The Execution of Noa P. Singleton: A Novel
This is one of those books where the pieces of the story slowly fall into place, like filling blocks in on a Tetris board. Yet at the end of the novel, you're still left to wonder parts of Noa's story, why she made the choices she did--which is a huge strength of this particular novel. On death row for killing a girl her age, Noa is visited a few months before her execution date by the girl's mother; an attorney who promises to do what she can to change Noa's sentence to life in prison if Noa will only tell her why she did it. As the story unravels, learn that there's so much more to Noa's story than meets the eye, so much more than Noa is even willing to let the reader know as the calendar marches toward her execution date. This was a definite page-turner.
This book was brilliant. Even if you don't typically venture into the YA lit genre, I would urge you to pick up this one. I found myself shake laughing out loud at various parts of it because the narrator's voice was so authentically hilarious. Ryan Dean, the narrator, is a 14 year old Junior attending a boarding school. He's not shy about his faults--he's rooming with the school's biggest bully, he's in the dorm for delinquents, he can't stop himself from looking at all girls as sex objects and oh yeah, the girl he's desperately in love with keeps calling him a little boy. But then somehow, the novel turns and twists and pulls you in and you find yourself unbelievably drawn into the whole world the author has created, invested in every character. By the end of the novel, my laughter had turned to tears. This is one that I won't forget.
This was sort of a coming of age novel mixed with horror mixed with fable and it was very well-done. In this, three best friends have always played with action figures and created fantasy lands. Zach's father decides he's too old for this and throws his away while he's at school. Afraid to tell his two best friends, Zach simply tells them angrily he's too old to play with dolls and doesn't want to be a part of their stories. Add in a haunted doll and a quest to return her to a grave and you have a horror story. This is an excellent middle grade novel and would work well for strong upper elementary readers, too. I definitely enjoyed it!
A Hundred Summers
I like period pieces when they're done right. This one was definitely done right. It made me long for simpler times of sitting on the beach, smoking without a concern for lung cancer and downing a thermos filled with gin and tonic while the men worked. That sounds lovely. Except in this book, it's not quite lovely as socialite Lily Dane is seven years later, still hurting from the loss of her first (and only) love to her best friend, Budgie. As Lily returns to summer at Rhode Island, she finds that Budgie and Nick will be summering there, too. The book as follows switches between the current summer of 1938 and the 1931, as the story of what transpired between Lily and Nick in the past slowly unfolds, while Lily tries desperately to ignore the ties that still bind her to Nick. This was a beautifully told story that grabbed me in from page 1 and didn't let go.
What are you reading?