I had mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, there's no doubt in my mind that Kat Rosenfield is going to make a name for herself. She writes bea...moreI had mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, there's no doubt in my mind that Kat Rosenfield is going to make a name for herself. She writes beautifully. She does a wonderful job describing scenery, emotions, landscapes-- very vivid and real. On the other hand, there were a couple of flaws that keep me from whole-heartedly recommending the novel. The first was that the beginning was very weak. If I hadn't been drawn in by the writing style, I would probably have laid it down. She starts off the first chapter with a sex scene followed one page later by a rather confusing break-up. Then words like "sobbing hurt" and "heartbreak." Which would have been fine-- if I wasn't still on page 15 or so. And I couldn't even remember the narrator's name. So the weeping not only didn't resonate with me, it actually irritated a bit. I kept thinking, "Wait--- who are you???" My biggest issue, though, was with the ending. I was turning the pages anxiously, dying to find out who murdered Amelia (even though it was fairly obvious from the beginning) and frankly skimming some over-descriptive sections to just get to the solution. Spoilers from here:: And then Becca suddenly accuses her boyfriend, whom she's supposed to be in love with, of a heinous psychopathic murder. Okay, I get that she found the dead girl's wallet/ license in his car. But still. Your assumption, girl, is that five minutes after he left you, he met this strange girl on the road, and for no reason savagely beat her to death with a tire iron? Really? WHY??? Were you dating a lunatic for a year? Have you ever heard of benefit of the doubt? I mean, I (the reader) knew he didn't do it and I haven't been sleeping with him for a year. And then to further complicate things, he "admits" to having killed Amelia. In those words. I killed her. When in reality he just hastened her death (the weirdest mercy killing I've ever heard of. Most people would have called 911, not dispatched her with a flashlight.) No human being would do any of the things James did. They'd call for help. They'd run and leave her, maybe, if they were a real coward. And they would never admit to a murder they didn't commit. Not like that. I didn't even believe it when he said it. I kept thinking-- the author is just dragging out the suspense. There's no way. And I was right. And then, when I saw that I was right, it just pissed me off. But still, I've ranted too much about the frustrating ending and not emphasized the quality of the writing. Which was promising and beautiful. I will read whatever this author writes next. (less)
**spoiler alert** My daughters and I spent the weekend wrestling over a copy of rj_anderson 's Knife (or Faery Rebels in the US). The experience cause...more**spoiler alert** My daughters and I spent the weekend wrestling over a copy of rj_anderson 's Knife (or Faery Rebels in the US). The experience caused us to enact certain Holy Rules of Book-Stealing which included 1) Breaks from reading that are greater than 10 minutes constitute a surrendering of book to the next taker. 2) Bathroom breaks are allowed as long as reader shouts out the following words "I am going to the bathroom; no one better take my book." No variations of the announcement are allowed. If the bathroom break is longer than fifteen minutes it must be explained by some form of indigestion; however, no proof is required. 3) Mom bought the book. She may change the rules at any moment.
When we were all finished we had our first- ever family book club discussion. We all agreed that 1) We loved it. 2) Knife was a better title than Faery Rebels 3) The character of Knife was the best portrayal of a faery anywhere that we've ever seen. 4) We couldn't wait to read the sequel. I loved the faery expressions; one in particular stuck out as very clever: "That's a very heavy acorn for such a little twig." It must have been very challenging to write conversations for an imaginary people and tidbits like that really made them real to me. Warning: Spoilers ahead: My own musings: I loved the interactions between Knife and her human, Paul, especially towards the end when they had become comfortable around eachother. Paul's portion of the dialogue was written with a light-hearted humor which made him come alive as a character; he actually made me laugh out loud. The only detail which I found puzzling was his deliberate coldness towards his parents. His injury had made him hopeless, their attention to him was rather irksome and intrusive, and he was absolutely miserable. Later, after his suicide attempt, he explained to Knife that he wished his parents to be relieved by his death and so he had shunned them for months before his decision. But a parent's love doesn't work that way. You don't stop mourning for your child because at one time he caused you pain. I wondered if his interaction with Knife when he was young had changed him somehow, had given him a harder, narrower view of human emotions and bonds, and if he was on some level waiting for his Muse to come along and wake him up again. Paul does not begin to re-establish the relationship with his mother until Knife saves his life; but I think I would have liked to see a little more in that direction because I was still sorry for Beatrice at the end and a little critical of Paul. But that is just a picky detail. On the whole- best children's novel which I have read in years. (less)
Overall I enjoyed this book. My main complaint is that it seemed to go on a bit longer than it really needed to. I kept getting the feeling that the c...more Overall I enjoyed this book. My main complaint is that it seemed to go on a bit longer than it really needed to. I kept getting the feeling that the characters were creating their own obstacles in order to prolong the action and delay the solution to the mystery (which I figured out halfway through the book). Honestly, I think that narrator amnesia is an unoriginal plot device especially when the main character appears to be holding on to her amnesia like a security blanket. Still, I was never bored and I really liked watching Allie's relationship with Blake develop. Jennifer Wolf created a wonderful three-dimensional love interest, a rarity in a lot of YA, unfortunately. There's such a tendency to sketch out a sparkly Prince Charming- and then wait for the teen audience to swoon. Blake is by no means perfect; you see him angry and annoyed, quiet and withdrawn, but underneath each mood is a gentleness which you can't help loving. I also appreciate that Wolf chose to tackle the topic of partner abuse; it is a rarely covered issue, especially in YA lit, and such an important one. An impressive challenge for a debut author. I look forward to reading her future novels.
A YA novel about a boy whose father has trained him to be a serial killer? Did Barry Lyga climb into my brain and then write a novel especially for me?...moreA YA novel about a boy whose father has trained him to be a serial killer? Did Barry Lyga climb into my brain and then write a novel especially for me? I loved this book. Don't let the cover fool you; the over-the-top, blood spattered silhouette on the jacket just screams dime-novel pulp fiction. Give it a chance, though; the writing and the characters will hook you right from the start. I'll freely admit that Lyga's descriptions of Billy Dent's murders appealed to the morbid, sensationalistic side of my imagination. I love books about weird crimes and criminals-- and when you combine that with the struggles of a scarred teenage boy wrestling with his past, you've got the recipe for a real winner. The novel is a mystery at heart, but the "whodunnit" aspect never took over the plot. Jasper's pain and growth as a character is the focus of the book, and Lyga does an excellent job bringing you into the boy's world. His story is not one that the average reader can relate to; most of us have no idea what it's like to fear that your childhood and your genes have destined you for evil. But I had no problem empathizing with Jasper even when I didn't always understand his choices. Lyga's side characters are also excellent. Jasper' batty, racist grandmother had me in stitches. Connie was an awesome girlfriend, strong willed but not obnoxious, loving but not clingy.
And that scene where Jasper meets his dad? Brilliant. I held my breath through most of it.
The mystery also wrapped up well; it was cleverly concealed, but not too unexpected. The ending baffled me a little until I realized that this novel was the first of a series. I can't wait for the second novel! (less)
More like 3.5 stars. I really loved the beginning of this book. The voice of the narrator was so vivid and, despite huge differences in our actual life...moreMore like 3.5 stars. I really loved the beginning of this book. The voice of the narrator was so vivid and, despite huge differences in our actual life choices, I found myself really identifying with almost everything she said. The problem was that the entire novel was all about voice. And while Caletti got that absolutely perfect, I found that halfway through the novel the constant internal dialogue became very repetitive-- and then dull. The ending was ok, even though I saw it coming from the first chapter (seriously, that was some truly awful police work-- and so incompetent as to not be believable). Overall, I would definitely read her other novels (weird that I started with a YA author's first adult fiction book) mainly because her voice and writing was fantastic.(less)