Some times, if you’re lucky, a book comes along that has a gripping premise- the type of synopsis that makes you desperate to know how things turn outSome times, if you’re lucky, a book comes along that has a gripping premise- the type of synopsis that makes you desperate to know how things turn out. And once the mystery sucks you in, it’s almost impossible not to finish it all in one sitting.
Stead tells a down-to-earth coming of age story while managing to incorporate the seemingly impossible- time travel. How a plot device that is so far-fetched manages to seem natural against the ’70s neighborhood backdrop is a feat in itself. And boy, it is ever effective. You can follow Miranda’s story and her struggles, all while being hooked on the puzzle behind the mysterious letters and where they’re leading up to.
While it’s a Middle Grade novel, the story is so ingenious and clever that it’ll appeal to audiences across the board. There are so many little details that play an important role later on impacting the plot in ways that you can’t even begin to imagine. If you don’t pay attention and just enjoy the story as is, the ending will grab you by surprise without leaving you majorly confused. Reading it a second time through makes it even more fun to see how the mystery unfolds; it also makes it a little bittersweet as well… nevertheless, while the book is quite short, you’ll want to read it again and again.
With the time travel gimmick, only the rest of the story could be just as quirky. The interactions between the characters are funny while staying somewhat believable, and I’ll just say right now that Marcus was my favorite character. I’m also going to mention that I just love the title:When You Reach Me sounds a little melancholic and has just enough of a mysterious tone to it to fit the story perfectly.
The plot seems to lose a little direction throughout the middle of the story, but it brings itself around for an amazing conclusion. Let’s just say that the ending is absolutely jaw-dropping, as a whirlwind of crazy events happen right after another, so quickly that it’ll probably leave you in a catatonic state. I gasped, I cried, I felt irrevocably sad and, at the same time, a little touched.
Then I turned back to page one and read it all over again....more
It's one of those books that you don't expect much from but ends up surpassing any preconceptions you had before reading it. This is a collection of sIt's one of those books that you don't expect much from but ends up surpassing any preconceptions you had before reading it. This is a collection of stories that are all heartbreaking and real but never truly preachy, as I had feared. The first six or so stories are the strongest, with the titular Lunch With Lenin blowing all the others completely out of the water. (The last few were rather weak.) But those first stories were perfection. They each ended on an open, thought-provoking way. All The Pretty Flowers was also breathtaking.
The fact that each story is so brief and fleeting only makes them more emotionally affecting. There were approximately twenty-one pages in Lunch With Lenin, and that was all it took for me to become more emotionally invested in the characters than I ever thought possible. So much that I just couldn't forget it.
Then I started a blog and gave it that title that never quite left my mind.
let's just say I picked this up randomly, started reading it on a whim before going to sleep, and ended up staying up all night until I finished it. tlet's just say I picked this up randomly, started reading it on a whim before going to sleep, and ended up staying up all night until I finished it. there were a lot of tears...more
“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted. It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen.” - Jellicoe R“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted. It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen.” - Jellicoe Road, Prologue
And so begins Jellicoe Road, one of the most frustrating but rewarding books i have ever read. Jellicoe Road contains many stories; the book weaves together past and present, family and mysteries, loyalty and friendship, and at times it is heartbreakingly sad.
Taylor Markham has lived at a boarding school ever since she was abandoned by her mother many years ago. The story is hard to explain; one narrative takes place in the present, with Taylor trying to figure out where her closest friend and guardian, Hannah, has disappeared to. The second story is set in the past and follows four friends. The prologue is part of this second story.
The flashbacks were a breath of fresh air and the way they tie in to the present-day story is simply amazing. I had figured out the twists behind When You Reach Me because I had heard there were secrets lurking in the story; I didn’t think that Jellicoe Road would have any plot twists, but when they were revealed not only was it shocking; it felt right. Not like “What the heck was the author thinking?” but “Ahhh, it makes sense.” Just what you want in this little puzzle of a book.
I could barely read this book when I first started it. Actually, that’s not totally true; the introduction is simply amazing. I read the first few pages and thought that the rest of the book would be just as gripping- but instead, the plot became incredibly convoluted and confusing.
The story springs right into Taylor’s life without any exposition whatsoever. Usually I love these types of stories; figuring out what’s happening is usually fun. But in this book, I was just frustrated.
I couldn’t seem to care about the characters; the back story to the plot was either to brief or vague; some plot elements made absolutely no sense until the very end. I found Taylor to be an unsympathetic lead; she seemed so caught up in her teenage angst.
Reading it began to feel like a tiresome trip; I tried to encourage myself to stay with it (it won the Printz award! That prologue was breathtaking!) but I eventually just gave up and put it down for a while. After wondering if the plot actually got anywhere, I picked it up again to read the ending (it’s a bad habit).
And I decided to give it another try. And I was completely blown away. I couldn’t put it down; I cried like i had just read the ending of The Book Thief for the first time (well, almost).
Thing is, it didn’t get that good until i was 3/4 through the book. Once I was about to read the final chapter, I actually decided to read the entire book from the beginning again to see what I had missed; it made the epilogue all the more powerful. Reading it the second time through, it almost seemed like another book. There are a whole bunch of little details that you miss the first time (mostly because what the heck is going on?!?!) but you can take the time to get to know the characters the second time through. And the characters, I find, are one of the most important elements of a novel.
Final Verdict: An amazing book. The way the Marchetta ties together the past and present is nothing short of genius. The frustrating confusion at the beginning drags the book down but it’s all worth it for the ending.
--- Apparently I read and reviewed this book when I was around thirteen. Every time I re-read Jellicoe it never loses its power; although I've fallen harder for Melina Marchetta's characters in other books since then (and she's easily become my favorite author), I still marvel at how everything falls into place so skillfully here. If I had to pick one novel that really stands out in being a gateway to the stories that shaped my high school years, this would be it....more
That was perfect. Brilliant and funny and I was genuinely surprised at how many dimensions the characters turned out to have.
Contemps like this are soThat was perfect. Brilliant and funny and I was genuinely surprised at how many dimensions the characters turned out to have.
Contemps like this are so wonderful. It's like a cross between Jaclyn Moriarty and John Green but with more heart and subtle humor, not the hysterical laugh-out-loud type, but more of a grin that you can't wipe off your face because the characters and their interactions are so believable and funny.
It's strange because I didn't like Jellicoe Road's main characters at all. In fact, they all got on my nerves; didn't sympathize with Finnikin either. While I didn't get Will at all (he kinda irked me), Justine, Thomas, Siobhan, and Tara more than made up for it.
And the turning point of the book, the scene that made me give it five stars, was p.63. Because of Jimmy of all people. Who is briefly mentioned as a stereotypical psycho but ended up being my favorite character.
That ENDING. It's been so long since I've read something like it. Not entirely sappy, with just the right dose of humor and drama.
I had pretty much pushed this book aside because of some shinier new releases, each of which disappointed me with cardboard characters that only served the purpose of supporting a flimsy plot with a marketable concept. Saving Francesca happened to be due at the library so I decided to get it over with (wasn't expecting much) but gaaah this was so good and I'll stop rambling now...more
This is hilarious and heartfelt and wonderful. The way the plot has such a clever backstory reminds me of the brilliance of Holes. I never ever would'This is hilarious and heartfelt and wonderful. The way the plot has such a clever backstory reminds me of the brilliance of Holes. I never ever would've thought I'd enjoy a book about bridge, haha. Definitely recommended!...more
The Ask and the Answer is still my fave though. If only for Davy. DAVY EFFING PRENTISS. I've never been so emotionally manipulated*foams at the mouth*
The Ask and the Answer is still my fave though. If only for Davy. DAVY EFFING PRENTISS. I've never been so emotionally manipulated by a book to feel sorry for someone so loathable. WTF these books MESS WITH YOUR MIND. ...more
I am a huge fan of Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy (it’s absolutely BRILLIANT, go read it if you haven’t already!) but part of the fun was being surprisedI am a huge fan of Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy (it’s absolutely BRILLIANT, go read it if you haven’t already!) but part of the fun was being surprised by a series that I had always overlooked. When I read A MONSTER CALLS, however, I had expectations of epic proportions. It does make for a different reading experience, but by the end all my doubts were completely gone. You might be lulled by its simplicity, but the emotions bleed through the pages and the illustrations are breathtaking. Although there aren’t many details about the various characters that are a part of Conor’s life, the monster itself is so fascinating and perplexing that you have to keep reading to see what’ll happen next.
A MONSTER CALLS is beautifully written, with humor and haunting descriptions throughout; the illustrations are spectacular as well. But what really hits you in the end is how powerful it is. Ness isn't afraid to expose the tough truths in life. As Conor faces them, you do as well. The ending is gut-wrenching (I don’t know many people who made it through dry-eyed) and–even if you wanted to– it’s impossible to forget....more