seven of fifty two: anna & the french kiss

June 25th, 2012

Started: June 19

Finished: June 20

did this book make me cry? yes. did i stay up too late using a headlamp because my husband had to sleep? yes. did it give me a new favorite book boyfriend? heck yes. i know. blasphemy, right?! what happened to peeta? oh get over it, i can change my mind.

so in a nutshell, this book is about Anna, who is sent to a fancy schmancy boarding school in Paris. she’s all cranky about it because it’s her senior year and she’s all worried about missing her best friend and an almost boyfriend. excuse me while i get cranky with her for being cranky for spending her last year of high school in Paris. IT’S PARIS FOR PETE’S SAKE! ok, i’m done – don’t mind me. anyway, enter St. Clair, a boy with an international flair, who shows her all that Paris has to offer. they become dear friends and it’s the cutest thing ever. honestly, it will leave you feeling giddy.

Stephanie Perkins has a second book, Lola and the Boy Next Door and i can’t wait to get my hands on it!

five of fifty two: wonder

June 13th, 2012

Started: May 23

Finished: June 9

this was a suggested read from my SIL, kate. i’m so glad i listened to her! what happens on these pages is a very real and somewhat tragic, but hopeful story. it begins from the point of view of auggie, a boy who is about to enter 5th grade. and he is no “normal” boy. he has a combination of rare genetic disorders that have severely distorted his facial features. auggie is ok with who he is … but the new kids at school, and even some of his family members, still have a way to go on their journey of accepting auggie despite his different appearance.

if you’ve ever been the kid being bullied, the bully, or the kid that just sat by and watched it all happen, this book will speak to you. auggie is so relatable and has such a sense of humor. his teenage sister is such a … teenager. his friends are people that i wish i had the pleasure of knowing in real life. and his parents are an amazing combination of cheerleaders and soldiers for his cause.

i absolutely loved the way ms. palacio jumped around with the points of view. i felt like i really knew the different characters and where they were coming from. and it certainly reminded me that there is always more than one side to every story.

three & four of fifty two

May 20th, 2012

Divergent Started: May 10

Divergent Finished: May 14

Insurgent Started: May 14

Insurgent Finished: May 16

you all know how much i looooovvveeeddd Hunger Games. and i had heard through the grapvine that people who love HG will love these too. boy were they right!

i’m going to try really hard not to spoil anything so i’ll keep this brief. the main character, beatrice, reminds me a lot of katniss. she’s strong. she has some life changing choices to make. and she seems to be in constant conflict with herself. beatrice lives in a world where the people are broken up into factions. when she turns 16, she must decide whether to stay in the faction she was born in, or choose another faction. let me tell you, there are so many twists and turns and surprises. and if you’re looking for a another great book boyfriend, these books deliver.

while i really enjoyed the books and the creativity of veronica roth, i think i’m going to have to cool it on the dystopian novels for awhile – too many weird dreams!

two of fifty two: the fault in our stars

May 14th, 2012

Started: May 8

Finished: May 9

I don’t just read books, I seem to devour them. And this book was no exception.

This is a love story. But it is so much more than just that. Hazel is a reclusive 16 year old with cancer. Her mother goads her into attending a support group for teenagers surviving with the terrible disease. It is in that support group that she meets Augustus. The book then becomes their story.

Hazel and Gus are extremely different in how they react to their disease, but they both do so with so much humor, I found myself sometimes laughing out loud. But I remembered that they are teenagers. With cancer. And my heart broke over and over again.

John Green writes with such purpose. Each line has some lesson in it. It stays with you. And – as every good story should – it makes you take s step back and marvel at the world around you.

one of fifty two: the great gatsby

May 5th, 2012

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started: Tuesday, May 1

finished: Saturday, May 5

if i could start college all over again, i think i might have fancied studying to be a high school lit teacher. sitting around, talking about the green light, the valley of ashes, and Gatsby’s dreams makes me swoon a bit. of course, the raging hormones, pimples, and foul-mouthed teenagers do turn me off. but i digress.

while first reading this novel in 11th (or was it 12th) grade, i remember loving the manner in which Fitzgerald described Daisy Buchanan.

“I looked back at my cousin who began to ask me questions in her low, thrilling voice. It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again. Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth – but there was an excitement in her voice that men who cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered “Listen”, a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour.” (pg. 25)

while i had a vivid memory of Daisy, i can’t say that i remembered all of the other details, but i was once again taken back to the roaring twenties and those gorgeous summer parties thrown by Gatsby. in my head, the lawn is the most lush green possible. and there are low, well-trimmed hedges that outline the lawn. all of the women are wearing beautiful evening gowns and throwing their heads back in laughter while nursing a sidecar. the men are wearing pastel suits, one hand holding a cigarette, the other on the small of the back of the lady who accompanied them. it was all so mysterious and romantic. and that is what a great novel does. it takes you to another time and place. with people who you would never have the chance to meet otherwise.

the web woven between Daisy, Tom, Myrtle, Wilson, Jordan, Nick, and Gatsby makes the modern day soap operas blush. the novel is filled with scandal, lies, and tragedy. and you see what men will do for women that they love. women, who are in one way or another, taken from them.

i am so glad that this was my first book of my fifty two. if you haven’t read this since high school, by golly, read it again! when there aren’t assignments and deadlines looming over your head, you can truly appreciate the book for what it is. and that, my dear, is up to you.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”     (pg. 154)