I apologize for the lateness of this, but better late than never, right?
When I went back to look at what I read this month, I was a bit surprised. Was March the longest month ever or something? Because it feels like a million years have passed since I read some of these books! My thoughts on these are not entirely fresh in my head, but hopefully I can still give you an impression of what I liked (or didn’t) about each one.
1. The Big Crunch – Pete Hautman
June’s dad has the kind of job that keeps the fam moving from place to place every few months. As a result, she’s developed a resistance from getting to close to anyone. She finds a couple random acquaintances at each school to eat lunch with, maybe dates a milk toast kind of guy for a bit to pass the time, but that’s it. Then she meets Wes, and has to change her attitude.
The best part of this book is that it’s not just leading up to June and Wes getting together. It’s about what happens in their relationship after that initial excitement. Pete Hautman has managed to write a YA romance without the typical angsty romance tropes. It’s almost an un-romance in that it becomes more about the day-to-day stuff.
And the writing is fabulous. I was reminded of the 3rd person narration that’s used in 500 Days of Summer.
Definitely recommend this one!
2. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Jennifer E. Smith
Hadley’s stuck on a late flight to London for her father’s dreaded second wedding. It’s the last place in the world she wants to be. Enter Oliver, a cute British boy who happens to be seated right beside her. Can he make this whole awful situation worth it? As the title suggests, yes!
This book has an awesome title. And an awesome premise. A romance involving a cute boy with an accent? “Yes, please!” I said. But just didn’t do it for me.
The book was slow, slow, slow at times. And considering the fact that the book takes place over the course of a day, this should not have been the case. It was written in third person which allowed the author to throw in too much description, and made a lot of Hadley’s interior reflections sound awkward and trite. I think it might have been more effective in first person…or maybe that’s just me. I love me some first person narration.
Overall, there was too much angsting about Hadley’s dad, and not enough about the cute British boy!
Skip this one. Read Stephanie Perkins instead.
3. They Called Themselves the KKK – Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Check out my previous write-up on this one.
4. The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater
I heard so many great things about this book in the past few months, but I wasn’t that ecxcited about it. I don’t really like a lot of fantasy, and I knew it was about horses and I’ve never been a horse girl.
But I was curious enough that I decided to give it a chance. And I am so glad I did!
Sean and Puck live on an island (I pictured it as probably off the coast of Ireland…the story’s based on Celtic lore) that’s famous for the annual Scorpio Races, in which riders race on the backs of capaill uisce–a race of cannibalistic horses.
Sean is the reigning champion and he needs to win so he can buy the horse he loves. Puck Connolly has never raced, but she must in order to save her home. She becomes the first girl ever to enter the race.
Guys, this book was really good. The writing was excellent. There’s a romance that’s oh-so-subtle, but becomes totally spicy hot when you least expect it to. And the killer horses are actually not that weird at all…it was totally easy for me to accept them. The Scorpio Races is a fantasy-ish book that’s not too fantasy-y so even staunch realists like myself can enjoy it.
5. Lost at Sea – Bryan Lee O’Malley
Raleigh, shy and full of pain, believes that she doesn’t have a soul–it was stolen by a cat. She somehow ends up in a car with three random classmates on a cross-country road trip and is forced to some soul-searching, both literally and figuratively.
Oh Bryan Lee O’Malley (of Scott Pilgrim fame). Wonderful as always. Love the hint of magical realism. Some excellently quotable one liners.
6. The Year of the Dog – Grace Lin
I felt the need to read a children’s book, and I had this one sitting around since this summer when I saw Grace Lin speak at a symposium at my school. The novel begins with Pacy and her family celebrating Chinese New Year. It’s the Year of the Dog–a year in which Pacy learns she should be able to “find herself.” The book features Pacy working through everyday life struggling to find her talent. I loved learning about a different culture, and the fact that stories from Pacy’s other family members are interspersed. This was a charming middle-grade read.