Wow, I didn't realize I had read so much this month until I added them up. And I even got a bit of editing done to boot! Very productive month. I marked books that are my top favorites with double asterisks. While I enjoyed many from this list, these are books that I'd give 5 stars to and would rave until the cows came home. Still meaning to go around to all the Faves of 2011 posts from Thursday too - after I take care of this nasty sunburn. 99 today. Oy! Have a good 4th of July US citizens!!
This was the last of Melina Marchetta's books that I needed to read, and while I did enjoy it, I think it's probably my least favorite of hers. The MC is strongly opinionated, very out-spoken and that sort of surprised me. She was so different from MM's other characters. It took me a while to get used to it. A central element of the plot was the issue of the Italian/Sicilian culture's view of sex and marriage and how a girl who was born out of wedlock deals with that. I usually love getting a look at different cultures, immersing myself in the language and the food and the people. In this case, I kind of felt like I was bombarded with all the bad things about the culture to the point where I sort of hated it. Later we see that the MC does love her culture and respects it, but I guess what I'm saying is that I would have liked to have seen some of that early on and that may have contributed to my feeling of this not being as good as her others.
2. Chasing Alliecat by Rebecca Fjelland Davis Yay! A Minnesota book and a Minnesota author. See my review here .
3. Matched by Ally Condie I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Some have said that there isn't any action and it's slow, but I kind of enjoyed the tension that seemed to build as we learn about all the little ways in which the society controlled its citizens. I'm looking forward to the sequel.
4. Burning For Revenge, Tomorrow Series #5 by John Marsden ** Loved this one - action packed and man, was my heart pounding at times! Seriously the best of the series so far. I'm not sure what's going to happen next and I love that feeling.
5. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi Not sure that I'd call it a dystopian or even an apocolyptic novel. It is set in a future very different from ours, where oil is scarce, the people are poor, and surviving means doing whatever it takes - even committing murder to get ahead. But, when the MC refuses to do so, we see that the human spirit is still very much alive. I enjoyed the more literary style of the novel, and I can see why it received a Prinz award because of it. But, I also felt like the plot was quite predictable. It's one of those books that barrels forward in a straight line because there's really no where else for it to go.
6. The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness** Loved it!! Review here.
7. Touching Darkness, Midnighter's Trilogy #2 by Scott Westerfeld Quick read, maybe not quite as good as the first, but still enjoyable.
8. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Loiuse Rennison** This book tickled my funny bone. Such a great voice and wacky character. I'll be checking out some of the others in the series soon.
9. Guitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry** I am seriously in love with this book. The prose was so unique and colorful and full of sensations. The plot was precious and quirky and youthful. The secondary characters were delightful (though a little hard to keep track of at first). I didn't quite understand the reasoning behind the dramatic ending, but enjoyed it nonetheless. A new fave!
10. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson I found the first half of the book to be engrossing, albeit a little slow. I was eager to know what was actually going on. But the second half left me with a lot to ponder. There were some believability issues here that nagged me, and the epilogue. Oh man, why did she have to add that? I seriously don't understand what that was all about.
11. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King It had a very plucky character that I loved, and a plot that was intriguing and felt so REAL. I'm still harboring bad feelings toward the main character's best friend Charlie - big heartbreak there. The only thing about this story is that the writing is almost too straightforward. I felt very strongly moved at times, so sad for the MC and I WANTED to cry for her, but I didn't. I can only think that maybe if the prose had been stronger then I would have had a stronger, tearier emotional response. Still highly recommended though!
12. Across the Universe by Beth Revis Yikes, I am so torn up about this book. I loved the whole premise of a girl waking up in space and trying to figure out what the deal is with this society she's been thrown into. The mystery was truly great - it gave me that "I don't want to put this down" feeling. BUT after it was over, I thought about some parts of it and I realized that it is just loaded with plausibility issues and plot holes. I'm sure that those who don't read a lot of science fiction can easily ignore this, and that's fine. It's just that I think the story could have been a whole lot stronger if Revis had thought these things through better.
13. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John** I loved this one!! It's about a girl who becomes manager of a high school hard rock band - only she herself is deaf. Hoping to make myself do a review soon. Awesome, tough character with a strong voice, great family dynamics and such a swoony kissing scene towards the end.