I have two to cross off my Fall Reading Challenge list...one because it was great and I read it very quickly, the other because I gave up about halfway through. I guess that's why we include alternates!
My first book, Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett was fantastic, as so many bloggers said that it was. Petra and Calder, two classmates that have barely spoken before, get thrown together into a mystery of dramatic proportions when a famous Vermeer painting is stolen en route to Chicago. After the theft, several people in town receive letters related to the painting and act very suspiciously, causing Petra and Calder to wonder just how many people they know may be involved in the theft of a priceless painting. The FBI may not be able to solve the mystery, but Petra and Calder are determined to!
The book was filled with great mystery and nice aspects of friendship despite differences. I loved Petra's quirky look (oh, did I mention the few illustrations are done by Brett Helquist of Lemony Snicket book fame?) and Calder just may be a very handsome man when he grows up. :-) I know my library just got the second book by this author in, also featuring Petra and Calder, and I can't wait to get my hands on it!
Unfortunately, the second book I started ended up being a disaster. Many could argue that I didn't give it enough time to grow on me, but I was pretty much fed up from page 2, so 65 pages was more than enough!
The Queen of Cool, written by Cecil Castallucci, follows Libby, quite literally the Queen of Cool. She has all of the best clothes, the most popular friends, and is fantastic at making fun of the not-so-cool kids in her school. She is also completely bored with all of this and decides to do something drastic and sign up for a winter session internship with the local zoo. She starts hanging out with the less-than popular kids and finds she may be more like them than she thinks.
The Queen of Cool could have been a very good book, if the language wasn't so horrible. It seemed every other word was four letters and SO not in a good sense. Not to mention, Libby's "amazing transformation" was just a tad bit miraculous and more than a bit fake. Oh well, I can't love them all I guess!