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Review: Robot Dreams by Sara Varon

in a sentence: an emotional story of friendship, abandonment, and hope between a dog and his robot.

a dog buys and builds a robot. the dog and this robot have many adventures together and do things like watch movies, hangout at the library, and go to the beach. when robot goes INTO the water, their relationship changes.

i am amazed at how moving this graphic novel could be. the illustrations are not only fun to look at and take in, but also there are little details that give away the depth of friendship and hope. really this is a statement on the fragility of friendship, and is done in a very meaningful and catching way. it took about 10 minutes for me to go from cover to cover, but as soon as i was done, i started over at the beginning. the emotions are palpable, despite the lack of words...perhaps because of the lack of words.

i would recommend this to anyone - of any age, gender, you name it - as a quick, yet moving read. laughter meets frustration, meets sorrow, meets hope = real life friendships. i have a hard time using the VOYA standards here...but here goes: 5Q 4P . i can't imagine this being better done, but the whole "graphic novel" was something that i had to overcome - and am SO glad i did!

favorite scene:

fix er' up: nothing. not at all - this was perfect.

Title: Robot Dreams
Author: Sara Varon
Genre: Friendship, Graphic Novel, Lisa's Faves

Review: Troy by Adele Geras

in a sentence: a story about sisters, friends, gods and goddesses, war, love, pain - with a particular focus on a love triangle (more like love-hexagon) all set by the backdrop of the Trojan War.

Marpessa and Xanthe are sisters. Marpessa is Helen's personal assistant, and Xanthe is the nursemaid to Andromache (Hector's wife). the trojan war has been going on for 10 years now, and the gods on Mount Olympus are both bored and frustrated with the events unfolding, and are ready for a change...unfortunately, that's not the worst of it for Xanthe and Marpessa. love, loyalty, and divine intervention permeate their beings - for better or for worse.

from the fiery love of Paris and Helen to the loyal and tragic hero Hector, the weaving of the gods and goddesses like Zeus, Athena, and Hermes into the story is creative, without being cheesy. the love hexagon is scandalous and juicy, which left me craving for more. i loved the omniscient narrator combined with the alternating scenes for chapter titles as a way to break the monotony of the storyline. Geras uses the Trojan war as a backdrop for the story, but also to serve a greater purpose - the war itself is vital to the situations created and a macrocosm of the events. most of all, i am impressed at the deeper "greek mythology" feel to the story...that nothing turns out quite right for the characters. there is always a tinge of regret, sorrow, or frustration with their situation. how true to real life, no? the character development is solid and leaves your heart smiling with theirs and hurting when they hurt until the very end.

this is a great read for historical fiction fans, those looking for a little scandalous romance, and pretty much anyone looking to score an enthralling and passionate read. According to the VOYA standards, I give this a solid 4Q 4P.

favorite quote: "The fire was not enough. The swords and the spears and the shrieking and the blood and the broken bodies were not enough. Anger and revenge and hatred and bitterness and darkness were not enough." (301)

fix er up: when the characters see the gods and goddesses, they generally forget them almost immediately after they leave - with the exception of Marpessa. near the end i found myself getting a bit frustrated with the "and they forgot what happened" or "as soon as Ares left, so did the thoughts"...could have gone unsaid by the 3rd or 4th time.

Title: Troy: A Novel
Author: Adele Geras
Genre: Historical Fiction, Tragic Romance