Books

Book Week in Review – 21Jun14

I’ve finished four books since last Sunday, but did not feel I could do a full book review for each, so am compiling a mass review here instead.

The first I finished after I put down The Lowlands last week was The End or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis.  YA fiction, fairly cute little story about Emmy, whose best friend, Kim died.  Kim promised to visit Emmy from the afterlife, so before she dies, Kim takes Emmy to see a “specialist” in afterlife communication.  After Kim’s death, Emmy follows all the rules, and waits, expectantly, if not patiently, for Kim to show up.  Full of poignancy and humor, this was a quick and cute read with some shocking revelations throughout.

The next I finished was The Bear by Claire Cameron.  My dear librarians pulled this book off the shelves for me and said, “Read it.”  Well, what do you say to that?  So, I read it the next day.  This book was heartbreaking and intriguing, and based loosely on a true bear attack on an island in Alonquin Park in Canada.  Anna is a five-year old, almost six, who is camping with her parents and smaller brother, “Stick.”  Anna’s father saves the children from the attack and they manage to escape the bear.  The book is told from Anna’s perspective and is chilling, touching, and at times, even humorous.  Another quick read, I would recommend this one for sure.

After some difficulty choosing what to read next – my shelves are full of books I have purchased in addition to all the library books I obtain several times throughout the week, I finally pulled The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman off my shelf.  I am so glad I did read this, although it took me quite some time.  Once I was “in” I was firmly entrenched.  The Graveyard Book tells the story of Nobody “Bod” Owens, a babe who stumbles to the graveyard the same night the rest of his family is murdered by a mysterious tall man.  The man sniffs the babe out, and follows him to the graveyard, only to be denied admittance – the gates are locked and someone deters the tall man from entering.  Bod is “adopted” by a couple who are residents of the graveyard, Mr. and Mrs. Owens, who have been in the graveyard for at least three centuries.  Another creature in the graveyard declares himself Bod’s guardian, as he can leave the graveyard to obtain food for the babe.  Bod grows up in the graveyard and knows to leave the graveyard is to welcome his own death.  The book is exciting and hauntingly (ha, couldn’t resist) sweet, and a great read in general.  Gaiman is such a master at being able to flip between adult and children’s books; there are a few other authors I wish would make the same transitions.

I struggled through a few other books, reading a few chapters and then setting them aside.  17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma, a YA ghostly mystery. I ruined this one myself – I read the Goodreads reviews.  Ordinarily that’s not a bad thing, it really is how I can sometimes decide between several on what I want to read.  But this time, several people actually had spoilers without labeling that they had spoilers.  Jackasses.  Seriously, label your review “spoilers.”  I will admit that ordinarily, that will not disturb me, but this was such a dramatic spoiler, I could not get into the book, knowing what I knew.  I also started Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout, but I wasn’t in the mood.

Which brings me to the last book I finished last night.  It was another one off my own shelves, that I have had for six months now, Reached by Ally Condie.  This was the final in the Matched trilogy.  There were some issues I had personally with this one, just some improbably plot additions that really, third book, and you’re going to bring up something like that?  I almost feel as if a) she were grasping at straws to finish this one, and b) she were setting it up for spin off series.  In regards to my “a” there – at just over 500 pages, really, no need to add extraneous material that truly did not add that much value to the story; things could have happened without that extra bit of information.  So far as actual things I can discuss…?  Well, pick up any third book in any YA dystopian fiction series (with the exception of Divergent/Allegiant) and you have the basic premise for this one.  Names are different, locations are different, but it’s always essentially the same.  And, the reason that I say “with the exception of” is because of Roth’s gutsy ending in Allegiant.

And, there you have it….my week in review.  Mostly a YA week, with the exception of The Bear.  Now, onto my next read…Hmm, not sure what exactly I am going to start with now.

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