Reading Roundup: June 2015

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

On the one hand, this book is pretty ridiculous if you think about it. An extremely privileged teenage girl (her mom's an artist and her dad's a Nobel-winning geneticist) is distraught by a family tragedy, ends up in France and finds a secret diary, and discovers new facts that change what we know about music history. Oh and (spoiler alert) there's some time travel involved. The writing is pretty overwrought to match the craziness of the plot. However, despite the fact that it was a bit silly, I really enjoyed being along for the ride.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

This was our book club pick for the month, and while it was not everyone's favorite, I really loved it. It started out slowly, but after a while I started to become really invested in the characters (even though I did not always like them very much). There is a lot going on in the novel--the plot is fairly complicated, and really doesn't pick up urgency until the last third of the book. There are also a lot of interesting things going on with character development, since the two main characters have particular qualities based on the nature of their creation. I always love a meaty historical novel, and am growing to love fantastic fiction more, so this was the perfect book for me. 

Eyes on You by Kate White

I read this within a few hours during one flight of the trip I took in June. I only checked it out because it was being heavily promoted on the library's e-book site and I thought a thriller would be a good way to pass the time on a long trip. It was a nice diversion, but not very well-written. It wasn't as suspenseful as it promised to be and the main character was too unlikeable to make me want to root for her at all.

Working Stiff by Judy Melinek

This was another book I read on my trip (I ended up reading four books), and I think my seatmate was a bit startled when he glanced over at my iPad because this book is really graphically gory. I thought it was fascinating and I love reading books about medicine and the human body. This book definitely delivered in that way, but it was pretty detailed in its descriptions and a few parts managed to turn my usually strong stomach.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

I thought I had read this book once long ago, but after reading it now I realized that maybe I hadn't. I think this is the kind of book I would have loved if I had read it in high school. It's quite a lot of fun and I had a good time reading it, but I didn't love it as much as I thought I would. That could also be due to reading it electronically on a long plane ride--perhaps some day I should give it another chance. 

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

This was a re-read, again because it was available for immediate e-book checkout from the library's website and I was bored in an airport. I really love this book--yeah, the conceit of a dying girl saved by love is a bit of a cliche, but I love the way that Forman really builds up Mia's character and the world of her family (the parts with her family are my favorite part of the book). The action (what there is of it) all takes place in a fairly compressed period of time under extreme circumstances, and the author still makes it compelling without being overwrought. Over the last few years since this has been published it's taken a place in the YA canon, and I think it deserves it. 

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

This book has beautiful writing and I love the way it portrayed Hispanic immigrants that are not all illegal and not all from Mexico. It has chapters told in alternating voices, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't as far as plot and character development go. I also thought the ending was a bit rushed--there was a rather sudden twist near the end that wasn't developed as much as I wanted it to be. However, this was still a great book and I would recommend reading it. Two of the major characters are in high school, and while this is not a YA book, I think it would be great reading and discussion material for an older high school class.


Earth Sign Mama said…
The Scarlet Pimpernel is a great book to read back to back with A Tale of Two Cities. The story is told from two different perspectives, and so it makes each book more interesting. Not that Dickens needs to be enhanced...I read them both a couple of times, a long time ago, so maybe now I'd feel differently about Scarlet Pimpernel.

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