Other good things this week:
- I've spent a lot of time beta-reading a book I'm really into.
- I picked up a new TV show (Awkward.) which was good because it helped pass the time while I...
- Did ALL THE DISHES. That is not that much of an exaggeration, as all our dishes needed a wash before they were put away, and all I have left is a sink full of cutlery.
- I have also helped our trivia team defend its title (we joined the team last week, which was the third week in a row they won; this week made a streak of four and I discovered how amped up I get by competition).
- The Bills are actually playing decent football today! So that's fun to watch, and it's been distracting me from my book more than last week, which...was not fun to watch at all.
- And tonight--when, granted, I could be trying to up my book numbers--I'll be having an early birthday celebration with my mother-in-law's delicious pasta fagioli and homemade bread.
And, like I said, I have two pretty great books to tell you about. (And I know I will be starting next week's Sunday post with another, as I'm currently 46% of the way through Time Between Us and I can tell that even though I'm already really into it, it's just heating up.)
What I Read This Week:
Skinny by Donna Cooner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What if the voice inside your head--you know, the one that tells you you're not good enough, not pretty enough, not skinny enough--was so loud and determined that it felt like another person was actually living inside your head? That's the way it is for Ever Davies (or, as Skinny would call her, The Fat Girl.) Skinny is Ever's name for that voice; Ever imagines her as a wacked out version of Tinkerbell. It took very little explanation for me to understand exactly who and what Skinny was, and I imagine many readers will feel the same way. The book follows Ever as she chooses to have gastric bypass surgery and throughout her recovery and dramatic weight loss. It takes more than shedding pounds to get rid of Skinny, though, and I found Ever's story really compelling and powerful.
It was interesting to me to read this so close on the heels of reading Butter by Erin Jade Lange. Both protagonists are not just obese but also see the world in dramatically distorted ways. Both encounter the sudden attention of the popular kids, and both have to decide how they feel about that attention. And both Ever and Butter have musical talents but have resisted public performances because of their size. Despite these similarities, though, these books read very differently and could be a fantastic pairing for lit circles or book clubs within the same classroom, because they present similar issues through the eyes of two distinctive, vivid protagonists. Ever's ultimate discoveries about Skinny and what Skinny has done to her feel heartbreakingly real and familiar, and will make you look twice at anyone in your life who is hard to be around. Donna Cooner has created a character who is at once deeply frustrating and deeply sympathetic.
I received a free advance e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Let's acknowledge, first things first, that Send Me A Sign is a novel with cancer in it. But it is not a Cancer Novel. It is a novel about a Person with cancer, not a person with CANCER. So those of you who, like me, grew up morbidly fascinated by novels with titles like Time to Die My Love Who Is Dying or Mommy Don't Go And Die Because It Is My Turn To Die Too Young: this is not the kind of book you think it is.
Mia has cancer. Mia also has a near-perfect GPA, a spot on the cheerleading squad, a trio of amazeballs (but difficult) best friends, a hot and beloved next-door neighbor who would do anything for her, and an equally hot hook-up who wants to become more. Oh, and a crazy-self-involved mom and list-a-holic dad. All of the above get about equal screen time, and everything on that list affects everything else on that list. This reads like any other contemporary, but with more medical terminology and above-average characters.
It's not that the book makes light of cancer. The thing is, when you're a senior in high school, all of those things that I listed kind of feel as serious as cancer. That's why we love contemporary YA--the stakes can feel SO HIGH even when the book is about, like, who the protagonist is gonna make out with. But what's amazing about Send Me A Sign is the way Tiffany Schmidt balances all of Mia's problems. Cancer does make the stakes higher than usual, but for Mia it has the effect of just making all the hard things harder: amplifying every emotion, every decision, every reaction. By the end of the book, I was completely immersed in Mia's life. And really, that's what the book is about, much more than her illness--it's about her life. So even if you normally give Cancer Books a pass, you might want to give this one a shot. I think it will surprise you (and suck you in and make you neglect your to-do list for a whole afternoon. Not that I did that or anything.)
I received a free advance e-book copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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