Friday, February 3, 2017

January 2017 Reads

Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks
This isn't the first time I've started a year with Nicholas Sparks - it's almost become a bit of a tradition. I have been less entranced with the Sparks books over the years, but the one thing I can credit this particular novel with is that it's not a recycled version of all that came before it (as many of his novels had become). However, I found it barely relatable (and that's just because of my life experiences), and often stressful and unsettling to read. The few times it actually spoke to me were when his daughter was struggling with the circumstances of his marriage. Meaning I related most closely to the 6yo in the book, and that was odd, but made sense as I was about her age when my parents divorced. The main characters in the book were my age - the MC was nearly exactly my husband's age, but he was painted as older and out of touch (there was a mention of him not knowing how to text with two hands, for example - I'm thinking Mr. Sparks is making assumptions about his age vs what it was like a decade or so ago when he was the MC's age. I assure you, my 36 year old husband texts with two thumbs and knows as much about social media and technology as someone ten years younger than him.) He also demonized the wife in the story, and made their conversations impossibly frustrating. Maybe this was just creative expression, depicting how we can only ever know one side of the story as someone tells it, but knowing that he divorced in his personal life last year (likely when he wrote this), it felt like a petty stab at his ex. I did enjoy the ending, despite the sadness surrounding it, but stomaching the huge amount of depressing and traumatic experiences he squeezed into these pages was an unpleasant reading experience, and I was happy to be done with it.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Cute story that I was excited to read through, but basically your run of the mill YA romance. The author herself won this book it's 4th star: she was legitimately funny, didn't cause me to cringe at any point, and jumped right into the exciting part of the story right off the bat. No boring backstory before the hook - love that. She used hilarious slang and her obvious sense of humor was all over the place. This is a perfect indulgent, fun read, like an alternative to TV. I'd love to read more YA by this author!

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

This book was full of faith and trust. It toyed with fate in a real and magical way, while also facing racism with honesty and beauty. The author was as funny as she was real, and her characters reflected that. It wasn't a book that had me starving for more every time I had to set it down, but it was an important, dreamy story that was told beautifully.

Flower by Elizabeth Craft & Shea Olsen
Mixed (mostly good) feelings. This was indulgent and swoony in the exact ways I love YA to be, but there were many moments of unrealistic ridiculousness (be prepared to suspend your disbelief, and not even in a fantasy/magical way, in a "this would never happen in real life" way), and also some reactions and interactions that will make you feel like this relationship is an unhealthy one. It is, at times, a little dark and iffy. But it's exciting and delicious in all the ways YA should be, and I found myself wishing for more time with Tate when it ended. (PS, love Elizabeth Craft - I picked this one up out of loyalty to her & her sister, and I'm glad I did!)

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
This was SO fun! You know how sometimes memoirs can hit some slow moments, or just phases that you find difficult to relate to? This book had none of that. Lauren was hilariously funny and entertaining the entire time, and I loved the behind the scenes pieces from Gilmore Girls. I flew through this one in a day, so fun to read!

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