The Month of YA Books
A tempestuous April has finally given way to what has so far been a much more agreeable May, and that means it’s time for another book review post! These are my favorite posts to write! You can find the January/February and March posts here and here.
I also decided to do something a little different and make a pie chart to illustrate the different types of books I read. Well, it is a donut chart, in point of fact. I’m a little bit in love with it. (I made it at infogr.am, if anyone was hoping to make some nifty charts/infographics of their very own)
There weren’t really any real standouts this month. A lot of the books that I read were wonderful, enjoyable reads, but did not warrant five stars, such as Paper Towns by John Green (who is fast becoming my favorite author), Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson, and The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson. So I’m cheating. And even though I finished this book on Wednesday (May 1, gasp) I am going to review it here. Because it was phenomenal.
The Sweet Far Thing
by Libba Bray
The Sweet Far Thing is the concluding book in the phenomenal Gemma Doyle trilogy. Set in Victorian England, the trilogy deals both with magic and a desperate struggle for survival, as well as the struggle for headstrong, independent Gemma to forge her own path through the stringent rules of the world she was born into. With complex, fascinating characters, intrigue and mystery, danger, romance, and societal commentary, this trilogy really has it all. Gemma is a captivating heroine who is not always likeable but, somehow, I always found myself cheering for her. And even though The Sweet Far Thing is a behemoth of a book, clocking in at 819 pages, none of it felt superfluous. I devoured it, and at the end, I was left with a bittersweet, hopeful sadness that had me cursing and hugging the book at regular intervals. If you love supernatural books, strong female characters, or just well written novels (or any combination therein) I can pretty much guarantee that you will love the Gemma Doyle trilogy. If you’re interested, it starts with A Great and Terrible Beauty, carries on through Rebel Angels, and concludes here, with a title that gives me chills, in The Sweet Far Thing.
Honorable Mention for the month goes to:
Before I Go to Sleep
by SJ Watson
Christine suffered a terrible accident years ago and so wakes up every day not knowing who she is, who her husband is, or what happened to the last ten years. It is a highly intriguing plot, and one that is not without its difficulties. Establishing Christine’s daily confusion and fear was a bit tedious, as it happens pretty much the same way each day, but once past that section of the book, things pick up somewhat. The first part is slower and quieter, seeming to focus more on the implications of a condition such as Christine’s: how do you know what is real? how do you know who you are if you don’t have your memories? how do you connect with people? But the second part is full on suspense, that had me creeped out and reading far into the night (despite every creak and snap of our ancient apartment building making me jump). While the revelation at the end isn’t exactly unforeseen (what can I say, I pretty much rock at predicting the way a book is going to end) it was still a bit of a surprise the way that it played out. Before I Go to Sleep is well worth a read if you enjoy a book that frays your nerves, deliciously slow.
The only book I read this month that I didn’t much care for was
by William Davis, MD
There were a lot of problems for me with this book, not least of which was his dependence on scientifically dense, boring prose interspersed with really poor attempts at humor. I found it to be very fat-phobic, associating slenderness with normality and overweight/obesity with deviance. Much of his evidence is anecdotal, which is sketchy because as every critical thinker knows, there could be many other factors contributing. He jumps to counterintuitive conclusions without bothering to back them up with actual fact, and he is so very very repetitious. There is some good information in this book for sure, and ever since reading it, I have been doing my best to cut back on how much wheat and other grains I consume, but I would recommend trying to find a Coles notes version because the book itself was pretty awful. And definitely remember to put on your critical thinking cap before diving in.
Whoops, I guess I didn’t talk much about young adult books. But … I swear that’s the majority of what I read. Ha! 8 out of 13 books. You can find the rest of my reviews, as well as books I want to read, etc, over at my Goodreads account.
And one more graphic, because they’re so fun to make. And so pretty. I could just sit here and look at them all day. (Not sure what 101 in 1001 is? Check mine out here)
What have you guys read recently? Any recommendations? Any rants/reviews that you desperately need to share?
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