The Clasp by Sloane Crosley These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

Summer Reading: Part Five

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

WHAT'S THE DEAL? Four mysterious men turn up to Silverlake one day and murder Saba's father and neighbour before capturing her twin brother and riding off into the storm. So, she sets off on a quest to find her brother with her little sister in tow. The sisters encounter trouble in Hopetown before joining forces with a maverick called Jack and a band of warrior women called the Free Hawks. Together, they hunt down Saba's brother in Freedom Field. 

ANY GOOD? I was supposed to read this for this month's Reading Mutiny but got a little delayed. Well, to be honest, I was going to choose How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles but changed my mind at the last minute. I always choose contemporary YA, so thought I should change it up, even though bad things sometimes happen on Project Runway when contestants 'change it up'. So, with great trepidation I started Blood Red Road and thankfully the gamble paid off because I really enjoyed it! It was fast, lively, and full of interesting characters. 

I won't lie, it took a while to get used to the writing style. I didn't read anything about the book prior to purchasing it, so I wasn't sure where it was set or anything. As a result, I couldn't work out if the accent was supposed to be West Country (British) or Southern (US). Turns out it was the latter but written out on the page, both accents are quite similar. 

However, Saba was such a great main character that I soon got over the accent confusion. I liked that she knew her own mind and was a bit of a wild one who suffered from Summer Robertsesque rage blackouts (although she called it the 'red hot'). Her band of merry men and women grew on me and I'm interested to see what becomes of De Malo. The romance element was a bit cringey at times with the heartstone but perhaps that plays more of a part in the next instalment, which I am greatly looking forward to reading.

ADD TO BASKET? If you're itching for a good, old fashioned quest story.  

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

WHAT'S THE DEAL? After a bad break up, Bria pushed herself out of her comfort zone and books herself onto a group tour around Central America. However, a chance encounter with a brother/sister backpacking duo causes her to rethink the group tour in favour of exploring things outside of the itinerary. Over the course of the trip, Bria ponders questions about what it means to travel and life in general. 

ANY GOOD? I've been trying to get hold of this book for AGES! Eventually, I tracked down a copy whilst I tried to avoid all the glowing reviews containing any spoilers. I'm glad to report, it was as good as I expected. I think everyone will get something out of this book. The general message is that you have to go out there and choose your own adventure because life is what you make it. I liked that  Kirsten Hubbard showed all types of travel in the book- everyone's got their own style. Some people like to go on group tours and have everything scheduled to the minute, some people like to wing it off the beaten track, some people like to do a bit of both (like me!). Anyway, this is definitely a special book that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. I kind of want to go to Belize now. Oh and the illustrations were delightful! 

ADD TO BASKET? If you're in the mood to ponder some of the big questions.

The Smart One by Jennifer Close 
WHAT'S THE DEAL? Weezy Coffey suddenly finds all of her grown up children back home with plenty of physical and mental baggage. Over the course of the year, she watches them get up and dust their shoulders off whilst trying to be as helpful as possible without meddling too much. 

ANY GOOD? This was on my summer reading list. I'm not sure why the title was changed for the UK edition (ours is Things We Need) but anyway it's not one for readers who want a lot of action, drama, and romance. However, fans of Girls in White Dresses won't be disappointed. It's an intense look at a middle class family all at different stages of their lives. With alternating POV's, Close carefully layers, unravels, and then adds new layers to her characters as they pull themselves out of debt, finding new jobs, deal with rejection, and create new lives. Overall, I liked this delicately crafted family portrait.

ADD TO BASKET? If you enjoyed Girls in White Dresses or television shows such as Brothers & Sisters. 

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