I am hovering between 4 and 5 stars - I may even go back and listen to some sections again to better absorb the story until it is due back to the libr...moreI am hovering between 4 and 5 stars - I may even go back and listen to some sections again to better absorb the story until it is due back to the library. Afterwards my rating may change to 5...
Incredible storytelling, masterful world building and an utterly beautiful and perfectly understated love story. Reminded me a bit of "The Little Prince" with all the character vignettes that Tristen meets along the way. I'm glad I didn't see the film first because after reading a lot of reviews, I understand that it could easily have given me the wrong expectations for the story. The main thing that proved difficult with this read was that it was such a committed fantasy world that I had a hard time coming in and out of the book during my commute. This would have worked better if I had been on a road trip and had more continuity to the story.
I really was so moved by the sweet love story. I wasn't expecting that so it was such a treat at the end to see it come together in the subtle ways that it did. (less)
I have been wanting to read this one for a while but every time I picked it up I had trouble getting into it until this last time around. I think I wa...moreI have been wanting to read this one for a while but every time I picked it up I had trouble getting into it until this last time around. I think I was expecting the wrong thing. This book is haunting but in a very different way than I expected. It isn't the kind of nightmare that is confined to a spooky October night, it is the kind of nightmare that we all have. The nightmare of losing someone we love most in a way that we have no control over. The nightmare that those that are witnessing our life are suddenly going to be gone and then our own life seems hollowed out and desiccated. I loved the way the magical realism gave a heightened sense of the actual reality of emotions and actions. The story really got in at me deep and I even found myself crying during my lunch break while reading it.
It was also interesting for me to read the passages where poor Connor kept interacting with his teachers and they just couldn't get through to him. I felt like this is where his "grappling with monsters" psyche became really enlightening to me as someone who has tried to get through to kids who have these kinds of tragedies playing out in their lives. I found it really insightful in this fantastical kind of way.
I also loved the 2 tales the monster told. I was so compelled during those passages. I also loved how "12:07" came into play at the end. So poignant.
I would be interested to know how much Siobhan Dowd had written of this story before she passed. I imagine Patrick Ness has written the bulk of it but it would be interesting to know what pieces he had to work with. (less)
Fun southern mystery with heart and humor. Told from the viewpoint of 12 year old Moses LoBeau, who has a strong, humorous and above all southern voic...moreFun southern mystery with heart and humor. Told from the viewpoint of 12 year old Moses LoBeau, who has a strong, humorous and above all southern voice relating the events surrounding the murder of a not particularly well liked local of her small town, Tupelo Landing. I liked the letters poor Mo constantly wrote to her "upstream mother", almost like diary entries and the way her difficult circumstances shaped her into the all heart but no nonsense kind of girl that she was. My mediocre rating mainly reflects that for some reason the plot dragged on for me - not that long of a book but somehow I lost interest. Also, I struggled sometimes with the "southerisms". There were several places I felt that the story was creating more of a caricature of southern culture than actually depicting it. Not to mention some of the wildly unrealistic situations that Mo & co. ended up in at such young ages. Still it was fun and sweet for the most part and I can think of a lot of middle reader girls who would be up for a funny mystery in an interesting setting. (less)
A funny, playful story where "bunnyisms" abound. This is part of its charm but also the very thing that gets a bit tiresome in places. Didn't really f...moreA funny, playful story where "bunnyisms" abound. This is part of its charm but also the very thing that gets a bit tiresome in places. Didn't really follow the main storyline as much as the witty exchanges between characters that face countless #bunnyproblems. The hipster vibe (fedoras, smart cars, etc) was a bit much at times but again still a very cute, fun, sweet read that I think would make for a great read aloud. Don't recommend the audio though - the reader sounded like Sarah Vowell trying to imitate a lispy bunny...unless you're into that.(less)
I LOVED this book - which floored me because I have such a hard time taking to fantasy books. I am trying to pin point why this one worked for me as a...moreI LOVED this book - which floored me because I have such a hard time taking to fantasy books. I am trying to pin point why this one worked for me as a fantasy. I think because I saw so much of my own world in it. The story plays a lot with the push and pull of being devoted to your belief system but also recognizing the complexity within in it. In the world that White created, all believers must follow "the Path" and regard all magic as evil and those associated with it as evil doers. No one knows these teachings better than Kara Westfall who, at a young age, witnessed her own mother's death after being convicted of witchcraft. Kara and her family are then slandered and shunned by the rest of the community for the years that follow. Then come the twists in the plot that make you realize that Kara's story and those around her are much different than they seem. With each plot and character development, you realize that nothing is black and white, simply good and evil - but there is much more complexity to this world and the "Path" one must walk in order to maintain order and harmony in the community.
This story had great world building without requiring too much of a mental commitment from the reader. It did seem a more sophisticated read than your average middle reader fantasy between the violence and the conceptual arc. Though there was plenty of action and good pacing to keep a young reader's attention. Thank goodness for the closure that came within this first book but I have to say that the epilogue made me wish that the 2nd book was out already - I rarely finish a series but this might be among the ones I pursue.(less)
Interesting enough premise. Such a booooring book though. The interesting bits did not fill the girth of this 600+ page commitment. Everyone in book c...moreInteresting enough premise. Such a booooring book though. The interesting bits did not fill the girth of this 600+ page commitment. Everyone in book club loved it though so I am definitely in the minority. Honestly though - Could. Not. Finish. At first it made me feel dumb that I had little interest in most of the stories but then I realized half of it was political gossip and I would rather get political news from cohesive biography about someone in particular who interests me or current events from a less meandering source like The Economist. Cheers to making the book club happy though!(less)
Completely enjoyable and effortless. A thoughtful beach read, a la "Fried Green Tomatoes". Nothing life changing for me but there were a lot of poetic...moreCompletely enjoyable and effortless. A thoughtful beach read, a la "Fried Green Tomatoes". Nothing life changing for me but there were a lot of poetic passages, particularly when Odette was narrating about the most beautiful part of life happening when you were "painting at the edges of your canvas". I also loved the dialog and of course the relationships between all the different characters in the community. It was also cool to see the different eras fold in and out of each other - it made for an interesting juxtaposition. The last chapter/epilogue was sorta silly and detracted a bit from the real themes in the book but again, it was so easy to consume this book yet it wasn't just fluff. Would recommend to anyone who wants to go on cruise control for a read with manageable heft and lots of memorable characters.(less)
Loved the setting with haunts of McCarthyism and atomic bomb scares, London and Hollywood, etc. Great genre-fusion too! Would never have guessed I wou...moreLoved the setting with haunts of McCarthyism and atomic bomb scares, London and Hollywood, etc. Great genre-fusion too! Would never have guessed I would be so keen on a history meets fantasy read. I thought the whole storyline was truly unique, great pacing, memorable characters etc etc. What a relief that this is a stand alone too - I appreciated the closure. Great for any middle reader up for an unusual adventure.(less)