This year? I'm working at a summer camp, while my husband went to San Diego and did awesome things like staring at the unwashed people who had been in line for the Breaking Dawn panel for the past 5 days, and getting the scoop on all the upcoming movies, and enjoying 70-degree-no-humidity weather while I sweltered away in 102 heat index 115.
I had a sad. :(
In his absence, I decided to do what I do best: curl up with a good book. After the craziness of this spring, I'm 6 books behind pace in my goal of finishing 50 books this year. So I put the hammer down on myself, and here are some of the books I've really enjoyed recently:
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, due out 1018/11
I read this while on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, which felt like a perfect setting for me. The weather was cool and a little gloomy, and everything tasted like salt. It made me feel like I was on Thisby, the small island setting of this novel. Sounds like "quiet book", right? Yeah, except add in killer horses, a super-sassy girl protagonist, a little bit of kissing, and a big dose of general creepiness, and it's not so quiet anymore. Even though this book didn't have the immediate, slap-you-in-the-face agency that SHIVER did, I think I enjoyed it more. This book is more complicated, which ultimately made it more satisfying.
Between by Jessica Warman, published 8/2/11
I picked this ARC up from Bloomsbury at BEA without knowing anything about the book. I'll be honest, it was a total "Hey! That's a cool cover!" moment when I grabbed it. But I'm glad I did! This story reminded me of THE LOVELY BONES and IF I STAY, but not in a derivative way. I had fun following the main character Elizabeth as she unraveled mystery after mystery--although this isn't a light book. Warman didn't shy away from putting in some pretty rough stuff in here, and I appreciated that, and felt like it really helped the story along. It's out now, so go pick it up!
Populazzi by Elise Allen, published 8/1/11
I'll only say a little here, because the FNC is also on the blog tour for POPULAZZI, so you'll be getting a full review and an interview with her in the beginning of September, but let me say this: POPULAZZI is one of those "don't judge a book by it's cover" types. On the outside it looked like a fluffy fun read, which is why I agreed to do the blog tour, but inside I found something deeper, a little darker, well-written and still fun to read. Cara is a great protagonist, and Allen does a great job of not making her likeable all the time, but still have you root for her. If you like Mean Girls, check this one out!
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, due out 9/13/11
My husband is a huge graphic novel lover, and really enjoyed THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, Selznick's first book, which is part of the reason I picked up WONDERSTRUCK at BEA. I love this book for a few reasons: 1) The premise of having dual narrators and telling one story with text and one story with pictures was interesting and fun to read. 2) This is a really fat book--over 600 pages--but because of the pictures, I was able to read it in a few days. I feel like making fat books accessible for kids in this way is awesome, because it takes away the intimidation factor of also tackling full-text fat books. 3) Even though I had guessed the twist at the end before it happened, it didn't lessen my enjoyment of the book at all. If anything, I enjoyed it more, because I was excited to see exactly how the twist would play out. This is a great book for kids & adults alike!
The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch, due out 9/1/11
I admit to being a little skeptical when I first started this book. As much as I love dystopias, I felt like they were all started to blend together a little and I wasn't sure if this one was going to give me anything new. Of course, I was totally wrong. THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE is halfway between dystopia and post-apocalytpic fiction, and simultaneously gives one of the bleakest and most hopeful views of humanity. Also, the narrator is a boy--Stephen--and I enjoyed the change of pace and viewpoint. Plus, it was blurbed by Suzanne Collins, so you know you're in for a good ride. This book is great for the disenchanted lover of dystopias.
So that's what I've been reading. And thankfully, my lovely husband DID bring me back some awesome books, so I guess it's alright he went without me. But what has everyone else been reading and enjoying? And is anyone else like me, and challenging themselves to read a certain number of books this year? (My goal is fifty, and I've read 27 so far. I'm still a little behind, but I'm getting there!)