There is a particular kind of book that sucks you in and drags you along until you question reality. Beloved is that kind of book. Each time I would oThere is a particular kind of book that sucks you in and drags you along until you question reality. Beloved is that kind of book. Each time I would open it and read more, it was like being sucked into some sort of time warp until I wasn't sure what had just happened once I finally looked up. I am still trying to decide whether that is a good thing or not.
Mostly, I wish that someone had told me a long time ago that this was not a historical novel, because I would have picked it up sooner. Not because I dislike historicals - I like them, just not as much has I like other things. Like, for instance, Magical Realism. Beloved takes place in the past, but it also straddles the line between Magical Realism and outright Surrealism. Sometimes you aren't sure what is happening. Just as often, the characters aren't sure what is happening.
There's slavery, and ghosts, and murder, and mind control, and guilt, and lonliness, and a timeline so muddled that you might not ever be sure of the order in which events occurred, or how long they lasted.
It is mostly a book about living in a house with a very posessive ghost, and the reasons that people might want that ghost to stay.
It was not fun to read, because it feels a bit like losing your mind, but it was an experience worth having. ...more
I really enjoyed this - mostly as a way to see the Vampire Academy story I already know play out in a different form. The art is beautiful (Rose and CI really enjoyed this - mostly as a way to see the Vampire Academy story I already know play out in a different form. The art is beautiful (Rose and Christian look particularly good and much like I imagined them. I'm less thrilled with Lissa's look, but it's still a pretty good representation of her description in the book). I wasn't sure how Rose's narration was going to work in graphic novel form, and sometimes it did seem clumsy, but overall I think it was handled well. My only real complaint is the particular scenes that were cut to shorten the story - some of them I missed, and wished had been included (view spoiler)[(particularly some of the Lissa/Christian scenes in the church attic that fleshed out why she wouldn't let him die when he was attacked by the Psi-Hounds. Lissa's motivations are much clearer when we see more of her. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, pretty great. I definitely want to see how the rest of this series translates to this format. ["br"]>["br"]>...more
Well, now I can see why everybody seems to love Colleen Hoover. I can definitely see the appeal, even though this is the first of her books that I havWell, now I can see why everybody seems to love Colleen Hoover. I can definitely see the appeal, even though this is the first of her books that I have read. (Honestly, it's the first premise that appealed to me, and because of that I'm glad I started with this one).
I really loved the beginning when Auburn and Owen met, how they developed an entertaining banter and had great chemistry before the inevitable misunderstanding and miscommunication started. There was a stretch in the middle that I was unsure about my feelings of, but the ending definitely restored my love of this novel. (Also, the paintings are gorgeous. That is a definite plus).
So, on to the details.
Things I Liked - Auburn and Owen's chemistry. The dialogue between them is well done, and it's clear that they genuinely care about each other.
- The duel POVs. I love alternating POVs.
- The idea of the Confessions, and the paintings, and just everything about Owen's gallery.
- The whole blue-tent subplot. From the scene in Target to A.J. and Owen's conversation about secret keeping. It was great.
- The epilogue. It was hands-down my favorite part of this book. Suddenly, everything made sense. (view spoiler)[Although, I do wish that the fact that Owen knew Adam would have come up earlier in the novel. Just a hint. Maybe have Owen recognize A.J.'s multicolored eyes. I mean, I know he recognizes Lydia and Trey, but I kind of wanted a clearer foreshadow of his connection to Adam in particular. (hide spoiler)]
- The fact that Owen and Auburn have clearly differentiable voices in their narration. I didn't always have to check to see who was narrating a particular chapter, because it was easy enough to tell the difference between them.
- Owen-Cat, and the fact that Owen named his cat after himself. It was an interesting detail that made Owen feel more real.
- Emory, for being my absolute favorite character. She is the best. (view spoiler)[She threatens an attempting-rapist with a gun. She comes up with the code phrase "Meat Dress." She makes her roommate call to confirm that she has not been murdered. She is just an all-around great secondary character. I want to know what kind of shenanigans she gets up to when Auburn isn't around. (hide spoiler)]
Things I Didn't Like - Lack of motive for Trey. I mean, I know he's a completely terrible person (not to mention an abusive boyfriend), but I kind of wanted a reason. Maybe not a reason for his lack of morals (because he seemed to have been pretty evil even back when Adam was dying), but a reason that he was obsessed with Auburn. I mean, we got Lydia's motive for being so possessive of A.J. when Auburn explained that she seemed to be using A.J. to replace Adam, but we never got why Trey was so obsessed with Auburn. (Note: I don't want that motive to be redeeming in any way, because what I really wanted was for Emory to shoot him, but I do want him to be a more fleshed-out character, because three-dimensional villians are both scarier and make more sense).
(view spoiler)[ - I don't really agree with Owen's decision to never tell Auburn that he knew Adam, or that the painting that she has was the one that Owen gave to Adam. I mean, I get that it's Adam's confession and not Owen's...but I still feel like it's relevant that he knew the father of her child (if only briefly) and that he was the person who stalled Trey so that she could say goodbye to Adam that final time. I feel like she should know when the first time their lives intersected was. It seems like a lie of omission not to tell her. (hide spoiler)]
- Some of the miscommunications between Auburn and Owen made me want to grab them both by the shoulders and shake them. I mean, this happens a lot in miscommunication plots, but still.
- It's a personal preference, but I'm not really big on super-unusual names for protagonists. So, "Auburn" bugged me a little. Not a lot, but a little. (And, obviously, weird names don't put me off enough to keep me from loving something, because I love Sarah Dessen to pieces and she is guilty of this, too).
Overall, this was a pretty solid book. I really enjoyed it. Now, I just wonder if that means I should read some of Colleen Hoover's other books. (Will I like them, or were the things that I liked about this one unique to it alone? Am I willing to slog my way through more miscommunication plots for emotional payoff and enjoyable writing? Do the other ones have cats and cool roommates?).
And, if I do decide to read more Colleen Hoover, which of her other novels should I pick?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I have to admit, I don’t usually read Middle Grade fiction (is this Middle Grade? I think so. That is what I’ve been led to believe). I’m well out ofI have to admit, I don’t usually read Middle Grade fiction (is this Middle Grade? I think so. That is what I’ve been led to believe). I’m well out of the target-audience (though that alone does not often stop me), and seem to be too far past the age of having the sense of wonder that a lot of MG fiction requires for enjoyment. However, I’m taking a Writing Children’s Lit class this semester, and this book ended up in my hands.
“It’s an excellent example of craft,” my professor said. “There’s also a terrific shark character whose name sounds like the gnashing of teeth.”
I was pretty much sold. Also, I really wanted to do well in the class, and hopefully learn a thing or two about writing children’s fiction in the process. (Although I do wish he had told me that this was the second book in a series - because I was pretty lost until Nita’s recap of what happened in Manhattan. If I had known I would have started with the first one).
After reading it, my thoughts about this book boil down into basically two points:
The first, that I wish I had come across this book when I was younger. Ten- to twelve-year-old me would have loved this. She would have devoured this whole series gleefully. I have no idea why I had never heard of these books until now.
Second, that nineteen-year-old me also kind of loved this. Yes, I loved the whales less than I probably would have a few years ago, but the book itself is definitely still enjoyable for adults.
Things I Liked
- Nita, for being relatable, and always trying to do the right thing (even when keeping her word comes at risk to her life).
- Kit, for being both loyal and flawed.
- Dairine, for being my favorite. I, too, am a younger sister who always wanted to know everything that my older sister knew, and more. I love Dairine.
- The Master Shark. Just, everything about him. (Especially the mythology surrounding him, and whether or not he was immortal, and the “sharks don’t die from natural causes” bit).
- How the author handled Nita’s parents, and whether or not they should know about wizardry.
- The whole mythology of the Song of the Twelve.
Things I Didn’t Like
- S’reee. Least competent wizard by far. I feel like I was supposed to like her more than I did, or at least forgive her for not telling Nita the whole story…but I had a hard time not being angry with her.
- Nit-pick: The fact that the chapter titled “Ed’s Song” comes before Nita starts calling the Master Shark “Ed.”
All in all, this was fantastic. It is a lot of fun, and immensely enjoyable, and really smartly written. ...more