Thursday, August 21, 2014

What I Read Wednesday

*On Thursday. Oops. I thought I had this scheduled to post yesterday, but it did not.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post
I requested a bunch of books recently because a school board in Delaware banned its entire reading list. This was the first to be banned, then when they were accused of banning it because of the themes, they responded by banning the rest of the list. Every book I read this week is off of the list.
Cameron Post is the protagonist in this coming of age story. She is also a lesbian, coming of age in rural Montana. The story follows Cameron from the time she's 12 until 17. Cameron falls in love with her best friend, then is discovered and sent away to God's Promise, a religious conversion camp. I loved this book. The voice of Cameron, her overwhelming guilt but also acceptance of who she is and who she always will be is incredible. It had the kind of ending that sometimes frustrates me but was just right for this book. I found myself rooting for Cameron Post beyond the book, basically for all the Cameron Posts of this world, struggling to gain acceptance.

I would call this a coming of age story with a twist, too. Butter is a morbidly obese teen. He has a real name, but everyone calls him Butter. In the beginning of the story, Butter has no friends, except a girl named Anna. Anna goes to his school, but he's created an online persona to get to better know Anna (who has no idea that she's talking to Butter). Frustrated with his life after an embarrassing moment in the school cafeteria (where he sits alone with his spread of food), Butter creates a website stating that he's going to kill himself on New Year's Eve. How? By eating himself to death, of course. Butter's website suddenly gains him popularity, with a group of kids who may be friends. Or who may just want a front row seat to the train wreck.
This book was not a comfortable read. It contains heavy themes of bullying and suicide, but it was beautifully written and well done. The author did an amazing job of making Butter a person, not just a kid who eats too much.

More Than This
This book opens with a fairly uncomfortable scene of Seth, a teenage boy, drowning. In his last moments, breathing in water and trying to fight the ocean, he bashes his head fatally on a rock.
Except that in the next chapter, Seth is alive. He is naked and thirsty and hurts everywhere. He also seems to be in his old neighborhood in England, an ocean away from where he died. Even more, his old neighborhood seems to be a ruined post-apocalyptic world where he's the only one there. Is this his own personal hell? Or is it something else?
The twists this book took were completely unexpected, going into it having no background information. It kept me reading through an entire day.

The Scorpio Races
On the island of Thisby, a race is held every year when the capaill uisce (cap-pall osshke) come from the sea. A vicious breed of water horses who eat meat, attacking other horses, each other and humans with their sharp teeth. Yet, despite the brutality of these horses, it is said that if you can get them from the sea, they make the best mounts--mounts who are violent and will always be drawn to the water. Some race for the money, some for the glory, while some just try to stay alive until the end. Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. Puck Connolly is a girl who gets mixed up in the Scorpio Races, though she never dreamed she'd ride. Sean and Puck clash with their own personal conflicts, but become entwined in one another as the Scorpio Race draws near. This was a longer book, with a steady build-up to the actual race, which left me anxious and ready to see who would survive. I definitely enjoyed it, especially the folklore elements.

What are you reading?


Barb Ruess said...

I have many of those books tagged after reading that same article about the banned books! This past week I read:
- And the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass. A messy family story (as most good family stories are) with lots of characters and a bit of self-discovery.
- Bark by Lorrie Moore. A collection of mostly dark, somewhat twisted short stories. A quick, quirky, interesting read.

One crazed mommy said...

Finished The Drowning Guard - it turned out to be pretty good, but not the best of Linda Lafferty's historica fictions.

Currently reading Loyalty by Adrianna Scovill. I want to keep reading - it is so shrouded in mystery, secrecy and creepiness...but I want to know what happened!!! Here is the synopsis:

Loyalty Kane is a boy with a heavy secret to bear. His life has never been a happy one, but the bags beneath his eyes, and his stooped shoulders, are signs of a burden greater than unhappiness. The solace he finds in school will soon be gone, as summer rushes toward him. Loyal fears and loathes the hot summer months that most children love.

His teacher worries about him. Reverend Harring worries about him. But when Loyal's friend, Lisa--Reverend Harring's young daughter--is brutally murdered, the whole town is rocked by shock and grief. Through their own pain, Miss Collins and Reverend Harring try to reach out to Loyal. Even Lisa's surrogate older brother tries to help the boy.

The more Loyal attempts to push them away, the more determined they become to help him. None of the adults know just how dark Loyal's secrets are, or what horrors their prodding will reveal. The burden, carried for years on the hunched shoulders of a solitary ten-year-old, might be heavy enough to crush them all.
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Such The Spot said...

I've been reading a lot more lately, though I still feel like a total slacker compared to you. Most of what I've read in the last couple of months has been just okay, but I'm currently engrossed in The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd and I am so smitten with the story. It's awesome, too, because it's fairly long so even though I feel like the story is going to be wrapping up soon, I'm not even halfway through-score!

Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph said...

Oh goodness, I think I'm falling behind again. I just finished All The Light We Cannot See the other day and absolutely loved every single word on the pages of that book. Wow.

I also recently enjoyed The Rosie Project. I tried to read Cutting Teeth and couldn't get past the second chapter. Next up I'm reading Walk Two Moons for book club and a whole stack of others I can't decide where to start!


InTheFastLane said...

Just finished All The Birds, Singing - It got rave reviews, but I don't know...I had too many unanswered questions by the end. I'm ok with some things left unsaid, but there were so many things I still wanted to know that the ambiguity bugged me.

Also read The Orphans of Race Point - Enjoyed this....but I can't remember now if I already told you about this book... so that is all.

Theresa Mahoney said...

Butter sounds like an emotional read, especially with the bully situation many face today. I like that they do a good job of making him a real person. Maybe this will inspire those who read it to think more carefully about their words and actions towards others.