Friday, March 13, 2015

Recent Reads

Here is what I have been reading so far in 2015.

The Girl on the Train:  Rachel rides the train home every day.  It reliably stops at the same signal, in front of the same house, where Rachel watches the same couple every day.  She begins to idealize them as having the perfect life, and even gives them names. Then one day she witnesses something that shatters this fantasy, and the next day someone turns up missing.   Rachel only has bits and pieces of a memory from that night, but as she tries to piece it together, villains and heroes walk a very blurry line.

I am giving this book five stars.  If you enjoyed Gone Girl, you will not be able to put this down. The narrators aren't reliable and nobody is really likable.  This is not a bad thing.  The secrets and truths are unveiled slowly and keep you guessing until the very end.  

Paper Towns:  One night, Margo Roth Spiegelman climbs in through Quentin (Q) Jacobsen's window, and invites him on an adventure.  They spend the night driving around Orlando and righting some of the wrongs in their lives.  The next day Margo doesn't show up for school.  She has disappeared, but has left some clues that Q and his friends use to try to track her down.  Where did she go, why did she leave, and is she is still alive?  

I did not enjoy this book as mush as The Fault In Our Stars, but it was still a fun read.  I would give it 4 stars.  John Green is a fantastic author and really develops his characters in a way that they feel familiar to you.  However, the ending was left a bit ambiguous, and I would have liked to have known more about what happens next.  I am looking forward to the movie version coming out this summer.  I think Cara Delevingne is going to be a perfect Margo.       

The Beginning of Everything:   Ezra Faulkner has had a rough year.  His girlfriend cheated on him and he was in a car accident that left him injured, and unable to continue as the star of his school's tennis team.  His senior year is just beginning, so he reverts back to old friendships and joins the debate team. He also falls in love with Cassidy Thorpe, and that is when things get complicated.  

This is a young adult novel, and if that is not your thing, you will probably not enjoy this book. I had been hearing a lot of buzz about it, so I decided to give it a listen.  I wasn't expecting much, but I really ended up enjoying the story.  I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.  It was a fun ride and the ending really tied up all its lose ends.  This is my favorite quote from the novel that really sums it all up: 

“Sometimes I think that everyone has a tragedy waiting for them, that the people buying milk in their pajamas or picking their noses at stoplights could be only moments away from disaster. That everyone's life, no matter how unremarkable, has a moment when it will become extraordinary - a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen.” 
― Robyn SchneiderThe Beginning of Everything

Wonder & The Julian Chapter:  I am going to start off this review by stating that I think everyone should read this book.  It really touched me deeply.  Auggie Pullman is going to school for the first time in his life.  He has been home-schooled until now, the beginning of 5th grade.  He is an ordinary kid, who just wants to be treated like everyone else.  However his face looks different, and some of this kids in his school don't know how to deal with this fact.  This story follows Auggie through his first year at Beecher Prep, and the highs and lows of being accepted for who you are on the inside.

This book tells the story from many different viewpoints: Auggie, his sister Via, her boyfriend Justin, her childhood friend Miranda, his friend Summer, and his friend Jack.  The companion story The Julian Chapter also tells the story from his bully Julian's viewpoint, and is definitely worth picking up as well, because it really does complete the story.  Sometimes you will be fighting back tears and sometimes you will want to stand up and cheer.  In the end, you will reflect back on all of the precepts you have learned (that will make more sense once you read the book).     

My Story:  It amazes me, what the human spirit can endure.  That is what I was thinking the entire time I was reading this book.  I remember when the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping was a national news story.  I also remember the collective sign of relief that was felt when she returned to her family nine months later.  This story tells you what happened during the time she was gone. 

This book also gets five stars from me.  It was not always easy to read. but sometimes the truth isn't pretty.  Elizabeth held strong to her faith and to her will to live.  She is a true survivor.  You finish the book in awe of the person she has become today.  

What should I add to my reading list?  Let me know if you have read any good books lately.


Mandy Crandell said...

The Girl on the Train sounds like my kind of book! I'm always looking for something new to read.

rooth said...

Looks like a really good list - I've been on a sci-fi kick lately so let me know if you want something along that vein

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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