Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What I Read Wednesday

Hey guys! I still read books. And blog. Occasionally, anyway. The last month or so has been an exhausting spin fest and honestly, every time I think to blog, it's already Thursday and then it's the next Thursday and well, you get it. I have been reading, although I admittedly haven't read anything at all this week. Hoping to change that over the four day weekend.

It's the year 2051 and Faith is living in a dystopian world, one where teachers are facilitators and pre-recorded lessons do all the teaching (you know this sone got me), where the world is divided into dome-like sections to protect the people. Only it's never really clear what they're being protected from, but some people choose to live outside the borders. Faith and her parents are such people, but Faith's life changes when she discovers that she is telekinetic and has an ability called pulse, just like another classmate. This ability puts her in danger, but could also be a saving grace to the world in which she lives. Although this book grabbed my attention, it was almost too undeveloped a read. It is part of a series that I have yet to read, so I am willing to give the others a try to see if the world and characters are more developed.

I love when the book within a book works. In this case, it did. Darcy has decided to forgo college for the time being to move to New York City and finishing editing her already optioned novel, Afterworlds. Over this year, Darcy learns a lot about herself, discovers how to work under pressure and when facing criticism and, oh yeah, falls in love. In the midst of this, Darcy's story about a girl named Lizzie who faces death during a terrorist attack and survives only by slipping into a death-like state. The books switches stories every chapter and for the most part, I found myself equally interested in both Darcy and Lizzie.

Black-Eyed Susans: A Novel of Suspense
Tessa was found barely alive in a Texas field, scattered amongst black eyed Susans and the bones and bodies of other girls. The press calls the girls Black-Eyed Susans, and Tessa's testimony puts a man on death row. Twenty years later, Tessa founds a fresh patch of black-eyed Susans growing outside her window and is fearful to what that means--who left them there if the killer is supposedly in prison? Tessa connects with a legal team working to prove that the man on death row was not responsible, and in the midst of this, Tessa teeters on a constant brink of fear and paranoia. This was a story that set my teeth on edge because it was really suspenseful in the way the author unfolded the story, really leaving me second guessing about every aspect within the novel.

After Alice: A Novel
I feel like Gregory Maguire books are either hit or miss. Wicked and that series was awesome, but others have been pretty meh. I loved this one. Told from the POV of Alice's briefly mentioned friend Ada, who follows Alice into Wonderland, and Alice's sister Lydia, who stays aboveground searching for the girls, this was a delight. Maguire's description of Wonderland isn't a knockoff of Lewis Carroll, but rather a strong extension. Lydia aboveground explores the dynamics of the Victorian era while trying to find her role in society.

Willowdean, known as Dumplin' by her former beauty queen mom, is smart, funny, sarcastic, a lover of Dolly Parton and--much to the consternation of her mom--overweight. Willowdean mostly doesn't care and is happy with the skin she's in, until she meets Bo, a private school boy who is handsome and seemingly popular. Willowdean struggles because Bo seems as into her as she is into him and she can't fathom if it's just a fun fling or not because she can't see Bo holding her hand in public. In the midst of this, Willowdean decides to join the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant, along with several of her less than beauty pageant-esque friends. I loved this book and absolutely loved Willowdean. This was a great read.

A student suggested I read this and I never ignore student requests. This tells the story of the fire at the Triangle Waist Company, which historically killed 146 workers and sparked a change in working conditions. Told from the point-of-view of Bella, Yetta and Jane, this did an excellent job of balancing between history and fiction. Loved it. This would also be great for a younger reader!

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
It's The Bloggess. Enough said.

The Japanese Lover: A Novel
I really enjoyed this book. There is one part that bothered me, a glossing over of what it means to be a sexual abuse survivor, but other than that, I really enjoyed it.
As Poland falls to the Nazis, Alma's parents send her across the ocean to live with her aunt and uncle. There she meets a Japanese-American boy, Ichimei, and the two grow close--until Pearl Harbor is bombed and he is sent to live in an internment camp. As an elderly woman, Alma is living in a care facility, where she becomes close to Irina, a care worker. As the two grow closer, Irina works with Alma's grandson Seth to unravel the mystery of Alma's past and what Ichimei meant to her. Beautiful story with incredible depth. I couldn't put it down!

What are you reading?