In case you didn’t know it, I have a love affair with all things New Orleans. And while technically this one isn’t set in the Big Easy, it’s close enough.
Bayou Perdu is a small little town in the backwoods of Louisiana. Close enough to New Orleans to be convenient but far enough to be in its own little world, it’s a typical small town. Everyone knows everyone else, and they’ve been through a lot together. Even hurricanes. But this one’s different. The one they call Katrina is so ominous that even Evangeline’s grandmother is scared and ready to evacuate.
With evacuation comes loss, especially when you return to nothing. Houses, personal belongings, friends, these are all things Evangeline is missing as she and her family impatiently wait it out far, far from Louisiana. She feels as if she’s stuck between two worlds, living two lives. The question soon becomes, which life will she and her family choose in the end?
A good story, an accurate retelling of events surrounding this devastating storm. A great read for young adults!
This book is so very much. It’s a love story, a tale of tragedy, a story of folktales, and a story of the Otherworlds in one ambitious undertaking.
Natalie has always felt different. No surprise, considering that she’s adopted. But there’s also the matter of seeing things that others can’t even imagine. It’s just part of who she is. And she’s especially comforted by late night visits from “Grandmother”, a kindly elderly apparition. Grandmother has always been a soothing force in her life, a source of comfort and stability. Until the night that Grandmother comes with an eerie warning: “You have three months to save him.” No other hints or clues as to who this “him” might be.
It’s around this time that she also begins seeing glimpses of another world, with other people. Sometimes what she sees is familiar but not really. Like peering through a looking glass into the past. And she’s not the only one with this ability. There’s Beau, who of course is handsome and kind and confident and all those wonderful things that teenagers love. But can he help figure out just who it is that’s in need of saving?
This debut novel by Emily Henry is beautiful. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going in, so it took me a bit longer to digest it all. It’s a somewhat lengthy book at almost 400 pages, but it’s necessary to fully tell the story. And don’t rush the ending like I did. As such, I found myself going back to reread on more than one occasion.
Let me preface this review by saying that this book isn’t for everybody. But then, most books aren’t. Still, violence and gun violence in particular is so prevalent in our society. And when the subject is a school shooting, that one place that absolutely should be safe, it makes it that much harder. But if you do choose to read it, you won’t be sorry.
54 minutes. That’s all it takes for young lives to be forever changed. In that span of time, one teen’s inner turmoil turns into revenge. And his high school classmates are the targets. They never saw it coming as they filed into the auditorium to listen to their principal’s speech. They find themselves cowering and scrambling for safety, all the while wondering why.
As the story is told from several different perspectives, we get a glimpse into the killer’s past to find out just what pushed him to this point. We also view the tragedy through the eyes of other students. What did they know? Could they have done anything to prevent what’s unfolding? Theirs are stories of bravery and heroism, lives saved and lives lost. Each character is unique and reads true to life, and the story flows easily in spite of the varying points of view.
As much as I enjoyed this story, I long for the day when a book such as this truly is fiction instead of something that sounds very plausible. Sadly, occurrences such as this one are far too common.
Want an intriguing book with more twists and turns than you can keep track of? Before you’re even halfway through? This latest offering from Barnabas Miller is that and more.
Theo has secrets, and some of them even she doesn’t know. It all goes back to “The Night in Question.” She has a scar, but not much else to pull her memories from. And to make things more difficult, she finds herself pulling away from those she’s always been closest to. So she loses herself in her documentaries as she becomes immersed in the lives of strangers, traveling the streets of New York.
And this is where the story becomes really confusing. You’ll second guess yourself and wonder if it’s all going to make sense at some point. And it will. But not easily.
If you like your stories neatly mapped out for you, then this one isn’t for you. It’s not logical, it’s not sequential, it doesn’t even make sense sometimes. But still, it’s mysterious and compelling enough to keep you reading if for no other reason than to find out just how exactly that scar came to be?!?
Jo Knowles is one of my favorite writers, one of those authors whose books are must-reads for me. So it’s a bit surprising that I’ve just recently gotten around to reading this older story. Such is the life of someone with a TBR list that’s longer than my lifespan is likely to be. But still, better late than never.
No action is without consequences, a lesson that Ellie learns the hard way when she becomes pregnant after “hooking up” at a party. It’s not the first time, but it’s the last time for a very long while. But that one night has repercussions for not just Ellie. Everyone in her inner circle is affected. Her best friend, Corinne, tries to help Ellie through what is easily the most difficult time in her young life. Her friend Caleb finds himself in a tough spot as Ellie’s friend but also a close friend of Josh, the baby’s father. And even Josh himself, an unlikeable character at first who gradually redeems himself.
This is an outstanding book. Because this is more than a story of an unintended teen pregnancy. It’s a story of dysfunctional families, ones that seem good on the surface but really aren’t. It’s a story of teenagers trying to fit in and find themselves. And it’s a story of young people trying to fill an inner void any way they can. Each and every character evokes emotion from the reader. Such is the brilliance of an author such as Jo Knowles. She makes us care about them all.
So this is a story that’s clearly meant for young adults. The question becomes, how young is too young? On the one hand, it’s pretty clear what’s going on in the back of the van at the beginning of the story. And there’s a good bit of drinking along with the fairly casual sex. But I believe these are very real issues facing today’s older teens. And for that reason, along with the fact that the author deals with it in a responsible way, I do feel that this would be an appropriate read for older teenagers. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to read the sequel…
I usually don’t pay much attention to reviews. A contradiction, I know, coming from someone who shares my love of great stories by writing reviews. But let me clarify. I don’t pay much attention to reviews unless they come from someone whose opinion I know and trust, someone who enjoys the same types of stories that I do. So I hope that’s how you view us here at the Muses, trusted friends who offer a little bit of something for everyone.
Having cancer sucks, even more so when you’re seventeen years old. That’s just what Richie is facing. And even worse, he’s been moved to hospice. We all know what that means. He’s the youngest person on the hospice ward with the exception of Sylvie. So of course there’s a romance brewing. If the story ran on that alone, it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. It’s the cast of supporting characters that adds so much more. There’s Richie’s crazy but fun uncle who manages to sneak him out for a night of fun on Halloween. There’s his grandma who is complicit in helping him sneak around with Sylvie. Sylvie’s dad, by the way is one scary dude. Staying out of his reach becomes a full-time challenge in itself for Richie. And then there are the nurses and staff members, all full of personality and compassion at the same time.
I think it’s unfair to compare this story to The Fault in Our Stars as so many reviews have done. Because let’s be honest, that was a one of a kind, once in a lifetime story. And I don’t say that to take anything away from this book. It’s a different kind of book that just happens to share a few common characteristics with TFIOS. But it’s just as good in its own way.
The history nerd in me loves anything to do with the Salem witch trials. The book lover in me loves historical fiction combined with a bit of fantasy. This latest book by Katherine Howe fits the bill on both ends.
It’s the story of Colleen and her friends, seniors at a prestigious girls’ prep school. They’re already under immense pressure from AP courses, GPAs, and the college admission process. And then comes another level of stress as several of the girls become afflicted with some strange syndrome. Hair loss, twitching, rambling incohesive speech…it’s all there and nobody can seem to figure out what’s causing it. Is it environmental? Stress? Mental/emotional? Or is something more sinister at work?
Part of the appeal of this book for me was how the author shifted back and forth between the present day story and the early 1700s during the actual Salem witch trial period. We’re given a glimpse into the hysteria of that era and encouraged to make a connection to the current story. This is a good story that kept me guessing as to what was really happening. An afterword by the author provides some insight into what inspired her to write this book. Grab this one for a great read, just in time for Halloween!