So the end of the year means a mess-ton of schedule disruption which means that Jackie gets very little reading done. Alas. (Okay, I’ll admit, “very little” is relative in my case).
The Invasion of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen
This is the second in the Tearling series, and it went…not where I expected it to? This isn’t negative; I just honestly didn’t expect the book to go the way it did. This entry in the series incorporated a second viewpoint, this one from a pre-Crossing woman named Lily, who Queen Kelsea has developed a mysterious connection with. As Kelsea learns more about Lily’s story, she begins to think that Lily’s experiences in the past may hold the answers to the problems facing the Tearling in the present. Another solid 4-star read, and I’ll be grabbing the third Tearling book from the library as soon as it arrives. (Read my review of The Queen of the Tearling here.)
Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.
That introductory bite had me immediately hooked, but unfortunately I just could not make myself love this book like I wanted to. It was definitely an interesting premise, and the magic system was unique and fascinating, but I couldn’t get myself really invested in the characters or even in overall plot. Oh well.
Holes, by Louis Sachar
Look, there is no adequately explaining the classic children’s book that is Holes. If you haven’t read it in a while, please go now and do so. It holds up insanely well. And if you haven’t read it ever, what is wrong with you? Go rectify that now!
The Grownup, by Gillian Flynn
I have sworn to read everything Gillian Flynn ever writes because I am so fascinated by the creepy, twisted stories her brain creates. The Grownup is a short story about a faux psychic who winds up in over her head when a woman asks her to come “cleanse” an old creaky mansion. It’s aiming for a very Edgar Allen Poe vibe, and it almost makes it in places, but not quite. I still quite liked reading the story, and I’m happy to lend you my little hardback copy if you’d like to read it yourself.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness
What if you aren’t the “Chosen One?” What if you’re just a normal kid trying to make it to graduation before the “indie kids” and their battles against monsters/aliens/etc. destroy the high school?
I adored this book. It is such a fun premise, and honestly one I’m surprised I haven’t come across before. The book also deals pretty honestly with mental health. It’s occasionally a bit on-the-nose about it, but it’s handled with such frank compassion that I could easily forgive the slight heavy-handedness.
The book is really engaging, and I read it in just over a day, so I highly recommend it.
Captain Marvel, Vol. 2: Stay Fly, by Kelly Su DeConnick
Look, I just love Captain Marvel, okay? I’ve discovered the world of comics compilations, and I’m not looking back.
Let it Snow, by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
This is a compilation of three Christmas-based stories that all intersect due to a freakishly-heavy snowstorm. It’s pretty standard YA stuff, nothing too deep or mostly centered around relationships, but it was pleasant enough fluffy reading for the Christmas season. I liked Mauren Johnson’s story best of the three, but they’re all kind of on the same level.
In the Woods, by Tana French
This is not a happy book. This is a dark, sticky murder mystery that took me practically a month to finish because I could only read it bit by bit. Murder detective Rob Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox are investigating the mysterious killing of a local girl in a suburb of Dublin, the same town where, years before, three children entered the woods of the town and only one came out. That child? Detective Ryan. Dun-dun-duhhhhhhhhhhh. It’s not a perfect novel by any means, and I felt some bits were superfluous or not handled well, but it was definitely intriguing. Solid 4 stars.
And that was my November and December in books! I’ll have my full 2015 book rundown up tomorrow, including my top 10 of the year, so look out for that (EDIT: It’s up now!).
Keep reading, y’all.