I was a bad reader/blogger chick this February. Not only did I totally neglect to post this wrap-up more than halfway through the following month, but I only have a total of four books to report back on. Pitiful I know. In my defense though I spent a week and a half muddling through a horrible book (cough, cough Nora & Kettle cough), and two more finding myself head over heals with a literary behemoth with Passenger. The only plus of all this? I now know that I at LEAST have five books to report on for March. If you’re interested though in learning what my thoughts were for what I did accomplish, keep reading!
The Detour by S.A. Bodeen- 3stars
If you can remember I did a post way back in September (check it out here), on my top five most anticipated reads of the fall season. As it goes however with most of my lists, I am nowhere near completing it in a timely fashion. But hey, by reading The Detour by S.A. Bodeen this February I came one step closer. I’m even happier to report though that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this rendering of young adult Misery (my words, not theirs) and breezing through this fast paced story. It’s obviously not Shakespeare; the general plot has a lot of holes and relies on the reader to extend their belief in a major way, but the entertainment factor is sky high. There’s also some technical merits I’d like to give credit too, starting with the spine tingling writing that Bodeen nailed. It is truly a mark of talent when I can feel the hairs on my own neck stand up from the palpable tension and fear spiking in the room upon entrance of the antagonist. Likewise, it would major skills for any author to get me to like bratty protagonist Liv, yet alone care about her well-being. Case in point though, through some creative flashbacks, inner monologues, and self reflection I very much wanted her to make it home. A great weekend read and one I would highly recommend to a junior high/ high school library.
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken- 4 stars
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken is the single most intimidating book I’ve read in a long time. Clocking in at just under 500 pages, I nevertheless fell in love with nearly every aspect of this well imagined story. Though Bracken already had some hard core writing credentials at the ripe old age of 28, this first in a duology further solidified her as a literary great for years to come. Her world building is thought provoking and impeccably researched, incorporating science fiction aspects to support the time travel theme, while also showing the sheer amount of detail that went into crafting the historical periods our protagonists travel too. That’s the other thing, 21st century Etta and colonial era Nicholas have to be cutest, most ship worthy, fictional couple ever, of which I totally adored with or without the other half of their dynamic duo. Throughout the arduous journeys that obviously come with jumping across time I never doubted their ability to come together and find true love, showing that flaws only make characters more adorable. I definitely recommend this before book two, Wayfarer, comes out next January, effectively swearing my devotion to this author forever and always.
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman- 3 stars
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman is of the strangest variety of books. The kind where you know there is an important message to be had, but it just can’t make you care. Not to say that this story is meaningless, or a waste of time, but I had a nearly impossible time bringing myself to feel “things” beyond the built in safety net that comes with the territory of writing such an emotionally draining book. Because for all intents and purposes I should have cared deeply for Caden, and been moved to heartbreak as punch after punch is dealt to the Bosch family. Alas, I never reached that point. Though Shusterman is a masterful storyteller as per usual, I believe he made a critical misjudgment of the extent a reader will sympathize with a character they know nothing about. You see when the book begins Caden is already wading knee deep into the clutches of schizophrenia, leaving no time to develop his persona beyond a boy dealt a tragic hand. A strong addition (I feel) to an increasingly prevalent young adult subject, and one that doesn’t mince words in portraying the horrible nature of schizophrenia.
Anna and the Swallow Man by Gabriel Savit- 2 stars
Anna and the Swallow Man by Gabriel Savit is a confused book. It doesn’t know if it’s for children, or teenagers, or adults- and as a reader neither did I. It’s undeniable that Savit is an extremely talented writer; his word choice is impeccable (though I oftentimes had no clue what exactly it meant) and he creates beautiful imagery throughout. This gift though is also the main hindering from the story truly being worth of it’s The Book Thief comparison. See it’s so painfully obvious that the author wants his book to be a modern classic, but by choosing such heavy language and symbolism that I have no understanding of (no joke, AatSM needs a Sparknotes) he sacrificed any furthering of the storyline and therefore a chance of me caring about the characters. There is no way a young adult reader would care about this book, so any success it finds will have to come from an older reader pondering the impossibly deep thoughts no seven year old in the history of ever has actually had.
Have you guys read any of these? Was your February reading equally stunted? Let me know in the comments!
–Keep Calm and Read On