This might be my favourite Stephanie Plum novel so far. It was kind of hilarious, even though darker than usual, also slightly better written than preThis might be my favourite Stephanie Plum novel so far. It was kind of hilarious, even though darker than usual, also slightly better written than previous ones I think. ...more
4.5 stars. This is the best young adult book I have read in ages - found it to be sweet, entertaining, perceptive and believable, and I really liked t4.5 stars. This is the best young adult book I have read in ages - found it to be sweet, entertaining, perceptive and believable, and I really liked the main character. I know there is some disagreement as to whether Charlie is on the autistic spectrum or whether the abuse has made something go 'wrong' with him and the way he thinks and acts, but I don't think it matters that this is not made clear. I think that accepting him just as he is without the need to categorise him is a key point in the story, as acceptance is one of the main themes - Charlie is so non-judgmental and accepting of people and situations; even though he often becomes confused, hurt, overwhelmed, he moves on, sees the good in people, accepts them flaws and all. There are people like this around, although they are few and far between and they should be treasured as they are, just as this book should be treasured for what it is. I am sure if I had read this book as a teenager, I would have loved it enough to give it the full 5 stars, and it was close, very close....more
A really good story, particularly the historical sections, which were very powerful and of course very sad and disturbing. Minka was a beautifully wriA really good story, particularly the historical sections, which were very powerful and of course very sad and disturbing. Minka was a beautifully written and inspirational character. The modern day main character Sage did pale in comparison, but she was dealing with her own scars (the physical merely representing the emotional which is why she was so "hung up" on it - to her it was evidence of her 'wrongdoing')and her own losses had made her become a shell of herself, so still a relatable and realistic character and one lots of potential for growth.
I also enjoyed the links between past and present, like the passion for baking (which some may experience as a little annoying and distracting to the main story line, and even I have to admit seemed a little overdone at times) which was passed down through the generations, and how the craft of baking and the baked goods themselves meant so much more than merely a livelihood to this family - bringing joy, comfort, accomplishment and continuity among other things. And yes, the vivid descriptions of the baking were quite mouth-watering.
Just to nit-pick a bit, the narrative style was too jumpy, and I think we could have done without Leo as a narrator; Sage, Minka and Josef's perspectives would have been enough. Also if you know Picoult's writing style, you know to expect a twist, and yes this one was predictable (but still a fairly good and believable one, I think ultimately it did enhance the story). Lastly, she doesn't need to hammer in the themes so hard (e.g. the world as black and white vs shades of grey, forgiveness and redemption); while important and worthy themes they don't need to be repetitively and explicitly stated, i.e.show not tell. It just seems as though she doesn't give the reader enough credit here.
Despite this I do really like Jodi Picoult as a writer, and this is a very compelling (though tragic ) well-told story. ...more
Like many readers of Her Fearful Symmetry, I had read and adored The Time Traveller's Wife, and thus had high hopes for Her Fearful Symmetry. However,Like many readers of Her Fearful Symmetry, I had read and adored The Time Traveller's Wife, and thus had high hopes for Her Fearful Symmetry. However, I put off reading it for quite some time because I knew it would probably not live up to my expectations for it. Recently I borrowed a copy and set about reading it with the intention of judging it completely on it's own merits and not comparing it to TTW. And I think I did that, but I still didn't really enjoy it all that much. Points for originality, setting, and atmosphere but not so much for the characters or the plot, particularly in the latter pages of the book. At first I found it reminiscent of a Virginia Andrews book (one of her earlier ones; I felt the atmosphere, and story-line, including relationships between the characters started off quite similar), so I thought maybe this was going to be another book I may have enjoyed more when I was younger. And that may well be the case. But for me now, the whole Robert/Elspeth/Valentina love triangle, the 'plan', and what happened directly after the 'plan' just aren't my thing. It had promise, but it just wasn't for me....more
A pretty good, realistic, character-driven novel. Unfortunately rather tedious at first but it picks up, the characters become more believable and relA pretty good, realistic, character-driven novel. Unfortunately rather tedious at first but it picks up, the characters become more believable and relatable (though not necessarily more endearing). VERY emotional ending. Not bad overall, but not one of my favourites either. With better editing I think it would have deserved four stars....more