Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What I Read Wednesday

Ashfall (Ashfall Trilogy)
The librarian at my school passed this book on to me because she said it was good and she wanted me to vet it with regard to if we should put it on the shelf. (Disclaimer: I fundamentally disagree with censorship, but in a middle school, parents do and will complain if they think a book is not appropriate, so you need to make sure you have arguable reasons for why that book is okay before it goes over your head. Disclaim part 2: This is why Looking for Alaska by John Green is not out in our school library.) The premise of this book is that the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone erupts, blanketing much of the Midwest (and possibly beyond) under ash and spiraling the country into a seemingly endless winter. Alex, initially looking forward to a weekend left alone at home, is left scrambling and struggling to survive as a teen in a rapidly changed world. He sets out on the road to find his parents and sister, finding that danger is everywhere in this new, ash-covered world. What I liked about this book is that I truly thought it went deeper than most YA post-apocalyptic books. It covered cannibalism. Rape. Violence. The reality of birth control in a world where you can't go to a pharmacy. It struck me as fairly realistic, with some stretches. Overall, I enjoyed it.

The Good Girl (English Edition)
Mia Dennett has struggled her whole life, as the daughter of a prominent Chicago judge who wanted nothing more for her to be a lawyer while she wanted nothing more than to study art. One day, Mia doesn't show up to work. A coworker contacts her mother, who contacts the police and explains that she hasn't talked to Mia in awhile, but that's not unusual. As the book unfolds, it is told from the perspective of Mia's mother Eve, Mia, Gabe (the detective assigned to the case) and Colin (the man who abducted Mia). The tale switches from before Mia's abduction to after Mia's abduction but is fairly seamless. It is interesting to watch as everyone gives their own input and it becomes apparent that there is much more to the story than it seems. Although there are multiple narrators, this book rang of an unreliable narrator. It definitely hooked me.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League
It is really hard to understand why, when someone is stuck in a cycle of poverty or abuse or drugs, they cannot leave the cycle as easily as it may seem. Robert was a boy with a great deal of potential, whose mom sacrificed a great deal. When she saw that he was not being challenged in the rough public schools of their neighborhood, she sacrificed what she could to send him to private school. She gave all that she could to watch her baby boy leave the slums of Newark and make it to Yale, where he studied microbiology. And yet, Robert couldn't break the chains of the cycle, ending up shot to death by a drug dealer at the age of 30. It's so hard to understand why someone who found a remove from that life ended up back in that life, with a four year degree from YALE, of all places. However, the author--Robert's Yale roommate--makes it so we don't so much question the how as the why. Knowing how the book would end, I spent much of it saying, "No, Robert. Don't do this to yourself." And yet, it happened. A success story becomes a statistic in the blink of an eye, in a chain of wrong decisions. This was a powerful read.

The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane (Book 2)
This is book 2 in The Last Apprentice series. It is very hard to review books in a series. Like the first one, Thomas continues to learn from the Spook, yet he has gained more instincts to trust his own judgments, as well. These are very easy enjoyable reads and would be great for YA readers who love magic or mythology.

What are you reading?


Barb Ruess said...

I read The Keep by Jennifer Egan. I liked this better than her other novel (Look At Me). It was an entertaining story within a story. Narrated by a prisoner who is writing a story for a creative writing class and also by the main character in his story. By the end you're almost convinced he was writing about himself... or maybe not. A little uncertainty gave it a nice twist.

Lyndsay W said...

Just finished 'The Language of Flowers'. Did you tell me to read that one? I really liked it.

Last night I started 'Defending Jacob'. It's a crime/courtroom sort of book (so far), which isn't what I'd typically pick so we'll see how it goes.

Unknown said...

I just started The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Theresa Mahoney said...

I really liked the Ashfall trilogy. Sometimes, when walking through Walmart, I'll start to think about how I'd get in there to stake my claim to the store if needed in one of those disaster situations lol.