For those of you who missed this post some friends and I are celebrating our love of all things literary this year by completing this reading challenge. I am loving the spark the challenge has put back into my reading – I feel motivated to read and look for the next great book and I am also enjoying hearing about what others are reading and how they are locating books for some of the trickier categories (hello “A book written by an author with your initials!!!”).
February has been my month of Young Adult (YA) fiction. I’m a huge fan of some of the current YA fiction around – there seems to be such a breadth of books to choose from in this area – more so than what I remember there being when I was a young adult myself. When can you stop classing yourself as a “young” adult?? I’m guessing 40 is a bit beyond it right??! But I still think there is so much to enjoy about reading fiction meant for a younger population.
The four books I read this month were:
Divergent – Veronica Roth – I know, I know, I’m well behind on the Veronica Roth craze. To be fair, I did attempt to read Divergent over a year ago after reading this article about the author but it was too soon after finishing The Hunger Games and the similarities were too much for me – the worlds just started to blend. I have to say I do think that The Hunger Games author, Suzanne Collins, is a better writer than Roth but I did enjoy Divergent as a piece of light entertainment. I can see why these books, and others like them, are appealing to young people so much – there are strong themes of searching for identity and a place to belong – issues that so many young people are struggling with these days.The concepts raised in the book could be quite heavy and intense but the way in which they are written kept me from getting bogged down in the gloom. I will push on with the second and third books in the trilogy (but probably only because I need to “tick off” my trilogy category!).
The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness – This is another YA novel set in a dystopian/futuristic world with similarities to our own. I read this book with the intention of making it and it’s sequels my trilogy but I just knew after finishing this one that I couldn’t read any more! Not because it was a bad book (although it really wasn’t my cup of tea in terms of writing and structure) but because it was just too gloomy for me – too much gloom and doom and not enough hope. I need a balance with my fiction at this stage of my reading life! I’m adding this book to my “A Book set in the Future” category.
Laurinda – Alice Pung – I was really looking forward to this book as I loved the author’s memoir, Unpolished Gem when I read it a few years ago and this, her first novel has been getting some great reviews, but I have to say – I was disappointed. The book is set in a fictional exclusive, all girls high school in an Australian city and focuses on an Asian-Australian student from a lower socio-economic area moving to the school after achieving a scholarship. The student, Lucy, meets up with the “it” girls of the school and the through the novel she narrates her experiences of trying to establish where she fits in. There is some lovely scenes showing the contrast of Lucy’s home life and I love the “trick” the author has used in the narration (something I didn’t work out until right at the end) but overall the characters in the school just didn’t ring true for me – they felt like your stereotypical private school bitches with no real depth. I have placed this book in the “A Book set in high school” category.
A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler – This is actually the first book of Tyler’s I have read but I am so relieved to know that she has 19 other novels waiting because this book was close to perfection for me. I don’t mean that it was a perfect book – I’m sure there were lots of flaws along the way – but I couldn’t see them as I was enjoying getting completely caught up in the characters and the structure of this novel. This is one of those books where you are thrown into the middle of a family and you feel as though you have known them, and their stories, forever. Novels are all about the characters for me – I’ve often said I could read a book that takes place in one scene if the characters draw me in – and this book has some incredibly rich, complex, frustrating and amusing characters – a wonderful book. I have put this one in the “A Book with a colour in the title”.
How about you? What have you been reading lately?