Due to my sister's trouble enjoying Tiger Lily, I was reluctant to read it, and so resisted a few times when it came up as a possible choice in one of...moreDue to my sister's trouble enjoying Tiger Lily, I was reluctant to read it, and so resisted a few times when it came up as a possible choice in one of my book clubs. But this time around, we decided to read it, and I'm really glad I gave this book a chance. This book exceeded my expectations and plucked my heartstrings in so many ways.
The story is told from the point of view of a silent observer (Tinker Bell), and I absolutely love this sort of thing. I'm often a silent observer myself, people watching, a curious voyeur -- so naturally, Tink's narration really called to me. This was so artfully done, because I got to experience Tiger Lily's life, being close enough to feel her thoughts (thanks to Tink's fairy-ness), but also far enough away to see other things that were going on.
All of the characters were rich and real and felt so alive. - I've long had a fondness for Tiger Lily, so getting to know about her life as a sort of pariah among her tribe was beautiful and heartbreaking (and I felt that I could relate quite well). - Peter came alive for me in a whole new way, thanks to how Tink viewed him and his interactions with Tiger Lily. I loved that we got to sympathize with him and see him in a different light. - Tinker Bell's personality, fiery and soft all at once, threaded itself throughout her narration in an endearing and honest way. Her own internal struggles with love, loyalty, compassion, and frustration seemed to punctuate the threads of each other life she watched over. - Tik Tok was a personal favorite, not only due to his deep love and protection for Tiger Lily, but because his androgynous/transgender self was so refreshing to see depicted in a YA novel. I loved how broadly he was accepted and respected and that he was free to just be himself. (view spoiler)[The tragic end to his tale, thanks to that asshole Englishman Phillip, really cut deep into my heart. (hide spoiler)]
Anderson's interpretation of these main characters was wonderful, but it didn't stop there. Every person, every group of people (the lost boys, the pirates), and every little throwback to the original fairytale (the crocodile, the clock, etc.) was artfully weaved into a whole new tale. The writing was lovely, and I found myself shivering at the profound beauty of a specific passage or observation.
Clearly, I am a fan of Peter Pan retellings, and apparently I prefer the darker sort. The Child Thief -- and now Tiger Lily -- etched firm places into my heart that I didn't expect. It's no wonder I wasn't much of a fan of the original tale -- it was focusing on the wrong characters!
Confession: mostly, I bought this book because it was written by a local author, whom I see at events regularly and wanted to support. (A quick glance...moreConfession: mostly, I bought this book because it was written by a local author, whom I see at events regularly and wanted to support. (A quick glance through my reviews page or shelves on Goodreads will indicate that I’m not a big reader of contemporary fiction.)
Surprise: As soon as I started reading the book, I could see why so many people were excited about it. This book hooked me from page one.
The narrative style chosen by Mathieu, I think, was a wonderful choice. As a teenager, it can often feel like so much of life is affected by rumor, gossip, and hearsay information. What more authentic way to learn the truth about Alice than through the eyes and voices of her peers? This effect is amplified because of the small town setting, which means everyone knows everything about everyone else (so they think).
Each character’s voice was distinct and realistic. I really enjoyed how they spoke casually and candidly, and the language felt very true to teenager-speak without turning into stereotype or caricature. Similar to Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, the reader has to piece the whole picture together based on the testimony from various people. All the while, you get to watch Alice turn into a pariah and forge a special friendship with another local “outsider.”
The exploration of social issues, like slut shaming, was welcome and well done. It always comes as a nice surprise to me when a YA book deals with issues like this — especially when it is thoughtfully and carefully done. Perhaps the most important thing about this book is that it opens readers’ eyes to just how damaging something like slut shaming can be. The story makes it clear how pervasive and insidious rumors can be, and how quickly lies can spread throughout a community. This hits hard, because it is authentic and familiar.
The Truth About Alice has so much of what makes me love a contemporary novel: very minor (if any) inclusion of romance, and a focus on mental and emotional issues (generally in regards to social issues, in some way). It’s part mystery, part social commentary, and a great helping of exploring relationships. And probably the thing that sold me hardest on this book? The writing was high quality; it does not read like a debut!
Here’s what I knew about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer before I started reading it:
1. It has a gorgeous cover and an intriguing title 2. Everyone and the...moreHere’s what I knew about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer before I started reading it:
1. It has a gorgeous cover and an intriguing title 2. Everyone and their mom seemed to love it 3. It’s dark and creeeeeepy (according to all those people in #2)
So, when I started listening to this audiobook very early one morning, on a long drive to the other side of town, I was excited. The dark, foggy morning fit perfectly with the mood of the prologue, in which Mara and her friends are using a ouija board and Things Happen. Shortly after the prologue, however, I realized that my excitement wasn’t going to continue.
I feel like I was duped into reading a contemporary novel.
That’s right. Where was the creepy factor? Almost nonexistent. This book read like a contemporary novel about a teenager with PTSD who moves to a new school and falls in insta-love with a dashing-but-dangerous British boy who just happens to be obsessed with her.
A short list of things that bothered me about this book: - Cliche, upon cliche, upon trope, upon cliche - Insta-love, on both Mara and Noah’s parts - Mara falls in LOVE with Noah, despite how much of an a-hole he is - Pacing and timing was confusing (took WAY too long to get interesting) - Poor/sloppy writing (“I graciously moved away into the crowd.” Um, don’t you mean gracefully?) - Not enough of the mysterious, creepy, interesting stuff - Way too much of the boring, everyday stuff
A short list of the things I actually liked about this book: - Mara’s attitude, though inconsistent, was pleasantly snarky - The fact that Mara’s mother’s side of the family is Indian, and a bit of that was in the book - The sibling relationships were refreshingly realistic and felt familiar - The psychologist mom was also pretty accurate, I think
Maybe I would have liked this book more if I’d read it a couple of years ago when it first came out. But for me, now, it read way too much like a obvious debut to be fully enjoyable. The ending did hook me into reading the next book, though, so we’ll see how that goes.(less)
As a long-time player of Magic, with a husband who's semi-pro, I couldn't pass this up when I saw it available on NetGalley. I was a little concerned...moreAs a long-time player of Magic, with a husband who's semi-pro, I couldn't pass this up when I saw it available on NetGalley. I was a little concerned because it's volume 4 and I haven't read the first three, but it didn't matter. The story was immediately interesting and pulled me right in. I loved reading a story set in a universe I'm familiar with from the card game, and seeing creatures and spells in a different -- more "real" -- setting. The story was quick-paced and adventurous, the characters were rich and entertaining, and the lore was just as I'd hoped it would be. The artwork? Freaking gorgeous, and I wouldn't have expected any less. I don't read a lot of comics, but this volume has made me want to read everything else in the series that I can find. Definitely recommended!(less)
Very well written, and fantastic narration. I don't understand why ROMANCE is one of the top tags for this book. PEOPLE, THIS IS NOT A ROMANCE, WTF IS...moreVery well written, and fantastic narration. I don't understand why ROMANCE is one of the top tags for this book. PEOPLE, THIS IS NOT A ROMANCE, WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU.(less)
When I realized this was going to an upcoming book club assignment, I jumped at the chance to see Sue Monk Kidd when she came through town back in Feb...moreWhen I realized this was going to an upcoming book club assignment, I jumped at the chance to see Sue Monk Kidd when she came through town back in February. Her discussions and readings from the book made me fall in love with it before I’d even read a word. Even still, I had trouble getting started with this one. I ended up having to read it half on audio and half on paper so I could finish it in time for my book club meeting. Here’s the deal. The writing was absolutely beautiful. Kidd is a master at the eloquent turn of phrase, and this was one thing that I loved all the way through. I deeply admired the characters and their development throughout the story, but I found the pacing to be a bit too slow for me. I was impressed by Kidd’s inclusion of so much history and fact, and weaving that into her own story inspired by real people who made a HUGE dent in gender and racial quality.(less)