I haven't posted anything about books since my July post on A Man Called Ove. (Read it. So good.) So, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the books I read this summer. This isn't necessarily an exhaustive list of all I read, but it gives you a good flavor...and maybe a few ideas on what, and what not, to grab on your next library (or Amazon) visit.
Okay. Let's do this.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
I found this book both entertaining and disappointing. The book rides the wave of mystery-thrillers with unreliable narrators that's so popular right now. (Confession: I'm kind of annoyed by unreliable narrators-- especially those with a drinking problem.) Anyway, the mystery was fun and kept me guessing throughout, but there was a big lag in the middle. A great editor could have helped speed the pace of this book and make for a more edge-of-my-seat read the whole way through.
Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
If you like Young Adult Dystopian Future books with strong female leads, then this is a fun series. Meyer's futuristic take on the classic fairy tale princesses is fun and engaging. A light, fast, enjoyable read.
Tears, tears, and more tears. If you're a dog lover...if you've ever lost a beloved pet...then park yourself on the couch with a box of tissues and pick up this book. In the vein of Marley and Me and (my favorite) The Art of Racing in the Rain, Lily and the Octopus tells the story of Steven, his beloved dog Lucy, and her tumor, aka the octopus. Rowley's humorous take on how crazy we can be for our animals, and the amazing way they can possess our hearts, is unique and funny and sweet. He goes a little overboard (pun intended-- you'll get it if you read the book) with his metaphorical battle with the octopus toward the end, but it doesn't steal the book's quiet thunder.
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
The premise of this book is SO WEIRD. Weird enough that it kept me from reading it, despite good reviews, for quite a while. But I found it cheap in a used book store, so I brought it home. And I'm glad I did. I laughed out loud many times while reading this book-- I think I even read some lines to my husband because I thought they were so good. This book is really entertaining, and more than a bit weird, but it's golden ticket lies in Smith's ability to capture the teenage boy's mind (and heart). It's a rare feat, and he does it so well. Worth the read.
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
I grabbed this slim volume from a "recommended reads" shelf in an independent bookstore-- which rarely leads me astray. But this one fell flat for me. The premise was cute and there a were certainly passages I enjoyed, but overall, I thought it was pretty disappointing.
I really liked this book. It made me think and wonder and question. And I like that. It's well written and well paced, and provided a nice, little roller coaster of emotions for me. Definitely worth the read.
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
This is a middle grade book that I think kids-- especially those who are really into books-- will enjoy. From an adult perspective, I think the premise is fantastic and the book's opening is strong, but I felt like it wavered a bit toward the end. It had a few different paths it could have taken late in the story, and I kind of think it chose the wrong one. Just my opinion, of course. Still, a fun romp!
Love and Trouble by Claire Dederer
I have to say that I was quite disappointed in this memoir. I had an idea about this book, based on the description and recommendations I'd read, but the book didn't live up to the hype. It was a matter of performance vs. expectations for me on this one-- I was expecting a book about a woman's midlife reckoning (as per the subtitle), but what I got was a retrospective of a, somewhat troubled, 80s & 90s childhood in Seattle. Plus, a narrator I couldn't really relate too. I made myself finish it because it was for bookclub; I would have given up otherwise.
The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis
Another middle grade adventure that I think kids would enjoy. Again, the premise and the start are fantastic, but, also again, it lost me a bit near the end. I still enjoyed it. I still recommend it. But with such a great start, I had super high expectations and they weren't quite met.
So that's a taste of what I read this summer. Some good, some not so much. But I consider my horizon's expanded. Right now I'm reading The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (our next book club selection)-- on recommendation from my mom. And, 100 pages in, I'm already pretty amazed at how well the author paints her picture of slavery in the south. I feel like I'm there. Up next is Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. I'm super excited for this one for two reasons: 1) The author's book Code Name Verity is one of my faves! (So well done. Read it!) and 2) The author is coming to Hershey to speak at our library next month-- I can't wait! (Book geek.)
Did you read anything good this summer? What are you reading right now? Let me know.
Until next time, happy reading!