By: Rainbow Rowell
Torn between work and a failing marriage, Georgie stays home for Christmas while her husband Neil brings the children to visit his parents in Omaha. When she uses her mother’s landline phone, she manages to reach her husband… in the past. Can Georgie fix her marriage before it begins? And, more importantly… should she?
Landline was a fun, easy read, with a lot of heart. Most of the book’s charm lies in how well-written the characters are. I felt like I knew Georgie and everyone around her. The story is told partly in the present, and partly through flashbacks. This made the story interesting, because while the present storyline unfolds, you are also finding out about how Georgie and Neil met and fell in love. It was a light read, with humor throughout. Georgie’s problems were serious, but the book was never too heavy or depressing. This would be a great book to bring on vacation, or to curl up with on a rainy day.
By: Elizabeth Fama
Plus One takes place in a world where the population is divided between “Rays,” who must live and work during the day, and “Smudges,” who can only can only go outside at night. A Smudge named Sol Le Cour breaks curfew in order to kidnap her niece, a Ray, so her terminally ill grandfather can hold her before he dies. She enlists the help of a Ray, D’Arcy Benoît, and the two fall deeply in love. Will their divided world tear them apart?
Plus One is a beautifully written novel about family, society, and two star-crossed lovers who never should have met. It has undertones that reflect on society, and how people perceive success and happiness. The book’s inside flap bills it as a love story, but there are some deeper issues present. Familial love is at least as important to the plot as romantic love. Unfortunately, this deeper content was just skimmed at the surface, you never really dive in. But there is an interesting commentary on poverty and social status, and you don’t have to look too hard to find it. Plus One was a page-turner, and I read it in less than a day. There was plenty of action and romance to move the plot along, and I was really interested to see what would happen next. It is a good book for teens (especially girls), and it is well-written and imaginative.
By: James Patterson
I know what you’re thinking, “Yet another book by James Patterson, and with a co-author too…” which never fails to cross my mind when Patterson is involved lately. Foremost, I am not a die-hard Patterson fan despite his books taking up many Library shelves- but that is just me. However, Patterson has never failed to somehow successfully and gracefully forge his words into almost living, breathing souls. Sure, that is the talent of any beloved author, however this male author of around 67 years of age can write something from the point of view of a 17 year old girl that actually feels like it is in the mind of a 17 year old girl; which happens to be the case in James Patterson’s new young adult novel First Love.
In the case of First Love, co-written by Emily Raymond, it is hard to tell that two authors were involved as everything has been blended nicely. To be honest though, even though the book description caught my eye it was fairly difficult to chug my way to chapter 3…but I was rewarded with a pick-up in the action and a story that satisfied the craving that was induced when I first picked it up. Even though the main character is a bit younger than I am it was not hard to become nostalgic with her butterflies and worries involving her, you guessed it, first love. I rooted for her every step of the way in this cross-country trip of independence and courage. As with any life changing journey, they do face hardships (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it!). Personally, the story did not turn out the way I was wishing but I suppose it’s a lesson in life- to live and love while you can.
The Devil’s Workshop
By: Alex Grecian
The Murder Squad is back in the third installment of the series, and this time they are hunting escaped prisoners. Inspector Day and Sergeant Hammersmith think this is a cut-and-dry case of capture the murderer, however they soon learn that another famous murderer has resurfaced and is back to his old ways.
I have read all of the books in the Murder Squad series and each one is as good as the last. One of the best things about Grecian’s books is that you not only read the story from the good guys point of view, but also from the bad guys point of view. He gives us a look into the mind of the killers, and it’s quite exciting. This particular book puts Jack the Ripper back on the map and gives us an interesting twist on what happened to the mysterious murderer. As usual, Grecian sets up the ending for a 4th installment and I can’t wait for it to come out! If you like a good mystery and a quick read, try these books.
Summer House with Swimming Pool
By: Herman Koch
Dr. Marc Schlosser relives the dramatic events leading up to the medical mistake he made that killed Ralph Meier, a famous actor.
This is the second book I’ve read by Dutch author Koch and I liked it just as much as his first one, The Dinner. Koch’s books are very psychological, and do not contain many events. You spend most of the time reading about what the narrator is thinking about a certain situation rather than reading about the situation. This book was very graphic at times, since the main character is a doctor, and it could be considered a little disturbing, but it was still extremely interesting. The majority of the book is spent leading up to a very traumatic event for the doctor and his family, and after the event happens you’re left trying to figure out what really happened. The ending took me completely by surprise, but I was very happy with it. Koch’s books are definitely not for everyone, but if you like books that focus on human thoughts and emotions then give The Dinner and Summer House with Swimming Pool a try.
By: Veronica Roth
Allegiant is the third and final installment in the Divergent series. Tris Prior grew up in a city where people are divided into factions. She grew up with the Abnegation, who strive to live selflessly. But there is a dark side to the city. Some people, called “Divergent,” are anomalies who show an aptitude for many factions. Divergent people live in fear of discovery, many being killed in “accidents.” In Divergent, the first book in the trilogy, Tris discovers she is Divergent and, after joining the faction Dauntless, falls for a mysterious boy named Four. All through the series there is an overreaching mystery of what lies beyond the city’s limits. The second book, Insurgent, touches on this. Finally, in the third book the characters go beyond the city limits and discover what exists outside the city.
In a word, I describe the conclusion to the otherwise exciting Divergent trilogy as disappointing. The first two books are fantastic. Packed with action and romance, and set in a dystopian future reminiscent of The Giver. The third book just didn’t live up to my expectations. There was a huge buildup to finding out what was beyond the fence, and it was finally revealed at the beginning of the story. After that reveal, all of the other subplots became less important side notes to the larger story that emerged once the characters left the city. This made Allegiant seem disconnected from the other two books in the series. The ending fell flat because of this disconnect. As can be expected in a post Hunger Games world, a major character dies. I am rarely confused as to why an author kills off a character, and generally feel these deaths make a story better, and more real. Usually, character deaths serve a purpose in the narrative, and I love a good cry, but in this case most of the deaths were not sad at all. The only one that was sad, was also terribly confusing and added to my disappointment.
So, why read Allegiant? The main reason is for readers of the first two books to find out what happens to all the characters. In spite of my disappointment, I feel like it was worth reading for this reason. The first two books were very good, and I still recommend them to anyone who enjoys dystopian literature like The Hunger Games. Also, it’s a lot of fun to see Tris, Four and the gang one more time. Four finally gets to be a point of view character, with half of the chapters dedicated to him. While this added to the disconnect of Allegiant from the first two books in the series, it was novel to see Tris from his perspective. And, although I find the ending disappointing, the series is not without closure. All loose ends get tied up, and all major questions get answered.
The Divergent Trilogy:
If you like dystopian literature like the Divergent series you might enjoy these Young Adult books: