Summer is quickly (and sadly) winding down, but I'm back with a few more books to share! A couple of months ago I posted about the first few books I read for the Book Sparks Summer Reading Challenge. Today I'm back to share a couple of the other books I read courtesy of Book Sparks and NetGalley!
Ghosting by Edith Pattau
"On a hot summer night in a Midwestern town, a high school teenage prank goes horrifically awry. Alcohol, guns, and a dare. Within minutes, as events collide, innocents becomes victims—with tragic outcomes altering lives forever, a grisly and unfortunate scenario all too familiar from current real-life headlines. But victims can also become survivors, and as we come to know each character through his/her own distinctive voice and their interactions with one another, we see how, despite pain and guilt, they can reach out to one another, find a new equilibrium, and survive." -via goodreads
My thoughts: This was easily one of the best books I've read so far in 2014. It's told from multiple view points of a group of teenagers in verse form. At first I didn't think I would be able to get into, but it took all of three pages and I was hooked. As soon as you're introduced to each of the characters you have a clear picture in your head of who they are. Pattau so beautifully linked together old friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, and new friends in a story with so much truth. Without giving too much away it touches on mental illness, gun violence, teenager drug and alcohol use. Peer pressure. Pressure from parents. And so many other realistic issues that today's youth face on a regular basis. She highlights how a seemingly harmless action or prank can cause a chain reaction of events with horrible consequences. I think this would be perfect for a middle school or early high school required reading list. (5 stars)
Ghosting will be released on the 19th but you can pre-order it on Amazon here!
by Taylor Jenkins
"When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for? This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after." -via goodreads
My thoughts: I had mixed feelings about this book-- I liked it at times, but really I found myself wanting it to be over. It read a little bit like a conversation with your BFF, which is great, but if I want that I'll call up a friend and talk about real life. There were a few lines that made me laugh and a few places where I think anyone in a relationship could relate, but overall I was bored and didn't really care what happened in the end.
I couldn't connect with the book and I guess I should have known from the synopsis. If I was having marital issues, our first solution would not be to split up for a year- so it wasn't realistic to me (I know it's fiction, but still), and I didn't find it witty or charming enough to be likable otherwise. The ending was cute and predictable, but it reminded me of a Hallmark movie. While I didn't like it, it has over 4 stars on Goodreads, so I was definitely in the minority. (2 stars)
by Kris Radish
"A woman who worries about carrying a .38 special in her purse, nearly drowns in a desert canyon, flies into the war in Bosnia, dances with the FBI, tells Geraldo he shouldn’t put guests in hotel rooms with rats and spends time with murderers, has more than a few stories to tell. Gravel on the Side of the Road-True Stories From a Broad Who Has Been There is a daring and revealing adventure itself. Beloved novelist Kris Radish returns to her non-fiction beginnings with her first, but not last, book of autobiographical essays. Her writing career has spanned four decades and has included award winning newspaper work, magazine features, a national syndicated column, eleven books and enough stories and adventures to fill up many more. Radish’s talent for telling it like it is, sharing the wit and wisdom of a life lived mostly on her own terms and her keen sense of humor are highlighted in these stories- some of them old- some of them new, but all of them a glimpse into worlds many never dare to enter. This author always lives in a world where nothing is sacred but the sweet emotions of the heart. Kris is definitely a broad who has been there." -via goodreads
My thoughts: I love non-fiction so I was really excited what I saw this on the list for the summer reading challenge. I had no familiarity with Kris Radish and didn't really know what to expect. The book wasn't exactly what I was expecting but I enjoyed Gravel quite a bit. Some of the stories are hilarious, while others tug at your heartstrings. One of my favorite stories was the chapter, The Mothers in Bosnia, you could picture everything she was describing, and I found her thoughts and wishes to be so relevant to so much of the heartbreak that is going on in so many parts of the world right now.
"I do not want to astonish. What I want is to be home. I want everyone to be home. I want those women to fly back into Sarajevo with a plane full of food and medical supplies and a secret potion for peace."
If you're a fan of short stories I would definitely recommend this book. Radish gives you an insight to so many people, places, and ideas. (3 stars)