December Reading Wrap-Up

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?


17 thoughts on “December Reading Wrap-Up

  1. Elodie says:

    So…I haven’t read any of those yet. But as always, they need to go on my TBR! I’m quite intrigued by STORY OF A GIRL and BLOOD RED ROAD…Thanks for the rec Katy and glad you made it to Florida safely! (and that you’re feeling better <3))

  2. Kari says:

    I also have had A NORTHERN LIGHT and STORY OF A GIRL on my bookshelf for *years.* I don’t think I’ll pick up either any time soon, but, good to know they may be good go-tos in the future if I’m stuck. Also, I love hearing recs from authors that I respect. I feel I would have discovered it anyway, but hearing Veronica Roth talk about it definitely shoved it to the top of my TBR.

  3. mandiebaxter says:

    Got a little worried! Just DL’d my life after now the other day and got it confused with the How I Live Now title. Had to double check what I DL’d! Loved Story of a Girl. Have Perfect Ruin audio book (glad it’s good. Wasn’t the biggest fan of her other series so I’m hoping I like this one) and part way through Blood Red Road.

    In December I read Origin, Dare You To, Crash Into You, Sweet Thing, Let The Sky Fall, Things I Can’t Forget, Racing Savanah, and Dangerous Girls. Had started Holiday Sparks and Coty of Glass. Finished HS (and Snowbound with the CEO and kiss me at midnight) 1/1. Almost done with City of Glass. I think I need to work that hard at writing this month!

    • katyupperman says:

      Ooh! I loved DANGEROUS GIRLS! You’ll have to let me know your thoughts on MY LIFE AFTER NOW. It was one I read for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge. I really like Miranda Kenneally’s books, but I haven’t read RACING SAVANNAH yet. I’ll have to hunt down a copy soon. (Where do you buy books in this town? Amazon? :-))

  4. Liz Parker says:

    I’m still impressed with how many books you read despite the move. I only got through two in December: Fangirl and Throne of Glass. I loved them both 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Well, four of those books were on audio and I listened to them while driving. Sure helped move the trip along. 🙂 I love FANGIRL, and I have THRONE OF GLASS. Perhaps I should pick it up next!

  5. Krispy says:

    It’s embarrassing but my reading slump hit me hard at the end of the year, so I didn’t finish one book in December! I’ve been re-reading Hamlet and reading JUST ONE YEAR though! Both enjoyable! I’m just not in a reading mood! Hope to finish both soon and get back into reading in January.

    I’ve been meaning to read both TELL THE WOLVES I’M HOME and A NORTHERN LIGHT. I also feel exactly as you do about HOW I LIVE NOW. The voice was terrific and I was so surprised by how much it affected me by the time I finished (because I felt a bit distant from it while reading it), but I also couldn’t really get past the cousins thing and their age. Though I didn’t listen to the audiobook, oddly enough I almost felt like Daisy’s tone in the book was a little…not chipper but she seemed almost detached from the horrors around her – save in a few parts, especially towards the end.

    • katyupperman says:

      Okay, I’m really glad you’re with me on HOW I LIVE NOW, Alice. When I read the reviews after reading the book, I felt sort of lame for not being 100% on-board with the story. It definitely affected me, but I definitely had issues too. That said, I’d be curious to read more from Meg Rosoff. Oh, and please do read A NORTHERN LIGHT and WOLVES soon. They’re very different books, but both very beautiful. Happy New Year, lady!

  6. Carrie-Anne says:

    I’ve heard some positive reviews and some negative reviews for A Northern Night. Since I’ve been burnt so many times before by recent YA historical, I’m a bit leery of most books in the subgenre at the moment. However, I enjoyed Ms. Donnelly’s adult historical The Tea Rose (what I was able to read of it, anyway, before being overwhelmed by school obligations).

    I’m only now getting back into pleasure reading, while I can. I’m revisiting The Age of Innocence 20 years after I skimmed through it for an A+ book report in my 8th grade social-studies class. As an adult, I can see why I mostly only read the dialogue and short narrative paragraphs! Way too many superfluous descriptions and backstories that don’t advance the plot, and just bog down the worldbuilding after a point.

    • katyupperman says:

      I don’t read tons of historical YA, Carrie-Anne, but in my opinion, A NORTHERN LIGHT is very well done. It struck me as being a great balance of history and story and tension. I really loved it! You’ll have to let me know what you think if you decide to pick it up.

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