Landline is another awesome novel from the ever-expanding collection of classics coming from Rainbow Rowell. I’ve loved every novel of Rainbow’s that I’ve read (all of them): Fan Girl, Eleanor & Park, and Attachments. This one was closer to Attachments than Eleanor & Park, but I found myself (as a newlywed) really relatable.
Georgie McCool (yes, that’s her real name) is finally getting somewhere in her career. She’s a writer for a popular TV show and the pilot episode for her very own series is being presented to the network! The only problem… she’s supposed to be going to her husband Neal’s mother’s home in Omaha with their two little girls. She tries to explain to Neal why her career is worth more than their trip to Omaha – and fails. Neal and her children leave for Omaha, while Georgie stays back in Los Angeles to finish her pilot episode.
When Georgie calls Neal from her mother’s house, she gets through, but not to the present-day Neal… by some magic, Georgie gets through to Neal from the Christmas they got engaged. Georgie is transfixed and remembers all over again why she loves Neal. Georgie would do anything to save her failing marriage and she can’t seem to kick the feeling that this magical reconnection was given to her for a reason. How can Georgie write her show (her dream) without losing her husband and true love?
UGH. THE FEELS. Rainbow, how is it that you know exactly how my mind works and exactly how to tug at those heartstrings?! All of Rainbow’s characters are me… me as different people, me in different lives. She is a fantastic writer and Landline is no different. GREAT read! Pick it up now! =)
Transparent is Natalie Whippet‘s debut novel that I decided to pick up after falling in love with her writing in House of Ivy and Sorrow. She is such a fantastic writer and so personable, I couldn’t help but enjoy her novel.
Fiona is invisible. No, no, hear me out. And she’s the daughter of an infamous crime lord who has forced her to do his dirty work for years. WAIT. It’s not as silly as it sounds. Fiona is tired of her father’s manipulations, so when her mother suggests they run away (yet again) Fiona jumps at the opportunity. She finally has a normal life: she’s going to school, ignoring her mother, fighting with her brother and doing everything that a normal teenager would do. But being invisible is not as simple as it seems. She struggles against her classmate’s weird looks and her own failures in class. What’s an invisible girl to do in the real world, especially when her father puts a bounty out for her and her mother?
Transparent is such a funny premise, I really didn’t know how I’d feel about the novel, but it’s the WRITING, that’s how she gets me. This novel was not as in-depth and complex as House of Ivy and Sorrow, but it was just plain FUN! I’ve got the sequel to this novel (Blindsided) waiting for me at the library right now! Please keep writing, Natalie! You have a sure-fire fan in this geeky girl! Recommended for a fun read!!
Jinx by Sage Blackwood is another middle school novel that I decided to check out after my trip to Books of Wonder in New York. It started off as a simple book, similar to Iron-hearted Violet, but really took off at about the halfway point.
Jinx is an orphan who finds himself working as a wizard’s apprentice to Simon Magus. Simon has so many secrets and only lets Jinx into part of his life. After a fight, Jinx runs away from the wizard and into the dangerous and mysterious Urwald forest. After running into Simon’s fellow (and more dangerous) wizard friend and finds that the Urwald forest may need him more than he realized.
There were so many twists in this novel that I did not expect! Jinx is such a complex character. I was really drawn into this novel right at the end, even with the simple language. I look forward to picking up the sequel to Jinx! Suggested for middle school/YA fantasy lovers!
Iron Hearted Violet is a middle-school novel by Kelly Barnhill. To be completely transparent, I thought the cover looked cool, so I figured why not?!
Not all princesses are beautiful. Violet thinks she’s a perfect example of this hardened fact. Violet is smart, she is well-loved, and she loves to weave intricate stories, but she still longs for the beauty she rightfully deserves as a princess. Violet and her best friend Demetrius find a hidden room with a secret book describing the Nybbas, an evil being stuck in their world. After stumbling upon the book, Violet begins to hear a voice whispering to her and talking to her about her deepest, darkest secrets. With the help from a scarred dragon and Demetrius, Violet can help the Nybbas triumph or fail, but which is it?
This story is weaved really well. It was pretty apparent that the reading level was lower than I’m used to, but I enjoyed the story. Violet is such a lovable and relatable character, she struggles with real issues that most adults struggle with on the daily. The dragon was probably my favorite part! Suggested for a very light read… it reads almost like a children’s novel, but good writing!
A Tale Dark & Grimm is a middle school novel by Adam Gidwitz. Another novel suggested by the beautiful Emily that I decided to pick up when we were in New York last spring for our mission trip. It’s a fairy tale gone wrong in all the oddest ways.
You may think you know Hansel and Gretel, but you have no idea. This story follows Hansel and Gretel as they battle their way through gory fights, menacing witches, and all sorts of fairy tale beasties.
The story is interspersed with asides from the narrator, which I found interesting, but totally distracting. I was also shocked by the gore found in a novel for middle schoolers. Definitely gross at some points. Mostly I found it as somewhat cute, but nothing special. Which is odd because you know me and fairy-tale rewrites! It was alright, but I wasn’t interested enough to keep reading the series.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner is a popular YA novel that is being made into a film. I can’t help but be interested when a young adult novel gets so much attention.
The novel begins with a young man waking up in an elevator; he does not know who is he or where he is. He only knows his name – Thomas. When the elevator opens, he finds himself among a number of other “lost boys” of sorts. None of them know why they are there or where they came from. All they know is that there is a maze right next to their home base, a maze that opens each morning and closes each night. Some of the boys are maze runners, going into the maze each day to scope it out and possibly find an escape. The maze is dangerous, though, and nobody wants to get caught inside when it closes. Everything changes when a girl comes up the mysterious elevator. Why does she look familiar to Thomas and why are they all there?
Honestly, I was bored. There were too many questions, not enough answers. And truly, I didn’t really care about any of the characters. The danger seemed lackluster and I just couldn’t get into this one, which is a shame, because I really wanted to like this one. Not recommended if you are like me and have to like the characters to enjoy a novel.
I kind of just happened upon Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Time by Emma Trevayne. I saw the cover on Goodreads and was intrigued. Intrigued enough to pick it up at my local library! It was definitely an odd read, to say the least.
Jack Foster is a ten year old in 19th century London. One day he follows a mysterious man through a doorway into an alternate, mechanical London called Londinium. The air is dark and smoky and almost everyone he meets has mechanical alterations. Jack befriends a wind-up fairy and her creator, before meeting the Lady. The Lady rules over all of Londinium and decides to adopt Jack as her own son. At first, the Lady spoils Jack and he is beyond happy, but it isn’t long before the Lady’s darker nature becomes apparent. How is Jack to save Londinium and his friends from the Lady’s wrath?!
This novel was so inventive and strangely dark for a middle-schooler novel. It reminds me of anything from Tim Burton… very Nightmare Before Christmas-esque. Magical and intriguing. Would definitely read from this author again.