I feel hypercritical. I do not want to feel I have squandered my precious book-moments.
Hmm. I liked Birdy. I loved Matilda Bone. I only kind of liked Francine Green. I felt she was really more the foil for all of the other characters that carried the moral high ground story of the blacklisting era. I would have been happier if the story had given me more and more about Sophie. I wanted her fiery Katie Morosky soul to make a difference - and to know that she had made a difference - in her best friend's life. Yeah, yeah, I know, the moving wastebasket scene is all well and good, but I think Sophie deserved better. Just like Katie & her daughter deserved better from Hubbell. Hey, it's a good way to introduce the era to younger audiences, but for me, an unsatisfying book.
And then the utter shock of Wrecked. Like the Volkswagon ads where an everyday conversation among friends is shattered in a hail of glass and screeching tires, this novel pulls no punches with the description of the accident or Anna's steep road to recovery afterward. I think the thing I liked best about this book was that it did not pull the cheap "forever changed" plotline out. All of the characters are certainly altered by the accident, but their basic selves are still intact - i.e. though physically maimed, Ellen still has her edge and her love of words. Although I don't pretend to understand the techniques used by the therapist Anna sees, I did also appreciate that she worked with Anna on many of the other things in her life that needed some work -- her sense of guilt, her insecurities, her feelings for her overbearing father. I was not completely satisfied with the whole "killed my brother's girlfriend" angle - especially when the truth of the accident is so lightly tossed in the mix. But I still enjoyed the novel and think it makes some important comments about recovery and forgiving yourself.
*** and a side note on the cover..... I'm sorry, but is ANYONE ELSE sick to death of these covers with a portion of a face/body/teen motif?????? ******
Okay, Mark Peter Hughes sure can write like a girl. I enjoyed the writing in general in this book. There were phrases that I wanted to lift out of it wholesale and read to someone for the sheer joy of hearing them out loud. Floey Packer has a voice and it is distinct and wonderful. I did not go for the entire tale -- some of the moments and adventures were a bit over-the-top for believability -- but I did enjoy spending time with this young girl who hoped to be noticed and who could find the tender joy and magic of skinny-dipping senior citizens. I can think of a dozen girls who would be all about this book and about Floey's journey. A fun read.
*** And yes, this is one of those sorts of covers, too, I'm afraid. Please make them stop....***
I wasn't sure if I would make it to the end of Colin Singleton's road trip. There were things like math and diagrams and footnotes and foreign languages and erudite references and odd trivia across the ages to contend with. I wasn't sure if I could manage listening to yet another litany of the 19 Katherines or the accompanying whiny introspection. Yes, I wanted to shout "Dingleberries" more than once. But I stuck it out and I was ultimately glad I did. Though one needs a great deal of willingly suspended disbelief to even sign on for the ride (two sets of parents totally okay with their teen sons taking off for parts unknown, a stranger inviting two strange teens to move into her home with her and her teen daughter after 20 minutes' acquaintance) but if that can be accomplished, it turns out to be an unusual and interesting journey from self-doubt and self-delusion to clarity and hopefulness. It is NOT a quick read and I think it would be a tough sell. For me, the friendship between Colin and Hassan is one for the ages and keeps the narrative together. And the fully-fleshed-out Lindsay makes a great foil for both questing young men to test themselves and their theories against. I enjoyed the book and will make an effort to get my hands on Looking for Alaska sometime.....
Feels so good to be reading again. I hope I can keep work at bay awhile longer so that I can keep it up! (After all, I've made two other greedy library runs since the first one and have about 35 books on the floor in my room now.....)
Stay tuned and keep reading!