Books read in May 2014

My favorites:
Picture books:  Maple
Middle Reader:  The Nightingale’s Nest
YA: We Were Liars, Mostly Good Girls
Grownup: Nothing wowed me.

Picture Books
Junkyard
Mike Austin
Read for Librarian Book Group
Great transformation picture book.  Reminded me a little of the Boston Harbor Islands.

Maple
Lori Nichols
Read for Librarian Book Group
Very fun growth of tree (Maple) and girl (also Maple).  If you are like me you will exclaim aloud the name of the second tree when it makes its appearance.

Big Bug
Henry Cole
Read for Librarian Book Group
Good comparison of big/small.  Great colors.

Middle Reader
The Nightingale’s Nest
Nikki Loftin
Read for Librarian Book Group
There is much to discuss with young readers in this book, so I heartily recommend it for classroom book groups.  Early-teenaged boy dealing with loss encounters a girl also dealing with loss.  Full of magical realism, vivid scenery and memorable characters.

Hidden
Dauviller, Lizano, Salsedo
Read for Librarian Book Group
Good entry into the Holocaust for upper elementary.  It’s  a graphic novel and the large heads were somewhat distracting, but I think they helped put some distance from the Holocaust for the young minds who will be reading this book.

YA
Mostly Good Girls
Leila Sales
I adored this book because it perfectly captured the general hilarity of two best friends.  The conversations between them are worth the read.  It’s teenager girl patter to a T.  Also, it does a nice job of capturing the subtle transitions that happen as friends change and grow.  Very well done.  I’m disappointed that Multnomah County Library doesn’t have her 2011 book called Past Perfect, because I can’t get enough of Sales writing.

The Here and Now
Ann Brashares
Girl time travels from the future to the present to live permanently with other time travelers because things aren’t going so well in the future.  I found it only mildly successful from the sci-fi aspect.    Overall, it didn’t blow me away.

We Were Liars
E. Lockheart
Read for Librarian Book Group
There are books that are good and then there are books that take you along an interesting path only to suddenly spin around and point you in another direction. And you realize the bits of this and that you’ve been encountering on said path are actually clues and wham/wham/wham/wham they all suddenly drop into place and you are reading an entirely different book that is even better than the one you thought you were reading.

This book is like that.

And I loved it.

And I really wasn’t able to do much after I finished it.  It took some digesting.

Going Over
Beth Kephart
Read for Librarian Book Group
I’ve not ever read any YA novel set in Berlin Wall-era Germany.  So that was interesting.  The Romeo and Juliet-style story (the wall kept them apart, not their parents) was interesting and the book had solid subplots.  I was interested to note that I didn’t feel terribly attached to the characters, yet I found myself in tears at the dramatic conclusion.

Tease
Amanda Maciel
Read for Librarian Book Group
A book about cyber bullying (and slut-shaming) but from the perspective of one of the perpetrators.  I found the stubborn resistance of taking responsibility by the main character to be an effective hook that kept me up past my bedtime reading.  Overall, a very engrossing novel that is quite successful at what it’s doing.  There was talk in the book group discussion of wishing it would have delved deeper into why slut-shaming/rape culture is the way it is, and, I agree I agree we need a book about that too, but this is not that book and this book is a good book for what it is.

That said, the foil cover was really distracting as I was reading by lamplight.  I had to hold to book a certain way so the light didn’t reflect back into my eyes.

On the Count of Three (aka The Burmudez Triangle)
Maureen Johnson
What happens to three best friends when two of them fall in love?  Filled with authentic teens, great long distance romance, and much awkward falling apart of friendship.

Grownup Fiction
The Thousand Dollar Tan Line
Thomas/Graham
The first Veronica Mars novel!  I found the writing clunky, but enjoyed continuing to live in the Veronica Mars world.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Diaz
Read for Kenton Library Book Group
This was a plodder for me.  I did not enjoy the jumping back and forth between characters.  I wanted more of Oscar, and more of his sister, not so much traveling back in to his mother and grandfather’s time.  That said, I liked learning about the Dominican Republic and I thought the characters were great.  There was a goodly amount of non-translated Spanish, which I found difficult, but interesting.  In the book group there was a vehement discussion if including non-translated Spanish did a disservice to the reader.  I figure if you want to read about Dominican culture, you probably need to wade through some Dominican slang.

One thought on “Books read in May 2014”

  1. I love the new-ish categories and the top choices at the top. It is an excellent addition to the regular reviews!

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