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What Are You Reading? > REVIEWS - June's Theme: Coming-of-Age

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message 1: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2449 comments Mod
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Read any good books lately that fit our monthly theme? Here's the place to share your opinions / reactions / recommendations.

This month's theme was suggested by Tessa (Book Concierge) -
"Coming-of-age" theme/genre

If the genre is NOT on the main page, be sure to tell us how you think it fits.


Happy reading!
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message 2: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2449 comments Mod
This has been tagged "coming of age" - probably for Maya's story. I wouldn't necessarily use the tag, but it still fits the challenge.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zavin
Audiobook performed by Scott Brick
3***

A.J. Fikry owns Island Books. He had run the store with his beloved wife, until she died in an accident just over a year ago. Now he lives alone in the apartment above the bookstore, eating frozen dinners and drinking until he passes out. And then, one snowy December evening he finds that someone has left a baby between the shelves in the bookstore. And just like that, his life changes for the better.

This is a modern-day fable about second chances and the redemptive power of love. Chronicling A.J.’s life over a couple of decades the novel explores the relationships he forms – with his girlfriend, his late wife, his sister-in-law, his friends, and with Maya.

It’s a somewhat quiet story, as novels go. But like most real-life stories, it is full of the drama of every day existence – deaths, births, parties, illness, success, financial set-backs, sorrow, and joy. Some of the plot elements are unrealistic, but no matter, it’s a fable after all. I really enjoyed spending time with these characters: A.J., Maya, Amelia, Chief Lambiase, Ismay and even Daniel Parish.

I also loved all the literary references. I had read several of the books mentioned, and added several more to my ever-growing to-be-read list!

LINK to my review


message 3: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 471 comments Colored People by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
5 stars

This is a coming of age memoir of what it was like to grow up as a black person in West Virginia in the 50's and 60's. What I liked best about this book that it wasnt a story of poverty or 'look how hard my life was'. He does deal a lot with the topic of discrimination, but more than that, the author had a loving family and a close knit community, which made him rich in other ways other than money.


message 4: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2449 comments Mod
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Perks Of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
Audiobook performed by Noah Galvin
4****

This is a coming-of-age novel featuring 15-year-old Charlie, who tells the story via letters he writes to an unnamed friend. Via these letters he chronicles his life during his freshman year of high school. As the book opens, Charlie states that his friend, Michael, killed himself the prior spring. This paragraph from the first letter gives the reader a sense of the tone: So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.

I like YA fiction like this. Charlie is very real. He has good days and not-so-good days, as he struggles to come to grips with has happened around him. His parents seem genuinely caring, though somewhat clueless about his use of alcohol. He finds new friends who also help him adjust to his new school. He is a great observer of teenage and family life. As he describes events and how he reacts to them, he gives the reader a pretty accurate view of high-school dynamics.

This is Chbosky’s debut novel. Since its release he seems to have concentrated on screenwriting and directing. I hope he writes another novel; I would definitely read it.

Noah Galvin does a superb job of performing the audiobook. I totally believed he was a teenaged Charlie. He is in turns excited, apprehensive, despondent, eager, cautious, frightened, and hopeful.


LINK to my review


message 5: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2449 comments Mod
I might not use the "coming of age" tag but at least 8 people did ...

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
Jane Steele – Lindsay Faye – 3.5***
Lindsay Faye’s re-telling of Jane Eyre , is an imaginative romp. Readers of the classic will recognize many plot elements, but Faye has let her imagination run wild. The story is still set in the same era as Bronte’s classic novel, but this Jane is a serial killer. If that makes you gasp is horror … well give the book a chance. It’s great fun to read
LINK to my review


message 6: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2449 comments Mod
Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
Love Walked In – Marisa de los Santos – 3.5***
Cornelia, the “under-achiever” in her family, is the manager of a café. One day a Cary-Grant-look-alike walks in and her life changes. This is a chick-lit, romance novel with great heart. The novel is told in alternating points of view: Cornelia, and Clare, an eleven-year-old with a chaotic home life. I loved them both, though I was somewhat incredulous at several plot points.
LINK to my review


message 7: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2449 comments Mod
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri - 4****
This is a dense, complex character-driven story, that explores both the immigrant experience and the relationships between family members. It starts slowly, but the really builds in the last third. Lahiri writes beautifully, and I kept marking passages. I so wish this was a book-club selection, because I long to discuss it with someone.
LINK to my review


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