I’m so glad December is finally over! My family and I have moved across the country and we’re settling in to our new Florida home. I’m looking forward to the day I can say we’re completely unpacked, because then I can start binge reading again. Until then, here’s what I read in December…
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – Oh, this book is so very lovely. It’s one I might have overlooked if not for a recommendation from Corey Ann Haydu. I’m so glad I took her word regarding its amazingness. Main character June’s evolving relationship with her older sister is one that’s complicated and harsh and real, and it kept me turning pages late into the night. And then there are the descriptions of paintings and the woods and Finn and Toby’s apartment, not to mention June’s uncertain yet heartfelt teenage voice. Such a special book.
Perfect Ruin by Lauren Destefano – This one required significant suspension of disbelief, but once I was able to let go of my plausibility questions, I started to really enjoy it. Perfect Ruin makes use of some tried and true dystopian tropes, but thanks to Lauren DeStefano’s enchanting writing, manages to make them feel fresh and different. And holy cliffhanger! I’m ready for Book 2!
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (audiobook) – Historical fiction is not my genre of choice, but I adore Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution, and I as soon as I saw an A Northern Light audiobook at my library, I knew it would be perfect for my road trip across the country. A Northern Light is such a rich and beautiful novel. I loved learning about farm life in 1906, and I thought the way the mystery of Grace’s death was woven into Mattie’s story was truly brilliant. There were so many captivating characters in this story, and the way they all laced in and out of Mattie’s (and each other’s) day-to-day life was incredibly clever. Recommend!
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr (audiobook) – I’ve owned a physical copy of this book forever, and I’m a big fan of Sara Zarr’s Sweethearts, Once Was Lost, and How to Save a Life, yet for some reason I’ve neglected to pick up Story of a Girl. I’m happy to have finally remedied that problem, because this book is exceptional. Main character Deanna is so frank and complicated and relatable, and her relationships with her family and friends are interesting and complex. Sara Zarr herself reads the audiobook, which feels very personal and cool.
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (audiobook) – So… My feelings on this one are rather muddled. Overall, I thought it was an engaging and haunting story. The details of the war and Daisy’s plight are gripping, and the writing is some of the most beautiful and evocative I’ve read. That said, I had a hard time coming to terms with a pair of cousins (fourteen- and fifteen-years-old) falling passionately in love. Yikes. Also, this is a very somber and affecting story, and while the audiobook narrator read well, I found her voice too chipper for the tone of the story. She describes scenes of absolute horror with inflection that’s hard to take seriously. So, yes… I’m torn.
Blood Red Road by Moira Young (audiobook) – My friend Erin Bowman recommended this book to me awhile back, and I’m so glad I finally got a chance to read it. Blood Red Road is an action-packed survival story set in a terrifying post-apocalyptic future. Protagonist Saba is sharp and strong and very well characterized, love interest Jack is the best sort of smartass, and Saba’s siblings are both fascinating in their own right. This story never stopped being exciting, and I’m very much looking forward to reading Book 2, Rebel Heart.
Tell me… What’d you read in December?