I've been feeling pretty blah this month. I don't know if it's because I haven't been sleeping well, the grey weather is getting to me, or I've been fighting off a cold, but I just haven't been super motivated to do much other than sit around and knit or sleep. Only one of the books I read in February is by an author of the ARRT Popular Fiction List, so if I'm going to get through the entire list this year, I need to focus and be more diligent about reading those authors.
The Fever by Meg Abbott
As a seizure-inducing illness that attacks only girls sweeps through the high school of a typically peaceful town, paranoia runs rampant and long-kept secrets are revealed.
Teen girls treating each other poorly. If this were a TV show, this would be a major guilty pleasure show and I would watch it avidly. Not much else to say...
When half of a local girl's mauled body is discovered, a town-wide manhunt ensues and everyone is a detective and a suspect, including self-proclaimed werewolf, Peter Rumancek.
I wish I had made a note every time the author mentioned something about men's intuition residing in their balls. I want a quantitative representation of just how ridiculously gratuitous this was. Balls aside, this suffered a bit from some organizational issues, but was nevertheless an entertaining, if gruesome, read.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
In a seemingly idyllic community where all citizens have assigned roles and their daily lives are carefully regulated, twelve-year-old Jonas is selected to be the next Receiver, the community's keeper of memories.
I remember reading this in middle school and really liking it, but what I didn't notice then was how good it is. Not just that I enjoyed the story, but how extremely well-crafted the novel is. Lowry writes with precision and care that resonates through the reader with such intensity that you can't do anything but pay attention.
Half Broken Things by Morag Joss
Three social misfits -- a professional house sitter, a thief, and pregnant art student -- find unusual sanctuary in each other, but their haven is disrupted when an unexpected visitor arrives.
I'm including Half Broken Things this month even though I didn't finish it, but I'm not counting it toward my annual reading goal. While I was reading this, I really liked it. I'm interested in each of the characters and not so much of what they do, but why they are doing it. Their behavior is pretty unusual, but that's not what drives the book forward. Unfortunately, as soon as I set the book down, I stopped thinking about it and it took a significant mental effort to remember to pick it back up. It was pretty slow to start and not as thrilling as I thought it would be, but I suspect the second half of the book picks up quickly. I would have kept working on it, but it was due back to the library and it was an interlibrary loan... If I remember, I'll see about picking up a copy of this book again in the future, because I would like to finish it. We'll see if I remember.
Say I Love You Volume 1 by Kanae Hazuki
A friendless, stubborn high school girl in Japan finds herself unexpectedly pursued by the school's most desirable male student.
I read this because a patron was so excited that we might order the 5th book in this series for the library, I thought he was going to hop up and down at the reference desk. For such enthusiasm, I am willing to give 30 minutes of my life to reading this manga. It was sweet in a naïve-girl-pursued-by-experienced/domineering-but-well-meaning-guy kind of way, though towards the end she was becoming more assertive, so the relationship may balance out as the series progresses. I had a hard time telling the girls in the story apart (they're all dressed the same with similar haircuts and all have the same HUGE glittering eyes with heavy lashes) and some of the dialogue took me a minute to decipher, but I suspect that may be because I am likely not the target audience for this manga.
The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
Hired by a professional ghost hunter, nearly destitute modern woman Sarah Piper travels from London to a small English village to examine and eradicate the ghost of a servant girl whose detestation of men manifests violently.
What starts off as a delightfully creepy historical mystery quickly falls victim to the pitfalls of predictable romance and a transparent plot. For me, the characters and atmosphere weren't compelling enough to make up for the lack of mystery.
Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton
Down-and-out Lori Shepherd discovers that the hero of her allegedly fictional childhood stories -- Aunt Dimity -- is not a only real person, but has also passed away and now haunts the English cottage Lori has been asked to live in while fulfilling the duties of the will.
This was the coziest book I think I've ever read, right down to the childhood bunny rabbit toy that accompanies the main character and the pleasantly haunted kitchen that helps her bake perfect oatmeal cookies. A quick read that provides a saccharine escape with a very light mystery.
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