It feels like it’s been forever since I had a reading roundup! This one isn’t very big; I haven’t had much time for reading these days. It’s time to make it a priority! But I do have some good reviews for you! There will be a few other reviews coming soon and I’m really excited to share those with you too so keep an eye out this weekend for my update of the Winter Book Challenge and the book club discussion for The Lake!
Okay, let’s move onto the reviews!
Note – I received an advanced copy of the eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I read this book at the end of 2014 and absolutely fell in love with it. It’s about a teenager named Mika, who loves fish and is looking forward to helping her parents with their work at the Monterey Bay Aquarium during the summer. All of that changes when her estranged grandmother appears on her doorstep. She knew that something happened when her dad stopped talking to his mother, but she didn’t know exactly what it was until her grandmother started to make racist comments about Mika’s mother. When her parents learn that her grandmother has Alzheimer’s, they decide to take her in to care for her, and Mika’s summer plans go out the window. Her beloved job at a pet store doesn’t even offer a break, as she must train in the owner’s insufferable nephew. And when her best friend is unavailable to turn to when Mika needs to vent due to family drama of her own, it looks like Mika’s in for the worst summer ever.
This book, you guys. I really loved it. It’s not always an easy book to read, because it deals with a lot of heavy topics. Racism plays a big role in the book. Whipple also tackles other forms of prejudice and the story has a big focus Alzheimer’s, which is always a difficult topic for me to read. Mika really came to life in this story and felt like a friend that I knew well by the end. I loved following her as she took in what was taking place around her that summer, as she met and got to know the people that entered her life. While the book has strong messages, it didn’t feel like a message-driven book. Whipple’s writing is beautiful and descriptive… so descriptive that she described Mika’s favorite dish—chicken saagwala—so much that I found a recipe and made it. Twice. And now that I’m writing this review I want to make it again.
If you’d like a more detailed review, check out my writing blog. I talked about it yesterday.
Allyson reaches the end of her lackluster tour of Europe after her high school graduation when she meets Willem—a young, Dutch Shakespeare actor whose flying home from London after years of travel. When he meets Allyson—whom he dubs Lulu—and hears of her disappointment that she didn’t get to see Paris, he trades in his ticket for Holland and buys her a ticket for Paris. They have one day to tour the city of love!
First, I want to start out by saying that I really enjoyed this novel. However, I had mixed feelings about it. I’m positive that my mixed feelings came from the expectation that I had for this book. I love stories about two people who spend a short period of time together—a day or a night, like the Before Sunrise movies. I love those and I kind of expected this book to be the same way: Allyson and Willem spend a day in Paris together and that’s the novel. There’s more to it than that, however, so while they were in Paris I kept thinking that they were kind of speeding through the day and I was focused on that instead of their time in Paris. So it wasn’t what I expected it to be and I was a little disappointed about that.
That being said, I did enjoy the novel. I thought it dragged on a little in the middle, however I was curious about what was going to happen during that portion and I really enjoyed the end of the novel. As soon as I was finished I opened up the companion—Just One Year—and started to read that. And I’m a little disappointed that I have a couple of books that I should read first. I’m really excited to read the second and expect to pick it up again soon!
What books have you read recently?