Friday, June 21, 2013

Just One Day

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)Just One Day by Gayle Forman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gayle Forman’s “If I Stay” was so captivating that the next two books I have read by her have tasted of anti-climax. I don’t know if that’s her fault or if my expectations are just too high. That said, “Just One Day” is dramatic and compelling in a way that my teenager girl students will love this book. They might miss the details of delectably described macaroons or not appreciate how well Forman describes Paris, but teenage girls will love the love, the drama, the expectations, and the misunderstood relationship between Allyson and her parents….

I should add that when I picked up this book I was in a reading drought. I had neither read, nor had the desire to read anything. But I knew Forman’s new book had come out, and so without question I got myself to a Barnes & Noble.  That alone speaks volumes, and next year with Willem’s perspective of this same story comes out, I will buy that. So judge as you will based on this contradictory review, and know that this book also has references to Shakespeare laced throughout. Paris, Shakespeare, love, and heartbreak – that’s a good book. Happy reading!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Letting Ana Go

Letting Ana GoLetting Ana Go by Anonymous
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Go Ask Alice” still haunts me. When I saw that Simon & Schuster had released a similar style book, I felt compelled to read it. Part of me wonders if Ana’s story is really a legitimate diary, but I still turned page after page enthralled and dreading the inevitable fate that both Lucy and Alice already met. Honestly, this book scared me more than Alice’s story – eating disorders and body issues are so prevalent that it’s hard not to relate these anxieties to ourselves or people we know. I could not recommend this book to my students because I’d fear that it would serve as a “how to” on extreme dieting, but I would recommend it. It’s eye opening, haunting, and everything that a powerful book should be.

the book of mormon girl

The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American FaithThe Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American Faith by Joanna Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book. I wanted it to speak to who I am and how I have been raised. I wanted Brooks’ beliefs and experiences to echo my own. Perhaps this is because it is rare to see lives like those of my Mormon faith mirrored around me, and perhaps it is an oversimplification to expect that any two people can really have the same experience. But when I read Elna Baker’s memoir, I felt like she was speaking in a voice I did not know I had. Reading Brooks’ I felt like I was watching a gutted version of a Mormon upbringing. It was too neat, too stereotypical, too slowly told. However, about halfway into the book, I felt the connection I had been craving all along, and I realized that while Brooks’ book is not a masterpiece, it is still well done. It opens an important dialogue about individual experiences in their attempts to navigate Mormon living and faith in a complicated world. I love that Brooks’ takes a stand against a “one size fits all” version of faith, righteous living, and world views. And now more than anything I just want to talk…with anyone and everyone about what it’s like to be them, whether they’re having a Mormon, Catholic, male, female, young, old, or just human experience. There is so much to learn and understand about others that we so often are too busy or too assuming to see.

Short version – if you read this, tell me. I am dying to know what you think.

Someday, Someday, Maybe

Someday, Someday, MaybeSomeday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Full disclosure – I picked this book up because Lauren Graham wrote it. Gilmore Girls has been embarrassingly impactful in shaping my adult self, and so if Lorelai Gilmore, or at least the woman who brought that character to life, wrote a book, I had to read it. All that said, I am surprised to say that I enjoyed Graham’s book. It was witty and self-revealing. I loved the use of Filofax pages, doodles, and scripts throughout the novel. It added depth and life to Miss Fanny Banks, aspiring actress extraordinaire. Perfect first book of summer.