I’m finally completely caught up on my reviews and on sharing my recent reads. Yay! It feels so good to be more on top of things, although I do still have a couple of books from January that I think I’ll be returning to the library unread. Oh well. You can’t win them all.
Books I’ve read recently
A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen
My boss recommended this book because of the taxonomy tie-in. We saw a presentation at a conference a while back about taxonomy, and it’s something our company desperately needs, but that’s actually a really small aspect of the book. Spencer, the main character, likes to organize things in his mind by drawing taxonomies. It’s a little different from the website or library taxonomy that I was thinking about.
Spencer has Tueretts, but it’s a minor part of the book, which I loved. It was handled as a normal characteristic, like him being a nerd, which he also totally was, so of course I loved that too. There were a lot of quirky elements in this book, such as Magic the Gathering, wrestling, musicals, etc., and they all made this a more fun read for me.
Anyway, Spencer and Hope are neighbors and best friends over their teenage years. I loved getting inside both of their heads: Spencer because he’s the narrator and Hope through letters and conversations with her sister Janie. This book is quite sad at times, but also funny and fun and light at other times. It’s sort of character-driven but doesn’t dive in too, too deep since it spans many years.
It was cute but nothing really stand out. Had it not been for all the nerdy stuff, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much.
It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany
I heard about this book sometime last year, and I have been trying to get to it ever since. I finally broke down and reserved the audiobook on Overdrive, but it seemed like such a timely read with the recent #MeToo movement. Amber and Tyler have been neighbors and best friends since they were young teens. He’s in love with her, but somehow it just never worked out. When Amber is engaged but having second thoughts, she shows some interest in Tyler, and he rapes her.
I knew what was coming because I knew what this book was about, so it was a bit slow at the beginning. The book alternates between Amber’s and Tyler’s points of view, and it also jumps around in time a bit. What stood out to me about this book is that it’s an interesting look at how rape might look; it’s not always violent or performed by an unknown person. And it’s not always super clear cut. There’s a lot of factors at play, and Tyler didn’t even recall what he’d done initially.
There were a lots of other complicated characteristics about both characters. This book would make a great book club read. There’s so much to discuss!
The audiobook had two narrators, and I listened to it on 1.25 speed because the story was a bit slow for my taste. That made the reader for Tyler sound just right (I guess he was a slow reader initially), but then the reader for Amber was super fast. I went with it, but it did make it a little tricky.
I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
I learned about the Girly Book Club recently because of a podcast episode, and this book was their January selection, so I decided to check it out. I was totally sucked in at the start. A woman sees girls on a train flirting with two men just out of prison, and she struggles with whether or not to call their parents. When one of the girls goes missing, she gets involved in the case as a witness.
It was so interesting that she even thought of calling the parents. I would never do that. I don’t think I would have even said anything to the girls.
The majority of the book takes place 1 year later as the investigation is still on going. It alternates between Ella, the witness, Henry, the father, Sarah, the best friend (the other girl on the train), and Matthew, the private investigator who’s hired by the witness. With those four people, the reader gets a good picture of everything involved. There was also the perfect amount of backstory on each character.
The suspense was pretty good, but it did get a bit slow in the middle. That said I read this book in one weekend, and I was happy with the ending.
Piper by Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg, illustrated by Jeff Stokely
I love Jay Asher because The Future of Us is one of my favorite books. I have wanted to read this book since it came out, but somehow I didn’t realize it was a graphic novel. And I thought it was middle grade, not young adult, which I’m glad about because there was some rather graphic sexual language.
This book is a retelling of the Pied Piper. It’s rather dark, although not as dark as the original. And it has an added romance sub-plot, which I enjoyed. It was a little hard to follow at times, but I think that may be because I don’t read many graphic novels, and I relied more on the words than the illustrations.
I read it quickly in one sitting, and I did enjoy it.
What good books have you read recently?
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