I was still in the throes of wrapping up my semester Monday and then I spent all day today traveling, so I’m coming to this one a little late. It’s a combo Month of Faves / It’s Monday (Tuesday)! What Are You Reading? post.
Mon. | Dec 16 – #AMonthofFaves Winter Reading – Your fave reads from last Winter, or seasonal reads you love, or books on this year’s winter reading list.
I’m going to focus on the books I plan to read over winter break (the next two weeks!). There are three of them, though I may, of course, finish more.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams: I’m currently listening to the audio of this one (narrated by Shvorne Marks, who is excellent) on the recommendation of Tanya, and I’m digging it so far.
Supernova by Marissa Meyer: This is the third (and final!) book in Meyer’s Renegades trilogy, and I can’t wait to see how it ends.
Frankly In Love by David Yoon: My co-worker put a copy of this in my box and told me to read it, so read it I shall.
Last week, I posted:
Since my last book update, I read the following:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The thing about reading this book was that every day I was happy to come home and read just a little more of it and a little bit more and a little bit more. I just love the way Jaclyn Moriarty writes so much. And even though this book was a little more melancholy and sadder than some of her other books, it was still filled with those touches of whimsy and delightful turns of phrase that I so adore.
I am tapping out of this book on pg. 272.
I will say this: I made it that far because the writing was pretty solid. It was about a chapter or so prior to that when I realized that there was no B or C plot, which is what’s keeping me from reading the rest (at least right now–I may go back to it).
Basically, the fact that Leila goes on dates and wants a husband isn’t enough for me because I stopped caring about that and started wondering if she had ANY interests at all beyond that. Because, seriously, the whole book is her and boys and wanting a boy and not having a boy and moping that her parents want her to have a boy. And, obviously, I know she’s going to find a boy, but WHAT IF SHE DOESN’T? She literally has no other life or interests except for that. It’s all she talks about with her family, her friends and herself. Literally, nothing else happens except for moping about the fact that she doesn’t have a boy. And that, my friends, is a pretty thin line to ride to the end of a novel.
Zara Raheem has a lot of promise, so I’d be interested in reading her next book to see if she corrects those issues with her next protagonist.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a series of interrelated short stories or vignettes, which I like. What I didn’t like is that there’s a lot of–I don’t want to say authorial voice, but–a lot of pontificating and describing in circles sometimes and not enough dialogue and action. When the characters interact with each other, things are super engaging and pick up, but there are long stretches when they don’t, so that made some sections seem to drag on, even though this is a pretty short novel.
One of my favorite things about the book is the way Orange gives all of the characters voice, including who would typically be considered the bad guys. He really humanizes all of them by letting us understand and experience their trauma instead of just letting them sit on the page as, in the case of Octavio, just this really sort of intimidating dude who is able to bully people into doing what he wants. I found that really affecting, and I appreciated getting that character’s perspective. When I got to that part, I was like, “Wait, isn’t this…?” and it was. It’s a nice reminder that those types of people are still people and often broken people at that.
I listened to the audiobook, and I liked all of the narrators. However, with twelve characters and only four narrators, sometimes the same narrator read for back to back sections/chapters, which made it harder for me to keep track of who was who and in whose perspective I was experiencing the book.
The ending is extremely open, which I like, but I know some people hate. So just a heads up on that.
Ultimately, I liked this book as a whole, but it is pretty bleak, which is not really my thing. I get and appreciate *why* it’s that way, but still. Also, I told my colleague who teaches the Native American fiction class about the book, and he was excited to know there’s a contemporary novel about Urban Indians he can now include in his course, so there is also that.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Re-read. I assigned this to my Mystery and Crime fiction class, and we had one of our richest discussions of the semester. This is, like all great children’s fiction, pretty straight forward but als wise beyond its years. It’s also a master class in character development.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was super cute. I love the art work and the characters, especially the focus on the female friendship. Also: shout out to the music teacher who is the real MVP of this book.
The highest praise I can give to this book is that it felt very middle school (since it is, indeed, set in middle school). And, of course, because it’s Meg Cabot, there are some laugh out loud funny moments.