Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Report

Would you call yourself a seizer or a saver? When you have the opportunity to enjoy something nice like a favorite food or a new piece of clothing, do you seize the moment and eat the food right away, wear the new clothing as soon as you own it? Or do you tend to hold on to these nice things, saving them for the right moment to savor your little treasure, relishing the anticipation?

I tend to be a saver. It's not always the best choice--my favorite food has gone cold on my plate while I'm busy gobbling up everything else, saving it for last. Beautiful new clothes have gone unworn, eventually forgotten in the back of my closet, while I run around in an Old Navy t-shirt every day. It's stupid, I know, and something I try to change about myself.

Before my recent trip, I found myself hoarding a familiar item: books I was really looking forward to reading. Sometimes the anticipation pays off and sometimes it doesn't, but happily for me, there were some real winners in the group. I generally don't do book reviews on my blog, but today I want to plug a few:

Across the Universe - What a great concept here: girl awoken, trapped in a mystery on a giant spaceship, knowing that she won't be able to awaken her parents for fifty years. Yow. The best part of the book for me was trying to figure out what secrets Eldest was keeping from Elder.  The whodunnit part I found fairly easy to guess, and I really wished that the final secret that was revealed would have been kept a secret, but that's just my taste. In any case, I'm certainly reading the sequel.

Paper Towns - Is there a John Green for President campaign yet? How can you not love someone who uses their platform to promote intelligence and common sense, and generally not being a sucky person? He's like the Jon Stewart of YA--his books are both hilarious and thoughtful. I liked Looking for Alaska, but Paper Towns really stood out for me. The underlying theme of how your idea of someone is affected both by your own skewed perception of how they should be, and by how they present their public side, is something I already think about a lot. If more people tried to remember this, I think we would all get along better.

The Marbury Lens - I'll be the first one to admit that I've got a weakness for damaged boys, and Jack is the ultimate in damaged goods.  The premise is very unique--when I read the description, I thought, how do you get from sexual assault and murder in California to fantastical inter-world travel in London? But it's more than just a wildly imaginative plot, because this book goes deeper and has you questioning what's real and what's not, and thinking about things like mental health and coping mechanisms. It's neatly interwoven but still completely unpredictable, which gets huge points from me, and the characters are very real and very engaging.

The Knife of Never Letting Go - I was put off first by the title of this book, and then by the misspelled dialect used by the main character, but once I gave it a chance and got a little further, I fell in love. It's a fast-paced adventure of the best kind and the sort of book I wish I had written. The main characters are flawed but appealing, and the author is so hard on them. It has some similar sci-fi elements that reminded me of Across the Universe, so if you liked that book, I implore you to try this one. One thing: I'm glad I didn't read this when it came out in 2008, or I would have been royally pissed at the author for the monster cliffhanger ending.

And that's it--I only made it through four books on my trip, what with all the sightseeing and socializing and whatnot. If you've read them, I'd love to hear your opinions, and if you haven't, I strongly recommend all of them.


  1. I remember thinking the same thing about The Knife of Never Letting Go, that the author really wasn't afraid to put the characters through some tough stuff, and I LOVED it for that. For a while, I struggled creating any conflict for my characters (I just want them to be happy!!), so reading a book like that is an eye-opening experience.

  2. The Marbury Lens is my favorite YA book of the year, so far at least!

  3. This is an awesome list. Marbury Lens sounds great. I went right from your blog to Amazon and sent a sample of it to my Kindle. Thanks for the heads up!

  4. Hi, Rachel! Thanks for the follow!

    I loved PAPER TOWNS, and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is on my to-be-read list. Thanks for the other recommendations. I always have my eye out for a good read.

  5. I loved Across the Universe but I do agree with you about the end. Can't wait for the sequel to find out why she did it that way (sure there is a very cool reason).