Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What I Read Wednesday

Moon Over Manifest
Newbery Award winner! 12 year old Abilene has been a drifter with her father her whole life, until he puts her on a train so he can work a railroad job. She arrives dirty and suspicious of the town of Manifest, where her father grew up. She sets out to find out about his childhood, but no one is saying much of anything about him. In the process, she makes two friends, discovers a box of letters dating back to WWI and uncovers all the secrets Manifest has to old. This story was told through Abilene's viewpoint but also through flashbacks. It was really well-written and would be great for upper elementary and middle school, but I enjoyed it, too.

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
Another Newbery medal winner. Flora Belle is watching her neighbor vacuum her front yard (yes, her front yard) when she sees a poor, unsuspecting squirrel tangle with the vacuum. She rescues outside to save him and in the process, ends up with a squirrel who has superhero powers (Ulysses). Ulysses doesn't quite know how to use his powers and know does Flora, but through the story, the two end up learning a great deal. I loved the illustrations in the book. It was a quick, funny read.

Young God: A Novel
I saw a comparison between this book and Winter's Bone. It's apt in some ways, but this book is far harsher and darker than Winter's Bone which at least left the reader with some hope. 13 year old Nikki loses her mom, steals a car and goes to her dad: once the biggest dealer in their area of the North Carolina hills. Nikki is thrown into a life of drugs and other ways to get money and falls quickly into the darkness. The prose of this novel was fascinating. Very short, choppy sentences, which almost made me think that it was written to emulate Nikki's life or the lives of those around her.

The Painter: A novel
I loved The Dog Stars, so I was super excited to see the author had a new book. Jim is a fairly successful artist with a storied past. He shot a man in a bar for making lewd remarks about his young daughter (the man was a known pedophile). His daughter was murdered. He's twice divorced. But now, that's behind him and he fishes and paints and mostly lives as a recluse, until one day when he comes across a man beating a horse and intervenes. This single act spirals him into a life of madness and violence that he isn't sure if he can escape.
This book was not The Dog Stars (but few books are--read it if you haven't), but I still loved Jim and Jim's choices and wondering what would happen to him and those around him.

Since You've Been Gone
Emily's best friend Sloane is her world. Emily believes that Sloane shines while she just gets to be in Sloane's light--and she's okay with that. Then at the start of summer, Sloane disappears and all Emily has from Sloane is a mailed list of the thirteen things she should do to spend her summer. Some are easy, like pick apples at night. Some are frightening for a rule follower like Emily, like steal something and go skinny dipping, but in the end, Emily grows and sees that maybe she can shine, too.
I loved this book. It's a YA novel, but it was so enjoyable and I think regardless of our age, we can all learn from Emily's summer.

What are you reading?


Barb Ruess said...

I really enjoyed Moon Over Manifest too - the ending was very satisfying. I'm adding Since You've Been Gone to both mine & Miss E's reading list now.

I read The Lie by Helen Dunmore. Very sparse, contained, and sad but really quite good. Story of a mentally struggling soldier after he (kind of) comes home after WWI. Fairly short read but in its way it was beautiful.

I'm reading Once Upon A River now and if I weren't so tired I would have stayed up late to finish it last night. The story of teenage Margo who gets dealt some very bad cards in life and ends up on her own at the age of 15. She certainly doesn't make good choices and I'm a bit on the edge of my seat needing to see if she's going to end up okay in the end. She's one tough cookie in some ways and so very vulnerable in others. This book has been a good one.

Barb Ruess said...

P.S. I love the weekly book post.

Brooke said...

adding The Dog Stars to my list. not sure why it wasn't already there!!

I'm reading one of my favorite authors at the moment Dee Henderson. I normally stay on top of everything she writes, so I'm excited for something new. these aren't deep philosophical books, but rather cozy mysteries with a touch of romance. "Unspoken" isn't a disappointment - its the kind you read a red lights because you don't want to put it down

Kaycee said...

I just finished Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Melton. Not sure if you have read it but she's a blogger. I had not read her blog before but that didn't matter at all. She shares her story without apologies and showed life from another perspective. I enjoyed it!

InTheFastLane said...

Just started the Painter last night. I did love The Dog Stars.....hoping for good things.

Theresa Mahoney said...

I haven't picked up a book all week! I feel so out of it. I am just counting down the days to summer vacation (as I am sure you are too lol) so I have more time to lounge around on the beach with a good book.