book about "from zero to hero" things. But it's more than that.

The extra pictures in every beginning of the chapter (and also the chapter's "title") definitely a big plus.


Opening Lines:


My youth began when I was 21. At least, that's when I decided it began. That was when I started to think that all those silly things in life -- some of them might possibly be for me.


When A Miracle Found on The Porch

The Boy on the Porch - Sharon Creech

Title: A Boy On The Porch

Author: Sharon Creech

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: Sep 3rd 2013

Page Number: 179



Fans of Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech's Ruby Holler will love her latest tween novel about finding family when you least expect it.

When a young couple finds a boy asleep on their porch, their lives take a surprising turn. Unable to speak, the boy Jacob can't explain his history. All John and Marta know is that they have been chosen to care for him.

And, as their connection and friendship with Jacob grow, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family and begin to see the world in brand-new ways.

The Boy on the Porch is a singular story about opening your heart and discovering home in unexpected places.


What I Thought:


One day, a boy appeared asleep on the porch of Martha and John. He didn't talk and a note that he brought said his name is Jacob. Soon, they knew that Jacob is 'communicating' in a special way: tapping, making music, drawing. But he didn't say a single word. Martha and John felt curious, what kind of parents left their child in other people house and what kind of story that Jacob left behind. Then they tried to tracked down. When they finally get used with Jacob around, they day finally arrived.

The bad things of this book were Ms.Creech left some stories unanswered. But still, I love the story. I love how Martha and John supported each other for the worst possibility. How they approached Jacob to get some little answers. How they love the children.

I even thought that Jacob is probably Superman, who they finally changed his name into Clark after Martha and John finally took him as their own child. But that's my wild imagination, off course :D And Martha is the name of Peter Parker's aunt, so.... no way :p

(show spoiler)

Some reviews said that this book is not for children, because it probably didn't have any children appeal in it. I must be agree. But still, for an adult, this book is pretty much appealing. It's beautiful and for the reason I'm still wondering, I felt this book also warm-hearting.


Opening Lines:


The young couple found the child asleep in an old cushioned chair on the front porch. He was curled against a worn pillow, his feet bare and dusty, his clothes fashioned from rough linen. They could not imagine where he had come from or how he had made his way to their small farmhouse on a dirt road far from town.

A Sister Who Lives in Everyone's Heart -- Except Me!

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece - Annabel Pitcher

Title: My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece

Author: Annabel Pitcher

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for The Young Readers

Publication Date: Aug 14th 2012

Page Number: 225 pages



Ten-year-old Jamie hasn't cried since it happened. He knows he should have - Jasmine cried, Mum cried, Dad still cries. Roger didn't, but then he is just a cat and didn't know Rose that well, really.

Everyone kept saying it would get better with time, but that's just one of those lies that grown-ups tell in awkward situations. Five years on, it's worse than ever: Dad drinks, Mum's gone and Jamie's left with questions that he must answer for himself.

This is his story, an unflinchingly real yet heart-warming account of a young boy's struggle to make sense of the loss that tore his family apart.


What I Thought:


This book is so sad. How a family could be broken because of the seems-like-forever grieving of their dead child. They ignored Jamie, and also Jasmine, just because the father can't accepted his dead little girl. The worst of all was the mother. I have no idea, what kind of mother who dare to abandoned her children for an affair. Because she was sick of her former spouse. Because they never stopped blaming each other for Rose's death. I hate when other children felt invincible because of the gone of one child. I hate this kind of parents which focus on the lost, not what left.


But the great things of this book is it teach about tolerance, especially for people who has different kind of faith. I know (from some news and convos with my abroad Muslim friends) that it's not easy become a Muslim in the place that still have bad perspective to Muslim people. I think I understand about how Sunya wanted to be a "normal". This book is wonderful. I can say, I adore this book so much! Recommended for those who open minded, about everything.


Opening Lines:

My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece. Well, some of her does. Three of her fingers, her right elbow and her kneecap are buried in a graveyard in London.


40 Ways To Be True To Ourselves

40 Things I Want to Tell You - Alice Kuipers

Title: 40 Things I Want To Tell You

Author: Alice Kuipers

Publishers: HarperTrophy Canada

Publication Date: Feb 21st 2012

Page Number: 240 pages



Amy (a.k.a. Bird) seems to have the perfect life: loving parents, a hot boyfriend, the best friend ever. She even writes an online advice column, full of Top Tips, to help other teens take control of their lives. But after a new guy shows up at school, Bird can’t seem to follow her own wisdom.

Pete is the consummate bad boy. He’s everything Bird is not: wild, unambitious and more than a little dangerous. Although she knows he’s trouble, Bird can’t stay away. And the more drawn she is to Pete, the more cracks are revealed in her relationship with Griffin, her doting boyfriend. Meanwhile, her parents’ marriage is also fracturing, possibly for good.

Bird is way out of her comfort zone. All it takes is one mistake, one momentary loss of control, for her entire future to be blown away .

What I Thought:

It's just me or the cover of this edition is the different crop of What Now, Tilda B?'s cover? Oh, never mind. It still a beautiful cover, anyway.

Amy Bird was Ms. Perfect. She also have her own conseling site about "how to take control of your life" (with some tips in it) for teens, she have a BFF (the pretty, rich and loyal Cloe), a charming boyfriend (a neighbour-turned-bestfriend-turned-lover Griffin) and everything about her future seemed well planned (Oxford University for next education destination). But when she met Pete, a new student in her school, everything went to opposite ways. When I read part one, I thought this book gonna talked about love triangle or probably loyalty. But the problems in part two went deeper. There were problems which involved parents and also a baby. And then, everything in Amy's life turned upside down, from Ms. Perfect to Miss Take.

I must admit I enjoyed reading this. This is my second Alice Kuipers's book after Life on The Refrigerator Door which I read a couple days ago. But this book have the heavier material rather than the former ones, because it involved teenage pregnancy (teens and pregnancy always be a biggest problem, even in the real world). I like the way the story goes, but the ending seemed an utopia. Well, I think because this is a YA, we can't give the MC too many burdens. But this is a good book, after all

Opening Lines:

"There's something I've been meaning to tell  you." I leaned back in my desk chair, resting the phone between my cheek and my ear, and doodled on the pad of paper by my computer. There were ten items on my to-do list and I scratched a pen line through the fourth: Tell Cleo.

The Life as An African-American Girl in 60's

Coffee Will Make You Black: A Novel - April Sinclair

Title: Coffee Will Make You Black

Author: April Sinclair

Publisher: Open Road Media

Publication Date: Aug 18th 2015

Page Number: 240 pages



An African American girl comes of age during the civil rights movement in April Sinclair’s hilarious, insightful novel that was named Book of the Year (Young Adult Fiction) for 1994 by the American Library Association

Jean “Stevie” Stevenson lives in Chicago’s South Side, a neighborhood that acutely feels the social changes of the 1960s. Curious and witty, bold but naïve, Stevie ponders questions such as what makes good hair, and which skin shade is better in light of “Black Is Beautiful.” Amid the War on Poverty, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., race riots, and the Black Power movement, Stevie grows into a socially aware young adult with a burgeoning sexuality and pride in her identity. Learning as much from her mother’s strictness, her father’s steady encouragement, and her grandmother’s strength as she does from her wild friend Carla and her white teacher Nurse Horne, Stevie makes the sometimes harrowing, often hilarious, always enthralling journey into adulthood.
Coffee Will Make You Black received the Carl Sandburg Award from the Friends of the Chicago Public Library.


What I Thought:

Firstly, I have no idea what this book about. The title definitely catched my attention. I was hoping that this book gonna brought me for some racial issues. Well, it is. But, there were things that disturbed me as well.

Mama, are you a virgin?"

That's the first line in this book. It kinda surprised me, because the question came from twelve years old Jean "Stevie" Stevenson. And to add more surprises, at least in my opinion, there were so many convos in this book which around sex things and most of it came from preteens. Most of Stevie and Carla (especially Carla) talked about is how to had a boyfriend and get laid. I realized that this is the part of the culture which way different with mine. But still, it made me nervous (I have a two and a half y.o daughter, which I imagined to have this kind of conversation with her, someday).

The other things that pretty disturbed me is Stevie's parents. Her Daddy is a janitor in a hospital and her Mama is a bank teller. I don't like how her Mama disrespected her husband and I also don't like how a mother portrayed here. In this book, Stevie and her mother kinda have a love-hate relationship. I love the innocent in Stevie's questions to her Mama, but I dislike how her Mama answered. Probably, open mind conversation (especially about sex thing) still forbidden in that time. To be honest, most of YA I've read recently portrayed a mother in the pathetic ways. How a mother could be so mean, hard to understood their children, forced them to be what she liked without considering what the kids wanna do and other things like that, which made a mother is kinda a bad witch. To be honest, I really don't get it.

The racial things wrapped the whole book through the convos. Even though the racist scenes undescribed literally, I could felt in every convos how frustrating the black people about how the white people threat them (the setting of this book is around 1967-1969). I felt the enthusiasm as the effect of Martin Luther King's speech and also the sad and anger when he'd assasinated. This book gave us those kind of emotions.

I also finally know that black people slang is interesting.

Black folks on Illinois prairie call parties "sets". And if you dressed up, we called it "jumpin' cleans" or "gettin' clean". And like I told you before, white folks, "hoogies". If you're dating a white person, we refer to you as "hunting Greyhound" or simply "riding the bus"

I could imagined the way Grandma Dickens swing her words and I think it's amazing.

And...the biggest thing of all....nobody told me that this book has sequel (and as the bonus from the publisher, the 40 pages of Ain't Gonna Be the Same Fool Twice: A Novel promised me a good material!).

A Cup Of Normal -- This Week Short Stories

A Cup of Normal - Devon Monk

Title: A Cup of Normal

Author: Devon Monk

Publisher: Fairwood Press

Publication Date: Jul 22nd 2013

Page Numbers: 264 pages



These twenty-two short stories are measured out with a cup of normal and a pound of the fantastic. From dark fairytales to alien skies, Monk’s stories blend haunting yesterdays, forgotten todays and twisted tomorrows wherein:

...A normal little girl in a city made of gears, takes on the world to save a toy....A normal ancient monster living in Seattle, must decide if love is worth trusting a hero...A normal patchwork woman and her two-headed boyfriend stitch their life and farm together with needle, thread, and time...a normal vampire in a knitting shop must face sun-drenched secrets...a normal snow creature’s wish changes a mad man’s life...a normal man breaks reality with a hamster...and yes, a normal little robot, defines how extraordinary friendship can be.

Poignant, bittersweet, frightening, and funny, these stories pour out worlds that are both lovely and odd, darkly strange and tantalizingly familiar, where no matter how fantastic the setting or situation, love, freedom, and hope find a way to take root and thrive


What I Thought

Another short stories for this week. Away from Willful Creatures I've read recently, this one has familiar themes, such as paranormals, fairy tales, myths and robots. It also has some death themes (which I love so much). The lyrical proses stunned me until the last page. The cover (at least the one that I have) is one of the most beautiful cover I've ever seen.


A Cup of Normal Cover


Willful Creatures -- This Week Short Stories

Willful Creatures - Aimee Bender

Title: Willful Creatures

Author: Aimee Bender

Publisher: Anchor

Publication Date: Aug 26th 2009

Page Numbers: 115 pages



Aimee Bender’s Willful Creatures conjures a fantastical world in which authentic love blooms. This is a place where a boy with keys for fingers is a hero, a woman’s children are potatoes, and a little boy with an iron for a head is born to a family of pumpkin heads. With her singular mix of surrealism, musical prose, and keenly felt emotion, Bender once again proves herself to be a masterful chronicler of the human condition.


What I Thought

What a bizzare yet beautiful short stories. Every story felt so magical. My favorite is the Ironhead about a boy with head as an iron, who born in the middle of pumpkinheads family. Also Dearth, the story about a woman who has potatoes as her babies. It was hard for me to find the true meanings for some stories which too surealist, but since it wrote so beautiful, I have nothing to complaint.

Adventures in the Oronsay

The Cat's Table - Michael Ondaatje

Title: The Cat's Table

Author: Michael Ondaatje

Publisher: Vintage Canada

Publication Date: Jun 12th 2012

Page Numbers: 269 pages



In the early 1950s in Ceylon an eleven-year-old boy is put alone aboard a ship bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated at the insignificant "cat's table"--as far from the Captain's table as can be--with two other lone boys and a small group of strange fellow passengers: one appears to be a shadowy figure from the British Secret Service; another a mysterious thief, another seems all too familiar with the dangerous ways of women and crime. On the long sea voyage across the Indian Ocean and through the Suez Canal, the three boys rush from one wild adventure and startling discovery to another: experiencing the first stirrings of desire, spying at night on a notorious shackled prisoner, moving easily between the decks and holds of the ship. As the secretive adult world is slowly revealed, they begin to realize that a drama is unfolding on board, and the prisoner's crime and fate will be a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them and link them forever. 


What I Thought 

The author keep saying that this book is fictional, from the story to the characters. It's hard to believe, actually, if we see the details of every events. But one thing for sure, Mynah and his two boys are great observers. Some parts bored me but this novel is beautiful.


Opening Lines

He wasn't talking. He was looking from the window of the car all the way

The Truths from the Others Point of Views

The Truth About Alice - Jennifer Mathieu

Title: The Truth About Alice

Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont

Publication Date: Jun 1st 2014

Page Numbers: 149 pages


A riveting YA novel about beauty, youth and the terrible power of malicious words. There are a lot of rumours about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether they’re true. It all started at a party when Alice supposedly was with two guys in one night. But when one of those guys died in a car crash, the rumours exploded into serious allegations that his death was Alice’s fault.

Now the one friend Alice has in her suffocating small town may be the only other person who knows the truth – but he’s too afraid to admit it. 


What I Thought (I reviewed it in Bahasa Indonesia)

Alice Franklin is a slut

Itulah yg dipercaya oleh seluruh murid di Healy High dan juga para orangtua di kota kecil Healy. Alice telah tidur dengan dua orang sekaligus, Brandon Fitzsimmons, sang quarterback terbaik sekolah sekaligus atlet terbaik yg dimiliki Healy dan Tommy Cray, mahasiswa tingkat dua, di pesta Elaine O'Dea, cewek terpopuler sekolah sekaligus pacar putus-nyambung Brandon. Bahkan sahabatnya, Kelsie Sanders, memutuskan hubungan dengan Alice. Beberapa minggu kemudian, Brandon tewas dalam kecelakaan mobil. Menurut Josh Waverly yg saat itu ada di kursi penumpang, Brandon teralihkan konsentrasinya karena ia menerima SMS yg tidak senonoh dari Alice ketika sedang menyetir. Alhasil, cap buruk yg melekat pada Alice bertambah satu lagi: pembunuh! 

Namun, apakah yg terjadi memang seperti itu?

Kisah yg mudah diprediksi endingnya. Tapi yg membuat buku ini unik, semua penceritaan tentang Alice tidak berasal dari sudut pandang orang pertama atau tidak dari POV Alice. Kita diajak melihat perspektif Elaine, Kelsie, Josh dan Kurt Morelli (genius nerd yg naksir berat sama Alice) terhadap rumor-rumor yg terjadi seputar Alice. Dan tentu saja, di balik semua prasangka terhadap Alice, ada rahasia yg lebih besar lagi yg disimpan masing-masing orang. 

Buat gw sih, yg paling biking shock adalah rahasia Kelsie dan Josh!

(show spoiler)

Buat gw, buku ini cukup menggambarkan hiruk pikuknya kehidupan remaja kota kecil di Amerika. Dan tetap saja, teenager sex masih jadi isu hangat sampai kapan pun, dengan segala resikonya (meski gw masih agak gak sreg dengan anggapan: It was one thing to be a girl who'd had sex. But it was something else entirely to be girl who'd had sex with two guys in one night (yep, yep, I'm an old fashioned, actually). 

This is a good book, even for a parent. Read the Kelsie's part, and you will know what I mean :)


Opening Lines

I, Elaine O’Dea, am going to tell you two definite, absolute, indisputable truths


A Disturbingly Beautiful

Delicate Monsters - Stephanie Kuehn

Title: Delicate Monsters

Author: Stephanie Kuehn

Publisher: St. Martin Griffin

Publication Date: Jun 9th 2015

Page Number: 240 pages



From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.


When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.


Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.


Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.


But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.


What I Thought

I never thought that this book would be so dark. I also never thought that someone life could be so horrible. I have no idea how a teenager should face fear, despair, anger and everything that made your life suffering,whole in one. This book will made you curious from the beginning. What's wrong with Sadie? What did Emerson do which made he felt so guilty? And what would happen to Miles? The questions continued chapter by chapter. Until suddenly....BAM!!!! You reached the climax! That was the answer of everything! And it probably would torn you up.


In some YA novels, if we found the mistakes of the main characters, the end of the book would lead us to a conclusion: who is most at fault. But in this book, it was hard to find. One bad things was the chain of another. Until I finished it, I can't decided where was the beginning of those things.This book probably won't be everyone's favorite. But trust me, once you finished it, you will craving for more. This is my first Stephanie Kuehn's book. And I believe I would try to find her other works.


Opening Lines

A ropes course was a shitty place for self-discovery. Seventeen-years-old Sadie Su understood she was meant to think otherwise, but 1) she has no interest in introspection and 2) even if she did, what the hell was the point? This loamy godforsaken spot in the Santa Cruz Mountain was a playground for perceived risk only. Nothing here was real. Nothing was transformative.

True change required true danger.

How to Tamed Our Monster

Last Night I Sang to the Monster - Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Title: Last Night I Sang To The Monster

Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Publication Date: Sep 1st 2009

Page Numbers: 239 pages



Zach is eighteen. He is bright and articulate. He's also an alcoholic and in rehab instead of high school, but he doesn't remember how he got there. He's not sure he wants to remember. Something bad must have happened. Something really, really bad. Remembering sucks and being alive - well, what's up with that?


I have it in my head that when we're born, God writes things down on our hearts. See, on some people's hearts he writes Happy and on some people's hearts he writes Sad and on some people's hearts he writes Crazy on some people's hearts he writes Genius and on some people's hearts he writes Angry and on some people's hearts he writes Winner and on some people's hearts he writes Loser. It's all like a game to him. Him.God. And it's all pretty much random. He takes out his pen and starts writing on our blank hearts. When it came to my turn, he wrote Sad. I don't like God very much. Apparently he doesn't like me very much either.


What I Thought

I found myself empty after read this book, the same effect as A.S King's Everybody Sees the Ants did to me. Even though the subject of pains were different, I thought they had the same hard life.

Why also many of us fucked up?

Zachariah Johnson Gonzales's life never be easy. His dad was an alcoholic, his mom depressed and his brother was a drug addict. Zach had a great dream, got A's in high school and went to the college. But what he found was he roomed at Cabin 9 bed 3 under "alcoholic" label. He knew something wrong with him, there was a monster inside himself. Zach met people like Mr. Garcia (his high-school teacher), Adam (his therapist) and Rafael (his fifty-three years old roommate). Those people helped him to find the sobriety for himself. Those people helped him to sang to the monster.

I'm thinking that maybe God gives us monsters for a reason.

Living is supposed to be more than a survival

Teenage addiction to alcohol and drugs probably the biggest problem in the world right now (I have no statistic data for that, it only based on lots of news about that). Family problem triggered it all. Yes, this is just my thought. But this book told me about that and it's a well written. 

Zach told Adam in one of his therapy session that one reason that made him became an alcoholic because of her mother has agoraphobia, so does his aunt - his mother's sister. Zach had a theory it because of their mother attempted suicide.

(show spoiler)

And the thing that made hooked on this book was the curiosity about what exactly happened to Zach. I know that I don't know anything about teen alcoholic and the repeated words almost killing me (with word "cry" five times in one page from 70 in total and 35 times of "tear" in the whole book). This is a total drama, I must say. Like watching a noir midnight drama movie on local TV, with no back sounds and long silence. I won't say it bad, not at all. But it need lot of patience. The ending predictable but in a good way. I love the ending :)


"You're crying", I said
"It happens sometimes", he said
"Do we hurt you?"
"No. You moved me, Zach"

Opening Lines

Some people have dogs. Not me. I have a therapist. His name is Adam.

I'd rather have a dog.