This book is quite simply utterly brilliant, and that is before I read the Author's Notes where she mentIT HAS BEEN RELEASED! GO READ GO READ GO READ!
This book is quite simply utterly brilliant, and that is before I read the Author's Notes where she mentioned she consulted with the Imperial War Museum (quite is my favorite museum in the entire world).
(a quick ETA: yes, I am a student of history, but not military history, and as such, do not care much about planes. But if you think this is about planes, you aren't reading the same book I am. Or, at least, you won't be if you keep reading. Trust me. I saw someone say this reminded them of how Jellicoe Road started, and I can see that, but it took me way longer to care about Taylor Markham than it did for me to care about Maddie and Queenie, and considering my love for everything Marchetta, that is saying a lot.)
It starts out with a simple premise - a pilot and a spy in WWII. The plane carrying the spy is shot down in German occupied France, and the pilot and spy are split. They are best friends through happenstance, thrown together by a war that didn't do much right except unite people that never would have meet, often underneath an umbrella in a bomb shelter.
Right there, my attention was caught, and the lovely people at Disney-Hyperion and netgalley allowed me to read this early, and I am so thrilled. I pre-ordered a copy for my library and also for my personal library and one to force into people's hands. This is, frankly, my favorite stand-alone novel of the year (and has already climbed into my top 10 books of all time).
This is my time-period, historically (academically). My degree is in French history, so I went in with a little skeptisim. Those that know me well know that a movie or book can be ruined for me with one small historical detail out of place for no apparent reason, and I am happy to report that everything changed or made up is theoretically possible, and while it might not be completely accurate, the facts are strong enough that you can walk away from this book knowing things and not being wrong.
Here's the thing. At the end of this book, I wanted to laugh, cry, curl up in a ball, thrust it in the hands of everyone I know and keep it tucked away somewhere special just for me. My eyes were tearing, but because I was filled with both joy and sadness, and that unfailing sense that despite the horrors, somehow, humanity keeps on.
I don't want to spoil anything, because the telling is a mystery in and of itself. The surface plot is deceptively simple - Person A meets Person B in a situation that only wartime could bring about. Then Person A becomes a pilot, and Person B becomes a spy. They don't see each other much because of the war and their jobs don't overlap. Until they do. The story is told the first person, but with a narrator that redefines "unreliable". And just when you realize that you are halfway through the book (because you haven't been able to put it down for one second), you stop for a second and wonder what the heck can happen for the whole rest of the book? And you wonder if maybe the end will ruin everything.
You would be wrong. Maddie and Queenie are not just alive, they are real. They exist so easily, so perfectly - I am not a visual reader (in that I don't "cast" characters or see what I'm reading as a movie, or even picture characters in my head, etc.) - but I know exactly what Maddie and Queenie and Engel and von Hauf look like. The historical accuracy brings even more of a sense of being there, which is incredible because the town doesn't actually exist. It is the work of a brilliant researcher and world builder, someone who is dedicated to the past but knows it must be recreated - faithfully, but also with a writer's sense. The words are poetry. The line breaks, the code, the way things are carefully spread out so you don't even notice this hasn't all been circumstance until you step on the inevitable land mine. I am sure in print it will be even more effective. The writing is so strong, the voices so clear and alive and real, the descriptions so spot on and all the detail so carefully rendered but done so brilliantly. There are no seams in this book, the writing has sewn the story up so beautifully.
I left this book desperately sad that it was ending. And then! Then the utterly brilliant Author's Note at the end, the note that completely and wholly sold me on my love for Elizabeth Wein, the note that talked about writing historical fiction and the need for accuracy but also the need for creative license, the note that I wish every historical fiction book carried, the note that admitted what the book could and couldn't do.
What this book can do is take your breath away. It can make you laugh, it can make you root for things you never thought possible. It will bring the reality of life in occupied France to you in a way you won't be able to describe, the things you forget but remember later, like the fact that a Resistance family has a son who is an ardant Nazi, and they can't help loving him. That love is spelled differently when you write it down, but when you say it, it all boils down to, "Kiss me, Hardy," and that love can create hope, can create purpose, and create meaning, and therefore love is something that can be concrete. You will have parts of your carefully constructed world turned upside down. You will turn pages and lose track of time. You will worry, you will wonder when it ends, you will assume there will tragedy, or something spectacular, you won't be able to see a way out.
Despite all these things, the book will continue. And that is the legacy of the Resistance, of all Resisters during all the wars, of those that fought this particular war in so many different ways - from being pilots to having a car, to shooting guards to breeding roses - that despite all those things, despite not seeing a way out, they did not give up. They continued on.
It could have been any war. It was a friendship that never would have existed otherwise. It could have been about cars, or horses, instead of planes. The friendship, the love, and the telling - the persistence of life - these are universal, and these are what the book holds dear.
I will carry "Code Name Verity" with me. Lest we forget, indeed. ...more
review to come. but definitely a darn good read! also, the story of the welsh princes made me think of a swiftly tilting planet, which4 stars from A.
review to come. but definitely a darn good read! also, the story of the welsh princes made me think of a swiftly tilting planet, which i just recently reread.
the only thing i had an issue with was that sophie didn't dance at all - even with the injury - i can't imagine not stretching or using your good leg . . . but then again, depression does weird things. so does magic. hah. but i never would have guessed she was that big of a dancer if i wasn't reminded of it now and then. ...more
so this was better than bumped, but still not the same level as the jessica darling series. i wonder if this is aimed at a younger audience? which doeso this was better than bumped, but still not the same level as the jessica darling series. i wonder if this is aimed at a younger audience? which doesn't really make sense, but it does seem to be . . . a dumbed-down-version of mccafferty's writing.
melody and harmony really come into their own here. i was annoyed with the boys, to be honest, and wished they were just gone. (except for ram and zeke!)
fast read, political undertones, a coming of age story that you wouldn't expect. ...more
have an ARC thanks to netgalley. will post full review two weeks before the release date, but i am putting this on my pre-order list right now! haunting, gothic, creepy and almost crawly - in a historical sense. hits the spot on a rainy night. ...more
so it's well established i love killer unicorns, and i love everything Diana Peterfreund writes.
but let me say why i loved this short story.
what endso it's well established i love killer unicorns, and i love everything Diana Peterfreund writes.
but let me say why i loved this short story.
what endears me to peterfreund is that it's clear she does her research. here with have gitta, a unicorn hunter nun, and elise, a noble french maiden. this is about tradition, and magic, desire and reality, duty and dreams. it's short, being a short story, but there is such detail. and enyo! and enyo's story. the little zhi and poor bijoux.
it's historically correct. and that makes me so happy. ...more
so this book had a lot of hype. and it's supposed to be angsty, which is always something i look for. and maybe because people prepared me to to cry,so this book had a lot of hype. and it's supposed to be angsty, which is always something i look for. and maybe because people prepared me to to cry, i didn't.
i liked zoey. i don't think i much liked tessa. i didn't get her or her list, really, and that's okay, but to drive the whole book you kind of had to like tessa. i didn't find it horribly tragic (i love how her dad is written) and i think it's a pretty book.
i just didn't love it, and think it's kind of been done better. lovely writing, easy flow, worth the time. i just expected more.
(i also kept forgetting it is a british import, and would get thrown out of the story by a turn of phrase that i realize is common, but sounded weird as i was picturing this in the states - i don't know why i couldn't get it in my head that this was set across the pond.)...more
i think this book would have been much stronger without the little flashbacks.
that said, it would take almost half the book away.
in a sense, i felti think this book would have been much stronger without the little flashbacks.
that said, it would take almost half the book away.
in a sense, i felt like this book was trying to be too much at once - the diary of anne frank, the boy in the striped pajamas and something about russian history all at once. the story was interesting and strong enough on its own. and really, i wanted to know more about why the north pole! what were they doing up there? i never got a good answer.
the writing is strong and clear, and lina is a character you can relate to. i liked her relationship with her brother, and her mother, and her drawings. i just wanted more - of those characters, of the relationship, of the time, of the story itself.
i guess a lot of it felt heavy handed and scripted (the bald man, anyone?) but.
it tells a very important story. so it gets three stars for that alone. ...more
it started off weak, and i almost stopped reading it, but i kept on (mostly because i was stuck in a waiting room). i am glad i didn't stop though.
thit started off weak, and i almost stopped reading it, but i kept on (mostly because i was stuck in a waiting room). i am glad i didn't stop though.
the relationship between laurel and david and joe and megan was kind of superficial. i liked joe. i liked nana the most, i think. and i get david. i get laurel and david's relationship - except that i don't think the end was really realistic.
i kind of liked suzie, and don't really know how i felt about everything else. it covered a lot of emotion, with not much development or pay off. there would be these moments of clarity where you thought, yes! i get why this book was picked up! but then it kind of meandered.
i for one, bought into the trying to go to prom. the trying to be normal. the switching back and forth from being "normal" to being a mess. that was the most realistic part of the book - well, that and the fact that laurel reacted the way she did with lucky.
(i might only be saying that from experience, but yeah.)
it's good, not great. i would like to see what she writes next, though i hope she stretches herself by not trying too much, but developing her characters and the plots even more. (like meg's whole backstory - necessary? it just lacked some focus.) ...more
when i picked this book up i was looking for something to kind of comfort me. i was not expecting to burst into tears after the first chapter or so, wwhen i picked this book up i was looking for something to kind of comfort me. i was not expecting to burst into tears after the first chapter or so, when i realized what had happened before the girls did.
(and to my favorite too!)
hard to review without giving away spoilers, but needless to say, brashares does get the evolution of friendships down extremely well. the girls are still the girls, but older and not necessarily wiser. distance and work and fears can take you away from the things you love, and the longer you go, the harder it is to reconnect. (of course, the first step is usually the hardest.)
in loss, there is also a new chance. every door closing is another window opening.
i suppose what cheered me in the end was not the almost absurdly "perfect" ending, but the fact that the emotions stayed true. that you can't keep everything staying still, but the important things won't change. that you love someone as part of you and no matter what, they stay part of you. that life goes on in ways you can't imagine, but it goes on. that you can say, i tried. you left your heart on the table. no matter how far you run, you can't leave everything behind. love worms its way into you until it becomes a part of you, and that is both a joy and a curse.
choose joy. choose love. and live, for heavens sake.
(this is of course cheesy and at times too sugary and self-reflective, but where the plot lags the fact remains, this woman knows how to write about friendships. and that is worth something.)...more
how can this series keep getting better and better? this book helped me through a very terrible flight as a nervous flyer.
i mean, i still think of thhow can this series keep getting better and better? this book helped me through a very terrible flight as a nervous flyer.
i mean, i still think of this as part of the vampire academy series - or, i guess, world. and i love this world. i really do. it's my guilty pleasure.
richelle mead isn't the best writer in the sense that i don't fall in love with her words. but she does know how to tell a story, and tell it well. also, she is hilarious. the characters develop but stay true. nothing seems forced for the sake of the plot. it makes me wonder exactly how much prior plotting she does before she starts writing.
i don't think there's any way this series is going to be only three books. i mean, there's no way even sydney's story can just wrap up in one more book. and now there's a whole new component added! vampire hunters that are human? i want moooooore.
awwwww. cassel! lila! barron! sam and daneca! mina!
i love this series because i kind of adore the mob. and here the feds appear, and here there is a qawwwww. cassel! lila! barron! sam and daneca! mina!
i love this series because i kind of adore the mob. and here the feds appear, and here there is a question of who is good and who is evil, and what is good and what is evil, and of course, there's a con, which i LOVE. i love cons.
for some reason i think i liked Red Glove better than this final installment, but i still liked this one a lot. it was a quick read, i loved the development of cassel, and lila. the relationships, cassel and his mom, cassel and his grandfather . . . holly black is a quick witted writer with a firm grasp of plot, and that is always a good time. ...more
hold on, i read a review that this is the last book in the series. if it is, i am SO DONE WITH THIS. first killer unicorns, and now my wolves? WTF?! hhold on, i read a review that this is the last book in the series. if it is, i am SO DONE WITH THIS. first killer unicorns, and now my wolves? WTF?! how can you start series without AGREEING TO FINISH THEM, AUTHORS AND EDITORS?
the writing is fast paced and smart. i felt for all the characters. i enjoyed the fact that they weren't cussing all the time. i would give these books to any age.
i did not care about the characters that didn't survive. it all made sense to me. i also like how things stay constant throughout the series - callum, ali, the twins, lake and her guns.
mostly though i am SO SAD ABOUT DEVON. even bryn knew it was coming, but to happen right then? i heart devon. ...more
i think enough time has passed for me to reflect on this book now, as a book, as a story, and not just two gut reactions (ooh! johneta sept. 17, 2012
i think enough time has passed for me to reflect on this book now, as a book, as a story, and not just two gut reactions (ooh! john green! vs. what she was a real person?!)
i loved it initially. it has all the hallmarks of novels that own me - especially the eternal question of mortality, and remembrance. can we leave a mark? what does that even mean? can someone be erased? everyone is always saying, "if you make a difference to one person, then you have changed the world," but what does that really mean? there are quotable parts. there are parts that make my heart hurt.
ultimately, i think this is a topic that green rehashes, and i liked it more in looking for alaska than here. also, shakespeare did it first, in his sonnets, memorializing someone throughout centuries, so there is no new ground broken, really, but then again, i like writing styles just as much as stories (oh, james joyce and william faulkner).
i hate that hazel had the same cancer as esther. to me, it feels like poorly imagined fanfiction, a mary sue of the worst kind, made only a little better because the girl loved his work so much that it's actually a kind of tribute that would be appreciated. (like what happened with the x files. i know, i'm revealing how old i am.)
but it felt, to me, a bit sensationalistic. like he was stealing something that wasn't his, and making it his, because he spent a couple months doing something at 22 and that made it Real (TM). everyone knows someone that has suffered from cancer, and let's face it, most of us have known someone that has died far too early, whether from illness or disease or a car accident. death happens, and it affects all of us and THAT was the point of the novel i took away that made me give it four stars and not less. because otherwise, it just seems like a ripped from the headlines, "i should feel badly because this girl loved me and she was dying" and yes, good on him for trying to promote the cause and the awareness and signing all those pre-ordered copies - but at the same time, i can't subtract the fact that he benefits from this. he makes money, his book goes on the best-seller list, etc.
i am jaded, of course. i mean, the twin towers get hit by planes, and who is the expert CNN puts on the screen? tom clancy, who wrote a book with a similar plot line that i had read years before. ONLY THIS WASN'T FICTION.
so maybe i bring an egenda, and maybe i bring a bias. but mortality and reality and the concept of leaving a mark or leaving something behind are things i tend to deal with on a daily basis, especially with suicidal adolescents. there are part of this book that lapse into sappy, but guess what? so does life. not everyone is as aware as gus and hazel, not . . . reflective enough to stand back at 16 and ask what their lives mean when they are dying of something that is largely unfair, and i didn't like the feeling that i got that if you weren't struggling with these thoughts and questions and worries about life and death you somehow weren't living a life worth leading. i had enough of the "you must suffer unto truth" dogma, forced on me, thank you.
so while this wasn't nicholas sparks, i can see it on lifetime. which isn't a bad thing! it's just not . . . my cup of tea all the time. i felt a little lectured to, which is always irritating (you don't always have the higher moral ground just because you are an author!) and a little manipulated and a little like he didn't trust his audience enough, but i liked it for the weight he gave to gus and hazel.
i liked it for tackling the hard business of being a survivor, and how sometimes that is harder than dying. i might not agree completely, but i am glad there's at least a sentence about it, somewhere. i don't know who i would recommend it to, and it's not my favorite of his, and i wish he had been brave enough to create hazel from scratch and not give esther an ending she might have liked (i am not saying that he DID, just that if felt that way to me) and that he would have worked out his feelings about her death before tackling this book. at some points, it felt too therapeutic-for-the-author.
but like i said. i liked it. i just don't think it's genius.
i don't know how to feel about this book.
i didn't get the author's extra note at the beginning. i was like . . . okay, john green. we know this is a work of fiction.
and then someone linked to who esther earl is.
and i suddenly got it. why the extra note was necessary.
it makes me a little angry. i feel a little cheated.
i am going to wait to review this, to see if this passes. because i loved hazel grace, and i loved john green for inventing her. only he didn't, not really, and somehow, that makes me sad. ...more
i really loved jill, and mandy grew on me. the only thing i really wasn't sure about was how neatly everything wrapped up, but the title is perfect ani really loved jill, and mandy grew on me. the only thing i really wasn't sure about was how neatly everything wrapped up, but the title is perfect and the achingness of moving on and being left and the uncertainty of life is captured marvelously. zarr is a very talented author who manages to write about Big Things without turning pedantic or moralizing or saccharine.
however, i think the story would have been a little stronger without the constant perspective shifts - while i know we had to get to know mandy somehow, it's jill i really connected to and i felt like the story was really jill's. i guess it mirrors the story then, that mandy comes in and takes some of jill away.
i hate the love triangle. i really do. i think the same story could have been told without the xander/ky/cassia matching mishap. i mean, what about thi hate the love triangle. i really do. i think the same story could have been told without the xander/ky/cassia matching mishap. i mean, what about the abberations and anomalies - they obviously have relationships without getting Matched, so what does that mean?
that said, i found this installment more . . . emotional. more moving. indie and eli, vick. hunter. the boy with the cavern. it didn't move that quickly, but i felt a lot more for the characters this time around - except, interestingly, cassia and ky.
looking forward to the last book and hoping for some serious closure, though i feel like this set up so many threads, how is one book going to possibly wrap them all up?...more
so i read it. i mean, obviously i was going to read it, but then i heard that there is no date for book 3, and that makes me nervous and usually i waiso i read it. i mean, obviously i was going to read it, but then i heard that there is no date for book 3, and that makes me nervous and usually i wait until i have at least a release date for another book by the author.
not this time! luckily elizabeth c. bunce is amazing and said there is going to be another digger book, but we just don't know when.
i didn't think the cliffhanger was as bad as most people, but i am all about weirolf and the purple hand prints and missing meri and the awesomeness of cwalo! i have a feeling my issues with these cliffhangers are not the same as others . . .
i thought it was strongly written. i liked koya, thought raffin was underused, wondered where the heck barris was, and wanted more of the war! war! war! i want MORE. i love this world, i love kind of all of it. the world, the magic, the layers of everything.
perhaps that's what i love most about bunce's writing - the layers and complex thought that clearly went into every plot point.
whatever. i want more NOW. i really love digger, and i love all the other characters, and rat and lord ragn, and i could go on. but. i won't. this book makes me happy. i hope more people buy it and read it so we can get another book sometime soon!!...more
someone. find a way to get me this. or tell me how. i want it. i want it sooo bad, and i know courtney enjoys horror way more than i do, but oh, oh. this alone has me hoping the world doesn't end in 2012 before i get to read this . . ....more
once again, i really love jennifer brown for tackling these hard subjects with such panache and development.
this is the story of how a perfect relationce again, i really love jennifer brown for tackling these hard subjects with such panache and development.
this is the story of how a perfect relationship ends up not so perfect. alex has lost her mother, and in the process, her father and her two sisters. her two best friends, bethany and zack, are her support for pretty much everything.
but then alex meets cole, and falls in love. the most amazing part is that cole loves alex back. they understand each other in ways that no one else has. alex finally feels like she's home.
at first, alex tries to make it work. for some reason, zack doesn't like cole - and it's clear that cole isn't a huge fan of zack. as alex tries to balance everything, somehow nothing ends up adding up.
this is a very real portrayal of how abuse starts, and why someone would stay. while not all of the details are spelled out (alex using cole to fill in for her mother, the relationship between cole's parents), the astute reader will catch all the details. besides, it is admirably researched and accurate in the psychological perspectives.
basically, this book made me hurt for alex, hurt for her siblings, hurt for zack and bethany and georgia. but it also gave me hope, because it's a book that fills an obvious void in YA literature. it's hard hitting, honest and smart. it also doesn't hold back, or make things up, for the sake of drama. this is realistic, contemporary fiction at its best.
kudos to jennifer brown for once again doing it again and writing a beautiful, meaningful, stand alone novel that makes a definite contribution to the genre. ...more
much better than the last book, i still miss the more straight forward narrative of the earlier books.
i love what mimi is becoming, and doing. i missmuch better than the last book, i still miss the more straight forward narrative of the earlier books.
i love what mimi is becoming, and doing. i miss bliss and want her own book now. i thought the inclusion of the beauchamp witches was possibly a little forced, but i didn't mind so much. the whole catherine of siena thing annoyed me.
yes, it's a set up book. and it's lame that it's setting up for a book that is over a year away from release, but it's not like we haven't had this before . . . though i really hope the page count is up to wrap up all these threads. like the fact that lawrence is gone. and where gabrielle went. how bliss and sky came to be. what the hell is up with michael the uncorrupted. etc. etc.
this series is starting to feel very surface-y, if that makes any sense, which is slightly upsetting because in the beginning i loved it precisely because it WASN'T surface-y. the jack/sky romance seems phoned in - seriously, one of the only things that has me reading is because the author is doing such a bang up job with mimi, and because i want to read the next book with bliss.
i know i'm going to have to reread it before 2013, so i almost wish i had waited.
here's the thing. i have always loved sydney. and i have always loved adrian. so this book was basically like candy for me.
Any fan of the Vampire Acahere's the thing. i have always loved sydney. and i have always loved adrian. so this book was basically like candy for me.
Any fan of the Vampire Academy series will love this new series. It has familiar characters, and new characters, and the opportunity to flesh out some of the more secondary ones.
There are some things that might not make a ton of sense if you haven't read at least the last book in the VA series, but you can pick up most of everything. (I'll admit I grabbed Spirit Bound at least once to try and remember what happened.)
But there are twists! and turns! And Jill! And ADRIAN! and Sydney! and. basically, the next book needs to come out now, because i want to know more about the conspiracy, more about the rebels, and more about the missing girls. I love the political side of the Alchemists, the family drama on all sides . . . everything.
(Also, I just have to say, the idea of Jill, Eddie, Sydney and Adrian all being family just makes me seriously happy.) ...more
i feel like i need another category to put this book into. "experimental", for example.
this story was written as pictures were sent, so levithan hadi feel like i need another category to put this book into. "experimental", for example.
this story was written as pictures were sent, so levithan had no real idea what was coming next. that there is actual cohesion with a basis like that is pretty impressive. even more impressive is the writing, which always reminds me a bit of james joyce and william faulkner in its clear joy of language itself.
the structure forced a sparsity that i might have liked to see fleshed out a little, but the whole thing together really impressed me. i was glad when the photos appeared larger, later in the book, but since they are so integral to the story, i hope they are somehow clearer in another edition or something.
it's just a brilliant work of exploration and pushing the boundaries of the classic narrative. i love people who love language as much as i do, so david levithan, you own my heart. ...more