I love the premise and inspiration for this novel:
Two years ago Liane Moriarty stumbled upon a fascinating article about real life deathbed confessio
...moreI love the premise and inspiration for this novel:
Two years ago Liane Moriarty stumbled upon a fascinating article about real life deathbed confessions. She learned about Christian Spurling, who confessed on his deathbed to faking a notorious photo of the Loch Ness Monster. There was a famous songwriter who was dying of cancer and wrote a letter admitting, after years of adamant denials, that she had plagiarized a lullaby melody. Then there was the hapless man who, after suffering a stroke, confessed he’d killed his neighbour thirty years earlier. The only problem was that he didn’t end up dying. After he was released from hospital he went straight to jail.
This article helped inspire Sydney-based Liane to write her latest novel, The Husband's Secret which we are publishing in April.
Cecilia Fitzpatrick, Sydney wife, mother and P&C President, discovers her husband has a secret so dark it could destroy her blissfully ordinary suburban existence. We all have secrets. But not like this… The Husband’s Secret is a stunning, complex novel guaranteed to cause debate and controversy. This book will have everyone asking, “What would I do?” (taken from Pan Macmillan's press release)
Some of the best highlights of my reading life over the last 7 years (it was in 2005 that I stumbled upon Three Wishes, an all time fave) has been snapping open a new Liane Moriarty. My love for her prose and characters and unique stories brings with it high expectations. You guys, I am SO EXCITED to be sharing my review of this book with you as there has never been a better time to get with the program. The Husband's Secret was so divinely awesome, so surprising, so deliciously funny and genuinely heartfelt that it seriously blew me away, me - a devout fan with sky-high expectations.
So you think you know what this book could be about? Think again. It is so mysterious and even after the Big Reveal (ie the reading of the letter) it's even more unexpected and surprising. Even more addictive. How does she do it? Liane has a niche on the market for intelligent women's fiction ~ utterly original, superbly creative and just so good, so good.
This book had the magic combo for me: that feeling of wanting to rush ahead and devour it all, desperately hanging out for the reveal, and also wanting to slow down and savour all it's brilliance. (confession: I decided to savour this book. 24 hours after cracking open that first chapter I was done. I couldn't stop thinking about when I had to tear myself away, and I'm still thinking about it now.)
I love so much about Liane's books. But I often find myself in a scatterbrained mess trying to articulate just how brilliant they are. Here's a few points :)
1. The storytelling! Moriarty is a master storyteller weaving together three perspectives which eventually criss-cross each other paths. It has that gorgeous touch of whimsy, coincidence and fate. It's also insanely addictive storytelling - reveals in just the right places, humour sprinkled in perfectly alongside the heartbreak the tension building and the climax exploding.
2. The humour is so delightful, it's wicked and empathetic and intelligent and smiley and it just nails it, every time.
3. The characters. They come to life in such a way that they are lovable even in their unlovable moments. I truly was invested in them. I felt their sorrow and ached alongside them <3
4. Those swoony moments. With a few deft sentences, the romance in this book just had my heart, it also left me bereft (but hopeful) at times. Which is the perfect kind of love stories, all good and bad and swoony and unpredictable.
5. The Sydney (and Melbourne) setting. Just gorgeous. So spot on, I could feel myself walking along those streets and doing the school run.
6. The more I was drawn into the book, the more I got caught up in the shades of grey. And wondering just what was the right thing to do? How was Liane going to make this whole thing turn out? The answer is: in an unexpected and unforgettable way...
I recommend this book so much. I am excited for it to be out, excited for everyone to read it. And already hanging out for my next Liane Moriarty fix. (less)
It has been a long time since I have fallen so hard for a contemporary YA novel. I have barely heard of any buzz surrounding Laura Nowlin's debut. I o...moreIt has been a long time since I have fallen so hard for a contemporary YA novel. I have barely heard of any buzz surrounding Laura Nowlin's debut. I ordered it on a whim, not really sure what to expect. I liked the cover, the premise sounded like my kind of thing and I always like the chase of finding a YA book free of preconceived hopes and praise.
I was unprepared for just how good this book is, easily my favourite YA book of the year so far and it now sits on my favourites shelf.
Nowlin is a born storyteller. And this book differs from other YA books as it spans over three years of Autumn's life (told in the present, but it also encapsulated much more than that with memories and flashbacks). I love the time span of this novel, it stretched ahead of me and wrapped itself around me and I was entirely absorbed into Autumn's world.
This is a YA coming-of-age love story, but not in that swoony, predictable way. It hit me harder than a just the regular dreamy smile for the hot guy next door (and Finny is a hot boy living next door): I felt it right through to my stomach and to my chest constricting as I watched August and Finny together. The things left unsaid, the memories swirling around them, hope's dashed, future's uncertain.
Nowlin so perfectly captures that teen voice: the misunderstandings between teenagers, the things unsaid, the dreams, the doubts, the wildly good times and also snatches of depression. I love Autumn as she felt so real. no aspect of her was gimmicky. She was fully nuanced, so gorgeous and bold and different without ever falling into a YA cliché and I loved seeing the world from her eyes. She was the perfect blend of confident and unsure. Nothing was black and white: I loved all the shades of grey in her feelings and everything that was going on in her world. I loved her for her fairytale hopes all mashed up with trying to face reality. For her love of reading and her uncompromising stance on who she was, even as she was trying to figure out the very same thing.
And, oh, how I love the history of her relationship with Finny. There are a lot of flashbacks and memories and I never grew tired of it. I felt included in their lives. Finny himself is now one of my most favourite YA boys, not just as a gorgeous love interest, but for who he was.
If He Had Been With Me has it's own unique vibe. The prose sometimes has it's own jaunty little rhythm, other times passages are so so poignant and heartfelt that my chest constricted. The writing was deeply personal, holding nothing back.
With such a lush scope of three years plus, Nowlin explores so many experiences: friendships, cliques, first love, divorce, mental health, sex, all those gorgeous moments caught between the mystery and promise of adulthood looming ahead while thinking back on childhood.
The thing about this book is it just kept getting better and better. For me, it was like meeting a new friend, and liking them, and then getting to know them until they become one of those lifelong besties that you cannot imagine life without. I liked Autumn so much from the outset, but she grew on me, exponentially so, as did her friends, her mum (and aunty) and, of course, Finny and now I just have this love for them and I know I won't ever be forgetting this gorgeous, beautiful and achey story.
For discussion: I would have preferred the book without the prologue chapter. The writing itself pulled me into the story, that and the promise of what was to come - I did not need such a dramatic hook. I also am not a fan of the blurb that's on GR. I think it changes the reading experience (luckily, I did not read the blurb on that site - which is also used on most bloggers review posts, amazon, etc - and only read the back cover of the book). The ending felt rushed, then abrupt. I think I needed a tiny bit longer to linger in the story, to make sense of it all, but I understand what Nowlin was trying to do.
I can't stop thinking about this story. I am crazily excited to fall this hard for a debut author and cannot wait to read more of Nowlin's work (understatement). I have a new absolute favourite book, so much passages bookmarked. I have so much love for this book and hope it falls into many hands. I envy those readers their first time reading experience waiting before them. LOVE
(Confession: I stayed up until 4.30am to finish this one. My only regret is it's already over...)
Perfect theme song: the Special Two by the ever lush Missy Higgins
This was refreshingly addictive with a great vibe.
Mostly, I loved Devan's voice in this. She was so fun to read. This contemporary YA has moving to a...moreThis was refreshingly addictive with a great vibe.
Mostly, I loved Devan's voice in this. She was so fun to read. This contemporary YA has moving to a new school , getting to know (or not) an estranged mum, a huge musical element (I don't even like musicals-- well, I sometimes like the stories, I just don't like the bits where the people sing, haha--, but I loved this book).
This was fun and breezy with some high emotional moments to give it some depth. Very much looking forward to Amy Spalding's next book (out later this year!) Ink is Thicker Than Water. (less)
Paper chains has so much cool going for it: Set in London! And Australia :) and other snippetty travel scenes and flashbacks.
Two mysterious girls (ladi...morePaper chains has so much cool going for it: Set in London! And Australia :) and other snippetty travel scenes and flashbacks.
Two mysterious girls (ladies) both holding secrets. What is going on?
Those gorgeous moments of serendipity that I adore.
Prose that you sink Ito, sentiments perfectly captured.
Most ever so importantly, characters to care about. To get under your skin. Two gorgeous girls, so different. And all their worlds (including their sexy, at times, estranged men) and family.
It also has bone crushing moments of absolute despair. At times, I felt it was hard to breathe, smothered with the weight of it. Paper Chains tackles some very real, and very depressing issues. But Moriarty would bring flashes of whimsy and the shyest of smiles to lighten the load.
There were moments of silliness and absolute charm. Flashbacks to the cutest and sexiest of meet-cutes (crazily love that Luna park scene). And then there was complete devastation and broken-heartedness of the kind that you are not sure anyone can ever really recover from.
There's a rare moment where I go from being cocooned in a fictional story and soaking it up, to suddenly realizing I have completely placed myself in the story and am crying right alongside the characters. This book didn't just include certain issues, it feels like the author poured her soul and ever fibre of her emotions into bringing Hannah's feelings to the page. It was, at times, unrelenting and eye opening. It kind of ripped me wide open.
Now for the cheesy confession: I don't like to wax poetic about reading being therapeutic or whatever. I honestly read because I happen to love reading, but Paper Chains went above and beyond and I felt so liberated, so affirmed after finishing. From things I didn't even realize I was holding onto. Failures or perceived failures. Secret thoughts and pressures. Doubts and expectations. I just felt like everything is okay, is going to be okay, and life is good. Those final chapters with Hannah were just perfect. And India, just LOVE.
I am sorry to be cryptic but I don't want to spoil anything in any way.
I so thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had the perfect little addictive pull that my favourite reading experiences require. It had so much emotion and heart and just the perfect amount of whimsy. It had characters I am still buzzing about and I will, for sure, be revisiting it again soon and passing my copy onto all my fave reading buddies, who I only pass the absolute best books on to :)
Paper Chains is on my favourites list for 2013 and my favourites list for always. (less)
Friday Brown is such a gorgeous and heartbreaking reading experience. Vicki Wakefield writes in this sublime way ~ her stories have this almost fairyt...moreFriday Brown is such a gorgeous and heartbreaking reading experience. Vicki Wakefield writes in this sublime way ~ her stories have this almost fairytale, other-worldly quality while at the same time feeling so emotionally real and resonant that it aches like the truth. This story is vivid: sorrowful yet full of love, surreal yet devastatingly believable.
There's this gorgeous blend of adventure and tension. While friendships are being forged and the plot sails ahead into the unknown, there's an undercurrent of danger - just enough to create a pool of dread right in the pit of my stomach. Guys, it was only a solid month after finishing this read that I was able to come to terms with it all and conclude that, simply, this sophomore novel is amazing.
Wakefield possess the magic combo: prose to die for, sneaky, smiley humour, characters that come to life and work their way into your heart, and a power-packed climax that leaves you breathless a la Jellicoe Road. In some ways, this book reminds me a smidgen of Jellicoe Road - in the way that sometimes it seems like too much ~ the character's backgrounds, heartache and sorrow upon sorrow mingled with the perfect carving of relationships but like Jellicoe, Friday Brown pulls everything off and more. These characters and this story is brilliant and lingering and will hold fast.
I especially loved all of Fridays' stories passed down from her mum. Ethereal and beautiful and clever and special, all truth mingled with fantasy and hope mingled with regret. Just gorgeous.
I cannot not mention what I truly love about Vicki Wakefield's work: her characters are such brilliant teenagers. She never belittles them, instead gives so much life and energy, it rings with the truth. I think the ultimate YA authors are the ones who believe in just how awesome teenagers are, showcasing their resilience and life and ability to have fun and live in a world not dulled by adult sensibilities.
Vicki Wakefield is an extraordinary talent who would shine in whichever genre she would choose to write in. I am cheering for Aussie teens who can experience books such as this: utterly compelling and life-changing stuff.
If you're into Aussie YA, Vicki Wakefield should be at the top of your list to check out. Two books out and she is right up there with the cool kids at the top.
I truly loved this book (even as it ripped me to shreds and patched me up again) and I am thrilled to recommend it to you all and cannot wait to see what you think :) (less)
Hands down best book I've read this year. My gosh, I loved it so x
Oh, so you can see I liked it. More than just a lot.
Every now and then a book comes...moreHands down best book I've read this year. My gosh, I loved it so x
Oh, so you can see I liked it. More than just a lot.
Every now and then a book comes along that just is the perfect fit for me.
A book that reminds me how much I love to read.
How much I love falling in love with characters.
How much I love gorgeous and funny and whimsical and perfectly put together prose.
A book that I cannot keep away from. And when I have to leave it, I am finding any moments in my day to squeeze in a few more sentences.
Even better, this was a book where, upon finishing, I went back through for the next couple of days. Just not ready to move on from the characters and the world.
I truly, sincerely, crazily loved this book. Just thinking about it now has me smiling and sighing, remembering the good times the book and I had together.
This book is just so utterly charming.
It had it all for me. I ached (surprisingly, a lot) with genuine sadness and regret. I swooned (oh my swoon!). I laughed. I felt inspired. I loved every single thing about this book.
There's mystery elements, murder, sky-diving, manic-like shoplifting, grief, love, people behaving badly, mixed-messages, possible ghost-lingering, quirky coincidences and despair all wrapped up with humour, fun, sincerity and whole lot of heart. I loved the plot, original and true and slightly bizarre. But, more than that, I adored the characters. And when I fall in love with characters, that provides the ultimate reading experience, because for that moment, while I am with them, they are real to me. Very endearing flawed characters.
What a gorgeous, life-affirming, moving, whimsical, original debut. With one book, Nicola has bounded on to my all time fave authors list.
Things you might want to know:
Free Falling is my favourite book this year (followed closely by an Aussie YA novel which I plan to talk about next week ;))
Nicola is one of five sisters, two of whom you may be familiar with: YA author Jaclyn Moriarty, and author Liane Moriarty. I love all three of these Moriarty girls, they are SO my kind of authors <3
I plan on rereading this very soon. In fact, I feel nostalgic about it every time I think about it, haha.
Oh, so, no review-type synopsis from me. You can find them in reviews on goodreads. I much prefer to just chat (or in this case, gush) about how much I loved this book so. (less)
First, the story. Pippi was written in the 1940's and it's still utterly captivating to this generation. Pippi is suc...moreHere's my daughter reading Pippi
First, the story. Pippi was written in the 1940's and it's still utterly captivating to this generation. Pippi is such an endearing character, irreverent, infectiously ridiculous and charmingly caring. Bonus to all kids everywhere: she makes adults look silly and kids look brilliant. She champion's the kids world: all imagination and no rules. Anything is possible and everything is an adventure. She's like the imaginary friend we'd like to be, except, in the end, she makes us grateful we have our mums and dads and homes (oh, she gets a little emotional, despite her fearless bravado).
This is one of those kids books I am not inwardly groaning when it's time to read to my daughter (although I did love it more when I was still a girl, myself). My 7 year old is the perfect age for this, able to read it herself, but liking me reading it to her more (of course ;))
Oh, and this 2011 edition is completely gorgeous, guys. Random picture evidence:
I loved this as a kid. I adored the movie (I can still sing along to all the songs, haha). Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking of Villa Villekulla is a timeless character and I hope she continues to be loved by children of upcoming generations
Judging from the Aussie cover (which is gorgeous) and the blurb I expected Saving June to be a melancholic (perhaps whimsical) novel exploring grief/s...moreJudging from the Aussie cover (which is gorgeous) and the blurb I expected Saving June to be a melancholic (perhaps whimsical) novel exploring grief/sisterhood & bad boys ;) I thought it may be a rainy-day comfort read. But it was so much more than that.
SAVING JUNE opens with Harper at her sisters wake ~ and the tone is pitch perfect for that kind of startled frozen grief ~ and yet Harrington had me grinning (grinning! in the aftermath of a funeral) multiple times before the chapter was through, even alongside that gorgeously portrayed ache.
That first chapter pretty much sets the tone for the book ~ which continues to grow in it’s awesomeness right until the very end. I found SAVING JUNE absolutely refreshing and completely addictive. It’s funky and full of life even as it explores darker themes.
It reads so effortlessly ~ like Harrington is very comfortable with her prose, characters and their world. I love lines of prose that make you stop and think, sentiments worded so perfectly that you find little epiphanies about the most ordinary of things (I found that here). Also ~ genius one-liners that made me ache/grin/pause/sigh or all of the above.
I am crazy-in-love with the grin-worthy and whip-smart dialogue, that easy banter that comes from people being stuck on a road trip together and getting overly bold and familiar. This book easily catches a sense of camaraderie between it’s characters that make it easy for a reader to slip in alongside them and feel as if you are there.
The romantic sub-plot (you guys!) unfolded exactly how I love: it starts off brilliantly antagonistic between Harper and Jake (love their first three meetings) and the romantic tension between them burns throughout the novel. Harrington shows such restraint in shaping their relationship and it really pays off. It’s incredibly sexy watching the love/hate/annoyance/attraction thing and even sexier when, well, when things turn sexy :D
The thing about this book is at first glance you can probably find a lot of cliched threads: the (better, smarter) sister who committed suicide, a road trip with a mysterious bad boy, characters who struggle with their parents and pasts and futures. But Harrington blitzes pass cliche-land with her nuanced characters that are explored in layers, unfolding piece by piece. SAVING JUNE has so much heart, it’s sad in parts but mostly captures that whole YA thing of finding your place in the world. It has hope and I smiled, grinned and sighed, like, a lot, considering the premise of the book O.o
There are also random cool things that make road trip books so much fun. For eg: Fridgehenge (!)
I am careful with my 5 star ratings. EXCEPT for when I crush on a book so hard that 5 stars is the only way to express how much this book was just perfect for me.
There are a few things that niggled at the end (view spoiler)[ why did Jake go on the road trip? was it really just about the note? (hide spoiler)] and occasionally the pacing lulls (not in terms of my interest in reading, oh my gosh I couldn’t put it down, but perhaps in terms of plot) and some of the banter with other characters can occasionally be too smart (in that John-Green-I-am-cool-kind-of-way ~ but only with a few minor-blip characters) but none of this detracted from insanely loving every minute of this. (less)
Reading Past Perfect was reminiscent of the time I read Psych Major Syndrome. I just didn’t want to stop reading it. Not because it’s an adrenalin-fue...moreReading Past Perfect was reminiscent of the time I read Psych Major Syndrome. I just didn’t want to stop reading it. Not because it’s an adrenalin-fuelled, tension-filled, mind-blowing plot but because I was just having such a good time reading it that it felt like a crime to stop. So I read Past Perfect until 3am and grinned and sighed my way through it.
The first reason I fell in love with this book was because is gorgeously funny. The prose is a dream: insightful and sharp and snarky, slightly whimsical and completely relate-able. I found out after reading that Sales is a comedienne. Which absolutely makes sense as not only were there poignantly brilliant one-liners, but the whole experience is doused in a whimsical and clever humour. Gosh, I was crushing on so many sentences and sentiments and overall themes.
The premise of this book is truly awesome. Chelsea is working @ a historical colonial village, where her parents also work, and her relationship with employees there is somewhat family-like. They are close-knit and loyal and I loved them to bits (some were endearing, others intense and others provided comic relief). Amongst them is Chelsea’s (awesome) best friend &, awkwardly, her ex-boyfriend, who she just can’t seem to get over.
Chelsea’s Historical village is in a fierce all-out, teenager-y war with the teenagers who work @ a rival historical village across the road. (Think the townies and the cadets in On the Jellicoe Road). Chelsea gets kidnapped by one particularly cute boy from the enemy’s camp and even after her rescue can’t stop crushing on him even though he is completely forbidden...
I loved the escalating war between the two teen historical summer-job crews. It was clever and intense and fiery. And funny, haha.
I loved the whole setting of Chelsea working at the colonial village. So much fodder for in-jokes, random historical trivia (awesome stuff) and it’s a vivid setting I haven’t read before in YA ~ kind of like a summer camp vibe, but more funky ~ and Sailes absolutely takes advantage of it ~ using quiet irony, loads of humour and a little bit of heart. This is one of those books that so effortlessly portrays a vivid setting that you feel you were there with the characters, and bonded along. I felt like a part of the gang :) I want to go there and hang out.
I LOVED the romance in this. It was just perfect for my tastes. I swooned, I ached, I wanted more of Dan ~ their chemistry and honesty and dialogue and kisses and complications and betrayals felt so genuine. lovelovelove.
Not only was Chelsea and Dan's relationship brilliant ~ but all the characters were real. Chelsea’s best friend was funny and true and I loved her. Her parents cracked me up. Even minor characters were treated with their own unique flavour.
Flannery talks more about the history side of it~ it was genius and so relate-able and even while I was having immense fun reading this ~ it also made me think a little ~ about history and my memories, and who I am and what makes me me, etc. It had a gorgeous message without being at all didactic (rather liberating the reader to think for themselves. Without sounding cheesy ~ it felt uplifting by the end)
There’s some awesome jokes in here, a brilliant sense of camaraderie ~ it feels like Sales took her time creating this world and it’s nuances and characters (loved the ice-cream testing, the FARBS, the history the people had together).
I pretty much thought this was brilliant. Pretty much a perfect reading experience for me (loved every single minute of it) Why aren’t there more YA books like this?
Thanks to Flannery for recommending this to me (it was even better than I imagined!) and to S & S Galley Grab for the galley :) ~ I will be purchasing my own copy to squeeze onto my favourite shelf :D (less)
I have always had a thing for books which feature redemption. They emotionally grip and resonate strongly with me. Many of my personal favourite books...moreI have always had a thing for books which feature redemption. They emotionally grip and resonate strongly with me. Many of my personal favourite books usually have a sliver of redemption running through them:
Think The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta, Carly in Kirsty Eagar's Raw Blue, Francine River's Redeeming Love, Sherryl Jordan's (amazing) Winter of Fire which all had me weeping and aching and so drawn in with the protagonists story/search/ache for redemption.
And, boy, does Jace from SPLIT join their ranks.
Jace is someone who is so conflicted. He has the weight of guilt on him, a shroud of claustrophobic fear, doubt, self-loathing and then through it all he harbours a tiny spark of hope that flares and gets stamped down. Again and again.
He is someone who has been abandoned by those who should love him the most.
And yet his capacity for love is huge. And painful to bear witness too.
Sorry for starting my review out so intensely, but this book causes an intense response.
I have read stories of abuse before (fiction and non-fiction) and this one is truly exceptional. The whole scenario is beautifully, achingly portrayed from all sides of the story: the abused, the abuser, the mum, the two brothers and how it impacts them in different ways.
Not only does the story seem true and impeccably well researched and presented, but Avasthi is a gifted writer: her prose is stunning, her ability to create atmosphere, to bring light into darkness, to add levity to intensity, and to draw a reader in and build a story towards a gripping rising climax.
Despite the hard punch this book packs I do want you to know it is not just one big tension-filled, heart-aching angst. Jace is a captivating character. His male POV is one of the finest examples I have come across in YA literature. It is as genuine as Tom in The Piper's Son and Adam in Where She Went.
I adored Jace: his love of books and soccer/running, his sweet attempts at cooking, his sarcasm and intelligence and his bruised but enormous capacity for love. He's utterly endearing despite his rough edges. He often made me grin and also swoon. His POV is easy to slip into, compelling and addictive.
Also, while the romance was not the main plot thread ~ it is just wonderfully done. It's as if Avasthi has pared it down to the finest, most choice tender and conflicted moments so that the scenes that are portrayed are like a picture that paints a thousand words. I was so rooting for him and his new interest (be on the look-out for some tender and swoon-y scenes that will make you ache ~ and keep your fingers crossed).
Avasthi has a character who is so conflicted in himself, having secretly endured a nightmare and also having done some despicable acts himself. Yet he is not beneath redemption. And I teared up as the story was coming to a close ~ touched and moved and just blown-away by what he endured and who he had become and what he was becoming.
I want to shred my own skin, yank every thread of DNA out, and give it to her as an offering. But would that be enough? Is there any way I can fix this? I shouldn't even apologize since that will shove the burden of forgiveness onto her. Who the hell am I to ask for her forgiveness? Who the hell am I to twist her into someone who could forgive the unforgivable? I know exactly who I can turn her into. (jace. page 109)
Recommended: An exceptional story that will stand the test of time. I think you should read this.
Before my review, here's what Liane has to say about writing this book (which is in lieu of me composing my own synopsis, haha):
I had always wanted
...moreBefore my review, here's what Liane has to say about writing this book (which is in lieu of me composing my own synopsis, haha):
I had always wanted to write a story about time travel but I found the logistics made my head explode. Then I read a story about a woman in the UK who lost her memory and behaved like a teenager – she didn’t recognise her husband or children. I realized that memory loss is a form of time travel. So I came up with the idea of a woman, Alice, who loses 10 years of her memory. She thinks she is 29, pregnant with her first child and blissfully in love with her husband. She is horrified to discover she is 39, with 3 children and in the middle of a terrible divorce. It’s like the younger Alice has travelled forward in time. Readers tell me that what they liked best about this novel was how it made them think about the choices they’d made and wonder how their younger selves would feel about the lives they are leading now.
I know (!) I ADORE time travel novels as well (and amnesia stuff) ~ and the whole concept of this one is just so brilliant ~ travelling forward to meet yourself ten years in the future. sigh. And while a premise like that could get complicated and messy ~ it didn't ~ it's written so effortlessly with that genius Moriarty touch where all the plot threads come together just so cleverly.
It's not just the concept that had me falling COMPLETELY in love with this book.
It was pretty much EVERYTHING that has me gushing about it:
The writing. Oh ~ yes, Liane Moriarty is the sister of my fave YA writer, Jaclyn. They both have a GIFT with words. They write in a whimsical style which just has you loving the turns of phrase and sentiments. It's prose you can sink into and sigh about. it's also funny-clever-delicious writing. I am in awe and envy over the prose.
The characters. Liane is like some kind of anthropologist. She GETS people and their quirks and finds tiny truths in those little moments as if she's been inside your own head (and in your kitchen during the mad morning scramble).
Mostly ~ I ADORED Alice and all her family. Nick is the kind of HOT male lead that has you swooning one moment and completely in love with him and then the next he is an absolute douche bag, but it's his flaws that make him all the more endearing and real to life. The family scenes were stunning ~ I could read those kinds of anecdotes all day. I honestly fell in love with Alice's children ~ just delightfully done.
The mystery ~ things unravel as we try to discover along with Alice just all the things that happened in the ten years she lost. Some you can guess and others will surprise you.
It's this whimsical blend of fun (sometimes incredulous, but none-the-less cool) but also has a deeper meaning under it all that makes you stop and consider your life and your priorities and all that stuff.
Perhaps similar in concept to Sophie kinsella's But whereas Kinsella's is commercial, stereotypical rom-com (a fun, guilty-pleasure kind of read), What Alice Forgot is gorgeously written, and a story that will resonate.
I really couldn't put this book down and I love it hard.
Liane Moriarty is my favourite chick-lit type writer. And not only is What Alice Forgot one of my fave reads this year ~ it's on my list of all time fave books.
ALSO: the film rights to this book recently sold (!!) It's going to be BRILLIANT!
OH! and the grandma has a blog and ARGH it's truly hilarious ~ and the comment section is laugh-out loud funny and there's even a commenter who's a secret admirer. Too funny. (very reminiscent of some of the blogging in Jaclyn Moriarty's
*this is one for people who love their chick-lit well written, breezy and fun and also a little bit deeper at heart. Also for fans of Jaclyn Moriarty who are looking for an adult read :D(less)
MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS was screaming out on my looking-for-the-YA-awesome radar after reading some ever-so-fabulous reviews late last year. The pr...more3.5 stars
MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS was screaming out on my looking-for-the-YA-awesome radar after reading some ever-so-fabulous reviews late last year. The preppy cover* initially made me wonder if it would be too mean-girl, rich-girl, gossip-girl-esque for my tastes but the book was refreshingly charming. the girls in this book are smart and relate-able and, like the title says, ‘mostly good girls’ (like me and my friends were ;)
The narrative is told in vignette-style anecdotes about Violet's life. Leila Sales brings the funny, you guys. MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS is reminiscent of Georgia Nicholson (although not as quite as hilarious or delightfully British). It is still energetic, upbeat and cleverly cool (but not in an annoying "i am too cool, watch me be cool" character way)
This is a book that had me reminiscing (in a grin-smile-chuckle way) those teenage years and, in particular, missing my best buds where we had (hilarious) shared history, running-in-jokes, lists (of all kinds) and big dreams (alongside being half scared out of our brains).
While I loved the vignettes and found the pages flipping fast, I didn’t feel as engaged as I would have liked due to not being grabbed enough by a strong plot (there was no main source of tension that had me caught up in the narrative ~ it was very much reading for the moment kind of experience). I wish Sales had had a bit more of a hook to pull me in at the beginning (although my liking to her prose and characters ~ with their general coolness ~ was instant).
It’s not a book that will linger but I had a blast while reading it. I think my teen self would have loved this more ~ and as an older reader, it’s definitely a book that shines as quality in the YA scene, but it lacked a bit of upper YA vibe for my current preferences (hence the 3 stars)
(note: I insanely loved her sophomore title which had a stronger plot (and genuine uniqueness), some charming swoon and the same grin-worthy sense of humour)
* actually really like the cover even as it made me wonder if it was my kind of book. It reminds me very much so of pictures by one of my all time fave illustrators GORDON FITCHETT (and his book (less)
I wanted to read it for AGES. Set in college. With an older protag. It sounded fun and maybe a little bit mad crazy. Which is how I love my books to b...moreI wanted to read it for AGES. Set in college. With an older protag. It sounded fun and maybe a little bit mad crazy. Which is how I love my books to be...
When I finally got it, I started reading and couldn't put it down. Sneakily, (despite my, erm, new years resolution Reformed Sleeping Habits Commitment) I stayed up until 3:30am to finish it.
It's probably an odd book to find un-put-downable. It's not because I was sucked in to the plot, or waiting for some major twist/secret to be revealed. It's because I was JUST HAVING SO MUCH FUN reading it. It was compulsively addictive.
And KINDA SWEET with this FUNKY VIBE. It's FUNNY (oh, I so love books that make me grin) and often cringe-worthy and honest and, dear God, I was also in a state of swooning and sweating over Nathan. Boy, talk about a new fictional crush. Phew...
Leigh felt like every-girl. I so loved her with all her flaws.
It's not a deep book. It's not going to blow your mind. It won't have you on the edge of your seat. You can kind of see the ending coming. You get things before our spunky, OCD protagonist does. Okay, sometimes way before she does. You sometimes want to scream some sense into her. But you just love being taken along for the ride. (I've slipped into second person POV here :)
I haven't really said what it's about. Mainly it's just about Leigh and her first year of college, classic coming of age stuff. Growing up and freaking out and wanting to lose your virginity and figuring out what you want to be and how to get there, yada yada yada.
It's an older YA read ~ a few older themes but still done in a squeaky clean kinda way.
My fave part? The road trip with Nathan and thanksgiving back at home.
Psych Major Syndrome @ goodreads
Recommended: This one is for fans of Rebecca Sparrow and Kirsten Murphy's Raincheck on Timbuktu. It's like a witty, fun-filled blend of these three books (below) ~which are favourites of mine.
Others have recommended it for fans of Meg Cabot and Megan McCafferty's Sloppy Firsts series. I can see why ~ it's reminiscent of both their work. I personally loved it more than Sloppy Firsts and Meg Cabot's work. It's got a bit more of a funky edge. Think, throw in a little bit of Beatle Meets Destiny...
and now I'm getting carried away... haha.
So I recommend it for fans of contemporary.
For when you're in the mood for a rainy day comfort read.
In the mood for grinning and swooning and just relaxing into a slightly crazy, fun story.
I'm not ashamed to say I've already re-read parts of it, curled up in the hammock the next day (after pulling my all-nighter).
It's a new favourite of mine because books like this just make me happy (less)
Set in Katoomba ~ and I read it while in Katoomba on holidays :) Okay, that's irrelevant to the review, but it made the experience just that more cool...moreSet in Katoomba ~ and I read it while in Katoomba on holidays :) Okay, that's irrelevant to the review, but it made the experience just that more cool, you know?
It's funny and brilliant and everything you'd expect from Steven Herrick.
See the watermelon on the cover? It's grinning. I couldn't stop smiling when I read this one.
It was also, sneakily, powerful and life-affirming.
And that's what I LOVE about Steven Herrick. He has characters that feel like you've known them forever. Characters that sneak up on you and then BAM you care about them completely and feel like you're the one sitting down at the dinner table with them. He takes those ordinary, mundane parts of day-to-day life and makes you appreciate them ~ and find the awesomeness in just being alive and being in the moment.
Okay, so this review just got a little Oprah-esque ~ so putting it back on track... This book is FUNNY. Grin-achingly, laugh-out-loud witty and clever and, mate, how I loved it. It's a male POV that makes you simultaneously love all male characters and also feel sorry for them in a lovingly-cringe-y way. Life is not always easy for the adolescent male. Particularly for Darcy who just can't keep his mouth shut (much to my amusement and to his detriment)
I loved it all but in particular, LOVED: the school kayaking trip on the river the shaving scenes the awkward father/son sex talk moments, haha. the romance with Darcy and Audrey. Cute and hilarious and when the kissing scene arrives ~ ahh, it's just grin-worthy and sigh-worthy and makes me all nostalgic :) the whole side-plot with Noah's dad. That's the kind of stuff that just blows me away in books. LOVED it.
Steven Herrick is one of my all-time (I'm talking ALL-TIME) fave authors. His books are brilliant for teens and still just perfect for adults or anyone really. And he has another book coming out this year WAHOO WAHEY! :D(less)
I am continually drawn to Young Adult fiction that feels like the truth> Books such as Kirsty Eagar's Raw Blue and Laura Buzo's GOOD OIL...more4.5 stars.
I am continually drawn to Young Adult fiction that feels like the truth> Books such as Kirsty Eagar's Raw Blue and Laura Buzo's GOOD OIL and Sara Zarr's ONCE WAS LOST all resound with me so strongly because their stories are subtle yet complicated, quiet yet resounding and GOD IS IN THE PANCAKES is of the same calibre.
God is in the Pancakes is a stand out read for me due to Grace, such a spunky protagonist who I couldn't help but ache for. Reading about her felt like reading about my own teen self (and many choices and mistakes she makes completely make sense to me ~ haha, tongue twister of a sentence, moving along...)
I ADORE books that have a strong dynamic with family relationships ~ and this one just felt achingly real.
Grace's relationship with her sister was brilliant ~ the complications and love and fights, the petty full-blown arguments and the small gestures that show their bond were just perfection (made me nostalgic for those good old days when my sister and I were still at home together).
Likewise, the mother-daughter relationship is captured so well (the mother is not just there perfunctorily, but is a string nuanced character of her own).
There's complications with Eric, Grace's best friend, where things are changing. And GOSH ~ it's not like it was a swooning* book so much as the kind of book that makes you feel like you have been punched in the gut because you can just feel the ache and awkwardness and attraction and complication of it all. It resonated strongly with me ~ the yearning and the fear and the confusion and the whole mess of it all. *Although Eric is definitely worthy of a swoon :D
One of the biggest parts of the book was Grace's relationship with the quirky and lovable Mr Sands, who asks Grace to help him die (!). And whoah ~ the whole euthanasia thing was head-spinny ~ done brilliantly, not preachy or easy or judgementally. It really got me thinking.
It is not Christian fiction (despite what the title may imply) but Grace wonders about faith and God and if there is anything in it or anyone out there who cares about her and the things she struggles with so much that she cannot bear to say aloud to anyone ~ and I found the exploration of this refreshing and honest
It was easy to forget that I was reading about characters in a story as I felt immersed in the lives of these people and really rooted for them. It is also worth mentioning that I found some of the plot-lines unpredictable and yet their resolutions rang true.
As for the prose ~ it's unsentimental and strong. It's succinct and will cause you to smile effortlessly (Robin Epstein is a former stand-up comedian and a sitcom writer). The humour in this book helps lift some of the intense subject matter.
Recommended: While on the surface, God is in the Pancakes may look like a quiet novel, the impact is anything but. I finished this novel with a rock the size of a fist in my gut and with tears glistening in my eyes. Ultimately, it's a triumphant and brave book ~ unique in plot ~ hopeful and funny and true.(less)
Characters that are flawed, 3 dimensional, that you want to hang out with. A rich cast surrounds the main characters, all uniquely drawn and portrayed. I love these guys.
A setting that you feel immersed in. Scenes that you want to be in.
Alongside the fun and the charm and the swoon-worthy goodness, there's depth and sorrow and a richness that makes your heart swell and ache and hope for the characters. There's some tear jerking moments in there.
There's moments where you hold your breath and hope hope hope the story is going where you want it to. The plot feels organic and true.
The romance will have you swooning and crushing hard without cringing :)
It's ridiculously unputdownable and crazily good in general
A closer look at two main characters who I absolutely LOVE:
Anna Oliphant: She's whimsical and slightly OCD. She's dynamic and confident but also unsure. She's fun to hang out with, brave yet scared. She sometimes makes a mess of things despite her best intentions. I ADORED her from the first chapter. No doubt she will soar to the top of 'favourite female characters' lists :)
Etienne St Clair: What a guy, hey. SWOON. He's beautiful and not at all perfect. Charming and sometimes elusive. He's funny and clever and stuffs things up. A lot. He's genuine and dynamic and lights up the pages of any scene he's in. He is a literary crush that will knock all your other crushes off the top of your list.
If I was to compare this book to another, I can't think of what to pair it with. It's a unique blend: not quite as literary as Melina Marchetta (though just as funny and real and ache-y), it's more dynamically paced than Sarah Dessen (and just as lingering and true) and it's not as quirky as Jaclyn Moriarty (but is whimsical and has that friends you want to hang out with thing down-pat). It's pretty much the perfect blend of YA goodness. (less)