Hello August! The month in which I discovered Mr. Money Mustache. Between that and my class, there wasn’t much reading this month. If I hadn’t had vacation, I would have only finished five books this month. Eeek!
Young Adult: Midnight at the Electric
Grownup Nonfiction: No Impact Man
Read for Teen Book Council
The idea is a good one: waking up in an elevator that deposits you in a giant field which contains a bunch of other adolescent boys, their living and farming areas, plus a very large maze that changes every night.
After that, everything goes downhill. The writing is clunky, a lot of the plot isn’t logical and inspired befuddled follow-up questions that remained unanswered. The fact that there were only boys was annoying. It was the kind of book that while reading, inspired the thought: “I can’t wait to finish this, so I can read the wikipedia summaries of the other books in the series.”
And so I did. Based on what I read of the summaries, I can’t say the plot improves any.
However! This was part of the After Hours Book-to-Movie Night that the Teen Council put on at the Hollywood Library. The teens created a maze throughout the library using standard library items (chairs, carts, string, streamers, LEGO) and then an epic game of Sharks & Minnows was played after the movie was over.
Witnessing one enthusiastic teen yelling “I’m a griever and I am going to KILL YOU ALL!” while chasing a herd of stampeding, screaming teens made reading this book totally worth it.
The One Memory of Flora Banks
Flora doesn’t have short-term memory, but she does have her journal and her friends and family. After kissing her best friend’s boyfriend Drake, she then follows him to the Arctic Circle.
As Flora travels, she comes across pieces of her story which lets those of us reading piece some things together. Though her journey was fairly anxiety-provoking for this particular reader, this was an interesting and engaging book.
Midnight at the Electric
Jodi Lynn Anderson
It takes place in the future (2065) and also tells additional stories through letters (1920s England) and diary entries (1930s Kansas dust bowl). Tying everything together is a turtle named Galapagos.
As stories told through diaries or letters is perhaps my favorite way to tell a story, this was a big winner. But I also loved hearing stories of young women trying to find their place in this world (or in one case, out of this world).
As with Tiger Lily, the writing is very beautiful and the characters are memorable.
Once & For All
Book 1-of-2-in-a-row where the mother figure is a wedding planner and the friend character’s family runs a food truck. This was a nicely-plotted romance that has an interesting take on the ex-boyfriend issue. The insight into the wedding planning business was fun. It was the type of book that normally I would like just fine, but the coming together of it’s run-of-the-mill parts elevated it.
Book 2-of-2-in-a-row where the mother figure is a wedding planner and the friend character’s family runs a food truck. In this case, we have an updated retelling of the Cinderella story, with the ball being a cosplay convention based on a beloved sci-fi show.
While the characters of Cinderella (Ella) and Prince Charming (teen actor Darian Freeman) were well-rounded, fully developed characters, I found that the stepmother and stepsister characters were one dimensional and entirely too evil. This distracted from the overall goodness in the story in an unfortunate way, which was too bad, because this was a great update.
All About Mia
I’m a sucker for books with three sisters told from the point of view of the middle child. This one had me from the beginning.
Mia makes some pretty terrible choices, and you can see the consequences coming a mile away. Thanks to some deft writing, I understood where she was coming from and was rooting for her to find a better place for herself. All three sisters were nicely developed.
No Impact Man
A man (and his wife and child) spend a year trying to reduce their impact on the world, and discovering how much better their life is when they do.
I think it’s pretty easy to judge authors like this, as opportunists looking to further their careers. Mr. Beavan seemed sincere in his efforts and enjoyed following him along on his journey.
Early Retirement Extreme
Jacob Lund Fisker
A detailed primer on how to build up a skill set to allow you to live on less and save massive amounts of money. Jacub Lund Fisker doesn’t give us a step-by-step guide to early retirement, but instead lays out the principles of how one would craft a path to early retirement for themselves.