Book Rec: SHARP OBJECTS

Oh, look — I’m recommending an adult novel. Shocking, right? The thing is, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is too compelling not to talk about. (Incidentally, the last adult novel I recommended was also by Gillian Flynn, her 2012 thriller, Gone Girl. And  today I bought her sophomore effort, Dark Places. You might say I’m a fan…)

Sharp ObjectsFrom Goodreads:
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming. With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.

Gillian Flynn has an amazing talent for creating deplorable characters that you can’t wait to learn more about. It’s really a remarkable gift, the way she pens unreliable, insufferable, repulsive people, yet makes them so fascinating, you’re sad when their stories come to a close. That’s not to say that all of Sharp Object‘s characters are horrendous; there were a few people within the pages of this novel who allowed me to retain my faith in humanity. I can’t say more about them, though, because to do so would be to ruin the experience for you.

I won’t say too much about Sharp Object‘s plot, either, for fear of spoiling its twistiness, but I will tell you that this book is a freaking trip. It’s disturbing in the most captivating way, and I am not easily disturbed. I experienced one particularly gruesome scene (Amma at the hog farm, for those who’ve read) at the gym on the elliptical and pretty much had to pick my jaw up off the floor while trying (and failing) to maintain my pace. *shudder* Several times I had to put the book down and step away. There were many passages that made my eyes go wide with horror. I can’t even recall how many times, while reading, I looked over at my husband and said, “Holy hell. This book is fifty shades of effed up.”

I read Sharp Objects through my own filter, from the perspective of an appreciated daughter, a loving mother, and a human being with a soul, and while this is very clearly fiction, in the back of my mind I kept thinking that the things that went on in this story do actually happen in homes and towns across American. Terrifying. While it feels wrong to say I enjoyed this novel, I certainly found it an entrancing, page-turning read. If you’re looking for a psychological thriller and are not easily offended, disturbed  or freaked out, please do pick up Sharp Objects. (Big thanks to my mom for being NOTHING like Adora, and for lending me her copy of Sharp Objects!)

Tell me: What’s the last non-YA book you read and loved? 

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Currently…

(I originally got the idea for “Currently…” from Kate Hart, who snagged the idea from Amy Lukavics, who picked it up here.)

Loving

Hot apple cider. Random, but it’s been tasting extra yummy lately…
My new L’Oreal Hair Serum. Finally a product to counteract our hard water…
Trader Joe’s — I always feel so happy in that store…
Babies! On Sunday, one of my favorite friends had an adorable little boy. Yesterday I got to visit him and hold him… So fun!

Reading

I’m a few chapters from the end of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. Just like last year’s Gone Girl, Flynn’s debut is FREAKING ME OUT. So many deplorable, pitiable characters. So many visceral, disturbing images. Such astute, evocative language. I cannot put it down.

Watching

HBO’s Girls. Lena Dunham is brilliantly funny. Never before has a show made me enjoy cringing. Also, MTV’s Catfish. I have a mini-crush on Nev, and every single episode is absolutely captivating. (On the subject of TV, I’m ready for Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones to return!)

Thinking About

The end of my revision. I’ve incorporated all the feedback my agent and I discussed and I am loving the results. Just a few chapters left in my final read-through, a quick beta test, and then my manuscript will be on its way back to the inbox of Agent Victoria… Yay!

Anticipating

That quick beta test I mentioned above? I’m swapping manuscripts with one of my favorite blog friends. We both love to read and write upper contemporary YA (with lots of romance!), but oddly enough, we’ve never read each other’s work. That’s serving us well, though, because we’re both needing fresh eyes on our manuscripts. I can’t wait to read hers!

Listening To


Ho Hey by The Lumineers… Not exactly country, but this song rocks.

Wishing

For warmer weather! I acclimated to the pleasant temperatures of my new California home pretty quickly. Lately, though, it’s been freezing! Okay, that’s probably dramatic. Today it got up to 55, but in the mornings when I get up to run… Brrr! Hurry up, spring!

Making Me Happy

My loves… always.

What’s currently making YOU happy?

Reading Wrap-Up and Book of the Month

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway‘s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic. To participate, just answer the prompt on your blog and leave a link over at YA Highway.

This week’s question: What’s the best book you read in September?

I’m sadly behind on my reading wrap-ups. I haven’t done tons of reading in the last few months thanks to a big ol’ revision, but here are the books I’ve managed to knock off my To-Read list:

Breathe by Sarah Crossan (available October 2nd) – I enjoyed this dystopian’s concept and Sarah Crossan’s writing, and I look forward to finding out more about this world as the series progresses. That said, I had a little trouble connecting with the main characters, perhaps because there were three first-person narrators. I never felt fully immersed in any one protagonist’s life. Regardless, this one’s worth checking out next month, especially if you’re a fan of dystopian YA.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry – This was a very cool book, reminiscent of the gritty, no-holds-barred contemporaries of Simone Elkeles. Echo and Noah were both sympathetic main characters with distinct voices and fascinating backstories. I found myself rooting for them throughout the novel. My one criticism of this story was that their relationship was at times a bit… romance-novel-esque, which is to say, not exactly my taste. Still, this book is an entertaining read. I recommend it for lovers of more mature contemporary YA.

Skylark by Meagan Spooner – This disturbing world was so unlike anything I’ve read before, it took some time to get a grasp on all the details. Once I was immersed, though, I was intrigued by Lark’s plight and impressed by how she transformed into a smart, capable heroine. Meagan Spooner has a timeless writing style that was refreshing in this age of super-trendy teen speak. Definitely looking forward to this story’s continuation in Shadowlark.

Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook (available January, 2013) – I absolutely loved this beautiful, heartbreaking, fearless tale of two damaged teens on the run. It’s one of the best YA contemporaries I’ve read. I posted a full Bookanista review HERE.

And the best book I’ve read in the last few months…

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

From Goodreads: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Yes! An ADULT book is the best I’ve read in recent memory. I’ve seen Gone Girl recommended all over the place lately, specifically by Rachel, Ghenet, and Meredith (via Instagram), and when I purchased it at my local indie, the woman behind the counter couldn’t say enough about how fantastic she thought it was. So, I knew I was in for something good. I just didn’t know how good.

I refuse to give anything about Gone Girl away, but I will say that this book made me feel ALL THE FEELINGS. I was charmed, horrified, romanced, aghast, and sometimes even amused. Every chapter was a total trip, and most of the chapter endings left me reeling. In other words, Gone Girl is a page turner of the very best sort. Married protagonists Nick and Amy are tragically flawed, yet somehow weirdly lovable, and their marriage is a wreck. Nick and Amy are both presumably unreliable, which makes Gone Girl‘s mystery is a TRUE mystery. I had absolutely no idea what was coming next, and not even a guess at how the story would end. But, I was desperate to find out. And the writing! It’s fantastic, guys. Gillian Flynn is a master, and I pretty much wanted to stand up and applaud after every. Single. Paragraph. I’m a big fan of the thoughtful, well-placed adverb (yeah, yeah, they pave the road to hell… whatever), and let me tell you: Gillian Flynn ROCKS the deliberate adverb. All in all, Gone Girl is on my short list of 2012 favorites. It’s THAT GOOD.

So, have I raved enough? Will you please, please, please read Gone Girl?

Tell me: What’s the best book you’ve read recently?