Although I haven't been posting much this summer, I have had the chance to read some really good books. Of course, some have been less than impressive too. My favorites since I last posted in June have been Close Your Eyes by Amanda Eyre Ward, Sister by Rosamund Lupton, and The Transformation of Things by Jillian Cantor.
Close Your Eyes
I was so excited to see Amanda Eyre Ward come out with a new novel since I have loved everything that she has written so far. This one is probably my favorite since Sleep Toward Heaven. Lauren Mahdian's mother was murdered when she was 8 while she and her brother were camping out in their treehouse in the backyard. It seems obvious that her father is the murderer, and Lauren grows up accepting that as the truth. Her brother, however, does not believe this and spends years trying to discover the truth. Then her brother goes missing in Iraq, and Lauren starts digging into the clues he had been following.
There were some distracting mistakes in the editing of the book, but that is my only criticism. I love that this author comes up with fresh storylines and characters in every book instead of falling into formulas like so many do. The mystery kept me turning pages, but the character story grabbed me as well. 5/5
Sister by Rosamund Lupton and The Transformation of Things by Jillian Cantor were both really gripping books with weird endings. Without giving away anything, I will say that Rosamund Lupton's story had an ending which was left to the reader's interpretation (I know some of my friends hate this kind of thing, but it worked for me in this book). Jillian Cantor's story came to a clear and well wrapped up ending, but it was weirdly unexpected. I liked it. I went, "cool ending." I am willing to bet that some people will have a different feeling about it, but I thought it made the entire book more interesting. If you read it, tell me if you agree.
Another book that I read last month was Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond. You may say, "Christine, this does not seem like summer reading fun. What were you thinking?" Well, my niece was given the task of reading this for school so I decided to read along. The book questions why some nations have dominated the world in wealth and power while others have been conquered and displaced. There were definitely some interesting ideas and history in this book. I think it's probably a very good choice for student discussion, I get that. However, I kept picturing these high school students trying to get through it during their summer vacation. Yikes. The author repeats...a lot. I hope my niece doesn't give up reading after this.