July 2013 Book Reviews

I read 3 books in July. The first was a dense and long book, taking 2 weeks to read while moving and traveling. The other two were young adult novels. I am reading more YA books than normal right now as I work on revisions of my own YA novel. Broken Harbor by Tana French - I can't decide how I feel about Tana French's Broken Harbor, so I will start with the basics. Detective Kennedy and his partner Richie are assigned to a case in Broken Harbor where a family was brutally attacked. The husband and two children were killed and the wife was left in critical condition. The plot follows the detectives search for the murderer and the motive. Tana French's writing is beautiful and I couldn't put the book down. But, the book's resolution is dark along with the themes throughout the book. So I think there is in my problem. I'd like a little bit of optimism in my reading. Maybe that's why I read YA. However, if you like psychological / crime books, this is worth the read. 5 out of 7 stars.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen - Sarah Dessen is a well known, popular contemporary YA author. In this story, the protagonist, McLean is dealing with her parent's divorce. She lives with her father who moves every few months due to his job. Of course, she meets a boy in the story too. This story moves along quietly through subtle scenes and mood shifts towards resolution without huge conflicts and tension. It's an enjoyable book, but not the best YA book I've ever read. 4 out of 7 stars.

Book of the Month

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson - The Sky is Everywhere is a stunning YA debut by Jandy Nelson. The plot follows Lennie and her struggle to move forward after the sudden death of her older sister. In the midst of her grief, Lennie finds herself falling for one boy, but also connected closely with another boy, her sister's boyfriend. Each chapter starts with a poem written by Lennie and these poems add great substance to the book. The writing style is fun and clever and fits with the first person point of view. Here's an example that made me laugh - "Handfuls of bosom pouring out a minuscule black dress that I'm going to wear in broad daylight to band practice." More importantly, Nelson tackles grief and death, two tough subjects in a touching and realistic way. I absolutely loved this book. 7 out of 7 stars. 

I am looking for recommendations for my continuing quest to read solid young adult novels. I prefer to read contemporary YA right now (because of novel editing) so let me know your favorites! I am reading The Giver currently and might move on to some classic Madeline L'Engle after. As always, thanks for following along my journey. Remember The Adventures of Zelda releases Tuesday August 6th!