Wow! I’m really slipping here! How did two weeks go by so quickly? I guess that means I need to dive right in with a full update.
Week 8: Code Name Verity (audio) by Elizabeth Wein. Read by Moreven Christie and Lucy Gaskell.
I was nervous about reading this book because I was afraid I’d get too emotional over it, not a good thing when you’re listening to a book while driving to work. But while it was gut-wrenching at times, it didn’t reduce me to blubbering just before reporting to work on the teen desk. And it was such a good book! I really liked the way Wein was careful to remain historically accurate, giving us an insight into the amazing contributions of women to the war effort during WWII. I admit to having a bit of trouble connecting to Verity. But the second part, told by Kittyhawk, more than makes up for it. In fact, it was Kittyhawk’s story that made me truly connect with Verity in the end.
Week 9: The Diviners (audio) by Libba Bray. Read by January LaVoy.
I enjoyed this book when I read it and loved it even more as an audio book. Libba Bray captured just the right level of creepy for me. The audio version is just that little bit creepier. I don’t think I could have listened to this right before bed. Evie is not always a sympathetic character. But she feels real and honest. She never quite manages to control her impulsiveness but does become less selfish over time. This is a long book with sections that are clearly setting up the rest of the series. But the individual story arc also is wrapped up in a satisfying way. No great cliffhangers here, just enough hints of a detailed and complex epic tale to come to have me eagerly anticipating the next installment.
Week 10: Back on track with one audio book and 3 print books
Crusher by Niall Leonard. Read by Daniel Weyman.
So few YA books lately are traditional mysteries. But Crusher breaks that trend. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it. I loved the British slang, though I can see how it might bother some readers. There was plenty of suspense, but most of the real violence takes place “off stage.” I enjoyed the twists and turns and did not see the ending coming.
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis.
After a string of darker, intense books, I needed something lighter. Enchanted filled that need perfectly. Kontis did a great job of weaving together many fairy tale references without forcing her own story to conform to any one of them. It was fun to identify all of the nods to traditional fairy tales, while trying to guess how Sunday and her frog prince were going to save the kingdom.
The Silence of Our Friends written by Mark Long & Jim Demonakos. Art by Nate Powell.
This is another excellent graphic novel. I really do need to make more of an effort to read graphic novels outside the challenge. This book is a view into one event in the larger Civil Rights struggle. By focusing on just one event, it is able to explore the implications for everyone involved, from the protestors to the children of the white TV reporter. One of the great things about a good graphic novel is that the illustrations help bring to life the events, making them more real or more immediate. Yet another Challenge book that my husband grabbed and devoured!
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.
I don’t even know where to start to talk about this book. It was not what I expected, though I’m not quite sure what I did expect. In the end, I couldn’t put it down. I loved it! I had to see where Sloan took the story. I fear that its reliance on current popular culture may mean it will become dated quickly. This book was nowhere near being on my radar before the Challenge. I would probably never have read it. Oh what a shame it would have been to miss it! Amazing! It is deceptively easy to read. But the more I think about it, the more parody and satire I see in it. I will definitely have to go back and read this one again!
After a week of real progress in my Challenge reading, I think it is time for another push to work through my “To Be Read” shelf.