Earlier today, I was at the library. I tend to buy books rather than check them out (they never have what I want to read available when I’m at the library, it seems…plus, I like to hoard books), so when we go to the library, it’s usually to entertain the kids rather than to pick out a new book for myself. But today I thought I’d pick out a new book.
And you know what happened? Not three minutes after asking Claire, “What should I read next?” she disappeared among the bookshelves and I had to have a librarian help me find her. Between that and ALL THE BOOKS, I kind of went into a book paralysis and just headed to the checkout area without a book for myself. As I was stacking the kids’ books onto the counter, a pretty cover and an author I didn’t recognize caught my attention, and as an afterthought I added the book to my pile and checked it out.
Of course, I haven’t read it yet. But I am excited and hopeful that it will be worth reading and sharing here.
And speaking of that, I have four more books to share with you today in case you, too, are asking, “What should I read next?”
You know I love me some YA, and this stack of books is proof of that (but! but! but! Look at the grown-up book at the bottom!). This time, though, I found myself reading a book that I didn’t like. I could barely get through it, you guys. I’ll just go ahead and start with that one since it’s on the top of my pile in the picture above.
I was at the book store with my sister when I saw a table full of books that are being made into movies. I love reading books and then seeing the movies, so I decided to pick one. I chose Fallen by Lauren Kate.
It seemed promising…a young girl goes to reform school after being blamed for an accident that is out of her control and is inexplicably drawn to a beautiful boy who won’t give her the time of day for some mysterious reason.
So in reality, the main character falls for a Super Jerk who treats her like absolute dirt and no matter how awful he is, she can’t stop going back for more abuse from this dude. If I was 15 (the age of readers this book is probably written for), I may have eaten this story right up, hook, line, and sinker. But even wimpy little no-experience-with-boys 15-year-old me wouldn’t have liked a guy who was this big of a jerk. I spent the entire first three quarters of the book really hating the guy I was supposed to like, and wondering why this female character was such a sucker.
The first three quarters of the book are also slow and dragged down in teen angst and what I thought was some pretty cheesy dialogue. It picks up (way up!) towards the end of the book, at which point the characters also become much more likable. But I spent three quarters of the book hating them, so…
So in a nutshell? The story idea is fantastic. The book itself may not be a hit with adults (if you thought Bella Swan was a swoony mess? You won’t be able to stand this book’s heroine, Luce). Teens appear to love it (I think there are seven books in the series).
A couple of weeks ago, Charles was out of town and I was at the grocery store and saw If I Stay by Gayle Forman on the book racks. I’d been curious about it but was kind of burnt out on YA after reading Fallen, so I almost didn’t buy it. But then I thought it would be fun to read and watch the movie while Charles was gone (since he won’t watch these movies with me, LAME).
Of course, I got sick and didn’t end up reading the book for two weeks, but…it was worth the wait.
Although this is a story about a seventeen-year-old girl, it reads more like a “grown-up” book. It’s well-written and the characters are smart. The teen romance, which I first expected to be annoyed by, was surprisingly sweet and mature. I think the outcome was pretty predictable, but this is one of those books that is really more about the journey than the ending.
I finished reading this early one night and immediately watched the movie. I was disappointed in the movie. I thought the main character, Mia, was kind of dumbed down. Her love interest, Adam, was boring. If you’ve seen the movie but haven’t read the book, I think you’re in for a nice surprise if you decide to read it.
The next book, Haven – War of the Princes: Book One, by A.R. Ivanovich, was recommended to me by my friend Kasee forever ago. I didn’t read it because I could never find it in print, and I don’t really like reading on a tablet. Last month she sent me the link to the print version and I bought it. This book drove me crazy, y’all.
Here’s the thing: it’s so good! Set in a steampunk world with a witty lead character (she does cry a lot, but…she’s a kid) with a quirky and unexplained ability (she can find anything), the story is a unique spin on a classic YA story (teenage girl does Great Things). The author does a great job of fleshing out her worlds and her characters, and although I did find some of the writing juvenile, I was mostly invested in this story from the beginning.
So, here’s what drove me crazy. This is a self-published book, and it would appear that no one edited this book, at all, ever. Typos, typos for miles. Formatting errors. Changes of font. Misspelled words. Random periods in the middle of sentences. Commas appearing in the weirdest of places. Not just every here and there, but I am talking at least one typo for every 10 pages or so. And this is not a short book!
UGH! Super disappointing. The first one was in the first few pages of the book. When I read, I throw myself into the story. When I see a typo I have to stop, re-read it, remember that I’m reading a book, lose track of the awesomeness of the story, get annoyed, and then decide to move on. This really breaks up the flow of a story for me, in such a bad way.
What I wish is that a big publishing company would read this story and take the author under their wing and fix everything, because I think that with some editing, it would be just as popular as any other YA book out there.
So, here’s what I recommend. Buy the e-book! I haven’t read it, but I can assume that errors would be more easily corrected and that you won’t have the same experience I did.
I knew I would love this book as soon as I held it. Just opening to the first page made my heart flutter, for no reason other than I knew it was going to be good.
I would consider this heavy reading. Set in Germany in World War II, we follow the lives of a young German orphan-turned soldier and a blind French girl. Their lives intertwine in the most delicate ways under the darkest of circumstances, and this book touches on human nature, good versus evil, and all the grey areas in between.
Also? It’s beautifully, stunningly written and made me randomly burst into tears, twice, for reasons I don’t even understand.
And that’s all, folks!
Tell me – what should I read next?
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