So…yeah. I haven’t posted in a loooooooooong time; I sold a house, bought a house, took Cataloging, went to the beach, refinished a bunch of furniture, started a new semester, and potty-trained a 2 1/2 year old–all in the few months since my last post. Despite all of this, I have actually been reading A LOT, and I’ve read some really great books. I’m going to do a short review here and give letter grades; if I reread any of them (a definite possibility), I’ll do a full review then.
Without further ado, here’s what I’ve read since June:
The Infinite Moment of Us, Lauren Myracle (Amulet)–B+
I liked this story about the romance of two just-graduated high school seniors, Wren and Charlie, a lot but found the ending to be a little too perfect. Myracle doesn’t shy away from the physical realities of two 18 year old in love (ie. there’s some pretty explicit sex scenes), but I thought it was done sensitively and was totally authentic.
Where the Stars Still Shine, Trish Doller (Bloomsbury)–A-
I found myself very emotionally attached to the characters in this book; one of whom, Callie, was kidnapped by her mother at the age of four and, at the beginning of the story, has been returned to her father at 17. I think Doller does a great job of examining a lot of the issues Callie experiences upon her return to the “real” world, but again, the ending seems a little pat. This is another book I’d say would be best for older YA due to its treatment of teen sex–it’s done well and feels very true to the characters, but it is present.
Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s)- A-
I was very conflicted about Rowell’s debut YA novel, Eleanor and Park, despite finding its sentence-level writing to be pretty amazing. In her second book, Rowell proves she is still writing AMAZING prose, but I found the characters much, much less problematic. Things it’s about: fanfic, the first year of college, Nebraska, twins, abandonment, depression, and first love.
Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein (Disney Hyperion)- A+
Holy crap, this book was INCREDIBLE. It’s the companion to Code Name Verity, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s even better. Rose is an American pilot working for the British during World War II. Her plane crashes in Nazi territory, and she ends up at the Ravensbruck women’s concentration camp. That’s all I’m going to say. READ IT.
The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic)- A
The sequel to last year’s The Raven Boys, this book was, in a word, a mindf**k. Seriously. Half the time I wasn’t really sure I understood what was happening, but it all worked. It has very little to do with the ley line story from the first book and way more to do with Ronan’s mystical/magical abilities. As usual, Stiefvater’s writing is lyrical and beautiful, and I can’t wait for the next one.
Reality Boy, AS King (Little, Brown)- A-
Although this book isn’t without its problems (like I’m not sure what’s going on with the whole circus thing), I found it SO powerful. It examines the life of a teenage boy whose family was once the subject of a “Supernanny”-like TV show and the fallout the show produced. Unlike some other readers, I liked the unreliable narrator technique King uses, but I will admit that this is not a sure-fire winner for all readers.
Sex and Violence, Carrie Mesrobian- A
I’m not a fan of this book’s title, but its content is pretty great. Another male narrator, this time one was has, shall we say, a rather loose set of requirements for the girls he “gets down with.” This risky behavior lands Evan first in the hospital and then living with his dad in a remote lakeside community. The plot of this book wasn’t really what drew me in–it was the characterization. Evan is such a nuanced, complicated character…and I just wanted to give him a hug the whole time.
All of the books above are either very recent releases or coming out in the next month or so…the ones below are a little older (some a lot older), and I’m just going to give grades to them. If the title and genre sounds interesting to you, go look them up!
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline (sci-fi)–A+++++
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Jennifer Smith (YA romance)- B
Difficult Men, Brett Martin (non-fiction)- B+
A ton of romance novels by Eloisa James–range from B- to A…I’d never read anything by her, but I was pleasantly surprised. I especially liked the quartet whose titles are derived from Shakespeare.
A lot of reading, not a lot of time. Hope you find something you like!