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Wintergirls

by Laurie Halse Anderson

I really enjoyed this book. I got sucked in pretty much immediately and held there until I was done.

The story is about a young woman struggling with an eating disorder and the loss of her once-best friend – from a different eating disorder.
The power in this book is both in the style of writing Anderson uses, and the depth of Lia, the protagonist.
I have read other books dealing with eating disorders and I have always struggled to really connect with, or relate to, the sufferer. Anderson makes Lia a character the reader with empathise with – her struggle is real and lacks the self-indulgence so often annoyingly present in these sorts of stories.
Why she is where she is is understandable to the reader, even if developing an eating disorder isn’t.

Anderson employs an interesting writing style, often sharing thoughts Lia is unable to even think. She also creates a broken visual on the page, seemingly mimicking the brokenness Lia feels and her inability to connected.

A YA book (not a genre I am much of a fan of) really worth reading for both adults and teenagers alike.

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by Max Porter

I thought this book was extraordinarily beautiful.
The language choice and writing style blew me away and I had to stop and stare at the wall more than once.
I also think Porter perfectly captured grief, that most present but impossible to describe thing. I revisited my own grief and cried for my own losses as I watched the boys and their dad do so.
I found the voice of the boy as a man heart-wrenchingly tender when talking about his own father, and his mother as grandmother.

This book is real and raw and emotional taut, but with those edges of humour and silliness that make grief survivable.

So beautiful – I am changed for reading it

by Steve Pemberton

I experienced this book via audiobook – and it is a very moving story read by the author.

I am amazed, in equal measure, by the terrible things adults do to children, and how those children turn into such valuable adults.

The child Steve faces such a clusterf*ck of awfulness from both individual humans and the systems in society. There are so many points in his life where, if the right intervention had happened, things might have been different for him. But he was failed over and over again.

And then, instead of becoming a screwed up, violent angry man raging against the system, adult Pemberton is a kind and loving man with a desire to help others. That anyone can survive what he did and turn out okay amazes me.

I loved that I was hearing his story in his voice – it made it more real and more emotional.

Lovely/awful/both story well told that will hit you in the feels.

All the Broken Pieces

 by Ann Burg
 
Beautiful beautiful beautiful
 
What an exquisite example of verse and storytelling perfectly merged. The sum is certainly greater than the part in this wonderful story of love, and finding each other, and acceptance.
 
The story is about Matt Pin, a Vietnamese boy with an American father who is rescued from Vietnam near the end of the war. Now living in an adoptive home he deals with his own loss, his sense of insecurity, and the attitudes of other kids towards him. It must have been very hard to appear Vietnamese in America at the end of that war, and Matt faces some flack.
 
But this book is about so much more than just his personal journey. The horror of the war and the effect it had both on American and the Vietnamese is right there, lurking at the end of every line of verse, sitting in the mouths of the boys who bully and insult Matt.
 
The verse creates a soothing rhythm to the reading of this story, while the words paint images which jar, shock and horrify. This juxtaposition is perfect.
 
“You are safe, my precious child.
You are safe now, you are home.
We have found you and we love you.
You will never be alone.”
All the Broken Pieces, pp 12
 
Beautiful words but what they are saying is horrible, truly truly horrible. Children should never have to be rescued from warzones and found adoptive parents. The beauty of the words makes the horror of the facts so much starker.
 
I was astounded and deeply affected by this book. I will reread it, without a doubt.
 
Beautiful!

Alphabet Challenge

With PopSugar done I think I shall engage in a little Alphabet Challenge

For this version it shall be the title of the book that counts, and not the author.

I will read in no specific order but links to my reviews will appear below

A – All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg 

B

C – A Chance in the World by Steve Pemberton

D

E

F

G – Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W – Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

X

Y

Z

 

Strong Medicine

by Arthur Hailey

This is my book for Book 41. A bestseller from the year you graduated high school.

This was a weird book really. It reads like non-fiction. There is no story showing or revealing – it is a straightforward telling. At the beginning I had t check a few times that it was fiction, and even throughout the book I kept googling things to see if they were real or not.

I am still not sure how much was fact and how much was fiction.

The whole expose of the pharmacy industry was interesting but the characters and writing are so firmly set in the 80s I felt blinded by hairspray too often. It was interesting to actually notice how different some writing was then – I know all about what the women were wearing, what their hair and eyes looks like and whether they needed to lose weight – and all about the men’s accomplishments. Unless they were tall and good looking – then it was mentioned.

Not sure I would have read this were it not for the prompt – but its okay. I don’t mind having read it.

 

 

by Agatha Christie

This was my book for 31. A book mentioned in another book and what fun it was.

I’ve watched some Christie before but this is only my second murder of hers to read. And I loved it.

I loved watching the clues appear and the crime slowly unfold. I even had a moment of thinking I was quite clever in working out who the murderer was, until I realised I was completely wrong.

An unexpected ending completed the thrill of reading this book.

by Pierre Andrézel (Pseudonym for Karen Blixen)

I read (slogged through) this book for Book 11. A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym.

I struggled so  with this book – i found all the pale faces and collapsed women and shaking with fear just ridiculous, especially from young women actually doing very brave things.

The basic premise of the book is of two young women, one orphaned and  one deserted, both 18, setting out with none of the male protection expected in the 19th century in Europe.
I really liked the story – these women make a plan and get on with life, and when faced with things that scare them, face their fears and take on the baddies.

But boy was it laboured. Every time I got to the end of a chapter I was offended by the presence of yet another one. Never have I sighed so much.

Maybe 19th century style writing is not my thing – I thought this an interesting story written in a boring way. I kept thinking about how it would be so engaging as a piece of modern writing. It has it all – plucky women, devious men, murder, human trafficking and prostitution. Suicide, lewd illustrations (olden day porn really), creepy old men and keystone cops fill the background. But it felt like all of these great components got lost in the molasses of words, so many unnecessary words. And the fainting or being struck dumb. Nope – just nope.

Oh well – you can’t win them all

 

Freedom’s Child

By Jax Miller
 
I read this for Book 43. A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place. I kind of fudged the rules here a bit – I work from home, never use public transport and seldom see actual people reading. I do, however, use my local library. So I got this from the ‘Just Returned’ shelf thinking that very recently a stranger was indeed reading it.
 
When a crimey, thriller probably a bit gruesome story has both Lee Child and Karin Slaughter saying read it, you obey.
 
This book has all sorts of necessary components to make a thrilling read – a wrongly accused woman wretched from her children 20 years ago for a crime she did not commit, 20 years of hard drinking, hiding in the witness protection program, religious cults with a desire to die before the end of the world, hard-boiled cops with a heart of gold, nasty siblings named after the apostles, an obese, drug addicted mother pulling the strings – the list goes on.
 
There were a few moments when I did wonder if the kitchen sink was about to be thrown at me, but aside from that, this a very readable, fast-paced cracker of a story.
 
Once it had me, I was gripped. I spent a whole Sunday reading this book because it was unputdownable.
 
It fits perfectly into its genre and will keep you engaged and involved until the very end.

Heist Society

by Ally Carter

This is my book for 4. A book involving a heist
It is also YA, not my usual thing although i have been reading more lately.

The heist part of the story is really clever and would work if the idea belonged to adults. It is not teenagery and silly and all over emotional the way the ideas of the characters in YA so often are.

The immaturity of the bunch of teens in the story is not too obvious. (This is what I struggle with in YA books the most.) In this book, they are getting on with being criminals and only occasionally slide into silliness and petty teenage-behaviour.

I am surprised Carter’s book have not been made into YA movies – it seems there are many that are well loved and this one would certainly make a good movie.

I never thought I’d ever say this, but I might even actually read this YA author again – seems there are a few titles with the same thieving, conning, smart and interesting teenagers. Likeable anti-heroes – we all need more of those