It happens almost every week…there are the “it” books that are coming out that are getting the hype, the publicity, the push from the publishers. Sometimes the accolades are warranted, and sometimes….well…
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald is a gem, and well worth every ounce of publicity it’s received! Sara has just traveled from Sweden to meet her fellow book nerd penpal Amy in her sleepy Iowa town…only to discover that Amy has just passed away. Unmoored, Sara stays in town, and slowly builds a community based on the power of the written word. This is such a love letter to book lovers, from opening lines we would all recognize to how everyone is changed by a book – I absolutely loved every page. What a joy!
The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer has been everywhere with its iconic cover! In short, a little girl goes missing from her mother at a fair, and the story then diverges to their two tales told in their two voices. I wanted to love it, but found the writing really tough to absorb, and I hate when writers dance around what is happening and try to “tell it between the lines” instead of just coming out with it! Plus, the younger narrator is just WAY beyond the realm of possibility – no matter how smart she’s to be. I wanted to love it, but I just…didn’t.
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington is just…yeah. One of those novels you pick up and don’t put down until you read the last page. Set in 1977, this beautifully written novel has it all – family relationships, falling in and out of love, a mystery, a murder, a cult, and a heartbreaking teenage boy narrator. I loved this one – recommended!
I also read The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal, which was translated from the French. An intriguing premise, this is about a young man who, after an accident, is in a coma; what follows is the day in which doctors, his family, friends, and more make the decision to donate his organs, including his heart. I loved the premise, but the writing was really dense, slow going, with every sentence a near chore. I wanted to love it more than I did…
I just finished Orbiting Jupiter by Gard D. Schmidt, a young adult novel. Schmidt is always a solid bet, but I really struggled with some of the…content and tone in this one.