Monday, April 26, 2010

The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld

Don't let the title mislead you. It's not your typical chick lit run of the mill book this. The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld is about Hannah Gavener, whom we follow from she is 14 and until she is in her late twenties. The book begins in 1991 and ends in 2005. Hannah is being placed at her aunt and uncle's house when her mother and father finally decides to call it quits - or rather, when her father throws out Hannah, her sister Alisson and their mother. This very unbalanced relationship with her father makes an impact on all Hannah's future relationships with men, but also with women.

Her friends are all prettier than Hannah. No boys/men are interested in her. Her dreams about relationships are naïve even as an adult. And last but not least, the low selfesteem she will not admit she has, makes it impossible for her to really connect with the boys/men who actually does show an interest in her.

So her life circles around this, and the years fly by. Hannah becomes increasingly frustrated the older she gets, still not kissed and still a virgin. She looks at her big sister and her cousin, her sister getting married before Hannah has ever been on a date and her cousin who has numerous boyfriends all through her teenage years and beyond.

Hannah's lack of self esteem and her not getting that first kiss/sex over and done with was beginning to annoy me halfway through the book. Its not that it felt phony or rang false. Not at all. On the contrary, it did ring true a long way through the book. Hannah's life and her search for a boyfriend/a kiss/an intercourse is not that special - many older teenage girls/young women will definitely be able to identify with Hannah. Its more that I didn't feel it was enough to keep a whole book running. Now The Man of My Dreams is not a long book, but I did feel that it dragged on a bit and I did feel that Hannah went from being a relatively normal teenager/young adult agonizing over boys and sex to become a somewhat neurotic woman. Anyway, its not a bad book, and Curtis Sittenfeld is a good writer. This was not my fave book though.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fractured by Karin Slaughter

Fractured is the second book in Slaughter's Atlanta-series. Main character is the dyslectic agent Will Trent with the troubled childhood, whom we saw introduced in the first book Triptych which I read pre-blogging. The third book which combine Slaughter's two series the Grant County-series and the Atlanta-Series is called Undone, and I already read that one.

Abigail Campano is on the phone with her husband, arguing about his mistress, when she arrives home and finds her house broken into, blood on the floor and a young man with with a knife in his hand. Her daughter is nowhere to be seen, and within seconds the situation is completely out of control. Atlanta Police is called to the house, where they begin investigating. Abigail Campano's husband is an important member of society - or rather, his father in law is - and soon special agents are called in to take over from Atlanta Police.

This does not fare well with the police, and it doesn't get any better when detective Faith Mitchell is forced to work the case with the agent Will Trent. In their frantic search for clues they waste a lot of time, time which could save lives, but they manage to find leads and suspects after all. Question is whether they have found the right suspects or not?

An easily read thriller, well written and with a fine plot. Not Karin Slaughter's best - I liked both Triptych and Undone better, but nevertheless a good read. So for an easy mystery with a good plot, this comes highly recommendable. Perhaps you will want to read Triptych first, where Will Trent is introduced.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gone by Michael Grant

Gone by Michael Grant is the first book in a series that so far is planned to be of three books. The second one, Hunger, is already out, and the last one, Lies, should be out next month in the US.

It is a normal, boring day in the Southern Californian town Perdido Beach when everyone 15 years or older disappear in the blink of an eye. One second they are there, the next they are gone. The town is now at the hands of teenagers and children. After the initial shock wears off, the kids are taking advantage of the new situation. Candy shops are being looted, school bullies take over and threathens anyone who questions their superiority and in the middle stands Sam, a quiet young man with a secret, mostly just interested in surfing, his buddy Quinn, smart and pretty Astrid and her autistic little brother. The FAYZ - Fallout Alley Youth Zone - is as reality.

After Sam tries to rescue a little girl from a fire, he is immediately thought to be the new town leader, which is the last thing he wants to be. Some of the bullies has already taken over, and Sam does not really want to question their superiority. At least not at first. Only a day after everyone 15 years old or above has disappeared, a group of kids from the nearby Coates Academy, a school for difficult children, marches into town, and claim to be leaders with the calm, collected and somewhat scary Caine in front. It seems that some of the kids are developing special powers, and Caine and his allies need to control those powers, mainly for their own gain.

Gone has been compared to a modern Lord of the Flies - I don't know about that. I know that I enjoyed reading Gone, and I know that I am also going to read number two, Hunger, which I have already bought. But Gone was not a super-fantastic read as such. The premise is very good and the plot well thought out, but only in theory. Reading Gone it felt just like that: A well thought out plot, but with the author loosing steam not even halfway through. The book is a YA-novel and the writing is aimed at a young audience. I don't mind that at all, but all in all Gone is very gritty, and the plotline may appeal more to the older YA crowd, not the youngest ones, even though the writing feels aimed at them. I still recommend Gone if you want a dystopic YA story.

Gone has been read as part of the Twenty Ten Reading Challenge hosted by Bart's Bookshelf. It has been read in the category Shiny and New, since it was one of the newest books in my stack when I compiled my list.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Been away

I've been abroad (Egypt) from March 28. until April 11 (got back before the European airspace was closed!) and haven't had time to be much online since I got back. But I am still here and feel like I've missed a ton of things. Hope to see you all soon - have read a lot of books while I was away which I look forward to review soon.