I meant to have this posted before I had my baby…but she came early so I didn’t get a chance to finish this until now! I tend to read books a bit obsessively, in quantity and in genre. My last books post had only non-fiction. This time around the theme is YA (although not all the books are YA). The last few weeks of pregnancy had me reading quite a bit and now that I’ve begun round-the-clock nursing, I’ve been busting through about a book every other day (yikes!). What I’m trying to say is, I’m sorry that you might be seeing an excess of book review posts over the next little bit. I’ll get back to crafting eventually. On a totally related note, if any of you have book recommendations, send them my way! Here’s some of what I read:
The Diplomat’s Daughter by Karin Tanabe
This Book: is about Emi Kato, daughter of a Japanese diplomat during the height of WWII. Before the war, while living in Austria, Emi falls in love with Leo, who, because he is a Jew, must flee with his family to China. After several years and a move to the United States, Emi still thinks she’ll never love again until she meets Christian in an internment camp in Texas.
What I Thought:
- I think my favorite part of the book was just how many different settings there were, and how unique each setting was. Instead of just seeing how the war affected the United States, you also get a glimpse into how it affected parts of China and Japan, as well as internment camps in the U.S., and I thought that was really interesting.
- I’m just going to be straight and say that I didn’t really love this book. I felt like the author threw in enough adult content to have it sell as an adult book, but it really felt YA to me. Which that in and of itself doesn’t bother me at all (I love YA books, as you’ll notice below), but I just felt like the book lacked the depth it could have had.
- I read this book without reading the jacket blurb. But I read the blurb after and…um…am I the only one who noticed that it tells you everything that happens in the book? Like, LITERALLY tells you EVERYTHING that happens in the book. Like, for real. I can’t get over it. The only thing it doesn’t tell is how it ends.
- Which, it does have a good ending, so that’s nice.
Should You Read It? I’d honestly tell you to pass on this one, although I think lots of people would probably enjoy it.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
This Book: is about a girl named Maddy who is basically allergic to the world. She’s never stepped foot outside her clinically sterile home, to avoid contact with germs that could potentially kill her. But then a boy moves in next door and he and Maddy strike up a friendship through their bedroom windows.
What I Thought:
- This is a Young Adult novel and it is bursting with all things YA-doodles, drawings, instant messaging. I thought it was totally light and fun and it was a really quick read.
- I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was unique (I mean, it’s a girl meets boy story, which are all pretty sameish, but it definitely had its own voice) and unpredictable.
- There were parts of this book where I was like, “Seriously? That would never happen. He/she wouldn’t do this/that because x/y/z.” But then I thought, “Eh, teenagers are dumb so maybe he/she would do this/that.” (No offense intended. I was a dumb teenager once too.) Even with some of the unrealistic stuff, it was still a good and, honestly, fairly believable read.
Should You Read It? I really enjoyed it and would therefore recommend it (but it does have some mature content, so read at your own risk).
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (the trilogy) by Jenny Han
This Book: is about Lara Jean, a hopelessly romantic teenager who has written letters to all the boys she’s ever loved and stored them in her mother’s old hatbox. But at the start of her Junior year in high school, she realizes that somehow those letters have actually been mailed. To avoid making things awkward with her current crush, she makes up a boyfriend and (it’s high school) things get kinda crazy.
What I Thought:
- Sooooooooo, I read this book because another blogger had said that it was in the top 10 books she’d read all year (and she’d read over 100!). And, I’m not going to lie. When I finished the first book I was like, “Seriously? Top 10? Bleh.” But apparently I have no self respect (or maybe self control?) because I went and checked out books #2 and #3 and I actually ended up really enjoying them (not Top 10 status…but fun nonetheless).
- The thing that bothered me most was just the writing. It is so juvenile. I mean, the main character is 16 and calls her dad “Daddy.” So that was kind of annoying but it gets better and by the third book she really isn’t so annoying anymore (which who’s to say whether the writing matured or if I just got used to it?).
- This book is pure FLUFF. Don’t expect any major happenings, twists or lessons. It’s just a sweet simple high school romance with quirky, believable characters.
Should You Read It? If you’re looking for a fairly mindless, fluffy YA read, these books would be right up your alley!
Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery
This Book: Is about two sisters: Harper, a single mom attempting to be a flawless domestic goddess while getting her own business off the ground and running; and Stacey, a career driven scientist who needs to figure out how to tell her mother she’s 6 months pregnant and then figure out how to be a mother herself.
What I Thought:
- I read Mallery’s “The Friends We Keep” and I really enjoyed it. It had fun characters and problems that made me think about how I would respond in similar settings. I was looking forward to this hoping for the same light but thoughtful read, but I feel like it really fell short. It wasn’t quite as thought provoking and seemed a lot more patchy? Like she had to kind of scramble to make it a complete book.
- Getting more into specifics: I really liked Lucas’ relationship with Becca. I think that his parenting style is totally awesome. But I failed to see where he was romantically appealing. Like, in that area he seemed like a big old D-bag (sorrynotsorry). Whatevs. To each their own.
- I was also really confused by Stacey. Mostly, I really loved her character. But half the time she seemed like a fairly normal career driven woman and the other half of the time she seemed like she had some social disorder…like maybe a mild form of autism? I was reading someone’s review of the book (is goodreads addicting to anyone else?) who said that if a character has a disability that it should be explicitly stated. I disagree with that, but I do think that a character’s personality ought to at least be consistent. And Stacey’s personality, to me, was not.
- Truthfully, I had enough issues with this book that it made me think I’ll probably never read Susan Mallery again.
Should You Read It? I personally didn’t care for it, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
This Book: is about a wealthy family who spends their summers on their private island near Martha’s Vineyard. But that’s not really what it’s about at all. It’s about Cadence…and something that happened one summer…but she can’t quite remember what. And nobody’s telling her the truth.
What I Thought:
- How does one review a book like this without giving anything away? The story was good and intriguing and difficult to put down. It had me guessing the whole time and I finished it really quickly because I just wanted to find out what happened.
- So. The ending. When I finished the book I was so conflicted with the ending. After giving it some time I think that the ending was appropriate. It was totally unpredictable and it also (in my opinion) was means of getting a theme across. I will say that I’ve read lots of reviews where the reader was left bawling and in an emotional funk for days after finishing the book. I did not have this reaction…but beware, I guess.
- Well I’m going to be totally vague here but the thing bothered me most was that something that was totally avoidable lead to this other thing that was totally crazy. And while the totally crazy event was acknowledged and discussed, nobody said anything about how it could’ve likely been avoided if that one thing hadn’t been going on. (I feel like Angela from The Office: Certain events have transpired. And I’ve thought about certain things. And I’m sorry for how those certain events transpired).
Should You Read It? When a book is this short and reads this fast, even if I’m not totally in love with it, I have a hard time saying don’t bother. The tone is a bit subdued and melancholy and the whole story is fixated on remembering what happened. But, overall, I enjoyed it (even if it was just to figure out what happened).