A Gate at the Stairs has been on my TBR list for a long time. I first heard about it when it came outReview originally posted at More Than Just Magic
A Gate at the Stairs has been on my TBR list for a long time. I first heard about it when it came out in 2009 but just never picked up for whatever reason. When I saw the audiobook at the library I decided it was time to finally give it a go. And for the most part I’m glad I did. It was a funny, clever read that really grew on me the more I listened.
The description of A Gate at the Stairs doesn’t give all that much away. So I thought I was in for a sort of “inside look at a family”. Tassie – our narrator – isn’t technically a part of that family, but she’s not really an outsider either. Hired on as a babysitter/nanny for the child the couple plans to adopt she see’s them at their best and worst. Through all their achievements and their many, many struggles. So in a way I was exactly right about what this book was going to be. But there’s also so much more to it than that.
I thought Tassie was an excellent character and the perfect narrator. She was fresh and sarcastic and clever (maybe a little too clever sometimes) and one of the only truly likeable characters in the book. But on the other hand there was also a lot that I didn’t like about her – she was a little selfish, self absorbed, at times flaky – which I think is normal for someone her age. She was your average twenty year old. Trying to figure out your footing when you are no longer a teen but don’t feel at all like an adult. I thought she was a great narrator because she has a uniquely blunt and honest perspective that really added to the events that were unfolding.
Out of all the issues that Tassie presents us with in her account of this story, there were two that distinctly stood out in my mind. The treatment of war/soldiers and the idea of multiculturalism.
Early on in the story Tassie’s brother announces that he’s going to enlist. A Gate at the Stairs takes place after 9/11, so enlisting in this case means heading off to Afghanistan. Through his decision and other character’s reactions to this decision we get to see the whole spectrum of people’s beliefs on war and fighting. We get an idea of how even a war fought on distant shores affects those back home. And most importantly (I think) we see how one person’s opinion can fluctuate depending on who the subject of their opinion is.
The second idea/issue that I was fascinated with in this novel was this idea of trying to “deal with” multiculturalism. Sarah – the mother of the adopted child – forms a weekly support group for racially blended families. We only ever get snippets of the conversations they have – as Tassie is listening in from the other room. But I loved the range of emotions and ideas. And I loved the examples of people being in “support” on multiculturalism but only the kind that suits them. I think this part of the book is ripe for discussion and if you’ve read it I would love to hear your thoughts.
And if nothing else A Gate at the Stairs is just really well put together. It’s very clever writing. Although at times it feels like Lorrie Moore is trying too hard. But there are a lot of neat turns of phrase. I had to go back and listen to a few passages because they would really get to me.
“It was like the classic scene in the movies where one lover is on the train and one is on the platform and the train starts to pull away, and the lover on the platform begins to trot along and then jog and then sprint and then gives up altogether as the train speeds irrevocably off. Except in this case I was all the parts: I was the lover on the platform, I was the lover on the train. And I was also the train.”
“Love is a fever,” she said. “And when you come out of it you’ll discover whether you’ve been lucky – or not.”
Notes on the Audio
I really enjoyed Mia Barron as a narrator. Her voice was vibrant and energetic and exactly how I would imagine Tassie speaking. She was not so great at bringing out the personalities/voices of others, but since Tassie was the narrator of the story it makes sense that everyone would sound a little like her trying to imitate them. Overall a fun audiobook and I would definitely listen to more from this narrator.
Recommendation: A clever and insightful book great for fans of adult contemporary, literary fiction and those looking for a good book club pick. Lots to discuss here!...more
Though this book deals with some tough subject matter, and at times is hard to read/listen to it is worth it. It is honest, heart breaking and a bit oThough this book deals with some tough subject matter, and at times is hard to read/listen to it is worth it. It is honest, heart breaking and a bit of an eye opener. Heather O'Neill did a good job capturing the child-like innocence of Baby and yet didn't gloss over the more difficult details. That's a tough balance. And her metaphors! I loved them! I almost wish I had read this print rather than audiobook so I could have underlined all my favourite ones. However, I don't regret the audiobook either. The narrator was great - didn't sound to old and helped bring Baby to life for me.
My only complaints are that sometimes the writing felt a bit repetitive (same words repeating withing the same sentence, or the overuse of "said") but that could possibly be attributed to the younger narrator. I also found the chapters ended rather abruptly. Both complaints are only minor ones though and it is an excellent book overall. ...more
A delightful and thoughtful book which examines grief, the idea of family and our co-dependence on one another. I really enjoyed the story and thoughtA delightful and thoughtful book which examines grief, the idea of family and our co-dependence on one another. I really enjoyed the story and thought all the characters were extremely well put together.
At times the pacing seemed a bit off but it was only a small factor in the total package that was this book. ...more
Since Audiobook Week is falling during YA Pride I thought I would combine the events and do an audio review of theOriginally posted at Hooked on Books
Since Audiobook Week is falling during YA Pride I thought I would combine the events and do an audio review of the audio of Will Grayson Will Grayson!
This is a story with some of the most perfectly imagined characters. Both of the Will Grayson’s are just looking for something and simultaneously trying to find themselves. The emotion from both characters felt incredibly raw and real. I loved both of them – but if I had to choose I think the second Will Grayson is my favourite. I just found him the easiest relate to. That being said, I think the first Will Grayson (the one that goes to school with Tiny Cooper) does the most growing as a character. They’re both amazing characters to read about in their own way. Even the secondary characters are fabulous. I’ve never loved a character like I’ve loved Tiny Cooper – he’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. If I ever met him in real life, I would hug him.
I’m always wary of books with multiple points of view, but in Will Grayson Will Grayson it is perfectly done. Levithan and Green have such distinct voices but they complement each other wonderfully. Co-authored by John Green and David Levithan I knew this book would be sweet and touching but I didn’t expect it to be so funny. Like laugh out loud funny. If you think you get weird looks when you laugh out loud in public while reading, imagine the looks you get if you do it while listening to an audiobook. But you’ll be so wrapped up in the story, you won’t care.
Notes on the Audio This is an amazing book and is now one of my all-time favourites. The narrators are all so vibrant and lively. They really become the characters. Part of this story involves the production of the school musical, written by the fabulous Tiny Cooper. Some of the lyrics for this musical are actually written out in the book, and the narrators actually sing them. Having “The Summer of Gay” sang to me was definitely a noteworthy audio experience.
Final Recommendation: A beautiful and touching story that makes you laugh even when it’s sad. Whether in print or audio this is a captivating novel and one that I can’t recommend enough....more
As in many of Sara Shepard’s books, the story begins in a quiet, quaint small town. This town is filledOriginally posted at Christa's Hooked on Books
As in many of Sara Shepard’s books, the story begins in a quiet, quaint small town. This town is filled with “average” people. They go to work, they come home, they raise a family. Most of these people have quite a bit of money to their name and spend a good deal of time worrying about their reputation. This worrying is often because of some secret(s) that they don’t want getting out. However, unlike many of Sara’s other books, like the Pretty Little Liars series or The Lying Game series, these secrets are crazy, over-the-top, hard to imagine secrets. They are regular old secrets that anyone could end up with depending on the choices they have made in their life. For me this was the charm of this novel, just how…normal it was.
I really liked how realistic all the characters felt. I truly felt like they were “real” people and I was reading their story. The character development never felt forced. They all changed and developed (as people do) but there wasn’t some big “ah ha” moment, after which everything was completely different. I just don’t think those come around as often as fictional writing has us believe, so it was nice to see an author go a different route.
I should mention that the story itself was interesting. Accusations were flying, plans were set in motion. It was all very dramatic. But it wasn’t the story that sold it for me. If you haven’t already guessed from the previous two paragraphs, this novel is all about the characters. You get invested in them. You hang on through the slow parts because you want to know what will happen. I particularly like Joanna. She seemed so lost, yet so determined to find herself. I respect that. She’s made a few mistakes along the way, but we all make mistakes. It’s human.
What it comes right down to is that Everything We Ever Wanted gives you a glimpse into a very intimate part of people’s lives. But it isn’t about what’s going on in that moment, but how that moment affects the people involved. It's about how it relates to their humanity and their ability to adapt. And it shows you all this in a way that is subtle and unobtrusive. You can’t help but admire it. Sara Shepard has already shown that she is able to write stories that have deep dark secrets, crazy rumours and lots of suspense but now she has proven that she can write the serious dramas that make us question who we are as individuals and how other’s affect our development. She is most definitely a multi-talented writer....more
I want to start out by saying I know almost nothing about classical music or the world of competiReview originally posted at Christa's Hooked on Books
I want to start out by saying I know almost nothing about classical music or the world of competitive violin playing. This did not stop me from becoming completely absorbed in this novel. Jessica Martinez makes the finer details very accessible for those readers who (like me) are unfamiliar with this particular musical world.
Though there are many, many things I loved about this novel my favourite by far was Carmen herself. She was so authentic, so real and that girl is just so brave! Even with all her personal flaws, I found her so admirable. She is an incredibly complex and deep character and I just don't think 300 pages was enough! I wanted the novel to be longer so I could get to know more about her (I don't think this is a criticism – I certainly don't intend it to be).
There are some heavy issues put forth in this novel. We've got intense competitions, prescription drug addiction, teenage love, over bearing parents. All tackled in just 290 pages! A difficult feat to pull off but Jessica Martinez manages it. This novel handles these issues in an appropriate way and doesn't brush off their importance. I think a lot of people (not just teens) will be able to relate to many of the themes in this novel
Virtuosity pulls you in and certain scenes will just tear you apart. The story is tragic, yet absolutely beautiful....more
Remember the first time you logged onto Facebook? Remember how it felt like a whole little world insidOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
Remember the first time you logged onto Facebook? Remember how it felt like a whole little world inside your computer, where everyone's lives were just right there in front of you. And now imagine you were the only one who knew about it. It feels kind of surreal. That's sort of how I felt while reading this book. It made me think back to a time before Facebook and what I did with my time/life before it.
This was an incredibly cute book. Emma and Josh are such innocent and earnest characters and I fully enjoyed reading their Facebook adventure. I thought their reactions to finding out snippets of their future were spot on. It felt very authentic. Their complicated friendship was also very sweet. It reminded me of a few of my high school crushes and how at the time it seems like the biggest issue in the world but maybe, just maybe, you're the one making it too complicated. That combined with the 90s references...well let's just say this book took me back. I want to dig out my old Beanie Babies and Pokemon cards and throw on my bell bottoms and wedge sandals.
This book is no 13 Reasons Why, so if that is what you're expecting you may be a tad disappointed. That being said, however it's still a wonderful book, that's a pleasure to read. It definitely raised some interesting points about the choices we make, why we make them and helped remind us that we don't live in a vaccumm....more
I love when I get wowed by Canadian fiction, especially Canadian fiction froOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books Christa's Hooked on Books
I love when I get wowed by Canadian fiction, especially Canadian fiction from an indie press. There is some great stuff out there folks! Don't let it pass you by!
To be quiet honest for the first quarter I had hard time really getting into this story. This is partially because the opening is a bit slow, but it was probably of combination of things, including that I started this book right in the middle of NaNoWriMo. Don't do that to this book people, it deserves your full attention. Once NaNo was over and I could devote my full attention to this book I realized how beautiful and complex it really was.
Maya is an amazing character. It's going to sound weird but she's incredibly strong, but at the same time incredibly vulnerable. She is for the most part alone, forced to fend for herself and deal with all the problems life throws her way. But she's a survivor. She keeps pushing through even though it would be much easier to lie down and give up. I completely admire her. I couldn't imagine being in her situation. Her dad sucks, her mom's dead, she has little to no friends, and she can hear people's thoughts. I don't think I would handle all that nearly as well as she does.
Girl in Shades is a whirlwind of a coming of age story. It follows Maya through challenge after challenge but never feels overdone or cheesy. In a sea of coming of age stories, it also manages to feel fresh and original. It has twists and turns that surprised and impressed me. Allison Baggio has told an incredible and layered story and I can't wait to see what she writes next....more
This is by far the cutest book I have ever read. The story is sweet, compassionate and it'll warm your heart. ItOriginally reviewed at Hooked on Books
This is by far the cutest book I have ever read. The story is sweet, compassionate and it'll warm your heart. It was so cute I just want to cuddle with it.
There were so many things I enjoyed about this novel. But the best by far were the characters. Evan and Lucy are interesting, they're funny, they have depth and throughout the book they really grow as characters. Lucy especially was my favourite, she may have been scared and vulnerable but she was tough and you knew no matter what happened she was going to make it through. She was definitely the character that made me feel the most – I was happy for her, proud of her, disappointed by her. It was a roller coaster ride of a relationship but it may the connection between us that much stronger.
In addition to the characters I loved the animation that went along with the story. Especially the short comic strips at the end of the chapters. I really thought they enhanced the story and gave us a little more insight into the characters and their motivations. Also a lot of the drawing were incredibly creative and funny. It was a nice touch and added a unique element to your traditional contemporary novel.
This was a wonderful story and it really made me smile. It was a coming of age story but it didn't beat you over the head with strong moral overtones or an overly obvious message. Instead it just wrapped you up in an incredibly sweet story between two people who are just trying to figure out who they are and who they want to become....more
I've been sitting on this review for awhile now. Flip flopping on how I really felt about this book. I'm still nOriginally reviewed at Hooked on Books
I've been sitting on this review for awhile now. Flip flopping on how I really felt about this book. I'm still not 100% what my feelings are but I think I've formed enough coherent thoughts to put together a review.
Let me start out by saying there is A LOT going on in this story. I may argue that there is too much going on. Jenna Lord is a burn victim, she's a cutter, she gets molested, she's the new girl at school. there's an affair with the teacher. Crises after crises. So many bad things happen to this girl I'm amazed she's still standing. I had a hard time trying to keep all the traumas straight, I don't know how she did.
In addition to this (or perhaps because of it) I had a really hard time connecting with Jenna. I didn't find her all that likable and had a really hard tome relating to her. She just didn't feel like a real person to me - it felt like she was trying too hard to fit into all these ideas of what an emotionally damaged teenager should be. I should have been able to empathize at her at the very least but I felt like a total Ice Queen.
So based on all these criticism you would think that I didn't like this book - but honestly the drama was heart pounding. I couldn't put it down. I read the whole thing cover to cover in less than 24 hours. I found myself really wanting to know what happened next and there were some really great twists. I especially loved the whole plot line with her brother in Afghanistan! Amazing!
So here I remain. Heart divided in regards to this novel. If you like drama and suspense then there's a chance you'll like this. However, if well developed characters are really important to you than this one may irritate you. Honestly, it could go either way. If you're at all interested by the premise than I say just go for it!...more
A straightforward story of figuring out who you are, and the courage to accept that revelation.
This was a wonderful, simple novel. No bells and whistlA straightforward story of figuring out who you are, and the courage to accept that revelation.
This was a wonderful, simple novel. No bells and whistles, no gimicks. Just a solid story. I really enjoyed Dan's character. He seemed like someone I get to know, someone I would be friends with this and this immediately put me at ease. Tom Ryan does an excellent job at creating realistic characters, and everyone seemed to remind me of someone I knew growing up.
I also loved the small town Canadian setting. That was also something I felt a deep connection with, and I understood the dynamics of Dan's situation. I think a lot of teens coming to terms with their sexual identity, will find a lot of themselves in Dan and his situation.
I felt like Tome was being an incredibly honest with this book. And I can confidently and whole heartedly recommend it to teens, parents, libraries, schools...everybody!...more
There's a lot of interesting things explored in this book and I appreciated how frank Kody Keplinger regarding teens and sex.
However, I ultimately foThere's a lot of interesting things explored in this book and I appreciated how frank Kody Keplinger regarding teens and sex.
However, I ultimately found the characters a bit too much. I really don't think these teens were given enough credit. I honestly believe most teens are smarter than the characters in this book. And the dialogue would often make me cringe.
The exception to this was Chloe. I found her funny and refreshing. There was something very honest about her and I think I connected with her the best. I'm not saying every teen (or even a lot of teens) are like her but she was the one character that felt very real to me.
All in all not a horrible book but not fantastic either. If you're already a big fan of YA contemporary than I say go for it, but if it's not a genre you usually partake in I would pass on it. ...more
I'm honestly not sure I can properly express how much I loved this book. It was clever and funny in all the righOriginally reviewed at Hooked on Books
I'm honestly not sure I can properly express how much I loved this book. It was clever and funny in all the right places. It was able to effortlessly make my heart melt and break and from the moment I turned the last page I immediately wanted to turn around and read it again.
To start off with there's Oliver. He is an amazing boy. Perfect in so many ways but yet totally believable. I would very much like to marry him - I'm laying claim to him now. I expected the romance between him and Hadley to be rather cheesy (it does take place in a 24-hour period) but it ended up being incredibly realistic. Their random meeting grows naturally into something more deep and meaningful. It didn't take a huge stretch of the imagination to think it could actually happen.
The most thoughtful thing, for me, about this book, however, wasn't the relationship between Hadley and Oliver. It was Hadley’s relationship with her father. I thought it was incredibly touching and it felt so deep and authentic. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to Hadley’s internal struggle and the ups and downs of trying to heal when your family is thrown through a loop.
This is a beautiful novel and one that will stay on my shelves for years to come. Smart, funny, clever, romantic. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a beautifully heart warming book. Think of your favourite romantic comedy (film) and double how good it makes you feel....more
This book has made me feel all the feelings. And I mean ALL the feelings.
In terms of writing quality, it was amazing. I started in on the train and wThis book has made me feel all the feelings. And I mean ALL the feelings.
In terms of writing quality, it was amazing. I started in on the train and was just about finished by the time I pulled into my destination I was on the last pages. My plans to go through my e-mails and do some writing had gone out the window. This book pulls you in from the first chapter and keeps you hanging on to any word.
Writing aside, this book deals with some intense subject matter. Their home situation broke my heart and the anger I felt toward the parents in this novel was real and it was deep. And then there's the incest. I just don't know if I'll ever be able to fully formulate my thoughts on it. Tabitha Suzuma did an incredible job with this book.
I know this isn't much of a review and someday I hope to write a full one but for now this will have to do....more
If you want a truly wonderful romance I wouldn't look any further than this.
A lot of things in this book are unconventional, but at it's core it is an absolutely beautiful romance. I wanted things to work out for Paul and Noah so badly, it was torture watching then encounter all the obstacles that came their way. But what I think made the romance in Boy Meet Boy really stand out is that it wasn't about "being gay". It was just about two people falling in love.
I am sucker for a book with really good characters and this book was full of them. I became so attached with almost everyone. Especially Paul and Infinite Darlene. I loved Paul. I wish more people were like him. He genuinely wanted to do the right thing and be there for all his friends. Even when those two things conflicted with one another. Infinite Darlene, loud and crazy though she may have been, was very much the same. Though Paul describes her as self absorbed, he explains that her sense of self was so big it also included her friends, and therefore by being self absorbed, she was also obsessed with her friends well being. I love that.
All these fantastic elements, were enhanced by David Levithan's amazing, crystal clear narrative voice. It's a little quirky and off beat but incredibly descriptive and vivid. Totally unique. It made the story move along smoothly and it did so without any fluff or unnecessary extras. I couldn't imagine this story being told any other way.
This is now one of my all time favourite books and I could see myself re-reading it a thousand times and not being sick of it. It's just that good.
Final recommendation: A must read for all those who enjoy contemporary romance. It doesn't get much better than this....more
Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of 40 Things I Want to Tell You or Alice Kuipers. Once it wasOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of 40 Things I Want to Tell You or Alice Kuipers. Once it was put in my radar, however its gorgeous cover and intriguing synopsis were more than enough to bump it to the top of my to-read pile.
40 Things I Want to Tell You is a fairly straightforward contemporary novel but with a really interesting and fun narrative style. Amy (or Bird) is a blogger who offers advice to teens who write in. A mixture of blog posts and her “top tips” fill the novel and provide a refreshing way of moving the story along. The advice she gives often reflects her situation in that particular chapter, so it also have the added advantage of allowing Bird to thoroughly reflect on the obstacles she's faced with.
One thing I really appreciated about this novel, is that it doesn't shy away from talking about real issues and it doesn't sugar coat them for teen readers. From teen sex, to pregnancy, to abortion and much more, all cards are on the table in this novel. Bird (and many of the other characters in this novel) are faced with some difficult decisions and their are significant consequences to their actions. I really respected how honest this story was.
I was, however, a little disappointed with the ending. It felt very rushed and I couldn't quite make the leap regarding Bird's final few choices. Maybe it was just me but it really didn't make any sense. I also had some issues with Griffin and Pete but I can't get into those without getting into spoiler territory. All I'm going to say is there action just seem a little off at the end of the book. All and all 40 Things I Want to Tell You, is an captivating and hard hitting read, that contemporary fans are sure to enjoy....more
Hidden amongst an increasingly modern world, is the town of Prospect. Stuck in its way and stuck in thOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
Hidden amongst an increasingly modern world, is the town of Prospect. Stuck in its way and stuck in the salt. It's a fascinating place and I loved getting swept away in its story. Tiffany Baker has this incredible gift for setting a scene. I felt like I could imagine everything, from the pews in the church, to the rancid meat at the general store to the way the salt looked before Jo scraped it up. It was like she knew exactly what details to focus in on to help you become completely absorbed in the setting.
By far the most amazing thing about this novel was the characters. From Jo, a firm rock that stands strong throughout the novel, to Claire, who is full of surprises, to Dee who adds just the right amount of tension to make things interesting. I even loved the secondary characters like Whit and Ethan. Everyone in this book was just so fascinating! You really felt like you were getting to know them and by the end of it all you felt heavily investment in what was to come.
And then there's the salt. A character onto itself. It seems strange that salt could be like a character but I can think of no better way to describe its role in those book. There isn't a single person in this story who's life isn't affected by the salt and it seems to have its own mood, and whims. Changing the course of someone's of life just as easily as it flavours their food. This story wouldn't have been half as interesting without it.
The Gilly Salt Sisters is an enchanting book which I absolutely adored. It had amazing characters, a beautiful setting and a fascinating plot. I fell absolutely in love with everything above it and found myself hanging onto every page. I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves a well constructed story with a stellar cast of characters. This one gets a permanent home on my shelves....more
The Borrower was a beautiful and touching story. I was shocked by how much it got to me - especially considering it was a book I picked up on a whim bThe Borrower was a beautiful and touching story. I was shocked by how much it got to me - especially considering it was a book I picked up on a whim because I liked the cover. The characters are all strong, the dialogue is perfect and the pacing moves along in a way that makes the minutes (because this was an audiobook) fly by. I espeically loved the way each chapter ended with a variation on a traditional children's story (ex: Goodnight Moon, choose your own Adventure, Dr Seuss etc)
Notes on the audio: A great audiobook production. Narration was smooth yet exciting and kept you engage. Highly recommended. ...more
I finally worked up the courage to tackle The Casual Vacancy. I am a fanatic Harry Potter fan andThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
I finally worked up the courage to tackle The Casual Vacancy. I am a fanatic Harry Potter fan and was understandably nervous to read Rowling’s first non-Harry Potter novel. And then the reviews came out and they were well…let’s just say mixed. But I kept my expectations in check and jumped right in and I am happy to report that I genuinely enjoyed this book. I wanted to know what would happen next and how the events that transpired would all play out.
The plot of The Casual Vacancy is a seemingly small story. A man dies, leaving his position open on the parish council – also known as a casual vacancy. But J K Rowling, being the expert story teller that she is, weaves it all together in a huge story, with deceit, lies, intrigue and disaster. She peels back the surface story and exposes something raw and dark. And true to form, Rowling really knows how to turn a phrase and I found myself flagging a ton of clever passages that I wanted to return to later on.
Story aside I found the best thing about this book was the characters. There are A LOT of them! But they were all integral to the plot and they helped keep the story moving. I loved how distinct everyone’s personalities were. Maybe it’s a small town thing but I know people exactly like everyone in The Casual Vacancy. I think this is a testament to just how well Rowling develops her characters. Especially the children. That’s not to say her adult characters were poorly written – anything but. But at the end of the day it was the children I was the most drawn to and that will stay with me the longest.
On the subject of characters I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Wheedons specifically. I thought that she gave them really fair treatment. It would have been easy for her to fall back on some old stereotypes but they truly felt like three-dimensional people. This goes with for everyone in the book but especially this family. Through the Wheedons and the people connected to them Rowling makes some excellent points about social services and the people who depend of them, and proves just how wrong it is to make assumptions about people and abandon them when they need our help the most.
The Casual Vacancy is not without its problems however. Most notably – it’s long. Way too long. I don’t mind books that are over 500 pages. Not in the slightest. But if they are going to be that length they should be making use of every page. Frankly, I don’t think that was the case with The Casual Vacancy. Some scenes felt overly long and dragged out and I’m not convinced all of them were completely necessary. I think this book would have benefited greatly from a more thorough editing process and I think had it been any other author it probably would have received it. I think this happens to a lot of best selling authors and it really does them, the publishing house and the readers a disservice. But even still, I was definitely caught up in the story and wanted to keep reading to see what happened next.
Recommendation: A intense and well plotted read. But don’t read this book just because it’s written by J K Rowling. If this doesn’t sound like something you would like, well you probably won’t like it. But if you like literary fiction I definitely think there’s some interesting things being said in The Casual Vacancy. It’s all in your approach....more