3.5 stars. That ending was shattering. I did not see it coming, but then I never thought the book would have the audacity to go there.
That being said3.5 stars. That ending was shattering. I did not see it coming, but then I never thought the book would have the audacity to go there.
That being said, I'm on the fence on this book. It was just shy of being well-written. And yet I've given it three stars. I'll explain. The star rating is for two of the characters and their relationship, not for the book itself.
It was a little confusing on where the focus was in this book, clearly it's Jake and Rachel, but the book has too many indepth subplots that it abandons the most important characters. I wanted more time with Jake and Rachel (I felt this way before the ending and I feel stronger about it now). The issue was it spending so much time in Laverna's head. I found her unlikable through most of it and her transformation almost unbelievable. Because the ending was as it was, I believe the readers deserved more time with Jake and Rachel--Laverna was basically redeemed outside of her point of view anyway so why not eliminate her as a POV character?
The softball games were far too much telling and not enough showing. The games clearly weren't as important as the characters so for the most part they felt awkward rather than an authentic team.
Honestly, I'm not generally a fan of fiction set in a small town. The characters are almost always alcoholics and strangely religious, so more or less it feels like I've read this story far too many times.
Jake was brilliant. He is the only reason to read this novel. I didn't find myself impressed with Rachel and her mother's past falling out. It wasn't as important....more
Solid 4 stars. I really liked this book. Maybe because it was easy to read or the characters relatable. The plot doesn't really matter as it's all aboSolid 4 stars. I really liked this book. Maybe because it was easy to read or the characters relatable. The plot doesn't really matter as it's all about the relationships between the characters, but that was all fine. I felt for them and that's just fine for a book to do is just make you feel. It did everything I wanted it to do...so really can't complain, however the book jacket synopsis is terrible. I had no desire to read this book because it tells you an entirely different story than what the plot is, but in reading ten pages I was interested. The jacket was honestly lucky it was a Reader's Choice. Oh, and it takes longer than less than an hour to play/complete Scrabble....more
3.5 stars. I don't have too much to say about this one. The characters were all pretty well-written except Ella seemed to need a little more complexit3.5 stars. I don't have too much to say about this one. The characters were all pretty well-written except Ella seemed to need a little more complexity rather than confusing stereotypical teen, but the story made sense and there weren't really any holes. I don't think it was surprising by any means, but that's because of the nature of the story and the way in which dad's death is presented.
I felt that Geneva's veterinarian role didn't exactly fit in with the narrative as a theme, as it was trying to make it be, but it certainly added depth to her character.
But, it was a good exploration, though perhaps a little over the top for the two teenage kids....more
2.5 stars rounded up because it wasn't a terrible read, but it just didn't hold my attention, nor was I satisfied with the ending given the fact that2.5 stars rounded up because it wasn't a terrible read, but it just didn't hold my attention, nor was I satisfied with the ending given the fact that it doesn't quite resolve for two of the characters.
The humor was base and kind of pathetic, so I couldn't find the novel funny as others could and can. Humor has to be more than just sexual innuendo and bad smells in my opinion and this never really departed from that as far as humor goes.
The characters themselves are well-written and Wes was definitely my favorite, but I still didn't really care too much about the characters despite that. Maybe it's my own fault for not really being able to relate to any aspect of them. And, geez, where were the women? :/
The biggest question that plagued me was whether the treasure was real. It needed that second pair of eyes as this is a novel and not a short story. When writing a novel you've made a promise to your readers to answer the question in a satisfactory way, especially given how much time they are investing, but it seemed this was going for shock rather than follow through, which are better traits for shorter fiction works. Cooper is mainly a short story writer and it shows. A good writer he is, but not quite to where a novel should be....more
3.5 stars. I have a hard time rating this novel because of the fact that it ends, but the story does not finish. It's ambiguous as to whether or not L3.5 stars. I have a hard time rating this novel because of the fact that it ends, but the story does not finish. It's ambiguous as to whether or not Lili lives or whether Greta will ever be happy again and I admit I almost wanted a tragedy--not because I didn't like the characters or the story, but because I wanted the beauty that death could have brought in this case. There's something to be said for characters dying before they fulfill that one big dream of theirs. I like how Einar and Lili are so very separate, but I wonder if that's the way identity works. Does one really lose all habits of their former gender role? Does one really stop their art or was that art Lili in the end? There's definitely something profound about this novel. I kind of wish they're had been more from Einar, but by no means should that read anything past me just enjoying his character....more
This is a well-written piece with both literary elements and crime solving. Though it was predictable at times--it's the good kind of predictable wherThis is a well-written piece with both literary elements and crime solving. Though it was predictable at times--it's the good kind of predictable where you're happy you guessed the next step in the whodunit.
It did annoy me that the author had to explain a lot of the law and crime jargon, but it was necessary for those not familiar with any aspect of it.
I hated Joe's mother in the best way possible. I'm glad it didn't go through the redeeming process such as "Making Marion" did. Not every anti-hero or character needs to be redeemed. I think it stands out more when you have the parallels that are him and his mother.
This was a well thought out novel with good amounts of ups and downs. And it had quite a few great lines: "No one can change the sound of an echo."...more
This character reminds me of Tobias Wolff ' s short story Bullet in the Brain. I enjoyed the characters and the story. I loved how audacious it was anThis character reminds me of Tobias Wolff ' s short story Bullet in the Brain. I enjoyed the characters and the story. I loved how audacious it was and always inconveniencing poor Ove. And though I did find it at times to be predictable--it was not predictable in a bad way. It's a very well written story that cycles through your emotions and leaves you quite satisfied with the start, middle, and ending....more
**spoiler alert** This is a difficult book for me to critique. There were elements that I enjoyed, but there are also several things that distracted f**spoiler alert** This is a difficult book for me to critique. There were elements that I enjoyed, but there are also several things that distracted from these elements. Most of these stars are earned for the last page of the book, so it is worth the read, but it does take a while to get there.
This story seems to play out as a Monte Cristoesque revenge story, but what ends up happening is an overly contrived working with the plot. The first chapter was compelling with its use of second person, however, the book jacket did this plot a huge disservice and actually hurt the impact of the cliffhanger lines (which were a little excessive, to be honest), particularly concerning her daughter's death (this is not a spoiler as the book jacket takes care of that for you). The second chapter had its merits, telling the after from an unrelated character's point of view, but her level of involvement becomes baffling. Happening to have the proper chemicals to test for HIV and drawing a comparison to a poisonous child murderer is a little much.
The third and fourth chapters are where I have the most qualms. Three starts off from the point of view of one of the murderer's sisters. Initially, I thought this would then be a kind of "pay it forward" revenge where she then goes after the teacher, but that wasn't the case. Instead, she was just a convenient avenue to turn attention to her mother's diary entries. This whole step could have been eliminated and chapter 3 could have just been the entries. The reader's would have gotten it from context eventually as the rest of the chapters are set up for you to find the context in order for you to actually know what point of view you are in. (The chapter headings are fairly useless in doing this, though they do seem to try and indicate otherwise).
Chapter 4 just feels like a retelling of chapter 3, only from the murderer's point of view. It adds very little to the story beyond the initial approach of the partnership and it should have ended with the death of the young girl instead of going on to the point where chapter 3 ended.
Where this book's strength lies is in the last point of view. Why this book wasn't just in second person and in a combination of this character's view is lost on me. We get the reason why this character is compelled to be noticed. He, abused as a child by his mother, had developed a mother complex after she left him behind to pursue her scientific studies. It never really occurs to him to approach her and say "here I am" (which is fine, the abuse has turned him into this) and instead he creates elaborate plots believing that coincidence will drive the two of them back together.
So we have a character with a mother complex, a character who's ego is both shattered and willing to do anything to build it back up, and a couple of mothers whose approaches to their children have done them both a disservice. I feel this book tried too hard. The formula in the views felt very Wilkie Collins, only where he is successful, Minato doesn't quite fit the bill. ...more
This book was highly enjoyable. The voice of the POV was compelling and quickly drew me in once I got used to it. I have few complaints, the main oneThis book was highly enjoyable. The voice of the POV was compelling and quickly drew me in once I got used to it. I have few complaints, the main one being the title of the novel. I think something more abstract or more specific would have fit better and be more of a reason for someone to pick it off the shelves, but mostly the way this story is written more than covers for that shortcoming (that is as long as someone does pick up the book). The surprises were well written and mostly unpredictable--I managed only to predict about two events and was pleasantly surprised by many. I will say that I only sort of like Avi as a character and I was sad about the failing of Dizzy as a bestfriend, but that is more of flaws in themselves not necessarily flaws in the writing. I love how the bookstore was utilized in this piece. I love the mystery of Henry and Catherine. I love the prose of this book and its attention to detail. There were several lines that were just beautiful. This is definitely worth the read as long as you are a fan of Modern day Classics. ...more
Zusak is quite the clever author. I enjoy his sarcasm and his ability to weave his narrative. The twists are fun, and not easy to predict (I mean theyZusak is quite the clever author. I enjoy his sarcasm and his ability to weave his narrative. The twists are fun, and not easy to predict (I mean they're obvious when you start to look back at a few of the clues and it is the simplest answer). I did enjoy his other work "The Book Thief" more. I think one thing I'd critique against this book is its lack of tragedy. I wanted something to feel sad about after the devastation of "The Book Thief" and I felt there were plenty of places to do that, more so than just his mother's hatred, especially when she's already hard to like. (One small mention, this book is definitely more New Adult than Young Adult)....more
This book is terrible. Horrible. And worth every second you read it. It's that good. I won't fault the book for being relatively predictable--it's a cThis book is terrible. Horrible. And worth every second you read it. It's that good. I won't fault the book for being relatively predictable--it's a cancer story, we knew what was coming. I will however deduct half a star (so this book is worth 4.5 stars) for the dialogue concerning basketball. It seemed just slightly above a seventeen year olds language, but I guess I should accept that that was Augustus Waters. I'm highly tempted to give back the .5 I deducted because of Van Houten's insistence as to why his characters didn't have an ending. And initially, I will admit I couldn't believe an author would say he didn't have a background or a future in mind for his characters, but then I had to realize that, even though it was a work of fiction, to him, the characters were real. And in a way, he probably did only know what happened to the hamster and the man. The drunk probably has no idea what happened to Anna's mom and, in a way, is being honest...despite the fact that he's definitely a class A jerk. This was a beautiful love story, sad, funny, and tragic, told from an excellent Narrator (Hazel). Very well written and balanced to make you both laugh and cry.
**spoiler alert** I really love Wilkie Collins' writing style and it was an interesting story, albeit a little silly at times because by the end the c**spoiler alert** I really love Wilkie Collins' writing style and it was an interesting story, albeit a little silly at times because by the end the characters basically go back to where they started...not sure how there could really be any trust there in the relationship, but perhaps this was more of a religious story...? ...more
**spoiler alert** Sugartit should never be a character name...and really she didn't have any redeeming qualities...was kind of sad that Sheik didn't k**spoiler alert** Sugartit should never be a character name...and really she didn't have any redeeming qualities...was kind of sad that Sheik didn't kill her......more