Sunday, May 13, 2012

Reading recap 5/13

Since I try to post weekly, you'd think I'd have an easier time remembering what I read from one week to the next, but it always seems to be a struggle! (I'm blaming it on pregnancy brain . . . for now.)

I found--and devoured--Ida B. by Katherine Hannigan. This was another great middle grade book (why did I  not know there were so many amazing middle grade writers out there?). I didn't like it quite as much as True (Sort of), but it was a lovely story about Ida B., who lives an idyllic life on a farm with her parents until her mom gets sick, Ida B. has to go to public school (instead of being homeschooled) and she generally thinks her world is falling apart. But Ida B. has a plan to save everything . . . maybe. The writing was sharp and the characters were interesting--I was amazed at how Hannigan managed to keep things interesting even when it was only Ida B. rambling around the woods on her own.

I also read Eve Marie Mont's A Breath of Eyre. I'm still mulling over what I think about this one. I liked the basic premise--a 16-year-old girl named Emma finds herself living out Jane Eyre's storyline after getting struck by lightning. For once, an adaptation author seemed not only familiar with the original story but capable of thinking and writing critically about it (I suspect that Mont has some kind of literature background). Emma flips back and forth between her own story and Jane's, and makes some important discoveries about herself along the way. While I really wanted to love this book, ultimately I didn't. I thought there were some great intense scenes between Emma and her love interest, but I also found some of the points the book made a little extreme/dramatic and at times contradictory. (Possibly I'm also influenced by the fact that Mont is ultimately critical of Rochester, and I had a huge crush on him in high school and am apparently not quite over a residual fondness for the character. That, and the fact that I know a fair amount about 19th century British Women's literature.) For instance, after coming across critical of Rochester's actions, Mont still paves the way for a parallel romance in Emma's real life. However, I liked it enough that I'd probably read the sequel (which picks up Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter).

I started, but couldn't finish, Kevin Wilson's The Family Fang (the family was ultimately a little too dysfunctional for me--it was painful to read. I'm pretty sure that was the point, but it still didn't hook me).

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