Friday, October 16, 2015

Future Perfect (by Jen Larsen)

It is so exciting to have this book in my hands finally, this gorgeous book written by my spectacular friend Jenfu. Also the book is dedicated to me, you guys. I am sorry for the bragging but nothing like that has ever happened to me before and it never will again so there you have it. A once-in a lifetime brag.

Future Perfect is the story of Ashley Maria Perkins, whose grandmother bribes her every year on her birthday to lose weight in exchange for a car, or a shopping trip to Paris, or other extravagances. I don't even think Jen knows this, but I had a grandmother who was a little similar -- she helped financially support our family, and although she never was as evil as Ashley's grandmother (oh man do I hate Ashley's grandmother), she definitely did pressure me around my weight. She dominated our childhood and loved me fiercely. So it resonates for me personally on many levels.

Ashley is strong, she's smart, she carries her family and all their hopes on her shoulders. She is confident in herself, but that confidence erodes with her grandmother's every attempt to chip away at it. Her friends Laura and Jolene have their own inner lives and are extremely well-drawn. There are gorgeous sentences, because it's Jen's book and of course there are gorgeous sentences. It's the book I wish to go back in time and present to my teenage self. It absolutely feels like a gift. A wonderful, five-star YA. 

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Death on the Nile (by Agatha Christie)

Seems like a weird oversight that I never read this one, as it's pretty famous! There's even a movie version! But I checked and it doesn't look like it's on my list anywhere, plus I didn't remember the plot. I picked it up because I was looking for something light -- what with coming up on a busy time for work, still reading Quixote, and working on my brand new young adult novel (I already have a very lean but complete first draft done).

Anyway this was a fun read and was definitely a classic Christie experience; I liked the cast of characters and all their different secrets and lies and motivations. It's actually got a pretty huge cast, but each character is vividly drawn. The resolution is of course a surprise with lots of red herrings, but does make perfect sense when Hercule Poirot puts it all together.

What other famous Christies have I totally failed to read? Or maybe haven't read in a while? I just re-read And Then There Were None, having completely forgotten the twist there. Maybe I should re-read Roger Ackroyd or Orient Express next, although both of those twists are impossible to forget!


Monday, October 05, 2015

Acceptance (by Jeff VanderMeer)

The pleasurable ookiness trilogy is now complete! The ending was ambiguous, as expected, and so I went down a rabbit hole of fascinating theories on Goodreads and I like it even more now.

I do admit the second and third did not match the page-turning creepiness of the first; Annihilation is still my favorite of the three. But I enjoyed the shifting perspectives in Acceptance, and I liked the final revelations about the biologist, the lighthouse keeper, and the psychologist, among others. I loved the final few images too.

So go in expecting not to have all the mysteries solved, and see what you think. If you like Annihilation, in my opinion, the trilogy is worth seeing through to the end.

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