A really good offering from Klassen--her best books are fun callbacks to classic girls' favourites like those from Austen, the Brontës, etc. I enjoyedA really good offering from Klassen--her best books are fun callbacks to classic girls' favourites like those from Austen, the Brontës, etc. I enjoyed this mystery and story of a family in financial straits reduced to living in an allegedly haunted or cursed house. Parts were reminiscent of Northanger Abbey or Sense and Sensibility with the creepiness and foreboding of Jane Eyre. I didn't feel the plot was predictable as many in this genre are. I found it sweet and stimulating and just a little scandalous (for this Christian publishing imprint). ^_^ Grade: A...more
Both Rainbow Rowell books I've read have surprised and delighted me. I think the surprise is based on their subtlety and realism despite being "chickBoth Rainbow Rowell books I've read have surprised and delighted me. I think the surprise is based on their subtlety and realism despite being "chick lit" (not my fave term). Many people I know didn't like Attachments because I guess they thought it was slow or they had trouble relating to the characters. I liked it because I got to know the characters slowly, and by the end I was invested in them. It wasn't a self-insertion romance novel--and I suspect that's why some don't like it. The characters were flawed and likeable and sometimes unlikeable. There was a bit of what I've come to expect from Rowell as interesting psychological meat to the characters (Cath / her dad in "Fangirl," Lincoln / his mom in "Attachments")--which is probably another reason I liked it. (Because what good is my expensive, feckless psychology degree if not for helping me enjoy reading novels??) Maybe the epistolary bits/emails interspersed throws some readers off. I really enjoyed it. I almost put this in my characters-on-whom-I-have-crushed shelf, but it would be for Beth, not Lincoln, haha. ^_^
Recommended for: insomniacs, chicklit readers with standards, new adult fans, rainbow rowell fans, epistolary novel fans, fans of The Office and Pam x Jim, fans of Christian lit who aren't Puritanical...more
**spoiler alert** Joshilyn Jackson just gets me with her strong narrators--even slightly deluded ones, like Shandi. I decided I could give Shandi some**spoiler alert** Joshilyn Jackson just gets me with her strong narrators--even slightly deluded ones, like Shandi. I decided I could give Shandi some slack because she's 21, in college, AND a mom. That plus being a fairly recent victim of rape could make anyone not know their own mind. Both Jackson's books I've read (the other is gods in Alabama) have dealt with the rape of a main character, looking at the fallout and the resulting emotional disturbances, how it can cripple certain relationships. But somehow, Jackson does this while keeping calm Southern overtones and humor. ... Some similarities to my RL family and the family in the book were uncanny! (Step-refrigerator! Mimmy! Shandi's relationship w/her dad.) The way the story played out took me completely by surprise, and I found it delightful and a little bittersweet. I can understand why some reviewers take issue w/the way rape is addressed because it's a sensitive topic. But for me, I felt like I was reading an unreliable narrator, so I totally got it. It wasn't commentary except to show that not everything is always black and white, even when it comes to a black-and-white issue. Writing this review just convinced me to give the book 5 stars instead of 4. Funny how that happens. ^_^...more
So, I am basically reviewing this so that GR will stop spamming me with my progress bar. I finished the book over a month ago. Actually, I first readSo, I am basically reviewing this so that GR will stop spamming me with my progress bar. I finished the book over a month ago. Actually, I first read until Amsterdam and decided "Welp, that was great, what a nice book about a trip to Amsterdam and first love. THE END," like Phoebe on "Friends" watching Old Yeller. I waited over two months to read the second half. It took me years to even be able to read the book in the first place, knowing what I knew about it, because of a personal history with cancer.
Anyway, the book is good; it has flaws; but its depiction of being a "cancer kid" is so raw and (to me) unexplored that I feel like it's more an *important* book than a particularly compelling one. I enjoyed Hazel Grace's prickly and cynical POV, even though I don't think we have very much in common. Gus felt more like a caricature of a person to me, always performing, larger than life, in a way. I guess I felt like it was hard to separate the Voice of John Green, Vlogbrother, from the characters, though I suppose that is the risk of reading a high-profile author. Sometimes the characters were very transparent, as was the Amsterdam setting--I have been to Amsterdam and actually stayed at the Filosoof and went to many of the places depicted. So that bit felt more like looking at my vacation photos than experiencing this magical element of the story, though the bits that were fictional (the Oranje) felt the strongest to me. I felt the Van Houten element went too far, for me, and could've been more powerful with less ridiculous action.
Where TFioS excels is its depiction of suffering, physical pain, the indignities of dying. Survivor guilt. Anger and bitterness. And the disparity that comes from experiencing these most intense things while you're still a kid.
This book marked the first time I have ever identified more with the parents in a YA novel than the protagonists/kids--which, I guess, is fitting, since I became a parent two years ago. However, I also lost a dear, important person to cancer, so it makes sense that I might identify more with the next of kin than the afflicted.
I should probably add that while I am a huge John Green fan, this is the first novel of his that I've read in its entirety. I've read part of Looking for Alaska and part of Paper Towns. (I have a hard time finishing books--that whole "becoming a parent" thing.) Most of this critique is more about me than it is about the book; I guess I can see how it might be a very different book to someone else, and obviously it's very important to many who love it. I'm glad that I read it and look forward to reading more of JG's novels to see how they stack up....more
Fangirl was some moments all I expected and then at others like plunging into an ice bath of realization and transference. I've always said my favoritFangirl was some moments all I expected and then at others like plunging into an ice bath of realization and transference. I've always said my favorite genre of lit is YA because it's transformative, and this book truly fulfills that need I have for characters to grow, realize, and become stronger. Fangirl made me laugh and cry a bit, revived long-dormant emotions and memories--everything a book should do. But perhaps the reason I enjoyed it the most--more than the playful but symbolic asides into Simon Snow fanfic (and the first time I've seen in a book the phenomena of Internet friendships and fandoms illustrated as they truly are)--was the SO important human, real depictions of anxiety, agoraphobia, bipolar disorder, narcissism, and other mental issues. Rowell so skillfully incorporates these into sympathetic characters and situations that I really felt I saw the world through the characters' minds. The characters' actions are so true to themselves, no unexplainable emotional shifts or worse, characters omnisciently explaining themselves as you often find in chick lit. And in the end, it's not a story about fanfic vs. real life or anxiety keeping someone from achieving success. It's about what Cath needed to grow and the people who helped get her there and how she gave support back in turn....more
Persuasion is one of only two Austen books I hadn't read (though I've seen every film adaptation there is), and I kept returning to the story in my miPersuasion is one of only two Austen books I hadn't read (though I've seen every film adaptation there is), and I kept returning to the story in my mind, so I picked it up. I had the best time reading this book--maybe more enjoyable than any other JA, though I wouldn't say it's better overall. Maybe it's due to my age, but I found it much easier to read. I enjoy the supplementary characters of Mary, Sir Walter, Elizabeth, Mrs. Smith, Benwick... JA is so unsympathetic toward them, and their flaws are so laughable and relatable to contemporary times. I guess I feel they're the most layered supplementary characters in any Austen? And Anne's overcoming her flaws and learning to speak for herself is so endearing.
A favourite quote: "She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older: the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning." I love Anne....more
While I usually love Ms. Klassen's books, this one fell a bit flat for me. I was kept entertained by the twists and turns of a fairly predictable plotWhile I usually love Ms. Klassen's books, this one fell a bit flat for me. I was kept entertained by the twists and turns of a fairly predictable plot. The book felt like a mash up of Northanger Abbey (even down to some character names) and Jane Eyre (tons of plot elements), and perhaps that is why it felt predictable. I don't always mind a somewhat predictable, albeit entertaining, novel, but I couldn't shake my annoyance at the main character's stupidity. Emma is meant to be an intelligent book-learned woman who's spent her entire life surrounded by adolescent boys, and yet she fails to read Rowan and Julian right, falls for many tricks it seems her background should prevent her from falling prey to. I also was hoping for a bit more plot resolution or reconciliation for some of the minor characters. However, there are some very thoughtful plot details and some interesting history of the Cornwall coast. All in all, not my favorite Klassen offering, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of her other works to interested readers....more
This book is such a departure from what I usually read, I don't have a GR shelf to add it to, but so many people's reactions piqued my interest. If yoThis book is such a departure from what I usually read, I don't have a GR shelf to add it to, but so many people's reactions piqued my interest. If you're looking for sympathetic characters, you won't find them here. What you will find is enough markers for Cluster B personality disorders to fill an entire college psych notebook and a really gripping mystery. I totally understand people's reactions now--I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its WTF moments. ^_^...more