Reviews: The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and The Kingdom Keepers

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178. The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Publication: Harper Paperbacks (December 7, 2004), Paperback, 400pp / ISBN 006075995X
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Read: August 2010
Source: Library book sale


This is one of those books that I put off reading forever because SO many people were reading it and telling me I should read it and that sort of thing really irritates me. I’m not one of those people who denies liking some previously-obscure thing because it’s now popular, but I AM one of those people who won’t read/watch/listen/etc just because it’s popular. Not unless I want to read/watch/listen/etc that something on my own initiative. You know? Maybe that sounds a little insane. Hm.

Anyway, I got a copy from a library book sale, and it’s been sitting on my shelf for about a year and a half. I suppose it’s been a sufficient amount of time since people had last told me to read it because I suddenly wanted to read it, and so I did. And okay! I sort of wasn’t expecting it to be good. (Just because something’s popular doesn’t mean it’s good, okay.) But it was! I think I almost cried at one point.

My favorite thing in it was, of course, the Ya-Ya’s. I loved every bit of the book they were in, even when they were acting insane. Sidda was less lovable and cried about EVERY OTHER PAGE, but I could understand why. I guess. To be honest, I found her sections of the book less interesting and emotionally satisfying than the Ya-Ya sections. Still, I liked how the Ya-Ya sections, where the Ya-Yas always had each other even when they were alone, contrasted with Sidda’s sections, where she’s constantly alone (or thinks she is), and how those two different experiences create a different sort of mindset in a person.

I also liked how what one person did in the past now affects the present, mostly through their offspring; but I tend to like those sorts of stories anyway. What do you call them– “you reap what you sow” stories? No necessarily depressing ones, though they do tend to be depressing, but stories that show that actions have consequences, even when those consequences show up several generations removed. I like linear things, I guess.

181. The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
Publication: Disney Editions (April 24, 2007), Paperback, 336pp / ISBN 1423105451
Genre: MG Fantasy/Sci-fi
Read: August 2010
Source: Bought


Oh, I don’t know. I mean, it’s a book set in DISNEY WORLD in some near-future time and it’s exciting and magical and interesting and everything, but there’s something about Mr Pearson’s writing that keeps me from truly enjoying his books. Maybe it’s because his characters never seem real to me. I wouldn’t say they’re one dimensional, because I think the protagonist, Finn, DOES have dimension, and so I know Mr Pearson can do characters properly. But none of the other characters ever come to life, which is ironic in a story that’s saying the Disney characters are alive and walking around the park when no-one’s looking. Even the other kids that help Finn defeat the evil Disney characters, even Finn’s GIRLFRIEND and BEST friend don’t have any character depth. It’s like if the Power Rangers only focused on the White Ranger for every episode and never let any of the other rangers get a bit of storyline in.

The plot had some issues, too. Most of it had Finn’s mentor going “I’ll explain everything to you later” and while he DOES eventually it takes around 100 pages for him to actually do so. And then a) it doesn’t make a lot of sense and b) it doesn’t seem all that scary. Bad Disney characters will…what? Take over Disney World? Why is that bad, besides the obvious? Meanwhile, Finn and co. are floundering around saying “wtf is happening” all the time, obvious baddies are obvious, the reason for baddies doing bad stuff is “because they’re bad,” and the whole time I wished it was slightly better.

The ending was exciting, though. It almost made up for all the slow bits in the beginning of the book. And I DID like how the reason the Disney characters were coming to life was because of all the belief (from kids who visit) being poured into them, which felt very American Gods to me. Also the way the kids were part human, part hologram because…I guess because of that belief-magic mixed with some weird technology thing? It’s never really explained, but I thought it was an interesting idea.

I’ll read the next one in the series because I want to know what happens (and I already own it), but…I don’t know. It didn’t wow me.

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  1. Avoiding the new hotness — we seem to have that in common. My daughters have picked it up, too, and not just in books. For instance, my 13-year-old twins like Justin Bieber’s music but make fun of all the girls going crazy over him. My 17-year-old still can’t bring herself to read Twilight yet because her friends rave about it too much.

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