I hate it when books don't really conclude their story, they just lead into the next in the series. This makes me grumpy, and happens way too often inI hate it when books don't really conclude their story, they just lead into the next in the series. This makes me grumpy, and happens way too often in YA books....more
I'm quitting another book -- I feel like I've been doing a lot of that lately. I got about half way through this one and just wasn't feeling it. ThereI'm quitting another book -- I feel like I've been doing a lot of that lately. I got about half way through this one and just wasn't feeling it. There's so much else out there that I'm moving on....more
This book had me at “Part Secret History, part Brideshead Revisited.” The Secret History by Donna Tartt is hands down one of my favorite books – it haThis book had me at “Part Secret History, part Brideshead Revisited.” The Secret History by Donna Tartt is hands down one of my favorite books – it has the perfect blend of academia, creepy siblings, and the elite. With that kind of review, I immediately snagged an e-galley of Bellwether Revivals, but didn’t get a chance to actually read it until it had hit the shelves of my library and the cover art caught my eye, leading me back to my Kindle.
Debut novelist Benjamin Wood sets the scene in picturesque Cambridge, moving between the spires and cobbled pathways of King’s College and the lush surrounding countryside that holds the family home of the Bellwethers. The book starts near the end of the story, an ending marked with a cold wind blowing through the grounds of the Bellwether Estate, flashing police lights, and bodies, though we don’t know whose.
And then, as if we had never been a part of that scene, we’re brought back to some previous time, when Oscar, a bookish but working class nurse’s assistant stumbles into the lives of the Bellwethers. Lulled into the college chapel by the melodies of an organ unlike any Oscar has ever heard, he meets Iris Bellwether, sister to the organist, Eden. The Bellwethers exist in a world that Oscar has only glimpsed -- one of privilege and academia and, above all, music. The siblings and their small but tight-knit group of friends are similarly intrigued by Oscar’s life in all its job-holding, bill-paying, apartment-dwelling glory.
It is music that brings them together, and music that separates the six. Eden falls deeper and deeper into his own obsessions, believing that his organ gives him the ability to perform miracles. I don’t want to spoil the ending by revealing much more, but as Eden began his downward spiral, I kept thinking back to the opening scene of the book, wondering when and where those bodies would pop back up.
The trouble started when Donald Bailey was eight. He was just a kid, and it was just an accident, but still… a two-year-old wound up dead. What does aThe trouble started when Donald Bailey was eight. He was just a kid, and it was just an accident, but still… a two-year-old wound up dead. What does an eight year old know about grief, about heart break, about the fragility of life?
Eight years later, living in a different town where no one except his mother knows about the trouble, Donald now fully understands what he did. With no way to atone, he reaches out to a boy named Jake who seems vulnerable and in need of a friend. Jake is the same age that Donald was when the trouble happened, and perhaps that’s why the now teenager is drawn to him, to help him have a perfect eighth year with no trouble at all.
Donald and Jake spend every Saturday together, starting at the library, where they have a mutual love of reading (Donald: books about places that he can “vanish” to in his mind, to get away from it all, Jake: anything horror) and moving on to regularly visiting a haunted house, where Jake can get the scariest experiences out of his books of choice. Donald begins to see into Jake’s life; how his young mother leaves him alone on weekend evenings so she can visit her boyfriend, how Jake is frightened to be in the house alone at night, and how Jake needs something that Donald can offer. Friendship, protection, and love.
Until, suddenly, Jake doesn’t need any of that anymore. His best friend Harry, with whom he had previously had a falling out (leaving a entry for Donald), is back in the picture, and has tainted Jake’s mind against the intentions of his teenaged friend. And Donald finds himself once again in a position of harming someone smaller than himself, accidentally, but also irrevocably.
How the Trouble Started is beautifully written and an engaging read. Details about the trouble are slowly doled out to the reader in perfect portions, creating a more complete picture of Donald throughout the entirety of the book. This is author Williams’ second book, and makes me want to go running to the shelf to read his debut novel from 2010, Luke and Jon. ...more