Book Review: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch CoverBook: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Published April 2011 by Viking Children’s|349 pages

Where I Got It: borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/Magical Realism

What It’s About: 

Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent,” with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?

What I Thought:

I loved Akata Witch!  It is such a great book, and I am so glad I read it!

I really liked Sunny, and she’s pretty awesome!  She’s awesome at soccer, and she finds some really cool friends who introduce her to a world she never knew existed.  I liked seeing her learn more about her own powers, and how being an albino turns out to be a strength for her, instead of something that makes her stand out.  I also really liked seeing her learn more about the grandmother that no one talks about, and why her family really moved back to Nigeria.

What I loved most about Akata Witch was seeing Sunny studying magic, and how connected it was to Nigerian folklore and myths. I know nothing about Nigerian mythology, and I feel like I learned so much just by reading Akata Witch.  It was a little hard to get into at first, because I’m not at all familiar with African myths, but this book is worth reading because it’s very richly imagined, and now I want to read more about African myth in general, but especially those from Nigeria.

Another really cool thing about this book is that there are different levels that Leopard People have to go through as they learn more and more about magic.  While they don’t have to be at a certain age to go through the different levels, it is a really good idea since there are really bad consequences if they fail- and I like that they really do take it seriously, which (to me) is really different than other fantasy (and even paranormal) books where there aren’t really consequences and the characters can be sort of…whatever…about being introduced to a world they never knew existed.

I also loved that they have a teacher, and that they also have their own mentors.  They have so much to learn, and this book is definitely the start of Sunny’s magical journey, and I am so glad that there’s a sequel in the works because I want more set in this world.  I feel like I wouldn’t do the world justice if I tried to describe it, but it’s so different than anything I’ve read before.  Just trust me when I say that the world-building is amazing.

My Rating:

5 stars.  Akata Witch is amazing, and I loved that it wove in Nigerian folklore and mythology,  It’s one of my favorites of the year, and I can’t wait to read Okorafor’s other books.

Book Review: An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember In The Ashes CoverBook: An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Published April 2015 by Razorbill|366 pages

Where I Got It: borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: An Ember In The Ashes #1

Genre: YA Dystopic Fantasy

What It’s About: 

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

What I Thought:

It seems like there’s been some buzz around An Ember In The Ashes, so I’m really glad that I read it not too long after it was published, because I have a tendency to not like books that have a lot of buzz surrounding them.

Anyway, I really liked An Ember In The Ashes!  It’s really different, and there is an Ancient Rome feel to it that I really liked. It was a lot darker than I expected, and this is a really cruel, harsh world that I wasn’t expecting. But it really worked, and made you hope that things would get better, and that Elias and Laia would change things.

I thought the dual narration worked really well in this book!  It’s something that’s hit or miss for me, but I really liked seeing two people who are against the Empire for different reasons, and you see how two very different people see the Empire.  I have to say, though, that I really liked seeing how much Elias changed, and his part of the story was infinitely more interesting to me than Laia’s.  Her story was interesting too, but it didn’t really get my attention the way that Elias’ did.

I found the world really fascinating, and there’s this…atmosphere that’s horrifying and creepy, and it’s a world I wouldn’t want to live it.  I could picture the Masks so well, and it’s the same with Blackcliff.  There’s so much more to this world than we see in the book, and it seems really intricate.

I’m definitely looking forward to reading the sequel, and I’m really glad there is one, because I want to be in this world more! Plus, with how the book ended, it’ll be nice to actually see where things go.  But if it were a stand-alone, I think I might be okay with that, because while it leaves things open enough for a sequel (again, I’m glad there is one), it would also be interesting to imagine where things would turn out.  I’m glad I don’t have to!

My Rating:

4 stars.  I really liked it!  It’s definitely a dark, cruel Ancient Rome-type world, but it’s such a great book!

Book Review: The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

The Shadow Cabinet CoverBook: The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

Published October 2014 by Putnam Juvenile|374 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Shades Of London #3

Genre: YA Mystery/Paranormal- Ghosts

What It’s About: 

At the end of Maureen Johnson’s New York Times bestselling novel, The Madness Underneath, Rory, Callum and Boo are reeling from the sudden and tragic death of their friend and squad leader, Stephen. The Shadow Cabinet picks up where readers left off, and now Rory is convinced there must be a way to bring Stephen back. Meanwhile, new dangers arise: Rory’s classmate Charlotte is missing, and Jane and her nefarious organization are clearly planning something big—with Rory as their most valuable asset. Time is running out as the ghost squad struggles to protect London and Rory fights to bring Stephen back.

What I Thought:

I liked The Shadow Cabinet!  I didn’t like it as much as I liked the previous 2 books in the series, but I still liked it!

I think part of why I didn’t like it as much was that I assumed that it was the last book in a trilogy- most YA series are trilogies, and since this was the third one, it kind of made sense to me that this was the last one…except it wasn’t.  I remember reading it, and as I got closer to the end, I really started to feel like it wasn’t really wrapping up things like a last book normally would.  I was surprised to learn that there’s at least one more book after this.  Normally, it’s not something that would affect my feelings towards a book, but it really did in this case.

Still, where things are headed and this ghostly world made so much more sense after reading this one.  Things definitely feel like they’re actually headed somewhere, which is nice, because it was something that I didn’t really get from the first 2 books.  I did find that I had to re-read the previous books in order to actually get into this one, because initially, I had trouble getting into the book.  It is nice knowing that the series isn’t just a bunch of random events that aren’t going anywhere.

Still, it felt really random, and the information we learn in this book…where was that in the other two books? It felt like it missing the creepiness and mystery that the previous books had.  At times, it felt like I was reading a different series, but I think it’s probably because this one is really more of a transitional book than anything else.  It definitely shows a paranormal world much bigger than what I ever expected to see in The Name Of The Star.

My Rating:

3 stars.  I liked it, and what we learned about the book, and it feels like the series is heading somewhere.  But at the same time, it feels like a very different book that isn’t as strong as the previous books in the series.

Book Review: Under A Painted Sky

Under A Painted Sky CoverBook: Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Published March 2015 by Putnam|374 pages

Where I Got It: borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

What It’s About:

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

What I Thought:

I really liked Under A Painted Sky!  As much as I love history, I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, and pretty much every single time I read it, I always wish I read more of it.

Under A Painted Sky initially came across my radar because I follow a few blogs that focus on diversity in books, but I was really intrigued by the story.  I’m really glad I read it, because it’s such a great story about friendship and people who accept you no matter what.

I really liked Sam- she’s definitely a survivor, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her.  It was the same with Annamae.  I loved how they looked out for each other, and how bonds can form, even in horrible circumstances.  I loved that they were so accepting, and that they became close with a group of cowboys who were awesome.  I instantly cared for Sam and Annamae, and I also came to care about the cowboys and even Sam’s dad, even though we didn’t see a lot of him.  Sam missed him, and that made me miss him.  I also really liked how connected Sam was to her Chinese heritage, and how we saw the Chinese Zodiac and Chinese folklore throughout the book.

Really, West, Cay and Peety are quite awesome too.  I LOVED how accepting they were of Sam and Annamae, and how strong their bond was.  It really does stand out, and both girls trying to hide the fact that they were girls disguising themselves as boys made for some really funny moments.  It’s normally something that irritates me (and I have no idea why) but it worked really well in this book. because the Oregon Trail is dangerous enough as it is, much less for two girls on the run.

It was the characters and their journey that really stood out and shined in Under A Painted Sky.  They definitely had obstacles, and adventures but their actual journey across the Oregon Trail…it was part of the book, and how their friendship got strong, but Under A Painted Sky is really more about the characters than the plot.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s some action-packed scenes throughout the book, and even though the Oregon Trail is an awesome setting (and now it makes me want to play the game), I found it didn’t really matter that much to me.  Still, you definitely feel like you’re on this epic road-trip, Old West style.

My Rating:

4 stars.  I didn’t fall in love with it, but everyone needs to read it!  It’s such an amazing book about friendship and hope.

Book Review: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Liar CoverBook: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Published September 2009  by Bloomsbury|371 pages

Where I Got It: borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

What It’s About: 

Micah will freely admit that she’s a compulsive liar, but that may be the one honest thing she’ll ever tell you. Over the years she’s duped her classmates, her teachers, and even her parents, and she’s always managed to stay one step ahead of her lies. That is, until her boyfriend dies under brutal circumstances and her dishonesty begins to catch up with her. But is it possible to tell the truth when lying comes as naturally as breathing? Taking readers deep into the psyche of a young woman who will say just about anything to convince them—and herself—that she’s finally come clean, Liar is a bone-chilling thriller that will have readers see-sawing between truths and lies right up to the end. Honestly.

What I Thought:

I thought Liar started off really strong and I initially liked it, but I slowly became indifferent towards the book by the end of it.

What really lost me was the revelation of the family illness- that her family were werewolves.  That was when the book started to lose me- and while it was first at first, by the end of it, it just felt like a lame excuse for why she lied all the time.  I get that things run in the family, which I could have handled.  And if the werewolf thing is a stand-in for something else (mental illness and period-related issues seem like the best possibilities, but the second one doesn’t explain the fact that her one uncle seems to be affected by the family illness), I thought it didn’t really do a good job of it, just because it turned into something I wasn’t expecting, and it felt out of place.

I’m fine with unreliable narrators, and one who’s a compulsive liar makes for a really interesting unreliable narrator because you’re never sure what’s true and what’s a lie.  What became really clear to me was that Justine really needed help.  She really did- her brother being a good example of this.  At different points in the book, she has a brother who hates her, he never existed, or he died and she was involved somehow.  Not only that, but it’s never resolved, and it’s randomly mentioned, but you don’t really hear about it after a certain point.  Which makes me wonder why it was even included…I guess to show how much of a liar she is, but you definitely get that throughout the book.  Maybe to show family issues?  Anyway, one of the very few things that you could actually trust is that she’s in desperate need of help, and it’s a shame that she doesn’t get it.

She gets sent up to the Greats (how they’re related to her, I could never figure out) in the country, and she runs away because her life will end if she’s not in the city.  I really wish we could trust her stories about her family, because I am oddly curious about what they’re really like, and if they noticed that Micah needed help.  And if they did, why they didn’t try to get her more help. Maybe they did, but Micah never talked about it?

While you couldn’t trust a lot of what Micah said, something I could trust (and actually liked) was how she felt out of place- race being a big one, since she’s bi-racial.  Part of me wishes that had come up more, because it really doesn’t in the book.  Which is fine, because there are so many other things going on, and just because a character is bi-racial doesn’t mean the story has to focus on that.  But there is a part of me that wishes we saw the impact it had on Micah’s life.

My Rating:

2 stars.  Micah definitely has a strong voice, and I liked that she’s such an unreliable narrator, but the big reveal about the family illness made me feel indifferent about the book.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Random Bookish Thoughts

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Ten Random Bookish Thoughts I’ve Had Recently

Today we get to pick our own topic, and I decided to go with 10 random bookish thoughts I’ve had recently.

  1. Why do I have 3 library cards?  I’m not kidding, I have cards for 3 different library systems.  One has 2 branches close to work plus one near a coffee shop I frequent, and two have branches near where I live, so it all makes sense in my weird mind.
  2. What is it with my and my weird need to have multiple copies of signed books?  There’s the signed copy, and I usually have the e-book.  Signed copy=the book that goes unread and looks pretty on my shelf while the digital copy is the one I actually read.  I just don’t trust myself reading the signed copy.
  3. Why on earth did it only occur to me recently to have a pinterest board devoted to books I’ve actually read?  Pinterest seems to be a good way to show that.
  4. I really need to organize the print books I have, they are in a not helpful order that makes it hard to find what I’m looking for.
  5. I’m confused as to why most of my Nook books were randomly moved to Nook cloud recently, which resulted me having to re-download most of the 500+ books on them.  Weird, but things have been fine since, so no big deal…I hope.
  6. I really should review some of the cookbooks and crochet books I’ve been cooking and crocheting from.  There are at least a couple I feel like I’ve used enough to review properly.
  7. Why do I not listen to more audio books?  Why?  They’re totally awesome.
  8. Reading print books are sort of weird…that’s how you know you read mostly digital.
  9. I talk about books a lot, but does coffee get a lot of mentions on my blog?  No…this is weird for a blog called reading books with coffee, you’d think I’d talk about it more.  This needs to be rectified!
  10. Books are my happy place.

Book Review: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

The Hallowed Ones CoverBook: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

Published 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|311 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: The Hallowed Ones #1

Genre: YA Paranormal Apocalyptic/Horror

What It’s About:

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

What I Thought:

The Hallowed Ones is a really different book!  It’s definitely vivid, and it’s quite the page-turner.

I will say that I didn’t really get the dystopic label up in the summary.  I feel like that’s really misleading, because while there are a couple of things that could be seen as dystopic, the book is really more of the “holy crap, WTF is going on out there, is the end of the world really happening” kind of story.  I also got more of a horror vibe from it, so unless there’s something I missed, the mention of of it being a dystopian tale makes no sense to me.

What made this one really terrifying was the isolation.  No access to technology, which means a community who has no clue what’s really going on, but also knowing there’s something going on.  No people coming in, no people going out. no matter what. Elders who refuse to believe something really weird is going on, even though it’s happening right in front of them, when it finally ends up at their front door.

It really makes the book creepy, when you’re not quite sure what’s going on, but knowing something’s there. And the fact that vampires had a hard time getting onto Amish land…I really liked it, and it’s really different, but the safe spaces are definitely safe, and different than what you’d expect from vampires roaming around.

I also liked that Kate was questioning things, and didn’t want to fall in line, even though it was clearly expected of her.  There was one point in particular where it was frustrating, but I also understand why she thought the way she did, especially considering this world is all she’s ever known.  What I thought was really different and interesting was how it’s more a philosophical/spiritual look at the end of the world.  It’s not religious at all, but you do have that element throughout the book.  And it does get you thinking about beliefs and values and what it means when the end of the world is happening.

My Rating:

3 stars.  I liked it, and it’s different and creepy but I also didn’t fall in love with it.

Book Review: Butter by Erin Jade Lange

Butter CoverBook: Butter by Erin Jade Lange

Published September 2012 by Bloomsbury|296 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

What It’s About:

A lonely obese boy everyone calls “Butter” is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn’t go through with his plans? 

With a deft hand, E.J. Lange allows readers to identify with both the bullies and the bullied in this all-consuming look at one teen’s battle with himself.

What I Thought: 

I was really intrigued by the idea of Butter- death by eating and everything that goes with announcing it online is definitely different- but overall, I feel really indifferent about the book.

I do think it’s an important read.  Butter- I can’t remember if his actual name is mentioned or not- has to deal with a family that seems pretty dysfunctional, and classmates that don’t think he’s really going to go through with it, until they realize he is.

It was really frustrating to see that his classmates never said anything (well, until the end).  I get they didn’t take it seriously, but it was even more frustrating to see them pay attention to him because of it.  His classmates even take bets on it, and it’s no wonder Butter feels like he has to go through with it.

I felt like Butter doesn’t really go into depth on any of the issues in the book.  There’s cyber-bullying, which comes up in the form of comments on Butter’s website, and while mentioned (we do see some comments and his mom brings it up, but at that point it’s glossed over and way too late), obesity and body image, and family issues, but all of it seemed glossed over and it doesn’t really go into any of those things.  And it’s not that there are too many issues in the book, because there really aren’t, but nothing really got the attention it deserved.

It’s interesting that Butter really isn’t bullied until he posts about his last meal.  I don’t know why but I assumed he’d be bullied a lot more than what we see in the book.  Don’t get me wrong, the comments people make are horrible and not okay, but I expected there to be more to it.

What I did like was that it’s about a boy who’s morbidly obese, and has a lot of health issues related to his weight.  I kind of wish it went a little bit more into how he sees himself, because it’s a nice change from all of the books out there that feature a teenage girl dealing with anorexia or bulimia.  There’s nothing wrong with books that deal with that, of course, but it is nice to see something different.

As for Butter’s actually suicide attempt and it’s aftermath…the book felt like it lost steam at that point.  He tries to kill himself by eating strawberries (which he’s allergic to), eating thousands upon thousands of calories and gives himself insulin, and ends up in the hospital, yet his primary doctor just wishes that Butter won’t put him in that position again (as Butter got the idea from his doctor by asking a few questions), his mom is magically going to change the family’s eating habits, Butter is making plans for his future, and who knows what his dad thinks because his dad seems to be there physically but not mentally or emotionally.  You don’t see any consequences for what happened in the book- maybe they happens after the book ends?  Still, after his attempt, everything else seemed really weak to me.

I get why there’s closure, but there is a part of me that wishes it ended with either his attempt or maybe a different chapter or two after that.  It’s what the book was building up to, and it did seem like a good ending point to me.

My Rating:

2 stars.  It does seem like I don’t like the book, and that I initially said I was indifferent but I just don’t care enough to actually dislike it.  I really like some of the issues that come up in the book, especially since it focuses on a teenage boy who’s struggling with his weight, and it’s definitely relevant and important.

Book Review: Prudence by Gail Carriger

Prudence CoverBook: Prudence by Gail Carriger

Published March 2015 by Orbit|296 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover (signed) and the e-book

Series: Custard Protocol #1

Genre: Adult Steampunk/Paranormal

What It’s About:

When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances – names it the Spotted Custard and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea. But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone’s secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?

What I Thought:

I really liked Prudence!  Which wasn’t that surprising, because Carriger’s books are so much fun but I do admit to taking my time with it because I wanted to make sure I was enjoying the book and actually able to focus on it, instead of just speeding through just to get through it.

This series focuses on Alexia’s daughter Rue, who seems to get into as much trouble as her mom, and it was fun seeing Rue grown-up and off to India and have her own adventures.

Especially in her own dirigible named The Spotted Custard that looks like a ladybug!  I can picture it really well, but I also wish it were illustrated, because that would be pretty awesome.  I also really liked that we saw a paranormal world beyond England (and even Egypt), because you only see England, and Egypt doesn’t come until the end of the Parasol Protectorate.  So it was nice to see what it’s like for the paranormal set in India and how different it is than England.  I’m hoping we see more of the paranormal world outside of England, because now I’m all curious about it!

In a lot of ways, I was reminded of Soulless, and while I like Carriger’s Finishing School series, Prudence had a lot of the fun and charm that Soulless had.  Even though you don’t need to read the Parasol Protectorate or Finishing School to know what’s going on in Prudence, there was a part of me that wished I had re-read both. And there was a part of me that wished I had listened to it, but that was mostly at the end of the book.

I definitely didn’t fall in love with it, but I always really like the first book but the subsequent books always make me fall in love with the series.

Rue is definitely different than her mom- I think partly because of Dama, and maybe part rebellion?  And I love that she and Prim are best friends, the way their moms are best friends.  And I really liked seeing random characters from her other books make appearances throughout the book.  It makes me wonder who we’ll see next!  I’m glad that they only make the odd appearance, because it is Rue’s story, and I liked that we got to see more of Rue and what she was up to.

My Rating: 

4 Stars.  I really liked it, because it was fun and I really liked Rue’s story and the adventures that she had.  I can’t wait to read the next book!

Book Review: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling Into Place CoverBook: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Published September 2014 by HarperCollins|226 pages

Where I Got It: I own the e-book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

What It’s About:

On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

What I Thought:

I have mixed feelings about Falling Into Place.  It is different than your usual book about a character who is depressed and suicidal and actually tries to kill herself.  But there were also things I didn’t like about it.

A suicide disguised as a car accident, and what happened in the months leading up to the car crash and what happened after she crashed…it’s definitely a different way of telling the story.  I was expecting so much more about depression, and was really surprised that Falling Into Place didn’t really delve into that.  I mean, you do get all of these memories and flashbacks and how Liz regrets the things she’s done, and while suicidal and depressed characters are characters I relate to and connect with a lot, I had a hard time connecting with Liz. And you see that people do need Liz, even if they don’t realize it until there’s the possibility that she won’t be around anymore.

I liked that you got glimpses of the different characters and how everything slowly came together.  I’m still having some trouble figuring out who the narrator is- Liz’s childhood imaginary friend?  Her younger self?  I have no idea.  And you do spend the entire book wondering if she does die or not- it would be interesting to go back and re-read it knowing how it all ends.

The shifting timeline is interesting and I liked it fine, but maybe that’s why I had such a hard time connecting with Liz.  But…even though I didn’t feel for Liz the way I thought I would, and even though I read it and felt sort of “meh” about it, there is something about the writing that pulls you in.  And the actual writing itself isn’t something I normally pay attention to but the sentences are  very well put together and it felt like every word was carefully thought out.

My Rating:

3 stars.  I liked it, and the way it was told is very different but I couldn’t completely connect with Liz.