Divergent by Veronica Roth
See my thoughts here. A highly recommended read.
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
In this dystopian novel, men die at the age of 25 and women die at the age of 20—so men take on multiple wives in the hopes of producing the next generation children who (hopefully) will have normal life spans. Rhine, as well as Jenna and Cecily, were pulled from their homes and made sister wives of Linden, who is controlled by his first generation (normally aging) father. I’m a little confused by this book; the entire time I felt like I was floating along in an interesting but unclear world. Everything—the world, the characters, the plot—was compelling but for some reason, probably because Rhine is also lost in the beginning, I was too. It’s a short book and more time spent on character development, especially the relationship between Rhine and the servant Gabriel, would have been helpful. The book is thought-provoking, though, and I thought it was so interesting how a book that is essentially about sex deals so little with it. This is actually impressive (yay clean YA!) or depressing (we should talk more candidly about the subject!); I’m not sure which. I probably won’t pick up the sequel but I don’t regret reading this one.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
This was a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking read. In a modern imagining of our world where love is considered a disease and at age eighteen every citizen has a procedure that prevents them from feeling deep emotions, Lena managed to befriend a boy who she thought was ‘cured.’ Alex actually is from the Wilds, where ‘Invalids’ have escaped…and where Lena hopes to go after realizing the lies society has created, which she willingly believed until meeting Alex. The book frequently quotes from The Book of Shhh, the almighty handbook of the society, which is so clever and perfectly ironic. Although this book was all about forbidden love, it made me want to fall in love again (which is distinctly different than being in love!). Delirium and books like it have received much press lately (which also could relate to Wither). I just read the sequel, Pandemonium, in manuscript form, so I look forward to sharing my thoughts on that novel when it becomes more available to the general public.
Beauty by Robin McKinley
This is a classic fairytale retelling that I hadn’t read before—so many people were shocked to find that out! The world had some nice details and I enjoyed that Beauty had sisters; so often the sisters aren’t including in a Beauty and the Beast retelling (thanks, Disney). Beauty and Beast’s interactions were also interesting. There was a bit of Jane and Rochester to it that I adored. I had a bit of difficulty getting into the story, though, because the way in which it was written (long descriptive paragraphs, lots of telling) felt dated. And well, it was written in 1978, so I can’t really find too much of a fault with it. Overall, I was not as infatuated with this as I hoped I would be, but I look forward to reading McKinley’s other Beauty and the Beast retelling, Rose Daughter.
Plus an assortment of delightful picture books (all highly recommended!):
Perfect Square by Michael Hall
Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas
This Plus That: Life's Little Equations by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean