Slavenka Drakulić wastes no time writing novels that are widely acceptable. If you ever come across one of her books, make sure you are ready to embra...moreSlavenka Drakulić wastes no time writing novels that are widely acceptable. If you ever come across one of her books, make sure you are ready to embrace the unexpected. Her stories are powerful descriptions of the most basic human nature: love, fear, survival and life.
The Taste of a Man is one such story. It’s a story about the impossibility of love and the denial of loss, about the boundaries of sanity and about the things we are ready to do for the person we consider our own. It’s a story about the Divine Hunger.
Unlike so many of her other novels, this one is not based on a true story (and for that we are grateful). Instead it is based on deepest parts of our nature, hidden for millennia under strongly ingrained morals of our civilization. It’s like a game of Have you ever we all played as children: - Have you ever taken something that doesn’t (and can never) belong to you? - Have you ever loved someone so much that you would rather take their life than let them live without you? - Have you ever abandoned sanity because of love? - Have you ever felt that we are confined by the rules of our civilization that tell us how to live, breathe and love?
This is NOT trivial literature. If you do not have an open mind, please choose another book. If you do not have the patience for the subtlety of human communication and relationships, you won’t appreciate this book. But if you are able to open your mind AND your heart to these powerful sentences, they might just change your life. They will most certainly change the way you think about love. (less)
487 pages of pure torture! What Alice Forgot was not at all what I expected. That should teach me never to read a book that hasn’t been rated by at le...more487 pages of pure torture! What Alice Forgot was not at all what I expected. That should teach me never to read a book that hasn’t been rated by at least one of my trusted friends. You see, I thought this would be a well written, intelligent, heartwarming story about a woman who loses ten years of her life, but finds some other, maybe even more valuable things instead. Obviously, I was very wrong. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t normally mind reading the Aussie version of a Maeve Binchy novel, but I DID mind reading a boring Aussie version of Tara Road.
In the beginning of What Alice Forgot, Alice is lying on the gym floor (Gym?! What's she doing in a gym? She hates that sort of thing!), surrounded by strange people who are asking all kinds of silly questions. The whole situation is pretty surreal since Alice has no idea how she got there in the first place! However, it takes more than that to upset her these days: she is only 29, she has a new house, an amazing sister who also happens to be her best friend, a baby on the way and a husband who tells her things like: “Don’t be ridiculous, you goose, you know I’m bloody besotted with you.” when she’s feeling insecure. One of them will surely arrive soon to take care of her. Now, if only these people around her would stop acting like they know her! The person they’re talking about can’t be Alice, because Alice is not having her 40th birthday party in a few days, she is not obsessed with exercise, she doesn’t have three children and she most certainly isn’t getting a divorce any time soon! Why would she? She and Nick are so happy together! Only half an hour later she’s in a hospital, her sister refuses to answer her calls, Nick is yelling at her from Portugal and a strange boy is calling her Mum. She has carelessly misplaced a decade of her life!
Sounds interesting, right? Yes, I thought so, too. Maybe it would have been if Liane Moriarty knew when to stop. 250 pages would have been more than enough for this story, the other 237 were completely unnecessary. I could go into details, but the thought of wasting another minute on this gives me a headache. I was just checking the other ratings for this book. It has 4.02 average rating so I guess that makes me the odd one out for wanting to give it one star. I only added the other one for those few laughs Moriarty managed to squeeze out of me.
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later: an Aussie YA novel I didn’t enjoy at all! In fact, if not for my two wonderful readalong partners who ma...moreWell, it was bound to happen sooner or later: an Aussie YA novel I didn’t enjoy at all! In fact, if not for my two wonderful readalong partners who made the experience not only bearable, but extremely fun, I would have given up after a hundred pages or so.
Ava’s parents are supposedly very liberal, and her girlfriend Chloe has an owerpowering personality. Together they’re pushing Ava into an alternative lifestyle she secretly hates. Oddly enough, all Ava wants is to wear pink and sing in a musical. She decides to move to a new school, where she plans to find a way of joining the in crowd, or Pastels, as she calls them. However, that doesn’t turn out so well for Ava. Instead of getting the role she wanted in the school musical, she ends up working with the stage crew, a group of misfits led by a boy named Sam. She ends up balancing three different lives and three different personalities, none of which are compatible with the others.
Characterization is where Wilkinson failed spectacularly. Having read A Pocketful of Eyes first, I knew that she was more than capable of creating more interesting and complex characters, which is why I have to conclude that she did this on purpose. But why? Every character in Pink is a walking stereotype: we have Ava’s intellectually snobbish girlfriend Chloe, playing the role of a lesbian feminist; Ava’s parents, so obsessed with being tolerant that they end up not tolerating anything mainstream; Alexis, the shallow blonde, perfect in everything she does; a gay friend, a secretly gay friend, a friend embarrassed by his rich parents, and in the end, Ava herself, completely devoid of personality.
Ava is one of the most self-centered, infuriating characters I’ve ever stumbled upon. The series of disastrous decisions she made in such a short period of time nearly drove me insane. Stories about personal growth by definition introduce a character that makes poor choices at the beginning, but finds a way to redeem himself/herself by the end. After one particularly bad decision, I’m afraid Ava reached the point of no redemption in my eyes.
Unfortunately, I doubt that I’ll be reading any more of Wilkinson’s novels. After reading two of them, I can honestly say that she’s not an author whose work I enjoy. (less)
I wish I could pay someone to write this review for me… I think it will turn out to be one of the hardest I’ve ever written. Or one of the easiest… wh...moreI wish I could pay someone to write this review for me… I think it will turn out to be one of the hardest I’ve ever written. Or one of the easiest… who knows with these things?
First of all, don't you just love this cover? Maybe you need to read the book to fully appreciate it, so all of you who haven't… what are you waiting for? There aren’t many authors who can portray emotions and transfer them to the readers like Eagar does. Her writing style is readable and clear, and still it draws you in completely, making you feel so many different things. For me, sometimes those feelings were pleasant, but most of the time powerlessness and sense of detachment overwhelmed me, so much so that I feared I would suffocate. That probably sounds like a bad thing, but it depends on what you’re looking for in a novel.
Some of the most beautiful and the most honest moments in Raw Blue are related to surfing, and while I don’t know anything about it, and despite not being a water person at all (terra firma for me, thank you!), I can certainly understand the passion and the single-mindedness behind it.
Carly is one of those characters that crawl under your skin and stay there. And Ryan… he is the perfect person for Carly precisely because he’s not perfect at all. He doesn’t feed her insecurities by having none of his own. He’s a guy with many flaws, but he’s also the one to find all the undamaged parts of Carly’s personality and bring them to the surface.
I thought that the awkwardness of having sex with someone for the first time was amazingly well described. It makes me happy that there are YA authors who write sex scenes the way they should be written, removing any illusions and silly expectations. We’ve all been there: the little insecurities, self-consciousness, fear of not being accepted, of doing something wrong. Carly worries about all that and much more because her mind is not that of a normal 19-year-old.
The value of this book lies partly in the secondary characters: the neighbor Hannah, whose life is so messy that her symmetrical name is the only thing she’s proud of; Danny, the precious 15-year-old with synaesthesia; Emilio the café manager and others that make this story far more real.
I've posted most of my favorite quotes as status updates.
First of all, let me just say that reading this as an ebook is a crime against literature and should be punis...moreEach time someone dies, a library burns.
First of all, let me just say that reading this as an ebook is a crime against literature and should be punished as such. The edition I’m holding resembles a diary with its worn cover, wonderful illustrations, little handwritten notes, blue ink and a rubber band holding it all together. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the prettiest book I’ve ever seen. If you can’t get your hands on a paper edition, wait until you do or you’ll be robbing yourself of the most wonderful experience.
Second, I think it’s safe to say that this book isn't for everyone. The mixed reviews have already proven as much. Many of you would probably be severely irritated by this dreamlike experience. Besides, a lot of people find Lennie to be quite unlikeable and I must admit that I can see why. She makes so many horrible mistakes. She is lost, insecure, her actions can often be interpreted as selfish and she is very skilful in telling lies. If that’s all someone can see in her, there’s no reason to even try to like her. But I saw a different layer of her character, one that is confused, scared and alone and it didn’t take long for her to win me over.
I put aside for a moment the fact that I’ve turned into a total strumpet-harlot-trollop-wench-jezebel-tart-harridan-chippy-nymphet because I’ve just realized something incredible. This is it - what all the hoopla is about, what Wuthering Heights is about – it all boils down to this feeling rushing through me in this moment with Joe as our mouths refuse to part. Who knew all this time I was one kiss away from being Cathy and Juliet and Elizabeth Bennet and Lady Chatterley!?
Writing a plot summary or trying to explain The Sky Is Everywhere in any way would probably do more harm than good. If I tried to write about Lennie’s story, about her sister Bailey who died of arrhythmia while rehearsing for the role of Juliet, I’d be running the risk of making this book sound so ordinary. The Sky Is Everywhere is nothing short of extraordinary in every way that counts.
Joe… must I go there?! I’m trying to be an adult here, a serious, calm, respectable adult. But Joe can take that away in a second and turn me into a useless, gushing teenager with his joeliciousness, his musicality, his gentleness, his humor, his boldness and his Frenchness and those damn eyelashes. Bat. Bat. Bat. *swoon*
The secondary characters are just as amazing: the hippie Gram who grows flowers famous for their aphrodisiac powers, the five-times-married-five-times-divorced uncle no woman can resist and the sweet and charming brothers Fontaine. They all had a huge part in making this story so special, so unlike any other story I’ve ever read.
And Jandy Nelson, where on earth did you come from?!? Your writing is like this huge energy ball that found its place in my stomach and just exploded over and over and over again, making me cry, laugh or jump with excitement, turning me into whatever you wanted me to be at that particular moment. You had a remote control for my moods and you weren’t afraid to use it and for that you have my eternal love and respect. Yes, I had a Maggie-sized hole in my heart and yes, I thought you might fill it for a second, but instead I ended up with a Maggie-sized hole and a Jandy-sized hole right next to it. You are nobody’s replacement, lady. You are far too good for that.
I will shut up now and try to preserve some semblance of dignity.
Oh, but I forgot my favorite quote: This is our story to tell. He says it in his Ten Commandments way and it hits me that way: profoundly. You’d think for all the reading I do, I would have thought about this before, but I haven’t. I’ve never once thought about the interpretative, the storytelling aspect of life, of my life. I always felt like I was in a story, yes, but not like I was the author of it, or like I had any say in its telling whatsoever. You can tell your story any way you damn well please. It’s your solo. (less)
If we only look at the surface, it’s pretty clear that Brooklyn, Burning is about gender identity and sexual orienta...more4.5 stars **Minor spoilers ahead.**
If we only look at the surface, it’s pretty clear that Brooklyn, Burning is about gender identity and sexual orientation issues. But looking at the surface is not nearly enough. By concentrating too much on things like gender identity, we fail to see what’s underneath, and we miss everything that’s beautiful. Now, I know that sounds like a terrible cliché, but it’s a lesson that can’t be repeated enough.
This book, much like its main character, refuses to be categorized. It’s really about many things: loneliness, feeling of not belonging, honesty, big dreams, love and acceptance. It contains some of the most beautiful passages I’ve read recently, comparable only to Ultraviolet.
No more – no more love, no more songwriters, no more long and gorgeous fingers in my hair. Purity of voice and purity of heart doesn’t mean purity of soul, and certainly not purity of body. You’d be gone in weeks, I knew, and I wasn’t going to let you into my heart before then.
I have zero tolerance for bad parenting. If you aren’t ready to deal with every possible outcome, you shouldn’t be a parent at all. Sure, unpredictable things can happen, but even if they do, you’re still a parent. Quitting that particular job is simply not an option. But a father did give up in Brooklyn, Burning, and I’ll spend the rest of my life hating him for it. I would have loved to hurt him, but all I could do was grit my teeth.
Kid has gender identity and sexual orientation issues – or more precisely, other people have issues with Kid’s gender identity and sexual orientation. Kid is also very lost, lonely and unhappy. Kid’s father threw Kid out of the house because he refused to accept that Kid is different. So instead of living in a house like a normal teenager, Kid was forced to live in an abandoned warehouse, with a junkie musician Kid couldn’t help but fall in love with. You may have noticed how I’ve been avoiding the use of personal pronouns here - that’s because I don’t know which pronoun to use. I don’t know, and I certainly don’t care.
There’s not much I can say about Brooklyn, Burning without spoiling it. I highly recommend it to anyone who cares about the quality of prose. The story is touching and Kid is one of those characters you don’t easily forget. My maternal instincts are still screaming from the need to hug and protect that child!
Favorite quote I don’t remember what he sang about; I’m not sure I ever knew. It was his voice, gritty but gentle, like my father’s hands when I was too small to see past them, and the slow way his melody moved along its path, not in any hurry but enjoying every note for itself, rather than looking forward to the next note, and the next, until the song’s end. This song would have no end; it couldn’t possibly. This song was forever.
I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Oh, and thanks, Wendy! You are one great fairy godmother.
There's a reason why satire isn't among the most popular literary genres. It has to be extremely well written and you need to be open to that...more3.5 stars
There's a reason why satire isn't among the most popular literary genres. It has to be extremely well written and you need to be open to that type of humor for it to work. But if you do like that sort of thing, and if the author is someone you can trust to be funny without being (too) offensive, you’re probably in for a great reading experience.
When the Kiev zoo suffers yet another budget cut, they start looking for people willing to take zoo animals as pets. Viktor, being a solitary and somewhat eccentric writer, chooses to adopt a penguin named Misha. Together, he and Misha move into a small apartment where they spend the next year struggling to make ends meet. Viktor occasionally sells a story to the newspaper, but there are months when they barely scrape by. So when the newspaper editor offers Viktor a strange, but intriguing and well paid job, he is quick to accept. What the editor needs is someone to write obituaries in advance, seeing as he was caught unprepared on more than one occasion. When someone famous dies, the newspaper needs to have a touching obituary ready for print. It is now Viktor’s job to make a list of the most influential people, gather information about their lives, write an obituary and sign it with a vague ‘A group of friends’.
”What we’re after is a gifted obituarist, master of the succinct. Snappy, pithy, way-out stuff’s the idea. You with me?” He looked hopefully at Viktor. “Sit in an office, you mean, and wait for deaths?” Viktor asked warily, as if fearing to hear as much confirmed. “No, of course not! Far more interesting and responsible than that. What you’d have to do is create, from scratch, an index of obelisk jobs – as we call obituaries – to include deputies and gangsters, down to the cultural scene – that sort of person – while they’re still alive.”
His job may not be something to write home about, but Viktor soon discovers that he excels at it. He is so good, in fact, that he starts getting requests from other clients as well. His only problem is that his works are not getting published since no one has actually died. But that is something a friend and client of his, Misha-non-penguin, might be willing to fix - even without Viktor’s knowledge!
What could be the favorite pastime of a bored writer and his pet penguin with a depressive syndrome? That’s easy – ice fishing! This entire novel is an orgy of absurdity. Nothing in it makes any sense at all! The only thing that makes sense is how much I enjoyed reading it and how much I’m looking forward to reading Penguin Lost.(less)
I never thought I’d have fun reading about a belching contest of all things, but that’s exactly what happened. Murdock’s Dairy Queen is just the kind...moreI never thought I’d have fun reading about a belching contest of all things, but that’s exactly what happened. Murdock’s Dairy Queen is just the kind of YA I can truly enjoy: loads of fun on the surface, yet if you remember to look a little deeper, for the most part it’s not funny at all.
I noticed a long time ago that authors often have problems with creating characters that are quite average. On one side, most of them don’t even want to because they’re convinced that nobody likes to read about average people. On the other, even when they try, they usually don’t know how. Sometimes you can just see that’s what the author intended to do, especially in YA, but the characters end up being either too smart or too stupid to live, thus remaining completely unrealistic and two-dimensional. That is not the case with Catherine Murdock. In my opinion, she was successful. D.J. always does the right thing for herself, but that doesn’t mean that she’s too smart. She’s not very pretty or very social, either. But Murdock knows how to make you care for her and see her in a completely different light. The thing I liked most about D.J. is that she never once made me feel frustrated or angry because I always knew that she was doing her best, even when it wasn’t enough.
Stylistically speaking, at first glance, the writing was a little strange. I was bothered by it at first, but then I started discovering things about D.J. and I realized that it needed to be adapted to the narrator. D.J. flunked her English class because she was too busy working on the family farm. All those awkward sentences (kind of like mine, but worse) and words that kept repeating again and again made things sound more authentic. In other words, once I realized that Murdock did it on purpose, and it DID take me a while, I liked it.
Phew. Let me tell you, flirting is never easy, but having any sort of romantic conversation while shoveling cow poop is next to impossible. And yet D.J. and Brian managed to do it, and it was awkward, adorable and everything else it was supposed to be. I loved the two of them together and I loved that the focus wasn't on the romance at all.
2.5 stars An 18-year-old boy with big plans for his life finds out that he only has a year to live. He decides to refuse treatment and to keep his diag...more2.5 stars An 18-year-old boy with big plans for his life finds out that he only has a year to live. He decides to refuse treatment and to keep his diagnosis a secret. Instead of telling his family the truth, he is determined to make the most of the time he has left. He joins the football team, even though he is extremely short, and he finally gathers the courage to approach the girl he’s been admiring from afar for as long as he can remember.
Deadline is actually a pretty decent story. Despite its many flaws, I got pretty attached to some of the characters and I found myself really caring about Ben in the second half. But the truth is that I expected it to be much deeper than it actually was. Chris Crutcher made a few huge mistakes for reasons I can’t even begin to understand and, in my opinion, made a mess of something that could easily have been a very successful novel.
I have issues with authors who use their work to advertise their political beliefs. This is the second time I’ve come across such a problem lately, and both times my reading enjoyment was diminished significantly. Not being able to separate a book from its author is only natural, no matter who claims otherwise, but relying on experience and turning your novel into a political pamphlet are two very different things. The first usually ends very well. The second makes me… slightly uncomfortable. Every time Crutcher mentioned a book Ben was reading, I felt like he was shoving it down my throat. It was almost like he was giving me a reading assignment and at the same time, telling me that I should be ashamed of myself for not reading it sooner. Since they were all books about politics, something I’m not even remotely interested in, I didn’t appreciate it at all.
My second issue with Deadline is that it’s clearly a book for teenage boys. A big part of the book is about football, and it’s written in such a way that only people who know a lot about it can understand. Having just recently read Dairy Queen, which is also a book about football, albeit a perfectly understandable one even to someone as clueless as I am, I have to say that Chris Crutcher didn’t handle that very well. Whenever Ben played a game of talked about football strategies, I was completely and utterly lost and I ended up just skipping those parts altogether.
So here’s the verdict: if you don’t think about it too hard, Deadline is a pretty fun read. It obviously has some major flaws and you need to be a football fan to fully appreciate it, but it’s also full of unexpected twists and turns, with quite a few hilarious moments and completely lovable characters. (less)
I finished reading this book over a month ago, and I'm still at a loss on how to review it. I had a great time reading it, I really wanted to know how...moreI finished reading this book over a month ago, and I'm still at a loss on how to review it. I had a great time reading it, I really wanted to know how it ends, but I had nothing important to say about it afterwards. So instead of the usual review, I’ll just try to write down a few things that might help you decide whether you want to read it or not:
• This Girl Is Different made me smile a lot. It wasn’t laugh out loud funny, but it was cute and endearing. It grabbed my attention on the first page, and I stayed interested until the end, even though it was sadly predictable.
• First person narrative, present tense. This would normally bother me, but in this case it didn't.
• Most of the plot revolves around high school policies and student rights.
• The main character, Evie, acted self-righteously throughout most of the book. I found her superior behavior to be annoying at best, intolerable at worst. Her heart may have been in the right place, but her lack of experience led to disastrous results. For someone so ready to point out the flaws of others, she was far too reluctant to admit her own mistakes.
• There was, however, a character I liked, but she wasn’t around nearly as much as I’d hoped she would be. Jacinda was smart, strong and funny and she made Evie pale in comparison.
• Evie and her mother lived in a sustainable home. It was pretty interesting to read about.
• Evie’s love interest, Rajas, made me hate him so much that I honestly didn’t want them to end up together. You’ll have to read it to find out if I got my wish.
• There were no love triangles in this story.
• Our heroine refused to shave her legs. (What?! That's very important!)
All in all, This Girl Is Different was a pretty enjoyable read, but it certainly wasn't memorable.
< i>Every time he looked at me I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. In art class I’d watch him lean back and lis...more4.5 stars.
< i>Every time he looked at me I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. In art class I’d watch him lean back and listen and I was nothing but zing and tingle. After a while the tingle turned to electricity, and when he asked me out my whole body amped to a level where technically I should have been dead. I had nothing in common with a sheddy like him, but a girl doesn’t think straight when she’s that close to electrocution.
Wow. My GoodReads friends are all people with excellent taste. I thought so before, but I’m sure of it now. A few of you took the time to notice what I like and recommend this book to me. Thank you! And a special thanks to Lisa O. and her lovely review for making me read this when I did. Anyway, where was I?
The strength of Crowley's novel isn’t so much in the story itself as it is in the poetic writing that left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Don’t get me wrong: her writing isn’t overly descriptive. She doesn’t go on and on about places, events or works of art. Somehow she says more in one sentence than most people are able to say in twenty. She also has an excellent sense of humor and I found myself crying with laughter over some of her passages.
I know they still love each other, but I guess love is kind of like a marshmallow in a microwave on high. After it explodes, it’s still a marshmallow. But, you know, now it’s a complicated marshmallow.
Lucy doesn’t date regular guys. She went out on one date in her life and ended up breaking the guy’s nose. The fact that her parents spent two straight months screaming at each other isn’t helping her at all. Instead, she dreams about meeting a graffiti artist called Shadow, convinced that he is the guy who could never disappoint her.
Ed left school when it became obvious that he won’t be able to hide his dyslexia much longer. It also happened to be right around the time when Lucy broke his nose on their first date. Words don’t mean anything to him, but he draws the most amazing graffiti all over town. He is Shadow and his best friend Leo is Poet. And he wishes Shadow was as amazing as Lucy seems to believe he is.
Jazz and Leo are both weird in their own way but they might be compatible. He only needs to find the courage to tell her that he’s actually Poet, the guy whose works she’s been admiring all over town. It may sound easy, but once you get tangled in your own lies, it’s very hard to tell the truth.
All of them end up together in a pink van where the truth must come out - whether they like it or not.
There’s something in this book for everyone: amazing writing, poetry, flawless characters, a funny story, love, glass, art, pink van and criminals. Highly recommended. (less)
“Is it okay to hate a dead kid? Even if you loved him once? Even if he was my best friend? Is it okay to hate him for being dead?”
Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a story about a 18-year-old girl faced with the loss of her best friend. On one side, this novel is burdened with a scary amount of raw realism. It tells a story that hits too close to home, one that none of us want to hear. There are pedophiles, abusive husbands, drinking problems, runaway mothers and friends who break our hearts. There's too much to handle at once, for Vera and for me. Then there’s the other side that is as far from reality as can possibly be. The funny yet touching flow charts, talking pagodas, best friends turned into pickles and thousands of haunting ghosts serve as a soothing balm that helps heal the wounds made by the all-too-possible first side of the story. For the most part, when those two sides collide, the result is great and stunningly original. However, the combination didn’t work so well for the ending. When it came time to resolve Vera's situation, I wanted King to choose one or the other, to either write an utterly realistic ending, or a completely absurd one. What she gave us felt like a cop out. But who am I to judge? My rating is a cop out as well.
It was easy enough to blame my three readalong partners for my reluctance to write this review. All three of them did such an amazing job. Ms. Marr’s deliciously funny and incredibly smart words, Ms. Reynje’s colorful world that never fails to pull my heartstrings and Ms. Lisa’s strong logic and astonishing insightfulness would intimidate even the most creative minds. But the bigger truth is that I needed time to figure out exactly why I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as they did, especially when I claim to be such a huge fan of literary realism. And it’s true. Balzac, Stendhal, Tolstoy and many others helped me become the person I am today. But the reality they described for me is in no way my reality. I can easily dive into it knowing that I’m untouchable. Vera’s story, however, happens in everyone’s back yard. It’s the almost tangible reality of it that I can’t handle.
That doesn’t mean that I won’t recommend this book to anyone who will listen. I’ll probably reread it myself at some point.
A big thanks to Lisa, Reynje and Shirley for this amazing adventure that became known as the Double Date readalong. Everything is fun when you’re around. (less)
Actual rating: 4.5 stars! Lately I’ve been lucky enough to add a few books to my all-time-favorites list, all of them Australian. Raw Blue, for example...moreActual rating: 4.5 stars! Lately I’ve been lucky enough to add a few books to my all-time-favorites list, all of them Australian. Raw Blue, for example, left me with this feeling of beauty and despair that just won’t go away. I realize that I’ve been going on and on about Aussie authors and that I’d even threatened to move there at one point, but I see no reason to stop. Good Oil is just another proof of how special and engrossing their writing style usually is.
This story is about 15-year-old Amelia, 21-year-old Chris and a group of young people working at Woolworths grocery store in Sydney. The narration is equally divided between Chris and Amelia, and although I definitely preferred Chris’ point of view, I felt that both their voices were captured really well.
Amelia is the girl that doesn’t really fit anywhere. Her family life is a mess and, as a rule, she isn’t getting enough attention from her parents or other people. Chris, on the other hand, gets too much attention. He is one of those people who fill the room with their presence. Loud, very intelligent, completely messed up, extroverted and fun, he’s everyone’s favorite guy. He draws Amelia to him like a magnet and they spend a lot of time talking about books and feminism.
She's amusing - all frizzy-haired and fiery. I suspect she can, like, construct sentences and read books.
This is a book you will need to think about. My rating was all over the place while I was reading. At first I thought it will end up being a 4-star book. Then, after reading the last page, I felt very confused and tempted to go with 3 stars, but now, not a day after, I’ve decided to make it 4.5. Processing a book that doesn’t distance itself from reality is always harder than dealing with something you know in your heart is fiction. It’s strange for someone who claims to be such huge fan of realism to have problems with very realistic novels, but that’s me - a walking contradiction.
Usually when I read a book I know exactly how I’d like it to end. I was at a loss this time because no matter how much they have in common intellectually, at the end of the day, Amelia is a kid, and Chris is… not. I was very curious to see how Laura Buzo would handle that particular mess, and I have to admit that I was very impressed, regardless of my initial (conflicted) feelings.
I could go on and on about this book because, unlike most of my friends, I find it much easier to write about books I loved, but I see no point. I loved it. That's all you need to know. I’m asking you all to read this. I promise you won’t be sorry. (less)