Nice to see you! It’s been a while, though throughout the last month or so, I have been reading so much. I went through a period where I really, really wanted to re-read many of my old books.
When my husband and I lived overseas, many years ago, I went through a period where all I wanted to read was Chick Lit. Specifically, Chick Lit set in London. My favorite author became Melissa Nathan, who I discovered when trying to find some Pride and Prejudice retellings. I read Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field, and was hooked. A few years later, I searched to see the title of her latest book and was shocked and saddened to learn that she had passed away from cancer, leaving a young family. So, much like Jane Austen, Ms. Nathan’s book list is short but wonderful.
After rereading Jasmin Field, I moved on to another Nathan favorite called The Nanny. The final in my Chick Lit do over was Beautiful People by Wendy Holden. This is one of those books where the characters’ stories, appearing to be disparate, end up intertwined in such a way that neither is screamingly obvious nor like a mystery that holds clues close to the vest. It finds a happy medium that makes the revelations interesting and delightful.
I have had some books for a long time that I have finally read for the first time, too. I have never read The Giver by Lois Lowry; of course, it has been around forever, and probably was one of the first YA titles that was about a dystopian society. I bought it so I could read it before the movie came out, but I never got to it since I never saw the movie. I thought it was a stand-alone book when I read it, and it wasn’t until recently that I saw that there were more than one. Volume 1 is so slim; you really don’t think that much can happen in such a short novel, but believe me, it packs a punch. Having said that, though, I can’t claim to have actually enjoyed the book. The ending, especially, made me (literally) throw the book across the room.
Laurie Halse Anderson, for me, is one of the deepest and most heavy of YA writers. I know whenever I read one of her books that it will raise just as many questions as it answers. The topics are honest and severe, and many times, uncomfortable. They are those books that “make you think.” What makes the material inviting is her writing. She is unflinching in her narrative, but the depth surrounds you, sometimes like a warm blanket, other times like you’re drowning. She’s definitely the gold standard of YA drama, have I made that clear? I have just finished The Impossible Knife of Memory which covers a dad haunted by a war; alcoholism, drug use, and trying to run from the past.
Kissing in Italian by Lauren Henderson is the follow-up to her first in the series, Flirting in Italian. While it may sound flippant and shallow, it is a wonderful story about a girl looking for answers about her heritage – her very existence. Violet has always felt like she looks nothing like her parents, and once she stumbles across a painting of a girl – an Italian girl – who looks just like her, she is more determined than ever to figure out if there’s something her now-divorced parents aren’t telling her. There’s definitely a mystery, a love interest and a few jaw-dropping moments in the first book that brings us to the conclusion in Kissing. I highly recommend it.