Review: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This Is How It Always Is is a character-driven story about a family who’s youngest son starts identifying as a girl around age 5. I found the topic and emotions to be fascinating, but the details about every member of the family were too much for me. I like to get to know characters when reading a book, but I am always more interested in plot than character development. It felt necessary to examine both parents in this story, but it was sometimes too much, especially in regards to the mother’s career. I loved learning about Claude and his transformation into Poppy. I adored the […]

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Review: The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

The Museum of Extraordinary Things was not a good fit for me. It was recommended to me by a coworker, and when she described the side-show museum, I immediately wanted to read it. I love books about the circus, and a museum of oddities is kind of like a circus, right? Sadly, this book was too character-driven for my taste. There just wasn’t enough plot. The book jumps back and forth between past and present and between two main characters. Coralie is living on Coney Island with her father. She has been appearing as the Mermaid Girl in his museum since she was ten years old. Eddie […]

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Review: Water on the Moon by Jean P. Moore

Water on the Moon by Jean P. Moore

Water on the Moon was not quite what I was expecting. It’s a character-driven story about a middle aged woman already hurt by divorce who’s world is shaken when a small plane crashes into her house. Luckily, she and her teenage, twin daughters are unharmed and taken in by a caring neighbor. Lidia quickly gets wrapped up in the investigation into the pilot and her seeming connection to Lidia. I was hoping for more from the plot of this book. It’s rather slow, and since it’s a short book, there just wasn’t enough substance to satisfy me. I did really enjoy the relationships between Lidia and her […]

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On finally reading Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables

I have loved Anne of Green Gables since I was about 9 years old. My Aunt Jill bought my sister an illustrated copy of the book and read some of it aloud to us when they visited one time. I think that’s when I found out that my cousin, Anne, is named after Anne Shirley. The “e” in her name suddenly became very important. Years later my sister and I became obsessed with the Canadian mini-series. We had tapped it off of TV – the Disney Channel, I think – and we watched it over and over again. Years later I bought the DVDs (for […]

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Review: The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch

The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch

The Movie Version is a YA contemporary book that is much more character-driven than I was hoping. It’s written in first person from Amelia’s point of view. She is a high school junior, who hero-worships her older brother, Toby. He’s kind of an ultimate cool guy, who does a little more drinking and drugs for my taste. Toby and Amelia share a love of movies. They’re always quoting movies to each other instead of having actual conversation. And they imagine the “movie version” of their lives. I really liked the premise of this book. In execution, I did not enjoy it as much as I […]

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Review: The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

I could not put this book down. The Things We Wish Were True follows a group of neighbors over one summer. Everyone is keeping secrets, and they unfold slowly in this character-driven novel. The characters are brought together by a boy’s near-drowning at the neighborhood pool. The book switches between many characters, and that’s what kept my interest since character-driven books aren’t usually my thing. Jencey has recently moved back to Sycamore Glen to live with her parents. She runs into Bryte, her former best friend, at the neighborhood pool. Bryte is now married to Jencey’s first love, Everett. Jencey begins falling for Lance, a father of 2 whose wife […]

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Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

I was really not sure what to expect with We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I read this book because it’s Libby’s favorite book in Holding Up the Universe, and I was curious about it after hearing it mentioned so often in that book. It’s a gothic “horror” novel, and it was one of those books where I wasn’t quite sure what was going on half of the time. I wasn’t sure what was real and what was not. I’m still not sure. Merricat (Mary Catherine Blackwood) lives with her older sister, Constance, and her ailing uncle, Julian. They were the only survivors of a mass […]

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Review: Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty is a very character-driven book. I heard it described as a dysfunctional family novel, which is why I wanted to read it, and while the characters are certainly dysfunctional, I don’t know if this book qualifies for that “genre.” To me dysfunctional family stories usually have secrets and lies but also confrontation and drama. There are secrets in this book, but almost no action. I was very disappointed. Fern and Edgar are happily married in 1976. They’re living an extravigant life paid for with her parent’s money. Edgar has chosen not to take over his father’s steel business […]

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