Its'a amazing how many books you can go through when you give you brain a week off from everything else. Ok, so three and a bit books in two weeks might not sound like very many, but this is pretty impressive for my easily distracted brain right now. I'll start doing the odd full review again soon, but in the mean time here are three reads that got me thinking this summer...
The Paying Guests - Sarah Waters
This is the first Sarah Waters book I've read and it certainly won't be the last. Is that enough of a review do you think? If I don't end here then I'm in danger of offering you up an essay about it, but I shall continue and try to keep it brief. I've made a resolution to start reading a bit more adult fiction, and this book has set the bar, quite frankly - a masterclass in how to write a well-drawn, living breathing character. I was slightly daunted by the length (as I said, I get easily distracted), but there wasn't a single wasted word. The story of how the arrival of Lilian and Leonard impact on the formerly well-to-do Frances Wray and her mother is tense and romantic in equal measure.
Am staring to think I should have written a full review of this because now, as I'm typing, I have ALL THE THOUGHTS. Oh well.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - Jesse Andrews
I'm conflicted about this one. I enjoyed it. It was smart and funny (very funny) and refreshing, and I wish there was some way to bottle that feeling you get when you read something truly unique in YA fiction (sorry, but it just doesn't happen that often). I just wasn't entirely convinced by Andrews's attempts to subvert a the common dying teenager YA trope. It just felt like he should have pushed the button a bit more - tricky, I know - because I was just left with the feeling that the book hadn't quite managed to detach itself completely with that particular trope and that it had shied away from a few issues it touched upon. But whatever drawbacks I had with it, the voice is one of the most convincing I've read in recent months.
Since You've Been Gone - Morgan Matson
I enjoyed Roger and Amy's Epic Detour and I was looking for a good contemporary YA to get my teeth into. This had been sitting on my kindle for a while and seemed to fit the bill. However, I was THIS (imagine me holding up my fingers to indicate a short distance) close to giving up on it about half way through - shy Emily may have felt realistic, but my patience with her as a main character was starting to wane, I still hadn't gotten any sense of who her missing best friend Sloane really was and the flashbacks felt cumbersome. BUT, exactly slap bang int he middle, it drew me in and I started to care, really care, about all of them. I adore YA books about complicated friendships and I'm happy to say this one ended up being incredibly moving. Plus, there were also some excellent playlists hidden in these pages (although I much preferred Frank's taste in music to Emily's - sorry country fans).