Just finished …
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead | Brilliant! This is a children’s book, meant for younger ages than the books I usually read, but it was absolutely incredible. This is the story about Miranda, a young girl in New York City, who starts receiving mysterious notes from an unknown sender, asking her to “write out the whole story, from beginning to end.” She is, of course, confused, but after a cast of wonderful characters are introduced, everything begins to fall into place. I actually shouted aloud the moment that everything finally clicked into place for me– I was that excited. Absolutely loved it.
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley | Another Printz winner, so I had high expectations. The writing was good, and it had two storylines that merge into one (a device I am rather fond of). It also was very interesting, especially all the writing about the Book of Enoch, but in the end, the book didn’t wholly touch me. Whaley didn’t make me love the characters quite enough to care enough. I wanted to love this one; I really did. One story is about Cullen Witter, his small town that is going crazy over an extinct woodpecker who has supposedly been seen again in their community, and the disappearance of his younger brother Gabriel. The other story begins with a young missionary on his first mission. Seems right up my alley, doesn’t it? I didn’t hate this book, but it just didn’t go far enough to truly capture me.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness | Oh man. So good. I wept. This is a fascinating story about Conor, whose mother is dying of cancer, and about the yew tree in the churchyard out of their window. In the evenings, the tree walks and talks to Conor, telling him stories and demanding one from him, all as he deals with the emotions of his mother’s slow fade. So real, so raw, so dark, so clever. A must-read.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine | I found myself easily sucked into this re-telling of Cinderella, even though I think that Levine needed a couple more drafts of the manuscript (how pretentious am *I*? wow.). Still, a sweet story for children. Ella was blessed/cursed at birth with the need to obey all orders … as she grows up and falls in love, she seeks a way to end the spell that binds her, and this is the story of what happens. I honestly did find myself rather heartbroken as I read this story … I applaud Levine for that!
Going Bovine by Libba Bray | This book started out INCREDIBLE and hilarious and interesting– Cameron, a teenaged slacker, is diagnosed with the human equivalent of mad cow disease, which essentially eats holes in your brain, making it like a sponge. The descriptions were fantastic and dead-on and intense. And then Cameron starts drifting out of reality and in his unconscious state, he goes on this completely bizarre roadtrip with a dwarf and a yard gnome, guided by a punk angel in torn fishnets. In a lot of ways, I suppose I have to give Libba Bray credit, since it did seem very dream-like. The problem was that I was just not incredibly interested– and it went on far too long. Outside of Narnia, I’m not a huge fan of big quests in books. This just got too wacky and too long for me. I finished it though because I was so won over in the first part of the book by Bray’s phenomenal writing.
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare | Okay, so this is book #5 of the Mortal Instruments series, and it’s (obviously) safe to say I’m hooked. I am writing this mini-review at 1:25am, having just finished it. I don’t know how Cassie Clare keeps doing it, but she just introduces such heartbreaking plot elements in every novel. I feel like I can’t truly review this book without any spoilers, since there are four other books before it, all filled with twists and turns and secrets revealed. I will say that I am PUMPED for the sixth and final book of this series … which I just looked up and discovered is not coming out until March 2014. Two-thousand-freakin’-fourteen. You have got to be kidding me. Speechless. (I don’t know how Potter fans did it … I didn’t start the series till Hallows was released.) Well, I guess it’s time for bed.
Currently reading …
The Narnian by Alan Jacobs, all about the life and creativity of C.S. Lewis, my favorite
En route to my mailbox …
The Casual Vacancy by Jo Rowling
Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
So. Freakin’. Pumped.