Now that I've made it through the third consecutive weekend of road trips, I have a couple reviews:
What I Read This Week (And Last Week!)
Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Well...there's no way around the silliness of this book. It is very much Gossip Girl in Downton Abbey's setting. And, much as I made it through one measly Gossip Girl book but stayed guiltily glued to every season of the TV show, I think I would have enjoyed Wentworth Hall more as a TV show or movie than I dd as a book. Because the story? Delightfully frothy and scandal-ridden. And yeah, I guessed every twist well in advance, but I think part of that is because of the need to carefully describe revealing details rather than simply giving glimpses of them as you can do onscreen. Also, the sets and costumes would be THE BEST, and I'd love to see how the satirical news column that mocks the events of the story while hinting at everyone's secrets (really, Ye Olde Gossip Girl, I wasn't kidding) could be adapted (I'm thinking Punch and Judy style puppets?) And I did root for a few characters, specifically Lila (the ignored younger sister--like a sweet, 16-year-old Lady Edith) and Nora (the gossipy, ambitious, but devoted lady's maid).
Anyway, this isn't Great Literature. But if you're looking for something quick and goofy to bring on vacation or read in the tub, this fills that niche just fine.
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Holy mackerel, this book did a number on me. I mean, on the one hand, it is funny. Kami, Rusty, and Kami's dad in particular made me smile, laugh, and occasionally interrupt whatever Mr. S was doing to read out passages that had made me audibly snort.
And then, on the other hand...Kami and Jared. I can't think of another relationship that I've felt this strongly about since the January I read both The Time Traveler's Wife and the His Dark Materials trilogy and spent the whole month crying hysterically. (And that was...seven years ago? So, I mean, this is Really Saying Something.) Like Clare and Henry and Lyra and Will, Kami and Jared have a deep but problematic connection. For their entire lives, they've been inside each other's heads. Each thought the other was imaginary...until they come face to face with each other at seventeen.
I don't want to say too much, because this story is so well-told that I don't want to spoil a second of it. I will say that in addition to fiercely loving and rooting for Kami and Jared, I adored the supporting cast (which contains my new favorite ship, btw.) I loved the quaint, creepy town--and I loved the fact that when the first big revelation came, it was very matter-of-fact and felt simultaneously shocking and obvious: yes, of course that's the truth. Why would anyone be surprised to learn that? (Never mind that I was frothing at the mouth, dying to find out what it was just the page before.)
And then the ending. Ok, how to do this without spoiling ANYTHING AT ALL. Um, it made me feel lots of feelings. LOTS of them. But I won't tell you what kind. Just read it, ok? Seriously. Read this book.
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a re-read, but I think I must have read it for the first time in grad school or during my first year of teaching, because I only vaguely recalled the plot twists and turns. I re-read it for the class I'm teaching, so I paid more attention to the science and ethics aspect. Like many dystopian stories, Uglies asks the basic question of how much we would give up to live in a world where everything seems perfect. In this case, I thought it was interesting to note that part of the "perfection" is sustainability, which at least gives the new society some weight. I won't say much about the central dilemma, but I will say that I had fun diving back into the tight plotting and expert world-building of Scott Westerfeld.
View all my reviews
|I'll post a review of this later in February; I read it for the Cybils.|