First, I wanted to thank everyone who has helped the efforts to rescue the Monstrumologist series. The level of support has been completely incredible. The contact form says to expect a reply in 3 to 5 days. Has anyone received a reply from Simon and Schuster? I haven't, and I definitely wrote to them more than 3 to 5 days ago. Hmm...
Now to the subject at hand. I've been on an awesome book frenzy lately. Here are a few of the good books I've read recently:
A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
This was my most recent read. It was a fast, meaningful contemporary novel by a great Australian author (let's hear it for Australian contemporary authors! I've never read one who wasn't fantastic). It's the story of two girls, Charlie and Rose, who are both trying to get differnt things from their summer holidays (I had to remind myself constantly that summer in Australia is winter to me). The two narrators work brilliantly and the writing is really fresh. What I loved most about these characters is that they're mature--not the into-drugs-having-sex-binge-drinking kind of mature. They understand themselves, their motivations, and are able to articulate themselves in mature, yet completely authentically teenage ways. The dialogue does such efficient work in developing the characters. I finished it a week ago and it's still resonating.
Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
I'll be honest. I've avoided this book because of the title--am I the only one who thinks this is probably not the best title in the world? Well, it doesn't matter because the writing is exquisite, and I'm so glad I got over my judgmental title snobbery and read this. I adore Laini Taylor's use of imagery to flesh out setting, and the fairy tale elements sprinkled throughout the three novellas are wonderful. These are very memorable stories.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
I read this partly as research for my novel; I knew The Bell Jar was about a young girl dealing with mental illness. I've been finding it challenging articulating my MC's struggles with a subject that has similar potential for melodrama--a religious crisis. If anyone can teach about delivering a potentially melodramatic internal struggle with subtlety, it's Sylvia Plath. I wanted to marry her prose. It's stunning. Damn.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The inventiveness of this book is undoubtable. I so enjoyed the first half--the historic subplots, the Welsh island, the old photos, and the mystery of the peculiar children. However, the book departed from these fantastic elements in the last half, focusing instead on some very underwhelming monsters and boring action sequences. I also learned while reading that this is only the first in a series; by the end, not much is resolved and all that good momentum established in the first half turned into pacing molasses. This is the problem with not being explicit about a book being the first in a series; the reader enters the book expecting resolution by the end, only to be disappointed that nothing gets resolved and they have to read another 2+ books to get any answers. It's a pet peeve.
The Revenant by Sonia Gensler
My mom is getting her PhD in Anthropology right now, and specifically studies issues relevant to Native Americans. I know a lot about cultural appropriation and just how careful non-native people must be when handling issues related to native culture, history, or spirituality. So, I went in to The Revenant with some apprehension--if it went wrong, it could go really, really wrong. But, my fears were mostly unfounded. Author Sonia Gensler created a delightful, historically-detailed, genuinely creepy ghost story that kept me guessing. I enjoyed it immensely, and I felt like the native characters were far from stereotypes.
Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a complete signed set of Monstrumologist books, provided by awesome author, Rick Yancey!