Kristy's book is another book in the BSC series that takes a page from the movie and references Patrick Thomas appearing in Stoneybrook only to see Kr...moreKristy's book is another book in the BSC series that takes a page from the movie and references Patrick Thomas appearing in Stoneybrook only to see Kristy. If the BSC were more realistic, I wonder if her brothers ever would have found out that their father had no interest in them at all. I wonder if it would have bothered them, especially DM since Patrick chose to walk out on them right after DM was born and pretty much NEVER saw his youngest.
The stories of younger Kristy (and MA as well as Claudia) are sweet, but my favorite is the way Watson steps in for Kristy. Looking back on the series, he seems to be an iffy father (at best) for Karen and Andrew (think about how much time they spend with babysitters before they do the one month on, one month off switch. It's a lot.) but when he gets it right, he really, truly does.(less)
**spoiler alert** I've read a handful of Jodi Picoult's books by now and have definitely realized she truly does have her own formula. The difference...more**spoiler alert** I've read a handful of Jodi Picoult's books by now and have definitely realized she truly does have her own formula. The difference between Sing You Home and those books is that I noticed during this book, and thus my enjoyment suffered. She really likes her Big Issues and her trials and SYH has them in spades. So many Issues, in fact, that you begin to wonder what would have happened if she'd stopped throwing so many at you and let the initial few have their time in the spotlight.
Fair warning: Based on some of the reviews I read yesterday, people seem to have a big thing with the lesbian aspect. Not so much how it's handled, but that it's even there to begin with. Nine times out of ten, these are also the same people who complain about the extreme right wing Christians being portrayed. So, warning: this book contains lesbians and is not particularly flattering to those in the extreme right wing Christian camp.
With that out of the way, let's move on. SYH revolves around the radical changes in Zoe Baxter's life. After trying for years to give birth to a healthy baby, she is finally 28 weeks pregnant and things look good. Naturally this doesn't last long. Zoe loses the baby and when it becomes apparent that another pregnancy would probably seriously jeopardize her health, her husband, Max, bails on her and the marriage. To be fair, Max feels abandoned in his own marriage by Zoe's obsession with becoming a biological mother as well as his fears over blatant disregard for her own health falling on deaf ears. Still, Max doesn't really seem to try and talk to Zoe and just walks out.
Nice, Max. Max goes to stay with his older brother Reid and his sister-in-law Liddy, whom Max has had a semi-secret thing for since, I dunno, forever. Max begins drinking again and hits rock bottom and finds God as well as Pastor Clive.
Zoe bottoms out and finds Vanessa, a sort of work friend from before her son's stillbirth, and the two bond almost immediately. They click in ways Zoe didn't expect and it turns out that Vanessa is a lesbian. Zoe doesn't care and their friendship takes a turn for the romantic after Zoe is diagnosed with cancer. Right, because that's all that's been missing so far, right?
Zoe undergoes a hysterectomy that makes it impossible for her to have children, but since she's now married to Vanessa whose female parts are probably in perfect working order, they get the idea to use the three frozen embryos from Max and Zoe's last fertility cycle. Max is freaked out by his wife now having a wife and confides in... the Extremely Right Wing Pastor Clive. Who immediately begins his silver tongued ways of getting Max to go from not wanting to be a father to wanting these pre-born children birthed by ... Liddy, and raised in a good Christian family. Not by those godless heathen lesbians of which one of whom is the biological mother.
And this is where things seriously fall apart. I understand that in order to tell the story she wanted told (the legal battle between Max and Zoe), the set up needed to be done. Thing is, the set up is way more interesting to me than the legal battle. By the time we've entered that portion of the book, the characters are pretty much reduced to cardboard cutouts. Max is a flake who only doubts his religious conversion when it's convenient (lusting after his brother's wife) but never has the balls to actively think that what's going on around him is wrong, let alone do anything to try and stop it. The exceptionally, painfully right wing Christians (and I keep phrasing it this way because a) I do not believe the author intended for all Christians to be held to this incredibly low standard and b) because some people feel that since this distinction is never actually made and only implied, it does not exist and thus JP is all sorts of horrible) possibly warp a distraught teenager in order to get that final edge in the legal battle, thus invalidating most of the legal battle to begin with since it wasn't won by one side being more persuasive than the other, but rather one side giving up to avoid a scandal. Vanessa and Zoe seem less realistic throughout this section as well.
But the best part of all this is that the entire book (excluding the epilogue) takes place over six months or so. That's right. Stillbirth, divorce, sexuality discovery, cancer, re-marriage, and a legal battle... in six months. I call shenanigans on this. It's even mentioned in the book as something completely insane, but never to the degree that it should be.
If the book had just been about the dissolution of the Baxter marriage and the way they found themselves outside of it, I think SYH would have been a powerful read. If it had taken place over a longer time period and given everyone a little more room to breathe (where, exactly, does Reid end up in the epilogue? He's not the most tolerant of people but still, I'd like to know how he handles that betrayal) in order to accommodate the trial, again, things would have been better.
That said, the only times I put the book down were during Max's sections where Pastor Clive was preaching above and beyond the call of what is necessary, even if it did fit in perfectly with his character. The book is immensely readable even if way too much happens in too short a span of time. (less)
My only real problem with the McKenna books is that one of the big plot points involves McKenna's friend, Toulane, being rather snitty towards McKenna...moreMy only real problem with the McKenna books is that one of the big plot points involves McKenna's friend, Toulane, being rather snitty towards McKenna. Instead of ever talking to Toulane (whom I assumed was her friend outside of gymnastics)... McKenna just sort of wonders idly why Toulane might be upset with her when she shows interest in other things... usually after observing Toulane's incredibly overbearing mother be incredibly overbearing. :P Also, McKenna never seems to hang out with her friends outside of school or the gym (or, once it's introduced, the riding center) and never talks to Toulane about her sister's accident.
Honestly, McKenna's kind of a bad friend in a lot of respects. Which isn't all that unusual in that she's at a certain stage in her life where a lot of things are going on and she's only so old so there's really only so much she can do up to a point. I'm not really sure younger kids would pick up on this or that it was intentional.
Anyway, McKenna's books are cute and fairly solid, friendship not withstanding, and immensely readable. (less)
In the non-spoilery news, I'll agree with whomever else said that Edward was more fleshed out and felt more real than Rachel. The fact that she's an i...moreIn the non-spoilery news, I'll agree with whomever else said that Edward was more fleshed out and felt more real than Rachel. The fact that she's an introvert probably helped with that, as did the fact that in true MJD fashion, Edward's definitely the one in the pair with absolutely no filter to speak of. He thinks it, he probably said it five minutes ago. Thing is, I liked them as a couple and I liked their story. So that gets a definite thumbs up. Geek love!
It's the other areas of the book that keep it from hitting four stars or higher. The 'mystery' is never actually investigated on-screen and feels pretty tacked on. It's possible this is one of those plot points that seems like a wasted opportunity in the book it's introduced in but ties into things later, I suppose, but for now it didn't really accomplish much.
Betsy and company are familiar enough that if you read those books you'll be mostly okay in keeping up (with one glaring exception) and if you don't, well, you'll be in the same boat as Rachel and Edward, so it's not really a loss. You're given just enough to work with to either thoroughly confuse you or realize you don't mind the fact that everyone is quite possibly insane.
Now. Let's discuss... the zombie. s p o i l e r
z o n e
Okay, when the hell did Marc come back from the dead? I swear that when I left him (and I was crying at the time and still re-read that scene more than a dozen times just to be sure) he was dead. Dead. Super dead. Gone.
So imagine my surprise when he crops up as... a zombie. THE HELL?! When did that happen? And didn't Betsy go back and save Antonia from hell? So... yeah. That warning at the beginning about not being sure where, exactly, this falls in the timeline? Totally needs to be in bold. With glitter. Maybe some neon? Flashing lights for sure, anyway. (less)
I picked this up out of the quarter bin a couple of months ago, mostly because I saw the movie and thought it was much cuter than I expected. Honestly...moreI picked this up out of the quarter bin a couple of months ago, mostly because I saw the movie and thought it was much cuter than I expected. Honestly, this is one of those cases where I think I liked the movie better and that so rarely happens.
The biggest problem is that your heroine is so far in denial that it's almost painful to read each new charge she racks up along the way. That said, as heavy handed as her additional charges are, the underlying theme of "I'm damned already, I must as well have fun while I can" is relatable/understandable, even if you'd never actually employ it as a lifestyle choice. (less)
Another case where half stars would be helpful. I wanted to like Die For Me far more than I actually did. Standard paranormal romance follows the usua...moreAnother case where half stars would be helpful. I wanted to like Die For Me far more than I actually did. Standard paranormal romance follows the usual roadblocks- girl falls in love with preternaturally handsome immortal boy, cannot believe he feels the same way, and then the bad guy appears, but true love conquers all. The only real difference is this one takes place in France. This may or may not be a selling point for you. For me it meant some things came across a bit tourguide-y and some things were a bit confusing as France isn't one of those places I'm all that familiar with.
I don't really mind forumalic stories as there really are only so many basic stories in the universe. My problem is that the writing is uneven. Some voices rang rather hollow and were jarring and others seemed almost there, but no one really ever spoke to me enough to care one way or another.
I'm sure I'm supposed to care about our heroine, Kate, but she never really takes off for me. You could argue that this is kind of the point since she begins the book in mourning for her parents. Fair enough. But when she's told her new love interest is incredibly difficult to *keep* dead, instead of rejoicing or possibly worrying about what this means if he got himself into a situation where he would stay dead, she flips out over his temporary deaths.
Really? Really?! You are being given a love that will quite probably outlive you and you choose to angst over the temporary deaths? I know everyone mourns differently, but this just seems incredibly unrealistic to the point that I just could not get past it.
Overall, it wasn't what I expected, but I'm hoping that since it's a series, perhaps we'll get a bit more of the twins next go round.(less)
**spoiler alert** I wanted to like Letters to Kurt. I really, really did. The premise sounded interesting and I figured this would be the one time in...more**spoiler alert** I wanted to like Letters to Kurt. I really, really did. The premise sounded interesting and I figured this would be the one time in my life having no real allegiance to Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, or Hole would actually be a good thing. I wouldn't be going in expecting dirt only to be disappointed!
Yeaaaaaaaah. That plan didn't work out so well. I'm not big on the whole stream of consciousness style to begin with, but I've seen some people work their magic with it. Didn't really happen here.
And when she was good, she was very, very good, But when she was bad she was horrid.
Swap the genders and pretty much the way I felt while reading this. Every time I was about to give the book away to anyone, anyone at all, I'd stumble across a phrase that was just heartbreakingly beautiful or absurdly amusing in the best way possible. But things would slide back into horrid and I'd want to give up until once more, something wonderful would appear.
Not sure if this is simply a case of art I don't get or a time when an editor could have shaped things just enough to even the ratio of good to bad.
If you're looking for the ghost of Kurt, he can be found haunting certain passages but is rarely tangible for more than a fleeting second. I'm not sure if this counts as a plus or minus, as it's a fitting trick all things considered, but it's bound to annoy those paying for the book based on his name. Then again, maybe the joke's on them. (less)