After loving Eleanor and Park, I was intrigued to discover that Rowell had previously written an adult novel that was at least partiallSource: Library
After loving Eleanor and Park, I was intrigued to discover that Rowell had previously written an adult novel that was at least partially in epistolary and featured a romance. Although I doubted it could be as good as Eleanor and Park, I decided to check it out.
Shows what I know: this book was fabulous! While reading it at work, I was laughing and then crying and then bitter that I had to work instead of getting to finish this delightful book. Then I went home and finished it. As in Eleanor and Park, I didn't want the story to end and when it did, I again hugged the book to me. Rowell just seems to write in a style that is exactly what I like to read.
The plot is a bit odd: the year is 1999 and a newspaper is begrudgingly installing computers, internet, and email. Lincoln has been hired to monitor the email exchanges of the employees and he finds himself drawn to the conversation of two women in particular whose email keeps getting flagged. Jennifer is anxious about maybe starting a family with her husband while Beth craves a marriage proposal from her musician boyfriend. Through these emails Lincoln starts to fall for Beth while also following his own journey of growing up and separating from his mother.
I really liked the format of this book. It opens with an email exchange between Beth and Jennifer and then jumps into following Lincoln's life. Every couple of chapters, we get another exchange to punctuate Lincoln's story. I love epistolary novels and female narration so of course I ate up the emails especially because there were many very funny exchanges (literally laughed out loud at a couple of points.) But Lincoln's story is good too as this shy guy really blossoms just by making a few small decisions and following them through. I guess I read this book at the perfect time and I highly recommend it to fans of Rowell's writing!...more
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
It is still blowing my mind that this is technically a historical fiction novSource: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
It is still blowing my mind that this is technically a historical fiction novel since it is set in 1986 (I wasn't even alive then!) But that is mostly because I am struggling to put down in words just how much I loved this book.
On the surface, not much happens. Eleanor meets Park under less than auspicious circumstances: she's a new student on the bus and doesn't have a seat. He begrudgingly moves over. Soon they're bonding over comics and music and falling in love. But Eleanor's home life is a mess and the course of true love never did run smooth.
Just as Eleanor and Park are not immediately friends, this book and I did not immediately click. I was just very skeptical despite having seen several glowing reviews. But both Park and I were soon won over by Eleanor-her frankness, her kindness, her commitment to being herself. Soon we the reader get more insight into Eleanor's crappy home (her divorced mother married an abusive alcoholic man and Eleanor was estranged from them for a year after upsetting the husband; she also has four younger siblings making for a chaotic house. Meanwhile her father is incredibly selfish and thoughtless.) Park seems to have the perfect life with two parents who are still madly in love and a younger brother but deals with his own burdens: a father who doesn't think he's masculine enough and racism as he is half-Korean and looks it.
There's a lot of ground to cover and I thought Rowell handled the pacing well. The narration alternates between Park and Eleanor, which allowed me to bond with each of them as I journeyed through their story. I was particularly interested in the music described and I bet this book would be a kick for anyone who was a teenager then, bringing back some fond memories.
The parts that I thought were exceptionally well-done were the descriptions of the physical interactions between Eleanor and Park. I've read a good amount of romance and other adult books as well as pretty extensively in the YA category and no book in recent memory has done such a good job of evoking the feelings and sensations of first love/young love. Just holding hands sends the pair waxing rhapsodic and had me frantically flipping the pages for more.
I know I gave this book a perfect 5 and I stand by that rating but my one complaint would be that the ending is a bit ambiguous for my taste. I'm sure some readers really appreciated that since it is realistic and thus fitting for the genre but I like all the little pieces tied up in the bow and one important piece was not as resolved as I wanted although it is leaning in that direction.
As I wrote this, I ended up hugging my nook because it held the e-copy of this book. I can't wait to have an actual hard copy to hold. Highly recommended!...more
This is my favorite of the Hannah Swensen series-I'm not entirely sure why but I thought the characters really hit their stride here. I loved the murdThis is my favorite of the Hannah Swensen series-I'm not entirely sure why but I thought the characters really hit their stride here. I loved the murder victim, a mean cooking show star, who brought up all sorts of drama and I actually did solve the mystery. The recipes were fine although I've never tried any of them so I can't attest to their quality....more
Jane Spring was raised with a military father, two older brothers, and no mother causing her to be ultra masculine and somewhat offputting to most menJane Spring was raised with a military father, two older brothers, and no mother causing her to be ultra masculine and somewhat offputting to most men. In order to find love, she decides to makeover herself in the image of an effortless lady, Doris Day.
Now I find the premise ridiculous and somewhat insulting but I love Doris Day movies and I think this could totally have been one. It is just adorable chick lit with some very amusing sections. Warning: you may want to have a Doris Day marathon after reading this as each chapter starts with a quote from one of her films....more
This is my very favorite Betsy book! It opens with Betsy and Joe finally getting engaged and then quickly married and Betsy embarking on being a houseThis is my very favorite Betsy book! It opens with Betsy and Joe finally getting engaged and then quickly married and Betsy embarking on being a housewife while also juggling a writing career. It follows the ups and downs of about three years of their life together, ending with Joe's enlistment in the army to serve in WWI. A fitting conclusion for this beloved series....more
Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott Simon Pulse, 2008 282 pages YA; Contemporary 5/5 stars
This was my very first Elizabeth Scott book, which I pickePerfect You by Elizabeth Scott Simon Pulse, 2008 282 pages YA; Contemporary 5/5 stars
This was my very first Elizabeth Scott book, which I picked up on a whim, a year and a half or so ago before I discovered the book-blogging world. I fell in love with it and the romance and earlier this year I made my sister read it and she agreed that it was fantastic.
Highlight: The romance; I thought The Boys Next Door by Jennifer Echols had delicious kissing scenes and tension but this does too. Will is so infuriating-did you like a boy like that in high school? I did and it takes me back to some of the giddiness and frustration (said boy did not really like reading nor did he understand my love of reading). But he's so cute and he does seem to understand Kate in a way that others don't.
Cringe: Her father; everyone is embarrassed by their parents at some point but Kate has more reason than some as her father is somewhat of a profligate who is driving their family's finances in to the ground.
Overall: I think this would be a great introduction to Elizabeth Scott, if you've managed to go without reading some of her fab work (I have since read everything she's published and I'm looking forward to Grace)....more
**spoiler alert** Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver HarperTeen, 2010 470 pages YA; Contemporary; Supernatural 4.5/5 stars
Summary: Sam is reliv**spoiler alert** Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver HarperTeen, 2010 470 pages YA; Contemporary; Supernatural 4.5/5 stars
Summary: Sam is reliving the last day of her life, seven times. She has the opportunity to rethink the way she's treated her friends, her former friends, her boyfriend, her family, and her classmates. Every small change affects her last hours and reveals how much power she has.
Thoughts: As I read this, I was reminded of Help! I'm Trapped in the First Day of School by Todd Strasser, which I loved in elementary school. They have very similar premises in that the main character repeats one day, examines his/her friends and popularity choices, and sibling relationships. The main differences being that Jake's death didn't precipitate the repetition and it's meant for MG so is shorter and absolutely clean.
At first I didn't like Sam; she's so image obsessed and she and her friends are mean-to each other and to everyone around them. But as Sam repeats the day, she starts thinking more about other people and seeing how she has influenced people negatively. She starts being nicer to her parents and her younger sister. She tries to change the popularity status quo at her school. The story itself was fairly predictable although the Spoiler explains a part I didn't expect. At first she goes wild, doing absolutely out-of-character things and pissing everyone off. Then she blows off school and hangs out with her sister Izzy all day (Loved this) and then she tries to figure out why she has this opportunity to relive the day.
Spoiler: I did not like the end-I didn't want her to die! I thought the changes she made would save her. Poor Izzy (her sister) and Kent (her former best friend and new crush after she dumps her loser boyfriend)!
Warning: Language, Drug Use, and Sexual Situations but nothing too graphic.
Overall: Outstanding debut!
Cover: I actually am not a big fan of the cover and found it creepy; that's part of the reason that it took me so long to get around to reading it-because I didn't want to buy a book with some creepy girl staring at me....more