I read three awesome books last week. Seriously awesome. 5-stars on Goodreads awesome. (I run a tight Goodreads scoring ship, folks. I only give 5 stars to books I really, completely love.)
First I read Saundra Mitchell’s Shadowed Summer. It’s a beautiful Southern ghost story. Iris and her best friend Collette and Collette’s new boyfriend Ben explore the mystery of Elijah Landry’s disappearance—with some input from Elijah’s ghost. I was hooked from page 2, when Iris explains: We were bigger than Ondine, better than the ordinary people who came and went and never stopped to wonder what lay underneath the church’s tiger lilies to give them such bloodred hearts. Nobody but us seemed to wonder or bother or ask about anything, and we felt strangled being the only ones. That took me right back to growing up in a one-stoplight town, being drama kids in a town where Friday night football games seemed like the be-all end-all of the world. That longing for something bigger, something more. I read the book in one sitting. And I adored the growing pains between Collette and Iris, the little love triangle between them and Ben. Iris’s handling of that spoke volumes about her character. And the word choice seems perfect throughout, not just flinging words on the page, but such careful wordsmithing.
The same is true of Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, a heartbreakingly gorgeous post-apocalyptic novel. Mary’s grown up in a village surrounded by fences designed to keep the hungry Unconsecrated out. When those fences are breached, she has the dangerous opportunity to discover what else is out there. The author builds such a strong world that it lingers with you for days after you close the book. What stayed with me most was Mary’s determination to discover whether the ocean her mother told her about really exists. It will, I think, resonate with anyone who has big, scary dreams; anyone who doesn’t want to settle; anyone who’s wondered whether they might need more than love and marriage to be fulfilled. I’m recommending it to all my friends who loved The Hunger Games. (Which was pretty much all of my friends, actually.) I can’t wait for the sequel, The Dead-Tossed Waves. Does Carrie Ryan have some amazing title mojo or what?
Last but not least, I read The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks was one of my favorite books last year, so I don’t know why it took me so long to read some of her other work. She captures a very specific, amazingly winsome voice in her main character, Roo, who is smart and funny and honest and so confused. I made Steve go see a play by himself so I could devour it last Friday night. I just wanted to be best friends with Roo and tell her it’ll all be okay and give her some boy advice. For instance: boys who dismiss your feelings by saying you are being overly sensitive are asshats. Happily, there are three more books about Roo. Sadly, I bought The Boy Book yesterday and then left it on the train. But I’m going to buy it again. I’m that invested.
Buy these books! You will not regret it. I promise.