Ishani Bhagat Bhagat من عند Vaudry, فرنسا
It is really disconcerting when I hate a book everyone loved. I don't look forward to writing these kinds of reviews (most of the time.) It especially pains me because Harris lives in Michigan, and I know she's been inside the book store I used to work at. To be honest though, the writing was juvenile and amateurish, and the plot was even more ridiculous than I thought a zombie story had any right to be. At 200 pages, this short novel seems like it was written with middle-school children in mind than seniors in high school. Some of the subject matter would be iffy for a younger teen, but it's actually not especially graphic. The main character talks about "hooking up" with a boy, some body parts get torn or bitten off, and just about everyone pukes at least once. There is lots and lots of puking. None of this was especially surprising though, it is a zombie book, after all. I thought this was supposed to be funny, but I didn't even smirk once while reading this. I love zombie movies and I enjoy dark humor, but this book couldn't have fallen flatter for me. The plot is steeped in so much pseudo-science that even though I'm practically a layman, the way the main character figures out a cure for the zombie virus really made me cringe. The "science" is appalling. How about some young adult fiction clichés? Here's a handful for you: 1. Nerd girl with bad hair and no boobs lusts after the popular boy 2. Bratty younger brother is bratty 3. All parents are non-existent for the majority of the book (view spoiler) 4. Nerd girl constantly remarks on how much prettier her friends are, how much of an awkward dork she is, and constantly berates herself for being smart 5. (view spoiler) 6. (view spoiler) Points go to all of the Polish last names, "pop" instead of "soda," and the beautiful cover. Everything else was a waste of time and I don't recommend this book at all.
Cute! quick read
Very esoteric story about a man with lyme disease and his decision to put his life on hold in search of the cultural origins of a mythical being capable of controlling waves. Starts of great as he details his sickness and how surfing has helped him both physically and mentally, but the book really slows down as he starts his search for "the conductor" If you are into the cultural aspects of surfing, and its existence as a lifestyle and a state of mind rather than just a sport, check this book out.
July's stories make me feel that the title is a lie: I didn't belong anywhere reading this book. Few of the stories made sense. None of the characters seemed real, as if I could even meet one of them walking along the street. Only would I if I were to start wandering dicey neighborhoods or hanging out in half-way houses. It's as if July wants her readers to remain segregated from and feeling superior to the lost and lonely and broken. On second thought, did July place me in the same room with these characters on purpose, only to emphasize my own discomfort to me? Chances are, I'm not voluntarily visiting dicey neighborhoods or halfway houses anytime soon, or ever. So, when else might I be given the opportunity to see beyond these characters' idiosyncracies and find something worthy. For as foreign and bizarre as I found these stories, I didn't stop reading. Though I can't say with confidence that I liked this collection of stories, they did challenge me, which is the reason for three starts. And I must admit July can make me laugh out loud, especially in her efforts to illustrate a character's quirks: "One reason Helena and I would never be close friends is that I am about half as tall as he. People tend to stick to their own size group because it's easier on the neck. Unless they are romantically invovled, in which case the size difference is sexy. It means: I am willing to go the distance for you." (2) And in other instances her imagery and phrasing is just beautiful: "Some people need a red carpet rolled out in front of them in order to walk forward into friendship. They can't see the tiny, outstretched hands all around them, everywhere, like leaves on trees" (135).