Just a heart-wrenching book, but I feel it's important to read these stories about events that most of us know so little about. I didn't really know a...moreJust a heart-wrenching book, but I feel it's important to read these stories about events that most of us know so little about. I didn't really know about all the horrible things that happened to the people of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia during WWII and that they weren't reinstated as countries until 1991!
The book is very well written and you can tell the author has a personal connection to the events that unfolded (her grandfather was Lithuanian during that time period). She definitely did her research and I think she really honored the memory of these people and their unthinkable experiences. I was very moved by all the ways the characters stayed strong and helped each other and there were some very touching reminders of how people can really surprise you.
This is not even remotely a light, mindless read. But, as the author mentions at the end, we can honor the victims and make sure history does not repeat itself if we read about their stories and gain a better understanding. I'm glad I read this book. (less)
Very interesting premise. Definitely thought-provoking and kept my interest. I wish there had been more about the visits between the two Wes Moores an...moreVery interesting premise. Definitely thought-provoking and kept my interest. I wish there had been more about the visits between the two Wes Moores and about how they were each changed by their relationship, but overall it was a well-written and interesting selection for our book club.(less)
I would give this book 3.5 stars. It was perfect to pick up here and there when I had a few minutes to spare. Lots of funny parts, many that made me l...moreI would give this book 3.5 stars. It was perfect to pick up here and there when I had a few minutes to spare. Lots of funny parts, many that made me laugh out loud. SO many things I could relate to. Nothing profound or life-changing. Just a quick, fun read.(less)
Loved this book! As a former special education teacher who worked with many children on the autism spectrum, I can imagine many of those students acti...moreLoved this book! As a former special education teacher who worked with many children on the autism spectrum, I can imagine many of those students acting much like Edward when they are adults, which gave me an added appreciation for the character. It's a really touching book and so fascinating to follow Edward's evolution. To say more than that would be a spoiler. I didn't quite think it made it to 5 stars because I found myself skimming or even skipping the parts where Edward describes episodes of Dragnet in great detail. I understood why they were there, but I usually just skipped to what he learned from each episode and didn't feel I missed any of the story by doing so. Overall, a great story that I can easily recommend. (less)
LOVED this book. Love this author. She really pulls you into the story and you truly feel the emotions and experiences of the characters. Her characte...moreLOVED this book. Love this author. She really pulls you into the story and you truly feel the emotions and experiences of the characters. Her characters feel so real. Her first book was about adults in a workplace setting and this one was about two teenagers in a high school setting and she knocked both of them out of the park.
This isn't the story of picture-perfect teenagers who fall in love, overcome a crisis and wrap everything up with a pretty bow at the end. The way Eleanor and Park's relationship develops is unique and touching and real. They are flawed and they make mistakes and sometimes they say the wrong things, but in those moments when they let their guard down and allow themselves some happiness, it is really beautifully written and you just know exactly how they are feeling. These aren't teenagers who already talk and act like adults. They are teenagers who, like most, are striving for that independence and freedom that adulthood brings but who usually don't have a clue how to get there yet. They think they have things under control and then something happens that makes them realize that sometimes they still need a trusted adult to give them some guidance. That's real life.
Eleanor and Park are 16 years old in 1986. I turned 17 in 1986 so I loved all the music references and the mix tapes and Walkmans and the lack of cell phones and call waiting. When you had a boyfriend or girlfriend in 1986, you couldn't text them or reach them anytime you wanted. You had to talk on the phone and you often got a busy signal. You waited to see them at school. It was really fun to reminisce about that time in my life...and yet, I know my 16-year-old daughter will love this book as much as I did. That's quite an accomplishment by the author and the reason I will read anything she writes. (less)
I wanted to love this book, but sadly I would only give it 2.5 stars. The settings made me want to visit and the characters were likeable enough, but...moreI wanted to love this book, but sadly I would only give it 2.5 stars. The settings made me want to visit and the characters were likeable enough, but I found myself so annoyed by parts of this book. Certain parts that I felt should've been important were glossed over in a few pages (or sometimes a few paragraphs!) and yet other, less important, events would be spelled out in agonizing detail. Years would be skipped without any warning and then the author would spend what seemed like a couple pages describing a table full of food and what someone's house looked like. That's fine, but then give me more details about what really matters, too! There were several events that felt contrived and completely unrealistic. I liked the main characters, but the way they got together felt abrupt and not as romantic as I would've expected. I wanted to get swept away by the romance of Enza and Ciro and how they finally built their life together, but most of the time I felt bored by their relationship. I was actually more engrossed in their lives when they were apart than when they were together. And for some reason, the author seemed to feel like she had to spell everything out for the reader. Everything. I didn't feel engaged as the reader in these characters' lives. I felt like an outsider being told exactly what happened and how they felt and how I should feel about it. I was also frustrated by the way the author would switch from Enza's story to Ciro's story and vice versa with absolutely no warning. No marking on the page to indicate a switch of storyline, no new chapter. It happened many times and it felt so abrupt and several times it took me a couple paragraphs to realize we just left Ciro and we're back with Enza now.
I think the author was trying to tell 3 different stories and in the process of doing so, none of them really grabbed me or were fully told. Not a bad book, but just "okay". (less)
4.5 stars, mainly because you have to suspend belief just a bit at the beginning based on how hard and fast the main characters fall for each other (a...more4.5 stars, mainly because you have to suspend belief just a bit at the beginning based on how hard and fast the main characters fall for each other (and I'm not giving anything away that isn't on the back cover), but I'm bumping it to 5 overall. This is classified as YA, but I really enjoyed it and found parts of it very relatable. I had heard of poetry slams, but didn't know much about it. The book really incorporates it into the storyline beautifully (and never to the point of being annoying). The main characters are likeable, but real. They have flaws and let their emotions get the best of them sometimes, in good and bad ways, just like all of us. The supporting characters are wonderful as well. I got emotional a few times while reading this book. It was filled with some great lines that stuck with me. Looking forward to reading more by this author. If you liked The Fault in our Stars, I definitely think you'll like this one as well. (less)
This is a charming, delightful, sweet book. A great palate cleanser in the midst of some heavier and darker stuff I've been reading lately. The concep...moreThis is a charming, delightful, sweet book. A great palate cleanser in the midst of some heavier and darker stuff I've been reading lately. The concept is pretty clever (a woman writes a book about the people in her town under a pseudonym and it causes quite an uproar and no one suspects she's the author). It was published in 1934 by British author D.E. Stevenson and while it has that old-fashioned feel, it didn't feel outdated. (less)
I would give this 3.5 stars. The premise was interesting and a lot it felt plausible enough to make me wonder what I would do in the same situation. A...moreI would give this 3.5 stars. The premise was interesting and a lot it felt plausible enough to make me wonder what I would do in the same situation. As a mother, I kept putting myself in the main character's shoes. I read the book quickly, although I found myself skimming more frequently than I normally would. Maybe part of that was so I could reach the ending more quickly because it all felt so dark and depressing and hopeless that I kept wondering how it could possibly end well. I never fully connected with the characters as much as I thought I would. There are books I've read where you really feel a strong connection to the characters and you are really emotionally impacted by things that happen to them and this one felt more like I was just an outsider looking in. This is definitely not a cheerful, happy book. It's engrossing and makes you think. (less)