Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lots of Delicious Reading, So Little Time

This week, in between maniacally working on edits for the book, finishing a paper about an 800 pg Renaissance book, and finishing classes, I also downed a few YA books that were really delightful. I'll rank them in order of awesomeness.

The Vespertine
by Saundra Mitchell
. I'll post a fuller review closer to when it's published next March, but it was A-MAZING!!!! Set in Victorian Baltimore with a hint of supernatural elements, this book was thick with longing, so achingly decadent in every sense of the word. In a time where touching bare hands was considered wanton and dangerous, every intimate moment Amelia and Nathaniel steal alone has a heightened sense or eroticism (even though their contact by today's standard would be considered chaste). The tension and haunting narration also adds a depth that really launches this book beyond the normal YA fare. I can't say enough about how happily surprised I was at devouring this advanced readers copy. Five stars.

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han. The first book in this series, The Summer I Turned Pretty, was one of the few non-paranormal reads that has really stuck with me. Han has a knack for capturing real-life emotions, weaving the present in with memories of the past that make you feel like you really know all of the characters, in all their complexities. And a love story that was so real, and so, so satisfying. The sequel was just as satisfying, but had some surprising twists. I can't say too much without giving away spoilers, but I was really happy about where Han took Belly's story in the sequel. I'm also glad there's just two books in the series, which felt like bringing the story full circle without dragging it out to make it a trilogy just for the heck of it. Four stars.

Wish by Alexandra Bullen. This book was kind of fluffy, with fairy-tale elements (hello, magic dresses you can wish on), but at the same time, it was attempting to tackle some heavy issues: death of a family member. I feel like this is becoming a young adult lit trope: kill off a family member and suddenly your main character is deep because they have really been through something. It separates them from all their classmates and gives them a more mature perspective on things, and when done right, it's very effective (like in one of my fav reads of the year, The Sky Is Everywhere). But here, eh, it was like the frosted cupcake version of the dead-sibling narrative. Which was a little disconcerting, though it was an okay read in and of itself. Three stars.

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