Bear with me, friends. I have taken a lot of migraine meds today and everything is quite fuzzy.
Ordinary Grace: A Novel
I love coming of age stories. This is a coming of age story with a bonus mystery. It's the summer of 1962 and Frank is enjoying small town life with little responsibility. Unfortunately, 1961 is also the summer of death and the summer of secrets. This book to me was absolutely outstanding. Frank is on the cusp of adulthood and is thrust there before his time due to accidents, suicide, murder and much more. The story chronicles this one summer in which his small town seems to fall apart before his very eyes. Frank tries desperately to make sense of it, to determine whether he believes steadfastly in God like his Methodist preacher father, or whether he cannot believe in a supreme being who would bring such suffering. Characters were rich and believable and the plot was engaging.
I had to go gently into this book because it was a difficult read. It reminded me much of The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. A series of short stories spawning over various parts of the Iraq and Afghanistan war, these were mostly poignant, moving stories about the things the men of the new generation of war carry with them. There were some humorous stories, too, but mostly they were strong, provocative and made you think.
I enjoyed the Matched series by Ally Condie, so I was interested to see what she did. This book is dystopian, but of a different kind. In a world where aboveground is mostly ruined from pollution, a city is built under the sea. Some stay above and some stay below. Above sends food, while below mines for ore. In the midst of going below ground, miracles happen. Bats appear, though no animals were taken below ground. And some men and women are born and become sirens. When kids come of age, they can choose to stay below or go above. Rio always dreamed of going above. Rio is a siren, but her twin sister Bay is not. When choosing day comes, Rio says she will stay below, thinking her sister will do the same. Then Bay chooses to go above and Rio is left wondering, seeking answers from her siren aunt Maire. When Atlantia is in danger of dying, it is up to Rio and Maire to join together and try to save their city. This was a very unique dystopia. Some of it was predictable, but it was an interesting storyline. My only complaint is I felt the ending was kind of rushed, otherwise it held my attention.
What are you reading?