All the Dirty Parts by Daniel Handler

It took me a while to figure out how I felt about this book because of how shocking it was.  But in the end, I am a fan.  I love Daniel Handler and this didn’t change those feelings.

Told for the point of  view of a teenage boy, this book runs through all of the sexual thoughts that run through his head.  I have honestly never read a whole book that was this explicit and so it was quite a shock to my system.  But I read this short novel in one sitting and really loved all of the characters by the end (even if they were terrible).  It really delved into what it means to be a teenager, directly showing the struggles (not just sexually) that everyone struggles with in their teens.  Even though I didn’t relate to the main character at all, I found the book to be relatable.

A note: this is a very adult book.  A lot of reviews have been surprised that Lemony Snicket would write such an explicit book and worry about children picking it up.  To them I say, there is a reason he published this under his real name.  Please please please don’t give it to children.

4-stars

The Great Hibernation by Tara Dairman

I picked this up for the awesome cover and stayed for the great story.  When all of the adults and teenagers fall asleep, it is up to the kids to run the town and figure out what’s going on.

A fun adventure that gives power to children while reminding them how important the adults in their lives are.  It is also a great reminder of how terrifying children can be.  The Great Hibernation is a great bullying story disguised as a somewhat magical adventure.  Good overcomes evil and the underdog comes out victorious, which to me is a great and powerful story for children.  I wish this book had been around when I was a kid.

4-stars

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I always feel weird reviewing classics but here I go anyway!

This had been on my TBR list for a long time.  In fact, I bought a nice edition of it a while ago and only actually got around to reading it this year since I needed a pre-1900s book for my book challenge with my roommates.

This book made me realize a lot about myself as a reader (see here) and it took a while to read.  There were so many plot lines and, unfortunately for me, the focus was rarely on my favorite people.  But boy oh boy was I excited when my favorite couples had their moments.  I think that this is a very important historical document.  Eliot is so descriptive in her descriptions of the time period and is filled packed with references (most of which I sadly did not get).  I have actually found myself understanding some historical things better since I read it.  I’m glad I read Middlemarch and I enjoyed it while I was reading but I don’t think that I will be reading it again.

3-stars

How to Behave in a Crowd by Camille Bordas

This book was another example of a book I read where I liked the writing but didn’t care for the story.  I am fine with a book where nothing happens but I have a problem with it when book seems to promise plot.  If you don’t tell me it will be there, I won’t look for it.

That said, Bordas has created a great cast of characters.  They are all fully formed and all incredibly different.  I enjoyed spending some time in their world because they were so very different from me.  Bordas has clearly used her various life experiences to bring us these unique characters.

This book didn’t work for me but I will be giving her future books a chance.

3-stars

The Changeling by Victor LaValle

I’m usually pretty good at putting down a book and going to bed but that was not the case with The Changeling.  I went to bed having read 100 pages of the 400 page book and didn’t sleep until it was over.

The first third of the book is incredibly realistic, lulling you into a false sense of security.  Suddenly, though, LaValle introduces an island filled with women and children who live apart from the world.  And then he magically weaves in Danish folklore to create a completely unique and absolutely fabulous book.  I keep being shocked to see this listed as horror since I am not a horror person at all.  Instead, I would describe it as a creepy but beautiful magical realism book.  I can’t get over how surprised I was by this book.  Highly recommend.

5-stars