Monday, March 26, 2012

More Books

You can tell I'm on Spring Break with all these blog updates, huh? I'll be back in hibernation in no time.

I'll begin with my favorite: OK for Now. I absolutely LOVED this book. It's probably the best book I've read for awhile. The story is told from the point of view of a thirteen year old boy (the voice in this novel is outstanding!) The books begins as his family moves to a new town. He tried to fit in, but he came from a rough home and the new town seems quick to judge. While it may sound like a downer, the book is full of light and goodness. I was moved to tears (both happy and sad) multiple times. The book is insightful, funny and warm. LOVED. IT.
Chains is another young adult fiction. Set during the Revolutionary War in New York, Chains tells the story of a young slave girl and her disabled little sister. It's a quick, easy and insightful into both the American Revolution an the issue of slavery. I was most fascinated to learn about the role of the slave population in the Revolution. It's the first in a series, and I do plan to pick up the next one. I liked it!
Sopie Kinsella does it again with her novel Twenties Girl. I've read most of her books and thoroughly enjoy them all. Twenties Girl follows a young woman who finds herself able to communicate with her recently deceased grandmother. Obsessed with her past, a young version of grandma harangues her living granddaughter into following her orders. Light, fun, cute, mind candy.
Before I Go to Sleep reads like a mystery. Due to an accident, the main character of this book wakes up every morning not knowing who she is. Every day she meets her husband for what feels like the first time. Everything is new. Every day. But she has started to keep a diary and begins to piece her life together. She's never really sure who to trust and things come to a dramatic climax. It was compelling and captivating. (Although the F word is thrown around quite a bit).

A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True
is two stories in one. Both set in Poland, the first story begins in the mid 1930 in one of the mountain villages. The second story is set in modern Poland and partway through the book the two characters collide. I found it interesting to see how Poland has dealt with all the suffering that nation has endured. This is the author's first novel, and while I didn't love it, it was a solid read.
We read Outsiders for book club this month and I found the book to be lovely. I had read it as a teenager and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. The themes are timeless and the characters are great. It's hard to believe this was written by a sixteen year old!

The Brothers is a book intended for a Mormon audience. It's set in the premortal world (before we came to Earth) and focuses on the War in Heaven. It felt very Utah-centric. I just can't imagine that 'heaven' feels so twenty-first century and includes a version of Utah Lake or a look alike of Mount Timpanogos. Seriously, so weird to me. That said, it was an interesting take on the premortal existence, and for that insight it was probably worth reading.
Another thumbs down goes to Tending Roses. It's like reading a Hallmark movie - blech! Tending Roses follows a new mother who spends a lengthy visit with her growingly incapable grandmother. Grandma mysterious leaves these little stories around that provide insight into her granddaughters problems. The relationships were flat, the advice was trite (with occasional moments of decent) and the story was predictable. Skip it.
I heard about Thirteen Reasons Why from TZ. The story unfolds as the main character receives a shoebox full of old cassette tapes with messages recorded by a young girl who just committed suicide. She uses these tapes to explain why she opted to kill herself. Each side of the tape is directed at one person at school that somehow contributed to her suffering. It was a really interesting look at the darker side of high school and I found it very telling.

I also reread New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker. But since I've already reviewed it, I'll skip that. But I will say it made for an amazing discussion at book club. Some opted out, which I totally understand. But for those who read the book and came it was a fabulous night.

The best of this group? OK for Now, Twenties Girl and Chains. Next on my list? The Immortal Life of Henrietta Laks.


Julie Ramsay said...

Loved the immortal life of Henrietta Lachs. We read it for book club. I'll have to read some of your other picks!

Cheryl said...

I think "The Outsiders" is why I love English!

Cheryl said...

Have you read "The Wednesday Wars" yet? It's by the same author as your first review.


ganelle said...

Cheryl, I just got Wednesday Wars for my kindle yesterday. I was a bit worried it might be too young, so I'm excited you recommend it. Yay!

Lindsey Hicks said...

Ganelle - I wish I had your email address. Would you email me so I have it?

Tim said...

K, I'm a slacker sister for not reading your blog more often! First of all thanks for all the book recommendations. Secondly, love the Mayor thing! Thirdly, awww, little caboose!!!

tz said...

henrietta lachs is on my to read after I'm done with my MSN list....that's all I'm going to do this summer -- READ :D

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