How To Dutch: Yer A Wizard, Harry

April 18, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: How To Dutch3 comments

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Welcome to How to Dutch, where Ellis (The Random Transliterator) and I combine two things that are very important to us: our books and our heritage. Two weeks ago, Ellis taught you how to thank us properly for the awesomeness that is this feature, which you seem to enjoy very much. Seriously, your response has been overwhelming and enthusiastic and just overall incredible: HEEL ERG BEDANKT! Today, I’m talking about a series that everyone knows and loves (and if you don’t, you may now leave, thank you): Harry Potter.

While I have read the Harry Potter books in English as well, I have read my (well, my dad’s) Dutch copies over and over again. I grew up with the Dutch version, and to this day, it is my favorite translation of a series ever. Translator Wiebe Buddingh didn’t just translate the text, but the names, places and puns as well, to make it fit for a Dutch audience, and he did so perfectly. Though nothing beats the original stories, Buddingh did a hell of a job with this translation. (It will also be quite hard for non-Dutch people to understand, because it fits our culture so well.) Because this series is so massive (and awesome), we decided to split it into two parts. This week, I’ll show you ten translated sentences from the first three books, as well as ten brilliantly translated names, and next week, Ellis will talk about the other four books and other noteworthy translations. You can thank us later.

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Review: Life by Committee

April 17, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Review, 2 comments

Review: Life by CommitteeTitle: Life by Committee
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Genre/Age Group: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Edelweiss
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: 4 Stars

Some secrets are too good to keep.

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat.

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe.

Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.

But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

my thoughts

I just finished reading Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu about five minutes ago, and, oh my gosh, my mind is REELING. As I’m typing this review, it is currently two months before this book’s publication date, and I may go crazy waiting until I can discuss it with other readers! The story is so unique; I don’t think I’ve ever read one quite like it. And I can’t say enough about Haydu’s brilliant writing. I somehow missed her debut novel, OCD Love Story (I will definitely be reading it soon), so her wonderful writing was such a pleasant surprise. If you enjoy contemporary YA, I definitely recommend that you get your hands on a copy of Life by Committee.

The story is told in the first person by 16-year-old Tabitha, who is learning to handle the effects of growing up and “getting hot.” As is the case with most 16-year-olds, she begins wearing cute clothes and focusing more on her outward appearance. Her lifelong best friend, Jemma, dislikes the new Tabby and is somewhat of a bully to her, telling her that she is “going in the wrong direction as a person.” Then, with no best friend, Tabitha seeks comfort from the cocky hockey player, Joe. At first, she chats with him online, and then they become more intimate and start meeting in person (and no, not just as friends).

The entire time, Tabitha is aware that Joe already has a girlfriend—Joe and Sasha are the “it” couple of the school. Not exactly a great argument against being the “slut” that her classmates accuse her of being, right? Additionally, Tabitha’s parents have their own problems that prevent them from really being there for her. Feeling completely alone, she stumbles across a website, and upon further investigation, discovers that it is a members-only secret-society-type group called Life by Committee. It doesn’t take long for Tabitha to be immersed in this group since it feels like a safe haven for her. The cost of membership? Tell the group a secret, complete the group’s corresponding assignment in 24-hours, and voila!—problem solved. Could it really be this simple?

Now, this isn’t the type of YA contemporary that I usually enjoy. I want the romance. I want to fall in love with the characters. I want sweet friendships; healthy family relationships; lovely settings. Life by Committee has none of these things, but guess what? I really, really liked it! Though I didn’t love Tabitha (cheating annoys me!), I absolutely sympathized with her. She has to deal with a lot of things that would break most any 16-year-old. Her friends dumped her, her classmates spread rumors about her, the guidance counselor teams up against her, the guy she “loves” is using her, Paul (her father) stays high all the time, and her pregnant mother keeps referring to how they are going to “do things right with the next baby.” No wonder she turns to a group of strangers for support and friendship.

After Tabitha discovers the Life by Committee website, the story turns into a total roller coaster ride. When I was about halfway into the book, I started carrying my Kindle with me everywhere. I had to know what Tabitha’s next secret/assignment was going to be. The concept of having an anonymous support group that helps you decide how to handle complicated life situations seems like a brilliant idea, right? I’ve wished on more than one occassion that I had somebody to make a tough decision for me!

Tabitha almost loses sight of reality once she gets involved in LBC—she is literally living her life by the decisions of the “committee.” Everything she does becomes for the purpose of sharing it with the group, and no amount of discussions with actual people in her life could trump the advice given to her by a group of anonymous people. The things the LBC asks her to do go from trivial to titanic in a short amount of time. I really ended up hating her and LBC over one Assignment in particular, and if the book hadn’t ended the way it did, my rating/review would be a lot different. It actually has a hopeful ending, and I was so pleased to see major character development in most of the characters. I can’t say any more about the ending because I don’t want to give anything away—the element of surprise is what made it so enjoyable for me.

My first experience with a Corey Ann Haydu novel was a good one, and I definitely plan to pick up OCD Love Story now. If you’re a fan of YA contemporary, I recommend giving this one a try. Just keep in mind that it isn’t a warm and fuzzy romance or friendship story, but it DOES have a secret society in which people tell their deepest and darkest secrets. ;)

memorable quotes

Taken from the ARC.

“Cate says it’s the mountains that make me feel trapped sometimes. Sometimes it’s cozy, like the perfect nook in the expanse of the world, but right now, when everyone hates me, it’s more like a crawl space I can’t properly stretch in. Poking around [Life By Committee] makes me feel like I found a trapdoor, Tabitha-sized, to let me out of here.” 

“‘Stay,’ Cate says to me. She points a finger. Not only am I the crappy child they raised all wrong, not only am I their guinea pig preparing them for their real baby, I am also, apparently, a dog. I stay.”

“I am a vacation. I am the Caribbean, and a fruity drink and a sunburn and a break from real life. But I am not real life. No one lives in the Caribbean. No one wants a fruity drink every day. I’d rather be water: necessary.”

Celebrating Open Road Summer: An Interview with Emery Lord

April 15, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Author Interview9 comments

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If you follow me on Twitter, you might know that I’m kind of in love with Emery Lord’s debut novel Open Road Summer. From the very first page I knew that this was going to be my kind of book – and that is no exaggeration. My review will be up in a couple of days, but right now, I have something even more exciting happening: I got to interview Emery Lord!!! I sent her a slightly fangirly email, and she was so wonderful and agreed to answer a couple of questions. So without further ado, let’s welcome Emery to the blog!

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Review: Far From You

April 14, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Review, 7 comments

Review: Far From YouTitle: Far From You
Author: Tess Sharpe
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Genre/Age Group: Mystery, Young Adult
Source: Netgalley
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice.

The first time, she's fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that'll take years to kick.

The second time, she's seventeen, and it's no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina's murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.

After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina's brother won't speak to her, her parents fear she'll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina's murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared.

my thoughts

Far From You is a very good book I was never emotionally invested in, which makes me feel a bit conflicted about the story in general. I’m a very emotional reader, so if I don’t feel connected to a story, my rating is almost always lower than it would have been otherwise. Still, I have no doubt that Tess Sharpe is very talented and I’m looking forward to reading more by her. Part murder mystery, part beautiful romance, Far From You two very different aspects, and I think Sharpe did a great job making them work together.

I couldn’t really connect to Sophie, but I did sympathize with her. After the terrible accident she was in when she was fourteen, she’s been stuck with a limp and terrible back aches, which in turn resulted in an addiction to medication – and because this isn’t enough, she loses her best friend at seventeen. Oh, and not to mention the fact that everybody blames her for it and that her parents refuse to believe her. I mean, girl’s got it rough! All these things made Sophie a very complex character, which I liked a lot. Though Mina is only in the story through memories and flashbacks, I still thought she was a pretty flat character, almost manicpixiedreamgirl-esque (without the manic part, though). I wish she’d felt a little more real to me, but she never stood out to me.

My favorite part of Far From You was the romance, because it was so unique and so well-written. I really can’t say too much about it without spoiling anything, but let’s just say that the love between these two people felt so real and it was really beautiful to read about. I guess you could say that this book has some kind of love triangle, but don’t be alarmed. Firstly, it’s not even a real love triangle, because Sophie’s heart belongs to one person completely. Also, I thought the bond between these three people was heart-warming and again, so raw and real and well-written. I never doubted their love for each other, in the broadest sense of the word, and I truly admire Sharpe for writing such a complex but well-worked out love story. I feel like the love story and the murder mystery were wonderfully intertwined.

The crime wasn’t really my thing, though, because I like my crime stories to be full of twists and turns and just plain terrifying, and that wasn’t the case (for me) in Far From You. While executed well enough, I thought the murder mystery part of this story was a bit bland. I just didn’t find the big twist intriguing or mind-blowing, even though I wasn’t expecting it. I felt just okay about it. I also wasn’t a big fan of the flashbacks, because the timeline was all of the place – the story went from ‘now’ to ‘fourteen years old’ to sixteen, seventeen etc. – because I had a hard time remembering where in the story I was, exactly. It did grow on me, though, and I did like the flashbacks in se, because they tell us the complex story that started long before Mina’s murder.

Even though I found Far From You a very impressive debut novel, I never felt connected enough to the characters to love it. Still, I can’t wait to see what Sharpe writes next, because I will definitely be reading it. Let’s end this review with some spoilery fangirling about my favorite aspect: View Spoiler »

memorable quotes

Taken from the ARC.

“There’s this long road ahead. It’s never-ending, because you don’t get over losing someone. Not completely. Not when she was a part of you. Not when loving her broke you as much as it changed you.”

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Epic Recs: April

April 13, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Epic Recs5 comments

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