Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
This middle grade novel about one classroom of 5th grade students is told from the points of view of seven different students, showing us how their dynamic young teacher, Mr. Terupt, changes each of their lives. It's rated very highly on Goodreads, and I chose it to fill a category on my Worthington Ave. 2016 reading challenge: a book that's set where you were born (Connecticut).
I thought it was cute, and can imagine myself loving it back when I was an elementary school kid. As an adult, it was sweet and fun, but not a life-changer.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a mysterious darkness filled with lethal monsters. When her best friend is attacked, unremarkable Alina discovers a power with the potential to destroy the Shadow Fold forever.
This trilogy is very popular and I've heard a lot of praise for it. I enjoyed it, but the world-building and characters felt weak to me -- I never felt like I understood the world, or the magic, or even the characters themselves. I started the second book, hoping for more substance, and quickly abandoned it. Not for me.
Enchantment by Orson Scott Card
Here's another book I chose to fill a Worthington Ave. reading challenge category, this time "a book based on a fairy tale." I chose this modern retelling of Sleeping Beauty. As a child, Ivan stumbled onto a clearing in a forest where he found a beautiful woman sleeping on a pedestal, guarded by a magical force. After pushing aside the memories for a decade, he returns to make sense of what he saw, and is drawn into a centuries old fairy tale.
I thought it was creative, but it was a major chore for me to finish it. Long and slow!
The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
I love reading Liane Moriarty (my other favorites are Big Little Lies and The Husband's Secret), and this one was an absolute delight, too. Sophie Honeywell unexpectedly inherits the home of her ex-boyfriend's elderly aunt on a quiet island that is home to an unsolved mystery. She moves to the quiet island and learns that everyone there seems to be hiding something. It's fast and enjoyable and funny without ever feeling too 'fluffy.' Chapters are alternately told by different characters, and the parts told by a new mother going through postpartum depression made me absolutely ache. They hit a bit too close to home for me. Loved it all, though.
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
24-year old Ashley Cordova's death is ruled a suicide, but an investigative journalist suspects there is more to the story than meets the eye -- Ashley's father is a reclusive cult-horror-film director whose dark and gritty films seem perhaps too horrifying to be entirely fictional. The story only becomes more strange the deeper he digs, and family secrets come to light.
There were parts of this book that I loved, and ideas in it that I thought were really interesting. But overall, it felt too long and, in the end, totally underwhelming for me. Womp womp.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
This was our book club selection this past month -- see our posts about our meeting HERE and HERE!
I never would have picked this book up on my own. Fantasy isn't really my thing, and the plot sounded complicated and confusing to me. But this is a prime example of how great a book club can be for pushing you out of your comfort zone, because I loved this novel and can't wait to get my hands on the sequel! It was exciting and engrossing, and I didn't find the magic or fantasy elements confusing (which is what often turns me off of fantasy).
The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris
This historical fiction begins with a search for the missing daughter of a prison guard on Alcatraz and the only prisoner who knows her whereabouts, then moves back to the childhood of a young Irish immigrant in the early 1900s, alone on a ship full of immigrants entering New York Harbor.
I thought it was a really interesting setting and I loved the history. I wish that a little more time had been spent on the Alcatraz portion of the story, which I thought was so interesting. I've always wanted to visit it!
What have you read recently?
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