Pat Peoples has just been released from a psychiatric institution and has moved into his parent’s basement in New Jersey. Pat believes that his life i...morePat Peoples has just been released from a psychiatric institution and has moved into his parent’s basement in New Jersey. Pat believes that his life is a movie and all he has to do to do is work hard and become a better person, and he will find his happy ending and the movie will end. For Pat, his happy ending means getting back together with Nikki, his wife who wanted some time apart. Pat is working hard to get in shape and read more literary fiction, so that he can become the husband Nikki wished he had been. When Pat meets Tiffany, he finds someone who is almost as messed up as he is. A widower, Tiffany suffers from depression and has become a sort of stalker, following Pat as he runs every morning. Even though she might be insane, Tiffany is the only person who is honest with Pat, and she may be the only one who can help him get back together with Niiki and finally have his happy ending.
Pat is writing a journal to fill in his ex-wife on everything that has happened to him since they’ve been apart, which is what this novel is made up of. Pat does not remember a lot of what has happened over the past few years, so there was a lot of suspense to keep me reading. I first started this book while waiting at the bus station, but I couldn’t put it down and kept reading on the bus (I get car sick so I rarely do this.) Pat is 34 but comes across as childlike and vulnerable, especially since he is so dependent on his parents at this point. Midway through, the book lost its hold on me and it was harder to get through, mostly due to all the football talk. I had to look up what tailgating was, and I may have skimmed some of the parts focussing on the Ravens. I found it very difficult to imagine Pat as a 34-year-old man who used to teach high school history based on his voice, but he did feel very real. Tiffany was probably the most interesting and complex character in the book. Watching the trailer for the film, it looks like so much good dialogue was added to the movie and that Tiffany and Pat’s relationship is more interesting. The plot and the eventual revelation of some secrets was well put together, with the occasional twist. Overall, I enjoyed this story and how it was told and being able to look inside Pat’s mind and see his delusional, but optimistic, outlook on life. I will have to check out the film, but I would recommend this book to fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower who would be interested in an adult perspective.
Paul has always known who he is and never had any trouble coming out when he was five. Paul lives in a town unlike any other: where the transgender ho...morePaul has always known who he is and never had any trouble coming out when he was five. Paul lives in a town unlike any other: where the transgender homecoming queen is also the quarterback, and the gay-straight-alliance was formed to help the straight kids dance better. When Paul meets Noah, all he wants is to get to know him better. Paul likes Noah and Noah likes him, and they instantly connect. But things can never be that simple, with ex-boyfriends, friends who are mistaken for boyfriends, friends who are dating the wrong people and the school bookie betting on the odds of Paul finding happiness with Noah. It’s the story of boy meets boy and what happens afterwards.
This short book is sort of a fantasy, set in a town that is basically a utopia for LGBT teens. While some people have complained about it being unrealistic, I was reminded of a review I read a while ago, in which the reviewer wished there were more happy books about gay teens. This book definitely hits the mark, since Paul knows who he is and is loved and accepted for it. This is a quirky book about love and the obstacles that can get in the way in a near perfect town where everyone is accepted. At the same time, we see that things are not as easy for everyone else as they are for Paul, which is best shown through Tony and even Kyle. Although there is a surreal quality to this book, it was fun, original and often thoughtful. I felt a bit detached from the drama and found the book to be slow moving. With Valentine’s Day approaching, the relationship between Paul and Noah makes this a good book for February 14th, since they’re both so adorably perfect for each other.
The same night Becca’s boyfriend breaks up with her in the back of his car, a girl is murdered and left on the side of the road outside of the small t...moreThe same night Becca’s boyfriend breaks up with her in the back of his car, a girl is murdered and left on the side of the road outside of the small town Becca lives in. The murder of the unnamed girl disrupts the town and strongly affects Becca. All Becca ever wanted was to leave for somewhere bigger, and now that graduation is over and she’s one summer away from her dream, she finds herself retreating inwards. Becca can’t help but be personally drawn to finding the truth about the unknown girl. Little does she know that the story of Amelia Anne Richardson has similarities to her own, aside from ending where Becca’s story starts. Both girls found themselves in relationships that interfered with their dreams. As Becca delves into the past, she searches for the truth about Amelia Anne, even when everyone is telling her to let go of the past.
Described by many as the best book of 2012, Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone is a beautifully written debut novel, full of poetic prose that flows throughout the novel. I found out after finishing this book that Kat Rosenfield also writes the Auntie SparkNotes column, which I used to read all the time. Rosnefield definitely has a promising career in front of her. While the characters didn’t appeal to me, the dynamics between the different relationships in this novel did. It’s the writing and the plot that both drive this novel. The plot was well constructed and the two storylines interwove together perfectly. Full of mystery and suspense, the beautiful writing grabbed my interest and the plot kept it. It reminded me of Where Things Come Back, with a similar setting and the use of two different stories. Somehow, it felt like something was missing, and I was never completely engaged with the story. However, this beautifully written debut novel is a compelling story that deserves the praise.
Elise has just started middle school and things couldn’t be worst. Known for the scabs that covered her legs on the first day, Elise has been singled...moreElise has just started middle school and things couldn’t be worst. Known for the scabs that covered her legs on the first day, Elise has been singled out by her locker mate, who teases Elise for being a baby. Elise’s best friend Franklin just makes everything worst, not knowing that there are certain things that cool sixth graders don’t talk about at school (like playing knights.) Elise lives with her aunt and uncle in an old farmhouse, her parents both having died when she was a baby. Adjusting to a new school becomes even harder when Elise has to adjust to a new baby in the house as well after her aunt moves in. More changes come when Elise receives the last birthday letter from her dad, who died when she was three but wrote letters to her while he was sick. But when Elise finds a key with her name on it, she realizes that it leads to one of the eight locked rooms above the barn, and that each room contains a message from her father. As Elise struggles with middle school, a world of homework and bullies, she also has to unlock her father’s puzzle, literally.
Eight Keys is a coming of age story that is original and deals with a lot of important issues for young readers in a unique way. Elise has been friends with Franklin forever, but starting middle school puts a wedge in their relationship. While dealing with all the typical sixth grade things, Elise also has the pieces of a puzzle set out by her father while he was sick. This story was touching and provided a lot of life lessons through the rooms her father left for her to open. While Elise wasn’t always likeable, she grew as a character throughout the novel. I loved most of the characters, from Elise’s friends at school to the adults in her life. This book was a quick read, and the writing seemed to be specifically for twelve year olds, unlike some really great junior fiction books. I really enjoyed reading this book, and although a lot of the plot focuses on issues specific to being a preteen, it also contains life lessons that can apply to your life whether you’re twelve or twenty-two.
Aside from the fact that he can voluntarily travel through time, Jackson is a fairly normal nineteen year old. He has a girlfriend named Holly, goes t...moreAside from the fact that he can voluntarily travel through time, Jackson is a fairly normal nineteen year old. He has a girlfriend named Holly, goes to college and helps out at a day care. Time travel isn’t anything like Jackson imagined. When he travels backwards, it just looks like he has passed out. The part of himself that goes backwards can’t change anything, and while he remembers what happened, no one else does. All of Jackson’s experience with time travel changes when a group of strange men enter Holly’s dorm room and shoot her. In shock, Jackson travels back to the past two years and can’t seem to find a way to get back. This is before he met Holly and when he should be studying abroad. The past Jackson has disappeared, and now he has to pretend to be his seventeen-year-old self. But in the past he notices things about his life and his family that he didn’t notice before. As Jackson tries to find a way to get back to his future he realizes that so much of what he knows about his past is a lie.
This is a YA book about time travel, with romance and the CIA mixed in for good measure. The time travel is made a little more complicated by parallel universes being started by trips to the past and by Jackson not being able to change things. This book doesn’t compare to The Time Traveller’s Wife or Ruby Red. I found it very hard to get into, with the confusing form of time travel. While I disliked it less later in the novel, I just don’t like the idea of time travel not affecting the future or having an effect on anything other than Jackson. I didn’t find any of the characters to be well imagined, and the romance at the heart of the story never felt remotely interesting. Most of the characters felt unoriginal and stereotyped. One of the things I loved about The Time Traveller’s Wife is that Henry’s time travel wasn’t a secret. In Tempest, Jackson insists on keeping his abilities a secret from Holly, who he loves. The plot was confusing and should have been fast paced and quick moving with all the action, but instead it dragged on. I bought this book at a Boxing Day sale, and if I had taken it out from the library I definitely wouldn’t have bothered to finish it. While I was interested in some of the subplots, like Jackson’s twin sister, there was very little in this novel that appealed to me. I was interested in the synopsis and was expecting something great, but I was left feeling disappointed and bored. Most of the people who enjoyed this book said that they didn’t usually read about time travel, so maybe one of the reasons I didn’t like this book was because I do like time travel and had a lot to compare Tempest to.
Kami Glass lives in the quiet town of Sorry-in-the-Vale in the Cotswold’s, and is looking for anything mysterious in the town to write about in an exp...moreKami Glass lives in the quiet town of Sorry-in-the-Vale in the Cotswold’s, and is looking for anything mysterious in the town to write about in an expose for the school paper. Kami has been hearing strange noises in the nearby wood, and believes that anything could be happening. It’s easy for Kami to believe in the paranormal when she has been hearing the voice of a boy in her head her whole life. Kami has never met Jared, but they have always spoken to each other through their minds, which long ago earned Kami a reputation as the town nutcase and outsider. When the Lynburns, an old and wealthy family, return to Sorry-in-the-Vale, everything becomes more complicated for Kami. The Lynburn’s are shrouded with mystery and have a past that runs deep in the roots of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Who the Lynburn’s really are makes Kami hearing a voice inside her head seem downright normal. Not to mention that the boy in her head is now a real person, and a good-looking one at night. With mysteries abound, Kami and her friends will have to discover the truth about the past to protect themselves in the present.
With the cover being so beautiful, I knew this book was going to be good, but it wasn’t anything like I expected. I didn’t expect such quirky and original characters and a humorous tone that reminded me of Maureen Johnson. Having an awesome heroine was enough for me to love this book. Kami is eccentric but well meaning and able to stand on her own. She’s witty and brave and easy to root for. I loved Kami’s voice from the start and the other characters, especially Holly and Angela, were original and very well written. I thought that this book was refreshing and unique. I didn’t fall in love with the Lynburn boys, but I thought that the concept behind Kami and Jared was very interesting and was carried out well. The writing was good and engaging, but the plot was fairly complicated and it felt like it fell apart a bit at the end. The gothic book is filled with wit, an original plot and wonderfully written characters. With a love story that’s far from typical at the heart of the novel, Unspoken is a story that isn’t quite like anything I’ve ever read before.
Renée appears to be a typical concierge in a Parisian apartment building of aristocrats. She is widowed, overweight, uneducated, and friendless aside...moreRenée appears to be a typical concierge in a Parisian apartment building of aristocrats. She is widowed, overweight, uneducated, and friendless aside from her cat and a cleaning woman. But in reality Renée puts a great effort into keeping this façade, and is really incredibly intelligent and cultured. She spends her days reading Russian literature, philosophy and admiring art. Living in the same building, Paloma is a twelve-year-old daughter of a government official. Like Renée, she is very interested in Japanese culture. Paloma also hides her intelligence from others and is especially perceptive for a pre-teen. Paloma has decided that she will kill herself on her thirteenth birthday, burning down the building before she dies. When a cultured Japanese man moves into the building, both Paloma and Renée find someone who truly sees them, and helps them see each other.
This phenomenal novel is well written and thought provoking, with a sophisticated style that makes it memorable and very French. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys novels that make them reflect. Beautifully written, The Elegance of The Hedgehog is a novel full of interesting and realistic characters. I loved how introspective it was, and I enjoyed the profound thoughts of Paloma’s. I enjoyed this book for the ideas and the writing, but if you’re looking for a fast paced or involved plot, you won’t find it in this book. I would recommend this book for anyone who loved The History of Love by Nicole Krauss or is interested in philosophy. I enjoyed the lyrical prose and the thoughts of the characters. This book is about how other people see you, how we see are self and the things that prevent us from truly seeing others. This is a well written book about finding meaning in one’s own life.
Alyson is just finishing up a tour of Europe with a parent-approved group catering to teens. While Alyson’s long time best friend Melanie is using thi...moreAlyson is just finishing up a tour of Europe with a parent-approved group catering to teens. While Alyson’s long time best friend Melanie is using this summer away before starting college to reinvent herself, Alyson feels like the same old girl she’s always been. For her part, Alyson has always done exactly what has been expected of her. The trip is no exception, and Alyson can’t help but feel that she’s not getting what she should be out of Europe. On the last night of the tour, Alyson and Melanie are going to see Hamlet in Stratford upon Avon, before going to London the next morning to visit a cousin of Melanie’s. But an unexpected impulse leads Alyson to skip Hamlet to see a free production of Twelfth Night by the Guerrilla Will theatre group. Alyson falls fast for Willem, a Dutch boy playing Sebastian. In the spirit of the moment, Willem and Alyson take off for Paris. With Willem, Alyson isn’t a predictable, pre-med, good girl: she’s LuLu, the nickname Willem gave her. Together, they take on the city of lights as quickly as possible. But in the morning, Willem is gone, and Alyson is left doubting everything. The path that was long ago chosen for her no longer is what she wants. Alyson can’t let go of that one day and it’s just because she wants to find what happened to Willem: she also wants to find what happened to the person she was for that one day.
From the writer of If I Stay, Just One Day is a story about romance, travel, coming of age and finding who you are. Many reviews and synopsises I’ve read focus a lot on the romantic aspects of this book and whether or not it’s possible to fall in love in a day. While there were a lot of other important aspects of this book, the romance was well written and engaging, and it was easy to get swept away, just like Alyson. While falling in love in Paris is a cliché, what happens after helps this book stray away from the typical romance. I didn’t love Paris like Alyson does, but this book made me want to go back. While the romance was well written, I was more drawn to the themes about people pretending to be someone else. Shakespeare and different themes from his plays (specifically Twelfth Night, As Your Like It and even Romeo and Juliet) intertwined with the story perfectly and added so much. While If I Stay featured the coolest family ever, Alyson’s family is far from perfect and her mother was frustrating and even infuriating at times. Alyson is what you would expect from someone who is raised by domineering parents: she’s spoilt, and lives a predictable life, just as she should. Alyson grows as a person throughout the novel and even when she was acted particularly sheltered, I liked and connected with her. As a twenty-something, I could relate to Alyson’s confusion over who she is and what she wants. I loved the travel aspects of the plot, although they just fuelled my ever-present wanderlust. This book could open a lot of discussions and would be a good choice for a teen book club. While there a bit too many coincidences towards the end, I thought this book was beautifully written, with a plot that was easy to get caught up in.
Looking for a new start, the Grace family has moved from an apartment in New York to an old family house. Mallory is thirteen and as avid fencer. Simo...moreLooking for a new start, the Grace family has moved from an apartment in New York to an old family house. Mallory is thirteen and as avid fencer. Simon is nine and is bookish and a lovable of animals. His twin brother Jared doesn’t quite know who he is, and one of the reasons they moved to the country is due to the trouble he got into at school. In the old and peculiar house, Jared finds impossible things that can only be explained by the old field guide he found in the hidden room in the house. While normal field guides detail animals or birds, this one only concerns faeries and other magical creatures. Together, the Grace children will have to trust in each other, and the guide, if they want to brave the world of faeries and remain unscathed by a mischievous brownie.
I really should have read this book ages ago, but I suppose I wasn’t into this thing as much when these books first became popular. This is a short book, and the first of the five in the series. This is a fairly simple introduction to the series and to the faerie world that exists within our own, and while there isn’t an exciting climax, this book grabbed my interest and managed to immerse the reader to this vivid fantasy world. The characters were original and realistic, and I came to care about them very quickly. The writing was well done and the illustrations were beautiful. I liked this book enough that I instantly started the sequel. Many fantasy books for kids are very long and intimidating, and The Spiderwick Chronicles is a good choice for kids who aren’t the strongest readers and are easily discouraged. At the same time, this book is a perfect choice for anyone who loves stories about magic and the impossible.