I first read this book in 5th grade, I think, and I fell in love with the entire series. It has such a great nostalgic feel to it . . . like everythin...moreI first read this book in 5th grade, I think, and I fell in love with the entire series. It has such a great nostalgic feel to it . . . like everything was better in this era. It always made me wish I could have gone to high school at Betsy's school.(less)
My girls and I loved this book. I particularly like the contrast of illustration with photography, and the story is darling. I really love this author...moreMy girls and I loved this book. I particularly like the contrast of illustration with photography, and the story is darling. I really love this author.(less)
I grabbed this book from the Readers' Choice section of the library on a whim. I read it in two days because I couldn't put it down. I loved it! The s...moreI grabbed this book from the Readers' Choice section of the library on a whim. I read it in two days because I couldn't put it down. I loved it! The story, plot, characters, and style of the book were all very unique and funny, and I can't wait to read more from this author. Her next book in the series comes out in March.
Overall, I think the author is extremely talented and quick-witted. There aren't many book where I find myself laughing out loud, but this was definitely one of them.(less)
I just wrote a whole review for this book, and it somehow got deleted! Argggg . . . Needless to say, I'm much too tired to attempt to recreate it, bu...more I just wrote a whole review for this book, and it somehow got deleted! Argggg . . . Needless to say, I'm much too tired to attempt to recreate it, but what you really need to know is that this book is fantastic. My favorite of Melina Marchetta's so far.(less)
I heart The Spellman Files books and have been completely enamored since book one. I make no apologies for giving this fourth book in the series five...moreI heart The Spellman Files books and have been completely enamored since book one. I make no apologies for giving this fourth book in the series five enthusiastic stars because I pretty much think anything Lisa Lutz writes is pure genius. For some reason, her writing style really clicks with me.
This book, like its predecessors, was witty, hilarious, clever, and managed to have great relationships without getting sappy or sloppy. The mystery of the book is always a nice twist, but I always feel like the book is more about Izzy's relationships with her crazy family, interesting and diverse friends, and her future ex-boyfriends. Loved it . . . can't wait to see what Lutz does next!(less)
Now as you may or may not know, I am a devoted fan of Melina Marchetta. That being said, I was a little hesitant to read her first attempt at a fantas...moreNow as you may or may not know, I am a devoted fan of Melina Marchetta. That being said, I was a little hesitant to read her first attempt at a fantasy novel. Fantasy is kind of a hit-and-miss genre for me anyway, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I do hope Ms. Marchetta will accept my sincere apologies for ever doubting her, though, because this book was just beautiful. And as different as it was from her contemporary novels, it was so interesting to sense Marchetta's underlying style and especially her grasp on humanity, relationships, and emotion.
What I loved about this book was the concentration on real character development. There was no complicated descriptions of the fantasy world of Finnikin; instead, the details of the countries and their backgrounds, their deities and mythology, unfolded naturally throughout the story. And while no character was perfect, there was such beauty and power in their growth, their relationships with each other, their emotions and struggles. I was completely engrossed in the story of young Finnikin who must sacrifice everything to bring his exiled people home ten years after the royal family of his country was brutally murdered and the throne taken over by an enemy. And like most interactions with people in real-life, you (as the reader) don't truly know or understand any of the characters in this book until you have spent time with them, traveled with them, learned their motivations, listened to their stories and backgrounds, watched them cry or fight or love.
It is simply a beautiful story about home, family, loyalty, and love, and the sacrifices that are made when these things really mean something. I applaud Ms. Marchetta for another amazing novel. I don't know how she does it, but I swear I won't doubt her again.(less)
Wow, I am amazed how much I loved this book considering that I really kind of hated it at first. Well, maybe hated is too strong a word. I was impatie...moreWow, I am amazed how much I loved this book considering that I really kind of hated it at first. Well, maybe hated is too strong a word. I was impatient with it. The writing style was fairly confusing in the beginning. I now see quite a parallel in the telling of the protagonist Taylor's story and the writing of Hannah's book in its disjointed and non-chronological order.
Taylor Markham is a 17-year-old boarding school student in a town 6 hours from Sydney, Australia. At the age of 11, her mother abandoned her at a 7-11 where she was then befriended by Hannah, who took her to the Jellico School on (of course) Jellico Road. At the beginning of her final year in school, Taylor is plagued by her past and tormented in her present when Hannah mysteriously disappears, she has the leadership of her school thrust upon her, and a dangerous boy from her past reappears. She has to piece together the unknowns of her own life story as she learns about real friendship, forgiveness, and truly allowing those she cares about (and who care about her) into her life.
The story itself was beautiful and strange and terrible, and I found myself totally engrossed in it. Characters who should have been irritating to me in their sometimes self-absorption were tragic (without being melodramatic) and wonderful, and I completely fell in love with them. Once I forced myself through the confusing part, I was impressed by the genius of the unraveling of both Taylor's and Hannah's stories. I liked the puzzle-piece-like nature of the book, even if it became a bit obvious what many of the mysteries were.
It's a pretty emotional story, though . . . don't kid yourself that you're going to be able to walk away from it without bawling your eyes out. But when it's done right, there's really nothing I like better. (Except maybe ice cream.)(less)
For some reason, I almost always start out a Melina Marchetta novel not entirely enthralled. I don't love the characters, and either their attitudes a...moreFor some reason, I almost always start out a Melina Marchetta novel not entirely enthralled. I don't love the characters, and either their attitudes are pissing me off or their actions are. But then, magically, at some point during the novel, I start realizing that hey, I don't hate these characters. I actually kind of like them. Okay, wait, now I love them. A lot. And then the next thing you know, I'm crying, mocking myself for being a big baby, and then crying again.
I will say that the number of times I cried while reading this book may have more to do with my state of mind at the time than the book itself, but either way, it hit me just as hard as Marchetta's other novels have.
My only regret was not realizing that The Piper's Son is a companion novel to Saving Francesca. Here's the thing: I have a really horrible memory. So even though I'm pretty sure that Thomas Mackee (the protagonist of this book) was a minor character in Saving Francesca, I can't be sure. And I can barely remember his relationship to Francesca and Justine. And who in the world was Tara?? Do you see what I mean? So at first, I kept getting this sense that I should understand a bit more about what was going on than I actually was. I wish I had read it right after I read Saving Francesca and saved myself the slight annoyance.
But in the end, it didn't really matter. Tom's story was tragic and beautiful and redemptive all on its own. But that being said . . . I'll be off to re-read Saving Francesca now.
Update: Just readSaving Francesca again (which I highly recommend reading before this one), and it was so interesting getting such a different perspective on these characters. It was especially interesting to see Francesca through Tom's eyes after reading her story told in first-person narrative. And Tom wasn't such a minor character in Saving Francesca, actually. He played a vital role in the "saving" of Francesca, so it was a nice turnabout to see her part in saving Tom in The Piper's Son.(less)
I wish so much that I had reviewed this book right after I read it (instead of months later). I was really so amazed by it, and I wish I could relate...moreI wish so much that I had reviewed this book right after I read it (instead of months later). I was really so amazed by it, and I wish I could relate some of those initial feelings, especially since I coudln't stop thinking about it for days after.
I will tell you that I really hesistated to read it, for several reasons. For one, I'm not a huge fan of short story compilations. It's either a mixed bag of some good and some bad, or you're left just really wanting more because a good story is not long enough or it's not developed well enough. Another reason, frankly, was the cover art. I've never been drawn to this style of art, and when I saw that more artwork was included in the book, I wasn't sure what to expect with it. Was it some sort of graphic novel? Again, not a big fan. But if you read Tatiana's review of this book, you'll be pretty intrigued by it, too, as I was, and finally pick it up.
Lips Touch: Three Times consists of three short stories, each more beautiful than the last, in my opinion. The artwork is beautiful, too, which precedes each story, and is a very small portion of the book itself. The stories are mysterious, rather dark fairytale-type stories, and the writing is absolutely gorgeous. You are completely drawn into and mesmerized by the plot and characters, and it is almost impossible to put down.
Each story was extremely unique and fascinating, centering around the action and consequences of a kiss. I really loved them all, but I think the 2nd story, "Spicy Little Curses," was my favorite. It was amazing to me how well-developed this short story was, ending on exactly the right note. I am very excited to read more by Laini Taylor, and I just hope the little library in the town we just moved to has more of her books.(less)
I read this ages ago, but I haven't had any time to review books lately! But okay, let's just say it: Melina Marchetta can do no wrong. I cannot expre...moreI read this ages ago, but I haven't had any time to review books lately! But okay, let's just say it: Melina Marchetta can do no wrong. I cannot express how much I love this author and every beautiful thing that comes out her brain. Before this starts to sound too creepy and stalkerish, though, I'll just say that Froi of the Exiles was everything I'd hoped it would be and more.
I really couldn't wait for this book to come out, but I wasn't sure I was all that interested in Froi's story. I found his character to be kind of disgusting and off-putting in Finnikin of the Rock, to tell you the truth. But I trusted Marchetta and her crazy-brilliant talent, so I knew she'd find a way to make me fall in love with his character. Which, of course, I did.
So now all there is for me to do is wait patiently for Quintana's story . . . (less)
I'm not really sure why I didn't review this book when I read it the first time, because it has definitely been one of my favorites. I decided to read...moreI'm not really sure why I didn't review this book when I read it the first time, because it has definitely been one of my favorites. I decided to read it again, though, because I found I couldn't remember almost anything about it when I started reading The Piper's Son, a companion book to Saving Francesca.
And oh my goodness, I loved it every bit as much as I did the first time I read it. (At least, I'm assuming it's as much, since I apparently forgot so much about it.) Marchetta has this amazing gift for creating characters that are so real that you feel absolutely immersed in their lives. You know in your head that it's just a book; the characters aren't real. But you start reading, and you can't pull yourself away from their agony, their friendships and laughing, their heartache and healing. And you meet these characters who are absolute imbeciles or jerks at first (much like people you meet in real life, but don't know well at first), but then you get to know them and you start to fall a little bit in love with them.
What I love about Marchetta's books is the prevaling theme of searching for home. Not in the physical sense, but in the idea of what makes up the essence of "home" in a person's life. Their family and friends? Their sense of well-being? Their feeling of belonging and the knowledge that they are loved? In Saving Francesca, it's really all of these things, combined with the characters figuring out who they are and how their lives are interconnected with all those they love and care about. And that is what makes this book (and all Marchetta's books, really) so beautiful and relevant. It is something we are all looking for. (less)