Mini Reviews - Camp Edition
Hey y'all!Pleasant discovery - we can use the internet in the Interlochen library. First off, the Writing House is gorgeous and I can't wait for classes to start tomorrow and for me to hole up in there writing all the time. When the Writing House is closed, we can use the library for writing. Not to mention all the perfect hideaway spots and beautiful nooks of campus.It's going to be a great three weeks. Before Interlochen, I was at my camp camp, completely cut off from technology. Although I hated neglecting my blog (and none of my scheduled posts went up!), I loved being disconnected and just reading for a while. I tend to reread books at camp because at home, I'm usually reviewing. I reread The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier, and If I Stay by Gayle Forman, but the rest of my reads were all new. So without further ado, I hope you enjoy!
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Most of the books in YA considered "science fiction" nowadays lean towards dystopian, or paranormal. This is one of the most traditionally science fiction books, I think, in the genre today. With a postapocalyptic backdrop laced with fear and suspense, Rick Yancey also manages to coax heartfelt emotion, beautiful writing, and pulse-pounding action throughout the book. He does an excellent job of slipping into the mindset of a teenage girl and maintains the breathless excitement throughout the entire thing.There's a lot of backstory in this one, so it tends to lull in the middle but still kept me riveted throughout the entire thing. Plot twists, shaky trust, and shocking betrayals made everything sharper and kept me on my toes. I'm not a huge science fiction person, but I decided to give this one a try because of Yancey's awesome personality (he was so nice at his signing!) and the astonishing amount of praise that the book garnered. I was nervous going into a hyped-up book like this.I was really surprised by how much I loved this book. It took me a few sittings to get through it because of the length and the lull in the middle but Cassie was constantly facing challenges and decisions that made me so anxious to read about. Rick Yancey truly does torture his characters but that's part of what makes the read so excruciatingly good. I felt exhausted after I finished reading all the conflicts and confusion that led to this heart-stopping read.It was solid. It was long. It was exciting. It was pretty much everything that I hoped it would be. I loved Evan and Cassie and I loved the other points of view. He deftly weaves together different perspectives to create an almost seamless narrative. Parts of it could be confusing at times but it all knotted together at the end. I was really excited by this book and so happy it lived up to my expectations. If you're a fan of traditional sci-fi, post-apocalyptic stories, good romance, or stories with an intricate backstory, you'll probably enjoy this one.
Every Day by David Levithan
This was actually the first book by David Levithan alone that I've read. I read Dash & Lily's Book of Dares and fell in love with it, but that was more humorous and intelligent as opposed to soulful. I read Invisibility and that was good, but I didn't fall in love with it. I was absolutely head-over-heels for this one. Some of his meaningful musings about life and existence were interposed with descriptions of a romance that really got to me. It's an interesting plot, one that contributed to a very unique point of view and voice. The narrator - A - didn't know why his/her existence was the way it was, but his/her search for just one variable to stay the same led to a fascinating ripple effect.It explores time and love and perspectives in an interesting way that was also deeply melancholy. Everything is tinged with a bit of irrefutable sadness that it won't stay the same. Most books seem to be about main characters fighting for change but in this case, it was A trying to stay the same for once. Rhiannon and A's relationship was tough and difficult and also magical. It skipped past the honeymoon phase that many YA novels have and delved into their flaws.This book was so sad and happy and beautiful to me. It's just one of those books that really makes you take a look at yourself and the world and have a bit of an existential crisis by examining what everything's supposed to mean. There were a few scenes that hit me really hard and thoughts of A's that gave you a glimpse as to what his or her life really meant in the end. And what we want ours to mean.I love books that make me question what I know. This book definitely did. I actually borrowed a copy from somebody who likes to mark up her books, so I had the chance to underline a few passages that felt like they had been plucked from my head. There were paragraphs that articulated the types of meaningful questions I've been trying to articulate for years. The prose was elegant and clear, the characters were well-developed, and the book gripped me to where I couldn't put it down even for a second.
Five Summers by Una LaMarche
I love love love summer books. When May turns the corner, I'm immediately at the bookstore scooping up beach reads and summer romances and all sorts of contemporaries. I love paranormal and all that, but I love contemporaries in the summer. It ranges from poignant reads to sob stories to fluffy romances with heart. This one had a little bit of all of those.There are some books that feel like they have your own memories pressed into the pages. I'm such a camp person. This book was so dramatic and nostalgic all at once. This book has a lot of drama in it, but it's woven in so masterfully that it doesn't feel like fluff. It's a summer book, but it has substance to it. Fans of The Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita or the Camp Confidential series I devoured when I was younger will fall in love with this absorbing read with the perfect ratio of poignancy and humor.Scenes had the kind of vivid writing that reminded me of The Probability of Miracles and were completely submersive. The timing was really fantastic: some scenes had a soft, languid quality that made them linger while others were fast and emotional.Part of the draw was the complexity of the relationships. Over the past four years, things have gotten a lot more complicated for the girls. Going from them being such a huge part of each others' lives to being nothing has led to a huge disconnect that they struggle to get rid of. It was sad because all these characters grew up in different ways but heartwarming when they had to struggle and figure out where to pick up where they left off.It was beautiful, dramatic, cute in just enough ways to also keep it light enough for a beach read. I loved reading this book and it took me back to camp for a little while - granted, a lot more of a raw camp - but reminded me of all the good memories that I've had. If you love summer stories, camp reads, romance, or drama, I highly recommend this one.Thanks for reading! I'll still be on Twitter when I can and reading when I can, and I can't wait to add pieces to my writing blog when I get home! Have a great summer!Grace