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Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
Somewhat embarrassed to admit I haven’t read Atkinson’s Life After Life yet. I will! Really! Behind the Scenes was Atkinson’s debut novel, which came out to much acclaim in 1995. A very British work that starts with the narrator’s conception (“I exist!”) and uses “footnotes” to travel back in time several generations. I would suggest sketching a family tree as you read it. This is an excellent, funny yet heartbreaking work about the quirks passed down through family. I definitely recommend it, especially to women. (And women who come from matriarchal families. My mom has four sisters. That’s all I have to say about that.)
Sapphire Ice (The Jewel Trilogy) by Hallee Bridgeman
Blogger Bridgeman writes edgy Christian romance novels. I’ll admit to not being quite as passionately in love with her writing as many of the Amazon reviewers seem to be, but Sapphire Ice was a good read. Not sappy or dripping with unrealistically good characters trying to make the novel “Christian.” I look forward to reading some more of Bridgeman’s work.
I listened to the CDs of this while driving back from Ohio with just Joshua in tow. I am glad I didn’t try to listen to it when I had the older ones as it deals with some very dark things – the narrator’s brother was killed in a school shooting. I think this is an important book about grief, Asperger’s, and other topics which I would highly recommend for your tweens, teens, and yourself. I am going to write another post about some juvenile books I think are making strides, and this is definitely one of them. The reader of the audio version, Angela Jayne Rogers, does a wonderful job capturing the voice of 10-year-old Caitlin.
Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, Book 3) by Marissa Meyer
Meyer hits the ball out of the park with yet another utterly readable novel in this YA series. If you haven’t read any of my raves about this series, here you go. It is a sci-fi series based on fairy tales. Cinderella is a cyborg. Riding Hood flies spaceships. Rapunzel is a hacker who has lived in solitude on a shuttle almost her entire life. I’m not a huge sci-fi fan, but Meyer’s lovable versions of classic characters in a unique portrayal of a world gripped by a flu epidemic are just awesome. I haven’t met anyone who has read these books and not LOVED them. I’m so glad this is a five-book series and I’m trying to wait patiently for the fourth installment.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Heller’s first fiction work is about a “world gripped by a flu epidemic” (ha!), only this time we’re in the aftermath. Nearly the entire population is wiped out. Hig lives a shanty of the life with gun-happy Bangley and his dog, Jasper.
I have no idea how I feel about this book. At first, I thought there was no way I would finish it because of the style of writing; it is mostly train-of-thought fragments. But given that the narrator is living in so much ravaged solitude, it sort of fits. And as the novel progressed, I grew to like Hig and wanted to know what happened. For me, it was hard to read. The fragments and the language, the killing and the scathed world. But it was something different for me and in a way I feel like it’s an important book.
Did you read anything great in April?