Since I’m a writer and lover of all things YA, I thought I’d share a little bit about the books I’ve read so far this year. Unfortunately, I don’t read much. At the beginning of the year, Goodreads sent me a summary of everything I’d read last year and I hung my head in shame. Six books. I only read six books in 2014! I set my 2015 goal for double that, at least. The year’s a little more than half over and I’ve just finished my sixth book, so hopefully I’m on track.
I do sort of have an excuse for not reading so much. For starters, I’d rather be writing. That’s pretty much my motto for everything, but I definitely get distracted from books by my own work in progress. And the other thing that I do a lot of is critiquing. I’d say I critiqued about fifteen books from start to finish last year, which is a lot more work than just idly reading along. But, anyway, enough with the excuses. On with the books!
The first book I read this year was The Greenhouse by Audur Ava Olafsdottir. Definitely a break from my normal YA, but I absolutely loved this novel. It’s about a young man who travels from his home in Iceland to an unnamed European country to restore the rose garden at an ancient monastary. The novel is so slow-moving and thoughtful in a really lovely, dreamy way. I adored the main character, Lobbi, who’s struggling to find out who he is after losing his mother and becoming a father all in the course of a year. It might seem a little slow for some readers, but I really enjoyed the stream-of-conciousness style and the beautiful scenery.
The next thing I read was How It Ends by Laura Wiess. A friend recommended this novel a couple years ago and I’ve had it for a while, but I could never get very far. It’s about a teenager named Hanna and her neighbor Helen, who serves as a grandmotherly figure to her. The thing that irked me about this book was that the blurb on the back only matches the last third or so of the story, so it felt like it took forever to get to the good stuff. And maybe I’m getting old, or maybe I’m way too into this whole Strong Female Character Thing, but I was having trouble relating to Hanna’s starry-eyed crush on the bad boy who keeps ignoring her. I finally finished the book, but I only gave it two stars on Goodreads.
Every Day by David Levithan. I loved this book. It’s about a person who wakes up in a different body every day of his or her life. The writing is beautiful and flawless. I really appreicated the genderless main character who makes the tragic mistake of falling in love. Though A can’t stay in the same body, they go to great lengths to see their soulmate again and again. So great. I can’t recommend this enough. Five stars!
Next up, Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaria. This is a good book, but it has the fatal flaw of being nearly identical to another book, The Perks of Being A Wallflower. I enjoyed this novel, but felt a little cheated by the storyline (even though Chbosky approves). Of the two, Perks is definitely superior. I think Love Letters was missing some of the passion and humor that Perks served up so well. Anyway, I didn’t hate this book, but was a little disappointed, so I gave it three stars.
Ah, yes, Megan Erickson’s Trust the Focus. Since I’m currently writing an LGBT New Adult novel, I figured this was worth a read. But I was horribly, horribly wrong. See, I don’t like Romance novels. Not my thing. I was so frustrated by the push and pull of Justin and Landry’s relationship. It seemed so predictable to me. I never once worried whether or not they’d make up after a fight. Actually, I thought Justin was borderline abusive to Landry, so it was difficult for me to root for them. Anyway, I’d probably only give this one or two stars on Goodreads, but I decided not to rate it. It didn’t seem fair to the author for me to bring down her ratings when I just wasn’t the target audience. Lesson learned. I’ll just steer away from Romance novels from now on.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I just finished this last night, so I think I’m still processing. It usually takes me a week or two to decide if I really enjoyed a book. But, my initial thoughts are “yes yes yes.” The two main characters Violent and Finch meet in the school bell tower when they are both contemplating suicide. Finch is definitely a manic pixie dream boy annd Violet is one of those former-cheerleaders-with-a-deep-deep-soul characters. I’m still debating whether or not soulful pep squad captains actually exist, but I liked her nonetheless. Another novel with perfect prose. I gave it four stars.
That’s all for now. Hopefully I can keep up the pace and meet my 12 novel goal by the end of the year. I am currently trying to decide what to read next!