Book-review post!

Mostly the YA I’ve been reading lately, with a couple of grown-uppy books thrown in for good measure.

Jennifer E Smith – The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
This is a lovely 24-hour whirlwind love story, about a girl who meets a boy in the airport and ends up sitting next to him on a trans-Atlantic flight. It’s always terrific to see thoughtful contemporary fiction doing well (and there’s some great stuff on family here, alongside the romance), and this is well worth reading.

Lara Avery – Anything But Ordinary
Twenty-two-year-old Bryce wakes up from a five-year coma and has to process the huge changes in her life – her now-rebellious-teen younger sister, the parents that have spent five years grieving, the friends and boyfriend that have graduated college and are stepping into the grown-up world. The premise is an interesting one, and there’s a sweet love interest, but the paranormal/magical elements aren’t quite explained and the ending – while fitting in some ways – wasn’t something I was particularly mad about either. I’m also not sure this works best as a teen novel – although Bryce still feels seventeen, the age she was at the time of the accident, in many ways, she is twenty-two and a lot of the interaction is with her twenty-something peers (yet toned down for a teen audience). Nifty concept, but something was missing for me.

Megan Crane – Once More With Feeling
I adore Megan Crane’s novels, and her latest is terrific. Sarah’s husband cheats on her with her older sister, and shortly after has a car accident that leaves him in a coma. This chain of events has the potential for melodrama, but Crane does a superb job at making it utterly authentic. She’s exceptionally good at writing realistic frustrating characters and dynamics – Sarah’s sister is indulged by her parents and most others, with selfish behaviour excused and justified in a way that will make you want to smack her (but also feel authentic). And Sarah herself isn’t perfect – like most of Crane’s novels, this is a story about identity and self-discovery as much as it is about the love interests (although they are delightful, too). I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

Ally Condie – Crossed
Finally catching up on the world of Cassia, Ky and Xander. This is the second book in the trilogy, and although there are some nifty reveals and new characters are introduced, it’s my least favourite of the three.

Caitlin Moran – Moranthology
I’d been reading this on-and-off since its release. It’s a collection of Moran’s columns from the last number of years, covering a wide range of topics, so inevitably there were some subjects more interesting than others. I liked it less than How To Be A Woman, but there’s plenty of hilarity and good-point-making in this.

Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl
Delightfully twisty story about a man whose wife disappears on their five-year anniversary. This turned up on a lot of ‘best of’ lists last year, and with good reason – it’s incredibly compelling but also gorgeously written. The two narrators – Amy and Nick – are not quite what they seem, and even though the ending is unsettling, it also makes a twisted kind of sense. Definitely worth checking out.

Ally Condie – Reached
Now this – the third book in Condie’s Matched trilogy – was most enjoyable. I adored how the resistance played out here – without getting too spoilery, it’s always fun to see that there are pros and cons to any political movements, especially in YA dystopia, and it’s done really well here. There’s also a lot of cool stuff involving diseases and immunisations, and the growing creative movement spearheaded by Cassia. A solid conclusion to the trilogy.

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