Just finished …
Quitter by Jon Acuff | I don’t review a lot of non-fiction on this blog, but this book was fantastic. It’s about how to turn your day job into your dream job, and it was very wise … and funny. Jon Acuff is the man behind the hilarious Stuff Christians Like blog! If you’re in a funk at your day job, you should definitely pick up this book. Acuff spoke at the university where I work this past fall and was wonderful, so when NoiseTrade gave a free audio download of Quitter, I jumped at the opportunity (even though I’m actually not in a funk at my day job … but I wish I’d read this book last summer!).
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness | I was excited to read another Patrick Ness book, since I liked A Monster Calls so much! The Knife of Never Letting Go features protagonists a little younger than I usually like (Todd is about 13-14 … their years have 13 months, sooooo …), but I really loved it. Todd lives on New World in a place called Prentisstown, where men can hear each others’ thoughts. There are no women or girls; the plague that made men’s thoughts into noise killed off the females, Todd is told. There’s a dark secret to Prentisstown, and as Todd approaches becoming a man, he finds himself on the run from a savage army. Along with a girl, because, yup, they’re not actually all gone. I’ve already started the second Chaos Walking book, The Ask and the Answer, and I’m loving that one as well!
Across the Universe by Beth Revis | This book got rave reviews from teens, who chose it as a YALSA Teens Top Ten Book for 212. It’s about a girl named Amy, who is cryogenically frozen with her family, who are all to be unfrozen when they reach Centuri-Earth, about 350 years later. But Amy is unfrozen early and finds herself on spaceship run by lies. It was interesting, for sure, and I’m intrigued to find out what happens in the rest of this trilogy, but I have to say that I wasn’t terribly impressed with the writing. Also, it kinda features an annoying insta-love, leaving me wondering if Elder likes Amy for anything more than her amazing red hair. Sigh. Still, I think I’ll tarry on. Just got the second book, A Million Suns, from the library.
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker | A little different from my normal YA, this book is an adult novel about 12-year-old Julia, set in a time when the rotation of the earth began to slow. It’s a very interesting take on the “disaster book”: instead of some calamitous event like a giant asteroid smacking into earth, what if the disaster is tiny and slow-going? At first, the slowing of the earth only adds a couple extra minutes onto each day, but over the course of a year, daylight (and nighttime) stretch out much longer. Great writing. Fascinating concept. A little slower than my usual, but that’s okay. I still recommend it!
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris | I love David Sedaris so freakin’ much. The only book of his I didn’t really love was his one book of fiction, but I adore all his memoir! This book doesn’t fail to delight as readers are treated to Sedaris’s dry and incredible humor as well as stories about the hilarious Sedaris family. I recommend!
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral | This book was fascinating because it wasn’t made of text but of photos and paraphernalia such as music programs, text messages, and postcards. From that, I learned the love story of Glory and Frank. I can’t wait for another friend of mine to “read” it so that we can compare stories and see if our interpretations were the same!
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | Okay, so I read this one in 19 hours, and that included 11 of them sleeping, ha! So, yeah, I tore through this one. It’s about a girl named Juliette whose touch is lethal. This has always made her a freak, an outcast, and the story starts with her locked up in an asylum. When a corrupt new government decides to use her power as a weapon, Juliette is thrown into a new world where it’s hard to know whom to trust. But there is Adam. Yeah. He’s awesome. The book is not without its faults though. It’s distracting to always have her use actual numbers instead of spelling them out (3 vs. three), and I don’t love how she repeats repeats repeats words quite often. Everything is a metaphor (I didn’t know there could be too many, but yes, I guess there can!). There’s a lot of sexual energy in the book, as you might imagine would be true for a 17-year-old girl who can’t be touched. All said, it’s not a perfect book, but it did draw me in– and quickly! I can’t wait to read the next book, Unravel Me. The third book doesn’t come out till February 2014 though!
David Small and Sarah Stewart were keynote speakers at a Children’s and YA Writing Conference I recently attended, and so sparked an interest in me for picture books. I was quite pleased and impressed with Extra Yarn (written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen), One Cool Friend (written by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by David Small), and The Friend (written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small). And it was a joy to re-read Imogen’s Antlers, written and illustrated by David Small, so many years after I’d originally read it. I have a new appreciation for picture books and all the steps it takes to pull text and illustrations together into a beautiful, cohesive unit!
I also just finished reading through The Chronicles of Narnia. Mmm, always Narnia.
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
A Million Suns by Beth Revis