I thought a blog would be a great way to exchange book recommendations as I love reading and writing reviews. I've also started putting pen to paper, and have recently completed a creative writing course. Maybe you'll be reading one of my books down the line!?
If you want to share about what you're reading, or anything at all for that matter, let loose and go for it!
This is the second book from Emma Healey, author of Elizabeth is Missing, a book I loved. Whistle in the Dark is very different. It's about how the protagonists daughter, Lana, went missing for a few days. No-one knows where she went or why. I would have given up on it by now as the protagonist is insanely dull, but I can't bear the thought of having to DNF my second book of the year, like my first. It's also largely to do with the fact I'm very intrigued to find out where Lana was during those few days. It better be good!
Young, Jane Young was the second book by Gabrielle Zevin I’ve read. I loved her other book, The Storied Life of A.J Fikry and this one had a particularly intriguing synopsis. It’s about a sex-scandal between a prominent congressman and his intern, Aviva. The novel is written from the perspective of four women who were connected with the scandal. It had first-person perspective, second-person and third-person, which kept if really fresh. There wasn’t any particular perspective I liked best, I enjoyed them all.
Aviva has just started as an intern for a congressman when the novel begins. The first perspective is her mothers, who advises her to end the relationship. She doesn’t and it ends up becoming public knowledge eventually. The congressman gets off relatively unscathed and retains his position in office, but Aviva’s life is virtually ruined. No one will hire her and every time she gets an interview all the perspective employer has to do is Google Aviva and the story is revealed.
The first number of chapters are narrated by Aviva’s mother, as said. The second part is from the perspective of Aviva herself, then her daughter for a short time, the Congressman’s wife and finally Aviva herself again. This didn’t feel jarring at all and seamlessly moved between parts. That was one of the aspects I liked a lot about it, the fact it was so smooth to read when it changed so often.
This is the kind of book you’re better knowing very little about before you read, so I won’t say anything further about the plot. It highlighted and discussed something we know is very prevalent in today’s society, public shaming, due in large part to the internet. The novel also tackled the issue of gender inequality and feminism and did it in very human way.
Task 1: Find some redeeming quality in the book you liked least this year and post about it.
I read this book as research for my novel and I was really excited about it. It charted the story of an Irish girl who had to travel to England for an abortion. I never actually wrote a review as it was really quite a mess, so I thought this task would be the perfect time to give a few thoughts about it.
It was a YA book and regardless of the fact that wasn't exactly what I wanted, as soon as I saw it I thought, I'm reading that. I haven't heard of many other books tackling this issue, so as I said before, I was very excited. Unfortunately it was very muddled and unclear of it's direction. The protagonist was unlikable, which in itself isn't a problem if they're consistent in their behaviour. This girl, however, was all over the place, her actions contradictory to her morals and thought processes.
The first half of the book was dedicated to her teenage life, and it was only at the halfway point that she discovered she was pregnant. The whole issue of her pregnancy wasn't tackled well in my opinion and felt very rushed. I found this with another book I discovered which dealt with the issue along the same lines. I wish if someone decides to weave this issue into the story, they'd give it the attention and care it deserves.
There were several positives about the book, though. The fact that the issue was tackled at all was a great thing. It also dealt well with the shame attached to it and the inability we have as a society to freely admit we've gone through it. It also tried to tackle gender issues and even though it didn't really work it did try.
I want to get at least 10 points for the book charities, so I'm going to the odd task to boost my count. Basically any task that looks fun. Here's one.
Task 4: Google the word “Festivus” and tell us or take a screenshot of what you see at the left border of the results page.
This looks like an easy one. So, I googled, 'Festivus,' and at the left-hand side of my screen was a pole, stretching the entire left side of the google page, resting on a cross of wood. That was easy!
Colleen Hoover is hit or miss with me, but you can always guarantee one thing, her novels make you feel, whether that be good or bad. Her plots are always approachable and tend to be fairly easy to get wrapped up in and that’s what I needed, complete distraction.
The story follows a married couple, Quinn and Graham. It works in alternate chapters, when they first meet (then) and in the present day (now) when their marriage is struggling due to infertility.
It was wrapped up very nicely, a swath of interconnecting pieces fitting together perfectly, but it dragged from the middle until that point. The only reason I kept reading was because I was invested in Quinn and Graham and wanted to see whether they’d ultimately stay together or not. It was interesting for a while, but the issue of infertility was explored in such pain-staking depth that I really wanted to stop. The chapters concerning the present day were depressing and a lot of dialogue, internal or otherwise, was repeated and repeated and repeated. We learnt the intimate details of Quinn’s mind on a loop, considering the same observations over and over again.
There was also the issue of their relationship, it was a little over the top and therefore slightly unrealistic to me. There was a fair bit of eye-rolling going on!
What I really liked about it was the way Hoover stirred up your emotions and made you feel so much. I almost felt part of the action at times and really empathised with Quinn and Grahams love and plight. I just think there should have been more of a sub-plot or something. It was too focused on just their predicament and it would have been nice if the focus hadn’t been on that occasionally.
I read this for the New Year door.