Just finished …
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell | “It’s 1986 and two star-crossed teens are smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.” I loved this book, devoured it. You will just adore the sweet characters of Eleanor and Park and their adorable little romance. It started with such a slow burn that even holding hands was enough to about make them both pass out. I loved Rowell’s writing so much and am definitely going to purchase her other books. I thought the end of this story came a little too abruptly, but altogether, I really adored this YA book. I think it might end up being a big name in the YA world. You should probably read it.
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller | Travis is a Marine on leave, struggling with PTSD and learning how to sort through home life when his little brother has stolen his car and his girlfriend. But there is this other girl in town– Harper– who makes Travis feel like things could be okay again, even after all he’s experienced in Afghanistan. This book had so much potential— but it just fell flat. The conflict was far too easily resolved (says the writer who always needs to add more conflict!), and even the climax was just too … anti-climactic. I plowed through this book, and it had some great moments, but it fell short for me.
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi | Aria lives in an enclosed biosphere; Perry lives on the outside like a “savage”; this is their story. I got so sucked into this one, especially loving the characters and all the conflict (especially after just reading Something Like Normal). This book has awesome tension! However … I have read enough books to anticipate how the story arcs, and as it was nearing the end of the book, it wasn’t arcing. I began to have a strong suspicion that this was a part of a series and that I wasn’t going to get my ending, and so I started resenting it. (Ha! I know that seems wrong: if I was enjoying it, shouldn’t I have wanted it to last longer?) But no. It started to feel too long, too drawn out. I wanted a denoument and it just kept going. And then the ending was like HUH? I verbatim said, “What the BEEEEEP?” outloud after I finished it. Then I looked it up, and yup, it’s the first book of a trilogy. I was pissed. (I don’t know what exactly is my beef with series; I love Potter and Narnia!) So, this one is up to you. They really are great characters. And it’s a fascinating world– the “insiders” in the biosphere spend most of their lives in virtual realms, and it’s quite interesting to think about. And the writing is pretty good– not exactly lyrical or anything. But if you’re going to read it, you should commit to reading the others (which are not out yet), or the ending is going to be really unsatisfying.
Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville | Jed’s father and Marina’s mother are Believers, members of a religious group that believes the world is ending on July 27th, 2000, and only the 144 Believers on Mount Weeupcut will be saved. Jed and Marina aren’t quite sure what they think about the whole thing, but they’re up on the “the Cut” for the two weeks leading up to Armageddon, thinking that falling in love at the end of the world might not be the best timing. I liked this book, but again, it didn’t blow my mind. I do think it was intended for younger readers (maybe ages 11-14), and I do think it would be a fascinating read for them. Not that I think anyone should ever “write down” to younger kids. It just didn’t go as deep into Jed and Marina’s thoughts, fears, and sorrows as much as I’d have liked. But it did bring up some great questions– I love books that make you think!
Up next …
Not sure yet. I have SO MANY new books on my shelves, and I really think I want the next book I read to be just a regular-teenagers-in-this-universe book. Maybe Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach.