Some of my favorite posts on other peoples’ blogs are of the “What I’ve Been Reading” variety. I don’t even care if they include detailed reviews or short synopses or just a few bullet points about what they liked or hated about the book. I just love these types of posts and want to start including my own from time to time. So here we go:
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
By Karen Foxlee
Goodreads Summary: Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn’t believe in anything that can’t be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia’s help.
As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy’s own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.
A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale is about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.
My Thoughts: I should admit that I personally feel that the Snow Queen plot is a bit over done in children’s literature, and it’s never been one of my favorite stories. So I went into this story with low expectations. What saved this book, for me, was the setting. I may not like the Snow Queen plot, but I do love museums, and the majority of this story takes place in one of the most interesting museums I have ever encountered. I loved how big the museum is, how much history it possesses, and how it has rooms upon rooms of seemingly random objects!
Another plus for this story is the main character. Ophelia is portrayed as a very realistic girl. She is grieving for her mother and trying to connect with her father and sister, all the while trying to help this mysterious boy even though the thought of helping him and going against the Snow Queen terrifies her. She is nervous — almost to the point of panic — yet courageous. She is flawed and innocent, yet intelligent.
While this book isn’t one of my favorites and even felt slow in parts, I still enjoyed it overall. Which is saying a lot, considering I really don’t like the Snow Queen plot. I would definitely place this book in the hands of fantasy enthusiasts.
By Rainbow Rowell
Goodreads Summary: “Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . ”
Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.
When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.
By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.
My Thoughts: Okay, this isn’t a children’s book. It isn’t even a YA book (though I can see it having a YA audience). This is an adult book that came out in 2011 and focuses on characters who are 28 and who are trying to make that final transition into full blown adulthood. I loved this book! Maybe not as much as I loved Eleanor and Park or Fangirl, but I still really, really enjoyed it. Rowell has a talent for writing characters who could very well be my best friends. Her stories are bits and pieces of my own experiences sewn together and — okay — given a bit of fictional flair. This book may not be the next great American novel, but it’s definitely a story to get attached to.
A Snicker of Magic
By Natalie Lloyd
Goodreads Summary: Introducing an extraordinary new voice—a magical debut that will make your skin tingle, your eyes glisten . . .and your heart sing.
Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.
But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck’s about to change. A “word collector,” Felicity sees words everywhere—shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog’s floppy ears—but Midnight Gulch is the first place she’s ever seen the word “home.” And then there’s Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity’s never seen before, words that make Felicity’s heart beat a little faster.
Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she’ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that’s been cast over the town . . . and her mother’s broken heart.
My Thoughts: I’m calling it now…this one’s a Newbery contender. This book has the unique talent of combining the ordinary with just enough of the fantastical to make you believe that maybe, just maybe, magic exists. A strong cast of characters, an intriguing setting, and a whole lot of ice cream makes this a book worth reading.
Two things that I really loved about this book were Felicity’s penchant for seeing words, and the fact that Jonah’s in a wheelchair but it isn’t made into a big deal. The words that Felicity sees are no doubt magical in themselves, and I firmly believe that Lloyd considered each word she chose for Felicity to see with great care. The groups of words usually have a cadence that feel as though they belong with one another, and often they represent the characters or situations being mentioned in the book.
As for Jonah being in the wheelchair… Usually in media, the characters don’t possess any real handicaps, or if they do, their handicaps become their story. That isn’t the case with Jonah. Yes, he’s in a wheelchair, but he is not helpless and the chair does not define who he is as a person. He is an amazing character, who does a lot of good and becomes Felicity’s quasi-crush (this isn’t a romance, but the crush is hinted at for both parties). While I don’t have a problem with stories that focus on handicaps, I still think that it’s very refreshing to see a character who’s in a wheelchair, but isn’t defined entirely by the wheelchair.