Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday Sunshine: BUSY edition!

After my banner week last week, I'm back to two books--and a late post to boot!  I have been really busy this week, as Mr. S graduated from law school on Monday (yay!) and then this weekend was my five-year college reunion up at Williams.  All happy, fun occasions, but my head is spinning!

Apparently lawyers get funny hats.  Who knew?

What I Read This Week:

 The Selection (The Selection, #1)The Selection by Kiera Cass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this one in a day. The Selection sets up a distant future in which North America is united as a monarchy under the name Illea, and there is a strictly enforced caste system (numbers 1-8, with 1 being royalty and 8 being destitute.) When the prince needs a wife, one girl from each of the 35 provinces is selected to live in the palace until the prince chooses one of them to be his wife. America Singer is chosen--reluctantly--to represent her district, and watching her navigate palace life was my favorite element of the book.

I got completely sucked in by the world and the circumstances. I want to know more about life in Illea, and more about the rebels. I want to find out what is making the other girls tick (What is up with mean girl Celeste? What is bubbly Marlee hiding?) and I definitely want to know what America will decide, and if she will in fact be the one to decide on her future (or if circumstances will step in and do that for her.) I really loved America's relationship with her palace maids...and yeah, I dug Prince Maxon.

I have to say, there are a few characters I'm not wild about--including Aspen, one part of the inevitable love triangle. (But I guess I'm almost always not wild about one of the boys in a love triangle--that's just how it works.) Despite that, though (and this I guess may count as a spoiler) I was seriously frustrated when the book ended. There were so many unanswered, unresolved issues--I can't believe I will have to wait till the next book to basically find out about EVERY major issue that was raised in this one.

I've read that the CW is working on developing this into a TV series--I would definitely watch. It did really grab me, so I don't want to give a bad impression. That said...I might advise impatient people to wait for book two, and then definitely give it a shot.

Why We Broke UpWhy We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really wasn't sure what to expect, but this is such a gorgeous book and came so highly recommended that I decided to pick it up. Weirdly, I didn't necessarily feel like I was that connected with Min...but then I kept missing subway stops while I was reading, because I was so completely immersed in her story. I really liked Min's friends Al and Lauren, who were tight-knit but not so tight that they wouldn't call Min out when she did something dumb. The writing really matched the illustrations, I think--idiosyncratic, strange, and wonderful. This book fit nicely into the contemporary kick I've been on lately. It felt like something really different in terms of structure and writing, but told a familiar kind of story. I have to give a special mention to a passage near the end--too long and run-together to really quote--in which Min tears herself down in the most authentically devastated, angry teen girl voice I've ever seen in writing. It absolutely captures a feeling that I remember having all the time in high school: being fully aware of all the things other people might think are wrong with you, and even buying in to those things, but at the same time being completely infuriated because it's so unfair and un-okay that other people have made you think that about yourself, because really you know you have value, but it's like you're not allowed to own that value. We really need a word for that. Min's rant, I think, is as close as it gets.

View all my reviews

Waiting In The Wings

I was so skeptical of this--books about high school theater are often really disappointing so I don't read many of them any more--but then I saw who it was by and decided to give it a chance...

1 comment:

  1. First off: Congrats to Mr. S! :)

    I loved THE SELECTION too. When I first started reading it I was having a hard time buying in, but it really didn't take long for it to suck me in. Put it this way, I set it down partway through to read INSURGENT, and after finishing the latter all I could think about was getting back to the former. I'm totally Team Maxon too. Aspen drove me nuts for a variety of reasons. I'm curious to see what the CW does with this.

    WHY WE BROKE UP sounds fantastic! I especially like your summary of Min's words. They totally resonate with me, because I remember what that was like. I still know what that feels like. Sounds like a must-read. :)


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