The Jesus Cow is a novel that I have been waiting for. I enjoy reading novels that use absurd elements to explore humanity. (For example, the bug / vermin in The Metamorphosis. Or, in the case of The Jesus Cow, the calf bearing the image of the Son of God.) I do want to say upfront that you cannot take the religious component seriously while reading this novel. I know that some people may not be comfortable with the religious content or how it is handled. I totally understand. For me, I read this novel with the understanding that it is not about religion. Rather, "religion" is used to explore humanity and show the absurd direction that it can take. (Cue: spiritual theme park and Harley making money off his "holy" calf.)
From the moment that I read the title of this book, I knew that there would be humor in it. And there is plenty of humor to go around in The Jesus Cow! Better yet, it comes packaged in a very well-written novel. (Know that I, the English major, rarely say this.) There are many, many lines that I reread and underlined or put in brackets because I love the way Perry worded them. For example, Perry describes one of Harley's past relationships in one sentence: "Harley himself had once named a Holstein heifer calf after a high school girlfriend; sadly the relationship ended before the calf was weaned" (P. 15 of the ARC). I love this sentence because it says so much about Harley's relationship in a unique way that fits into the context. Perry doesn't say something generic that could speak to any protagonist; instead, he describes Harley's relationship in a way that draws from pieces of Harley's life. In a way that I can imagine Harley himself thinking about his past relationship.
I also like how different characters in the town take turns narrating their story. As I mentioned in my review of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye (read my review here), such sketches give us insight into characters coming from different backgrounds and allow us to build a deeper understanding of the culture of a place and how it influences the people that live there. In The Jesus Cow, we see how small town life has contributed to the development of each character, how each character reacts to their environment, and how each character, in turn, influences the lives of other characters. For example, if I had only learned about Klute from Harley's perspective, I might have dismissed Klute as a greedy developer out to get Harley. By reading about Klute's story from Klute's own perspective, I could sympathize more with his situation. These are but two of the many characters in the small town of Swivel.
The Jesus Cow is a highly entertaining and well written novel that explores themes about humanity....more
In a Dark Wood is a compelling memoir about Luzzi's journey through grief and the healing process following his wife Katherine's untimely death. A proIn a Dark Wood is a compelling memoir about Luzzi's journey through grief and the healing process following his wife Katherine's untimely death. A professor of Italian and a Dante scholar, Luzzi draws parallels between The Divine Comedy and his own experiences in the dark wood of grief.
Having studied English during my time as an undergraduate student, I appreciate how Luzzi relates Dante's great work to his personal experiences and finds meaning in one through the other (and vice versa). It's actually what drew me to this book in the first place, and I love how Luzzi intertwines his story with that of Dante's work. I do wish that I had read The Divine Comedy before picking up this book. It has been years since I've looked at Dante's work. While Luzzi does a good job explaining the connections that he makes between Dante's work and his own experiences, a refresher would have helped me to better understand the significance behind Luzzi's references from a more critical perspective (the casual reader shouldn't have too many problems).
That said, In a Dark Wood has a complicated narration. Luzzi not only intertwines his story following Katherine's death with that of The Divine Comedy, he also includes anecdotes from his college days and from his parents' lives. While I like all the connections that Luzzi makes, he jumps around a lot from scene to scene, from one point in time to another. Furthermore, though his book follows a general timeline, he does not entirely narrate events in chronological order, so it can be difficult to piece events together in their proper order, especially if you don't finish the book in one sitting. I would have preferred if Luzzi cut back on some points and focused more on the immediate storyline. I do appreciate how he ties in his Italian heritage and how he shows the importance of family and friends in his life. Luzzi shows the ups and downs and how his family supported him in his time of grief. The inclusion of his family members' stories also serves to show where he comes from and how it influences his relationships with different women.
In reflecting on his family, his personal experiences, and on Dante's work, Luzzi gives a profound commentary on love, life, and loss. As he tells his daughter Isabel at the end of his book, "it's not what lands you in the dark wood that defines you, but what you do to make it out—just as you can't understand the first words of a story until you've read the last ones" (quoted from ARC). In a Dark Wood is a heavy read in that Luzzi is weighted by his grief throughout much of the book. In his grief, he makes many poor decisions, including his neglect of his fatherly duties to Isabel, and he continuously finds himself unable to move forward with his life. The excruciatingly slow progress out of the dark wood can get frustrating to readers who haven't gone through similar experiences. Nevertheless, Luzzi's narration stays true to reality in showing readers the challenges of working through grief. Through it all, Luzzi is there reflecting on his thoughts and actions during his time in the dark wood, and he makes ample use of The Divine Comedy to comment on love and loss.
Content (contains potential spoilers) (view spoiler)[- Questions about the afterlife and if humans have a soul that lives on after death. (Includes some questions on religion and God's existence. - Relations with multiple women following Katherine's death, includes sex (not explicit). - In his grief over his wife's untimely death, Luzzi becomes an absent father and leaves much of the child-raising duties to his mother and his sisters. He also gets into heated arguments with some people, including a lover and his mother over his behavior. They aren't described in great detail. - I do not recall any language that ought to be mentioned. If there was any, they are few and sparse. (hide spoiler)]
I fell in love with Made You Upfrom the time lobsters were first mentioned. That first lobster scene is so cute, so precious, so full of feels. I neveI fell in love with Made You Up from the time lobsters were first mentioned. That first lobster scene is so cute, so precious, so full of feels. I never questioned if it was real or not. But then . . . .
Made You Up is a novel that will make you question everything that you see. I would think that Alex perceives reality only to later question it only to later question my doubts. Made You Up is a mind boggling read.
Alex's unreliable narration is both the charm and the major flaw of this novel. On the one hand, I love the complexity that Zappia creates by intertwining reality and delusions so that we, the readers, finds ourselves questioning everything that we're told. In the process, we come a little closer to understanding what it would be like to be unable to discern what's real and what isn't real. That said, I do want to acknowledge that Zappia wraps up the novel rather cleanly. By the end, we learn what's real and what existed only in Alex's mind down to the smallest details we wouldn't have thought to question. This means that Alex also learns the truth. While it's nice as a reader to get the closure, I doubt events will always wrap up so nicely in reality, and I encourage readers to keep this in mind while reading Made You Up.
The major flaw of having an unreliable narrator is that we cannot ever completely trust the narrator. Yes, we shouldn't ever completely trust the narrator of any book we read because any narrator is going to have his or her biases, and some narrators may even have a reason to lie. (Ever study Jane Eyre or The Marquise of O in a college class?) In the case of Made You Up, however, you can't trust that everything you see actually happens. For example, Tucker so rarely appears after Miles is introduced that, even though I saw him interact with people other than Alex, I began to doubt that he really existed. I began to think that maybe Alex made up those interactions. You can see what a headache I was beginning to develop by the time Zappia began to clear things up for me. (Yes, Tucker really exists . . . rather, this other thing you thought was real isn't real at all . . . and so forth.) Though I began to question my sanity, I actually enjoyed the "big reveals" at the end (except for that one tragic one . . . how could "that" not be real???? Whhhyyyyyyyy?????). Made You Up is like a puzzle. Once the pieces begin to click into place, you begin to recognize the discrepancies that have taken place, and everything begins to make more sense. I believe that Made You Up is a novel that will be fun to reread for clues that you didn't pick up at first read.
Family is not entirely absent from the novel. Longtime readers of the blog know how much I value family. I believe that family is integral to our identities. Even if we're at a stage of our life where we don't particularly like certain members of our family, that's also a part of who we are. In Alex's case, her family influences her through how her parents react to her seeing things that exist only in her imagination and to her paranoia. While I don't particularly like how Alex treats her mom or how Miles talks to her mom in one scene, I can understand how she feels. Back in high school, there were many many times when I felt like my mom couldn't understand me, and those feelings led to resentment and feelings that I lacked control of my life. I appreciate how Alex comes to realize the love that her parents feel for her and decides to seek the treatment that her parents were considering. Her love for her sister is especially touching. While she does treat Charlie as The Annoying Younger Sibling at times, it's clear that she deeply cares for her young sister and treasures her existence.
What I really love about Made You Up is that, while Alex may have schizophrenia, Made You Up is not a story about schizophrenia. It is the story about a girl (and a boy) dealing with the insanity of high school life, and our narrator just so happens to have schizophrenia, which makes it just a little more difficult to work through the insanity of high school. I recommend this for readers who enjoy reading a (somewhat) lighthearted coming-of-age story with some crazy high school adventures and a little dose of mystery.
Literary Value: I believe that it is important to have different kinds of books out there that show different people living different kinds of lives. Alex's story gives us a place where we can get a glimpse of what it may be like to live with paranoid schizophrenia. I do emphasize the "may" given that Zappia was never diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia or hay personal ties to schizophrenia. At the same time, she does try to portray the real deal. In an interview at Bettgeschichten, Zappia says, "I read books on it, I watched documentaries, and I went online to forums where people who have schizophrenia were discussing the illness." Most importantly, Made You Up shows how, while Alex may have schizophrenia, it doesn't take over her life. She is a normal high school girl who is just having a little more trouble than most working through the insanities of high school life.
Content (contains potential spoilers): (view spoiler)[ Language: There is a fair amount of cussing, especially of the f-word, including a scene where Miles cusses at Alex's parents. There is one line where Alex irreverently uses Jesus's name. Alex and Miles are called names that have negative connotations (Communist and Nazi).
Sexual content: At a party, Alex sees two people undressed and in the process of having sex in a bedroom. At the same party, she sees two people wrapped around each other and making out at the bonfire. She and a boy remove their clothing while making out in her room, but they do not have sex. There is also an instance where they break into someone's house and find a room with stalker material. An older man harasses a student (suggested but not shown).
Violence: There is some violence, mostly people throwing punches around, and it isn't explicit. The largest incidence of violence would be a brawl that takes place in Alex's workplace towards the end of the novel. We hear about and see things that suggest domestic violence in someone's home. There are also instances of bullying that involve breaking and entering and putting Icy Hot in someone's underwear.
Graphic images: Some of the things that Alex sees are graphic but not in super great detail. The scariest part would be the psychological factor, such as when and where she sees them.
Mental illness: This is a book in which mental illness plays a large role.
Note: I did not read Between the Lines before picking up Off the Page. Off the Page is being advertised as a companion novel that can be read withoutNote: I did not read Between the Lines before picking up Off the Page. Off the Page is being advertised as a companion novel that can be read without having read the first novel.
Note 2: After reading approximately 15% of the novel, I went ahead and skimmed through it. My review is based off the parts of the novel that I read and may not reflect the entirety of the novel.
Off the Page fulfills the reader's fantasy of meeting, and finding love with, characters from our favorite reads. I believe that some readers will enjoy it as a light, feel-good read. For me, however, some elements of the novel didn't work for me.
What didn't work for me:
First, the words are in different colors depending on who is speaking. While some pages are in black, most of the novel is in green, blue, and turquoise—very distracting colors.
Second, the novel is told from the alternating first-person POVs of Delilah, Oliver, and Edgar. I'm not fond of alternating first-person POVs. It's jarring and makes it difficult for me to settle into a novel. While I have enjoyed some novels that alternate first-person POVs in the past, Off the Page didn't work for me. When I read a book with multiple POVs, I look for smooth transitions from one POV into another. The next POV should pick up in some way that connects it to where the last one left off so that I feel like I'm reading the same story instead of different stories running parallel to each other. Off the Page lacked flow transitioning from one POV into another. I felt like I was reading three different stories.
Third, there is a heavy focus on the chemistry of the romance. While I don't find anything wrong with some romance, I don't find it promising when, in the first 50 pages, the two MCs can't stop making out—even when a certain someone's chemistry grades are in danger. I want to see something more from the romance than the chemistry. Attraction doesn't equal happy ending. A real relationship takes work and getting to know each other.
Fourth, I'm getting tired of seeing the same cast over and over again. Delilah gives the same old lines about the popular crowd and hangs out with the cooler, smaller crowd. While there may be a reason that we see the same characters in novels over and over again, it gets old if they're left as stereotypes. If I'm going to see the same characters, I want to see them made up in a new way. I want to be made interested in their stories and in the role they play in the plot.
Fifth, and this is regarding the publicity for this novel, Off the Page is being advertised as being able to stand alone apart from Between the Lines. I digress. While Delilah summarizes events from the last book, this novel focuses on the same cast as the last novel. More than a companion novel, this is a sequel and should be read as such. I believe that I would have enjoyed Off the Page more if I had read the first novel.
What I did like:
First, the cover is gorgeous. I like how it gives us both a contemporary and a fairy-tale feel.
Second, I love how Off the Page explores what it means to be a character in the book. Also, Edgar's revision to the story is interesting. I was not expecting to see a fairy tale / sci-fi crossover when I visited the fairy-tale world.
Third, Oliver's experiences in school are hilarious. It's so much fun to see our world through an outsider's perspective. (And his answers to the chemistry quiz!)
Fourth, I can appreciate Delilah's comment about walking into a wall while reading a book. I used to walk around while reading until I realized that I might be better off paying attention to the pathways.
Fifth, the illustrations are gorgeous. We have some colored, full-page illustrations from the fairy tale as well as some cute illustrations at the start of each chapter. Love love these!
I only read the first 50 pages or so before skimming around the novel. As I didn't get past the introduction, I do expect there to be more to the plot than I have discussed in my review. Nevertheless, I will not be reading further. The introduction has not made me interested in the characters' lives, and the end hasn't given me reason to believe otherwise. While I don't expect Delilah and Oliver to make out every other page, there seems to be a heavy focus on the romance and the drama. I know that I should have expected this when I picked up the book given how Delilah and Oliver's actions are motivated by their love for each other, but I was hoping to see more of the fantasy and action.
Find Momo: Coast to Coast is an adorable book in which the border collie Momo and his buddy Andrew Knapp travel from coast to coast across the UnitedFind Momo: Coast to Coast is an adorable book in which the border collie Momo and his buddy Andrew Knapp travel from coast to coast across the United States and Canada. There is a good mix of photos where it is easy to find Momo and ones that challenge the reader's imagination. I can envision this being a fun book to huddle over with the family in a race to find Momo.
Many of the photos are breathtaking and worth examining in their own right. I love how there is a mix of tourist attractions and everyday life of the people who in live the areas that Momo and Knapp visit. In the midst of it all, Knap captures photos that show Momo making himself right at home. The two's adventures remind us of the excitement to be found in travel—both in the major attractions and in the quietude of the everyday. Traveling isn't always about visiting the places well traveled. We also need to remind ourselves to look for adventure in the culture of the places that we visit, and we can't do that by following the tourist guidebook. Branch out; explore different sceneries.
That said, I do wish that we were given more specific details in the captions about the locations in the photos. If you're curious about where exactly each photo was taken, you have to flip back to the answer key. Otherwise, I have nothing to complain about!
Find Momo: Coast to Coast is a fun, unique travel book. I love the idea of sharing a road trip through the antics of a dog, and I had a lot of fun searching for Momo (though at times I did get pretty frustrated. Momo isn't always easy to find!). I would definitely recommend this book to readers, especially those who love furry four-legged creatures like Momo.
We Are All Made of Molecules is a YA novel that I've been waiting for. The plot is focused and relatable, and the characters clearly mature over the cWe Are All Made of Molecules is a YA novel that I've been waiting for. The plot is focused and relatable, and the characters clearly mature over the course of the novel. Most importantly, We Are All Made of Molecules has a strong message for readers. While reading is something that I enjoy, I also want to learn something from the books that I read. It can be a moral lesson, or it can be something as simple as a character learning some truth about life and / or standing up to his or her fears. We get all of these in Susin Nielsen's latest novel.
The writing is simple, much more so than I would have expected in a novel that contains some mature content. While I generally like novels with more complexity, the simplistic language and straightforward narration are powerful tools that bare the characters' lives to the reader. There aren't any extraneous details that distract from the main plot points. Furthermore, We Are All Made of Molecules is a novel that can be easily finished in one sitting. Nothing should distract from the story except an emergency.
As you might have guessed from the synopsis, the story is told from the alternating POVs of Stewart and Ashley.While it was interesting to see their different opinions on certain topics and to see what goes on behind the scenes in each character's lives, I found much more depth overall in Stewart's perspective. For much of the novel, Ashley is a shallow, fashion-crazy, boy-obsessed girl who is overly concerned with the social ladder and where she stands on it. While we do learn things from her that we can't get with Stewart, who is bad at reading social cues, I enjoyed reading from Stewart's perspective so much more. He makes nerd jokes (something I love but rarely see in YA lit), he's funny, and he's interesting. Ashley's POV doesn't contribute enough that I feel like it is essential to the story's message. She does become more likable at the end; at the same time, it isn't until the end that I really appreciated her character. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver presents a more complex character in Samantha, who is also an "It" girl that matures into a more sensitive and caring person.
That said, what Ashley's POV does contribute to the plot is that her story intertwines with Stewart's story to show the different facets of high school life. Ashley may just be a girl who is concerned with the social hierarchy, but she is also a bully who has made fun of others and stepped on them in order to climb to the top of the social ladder. Stewart is a boy lacks social awareness and has been bullied as a result. While I wasn't particularly fond of Ashley's POV, I like how the alternating POVs weaves together the lives of the bullies and the bullied, the "haves" and the "have-nots," to reveal the absurdity of categorizing peoples' values based on where they stand on the social ladder. Whereas Ashley considered herself to be at the top of the ladder, her relationship with her "friends" is a facsimile built on what she imagines to be the prefect life. In the end, Stewart, who stays true to himself and presents himself as he is to others, proves that true happiness comes from making real connections with the people around you. In order to be happy, Ashley must become more like Stewart, and the two must work together to defeat the system that gives bullies the power to oppress others.
Literary Value: I find We Are All Made of Molecules to be a novel with literary value because of the growth that the characters exhibit. Stewart and Ashley enter the novel with preconceptions about how their lives will go, and after their first meeting, they form superficial opinions about each other that will later prove false. They learn about the complexity of life and about the fallacy of judging people by appearances and initial impressions. There are important messages about respect and tolerance, family and friendship, bullying and the social hierarchy, what is really important in life and what it means to be a decent human being. The plot has the complexity that I have been searching for in YA lit.
Mature Content: While the language is simple and more what I would expect from a middle-grade novel, I would not recommend this to younger readers because of the content. (Warning: potential spoilers follow.) Ashley belongs to the stereotypical "It" scene in high school. She and her friends lust after the hottest boy in their school, there is language and talk of girls' bodies in a boys' locker room scene, there is partying with alcohol involved, and there is an almost-rape scene. Stewart is bullied because of his brains and geeky appearance, and at several points he is afraid to go to school. There is also homophobia and discrimination against homosexuality by some persons.
Overall: We Are All Made of Molecules is a novel that I believe young adults should read. It has complexity: Stewart and Ashley show true character growth, family and friends play important roles in their lives, and their story shows us what is really important in life.
The plot and characters fell flat from the get-go. The focus of the writing seems to be on the romance and the intrigue more than world building develThe plot and characters fell flat from the get-go. The focus of the writing seems to be on the romance and the intrigue more than world building developing character motivation. As a result, I didn't feel like I got to know the world or the characters. I wasn't led to feel for any of the characters much less the protagonist.
Furthermore, the POV altered overly frequently and were poorly timed. Multiple POVs are supposed to be there to contribute to the plot. While multiple POVs can definitely add to a fantasy plot that impacts the entire realm, the POV shifts in The Storyspinner didn't serve to move the plot forward; rather, they occurred so often that the plot stagnated. It felt like the author wanted to get everything out there instead of waiting for a time when a POV shift would make a significant contribution to the plot.
As it is, The Storyspinner seems to be just another YA lit that serves to fulfill a fantasy. Readers who enjoyed The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard may enjoy this one.
Fat Girl Walking is an important book in that that it brings up topics that society has been hesitant to address. Topics that we should address: suchFat Girl Walking is an important book in that that it brings up topics that society has been hesitant to address. Topics that we should address: such as the impossible-to-achieve beauty standards that the media propagates. And about how beauty is subjective. At the same time, Fat Girl Walking is a book that I would hesitate to recommend to some readers because of the explicit content. I will be explaining my reservations about the content at the end of my review so that readers who may not be as comfortable with such content can determine if they should pick up this book.
What I like about the book: - Gibbons's story is relatable. No matter our size, most if not all of us have felt out of place in our bodies at some point. We've also dealt with growing pains, love and feelings of rejection, perhaps even depression and anxiety. We also, at some point, must decide who we are and what we should accept about ourselves. To this end, Gibbons gives us both the good and the bad. She doesn't prettify her story for us.
Gibbons is candid in the telling of her story. The way Gibbons tells her story, it's from one woman to another. I love how personal the reading of this book is. Gibbons isn't here to tell us what to do, nor is she here to make her story about her body. While her body does play a role in her experiences growing up, it is a part of her. It isn't something she talks about as if it were separate from her essence or as if it is something to be controlled. Her story is about a woman who has become comfortable with who she is, and learning to love her body happened to be a part of the process.
Important message: That said, it is important to remember that, if we don't love our bodies, we really can't love ourselves, and we won't treat our bodies, ourselves, right. As Gibbons mentions, it's not very comfortable to diet. It's much more comfortable to accept our size (though this doesn't mean that we should gorge on junk food—that's not very healthy).
The last pages: I especially love the last part of the book. The first, and larger, part of the book covers Gibbons's life and what she dealt with growing up. The last part of the book follows Gibbons after she becomes more comfortable in her body and is filled with opinionated statements that are humorous and also inspiring. For example, she covers the pros and cons of subjects such as pregnancy. There are also some humorous email exchanges between Gibbons and her husband.
We're beautiful when we love ourselves. Reading this book, I remember thinking that Brittany Gibbons is a beautiful woman. Yes, it's evident in the pictures that she includes in the books, but it's also evident in the words that she writes. When I read this book, I see a strong, confident woman who knows herself and loves herself. I understand that even now she might be dealing with some issues; our problems never entirely go away. However, she's chosen to confront her problems, and we can see in her story that her determination has made a great difference in her life.
What I didn't like so much: Brittany is a very candid and casual writer. This is charming and, at the same time, potentially off putting. While I love how she deals so frankly with issues that women face, I was not prepared for the explicit content. Rarely does a page go by when Gibbons uses explicit language. There is also quite a bit of frank talk about her sexual endeavors. While her language may seem commonplace to some readers, more conservative readers may find it off putting.
I was surprised that sexuality appeared as much as it did in this book. While I knew this wasn't going to be a weight loss book, I did expect a larger focus on body image, loving oneself, and having self esteem. I do understand that relationships play a large role in influencing how we grow up and how we view ourselves. It makes sense that Gibbons talks a lot about her relationships, especially about her relationship with her husband, and I respect that she wants to talk about sex given the role it plays in her coming to terms with her body. That said, it's a very personal subject. This book isn't for readers who aren't comfortable with explicit talk about sex (or about explicit, frank talk about any subject for that matter). This is a candid book in many ways.
Content (potential spoilers) - Casual use of explicit language and use of profanity (not in moderation) - Frank talk about sexual endeavors, including but not limited to a brief attempt at lesbian sex and her first lessons in masturbation as a ten-year-old girl. There is also frank talk of other matters. For example, when she was young, her dog slept on the bed with her and had its period, which got on Gibbons. Be prepared for a lot of frank talk on uncomfortable matters. - There are also some domestic problems. Gibbons's dad got into an accident when she was young, and his behavior causes problems for the family. For example, he follows a boy to school for a reason that doesn't seem to warrant such extreme measures. - Gibbons dealt with strong feelings of anxiety in college, and she talks about her experiences with it.
* There is a LOT of content in this book. I can't remember all of them. My advice is to treat this as a book filled with mature content. If this were a film, I'd give it an R rating for the language and sexual content. Do not read this if you aren't prepared to handle a lot of language or sexual content. Or frank talk about any subject.
The premise to Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me definitely holds potential for laugh-out-loud moments. After seeing the comparison to Anna and the FrenchThe premise to Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me definitely holds potential for laugh-out-loud moments. After seeing the comparison to Anna and the French Kiss, I went and reread some of Anna. The tone of voice and situation of both girls seem similar, and I think that readers who enjoyed Anna may enjoy Sophomore Year as well.
Zona's voice is snarky, rebellious, and a total teenager. A common voice in YA lit. The plus is that readers who like heroines along Zona's vein will be able to connect with her. That said, there is another side to this coin. Readers looking for a unique voice will find it a struggle to get past the first pages. While I loved Anna when it first came out, I've since read a lot of novels with the snarky voice, and I think that I wouldn't enjoy Anna as much if I tried to reread it. Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with snark. The problem is when the heroine is made of only snark; then her character remains one dimensional. Zona is one such character.
Another element of Sophomore Year that caused the story to fall flat for me is that most of the story is told through dialogue and Zona's thoughts. While actions are mentioned, I couldn't see events play out. It just didn't feel like much attention was given to the going ons. Rather, the focus of the story is on what the characters say and what goes on in Zona's mind. Furthermore, the story is broken up by article clippings that contribute to Zona's story. This is a clever addition to the story because of Zona's (and her father's) interest in journaling. Personally, I didn't like it, but I'm generally not fond of newspaper talk.
Aside: I think that it's pretty neat that Meredith's first novel was about freshman year while this second novel of hers is about sophomore year. Perhaps her third one will continue the high school story and be about a girl's junior year?
Mature content warning: Explicit images of naked people, naked people in sexual positions a naked dead man cut open. Frank talk about masturbation andMature content warning: Explicit images of naked people, naked people in sexual positions a naked dead man cut open. Frank talk about masturbation and orgasms. Language (some cuss words, names).
Frankly, this is not a book that I would have picked up if it hadn't been required for, as it happens, two of my classes. While I like some manga, I'm not fond of Western styles of graphic novels. The tone tends to be dryer as is the case with Fun Home.
It could be because I read this when I was stressed out over papers and all, but it was difficult to maintain my concentration while reading this. NevIt could be because I read this when I was stressed out over papers and all, but it was difficult to maintain my concentration while reading this. Nevertheless, the writing is beautiful and even poetic at times, and I love how culture and family play an integral role in this novel.