August Reading Recap

August Reading Recap

1. Insurgent – Veronica Roth

I was told that I should read Insurgent as soon as possible after reading Divergent as it picks up right where Divergent leaves off. I’m glad I did, as I would have forgotten quite a bit, however, after finishing the book, I can honestly say that I felt like the whole thing was a waste of time.

My main problem with Divergent was that it lacked the world-building necessary to make the dystopian society plausible and interesting. The whole set up of the society seemed stupid and pointless in Divergent, and no explanation for why things are the way they are is given until the last few pages of Insurgent. If the two books could be combined somehow and then chopped in half, then maybe we’d have a compelling story.

Insurgent ended up feeling like 400 pages of filler to bridge book 1 and the upcoming book 3. I just kept thinking, where was the editor?!

If you really want to read this series, here’s my advice: Read Divergent, then skip to the end of this one.

2. A Midsummer Tight’s Dream – Louise Rennison

As a ginormous Louise Rennison fangirl, I was really looking forward to this book. I had enjoyed the first book in this new series, Withering Tights, well-enough (though not as much as the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series), and I was eager to learn about what drama school in Yorkshire had in store for Miss Tallulah Casey, our awkward, knobbly- kneed main character.

While this book was humorous, the plot was lackluster. The story arc was poorly paced, and lacked a real climactic moment. Oh I’ll keep reading (I can’t wait to find out what happens with bad boy Cain!) but I hope the next one is a bit more exciting.

3. Beatle Meets Destiny – Gabrielle Williams

This Australian YA novel was recommended to me by some teen volunteers at the library. I’ve only read a few Australian novels before, and I tend to enjoy them. They definitely have some distinct quality that I can’t quite describe…

This was a sweet little romantic comedy about a boy named John Lennon (nicknamed Beatle) and a girl named Destiny McCartney (Lennon + McCartney = match made in heaven, right?). Though this was a light, fast-paced read, the novel asked a lot of interesting questions about fate and free-will, and how much control we really have over our choices. I definitely recommend it!

4-7. Fushigi Yugi Volume 4 (Bandit), Fushigi Yugi Volume 5 (Rival), Fushigi Yugi Volume 6 (Summoner), Fushigi Yugi Volume 7 (Castaway) – Yuu Watase

It had been a few weeks since I’d read the first 3 volumes of this manga series, and I finally picked up the next handful of volumes. I had been interested in the story before, but man oh man it is starting to get SUPER CRAZYPANTS with the whole story within a story meta thing going on. I just checked out 8-10 and I can’t wait to get cracking.

8. Life: An Exploded Diagram – Mal Peet

I’ve been wanting to read this book for awhile now, and I was especially motivated to pick it up after learning that I’ll get to hear the author speak at the Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium. I am so glad I did!

I don’t really know what to say about this book. It’s not what I expected at all, and though it started off a little slow for me, I was SO HOOKED and found myself thinking about the characters and the story all the time.

I don’t think this is really a YA book…it feels much more like an adult text. The story is told from adult Clem’s point of view as he recounts the events of his teenage years in Scotland during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was interesting to read after Beatle Meets Destiny as this book also poses a lot of questions about fate vs. free will.

I don’t want to say much about the plot because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone…it all ties together so stunningly perfectly….and I’m a sucker for a book that manages to tie up seemingly disparate things…

Clem, working class guy, falls in love with Frankie Mortimer, daughter of fancypants Gerard Mortimer who basically owns the town. We’ve got a straight up Capulet/Montague star-crossed romance on our hands, folks. Add a little war-soaked family history, Cold War tension, sexy times, Tom Brown’s Schooldays, art, OMG moment, and did I mention sexy times? and swirl it all together to get Life: An Exploded Diagram.

I reserve 5 star ratings for the rare volume that tugs at my cold heartstrings. This book managed to chip away at my stoic exterior and really move me. I finished reading it on my lunch break at work and thank goodness I was alone because it was all I could do to hold in my tears! And again…I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Highly, highly recommend it.

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