I’ve read 9 books so far this year, just 1 book behind in my goodreads challenge to read 70 books by the end of the year. Basically I’ve been reading any chance I get a spare moment to fill in the empty, dull gaps of life with some entertainment by cracking open the folds of a book (or turning on my nook ereader). Some of the books I’ve enjoyed so far this year are as follows:
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
This is a post-apocalyptic YA novel, though the main character goes into depth ever so often about his family history and how his family reached America from Poland. It reminded me of The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in a way, actually, in this respect, since both books discuss the families of their main characters in great detail in order to get to the root of the plot to tell the story. As far as the post-apocalyptic side of the story goes, it had a Spielburg’s Super 8 feel to it (which I loved that movie so naturally I loved this just as much). And the characters were just so relatable and naturally funny. Here’s a part of what I wrote in my review of the book on goodreads:
In Grasshopper Jungle, the protagonist is a teenaged Polish boy, Austin, who lives in a small town in Iowa. He has a best friend and a girlfriend, both of whom he loves. Austin is perpetually confused over his feelings for both, which leaves his sexuality pretty much a mystery throughout the whole of the novel. But the ambiguity isn’t made an issue, though it does spout a conflict between the three later on in the plot. The main plot is of this mold that was kept in a globe locked in Austin’s boss’s office that is stolen by a few other teenaged boys who had beaten Austin and his best friend, Robby, up earlier that day. One of those boys drop the globe, thus releasing the plague that was contained within. Seven people in total are affected by this plague, which result in a 6-foot praying mantis to hatch out of each. These giant bugs breed and kill. They figure out a way to kill the bugs, but not before they’ve breed and end up living in this silo underground that’s called Eden and was meant for exactly this purpose in case the plague strain ever was ever let loose in the world. Throughout while the main plot is being told, the narrator, Austin, will get sidetrack and tell more of his family history and how his family ended up in Ealing, Iowa. The voice is humorous and will keep you reading to find out what else happens. 5/5 stars
Cinder & Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (The first two books in the Lunar Chronicles)
This is a science fiction retelling of Cinderella involving humans, androids, and cyborgs. In this retelling, Cinder (Cinderella) is a cyborg who works as a mechanic fixing androids and other high tech devices for clients. The setting is a futuristic New Beijing. There’s also people, Lunars, who live on the moon (along with Lunar Queen, Levana, who’s evil and constantly threatening war with Earth, especially with the Eastern Commonweath (New Beijing)) and have special bioelectrical abilities that allow them manipulate others into do what they wish them to do for their own biddings. The sequel, Scarlet, molds a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood (Scarlet) into the world of the Lunar Chronicles and ties it together nicely with Cinder as both eventually converge into the same plot. There’s also more I could say about it, but I’m afraid I’ll spoil something if I do because this is the type of series you really have to read for yourself because it’s hard to explain it in detail without spoiling. I really say that I highly recommend it and will be picking up Cress at some point. 5/5 stars
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children)
This book is just super action packed. Here’s the review I wrote for it on goodreads: This was a gripping second book to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children as Jacob and the rest of the peculiar children set off in search of another ymbrme to fix Miss Peregrine (who was injured at the end of the first book and can’t change back on her own without the help of one of the other ymbrmes). But there’s a twist that crops up in the last pages with regards to Miss Peregrine. Along the way toward looking for Miss Wren, which is the last known ymbrme to have not been captured, Jacob and the gang run into more messy encounters with wights and hollows; and Jacob discovers how to use his peculiar-ness the more he needs to use it. He even discovers how to control the Hollows by keeping them back and less volatile at the very end. Jacob and the gang also meet other peculiars like them, too.
The photos throughout really capture the essence of the story that Ransom Riggs writes as efficiently as he does in the first book. He truly has a talent for finding these eerily scary photographs and incorporating them into the story in some way, weaving it all into a coherent plot that makes it hard to put the book down, especially in the last half. There really wasn’t an dull points in the plot for me, and the pacing didn’t seem rushed in the slightest. I definitely recommend going out to buy a copy of this book as it’s one you’ll write to add to your actually collection of books because the photos look better in hardcopy than, I’m presuming, ebook format. You get more out of the whole book by reading it in actuality, than in e-format. 5/5 stars
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
My review from goodreads: This book has a Groundhog’s Day meets Mean Girls feel as Samantha Kingston goes through February 12 (Cupid Day at her school) for several days after she’s in an accident with her friends. Each day is different as she watches how her actions affected those around her on that day. Until she finally knows what needs to happen. That it really had been her time to go, despite her being too young, and embraces it at the end of her seventh time repeating the day. Throughout the novel you grow to love the character of Sam, and the like actually starts from hate. You can’t help but hate Sam in the beginning on that first day before the accident shakes her world apart and forces her to relive the same day over and over again. I definitely recommend this book to fans of contemporary fiction and those who love the movie Mean Girls. I actually liked this more than Lauren Oliver’s first book in her Delirium trilogy. 4/5 stars
And other books I’ve read include: Asylum by Madeleine Roux (which is the only book I haven’t liked that I’ve read this year so far… it just didn’t meet my expectations and the writing was dull and bland to me; 1/5 stars), Invisibility by David Levithan and Andrea Cremer (4 stars), Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (5/5 stars; I’ll talk more in-depth about this one once I’ve read the other two books), and The Madman’s Daughter (5/5 stars; loved the gothic feel of the writing in this novel so much). And that’s it. I just started The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider and will be reading Avalon by Mindee Arnett after that.